Manly Style :: Interview with Jordan Smith

Today we have the second installment of a series on men’s fashion. Without further ado, Jordan Smith ::

Shirt - No idea what brand, it starts with an S. I bought it from Urban Outfitters about three years ago because it fits mildly well. Shirts are hard for me, as I’m lankier than your average bear. Long arms and skinny torso make things difficult. 
Jeans - favorite. Raw Unwashed Selvedge (American, start to finish) denim purchased from Raleigh Denim (brand) in early 2011, directly from one of the guys who builds them. (He re-sized and hemmed them for me on one of their WWII-era sewing machines while explaining their company.) This place is awesome, and I brag about them whenever I can. Only washed four times, by hand, since purchase. Gross sounding, but it’s how raw denim is best maintained.
Belt - Corter Leather. He ships it untreated (other than dye), so I oiled it by hand. 
Socks - Darn Tough
Boots - Red Wing (new, American made, also favorite). Bought from a tiny shop in Sacramento a few weeks ago from an old guy who has been running the shop since before I was born. He sized me up and helped me all the way, and while I was there a few apparently long-time customers brought boxes of work boots in for him to repair.  These will should last me 10-20 years if I maintain them properly, and he made sure to remind me to bring them in every three months for a “tune up”. 
Undies -, awesome. 
Watch - Citizen Eco-Drive (charges battery using ambient light!) with a custom band I made from parachute cord. 

One of the things that I love about men’s fashion is how understated it is. You’re just wearing a flannel shirt with some boots, but your attention to detail and function make the outfit really great. What are your priorities (comfort, style, function, etc.) when buying clothes or getting dressed in the morning? 

I like that you used “buying” instead of “shopping”.  Not a fan of shopping… I’ll get antsy staying in the same department more than eight minutes.  When buying, though, I lean most towards fit, longevity and simplicity.  Considering style, I try to stay away from frills.  I admire folks who know how to stack on complementary accessories, but I’d rather invest in utility.  (Read: I’m not good at stacking complementary accessories.)

It seems like most of your clothing has a strong element of craftsmanship. Is there something about a handmade item that appeals to you?

Absolutely.  At some point, I realized I wanted what I take with me to be more than just things.  They should mean something if I wear and use them every single day, right?  So naturally, I started seeking small business and handmade goods when possible.  It antagonizes the wallet, but adds appreciation.  Plus, I’m less flippant and tend not to buy as often.

Each piece of your wardrobe seems to have a story attached to it. Do you seek out unique shopping/clothing experiences?

Yes!  I love hearing from makers, and many times I’ll decide I want to buy their product before I even see it.  It’s the person or story behind the object that makes me want to invest.  As you might guess, I’ve backed a large number of projects on Fortunately, I’ve admitted addiction, and am seeking professional help.

Where do you find inspiration? Who or what in your life has most influenced how you dress?

Most cues come from friends or family I admire.  Mistakes have been made, so I like to take people with me when I buy clothes now.  Since you’re asking, I’d call my taste “utilitarian”, but your guess is better than mine.  I’ve probably picked up some ideas from living near San Francisco, too, but I’d never admit it up front.

A lot of your clothing was made to last a long time. Any tips for making purchases that you won’t grow tired of in a few months?

Go ahead and spent the money.  Do a background check on the company.  I keep hearing the phrase “you can’t take it with you”, and I mostly agree.  You should certainly be able to use it while you’re here, though.  Buy to match your personality and taste, not everyone else’s.  

Is there anything about men’s fashion that really annoys you?

My torso is not built like those of most other dudes, so regular sizes just don’t work.  On a scale from one to lanky I’m built like a flagpole, so I hold on for dear life when I find sleeves long enough.  Also, I don’t understand the jeans with the giant stitches and fancy patchwork.

How old are you?

Quarter-century in December, and it’s freaking me out.

Where do you live?

Davis, CA. Happily parked between the big city, the beach, the redwoods, the snowy mountains, and some ridiculous lawmakers.

What’s your job?

I’m a medical physicist in the US Air Force.

What’s the best movie you’ve seen this year?

I enjoyed “Mud” way more than I anticipated.  

What band should we be listening to right now?

You mean “What bands,” right?  Right. For witty, thoughtful lyrics, look up Justin Farren (Sacramento based singer/singwriter) and Bombadil (Durham, NC band). Both of their latest albums are fantastic!  For a more artificial sound, look up Darkside’s newest, called “Psychic,” or Bonobo’s “The North Borders.”

Thanks so much, Jordan!

Posted by Aanna on Monday, November 4th, 2013

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