We sat down with a few New York creatives for an insider's take on seasonal style. What they're looking to buy, the trends they're digging and their thoughts on what guys should and should not try to pull off when the weather warms up.
The excitement that Club Monaco's Vice President of Men's Design, Aaron Levine, brings to a conversation can be contagious. Darting around the brand's Flatiron flagship discussing his family or his love of baseball as a kid growing up in Virginia, it's clear his love of the simple things in life permeates each collection he designs. That any guy can walk into a Club Monaco and build a sharply tailored wardrobe from scratch is a testament to Aaron's vision of a shop that walks the line between exclusively cool and readily accessible menswear.
As you designed S/S '14,
what were some themes you had mind?
Cleaner lines and materials for sure; just a put together look. Approachable, affordable luxury. Warm colors too. You'll see in our oxfords and sweaters a lot of warmer colors. I think what I like to focus on are staples that can be interchangeable. So lightweight layering is always going to be something in the back of our mind when we're designing for warmer months. This lightweight navy blazer I'm wearing right now is something that'll always be worn this time of year. I mix this up with anything.
Speaking of your wardrobe, any new pieces you're excited about wearing?
We did a big collaboration with Reigning Champ, so I have a few items from there that I'll be using this season. I also recently received a pair of Wings and Horns leather white tennis shoes.
How about when you're dressing for a rainy day?
Man, I'm not the best at dressing for rain. So I just try to carry an umbrella. That's not to say I shouldn't be wearing something. This cotton bonded parka we have this spring is actually perfect for the rain.
So when you're designing something like this, is it a matter of walking into a meeting and saying we need something lightweight for the rain?
Yeah, pretty much. We knew we wanted something functional, a little different but still very clean. Lightweight yet super durable. You won't see many like these around with the hood, the interior drawstrings, double zipper. It's really one of my favorite pieces.
What do you look for as you design a collection?
We try not to get too "out there." Simplicity and quality are two key parts of each design. In this role, I have to be able to design something that's really attractive and slightly different, but also something that has mass market appeal. And that's the constant challenge to what I do.
What's something that you tend to shake your head at when it comes to how guys dress?
When guys aren't comfortable in their own skin. It's way too obvious when someone is trying too hard and they just don't look comfortable. Go with what works for you. Not everyone can dress like one of my favorite people, Josh Peskowitz. Some of what he wears, not many people can pull off, and when they try to, they tend to look ridiculous. But he's super comfortable with himself, and that's why he looks good in it.
How about your favorite part of the warm weather?
I live outside the city now with my twin daughters and wife, and man, I love just having a little cookout, watching the girls play, bringing the neighbors over, and cracking a cold beer. We have a lot of land so it's pretty great to just be outside. I'm always thinking about how great it is that I can do this job and support my amazing family on it.