I have pointed this out several times already, but the word “style” is an integral part of my name and is not simply tacked on to help the name flow. Style is quite important to me and is one of my favorite aspects of the raw denim and heritage menswear clothing world. Buying well made, durable, timeless garments is important, but I believe that it is not enough to simply buy a nice wardrobe and just throw your favorite pieces on every day. Being thoughtful about one’s outfit is also important and adds a great deal to this hobby or lifestyle.
As a result of this focus on style, allow me to introduce a new series called Icons of Style, in which I interview members of the online denim community whose styles I admire and am often inspired by. In the future, I also hope to discuss past celebrities as well as film characters who had iconic styles. Through this, I hope to inspire myself and others to entertain new thoughts about their outfits that they wear as well as give a spotlight to those whose styles I simply admire.
Kicking this series off is John aka @newenglandmenswear who was one of the first accounts that I noticed and admired on Instagram. I would describe John’s look as a mixture of preppy and rugged which is impressive given how incongruent those two styles appear to be at first glance. He looks like a cool high school science teacher who likes raw denim because… well, because that’s exactly what he is. John’s use of color, layering, and his collection of jackets are all impeccable and I am thrilled that he is kicking off this series in style (pun very much intended)! Without further ado, here are some insights from the man himself.
Almost Vintage Style: When and how did you get into raw denim, boots, and quality clothing?
New England Menswear: When I was in college I realized I didn’t love the way I was dressing, and decided to try to revamp my personal style. I had a friend that I felt dressed pretty well, and so I asked him a bit about what he was into and what suggestions he had. He was the one that first directed me towards raw denim and the different styles surrounding it. From there, I explored more of the denim/boots style, usually looking at Instagram or Reddit for different inspirations and ways to wear it. Once I got pretty comfortable with what styles I was into, it was a matter of picking pieces and items that fit into that wardrobe.
AVS: When and how did style become important to you (was this tied in any way to heritage menswear)?
NEMW: I don’t think that finding my style was related to heritage menswear at first, but it was an interest that built as I got more into what I was wearing. I really like the styles and looks found on the pages of Take Ivy, and I think that a lot of my casual styles have some aspects of 1950s/1960s vibes. I think the idea of “classic styles” is one way to put it; but I’m not a huge fan of the idea of dressing up to look like I’m from a certain period. I think that what I wear would look good in a lot of modern eras; while it may draw some inspiration from the past, it isn’t like I’m wearing a costume designed to emulate it either.
AVS: Who or what influences and inspires your style?
NEMW: I think that where I’m from heavily influences my style. I grew up in a small town in Connecticut where simple pairings like jeans, flannels, and boots were pretty much a 3-season staple; not for fashion, but for utility. I think the Northeast has a really rich history of different styles that I try to blend together.
I think that it’s also really helpful to have sites like Instagram where you can not only see how brands style their clothing, but also different individuals. I know that I’ve seen posts from others with the same piece as me and gone, “I never would have worn that piece like that, but I’m going to give it a shot now.” Visual mediums are so fantastic for cultivating and influencing style because you can really see how a piece is going to tie into different looks that you put together.
AVS: How would you describe your personal style?
NEMW: On my Instagram bio I say that my style is “Americana meets Ivy.” I think that’s pretty accurate; I take elements of that 3-season workwear-esque background I have from my hometown, and blend it with the idea and looks of the Ivy League students and professors of the 1950s and 1960s. I wouldn’t say that I have it perfected, and I wouldn’t say that every fit works with these “roots,” but overall I think that’s how I would categorize it.
AVS: How important is color and fabric/texture to your outfits?
NEMW: I’m a huge proponent of texture in my outfits. I think that you can take multiple pieces with similar colors and pair them as long as they are texturally distinct enough. I always pay attention to fabrics when I’m looking at new pieces or when I’m putting together an outfit; it’s definitely my favorite part of some of my most-worn items.
As far as color goes, I think I’m pretty basic. I stick mainly to darker earth tones in almost all of the pieces that I own. I find that earth tones pair well with anything I wear, and they are wearable all year for the places that I live. Sometimes I’ll switch it up a bit and wear something a little brighter, but in general, it’s all earth tones all day.
AVS: Do you have a favorite season for clothing and why?
NEMW: Autumn is, without a doubt, my favorite season. I love the layering opportunities in the fall, the color changes, and the general atmosphere that accompanies it. I always love being able to throw on a jacket over the flannel, and once the temperatures start to drop in September those opportunities are essentially limitless. I think that my account really starts to shine around then, and that’s definitely why.
AVS: What is your favorite/signature piece of clothing?
NEMW: I’m not sure if I have a “signature” piece of clothing- maybe my Varsity jacket from Dehen 1920, or the Olive Waxed Down Shirt from Crescent Down Works (two brands that I absolutely loved working with).
As far as a favorite, it’s tough to say. I feel like I switch what my favorite piece of clothing is almost daily. Lately I’ve really been into my Hunting Jacket from 3Sixteen, and a Glacier Flannel from Taylor Stitch that is made from a French terry knit fabric- it feels like wearing a sweatshirt in a flannel cut, which I think makes it insanely versatile.
If you follow my feed, you probably see some pieces show up more often than others. I guess those are the ones that probably fit into my category of “favorites.”
AVS: Do you have a favorite category of clothing (boots, chinos, t shirts, etc) and why?
NEMW: My favorite category of clothing is definitely jackets. I own a lot of jackets, and I’ll wear them more or less year round. When it’s colder, I’ll throw on an additional layer or two under some, and when it warms up I’ll just throw them on over a t-shirt. I try to own jackets that are different enough that I can say they each fill a different role in my wardrobe; but I think that’s just an excuse to keep buying more.
AVS: What is your favorite clothing brand and why?
I go back and forth on this pretty consistently, but in general I think it has to be 3Sixteen. I own multiple tops and jackets from them, and I’m always extremely satisfied with the cuts, fabrics, and styles that they release. Additionally, I think that they’ve been upping their game with each seasonal release the last few years, which makes me extremely excited about what they’re going to come out with moving forward. As far as tops and outerwear go, I think that you can’t go wrong. On top of that, they have some great owners who I always enjoy supporting.
AVS: Are there any items that you are looking to purchase soon or are on your wish list?
NEMW: I don’t really have a plan for what I want to pick up in the future, but one thing that I always think about is a pair of Indy boots from Alden, specifically the 403. I love the history of Alden and the fact that they’re still made in the Northeast, and the Indy boots are such an iconic design. The fact that they are insanely comfortable and wear in beautifully doesn’t hurt either.
AVS: Describe your favorite outfit that you have worn or plan on wearing.
NEMW: I don’t know if I have a favorite outfit off the top of my head. I typically just try to pair things that I like; sometimes that results in outfits I like more than others. Looking back through some older posts, I see some fits that have that Olive Waxed Down Shirt as an outer layer with some lighter jackets or flannels as a mid-layer that I think look pretty good.
AVS: Are there any other people in or out of the denim/heritage menswear community that you think have great style?
NEMW: There are a ton of people on IG that I think have fantastic style:
@ryancascarano was one of my favorite accounts when I first started getting more into posting. He’s had a transition in his style and what he wears, and I think it’s been awesome to follow. Currently he’s been posting some of my absolute favorite comfort-vibe fits. @thisisallihavenow also puts together some fits in the same vibe that are pretty fantastic.
@bennett_2238 consistently puts together some of my favorite looks in general. He has a smaller account, but his style is always on; if I had to raid the closet of someone on IG, it would probably be his.
@jeffdepano has one of the best accounts for the casual/dress combos on Instagram, in my opinion. The looks that Jeff puts together are all ones that I could wear to work or out on the weekend, and I think that’s a pretty great way to dress. He fits into the “Americana/Ivy” style that I think I do, except he’s probably doing it about 100 times better.
@doppki is another person that I think puts together outfits that are always some of the best daily photos in my feed. He has great looking, well-worn pieces that he always pairs well.
There are a lot more people that I’m forgetting to name here, but in general I think that IG has so many great accounts to follow for inspiration. It’s always nice to look at who’s posting what and draw inspiration for my own outfits.
AVS: What separates your style from that of the average denim head?
NEMW: I think that my style is a little different because it isn’t so reliant on raw denim all the time. There are definitely accounts out there that are all denim, all the time, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, I like to see a little more variety sometimes out of my feed.
I think that I have a pretty relatable feed. I don’t wear perfectly tailored things all the time, and I’m not going out and buying the full collaborations or newest releases from brands every season. My most-worn pieces actually do show age. I don’t have a photographer that follows me around; I take and edit all my own photos. I always like feeds like that – they feel honest, and I think that mine fits there too.
Thank you very much to @newenglandmenswear for his thoughts and participation in this series. I especially loved that he mentions 3Sixteen as his favorite brand, one that is still well known to have a strong streetwear influence and vibe. The fact that he so seamlessly integrates such a brand into his “Americana meets ivy” look is impressive. If you are not already following him or have not already clicked on his name earlier in the article, you can follow him HERE. The accounts that he mentioned are also linked and Take Ivy is also linked above and can be purchased HERE as well.