Style Icon: Jeff Roberts

Style Icon: Jeff Roberts

Private Wealth Advisor, Ameriprise Financial

By Tracy James , Photographed by Chuck St. John

Written and styled by Tracy James   Photography by Chuck St. John

In his glass-walled office at Jeff Roberts & Associates, Roberts is surrounded by water, one of his loves. Bespoke Dormeuil Amadeus suit, herringbone French cuff shirt and Geoff Nicholson tie, all from Brogue & Cuff. Robert Talbott pocket square. Athena gold cuff links, purchased from an artisan in Greece. James Avery Crosslet ring.

Some argue that “clothes make the man,” but 42-year-old Private Wealth Advisor Jeff Roberts has always viewed his wardrobe as a means of bolstering his ambitious drive and competitive edge, exemplifying self-respect rather than self-importance. However, style has long been an interest of the Knoxville, Tennessee native, who returned home from his first day of kindergarten enamored not with books, but instead with the footwear variety worn by fellow classmates. This appreciation has continued throughout his life, and Roberts now has a collection of an undisclosed number of shoes, which range from Gucci loafers to Tsubo fashion sneakers and include classic Cole Haan loafers he has had since college. Not present in his footwear assortment is his fashion pet peeve, “One word: mandles.”

In high school, Roberts admits his style icon was guitar great Eddie Van Halen. (Roberts was lead guitarist in a rock band, which included then childhood friend, now Sugarland vocalist, Kristian Bush; they recorded an album together in the 1980s.)  But it was during his time at Samford University that Roberts’ fashion sense began to evolve and mature from rocker to “preppy college guy with an edge.” He credits Sigma Chi fraternity brother David Parnell with leading the way, “He always looked sharp and had quality garments, not the usual oversized navy blazer.” Parnell introduced Roberts to braces (that’s suspenders for you fashion laypeople, though Roberts notes that “suspenders clip, braces button”) and taught him to tie a bow-tie. By the time Roberts was in his senior year, and president of his fraternity, he had built a full closet of business attire consisting of dozens of coats, suits and shoes, as well as countless ties and braces. “When formal and semi-formal fraternity or sorority parties rolled around all the guys would come borrow ties from my collection. There was actually a check-out list.”

Today Roberts takes fashion advice from two Birmingham clothiers, Greg Brown with Brogue & Cuff for his business attire, and Greg Flowers and the gentlemen at Shaia’s for his casual wear. “Jeff really understands the importance of proper fit,” Brown says, who custom tailors all of Roberts’ suits, shirts and sport coats. Indeed, Roberts is such a fit fanatic that even most of his off-the-rack clothing is subsequently altered by Martha’s Tailoring in Cahaba Heights. A custom tuxedo is on Roberts’ Christmas wish list. “Custom is about more than just fit,” Brown explains, “It is about focusing on lifestyle and details, and Jeff pays a lot of attention to the details in his clothing, which I think reflects an attention to detail in his career as well.” Choosing to be current over trendy and dressing for his slim, athletic body type, Roberts (an avid runner) selects leaner silhouettes, side vents on his jackets and flat front pants. “I think Jeff purposely tones down his wardrobe because of his conservative profession,” Brown surmises.

Dressing for a holiday party, the Style Icon way. With cuff links for almost every occassion, Roberts selects the antiqued gold Christmas Tree links when festive attire is required. Burberry velvet jacket; Brogue & Cuff french cuff shirt; James Avery Crosslet ring. Wool scarf and silk pocket square from Remon's

Therefore, Roberts can push the envelope a bit when it comes to his after-hours attire. “He’s willing to step out of the box,” says Greg Flowers of Shaia’s, “and it’s rare to find a man who can float from work to casual so effortlessly.” With an equally as impressive collection of sport coats for dress as for casual, Roberts maintains a polished look even on the weekends. “He always looks put together,” Flowers notes. Designer Scott James, exclusive to Shaia’s in Alabama, has become a favorite of Roberts. Other preferred designers include: for clothing, Elie Tahari, Dormeuil and Ermenegildo Zegna; for shoes, Alden, Zelli, Cole Haan and Salvatore Ferragamo; and for cuff links, Konstantino.

While Roberts considers his style signature to be shoes, “most people don’t notice what is below your ankles,” he says, “so I am probably more known for my assortment of sport coats and cufflinks.” When it comes to the latter, Roberts wears a set everyday and uses this accessory to subtly express his interests, hobbies and, sometimes, sense of humor. His beloved young nephews literally believe their uncle to be a super-hero, an impression with which Roberts has a little fun, evidenced by the Batman logo cuff links picked up in Vegas. “Sometimes when I make a purchase, particularly something timeless like cuff links, I imagine my nephews fighting over them some day. If they grow up and share a sense of style, I would enjoy it,” he says.  “As for now, at the ages 8 and 3, the only thing they may notice about my wardrobe would be something that has the Batman logo on it. I’m fine trying to be that super hero uncle for them.”

Clearly, more than clothes make this man.

Scott James "Arlen" brown wool/cashmere jacket and "Gino" navy shirt; Gardeur 1920 "Nigel" jeans; Leather Island by Bill Lavin "Free Wheelin' Blue" belt; John Varvatos "Strummer Military" boot; all from Shaia's. Seiko diving watch.

Roberts recently redesigned his closet to accommodate his extensive shoe collection, including styles from Gucci, Ferragamo, Cole Hahn, Donald J. Pliner, Alden, John Varvatos and Tsubo.

Scott James "Arturo" overcoat with wooden buttons; J.Brand jeans; Will Leather Goods "Rock Springs" belt; Ralph Lauren sweater.

Roberts' impressive collection of cuff links includes representations of his career (the bull and the bear), his many interests (duck hunting, Tennessee football) and his tounge-in-cheek alter ego (Batman).

5 Responses to “Style Icon: Jeff Roberts”

  1. Rita Patton says:

    Great article! I have had the pleasure to dine with Jeff and see his beautiful home. I am a fan!

  2. Kim & Alex Ledbetter says:

    I wondered how long we would wait to read an article written in this context about Jeff. Love it, great insight and it is Jeff to a “T”… we are fortunate to call him a friend.
    Jeff, you have always been there for us and (as always) we are so proud of you.
    Kim and Alex

  3. Shannon says:

    Great insight into a great guy!!!

  4. Congrats Jeff. Great article about a good man.

  5. Lisa says:

    I remember those classy bow ties of Roberts’ and Parnell!! Those two Sigma Chi’s always had it going on!! Thank you for sharing this article. Jeff is a sharp man with an amazing sense of style! I love a man that always looks and smells good whether at the office or casual weekend outings!! Sweet!!

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