According to Jay Blanchard, creator of the new Burlington-based men’s culture blog Just a Hunk, most men fit into one of three sartorial categories: slob, yuppie or punk. Improving on any of those looks is easy: “Put on something that’s a little bit daring,” advises Blanchard.
For this 32-year-old who skews slightly yuppie, that daring item is a well-fitting black leather jacket.
Blanchard, whose day job is editing videos for Burlington’s BAE Systems, a military, technical and IT consultancy firm, launched his site this spring. Its tagline is “A blog for the modern gentleman and all of his passions.” In addition to Blanchard’s style advice for men, which he doles out with wit and unabashed attention to detail in a regular segment called “The Selvedge Edge,” the blog features music and local restaurant reviews, sports writing, and motorcycle features. Soon to come: relationship advice.
Local-music fans might recognize Blanchard as the man behind the Burlington record label Mars Pyramid, which he operated for a couple of years. “It was a labor of love that kind of turned into a labor of like,” he quips. Just a Hunk is a better creative outlet for Blanchard, he explains, because it allows him to explore a broad range of arts and culture interests.
And he’s enlisted several pals to contribute regular segments. “I have a lot of very smart, very witty, not-afraid-to-make-a-fool-of-themselves friends,” Blanchard says. So far, all the contributors are men, but he says he won’t rule out a good writer who’s not technically a “hunk.”
“Even though it’s a men’s blog, I’m trying to get the female perspective as much as I can,” says Blanchard. To that end, he recently interviewed Megan Collins of the New York City-based men’s style blog Style Girlfriend. Her readers are similar to Blanchard’s: “guys who want to leave the house looking good but aren’t necessarily ‘into’ fashion,” Collins told Just a Hunk. “I’m giving them the tips, tricks and shortcuts to style they’d get from their own girlfriend.”
Blanchard is one of those guys. “I’ve always looked to women for style advice,” he concedes. He’s not interested in high fashion; he just wants men to care a little more about how they look — and it’s all about the simple things. “You want to have your leathers match, make sure your sleeves aren’t down to your knuckles,” he says.
Earlier this month, Blanchard, who is 5-foot-7, wrote a straight-talking style guide for short men. Opt for vertical patterns, he advises, and keep your pants a darker shade than your shirt. Above all, avoid shorts and short-sleeved shirts — “You’ll look like a hobbit,” he says.
Just a Hunk went live in mid-April and has already attracted readers from around the world, Blanchard says, in large part because he posts links on style forums across the web. Still, he says, “It’s at heart a Burlington blog.”
And the Queen City needs it. “Burlington has always been a laid-back town,” says Blanchard. That’s a nice way of putting it, if you believe GQ magazine, which placed Burlington on its worst-dressed list last summer.
Perhaps local dudes just need to spend a little time with Just a Hunk, or on its Facebook page, where Blanchard regularly posts a “Style Icon of the Day.” Some recent icons were photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and Blanchard’s personal favorite, fellow short guy Bob Dylan.
Blanchard hopes to monetize his site at some point, but right now it’s just another labor of love. Maybe this one will stay that way.