Style Icon: Jon C. “JC” Conlin


Jon C. “JC” Conlin

Attorney & Father

Written by Tracy James  Photographed by Chuck St. John

JC's daughter Grace welcomes her dad home on a Friday afternoon, ready for a daddy/daughter weekend to begin. On JC: Ermenegildo Zegna jacket, Luchino Visconti shirt, 7 for All Mankind jeans and Saks Fifth Avenue belt

Back in his high school days at Indian Springs, it would be rare to catch Jon “JC” Conlin in anything other than t-–shirts, Umbro shorts or torn jeans, and either flip-flops or his favorite Adidas Gazelles (blue or red, always). Now a 39-year-old Birmingham attorney and father, JC resigns that, while he is perhaps still that guy at heart, with the passing of time and building of a successful law practice, he has moved to a tailored, business casual style, “business casual” being the de-rigeur dress code for his firm and many other respected Birmingham businesses. Upon my suggestion that, in my experience conducting office fashion seminars, the words “tailored” and “business casual” seem to be mutually exclusive, JC agrees, suggesting that many men overlook the importance of quality fit and fabric. “A well thought out business casual ensemble will always present better than a cheap or ill-fitted suit,” JC says.

Tailored clothing requires the assistance of an experienced clothier with attention to detail, which is why JC relies on the top-of-the-line service from Birmingham retailers Remon’s and Shaia’s. Additionally, with the time constraints of work and being a father to a 4-year-old, shopping online from stores like Nordstrom is a welcome convenience. “Who doesn’t like to get packages delivered in the mail? Even if it is from yourself,” JC says with a smile.

When working in his Southside office, JC has no need to fuss with a tie and will often roll up the sleeves of his crisp button-down, especially in Birmingham’s summer heat. Paired with a sleek pair of flat-front trousers and well-made shoes (Ferragamo, Gravati, Mezlan are favorites), this look can carry him from a contentious afternoon business meeting to dinner with friends after work. A Friday might be slightly more causal, adding designer jeans and edgy boots to the mix. Comfort is especially key when spending time with daughter Grace.

That said, JC is quick to point out that for hearings, depositions, trials, or important presentations, he will always don the customary suit and tie: “There is a respected professionalism associated with a good suit that you just cannot achieve with anything else.” Fittingly, when asked about any style icons of his own, JC references TV’s Mad Men: “Sounds cliché, but how could you go wrong with the clean lines and tailored suits of Don Draper or Roger Sterling?” And while he welcomes risk taking when it comes to style, JC acquiesces, “I can’t get into the skinny tie, and I’ll never be in the vanguard of any movement to bring back the fedora.”

Grace sits in her special houndstooth game-day chair wearing her daddy's lucky hat, autographed by Joe Namath, which JC dons for every Alabama football game. On Grace: monogrammed Rosalina dress.

A fashion risk JC is willing to take is to experiment with vibrant color, pattern and texture, and he counts these unexpected pop—whether via a colorful silk tie, whimsical cuff links or patterned shirt—as part of his signature style. Favorite designers of the latter include Robert Graham, English Laundry, Hugo Boss, and Eton. Perhaps this often eclectic combination is what inspires one of JC’s partners to refer to his look as “Nantucket hipster.” While JC doesn’t profess to know what this means or whether it is even a compliment, he does know that he never latched on to what he describes as “the preppy or conservative Brooks Brothers/Polo/khakis look so prevalent in Birmingham; it just seemed so boring.” Hipster or not, one look with which JC plans never to experiment is skinny jeans: “Just don’t do it,” he advises himself, “And I’m pretending those man-leggings never happened.”

Fashion-forward faux pas are hardly a problem among professional men in Birmingham. JC suggests that conformity seems to be the norm, noting that as a city, we seem to often be about two seasons behind a lot of the national trends, a circumstance he attributes to the core conservative values that permeate Alabama, a status quo so comfortable that many folks have trouble breaking out of it, even when it comes to style. “A little personal flair never killed anyone,” JC attests, “but it helped get a lot of people noticed who otherwise would have just been another face in the crowd.”

An after-school sweet treat at Johnny Rockets. On JC: Maurizio Baldassari shirt, Zanella pant, Saks Fifth Avenue belt. On Grace: Nest Couture dress.

Links made from British pounds decorate the cuffs of a Robert Graham shirt.

JC got his first pair of Mark Nason boots in 2003 at Chicago's famed clothing store, Mark Shale. Since then he has become a fan, owning at least 12 pair over the years, and enjoying the edge that the rocker-inspired boots add to office attire.

JC's leather jacket, bought many years ago in Florence, Italy, has finally achieved that perfect "broken in" quality.

One Response to “Style Icon: Jon C. “JC” Conlin”

  1. Don says:

    Where can I buy mark nason boots

    Thx

    Don

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