“Life has a uniform.” Jesse O’Brien.


As we move further through our mini-series The Art of Getting Dressed, supported by Uniqlo, we are once again looking to balance the cross-section of people represented by gaining another male perspective on dressing and style with Melbourne based photographer Jesse O’Brien.

Jesse interprets style as an expression of personal experience. His daily routine when getting dressed is unique in it’s consistency - his wardrobe pieces are worn with such frequency which inevitably means each garment selection is much more considered. This approach makes him a great addition to our online conversation now in its 9th chapter.

Initially inspired by a photograph of his dad from the 80’s, Jesses’ planned approach to his personal style took this instalment in the series into a more minimal direction. One we wonder if many men can relate to?


Do you follow a morning routine?

Each morning follows a pretty simple process and pre-planning saves me a lot of time. If I’m going to work I know what I’m wearing. If I’m having a day off or going out for dinner I know what I’m wearing. Figuring out what I’m going to be wearing ahead of time means I can jump straight into the activity.

How do you choose clothes that are right for you?

I like considered, but simple clothing.

There’s an old photo I have of my Dad and my style is basically taken from that image. I love him so much that this one picture just stuck in my head as ‘that’s the guy I want to be’. The photo is from the 80’s, so he would have been the same age as me now.

When choosing my clothes I look for cut, fit and fabrication, because then I know I will smash wearing that piece. Everything is about investing in longevity. My clothes are never on trend, they are classic pieces that I’ll wear for life.

Is clothing a practical tool to survive everyday life or are they an opportunity for daily self expression?

They’re definitely a tool to survive, but that tool itself is considered very carefully when purchasing, so it can also express who I want to be.

Tell me more about one of the pieces we photographed you in.

The navy pants were made by a friend of mine who is a Melbourne based designer. He gave them to me as a gift after a photoshoot we did, they were one of my favourite pieces and still are due to the versatile design. They are really comfortable and so soft, with an elastic waistband which makes them nice and loose. I wear them around the house as well as out with friends but not necessarily to work in because the fabric isn’t as durable as a denim.

Do we dress to be comfortable or confident?

They are one and the same.

What was your last purchase?

My last purchase was a pair of raw denim jeans. They are a staple item in my wardrobe and go with most things I own. I bought them because my previous pair sadly got worn out after a few years of solid wear and tear. I don’t update too often and prefer to buy items that are well made and last. I guess you could say I’m playing the long game when it comes to clothes

You took a photo of me at VAMFF a few years ago is a really good example of my tendency to purchase clothes that are interchangeable and long lasting. I was wearing a white t-shirt, shearling jacket, olive green chino’s, riding boots and a hat - I still own all those pieces and wear them often.

Is your style something you established quite early or has it evolved over the years?

It took to the point of me figuring out who I was as a person for me to then be consistent in my style. There was a lot of trial and error happening in my early 20’s. These days, new items generally only get added to my wardrobe when I pick up a new hobby or activity that I need certain clothes for.

Being that you pre plan your outfits do you have a very consistent style or does it vary?

I have a consistent style and a considered wardrobe. When I became comfortable with who I was in the world, I felt like I really started to nail my personal style.

I could wear a white t-shirt everyday. I have about 20 in total so my wardrobe has a very consistent feeling and within that, although I like particular tops with particular bottoms, I could interchange them quite easily and it would still look cohesive.

The consistency comes from a balance of life though. As a freelancer my life isn’t consistent, so I need that control over my wardrobe.

Does your wardrobe fit into a small selection of categories?

White t-shirts. White shirts. Jeans. Slacks - both relaxed and drill. 90% of my wardrobe would be these pieces and I would prefer to have less and have better.