Real People: Keeping The Basics Interesting

January 21, 2021

Mitchell Moss in a sportcoat and flannel trousers from Natalino.

In a clip on her Netflix series “Pretend It’s a City,” writer (and proud Anderson and Sheppard customer) Fran Lebowitz is asked whether she attributes her sense of humor to nature or nurture. Fran replies, “There wasn’t much nurture of it, I assure you.” Lebowitz means she wasn’t encouraged to be funny; that growing up in the 1960s, being funny wasn’t a character trait society wanted in a woman. Of course, she built her career (and, eventually, paid for those A&S jackets) by being funny, acerbic, and amusingly cranky.

Some people may be born with a sense of style — for the rest of us, though, style can, in fact, be nurtured. Developing yours, and building a wardrobe, can be daunting, and even discouraging, especially when we first start out. First of all, most of us can’t go to Anderson and Sheppard and rely on their guidance (or ignore it, as Lebowitz has on occasion). We rely on guideposts of style we want to emulate: whether that’s parents, characters in literature or film, magazines, websites, Instagram.

Many resources (including this one) will advise you to focus on basics — navy jackets and suits, white or blue shirts, gray flannel or khaki cotton trousers, decent lace-up shoes, and versatile accessories. Even post-dress-codes, these items will serve you well in many situations, sort of like a decent sense of humor.

Mitchell Moss, an editor in the Nashville area, is an excellent style guidepost. He sets a really useful and accessible example of finding a lot of range in tailored clothing without going full Pitti Uomo (even though Mitchell has, in fact, been to Pitti Uomo). Mitchell has a tremendously consistent style, taking advantage of some core colors and silhouettes. Much of his wardrobe uses blues, grays, browns, and other neutrals, with shirts almost exclusively in the blue family. He also relies on makers that allow him to blend Italian and European influences (soft tailoring, print scarves, suede footwear) with American style (denim-adjacent shirts, five-pocket pants).