Gear Patrol was recently given the opportunity to speak with fashion/style guru Tom Julian, author of the new book, Nordstrom Guide to Men’s Style. It was an honor to speak with someone who has been a force in world of fashion and style for so many years.
The guide tackles a wide array of men’s style topics and questions, beginning by help the reader identify and capitalize on his own personal style. From there it goes on to demonstrate the proper inclusion of pieces into that style, as well as offering all manner of helpful tips and advice.
We were able to ask him a few questions about his book and his style in general (I’ve personally read this book and I find it to be one of the best guides to men’s style that I’ve seen).
Hit the jump to see what transpired.
GP: First of all, it’s an honor to correspond with you and thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with Gear Patrol about your new book, Nordstrom Guide to Men’s Style.
Julian: Thanks for reaching out, including us, and writing up such distinct and thoughtful questions! Will look forward to seeing this online!
GP: What do you feel has been the response to the book so far?
Julian: From Urban to Suburban, readers have said that our approach has been understandable, applicable, and relevant. I’ve been told, “It’s like things that my dad used to tell me but I forgot them…” or “the questions that you’ve asked are the questions I want to ask but am embarrassed to ask.” I’ve spent a great deal of time in Nordstrom stores since late April – from Las Vegas to Chicago to Paramus (NJ) and have had reactions that reinforce how important lifestyle is to how guys want information that makes them feel confident and comfortable. “Make me smart, make me an insider…”
GP: You’ve had an amazing career as a Trend Analyst while traveling the globe and I loved reading what you had to say are the essentials to building the perfect wardrobe. Also, just like Gear Patrol is a definitive resource, we feel that Nordstrom is a great shopping resource for the ever-evolving male; we were excited to see the combination of the two of you.
Julian: Excellent. I also believe we’ve illustrated the trends over the decades and how clothing and menswear has played to the world and the wardrobe.
GP: You have been in and of the fashion/style world for some time now. What was it that made you want to write this book now?
Julian: Probably every noted expert wants to be more credible, more validated, and more authoritative. The idea of being an author has always been a personal and professional goal. But it felt like a pipe-dream until Nordstrom entered as my partner in 2008. The idea of a book is not just words and narrative but a visual tool that needs to work on many levels. For us, it was about tone and narrative, art and design, product and style. With chronicle as publisher, Nordstrom as creative vision and merchandiser and Tom Julian/Tom Julian Group as author – I call it the dream team.
GP: There are so many ‘Dressing Guides’ or ‘How to’ books on dressing for men. Explain to our readers why your Nordstrom Guide to Men’s Style is different.
Julian: Because it’s not written in the fashion speak/7th Avenue lingo like many fashion guides and because it’s been researched with notable salespeople who deal day-in, day-out with real men from around the country.
After looking at many books that were written in the 70s-00s, We realized that there was a need for a formulaic approach to the wardrobe and the closet. We think that by taking the six fundamentals — suits, sport coats, trousers, shirts, neck wear, and tuxedos — and making them play into every guy’s lifestyle and closet was the appropriate system.
GP: You’ve done a great job in this book to point out that most men fit into four identifications in personal style: Luxury, Classic, Contemporary and Trend. You even give a multiple-choice test to help the reader determine. In your opinion, for the man looking to create his own style, which is the easiest style and which is the hardest?
Julian: Easiest is classic, we know that it stands the test of time and is a no-brainer for all. The hardest is trend because of its combination (designer to vintage, artful to colorful). And it’s life-span which can be very quick.
GP: Did you take the test and what did it determine you are?
Julian: I am a mix of luxury with contemporary. It’s about an even split for me. Although I appreciate and embrace trend, my lifestyle doesn’t permit trend pieces as the key in my wardrobe.
GP: I love the ‘Did you know’ and ‘Style Tip’ sections mixed in throughout the book. Are there any guides that you still revert back to from time to time?
Julian: The most impactful and historical is the The Esquire Encyclopedia of 20th Century Menswear! I don’t know if it’s still in print (GP was able to locate a copy!).
When a suit is not properly fit. Whether it’s the shape, tailoring to finishing – from shoulders to waist to sleeves and hem… the package has to be complete and consistent. It’s like having tons of money but still not having taste!
GP: You’ve given many years of excellent coverage of the Red Carpet at the Oscars for Oscars.com, tell us what’s best…Four-in-hand tie or bow tie?
Julian: When it comes to black tie – and formal occasions – The bow tie fits the bill and makes a distinct statement. I’ve varied my looks every year at the Oscars…so it can depend on my mood, the weather or fashion trends of the year.
GP: My fashion pet peeve is when guys don’t wear collar stays in the collars of nice dress shirts. What is your pet peeve when it comes to men’s fashion?
Julian: When a suit is not properly fit. Whether it’s the shape, tailoring to finishing – from shoulders to waist to sleeves and hem… the package has to be complete and consistent. It’s like having tons of money but still not having taste!
GP: On a personal note, if you were stuck wearing one outfit the rest of your life but could choose what it would be and why?
Julian: Navy Blazer, white spread collar shirt, V-Neck sweater and gray flannel flat front trousers – gives me the basis of a wardrobe that is versatile, flexible and appropriate for me!
Many thanks go out to Tom Julian for giving up his valuable time while on the road promoting his new book.