Best Dressed

These individuals each have their own personal, unique style.

You can’t buy good taste.

Sure, anyone can walk into their favorite department store and tell the sales associate that they need a size 8 of the dress, the jacket and the boots worn by the mannequin in the window. But when it comes to mixing and matching those pieces with other clothes and accessories in their wardrobes, many people fail. But not the six individuals named as our 2012 Best Dressed.

Last December, we asked 417 Magazine readers to nominate the most fashionable men and women they know for our third-annual Best Dressed feature. We had more than 50 entries, and we sorted through each and every one to determine the six men and women who stood apart from the rest.

These individuals each have their own personal, unique style. They have endless amounts of shoes, or countless cardigans, or über-impressive designer tie collections that bring personality to each and every outfit they wear. But it doesn’t stop there. One of the women has knit some of her own clothes, and one of the guys even founded his own clothing website. And we can’t forget the gal who isn’t afraid to trade her high-fashion heels for Dr. Martens and wear them with her cocktail dress. You might find one of our Best Dressed in the latest piece by Marc Jacobs one day, and the next she could be sporting a collection of well-put-together thrift store threads. But no matter what and no matter when, they’re always dressed to impress. We are proud to introduce to you, dear readers, this year’s Best Dressed.




What’s your favorite outfit or article of clothing that you’ve ever worn?
My favorite article of clothing is my wool suit. I’m a fan of fall and winter attire.

Where do you find fashion inspiration?
My grandfather is my fashion inspiration. From an early age, I remember him always looking tailored and professional. I keep that with me to this day.

Finish this sentence: “I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing…”
A clip-on tie. I like the art of tying a tie, and that just seems like an easy way out to me.

What’s the most you’ve ever spent on a must-have piece of clothing? What was it, and where did you get it?
A watch I bought from the Burberry store in Kansas City. It wasn’t that the watch was so expensive, it was the fact that I had to buy a Burberry purse for my wife, too.

Is there a type of clothing or accessory you collect?
I have a tie collection. You can never have too many ties. Currently, I have 65 ties I like to wear.

If you could only wear one brand/designer for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
I would have to say Burberry. It’s classic and traditional, and they offer a variety of suits and shirts.

 




What’s your favorite article of clothing that you’ve ever worn?
My Naeem Khan wedding dress. The designer has made dresses that some stars have worn. It’s covered in gold beads. I know it sounds crazy, but we got married in Las Vegas. […] My whole family went shopping with me for the dress in Florida, and as soon as we saw it, we knew it was it.  

Where do you find fashion inspiration?
People-watching! A lot of times, we do people-watching in Florida at the Bal Harbour Mall, or we people-watch when we go out to dinner in Miami. I also look at a lot of fashion magazines for inspiration.

What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever worn?
Bad hair, from the ’70s to the ’80s.

What’s the best bargain you’ve ever found? How much did it cost, and where did you find it?
The sweater I just knitted. The yarn cost was $40.

Is there a type of clothing or accessory that you collect?
Shoes! I have too many to count.

Finish this sentence: “I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing…”
The white patent boots I almost bought in Chicago. At the time, I thought they were really cute, but then my daughter talked me out of them. I’m glad I didn’t buy them, because now I look back and realize they would have been the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever worn!

 

 




Who is your fashion role model?  
The character of Neal Caffrey on White Collar. He always wears tailored suits and nice ties.

What’s your favorite fashion trend right now?
Bowties.

What do you think is the worst fashion faux-pas?
Graphic tees, like Affliction and Ed Hardy tees. They’re just too busy.

Is there a type of clothing or accessory that you collect?
Cardigans. I have nine, or probably even more.

If you could only wear one brand or designer for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Penguin. It fits great, and the clothing has lots of color.

What’s your favorite article of clothing you’ve ever worn?
Levi’s 514 jeans. I really like the fit, style and color.
 

 



Who is your fashion role model?
Well, I feel like I was genetically predisposed to express myself via fashion—I have some pretty spectacular familial fashion role models (Hi Mom!) After that, Cate Blanchett is… is… beyond words. No one else does what she does, and anyone else would look ridiculous trying. She exhibits a futuristic elegance. ChloŃ‘ Sevigny is an understated risk-taker, if there can be such a thing. And my wild card would be Helena Bonham Carter, just because she does whatever she wants (critics be darned!) and she has such a strong (if not strange) point of view. I also can’t deny that I felt a little validated in my Helena love when Marc Jacobs used her for his 2011 fall/winter campaign. The common thread between these women is that they wear their clothes with confidence, which is, ultimately, the ideal accessory. And perhaps I’m beating a dead horse here, but I feel it’s important to distinguish that the confidence does not come from wearing great clothing but, rather, from being great women who are comfortable in their own skin. The clothes are just the proverbial cherry on top.

What single item in your closet defines your style?
Hmmm. I guess I’m going to have to go with my Dr. Martens. I wear them with anything and everything, but usually only after I’ve completely exhausted my relentlessly abused feet by teetering around in the most ridiculously uncomfortable high heels for a few days in a row. The occasional result is a cocktail dress with my well-worn Docs. C’est la vie.

What do you think is the worst fashion faux-pas?
I am loath to claim there are any hard and fast fashion no-nos: To each their own. For example—white in winter? Why not! Brown and black (and navy)? Bring it! Docs and evening attire? Do it! If you’re expressing yourself and feel good in your own skin, the clothes that are covering said skin will read true. That being said, I have a personal aversion to flip-flops, so, you know, there’s that.

What’s your favorite outfit that you’ve ever worn?
This is an impossible question. I probably have a “best-outfit-ever” moment a couple times a week. I guess I’m easy to please. So, I’m going to have to go way back and say that my favorite articles of clothing that I’ve ever worn, that I’ve ever felt the most glamorous in, were my mom’s old high school formals. I wore them when I was a little girl while playing dress-up at my grandma and grandpa’s house. The dress my mom wore as a homecoming attendant was my favorite. It had a navy blue velvet bodice with a powder blue chiffon floor-length gown. Oh, and Grandma still had the shoes: Powder blue and raw silk with a square-toe and block heel (and stuffed with Kleenex to achieve the perfect fit on my 7-year-old feet).  

What three words define your style?
Sure, okay, why not?

What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever worn?
Nothing. Ever. I look back, and yes, I have made, um, “questionable” fashion choices. (Shoot, I may have made a few last week.) But I don’t look back and feel embarrassed. I have a fond feeling of nostalgia for my missteps.
 

 



What single item in your closet defines your style?
Although I don’t keep this item in my closet, I would say my eyeglasses describe my style perfectly. Whenever I’m not squinting to see, I wear a pair of Persol tortoise shell frames that I found by fluke in the men’s eyeglasses section.

Do you ever make your own clothes, or turn one item into something else?
I love making small accessories, such as brooches and necklaces, to add a hint of individuality to an outfit. I consider my creativity a large component of what makes my style my own.

What’s your favorite outfit or article of clothing that you’ve ever worn?
I have a gorgeous two-piece Neiman Marcus suit from the ’50s. It’s very Jackie O., with three-quarter-length sleeves and a chocolate-brown fur trim collar.

What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever worn?
For a good year during second grade, I somehow convinced myself that wearing knee-socks and short denim overalls was the hottest trend around.

What’s the best bargain you’ve ever found?
The best bargains are when you find something that no one else will have. I found a gorgeous pair of hand-made Italian leather ankle boots on eBay last year. They cost a pretty penny, but they were certainly worth it.

Do you ever shop at thrift stores?
I think thrift stores are a great place to find interesting belts or other unique accessories. And I always scour through the little boy’s section for fun outerwear items, such as blazers.
 

 



What single item in your closet defines your style?
I try not to get too focused on one specific item of clothing, but I have a pair of Ecco oxfords that fit perfectly and look great. I’m always on the lookout for a great shoe, and this pair takes the cake.

What’s do you think is the worst fashion faux-pas?
Wearing clothing that doesn’t fit well. If you don’t wear the same size you wore in college, it’s okay! Find clothes that fit you well, regardless of the size. You’ll look better and feel better about what
you’re wearing.

Where do you find fashion inspiration?
I get most of my inspiration from the men who submit their photos and show off their style at my site, Chubstr.com. There aren’t a lot of options for bigger guys when it comes to style, so the community we’re building has really pushed me to put together better outfits and to enjoy creating new and interesting looks.

Who are your fashion role models?
Nick Frost, Anthony Anderson, James Gandolfini, Ernest Hemingway, Zach Galifianakis. Big guys that can make just about anything they wear look good.

Finish this sentence: “I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing…”
Jeggings.

What’s a fashion trend you wish would go away?
I’m tired of skinny jeans. Well-tailored pants win out with me any day.
 

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