He may not have won Jeopardy, but GofG's Jersey Shore expert definitely wins our approval. One of this generation's greatest instigators of tomfoolery and bacchanalia, John Munson always manages to come of out his adventures looking no worse for wear. His secret? An impeccable, innate, and well cultivated sense of style.
Look at that smirk! Munson knows what's up. The key to making it on this crowded isle is to stand above the rest with great clothes on your back and a good martini in hand. Munson is a gentleman: he believes in dancing (when the lady insists) and braving the elements (on that motorcycle below) and, most of all, stuffing his bedroom and hall closets with so many blazers and printed trousers that Ralph Lauren himself would fall to his knees and weep.
We caught up with Munson to learn his sartorial secrets and learned a little bit about ourselves along the way. Namely, that we will never, ever match him in a theme party costume contest (as evinced by his get-up, at right, at College Humor's Yacht Rock, thrown last June), but most importantly: A good gentleman is hard to find.
What's the inspiration behind your style?
Style is, by definition, a pretty personal thing, though I'm definitely inspired by the times when men used to really care about the way they looked. I've got a penchant for some things that are typically "old man" clothes - fur coats and fedoras. I stay away from trends and stick to things that are more classic. The nice thing about menswear is if it's a great piece, you can easily still pull it off ten, twenty years from now. As far as contemporary designers go, Tom Ford has a great concept of men's fashion, and I like John Varvatos' take on rock ' roll casual.
Where do you prefer to shop for these sartorial gems?
Paying retail is for suckers. I find a lot of my things on eBay, or in higher end consignment/thrift stores. Online sample and outlet stores that have been popping up recently are also great. Gilt Man is probably the best amongst them.
What makes a blazer or dinner jacket perfect?
I'll stay away from geeking out over little things like floating canvases, picked stiching, and functioning cuffs. But I will say I'm a huge fan of peaked lapels, and prefer a two button or rolled three button look. Every single man needs a good blue blazer. It's the most versatile thing in a wardrobe. And for godsakes, get a tailor. You look at 95% of guys out there, and their clothes just don't fit. I realize that bespoke clothing is out of the price range for most people, but the fifty or sixty bucks it costs to make an off the rack jacket fit your unique shape makes all the difference in the world.
Probably the old school Hollywood leading men: Cary Grant and Errol Flynn, etc. And James Bond is a real natty fellow. Jeffery "The Dude" Lebowski. O-Dog from Menace II Society.
What are your favorite themes to dress for?
I'll take any excuse to dress up. I truly enjoy putting on a tuxedo. And I wear a blazer whenever I fly, which I catch a lot of flack for. Travel used to be an act of civility, and now people are at the airport in their damn pajamas. Theme parties area good time, because it lets me get use out of some of the more ridiculous pieces in my closet. I do love summertime wardrobes though. It's impossible to be too stressed out in a pair of white linen pants. The GofG boat party was fun.
Yes. Too much talking. I hope I don't come across that WASPy.
What is your favorite article of clothing?
The blazer. A well tailored blazer, a crisp white dress shirt, a clean pair of jeans, and some freshly shined loafers, and you can get away with anything. And I've recently come to embrace the scarf.
What are your top three places to buy clothing in New York City?
I avoid paying retail at all clothes. INA Men on Bleecker, Fisch for the Hip on 18th, and Gentlemans Resale on 81st are incredible consignment stores, all very well curated. And the collection of charity thrift shops on 3rd avenue- Memorial Sloan Kettering, Cancer Care, Spence Chapin a-d Housing Works are the best kept secrets in the city. I happen to have the body of an eighty year old man, so once they die I can grab their Savile Row suits for pennies on the dollar.