Style Icon: Andy Smith

J.Crew Personal Shopper

by Tracy James Robinson Photography by Chuck St. John

"I take inspiration from many different sources, but I never get too far away from a tartan shirt," says Andy in a Club Monaco oxford cloth shirt; "old school" J.Crew pants in original Nantucket red, cut off to shorts; Versace ring; Timex for J.Crew watch

Ah, to be 24 again. Fresh-faced prepster Andy Smith exudes a passion for all things creative: art, architecture, landscape, and above all, fashion. His involvement in the fashion industry as a personal shopper for J.Crew at The Summit helps Andy feed his shopping addiction by gorging on fashion info, rather than always having to acquire the goods.

As befits  his youth, much of his knowledge is gleaned from social media, following industry insiders on Twitter and their blogs. A favorite on Twitter is “dknyPRgirl.” As for blogs, Andy checks in on Scott Schuman’s blog, The Sartorialist, “to see how people are dressing on the streets of NYC;” and “can’t live without Tavi’s reviews,” referring to Tavi Gevinson’s blog The Style Rookie, which she began at the age of 11. Not ignoring the long-standing leaders, however, Andy expresses a deep admiration for Vogue editor Anna Wintour. “She keeps the industry alive and moving,” he says. “Anyone in fashion should be required to see [the documentary] The September Issue.”

Interviewing Andy reveals his eclectic tastes and is like a crash course in what’s hot, and also.

Favorite fashion designers: Alexander McQueen, Michael Bastian, Tom Ford, Billy Reid, Marc Jacobs, and Christian Siriano.

Shopping Destinations: J.Crew, OAK, Opening Ceremony, Nashville’s Imogene + Willie and any vintage store (“for those items no one else has”).

Style Icons: Fashion editor Derek Blasberg, stylist Brad Goreski, rapper Kanye West and figure skater Johnny Weir.

On his Wishlist: Day-Glo Tretorns by Sid Mashburn and a vintage Rolex.

As a personal shopper who answers about 40 style questions per day, Andy has had the time and experience to form a multitude of opinions on dressing himself and others, and how others choose to dress themselves.

As for menswear, Andy believes this area of fashion has improved significantly. “In the South, we’ve embraced a way to look Southern without looking hillbilly, like [designer] Billy Reid has done.” That said, he still sees room for improvement, noting that men, especially in the South, tend to fall back to their college habits and wear their clothing too big and pants too long. Refusing to let men use the word “conservative” as an excuse for wearing pleated pants, even on a suit, he cites J.Crew’s Ludlow suit, which was featured in The New York Times, as an excellent, properly fitting suit at a great price point. Andy admits that because he is short in stature, he is particular about pants, preferring no break. At times he gets frustrated with fit and as a result has turned countless pants into shorts. “Fortunately in the South we’ve also embraced a way to be casual and laid back without being sloppy,” Andy says. “It’s always about proportion— whether one is talking about color or fit or styling. Proportion is key.”

And that brings us to his observations of women. Andy expresses  great disdain for super–chunky wedges, especially on shorter girls, and especially with skinny jeans. “There’s this slim silhouette of the leg and then, boom, this big clunky shoe.” Another pet–peeve is college girls wearing ill–fitting sorority t–shirts and carrying huge Louis Vuitton bags. “Just because you spent a lot of money on your bag doesn’t mean you have style,” Andy exasperates. “I prefer Goyard anyway,” he adds with a smirk.

However he is pleased to see more and more women being unafraid to try bolder hues, “I don’t care what season we’re in, I’ll always be obsessed with color.”

Photographer, Chuck St. John; Stylist, Tracy James Robinson. All clothing & accessories from Icon’s own wardrobe. Photographed at The Bottletree.

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