New York native, Elliot Aronow, is a man of many talents. He’s been an editor at FADER Magazine, columnist at Playboy, publisher of OUR SHOW with Elliot Aronow, and consultant for SPIN and Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam. It’s a laundry list we know but from what we can tell, Aronow is no where near done.
His latest project: a sartorially oriented movement called #jacques. An effort to show men to be more original, unique, generous and engaging, according to Aronow, the movement is not just a name but a way of life. Part clothing label, vintage dealer and soon to be brick and mortar retailer, the movement is as multifaceted as Aronow himself.
As consummate vintage consumers ourselves, we sat down with Elliot to talk about navigating the world of archival fashion.
The #jacques guide to making vintage work for you:
1.Be a student of the game. Part of being a better digger is learning about the sub-brands or more specialized lines that bigger companies used to produce. A good example would be the “Ralph Lauren Country” line that was out in the 80s/90s, lots of fantastic pieces are still out there in the wild and you can find them cheap because they are not fetishized the way the more common Ralph Lauren lines are.
2. Know your measurements! This is critical. Take your favorite shirt/jacket and measure the shoulders, chest, sleeve and length. That way you have a frame of reference for anything you purchase online and can also guess-timate the cost of alternations. Which brings us to…
3. Think about how great something would look if you had it altered. Vintage pieces were designed for a different era and a different customer. If you are going the 90s route, chances are it will be too big in the sleeve or the chest. No sweat, just bring it to your tailor and they will message it into a more modern silhouette.
4. If you are going the preppy/trad route, look for Made in USA on the label. It’s generally of better quality and often speaks to how good classic brands were before they “sold out”.
5. Look for natural fibers like cotton. Polyester is generally a big no-no. Poly blend (55% cotton, 45% poly) can be ok but you probably want to touch it to “check the hand” as we say in the business.
6. When you are hitting the racks, look at patterns/colors before you check the label. Chances are if it looks appealing, a cool brand made it.
7. Always, always, always triple check for stains, rips, ketchup, etc.
8. Imagine who a piece was made for and get inspired. Team #jacques has a lot of fun sitting back, listening to King Crimson, and making up characters who used to sport the pieces like “stoner English Professor” or “Italian Art Baron”.
9. Get outside your safety zone. Buy that wild style tie, cop those blue suede brothel creepers, wear that striped blazer and have fun with the journey. Which brings us to…
10. Be cool with getting burned every now and then, especially if you are buying online. Much like dating, sometimes things just look better online. Happens to the best of us. For every deadstock Hermes scarf you score for $80 there will also be the neon-accented, ski jacket that should have stayed buried in the snow. Lick your wounds and keep it moving!
11. Most important, have fun and experiment! With 50+ years of modern menswear to comb through, you are bound to find some true gems!