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The Laws Of Style Hosted By Douglas Hand Episode 15 – Nick Wooster

“The single most [important] accessory a man can own is a full-length mirror.” – Nick Wooster

Douglas Hand chats with menswear god, the “alpha male” of street-style, Nick Wooster. They discuss Nick’s path to menswear greatness, his style influences, and his tips and takes on building an iconic wardrobe. Also discussed: being an internet superhero, how ‘business casual’ should be referred to as ‘business casualty’, and whether pink is the new navy.




Sweater: Nick Wooster x Paul & Shark
Jeans: Nick Wooster x Paul & Shark
Sneakers: Nike Techno 2
Rings: Tiffany’s & some store off Lafeyette st.
Underwear: Sunspel

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To stay up to date on the fashion industry, follow Douglas on Instagram and Twitter at @HandoftheLaw, and Douglas’ firm, Hand Baldachin & Associates at @hbafashion

Twitter: @nickwooster
Instagram: @nickwooster
Facebook: @Nickelson Wooster


INTRO: Welcome to The Laws of Style, featuring conversations on creativity, fashion and the law from the leading edge of our economy and culture, hosted by noted fashion lawyer, Douglas Hand.

Douglas HAND: Hello, and welcome to The Laws of Style, downloading to you from the offices of HBA, high above Brian Park in the fashion district of New York City. I’m your host Douglas Hand, fashion lawyer, fashion law professor, and self-styled, well-dressed man. I’m joined by Nick Wooster, who is also a well-dressed man, perhaps better dress than I, who recently was announced as the GQ International Man of the Year. So Nick, welcome.

Nick WOOSTER: Thank you.

HAND: So, International Man of the Year. I mean, wow, congratulations. What is it? I mean, well, let me pause. You are an international man. I mean, I often hit you and you’re in some time zone that I thought you were 12 hours away from. But what is the award for and how was it bestowed upon you?

WOOSTER: I mean, I think it was like when I had my 10-year high school reunion, I won the award for having traveled the farthest. I think it’s the same idea. It’s like, oh, I live the furthest away. So you get the award. Because this was GQ India.

HAND: Okay.

WOOSTER: So, um…

HAND: So massive market.

WOOSTER: Absolutely. It’s crazy. And I’d never been to India. So in that way, it was an awesome way to see a country and be a guest in a nice place. And, you know, the thing that when you made that lovely introduction that I would say about being best dressed, I would just say I’m the most dressed and what I mean by that is I probably just have more clothes than anyone else. So something’s bound to be good, right?

HAND: Well, we’re going to get into what your closet looks like. And we’re going to get into, you know, your various wardrobe changes over your career, but I want to lay a little groundwork for some of our listeners who may not know your background. You know, Kansas born and bred, I have this vision of you in the 70s, sort of staring out over the flat planes and, you know, wearing dungarees and thinking of three-piece suits. Has Kansas Tell us a little bit about that upbringing in Kansas, because, you know, we all have images of that, and very few people have actually been.

WOOSTER: Right, and there’s probably no reason to go. And the other thing is, it doesn’t exist. I mean, the 70s I mean, I believe I was born at exactly the right time, like to have grown up in the 60s and 70s, it was kind of phenomenal. I mean, the kind of music that they played on the radio is, you know, considered some of the best music in the world. Like Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life is like an amazing album. This was the kind of stuff we heard on the radio. So it was a time in a place where we didn’t lock the house. We didn’t lock our cars. I mean, in 1976, when I was 16 and drove a VW bug. I mean, we used to put the keys in the visor, and then just go into the shopping mall, like there was no such thing as locking the car.

HAND: Right.

WOOSTER: You know, I think gas was like 50 cents a gallon. I mean, it was a completely different time and place. And so I was, you know, I didn’t… And also, this is something to about the culture, there were only three channels. So the entire world saw the same thing all the time. You know, it was like you would have a one out of three chance of seeing the same thing in any given moment. So the references were much more universal. And consequently, how we looked was much more the same. Like, if you look at Brady Bunch reruns, that’s what I look like as a kid. Like, that’s what my brothers looked like. That’s what my parents looked like.

HAND: Peter, or Greg? [Laughter]

WOOSTER: Well, I was the oldest, so

HAND: Anyway, I digress. You know, it is interesting, men and women of our vintage, you know, having straddled this time when life was inherently slower, because the personal computer, let alone the internet, were still things that were to come. But we’ll put a slight pin in that because it’ll be interesting fodder for some of our conversations about retail. Just continuing a little bit on the chronology, you started in advertising. And you started at one of the great advertising houses Saatchi and Saatchi. From that, you pivoted into fashion. What was the reason for that? They’re obviously related, or I’d say kind of adjacent skill sets in a way. But was there some method behind the madness there?

WOOSTER: Well, but you have to have one critical thing. I started working, you know, I should do the math eight years before that, because I started working in a clothing store when I was in high school. And that was purely prompted by the fact that when I am now…Because we were firmly in the middle, my parents never talked about being rich or poor. It was just like we were provided for, we did things. And I guess maybe when I sort of understood that, like, Oh, you mean I can’t get what I want, was when I announced to my mom, when I was like a freshman in high school, “Oh, these kids have a cashmere sweater, I want one,” and she’s like, “I’m happy to buy your sweater but it’s not going to be cashmere. If you would like one, you should go to work for the place that has them. And that’s what I did.

And so when I was a junior high school, I got to work for the nicest store in town, and on even afternoons and evenings after school, so from like three to six, three to seven, and then on the weekends on Saturday. And I would wear a suit, or I would wear a blazer and a tie and nice pants, and I would clean the bathroom floors, I would do deliveries. Occasionally, I would get to help people. But after a couple of years of this, by the time I was a senior in high school, Charlie, the owner, the son of the owner…Like in those days, like the Gant salesman would come through and they would have swatches and Charlie would be like, “Nikki, what are the three best plaids here?” And you would take change out of your pocket and put quarters down. And I would say “This, this and this,” and Charlie would go, “Mmm.” And then sort of the [fairy 06:27] tie guy would come through and he’d have all these ties and Charlie would be like, “Pick the 10 best ties here. And so I would pull out my change and put them down and he said, “You have flair, you have…” And then he took me on buying trips, so to Dallas, Kansas City, and then eventually New York.

So I also worked through college through I mean, I worked also at a clothing store in college in Lawrence, Kansas, Mr. Guy. But I would come home on a long break, spring break, Christmas break, summer break and work throughout the summer, throughout the holiday. And so I always knew that being a buyer was a job, but I didn’t think it was legit. So I studied journalism, and I wanted to work in an office because I thought that was more respectable than working in a store.

So that’s how I started was because I started working in advertising because I studied journalism, and I was like, “Oh, I’ll be like Darren Stevens,” and you know, like, that’s from Bewitched. I have no idea what this is.

HAND: I can’t wiggle my nose even though I wanted to, yeah.

WOOSTER: Exactly. And, you know, what I learned quickly was…And I was also assigned, I worked on Procter and Gamble, which in the scheme of advertising, like people to get to do that, and everybody in my sort of like, pledge class of the people that I started with went to Ivy League schools and all this kind of thing. And, you know, I didn’t. But I was not interested in something like Procter and Gamble. I mean, I might as well have been an accountant or worked in finance. It was way too disciplined, way too non-creative for me.

And so after understanding after a couple of years that okay, this isn’t really the track for me. Somebody said, What would you like to do? And I was like, “Oh, maybe I want to be a buyer because I had sort of done that job as a kid in high school. So that’s how I made the pivot. And also, the only reason I’m working fashion is purely for selfish reasons, because I’m just in it for the clothes.

HAND: Right. Right. Well, so you worked for a couple of the greats early on at Barney’s, Bergdorf Goodman. Were you drawn to those retailers because of the luxury price point? Or was it something about, you know, you think your perspective that led you there?

WOOSTER: I hundred percent won the lottery as far as I’m concerned, twice. So the other job, which I really was the first job... So what happened was, actually after Saatchi and Saatchi, I worked for one year selling advertising space at New York Magazine. I’m super grateful to them for diagnosing my drug problem long before I did. And after they gave me an opportunity to go to AA and blah, blah, blah, which was also very gracious of them. And you know, they kept me on 10 months, way longer than they should have. They let me go, which was a very loving thing to do in the end. That’s when I sort of understood that like, okay, I need to do something else. And a woman that I had met was a buyer at Saks Fifth Avenue. And so I was introduced to her and she’s like, “Okay, you want to be a buyer Saks. Here’s how it works. You either get in the training program…” which this was in the sort of February, March of 1986. The program starts in September. So it’s like, well, I need work before September. And that’s if I could even get in that program. Or you can come and work in the store as an assistant department manager. And sometimes we take people from that pool and put them in the buying office.” I was like, Okay, cool. I’ll take that.”

So, for a year, I was, you know, shoveling cashmere sweaters on the main floor, basically overseeing salespeople and also having to sell myself. And a woman who was a cosmetics manager went to Barney’s. And in 1986, Barney’s was one store on in Chelsea. They had just opened basically an entire block of women’s wear. And so she went as a cosmetics buyer. And she came in the store and said, “Oh listen, Peter Rizzo, who is the men’s GMM is looking for an assistant buyer in one of his areas. And so she made the introduction. I interview with Peter with Jean Pressman, and with Fred Pressman, and shockingly got that job. I mean, I just wanted to work at Barney’s because it was the coolest store in the world. I didn’t have any concept of luxury

HAND: Barney’s in the mid-80s must have been absolute heaven for you.

WOOSTER: There was I think it was Bloomingdale’s who says like no other store in the world. This truly was like no other store in the world. I mean, and unfortunately, there isn’t anything since. You know, it was really one of the most amazing time and places to be in retail. And again, how the hell did a kid from Salina, Kansas get that opportunity? I mean, I’m just super…

HAND: Well, you’re connecting the dots a little bit, you know, my pre-pro didn’t include some of those early jobs. So this is why we ask and this is why we tell. But so to pivot once again, although slightly less dramatically onto the brand side, you know, from those experiences, you then went to Calvin, you were at Polo, and you know, you were really on the design and merchandising side there. How did that come about? Was it just a skill that you recognize through selling different brands that you had.

WOOSTER: So as I went from Barney’s, then to Bergdorf, I became a designer collections buyer at Bergdorf, which I would have never had that job at Barney’s. And that’s really the only reason and I always say that if I had to do it over again, I should have never left Barney’s because Barney’s was truly the most amazing place. But I was a suit buyer. And I didn’t want to be a suit buyer, I wanted to be a designer buyer. And so when I would sit in fashion shows because, in those days, buyers actually went to fashion shows, as I would sit there, I used to think I could do that. I want to do that. I want to be the person actually making something or being responsible for making something. Okay. Again, that’s youth and hubris, and ambition and unbridled ambition. I mean, I was super ambitious. That’s the other thing is it didn’t occur to me that like you couldn’t do these things if you weren’t properly trained. And I learned later that, you know, there’s a lot of resentment, there was a lot of resentment at Ralph Lauren by people who are properly trained designers, having somebody like me come in and work in design. I understand that. I still maintain to this day that just because you can draw or sketch or know how to cut a pattern doesn’t mean you have good ideas or good taste. I believe those are two different things. But to be able to speak the language of design, which is sketching, or cutting a pattern. I revere those skills, and I’m so sorry, and you know, but in awe of people that do have them.

But my job today and what I believed at the time and really what Ralph believed because that’s how they set it up, it’s a cut, you need to work with people. So people who have good ideas can also work with the people that speak the language, it’s like…And then together, you can come up with an idea. That’s really kind of version of what I do today.

HAND: Yeah, so 80s, 90s, New York City, New York Fashion Week. You know, those in a way where the salad days for us in fashion. You had sort of the big four, that were really spreading their wings a bit. And by that I mean Calvin, Ralph, of course, Tommy, and Donna, but other US brands that were doing well, and really rivaling the European houses. What was that like? What was New York Fashion Week like back when it was here on the park? I mean, talk about those days and maybe juxtapose them with what New York Fashion Week is for you today?

WOOSTER: Probably makes me super unpopular. Okay, so, you know, the 90s I mean, people like Fern Malice. I mean, she was really responsible for—and along with you said like the big four and many, John Bartlett, you know, there were many brands and designers that were, I would say, world-class that could be on the same stage at the same time. And because of people like Fern, that, you know, and the CFDA that really fostered and allowed this to sort of happen. I mean, it was an incredible time. I mean, working at Calvin, Carolyn Beset, worked in public relations, and Rodriguez was designing, you know, Jackie, whose last name I’m forgetting, you know, who went on to work with Donna for many years. I mean, some of the most talented people were at Calvin Klein at that time. It was like being at Barney’s with Simon Doonan, or at Bergdorf with Don mellow, or Angela Patterson. Like, they were just legendary people. And I think that’s kind of the point is that it was different than it is today. I don’t know who those same legendary people are. I’m sure they exist. And this is nothing against anybody who…But it’s just different. It’s just different.

And I think another key difference that I noticed in myself versus maybe younger people, unfortunately, because of maybe things like this, I don’t see the aspiration that used to exist where you had to learn about and sort of be patient for and wait for things to happen. I think today everybody just expects. And in a certain way, everything just does happen on a much quicker timetable. So I just don’t you know, I think people just arethey become or they are something, and so, “Okay, cool. So they get to do things that it used to be you maybe had to wait your turn or study or learn about or things which just happened on a much slower timetable.

HAND: Yeah, I think as well with the amassing of talent, I mean, there weren’t as many brands. So now we are kind of a wash in brands. I mean, there are brands launched every quarter, and some of them good, some of them not good. And brands dissipate and go away far quicker. The cycle as far quicker than then it was in those days. So I think people were able to really, you know, not only earn their place but hone their craft.


HAND: Yeah. Well, so John Bartlett, who was a guest a few weeks back, you went on to run his company, which, again, sort of another skill set that not obvious from those experiences. Maybe go into that, because John is a lovely guy, as you know.

WOOSTER: Yeah. But you know, I mean…And maybe this is like going full circle. I mean, no, I wasn’t ever groomed to be the president of a company. And in a certain way, that’s not really what I did, but I was there to help. And so it was just like, he needed someone to help give him some structure discipline and what he understood that to be was retail because I was a retailer before that. He really respected that skill set of like, being a buyer. He thought that was a big deal. I knew what the deal was, meaning that in those days, you know, a buyer was the lowest man on the totem pole. There were so many other people above being a buyer, yet, I was still the one who made all the buying decisions. I mean, I used to tell my bosses what brands were buying or dropping and saying, you know, what pieces we were buying. And occasionally they would try to say, “What about…?” And I’d be like, “No!” You know, but again, buyers today don’t get to do that at all, they’re really just kind of executing what, three or four layers above them are, are telling them is going to happen.

So those are some of the fundamental shifts in the business today. But, you know, basically, it was that kind of, again, that the thing of youth and hubris and sort of not knowing any better, you know, it’s like, All right, let’s do this together. And so, so much of it was just figuring it out as we went along. But it was, I know that I was still able to bring some sort of experience that was different from the skill set that John had. And so together, I think we did something interesting at a time, you know, it was great. And it kind of paved the way for my life today, which is basically working in Italy, which there are pluses and minuses of. But you know, this idea that…Because it was also Narciso Rodriguez at the time, was doing [Dueve 19:12] and Michael Kors was doing Saline. So there were Americans who were consulting with brands at the time, and it’s a template that started sort of then that it continues to this day.

HAND: Yeah, yeah, for sure. Well, maybe one last stop before in a way, current events, your stint at JC Penney, your brief stint at JC Penney. And, you know, Ron Johnson for all of his prior accolades is widely regarded as having failed in his position there. But I wonder now with hindsight, and knowing what we know about where retail is, do you think there was any wisdom and what Ron was trying to do with JC Penney?

WOOSTER:100%, it was the most amazing 49 weeks of my life. I was there for 50 and 49 of them

HAND: Did that gain you your bonus or not, you have to be 52? We don’t need to talk your severance package.

WOOSTER: But I’m going to say the most positive things, it was the most amazing, really one of the most amazing work experiences I’ve had in my career to date. And for 49 of those weeks, it was under the leadership of Ron, who I still to this day believe did a phenomenal job. And I fundamentally believe that everything Ron wanted to do was correct. The only problem was the order in which had happened. I do believe that it could have been a template for something to change and really help change retail in a way that needs to happen. Unfortunately, the market forces, the internal forces, there were just many things that just didn’t conspire to make that thing a success. But I have only the most you know…And there are so many good people. And what’s sad about these kinds of situations is you understand a lot of people gave Ron trouble about like, not respecting, but I think at the end of the day, that’s actually what we’re trying to do is save these people’s lives like, save their….And although it didn’t appear that way, and there was a lot of resistance. And understandably so because I think, you know, one thing about fashion, for a business predicated upon change, we’re the most resistant to it. But unfortunately, it didn’t work. It was it. We tried and failed. He tried and failed. And I do think though that the only savior for places like that today is a radical change.

HAND: Yeah. Absolutely. I mean, they’re and they’re very real estate heavy, obviously. And that’s not a good place to be in this economy. They’ve got space, which is not turning over product on a per square foot basis at all. And you know, it may very well be too late. I mean, we’re two blocks away from what was Lord and Taylor’s flagship, which was a gorgeous, gorgeous retail presence on Fifth Avenue. And it’s rework space now, or it’s going to become rework space as they rip stuff out of there.

But through it all, Nick Wooster, the man, the machine in some ways, in terms of just being active and out there during fashion weeks, during fashion events, you had a look, which I’m going to ask you to indulge us, you know, how much of that did you cultivate yourself? How much did you feel was you supporting designers that you liked and appreciated? How much of it was foisted upon you? Take us through, you know, the arc.

WOOSTER: So how you know me how people know me because of street style blogs, and everything that started in 2010, was because of the dress code of Neiman Marcus. The dress code was I had to wear a jacket and a tie. And so I just worked within that parameter. And that’s what gave me the sort of the runway to be able to create the, you know, the images that I…I mean, I didn’t create the images, but to be the content for those images. I just worked within the restricted area, you know, it’s like…And that’s what I believe mentors about it’s like a box. And it’s like those designers, Tom Brown, Rick Owens, Rick that can go right to the edge are the ones that are meaningful. The minute you go outside the box, it’s no longer meaningful. So I’m yeah, as much as I chafed against having a dress code and hated every minute of it. It was because of that dress code, that it sort of helped me create something to haveI mean, it wasn’t my doing or my choosing, it’s like, “All right, if I have to wear a jacket and tie, this one I’m going to do.”

HAND: And this was, you know, for our listeners who may not recall 2010 or 2006 or 1996. I mean, this is all really pre-social media. I mean, I think a lot of your images came to the fore on social media platforms, which are no longer really with us, or current. But maybe using that to talk a little bit about The Laws of Style for which you very graciously wrote the foreword. Thanks again for that. You know, lawyers and other white-collar professionals are very much constrained by that dress code, if you will, or expectation. But by the same token, in terms of you know, there’s probably a change at most of the retailers towards a more business casual look. Most law firms have now gone business casual, all week, and it has many men in a state of confusion, because while unlike you, they weren’t going to take a lot of risks with the suit. They knew how to wear a navy suit with a white or blue shirt, and a striped red tie and look very passable, acceptable like a lawyer, like a banker, like an accountant. And now they’re kind of faced with the prospect of business casual, whatever the fuck that means.

WOOSTER: It’s the worst possible thing that happened to men. [Laughter] I call it business casualty. Like, you know, it’s terrible. And again, it’s probably for exactly my same experience, men hated being told what to wear. They hated being told what to do. They hated knowing that they had to wear this uniform. And yet, that truly was the most liberating thing in the world because it freed them up from having to ever figure out what the fuck to do. And so, I do I mean, I’ve always said, there are a few easy fixes to how you could, let’s say, navigate the terrain.

But really, at the end of the day, that’s what everybody should wear, is a well-cut navy suit, a well-cut gray suit, a white or blue shirt, solid only, maybe stripes if you’re feeling really frisky. A solid tie, a stripe rep tie basic, you know, like you don’t…Because most people shouldn’t do what I do. They shouldn’t do what you do. They shouldn’t prioritize clothes. There are many, many, many more important things to worry about. But that doesn’t mean give you the license to not look good. You can still look great. Starting by going to the gym, watching what you eat, but also dressed in one color. If you just wear navy blue head to toe, you will always look put together. You know, it could be a navy blue sweater from Uniqlo. It could be a navy blue cashmere sweater from Brunello Cucinelli, you know, you could spend $40, or you could spend $4,000 on the exact same item. That’s not the point.

HAND: So don’t go for this?

WOOSTER: Don’t go for this. No one should look like this.

HAND: By the way, listeners and viewers on YouTube, we did not…I know my tie now ceases to pop against that sweater. But there was no coordination or, you know, sort of pre-agreed pink day going on today. Well, I want to slowly tease out some of these pieces. Because there’s a lot there are a lot of gems here, I think for our listeners, particularly men who want to be fashionable. You know, there are billions of types of men. But I think the two poles within a white-collar situation are those that are kind of fashion luddites and they just want to get through the day and be comfortable, but not be called out on being sloppy.

And then there’s kind of the more peacock guy, the guy who does want to be fashionable, the guy that does follow you on Instagram and wants to integrate those pieces. So let’s start with that guy because he’s more interesting to me than the luddite. What are some cautionary tale? You know, let me ask this, how do you like and having been your lawyer for many years, you know, but I’ll ask how do you like your lawyer to look? [Laughter] When you visit him in the office.

WOOSTER: I like my lawyers look expensive. No, I mean, I think you have to look…Okay. I’m super shallow, but I also am not. If you work in fashion, you should look like you work in fashion, you need to look the part in some way. And I mean that. I really mean that. Okay, so you do, because you do what you just also asked me about like, you wear the people that you represent. And I think that that’s super. I think it’s my job too, it’s like, I need to support brands, designers, stores that I want to see be successful. And I think we all need to be successful because we really need each other. It’s like an ecosystem that’s interdependent on you know, everyone surviving.

HAND: It also makes your word your word when you are actually representing someone, believe in them. And you’re, at least in my case, maybe stretching yourself by wearing something into the office that might not be Brooks Brothers, you know, isn’t Brooks Brothers. It’s Willie Shavaria or it’s Phillip Lim or it’s, you know, it’s something that maybe is a little outside of a more traditional norm. You know, within the safety zone of that blue pinstripe suit, gray flannel, what are some of the areas that a more interesting gentleman can do, where he’s not going to go over the line of looking too much like glamazon, but he can express himself and feel like he’s taking a little bit of license.

WOOSTER: I mean, that‘s what accessories are for. And again, the world is populated by people who believe more firmly are fully in that. And sometimes that scares me, but again, that’s kind of what it’s for. It’s an accessory. You know, I believe that the suit or the clothing is the foil for your face, your eyes, your hair, the fit, because that’s really the most important thing. You know, I’ve said this many times, but it’s like, it doesn’t matter what the price of the item you have on your body is, if it doesn’t fit properly, it’s going to look cheap.

HAND: Yeah. This is a sample sale cautionary tale to all listeners if it doesn’t…And the tailor, particularly, you know, in sample bins, it’s always the printed stuff, right? It’s always the plaid. So if that doesn’t fit, you’re not going to take that to any tailor I’ve been to and have them modify it two sizes and have anything line up the way it should.

WOOSTER: Well, I mean, but forget about you know, usually it’s the other way around. It’s like just because you can button it, doesn’t mean it fit.

HAND: Gotta be able to hail the cabinet, that’s usually my test, without ripping it.

WOOSTER: Yeah. And probably the single most important accessory that a man can own is a full-length mirror.

HAND: Good one.

WOOSTER: And really a three-way mirror, because you really need to see from behind, too.

HAND: True.

WOOSTER: But I believe that if you sort of keep it really simple, like by color, by style, by texture because I’m not really big on texture, I’m not really big on all these things. If you keep it really simple, then if you like a splash on a pair of shoes, splash on a watch, splash on a tie, but you don’t need to have jewelry and a tie and a pocket square and a chain and glasses and tint and hair color. And you know, it’s like, wow. Like, pick one, maybe two.

HAND: Yeah. No, it’s easy to poke fun at that guy who’s out there looking like, you know, trends exploded on him. But in a sense, and I feel like I’m maybe even quoting Will Welsh here, you know, we all need that guy to pull fashion forward a little bit. He’s kind of the first guy over the wall, he gets bloodied, right? Or through the wall or through the door or whatever, whatever the analogy is. To the white-collar professionals out there, you shouldn’t be that guy.

WOOSTER: You really shouldn’t. I mean, and probably if you’re successful, you already know this, because that will have been part of the alchemy of your success. It’s like, you know, I think that the other single biggest thing is, you know, don’t try this at home, it’s like, okay, you may be super interested in style, or fashion or trends. Great, do it on your time off, but work isn’t the place to necessarily exhibit that behavior or that interest. I mean, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy or feel good about what you’re wearing. That’s what it goes back to fit, fabric. But you know, there’s something that’s very satisfying about putting on a garment, again, it doesn’t matter what the price is, that when you put it on, you feel a little bit taller, a little bit slimmer, a little bit better. And that’s really to me what clothing should do. Or like a beautiful alligator belt from Ralph Lauren or Brooks Brothers with like a nickel buckle, like a sterling buckle. If you have a beautiful object on your feet or around your waist or a beautiful watch like that’s enough. You’ve got other things to worry about.

HAND: Yeah, well And that really does get into beyond looking objectively professional, that I think to that peacock as well as to the luddite, you know, if you feel that you look good, there is a feedback loop of confidence that you get, because you’ve walked out the door, and you feel like you look good. And so maybe it’s that your chin is cocked a little bit higher, your shoulders are back, but you’re actually looking better. And then you get some feedback, whether it’s on a subway platform or in the elevator on the way up to your office or, you know, somebody passing in the hallway, Hey, nice tie,” and it just continues to cycle that. And there’s data, which the book elucidates that, you know, you actually perform better at work when you are dressed in more formal tailored clothing.

But let’s focus on Nick Wooster. You know, I have some… I’ve never heard of you refer to these ways, but I will list them out. All right, the alpha male of American street style is a good one, the Woost God, all right. I mean, you’re an internet superhero and you have bridged this period of time between pre-internet and social media platform being absolutely a bugle call to big bucks for influencers. How deliberate was that? Well, let me stop there. And then I’ll ask the next question.

WOOSTER: I used to think people were making fun of me when like, these memes came out and was like…The first meme I ever saw was thinking about Wooster. I’m like, Oh my god, are they making fun of me like some faggot?Like, I really thought that it was like coded language of making fun of me because that’s how insecure I have. I mean, I was like, super, you know…And so again, I think that if I had wanted or tried, or if there had been any plan, for sure, I would have failed miserably. Again, I’m super grateful to people like Lawrence Saltzman or Tommy Ton or Scott Schumann that sort of gave me the license. They called me out in some very easy way. And I was like, “Oh, wow, okay, cool.

I mean, I’ve always been interested in clothes, and I’ve always been…For someone who’s as insecure as I am, and it’s really true, for someone who’s like as shy as I am, this is like one of the paradoxes of like, I would do the opposite. Like if I really wanted to blend into the woodwork, but I would wear Lilly Pulitzer pants, but that’s kind of how I am. Because I’m completely fearful of everything in life, except getting dressed. I mean, that’s just the one thing that doesn’t

HAND: That’s your superpower. So, okay, so cool. So I’m super grateful for the

HAND: Well, that authenticity obviously resonated. And I would love to talk about some of the great street style photographers. I won’t even give that…You know, some of the great photographers who have shot you and about sort of how that has evolved. But back to your followers or those that you Why do you think that your following is so diverse and global? What do you think the message is that you put out there that resonates not just here in the US, and not just in Europe, and not just in India, but globally?

HAND: Well, I used to say, the only reason that I even got an audience was because of tattoos was because, you know, so here’s this 50-year-old guy who broke the dress code and got written up at Neiman Marcus for not wearing a jacket one day to the shows in Paris, because it was so boiling hot. And I showed up in a Fred Perry short sleeve shirt, and I remember they sort of explode like “Holy fuck, he’s got tattoos. And so I’m convinced that that’s why young people took notice, because like, Who’s this old Queen like, this little guy? And I do think that there’s something about authenticity, just meaning that like, this is just inherently I’ve always been this way. People that know me from college and high school will tell you the same, I was always different in the way that I approach getting dressed, or what I was willing to wear. And I still to this day, can’t quite figure out why. Because I used to say, in those days, that if you were young, if you’re black, if you were Asian, or you’re straight, you’re interested in me, but I couldn’t get arrested with gay white guys. And in a way, that’s kind of true. Because, you know, on Instagram, they have the audience statistics, and like, the single biggest city for me of followers is Taipei, which is crazy.

HAND: And that’s a massive city, right?

WOOSTER: And the next one is Seoul. And then there’s another Asian city that I don’t even know how to pronounce. And then Tokyo, and then New York. So it’s like, how did that happen? But I think it’s because I’m just regular, you know, I’m not tall. I’m not a model. I’m not I’m a little bit thick. So in some way, I’m relatable to a bigger variety of people.

HAND: Well, on that influence that you have. And today, just on Instagram alone, I think you’re close to a million followers. What do you think about the rise of the influencer as market mover? And maybe in particular, we’ll talk the mega ones, you know, Kim Kardashian last year, I think was recognized by the CFDA as influencer of the year and new award. We’ll see if it comes out again this year. But she is a mega-brand mover and her posts are our gold. And she has a whole infrastructure, a whole business built around that. I know, having done deals opposite her what sort of rates are for those. And obviously, you know, there’s nothing askance here, this is all above board, in that anytime and influencer posts in favor of an item, and if it’s supported by financial gain or even just a donation of clothes or free clothes, you have to disclose that and she always does. But the industry as a whole, what do you think it’s done to fashion good or bad?

WOOSTER: Well, I know that there are a lot of people who have very definitive ideas about this, especially from people from traditional media, or traditional outlets are not so positive. And I too even sort of bristle or bridle at the, you know, the idea of like…And, of course, sometimes I wish that I was doing a much better job of influencing than I currently do, which is

HAND: Well, yeah, you know, you don’t really have that massive infrastructure, I will tell. You don’t at all, it’s you.

WOOSTER: Yeah, it’s me, so... And what ends up happening is when I do it, I lose followers. So I just think it’s kind of not authentic to my audience. They’re not looking to me for that. I mean, at some point, I’m going to probably need to start doing it more because it’s like, you know, as I should be approaching retirement age, but the reality is I do do it when it seems right and authentic and real and something that I can fully get behind. So in that way, I’m for it because again, it seems logical and natural to me.

Listen, it has upended traditional media. And I’m sure the people at Conde Nast, I’m sure the people at Hearst, I’m sure the people at, you know, traditional publications really fucking hate it. And, you know, I understand. Because I remember editors being the ones that were telling people like me as a buyer, you know, helping me like that. Their job was to inform and educate and my job was like to listen and pay attention. And so it was a very, again, we were interdependent, like, we work together on these things. And so I still believe in those kinds of things, traditional structures, but I understand that...

So in 2011, or 2012, I think you may have even been at this, there was some guy who invited us to some dinner on Greenwich Avenue, and there were a lot of people like

HAND: Hashtag menswear?

WOOSTER: Hashtag menswear people. And I sat next to this investment banker, and it was…And I remember vividly this conversation, it was like in the spring, and I remember it was a beautiful afternoon evening and something and I remember it because I really... So he said, like, “What do you do? And I sort of explained a little bit because I was working with [inaudible 42:37] at the time, I’d been more or less freshly fired from Neiman Marcus, and something—and it was all you know, I mean, those days, I don’t even think I had 100,000 followers on Instagram yet, but it was around, I was getting close to that. And it was more the idea of like, Oh, my God, Can you believe that?” And he’s like, “Well…”, and I said, I have no idea how this happened. Like, I don’t know why this should be happening. And he said, I do. Okay, what?And he said “Institutions are failing. And people, you know, Washington, Wall Street…” Again, this is 2011 2012. I mean, I don’t precisely remember what was happening yet. We certainly didn’t have who we have in the White House. But I remember… And in a way, that’s kind of true. Like, I kind of understood that it was really, you know, kind of eye-opening for me to say like, Oh, right, I get it.

So if magazines or institutions used to be the ones to tell us, it really was because of Kim Kardashian and everything else that it really was people were looking to individuals to also do that. And, you know, there’s always been celebrity endorsements. I mean, that didn’t start with Kim Kardashian. But as a business model, and really the ability…And you know, and I remember, like bloggers being such a problem for all the editors. And again, rightly understandable so because they were taking up valuable real estate that could have gone to the second tier or the third tier. And so now it’s like a system where everybody sort of like, let’s say, has integrated. But I can understand that there will probably be further changes to that ecosystem.

HAND: Yeah, yeah. I think I know the answer to this without asking, but do you have any style icons that have either informed the way that you present yourself or they haven’t, but they’re still style icons for you?

WOOSTER: You know, not really, I mean, I think one time I said my style icon was a mirror. I mean, meaning like, because I was just willing to try it on myself. Like not because I needed some…But that’s not true. I mean, I am always clocking people. I’m always clocking. I mean, I like to say I had an original idea. I don’t think I’ve ever had an original idea.

HAND: Well, for the International Man of the Year, India, I’ll put that in, what cities do you really clock people? What cities are the most stylish and fashionable for you? Or maybe a better question for you, most interesting from a fashion perspective.

WOOSTER: I mean, Tokyo, Seoul, London, Paris, Florence, Milan, New York. I mean, and frankly, Los Angeles. I mean, anywhere can be an inspiring place. I mean, the Minneapolis airport, maybe not as much, but you still get no offense Minneapolis. I was just there and actually, I had the most amazing flight that I took from Delta to Tokyo on this lovely plane, the A350, or whatever it was, but the thing is that I mean, cities are inspiring, wherever there are people, it’s inspiring. Sometimes it’s a good example of what you don’t want to do. But sometimes, even in, you know, you can be like, “Wow.”

HAND: Do you follow Mr. Mort?

WOOSTER: Of course.

HAND: Yeah. Does that ever inspire you? I mean, I find those images captivating.

WOOSTER: It does. Yeah. And again, this is a visual thing.

HAND: It’s Mordecai Rubenstein for folks that don’t know, but his handle on at least Instagram is Mr. Mort.

WOOSTER: Yeah, and what I love about him is how he really elevates that like, the mundane, the ordinary, just the normal, but it’s like, “Oh, wow.” I think…Anyway, I love Mordecai. And I love what his ability to sort of see things. So I mean, a corollary to that is that this Christmas, my brother lives in Tampa, and I have two nephews that are 13 and 15. And they were like, “Uncle Nikki, did you bring the Balenciaga triple SS?” And I’m just like, “Yeah, so I brought a pair, because I knew they would find them amusing. And so my dad, who’s 83 was sitting there, I’m sure looking at it, thinking like, How the hell are these? These are the ugliest fucking shoes I’ve ever seen in my life. And he’s like, “Give me those,” and he put them on. And I posted a picture of my dad wearing, you know, the dad’s sneaker. But I think that that’s kind of hilarious. Like, three generations, three completely disparate places, the suburbs of Tampa, Salina, Kansas, you know, New York Nick, kind of coming together over a pair of sneakers that you know?

HAND: Full circle or full triangle? Well, you know, the dad sneakers, certainly having a moment. Beyond moments I mean, what brands resonate for you? Because I know you’re a very loyal guy to your friends, but I think you’re pretty agnostic as to brand. But what brands are interesting to you from a design perspective today.

WOOSTER: I’ve always been interested in the things that are not obvious. Now, I mean, like we were talking about the Triple SS, I own three or four pair I still wear. I do wear obvious things. I mean, I have another friend, GeorgeCortina, who’s very stylish guy, who would say that I’m very obvious about how I get dressed and I probably am. But I really in terms of clothing like things that maybe people don’t know about or not so…But by that I mean like power brands, Product Gucci, you know, that kind of thing. Although I really am loving Prada these days. I like to wear things like color, or Sekai or Paul Herndon or Elena Dawson, and you know, many people are not going to know who that is. And that’s cool. But it’s just because it’s something different and you know, let’s say fully appreciate, like the craft that it takes to make these clothes and then the fact that they‘re not going to be everywhere is something that I…You know, because my job is to go shopping, or I call that my job but I do, I spend a lot of time in-store so when I discovered these things, it’s always let’s say like the reward like, “Oh, cool. So here’s something that I…”

HAND: Well, and listen, that is your job my friend in many ways and it’s wonderful to develop a career around a passion because I know you’re passionate about it. Let’s focus on what you got on today. It’s hard not to focus on and I feel like my eyes are going to be shooting laser beams out later this afternoon. But you know just in terms of the four W’s, you know, who are you wearing? What is it for our pure iTunes downloaders? What’s season if you know and then wrap it all up with a why, why this ensemble today?

WOOSTER: Okay, so it’s May

HAND: Mid-May.

WOOSTER: Fucking freezing outside. So I am wearing clothes from next fall and winters Nick Wooster [inaudible 50:22] collaboration. So the sweater is like their iconic sailor sweater that they usually do a navy blue wool.

HAND: I love the side shoulder buttons.

WOOSTER: That is executed in like fluorescent pink. And then it’s a cargo pant that I developed that you know, we did shorts in the season before from spring were kind of continuing the next spring? But a great cargo pant. And again, I would just argue that I’m just wearing a sweater and a pair of pants. But I also understand that they’re maybe not normal. And then I’m wearing a dad sneaker and Nike techno 2.

WOOSTER: You look as stable as a tree in those things, man.

HAND: I love a good sneaker.

HAND: Good for the joints. We’ll get into our relative ages before we close but yeah, those are gorgeous. No socks, you’re going sockless even on a cold day.

WOOSTER: There’s a foot panty.

HAND: You’ve got the foot panty? Okay, I’m against the foot panty, but

WOOSTER: You wear no sock at all?

HAND: I wear no socks when I wear no socks.

WOOSTER: You know the problem is I used to do that but it’s like I don’t like smelly shoes.

HAND: Well, once you get out of them, you’ve got to treat them. You’ve got to put something in there to deal with that. They do make that kind of stuff. How about accessories. What watch do you have on?

WOOSTER: I’m wearing a Bamford Rolex that’s, I don’t know four or five years old. And I wear these four rings that I

HAND: Barely noticeable. Hold your hands up like this so we can There we go.

WOOSTER: Yeah, one’s a wedding ring from Tiffany. The other was a wedding ring from Tiffany but I lost it and then I was in Japan and found this super-thin one and then I had some store in Lafayette Street, kind of across the street from Supreme who made this one and this one, so for gold bands.

HAND: Four gold bands. And anything else?

WOOSTER: I think that’s it.

HAND: All right, that’s it.

WOOSTER: And Sunspel underwear.

HAND: Sunspell underwear. And I think I know the answer to why, you know, because probably why not, but you know, you’re coming in today, you’re traveling, any other whys to this ensemble today?

WOOSTER: I mean just because I…So I don’t wear jeans like, I never wear jeans.

HAND: Denims are not that comfortable?

WOOSTER: Right. That’s what I always said. It’s not comfortable.

HAND: Particularly some of the washes we’ve seen come out over the last decade that are like wearing cardboard pants.

WOOSTER: Yeah, and just like a mom washed, dad washed like blue jean never seemed kind of dressed in any way shape or form, dressed up, dressed down, it just never seemed dressed to me. It was like kind of like

HAND: Interesting coming out of Kansas and Ralph Lauren that you would be—I’m not going to say anti denim because I know you’re not but it’s just not a preference. I’m the same way and you know, born and raised Southern California sort of the epicenter of denim, right? Denim is very functional. I’m not out driving railroad ties. I’m not out bucking Broncos. Like, I’m doing legal work. So Denim, while it’s very prevalent. There’s a whole subchapter in the book, which you may remember which is kind of the anti-denim statement, which I go out there with, but then since I know half of you are going to do it anyway, here’s how you do it.

WOOSTER: Yeah. And denim is a…Listen, so I have a pair of ready-made jeans from Tokyo that are essentially like six pair of Levi’s that have been disassembled and reassembled in a way, and they did it sort of before [inaudible 53:54] but it’s like that. It’s like that idea. They put trouser pockets in them. They lengthen the crotch, but it still has the Levi’s pockets in the back. It is a mom wash team, but it’s artisanal. And I do wear those. Those are like the jeans that I keep in sort of my rotation that when I do, which is rare, but…And I also I think that if you’re wearing jeans, you need to wear shoes. I don’t wear jeans with sneakers, like jeans with a pair of wingtips or, you know, churches or something like that, I like a heavy English shoe with a pair of jeans. And then you can wear something you know, you can wear a hoodie on top or you can wear a cashmere sweater on top.

HAND: Or a blazer.

WOOSTER: Or jacket.

HAND: I mean, it’s not so much the look that offends me on jeans. It’s honestly how they wear. They just seem silly in the office, candidly, where you’re not doing those two very active occupations I listed or any others. May be changing the photocopier….

WOOSTER: But anyway, but I believe in things like chinos or trousers because I feel like…And you know, Eugene Tong is a great fan of He’s a very stylish guy. He’s a style icon. You know, I always sort of…And he maybe he is horrified if I’d say this, but like, what I always kind of understood about how Eugene got dress was that he could wear a hoodie, he could wear sneakers, but he always had Taylor wool trousers. And to me, that kind of sums it up. It’s like, I like that tension, the idea of like, two things that you wouldn’t think to go together. And that’s how today…Because I wear a lot of hoodies now, which is also like, okay, whatever. I’m a victim of trends. But they’re also super cozy. So it’s like there’s a reason why people wear them, but I need to wear them with a pair of trousers, not jeans or not another pair of sweatpants. I would never do that. Even if I go to the gym, I used to be a big believer in a Tom Brown sweatpants with a jacket, with a blazer like a tweed blazer. I love that look. Or I love a jacket with a hoodie.

HAND: Tracksuits, if you’re on the team. So you talked about really what sounded like upcycled jeans, very bespoke ones. We both know how dirty literally the fashion industry is that, you know, it’s in a sense, kind of facing somewhat of a Gen Z millennial reaction in that regard, and figures I’ve been presented with which I have on relatively good authority, that the second-hand market for goods will be over 50 billion in 4 years? What do you think about it? As a man whose closet must be as big as Jerry Seinfeld’s Porsche garage, what do you think about that? I mean, look, you’re an exception in terms of, you know, I feel like the clothes that you have, you keep and you wear and you love. But do you think that there is a viable second-hand market and the consumers will respond to it in that way, as opposed to fast fashion?

WOOSTER: So I have a huge [chuckle] I’m one of the biggest suppliers to Tokyo Seven. So again, part of my job. I believe in cycling, cycling through, I am a big believer…Because this is what happened to me, you know, I give things away, and I sell things off that I need to make room for new. Of course, this is part of the problem of, my father, my accountant, my uncle advised me to not, you know, save some money, which I really still don’t do very well. But I also am a big believer in, I would much rather see young kids—and I know some of the young guys around that tell me or I see them or they say,Oh, this was yours, wasn’t it? I’m like, Yeah, but it’s like a way of like, of, you know, handing it down, of like keeping it. Because I wouldn’t much rather see people buy nice clothes at a good price than going to a fast-fashion place, which, you know, again, it’s great that things exist so that you can look great for not a lot of money. I’m not totally opposed to these things. I’m opposed to the trendy ones, the ones that like, it’s just so obvious that you are doing a trend, but like, you know, Unico, actually make some of the best cashmere and some of the best merino sweaters in the world. I’m a huge consumer of those things like I buy them for myself. I tend to get rid of them at the end of the season, but my housekeeper’s young kids get cashmere sweaters or merino sweaters because of that, and that’s a nice thing to give to someone else.

But I believe that it’s important to keep things going. And especially nice clothes, because they’re beautiful objects, and they should be in the hands of those that appreciate them.

HAND: Yeah, that’s well put. Unisex offerings, you know, there has been a growing—I won’t say movement, but there are more brands seemingly than ever offering unisex, not branded, men’s or women’s, not placed if they have their own retail, you know, on the men’s side or the women’s side. Do you think that’s a wave of the future? Is that just a trend which will see its apex and go away?

WOOSTER: I mean, I’m not a very good predictor. Otherwise, I’d be playing the futures market. But I think that it’s probably something that in some way is here to stay, because so many things were already that way anyway, like, you know, girlfriends always wear their boyfriend’s sweater or shirt or hoodie or jeans and vice versa. I mean, I also think because of people like Brian Boyd that he’s a dude and he totally wears women’s clothes and wears makeup. But he’s, you know? And so, I do think that that’s also something that’s here to stay like, good, you know, why not? Like, if you want to paint your fingernails, if you want to do it but youre a dude like, cool. So I think that the rules that I certainly grew up with have broken down and so why not? And also is like, so as the population gets bigger, you know, you can go into a women’s department and so a guy could probably find clothes if he’s comfortable and wants to do that he can find things there. Because also, the customer base has shifted to so many more Asian people are everywhere, meaning they’re everywhere in Europe, everywhere in the US. So consequently, there’s a lot of smaller sizes so a lot of women can also benefit from that idea.

So, good, knock yourself out. You want to carry a handbag? I love it. If you want to wear a skirt, come to Gourzong. The black range and maybe some others as well, but it’s unisex and Barney’s carry it, 4510 carry it, many I’m sure some other stores do as well. And you know, the skirts, the sort of skirt pants, the jackets one size from double XX to double XL. And if you can fit in it, you want to wear it, knock yourself out.

HAND: Yeah. I had Jolie Tang on several months ago. And you know, she’s from Malaysia and everybody wears a sarong. So, you know, there definitely are our huge regions of the planet where it’s already unisex and it’s been unisex for centuries. What about the label of streetwear that seems to perhaps be a little over applied? And you know, I think of our friends and Maxwell, right? Public School, it’s got a very urban sound to it, literally public school, right. Yet their background and a lot of their early designs were tailored clothing. Yet, I think they often were labeled as Oh, it’s streetwear.But what do you think about that label, and you know, is it a shorthand for something? Or is it more insidious?

WOOSTER: Well, I think it’s all of the above, I think it’s super insidious, especially to the people who are labeled that, because they kind of, let’s say, can’t get out from under it, or, you know, seemingly their business. And that’s also one of the bigger problems of the business has been going on for 30 years, you know, when as a retailand so now I’m wearing my retail hat now, but when I was a buyer, you know, you have very finite resources, meaning like your budget for a certain thing is going to be X. And when designer A decides that he wants to do X, Y, and Z, but you’ve only made the budget for X, it’s not that you don’t want to be supportive, or that you don’t also want to believe in what they’re doing. Sometimes they shouldn’t be doing it. And then sometimes you do—and you find a way to make it a little bit bigger, but you can’t necessarily fully go there.

But this has been going on for as long as their budgets. I mean, it’s like there’s no you know…But I do think that streetwear is a shorthand for also what’s successful in the world today. And I really mean that about menswear like sneakers, hoodies, you know, sweat pants, those were all, let’s say…And t-shirts, I mean, t-shirts are huge business right now. So those four things are what are really driving men’s wear in the way that you know, tailored clothing, dress pants, shoes and dress shirts and ties used to drive the men’s wear business. It’s just shifted.

So okay, those are like, let’s say, the building blocks of street style. And then so it’s kind of both. I mean, I think that you know, designers get pigeonholed; John Elliott, or Public School or whoever. And it’s hard for them to get out from under that label. It can also be a thing about like, if youre black, if you’re, if you’re from the city that’s like an urban setting, it can be…But I mean, at this point, I just look at you, I just think you have to look at things for what they are. It’s like if it’s a sweatshirt, it’s a sweatshirt, I don’t care whether it’s from Balenciaga or whether it’s from Aaron Preston, it’s like, a sweatshirt is a sweatshirt. It’s what you do with it that I think is interpreted

HAND: And it’s a hugely successful segment, as you mentioned. I mean, I’m sure Paul Stewart and Joseph Abboud would love to have a street style moniker on at least, you know, a subset of their offerings. Well, the other street related topic, street style photography, that I wanted to come back around to. I mean, I’ve been with you on the street during fashion weeks and it’s a gaggle of clicks and you know, you are—I don’t want to say hounded because I don’t want to disrespect any of those photographers but it’s wildly proliferated. And you have everything from some of the notable luminaries of the genre that you mentioned to you know, some kid who’s coming down from Rochester with an icon, and just wandering around and pushing people over and taking pictures. What’s your sense of what it was? Is it still the same? Has it gotten a little out of hand? Is it dissipated? You know, just your thoughts?

WOOSTER: Well, I mean, I think several things. I mean, I think that it still exists, obviously, in a way, maybe the cast of characters is changing, some of the photographers who, let’s say, you know, where the pillars of that 5 or 10 years ago have either moved on or had been moved out, because of like, they became expensive, or they became…And also, for me, I don’t…They don’t take as many pictures of me as they used to, because there’s also fresher, newer faces. And so it’s a constantly evolving cycle, but don’t get me wrong, many people still take my picture, and I’m always still, I continue to be as flattered as I once was. And in a certain way, I’m like,  “Okay, thank God, because it’s just, like, let someone else do it, you know, like, it’s someone else’s turn.

But it has changed because also the outlets have changed. I mean, I think that, you know, I mean, maybe let’s say it started with blogs and their own blogs and that was their content, then they partner with certain magazines, now there are fewer magazines, but then you have people like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal and then other places form that all so it’s like, everything’s kind of shifting. But it’s still there. I don’t go to as many fashion shows as I used to either because of just the nature of my work. It’s like I’ve missed so many Fashion Weeks lately because I’ve had to do other things.

HAND: That used to be the time I could count on seeing you, but you’ve been busy and I’d love to…Let’s tackle that, This is really my last question to you but extremely open-ended one. We worked together ages ago on the Lardini collaboration. You’ve done a number of collaborations. Talk about Nick Wooster, the brand, the man now and what you’re working on and what’s to come.

WOOSTER: So Lardini transition to Paul & Shark because the commercial director of Lardini is now the general manager of Paul & Shark. And so, you know, this is again, his advice for kids. It’s like, you never know where your next opportunity is going to come. But it’s like you need to develop those relationships that you have now, even if you’re in a job that you hate, your boss is miserable, or people are miserable, but you never know. So if you do a good job in some way people remember,. And it’s like no secret, people hire people they’ve worked with. That’s just how it works, it’s a lot easier, the devil you know is a lot better than the devil you don’t know.

HAND: Well, and doing good work, obviously, is a great calling card.

WOOSTER: That helps, too. So anyway, so I have been working with Paul & Shark for the past two years, I continue to work with them. I mean, the difference is I’m spending more time and I’m really helping them in sort of all areas. They’re collaborating with some other people right now, too. I’m doing a collaboration with my name on it. I’m also designing the women’s. And so that’s taken up a bigger part of my time. And that’s actually been super interesting. Now, I do not for one minute think that I’m a women’s designer. But what I am able to do is like a DJ, I’m able to sample the best of what we do in men’s and then help them re- proportion it for women. And I’m working with a design director, a woman who is also the perfect kind of muse for it, because she’s cute, she’s young, she looks good in the clothes, and she wants to wear it too. So together were…Because again, I think this is like the secret to all creative endeavors, you need a good partner. And if you have a good partner, whatever their abilities are—she’s a trained designer. She’s also cute and fun to be with so we can do that together. And that’s what’s been for me super interesting project that people will see in the next two or three months. I’m continuing to work with 4510. And then there might be a book soon. That’s probably as far as I can say right now.

HAND: Okay. Well, Nick, that’s a wrap. Thank you so much for coming in and for your efforts. Probably your fifth copy of The Laws of Style will be waiting for you this time on site, you know, but thanks again, and have a safe trip.

WOOSTER: Thank you. Thank you for having me. Bye.

HAND: Bye now.

OUTRO: You’ve been listening to The Laws of Style with Douglas Hand for more information, go to our website at And you can also follow us on Instagram and Twitter at Hand of the Law. Thank you for tuning in, and stay stylish.