William “BJ” Brown, a Qcity businessman, is old-school when it comes to his approach to fashion. A self-described “suit-and-tie guy,” the 30-year-old says he doesn’t understand why people think he overdresses simply because he prefers slacks and a shirt when he steps out for a night on the town.
Brown believes that clothes do make the man, and that more men should invest in quality clothing instead of following the latest trends. Here’s what he says are his style essentials.
Q. How would you describe your style?
Smooth and sophisticated.
Q. What inspires your style?
Everything from art to cars and architecture.
Q. Do you enjoy shopping?
Yes, but only when I have an objective. Men, unlike women, know what we want before we leave the house. The Internet has changed shopping for me a lot because I can order something and have it shipped directly. I can try it on in the comfort of my home and not deal with lines and the crowds.
Q. Where do you like to shop?
Small custom clothier shops and online. I hate shopping at the malls and in large department stores. I’m a little weird because it’s hard for me to find items off the rack. My limbs are longer than average. For example, I may find a nice button-down that fits me around the neck but the sleeves may be too short. That’s why I appreciate all the tailors out there. When I do shop, I like going to Atlanta and New York. They have much more to choose from.
Q. What fashion designers do you admire?
Wow. I love and admire quite a few: Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Armani, Sean John and Kenneth Cole; the list goes on. I appreciate and respect the latest trends, but there’s nothing like timeless pieces, such as an Italian white shirt. You could have worn it 10 years ago and you can still wear it today and 10 years from now. I think all of the designers listed above embody that very same trait in a lot of their designs. I still can get down with a lot of the latest trends, though.
Q. What’s your favorite color?
Black, because it is a dominant color that goes with most of the other colors. Black demonstrates strength and power.
Q. Name three items that every well-dressed man should own.
A nice pair of black shoes, a white button down with French cuffs and a nice pair of dark jeans. These three items are very versatile. You can dress them up and dress them down.
Q. What’s your favorite accessory?
A nice pair of shades, cufflinks and my David Yurman chain. I’m a suit-and-tie type of guy. I have a few pairs of cufflinks. I have a pair from Tiffany’s that I wear the most. I also have a few pairs of sunglasses from Gucci, Cartier and Versace. They’re nice, but I have a pair of $30 Aviator sunglasses that I got from this small men’s boutique that I love. I wear them the most. I think those are the best finds to me. My absolute favorite is my David Yurman chain. I wear that with everything.
Q. Jewelry or no jewelry?
No jewelry. I like to keep it clean & simple. I think some men wear jewelry to compensate for their lack of style. I will rock a watch, at most, and anything from David Yurman. Unlike most of the other men’s jewelry designers, his pieces are just clean, classic and timeless. I love pieces that don’t date themselves.
Q. What item in your wardrobe can’t you live without?
That’s a hard question for me, only because I can live without everything in my wardrobe. I just feel like things can always be replaced.
Q. What’s your latest splurge?
The last time I went to see my tailor I purchased five custom suits.
Q. What grooming products do you use?
I don’t use many grooming products; just the basics. There’s been a lot of talk about hair lately. The Beijing hair dye for men is very popular, especially in larger cities. I get it done when I can. I haven’t found a barber in Charlotte to do it yet. But I live in the barbershop every week, though.
Q. What style of fashion would you not be caught wearing?
Q. What’s your favorite cologne?
Right now I’m into L’HOMME by Yves Saint Laurent. It’s a very smooth and sexy smell.
Q. What style rules do you live by?
You have to keep your shoes fresh and your hair cut. You can have on a $2,000 suit but, if your shoes are busted, you kill off the rest of your outfit.
Q. Style Advice to others:
I think style is whatever you make it, as long as you stay within your lane and don’t try to be something you’re not. Style starts within. You must have some sort of confidence or swagger about yourself. Also, I think people shouldn’t get caught up with the high-end fashion designers. Don’t get me wrong; I love Louis Vuitton and Gucci, but some of the best finds out there are from undiscovered talent. And they don’t come with the price tag like most of the well-known designers. At the end of the day, just do what makes you feel confident, comfortable and sexy.