Thrift Trad feat. Whit Smith
April 29th, 2013
Personal style is just that; personal. It represents you as an individual – your experiences, your personality, your lifestyle, etc.
For that reason, it’s difficult to give “style advice” to a mass audience.What we try to do at Articles of Style, rather, is showcase a range of individuals who have unique personal style, and ask them to describe their clothing choices.
Like most of Alex’s Southern friends, Nashville Tennessee native Whit Smith is a unique character full of personality. And, as you would expect, so are his outfits. Here Whit tells us about the evolution of his eclectic, thrift-heavy Southern style, and his clever use of unusual accessories to create a persona that is as interesting as he is.
1. Old School, My Way
“I have few routines in my life and one of them is going to work. ‘Business attire’ is mandatory at my job, which is delightful because I enjoy wearing a silly strip of cloth around my neck, truly. I even wipe my face with my long ties, which is why they were invented in the first place.”
“I also collect vintage pins and pin-back buttons and affix them to almost all of the items I wear. It’s a homage to my roots listening to punk/metal, and a nod to the still thriving underground/indie scene here in Nashville. I have about one hundred and fifty buttons at this point, with very few that I wouldn’t wear.”
“The tie clip is a silver-colored bar with an tiny reverse engraving of a naked Marilyn Monroe, encapsuled in polyeurethane. My wife bought it for me at a antique store in Dyersburg, TN.
The top button I bought at Little Hamilton Collective, a sort of catch-all anarcho-crust punk music venue that unfortunately closed down a few months ago. It pictures a dilapidated wall and boarded-up window that could have come straight from the side-scrolling beat ’em up games of yesteryear (see: Streets of Rage 2). The significance of this button to me is that although I spent many years as a child submerged in a false idea of the ‘urban’ or ‘marginalized’, I now know these places to exist and to be real in themselves as they are. It also serves as a reminder to the undesirable places in the world that most people forget to remember.
The upside-down tie-dye peace sign signifies a rejection of modern New Age hippiedom; and it’s a nice reminder of the vestiments of the Catholic priests in my parish.”
2. Like Father, Like Son
“I’ve always been oppositionally defiant. As I’ve gotten older, though, I have mellowed my style from a neo-hiphop glamour kid to a more subtle style via my father. My father is a self-described ‘clotheshorse’ who worked at a men’s clothing store through college in order to afford a respectable wardrobe. I finally conceded that I was turning into my father about three years ago, and have started to dress accordingly.
I have a full time job with the state government and have recently gotten married, so gone are the days of pseudo-avante-garde ‘clothes as art’ feebleness that I attempted before I stopped drinking. Now my laziness is truly rewarded: I only buy clothes that compliment eachother – so I can minimize decisions in the closet.”
“My jacket was a darling find at the local Goodwill store. Being a University of Tennessee fan, I first noticed the color; a sort of singed orange. Upon checking the interior lining, however, I was dismayed to find that it said ‘The Clemson University Blazer’. I have only told a few of its official designation, and have decided that I like this shade better than Tennessee orange.
My button says ‘I CAME TO FREAK’ which is an homage to the Freakin’ Weekend, an annual garage/punk/indie festival put on by the good people at Nashville’s Dead. Plus, I always ‘come to freak’ in any situation.”
“I’m wearing my father’s late 80s alligator Cole Haan’s that I found tucked away in his closet, covered in a thick layer of dust.”
3. My Two Cents
“I’m wearing a vintage Bill Cosby button on this thrifted green blazer because firstly, I like Bill Cosby, and secondly, he’s suavely holding his jacket over his shoulder and looks like a badass.”
“This bow tie was recently gifted to me by my friend who was gifted the tie by an ex-girlfriend, and in light of a new relationship, decided it was time to clean house.”
“The Tennessee belt is from Volunteer Traditions, a southeastern/TN-themed clothing manufacturer.”
“I rarely wear socks with my loafers because I grew up watching my father do the same.
As soon as I got these loafers, I walked to the bank and asked for their two shiniest pennies. The teller looked up and said, ‘do you have your bank account number handy?’ We laughed as I withdrew two cents.”
Thanks, as always, for reading and special thanks to Whit for participating!
Yours in style,
Photography by Alex Crawford.