I have decided to start a new series called "Chinos & Cheesecake Style Club." It will feature guys who have a passion for getting dressed in the morning, guys who take pride in what they do and don't take it for granted. We'll break down the method to their madness through a stylish photo shoot and candid interview.
* Know of anyone who you feel is deserving of the "C&C Style Club?" Feel free to email me pictures and some basic information to see if they're qualified to be a part of
this exciting new series.
Let's get started. I want to introduce you to my new friend, Carl Rivers. I gave him somewhat of a soft introduction about a month ago when I spotted him working in J. Crew. I was very pleased with his appearance so I snapped a simple cameraphone picture and distributed it to my social media outlets. After that we were able to find a date on the calendar to meet up.
And here is what came of it. Enjoy!
Carl Rivers JR.
24 years old
J. Crew salesman
Resides in Goose Creek
C&C: Who and what inspires your style?
CR: It all started with me watching how my mom would get dressed when we would go to church or special events, like weddings and balls. Also my dad, to see the way he and his brothers dressed. They always wore the best of things from Italy. My dad and his brothers were all in the military so they would go overseas and come back with such extravagant, expensive stuff. At the time I really wasn't old enough to appreciate it, but I definitely knew what style and quality looked like. As far as what inspires me, it's just who I am. When I wake up, deciding on what I'm going to put on, I might feel like a sneakerhead, prepster, hipster, or really just whatever
I'm in the mood for. That's what inspires me.
C&C: Currently, what is your favorite piece of clothing in your closet?
CR: [Laughs] I'm mad you did that to me, man. It's very hard to pick out a favorite piece in my closet. Wow, there are just so many things, they're all special to me. I think of them as people.
C&C: Okay, so who's your favorite person right now?
CR: [Laughs] Uhhh, wow. Well there are a lot of pieces that I haven't worn yet so there's a part of my closet that's just a bunch of tags. I would probably have to go with my Brunello Cucinelli sweaters because my favorite seasons are fall and winter. I have a lot of shirts by Canali. Things by Elizabeth and James. As far as shoes, I'm a Cole Haan enthusiast, Johnston and Murphy, Bostonian Florentine Special Collections. Stuff like that. I don't know, it's just hard to pick one thing so I'll just say everything because they all really mean something special to me.
C&C: Three words that describe your style?
CR: Clean, classic, and for the last one I'm going to have to go with cool. The 3 Cs.
C&C: What would be your dream job?
CR: Originally my dream was to be the creative director of YSL. It's my favorite designer and to be a director there would mean to follow in the footsteps of Tom Ford who is one of the fashion greats. But now I would just like to have my own styling company one day and have my own clothing line. But if I ever were to be in charge of design at YSL, I definitely would not complain.
C&C: So, do you have a special routine to getting dressed?
CR: Not really. Well sometimes I may plan an outfit around my shoes but most times, an idea just pops into my head for what I want to wear that day. I try not to plan. They say you can't plan fashion. But I mean, I think of so many thoughts during the day. Like when I'm at work, sometimes I just stare off into space and I just think of different outfits and different color combinations. I feel like my brain is Pandora's Box sometimes. [Laughs]
C&C: What do you love about fashion?
CR: I love the self expression. Fashion is your business card. I've heard the saying "You can never be overeducated or overdressed." CEOs of businesses, they look at what you wear. If you're clean-cut, then it shows you care about your work and take pride in the company. But if your clothes are ill-fitting or just all-around off, then they would feel like you didn't care about your work either. When I come up with an outfit, I feel like I'm doing a painting in my head. It's not always about wearing a lot of expensive clothes. It should be a combination of high and low pieces.
That's when style comes in to play.
C&C: Is there anything you dislike about fashion?
CR: [Thinking] A lot of people think you have to be a certain size to be in fashion. That's not true. You don't have to be skinny and tall. Professional athletes have bigger bodies but they're still able to look nice. It's just about understanding your body and knowing what to wear for your body type. Sometimes fashion lines put that down and make you feel like you have to be small, but I don't think that's true. Also the materialism. I think when you remove that, then you get into the beauty side of fashion. It's not about the name inside your coat or inside your shoes. It should just be about what you love. You are your own creator. You are your own painter.
C&C: So, tell me about one mistake that you have made. A time when you were out and about and you thought "You know what? I really don't like what I have on right
now." But it's too late for you to change.
CR: Um, I don't know. Usually, it would be an issue of fit. Because I'm a small guy, so I usually wear a small or extra small. I just depends on the brand. That's another thing. When you buy clothes, you always have to try them on. That's the number one rule that I see people break. I see it at my job all the time. They're like "I don't wanna try it on" and the next day you see the same exact person returning it and I'm like "You should have tried it on." But yeah, there was a time when I had on a shirt that was a small but it actually fit like a medium or large. I was like "Are you serious? I feel like I'm drowning in this." [Heavy laughter]
So I did have to find a v-neck sweater to hide it.
C&C: Let's say you're about to go on a trip. Would you consider yourself an efficient packer or do you tend to overpack?
CR: This is a funny question. [Laughs] Well, my girlfriend would say that I overpack. Definitely. Yeah, I guess I tend to pack a lot of stuff. I guess it's because I'm not a millionaire yet who could just pack one thing and when I get there I could just buy whatever I wanted. But I can't do that yet so I have to take what I can. So yes, I am an overpacker. That is one of my faults, but I do plan to change that eventually.
C&C: What are three things that are on your want list?
CR: Three things... my list is so long! [Laughs]
C&C: What's your top three?
CR: Let's see. A trench coat. There's one by Saks that I really like. Right now is a great time to buy a lot of winter stuff. That's all I have on my list right now. So probably a lambswool shawl-collar cardigan. Lastly, I have been wanting to buy a pair of brogue wingtip boots or Red Wing boots. The Red Wings have been on my list for about two years now so hopefully I can get those soon. So yeah, I'm really focused on fall and winter pieces right now.
C&C: Let's say your house is burning down. You only have one duffel bag that can fit five clothing items. What are you going to put in that bag that will get you
through the next month?
CR: Let's see. Okay...okay..........okay... First, I would grab a pair of chinos. It would be in a versatile color like navy or khaki. Although I love colors like yellow and pink, they don't go with everything. Probably my saddle shoes. Definitely that. That's two. A cardigan. A cotton cardigan is good. Depending on the month you can layer it in the winter or use it as something light in the summer. Gingham shirt. It's easy to match with things. I would say grey or blue. And probably...what am I forgetting? A tie. A navy silk tie. I feel like they go with everything. It's the easiest go-to tie. It's definitely an essential.
C&C: Anytime I travel, and I have to wear a tie multiple times, I just bring one tie. My navy knit tie. Navy just goes with everything.
CR: [Laughs] Exactly!!!
C&C: Go back to high school. How has your style changed from then up to now?
CR: Big time!! I didn't dress anything like I do now. Back then I was more urban. If you look at the Carl from Stratford High School compared to the Carl now, it's totally different. It's really just been about finding out who I am and what looks good on me. When you feel good about yourself, you accomplish so much more. And so many doors are opened when you dress well. If you were to walk by the old me just walking down the street, you would probably shake your head. [Laughs] Even though back then I wore quality urban stuff. But still I don't plan on going back. EVER.
C&C: What are your hobbies and interests?
CR: Shopping. 24/7. Clothing. Everything. I breathe fashion. I like to catch a movie. I'm a dinner and a movie kind of guy. I was never really the club type. Even when I was in college, I never went to clubs. I spend most of my time off with my girlfriend or my family or my friends. I like documentaries. They don't have to be just about fashion. It could be about Greek mythology, or water irrigation in Southeast Asia. [Laughing] It could be about anything. I just love natural knowledge. I love music. I don't discriminate against anything. Well, I really don't do heavy rock. I do like 80s rock like Guns-n-Roses and Poison. I listen to hip hop. I'm a big Jay-Z and Kanye West fan. I like classical music like Mozart and Bach, stuff like that. Jazz. I like art. I'm a Monet and Rembrandt fan. Just culture in general. I would say I'm the most cultured guy to never travel outside of the U.S. [Laughs] But I do plan to. There are a lot of places I
want to go before I take my last breath.
C&C: Tell me something about you that I wouldn't be able to tell by looking at you.
CR: You know, I figured this question was coming up. Um, you know, I'm pretty self conscious. A lot of people don't know that about me. I just think of myself as the average dresser. People see me walking down the street and they just assume I'm cocky but I'm far from it. I just feel privileged and humbled to be on this side of fashion. I just want to get my foot in the door. No matter how much I know about fashion. Anytime someone gives me a compliment or an
opportunity like you have. I'm just honored.
C&C: I know earlier you said that fall and winter were your favorite seasons. Why is that?
CR: I love the burly feeling of it. I love texture. The wools and tweeds. The heavy clothing and the different patterns. I feel you can dress better with it. Overcoats and scarfs. The accessories are just so much more luxe and lavish. The racing gloves, the wool
socks. I mean all the way down to the socks.
C&C: We need to do another shoot in the winter.
CR: [Heavy laughing] Yeah man, we definitely do. Definitely. There's just so much to choose from in the winter. I just love layering. You can do maybe a gingham shirt with maybe a henley on top. And you can put a vest over it if you want to or maybe a cashmere sweater if you want. Then you could do a pea coat. Any type of coat. That's why I love it. Which is weird coming from South Carolina. I don't know exactly what cold cold is yet, but I just love it, man.
Button Down Collar Oxford~J.Crew, Tie~Obella, Trousers~JCrew, Unconstructed Blazer~Merona, Alligator Skin Belt~Mundi, Loafers~Cole Haan, Pocket Square~Brooks Brothers, Watch~Timex, Sunglasses~Urban Outfitters, Tie Clip~Swank, Bracelets~Black Market Minerals
C&C: Last question. What is your favorite stylish movie.
CR: Ahhh...It's pretty hard to choose. Most would say Oceans 11 or something like that. Umm, I would say Devil Wears Prada. That's my favorite movie. Me and my girlfriend both love it. I know it's like a chick flick but I know it word for word. Can't think of any others. Well, I like movies from the past. People like Cary Grant, or 007 with Sean Connery, Peter Morris. Stuff like that. There are so many stars that I follow that dress well. Like Ryan Gosling. I love the way he dresses. It's great for young Hollywood. Who else would I choose? Leonardo Dicaprio is very well dressed. Actually,[Face lights up] I can't wait for The Great Gatsby.
I'm so excited for it in December.
C&C: Have you seen the original?
C&C: So, when the trailer first came out, there was this loud cry of blasphemy. Like "what have they done to this classic?" They, for lack of a better word "hip-hop-tized" it. What do you think about it? Well I know you said you were excited about it. But I mean, to me, the first one came out in '74 so its now 38 years later, so I mean...
CR: I feel like with films today, to have a blockbuster you have to produce what will draw in people to watch the movie. I know all across America, we've been required to read it in schools. It's like a timeless classic. But I think if they made it just like the one in the past, then people wouldn't really be excited about it. It's taken producers so long to come up with it and shoot it and edit it. So I feel like if you have people waiting for so long then you have to have something that will draw them in. With the technology of today and the fashion of today, a lot of us guys who follow menswear get to see it in more current fashion, in better colors. I think it's going to be much better. I think it's going to be a hit. With Leonardo Dicaprio and Tobey Maguire, and what Brooks Brothers did by creating all the outfits. They did a fine and fabulous job. I can't wait for it. Especially if you're into fashion. Yeah, the roaring 20s. Let's get back to that. I always thought that the gentleman was destroyed when they created jeans and a t-shirt. But if you look at it now, the modern gentleman, we've taken that back. We wear jeans with a blazer. Or we wear t-shirts with a blazer or a vest or suspenders. They can throw a million things at us to try and kill fashion. But we'll just redo it. It's just our gentleman's nature to redo it. And do it better.
Gingham Shirt~Jcrew, Chino Shorts~JCrew, Denim Jacket~Tommy Hilfiger, Saddle Shoes~Bass, Pocket Square~Geoffrey Beene, Belt~J.Crew, Bracelets~Black Market Minerals, Watch~Timex, Flowers~Saks Fifth Avenue