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Developing Your Style Formula w/ Matthew Spade

By Pier Five Staff Writer

Over the last fourteen months, I think I’ve changed my personal style about a dozen times. From vintage to modern to patterns to minimalism, my closet is looking like a costume design wardrobe for about a dozen different characters and for a while my living room was the love child of an MCM connoisseur and Andy Warhol’s evil twin. Now, do I have some jawns? Of course! Was I getting compliments on my art collection through the two by two inch screen showcasing my home on zoom calls? On occasion. But am I also tossing and turning at night, desperately seeking aesthetic order in my life between the clothes on my back, the decor in my home and the posts on my IG feed? Most definitely.

With new brands and trends popping up every single day, honing in can be a tricky thing but whenever I need help, I turn to one of IG’s kings of class, the aesthetic authority, the curation connoisseur, Matthew Spade, aka Mat Buckets

Mat is a 35 year old digital content creator and freelancer out of North West England with some of the cleanest and most figured out style in the game. Heavily influenced by traditional sportswear and practical clothing that serves a purpose, Mat has been whipping up some of the best style content on the feed both when it comes to clothing, home decor and art & design. With early experiences working fashion retail, PR, editorial and e-commerce alongside a university degree in fashion promotion and creative marketing, Mat has his “finger in every pie” and has become one of the go-to authorities for creative work in the U.K. His resume includes freelancing for brands such as Salomon, The Hip Store, Uniqlo and Aesop Skincare, his blog Buckets & Spades and a personal instagram feed which serves as the ultimate guide for all things style, interiors and food. Mat is also the owner and designer for Best of Packaging, a moodboard for the best CPG packaging on Instagram.

I really admire Mat for his ability to maintain a consistent style across everything he does while also being able to mix in different themes, colours, textures and feels without feeling too off brand. The clothing he wears, the furniture in his home, the photos he takes and even the salads he eats (which look absolutely amazing!) all feel curated to a T and are naturally Mat. While he’s often seen in some vintage light Levi's 501s, a basic Buzz Rickson sweatshirt and some Birks, he’s also developed an aesthetic that works perfectly with head to toe techwear or a rainbow of colour without looking overdone or out of the ordinary.

We spoke to Mat about how he has built such a tasteful aesthetic and a lot of it boils down to discipline and self awareness. This is something I definitely struggle with from time to time, at least when it comes to clothing. Mat has disciplined himself to be extra selective when it comes to new purchases and has a checklist he goes through before adding to his closet or his home.

“Do we need it? Is it replacing something that's tired or broken? Does it compliment where it's intended to go? How long have I/we taken an interest in it? Does it have longevity?”

- Mat Spade

I laughed when he told us this because it seems so obvious to do but when I’m sitting with adrenaline shooting through my veins at 9:59am waiting for that 10am sneaker drop for some new kicks I absolutely don’t need, I feel like those questions somehow fly right over my head.

Mat also attributes a lot of his learnings to travel, but not just the “I went to the LV store in Paris because I’m into fashion” kind of travel, but the “I spent an hour speaking to the owner of a little coffee shop and learning about the neighbourhood” kind of travel. Paying attention to all the little details and getting into the roots of a culture or an aesthetic is key for developing a true style that can be uniquely your own. Additionally, take note. Whether it’s a photo or writing something down, building out a personal reference library will go a long way.

“Cafes, restaurants, hotels, retail, bars; they differ so much from town to town, country to country, and if you show a real interest, they open you up to the people who made these places happen.”

- Mat Spade

We can all take a page out of Mat’s book in some way or another. Do you need to dress like him or design your living room to match his? Definitely not, do your own thing. However, I do think that Mat shows us what can come from truly immersing yourself in all walks of life, whether that is craft or culture and it is something worth paying attention to. Through years of thoughtfulness and patience, Mat has created a formula for his personal aesthetic that is a force to be reckoned with and something I aspire to emulate.

While I may never be influencing tens of thousands around the world on what sweatshirt to buy or what coffee machine to use, I know for a fact I’ll be sleeping a little better at night knowing that my latest purchases can be worn together and that the “art chair” that I bought for my living room will actually work with the rest of my furniture. Or maybe I should just stop buying “art chairs” way, they’re awesome! Either way, if you’re looking for some style inspo or even just a super clean IG account to follow, Mat’s your guy and he’s not going anywhere.

For more on Mat, check out the links below and keep it locked to Pier Five for more stories and interviews with the best in fashion, art, business, food and more.


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