I recently picked up a blue blazer by J. Lindeberg, the Swedish clothing company admired by golfers and the Paris news. It was one of those purchases that was too good to pass up. Gilt notified me two months after I added the item to my wait list that the jacket was back in stock and had been reduced even further, selling for $99 from $540…true story. The quality, stitching and material for a round of drinks at The Box? Had to do it. I couldn’t let an item like that face an uncertain thought or another second of indecision. I’ve come to be pretty judicious in my clothing purchases, but there are times when you have to pull the trigger.
By the fall of 2007, I was well on my way to skinny jeans. I was in year four of an open-ended experiment, attempting to completely revamp my wardrobe from sub-urban chic to sartorial splendor. During my junior year in high school I donated some items to Goodwill and pushed the remaining Rocawear and Sean John to the corners of my closet, filling the empty space with slim fit Express jeans and Banana Republic dress shirts. That makes me chuckle now, actually - thinking how fashion forward I thought I was at the time. It’s amazing to think about how I managed to get through 16-17 years of middle-America fit/sizing without feeling like I had committed any fashion faux paus. I suppose I hadn’t really, I dressed for the times of music. But as BKB stated you have to “push yourself to the limits of your imagination, the brink of your stamina, and the edge of your wits — accepting nothing less than the best from yourself.” My eye was on Vanity Fair’s International Best Dressed List, Esquire’s Big Black Book. Tom Ford suits at my wedding, Ferragamo shoes, Patek timepieces - the whole kit and caboodle. So while everyone waited for Jay-Z to dictate their next step, I moved to Sweden for a few months…
The turning point came that fall, after I had settled into my two bedroom apartment off the Rissne train stop in Stockholm. The city had an enormous impact on my view of style, fashion and what it means to pursue great pieces. Emotions were literally worn, as clothing offered expression that worked well against the stereotypical cold demeanor Swedes have been known to carry. Having never considered Stockholm to be a style capital, I would often notice the local kids around my age wearing Burberry or Tiger of Sweden - premium brands that are hard to afford when the tax rate hits over 50%. It was even more unusual, because most of them didn’t hold jobs. Yet they appeared to have more investment in their clothing, preferring to purchase less items, but with higher quality, something you might imagine a young resident of Paris doing. The shirts and the pants were snug all the way through. My eyes were transfixed from one subject to another, questions popping up at every stop along the line. How did the pants get so slim at the ankle? What longevity do corduroy blazers have? What kind of fold is that for the scarf? Is that a scarf or just a really large ornately designed bandana? A country boy up against European sensibilities. I constantly examined my style against theirs, in an effort to blend in I’m sure, but also as a personal challenge for growth. Could I see what I like and incorporate that style in my wardrobe? One of the greatest statements Caro has ever made to me was declaring that she had come to New York to challenge her style. In retrospect, Stockholm was my emancipation.
I’ve been trying to tailor and taper, trim and snip everything since. ~Nik