Traditional Menswear with a Twist feat. Whit Smith

July 22nd, 2013

Nashville native Whitfield Smith (as previously featured here) is a pro when it comes to blending traditional menswear with eclectic personal style.

On paper he’s a conservative dresser, but he has a knack for using imaginative accessories to make the classics his own.

Here’s three examples of his day-to-day summer style.

    1. Safety First


    Whit embodies “personal style” in the way we try to write about it.

    He’s a relatively traditional dresser who gravitates toward menswear staples, like blue blazers, khaki chinos, and horsebit loafers. That said, he always puts a unique spin on his looks with unexpected accessories that reveal his eclectic personality.

    For example, to replace the lost button on this Brooks Brothers DB blazer, he uses a brass safety pin.


    From his first Articles of Style feature “Thrift Trad & Indie Ornaments featuring Whit Smith“:

    ” I 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 reason Whit can pull-off quirky details like statement pins and a tucked-in tie: he completely owns it.


    This last image made me think of a rarely-mentioned advantage of tapered trousers; you don’t have to roll up your hem to avoid your bicycle chain. Since I’ve started experimenting with fuller-cut trousers, I’ve learned this lesson the hard way…greased up an awesome pair of pleated khakis pretty badly, actually.

    Whit just handles his full break with a clean roll.


    • Blue Striped Dress Shirt by Brooks Brothers
    • Navy DB Blazer by Jos. A Banks
    • Red Missionary Rep Tie by vintage
    • White Floral Pocket Sq by Vintage
    • Watch by Timex
    • Khaki Chinos by Lands End
    • Cotton boll belt from McClellans in Knoxville (my dad’s from the 80s)

    2. Shirt & Tie


    Yes, it’s possible to dress-down an office shirt and tie. As usual, Whit has his own way of doing this.

    It involves a fastened collar, untucked shirt, and a hand-carved “Joy Face” bolo tie he found in Seoul Korea.


    What can I say? The man’s got soul.


    In 1936 George Henry Bass’ shoe company G.H. Bass introduced an adaptation of a Norwegian fishing moccasin called the “Weejun”. They were quickly dubbed “penny loafers” because of the slit “pocket” on the vamp – where you could store a penny should you need it in a pinch.

    Perhaps they should update the slot to fit a folded up $20?


    • 5 panel cap by City Hunter
    • Pale Lavender Dress Shirt by Brooks Brothers
    • Pin back button from One Less Car
    • Navy Chinos by Target
    • Brown Bolo Tie from Seoul
    • Mahogany Penny Loafers by Johnston & Murphy

    3. Summer Grillin’

    Articles of Style_Whit_June2013_Accessories (1 of 8)

    We’ve had some gold teeth, but this officially marks the first time a grill has been featured on Articles of Style.

    And Whit did it in true Southern style, with a seersucker shirt, red chinos, and penny loafers!

    Articles of Style_Whit_June2013_Accessories (3 of 8)

    “My now-wife bought me this grill about a week before we got engaged.

    It’s an 8-tooth set with her middle name, ‘JUNE’, engraved on the front four teeth. It was my college graduation gift.”

    Articles of Style_Whit_Grill-2

    You have to look closely to fully appreciate the charm of Whit’s outfits, like the detailing on this custom hand-tooled leather belt.

    Articles of Style_Whit_June2013_Accessories (6 of 8)

    The super-slim, no-break trouser isn’t Whit’s style.

    He proves that things can be a little sloppy in a good way.

    Articles of Style_Whit_June2013_Accessories (8 of 8)

    • Silver Fronts by Treasurez
    • Blu and White Seersucker Shirt by Brooks Brothers
    • Brown Bolo Tie from Seoul
    • Custom Brown Leather Belt by some guy in South Pittsburg, TN
    • Red Chinos by Lands End
    • Mahogany Penny Loafers by Johnston & Murphy

    Thanks, as always, for reading and special thanks to Whit for participating!

    Yours in style,

    Articles of Style


    Photography by Alex Crawford & Andrew White.  

    • Brooks

      Look 1 is pretty cool, IMHO. I think the tie tuck and the safety pin work, but maybe that’s just the DIYer in me. After that, the titular “twist” turns into a bit of a downward spiral–the untucked dress shirt+collar button+baseball cap looks pretty derpy to me.

      As for look 3 (and again, speaking for only myself), the grill, like fanny packs, aviator-frame glasses, and puffy white trainers, is a piece of clothing that will be permanently relegated to the “unstylish” pile, no matter what you pair it with. I think a better title might be “Tongue-in cheek Traditional,” because this guy seems more goofy than stylish to me.

      All that said, I am still envious of Whit’s pin collection.

    • True_Tech

      really digging look 3, I’ve been trying to build up the courage to rock some red chinos this super, nice to see it done well, and with a grill lol.

    • Brian

      As an uneducated sloth who comes here for inspiration, I will say that this one seemed to cross the line between “fashion foreward and inspiring”, which you guys do so well, and just plain peculiar. My laymens’ opinion of course.

    • Deacon

      To each their own, especially in style I suppose. But this just doesn’t work. While I am all in favor or uniqueness and creativity. There has to be a line drawn in which one looks foolish and one strikes out to the world a piece of their personality implemented in their clothes.

    • Mack1

      Variety is the spice of life, but look 2.!!!

      The whole team should get 5 lashes.

      On a posite note, seems a fun guy to hang out with.

    • The Thespian

      This gentleman just looks sloppy. I understand the avoidance of the “slim” fit but pants that look too big/long on a person is just not flattering. I guess this is his style, but its a fail for me

    • Alex

      This dude doesn’t have style he just does goofy get up day every day

      • BF

        Finally somewhat said it.

        Look #2 is the worst pic in the history of this site.

    • M. Espinosa

      this man has style, i can only wish to get to his level, time for me to step it up

    • A

      Untucked dress shirt looks sloppy as hell. The bolo is just weird.

      Enough has been said about the 3rd look so I’ll just skip that one.

      He comes off as eccentric more than eclectic.

    • jerry feinstein

      be careful where you wear that blue handkerchief, you said your married but someone might have different plans for you….

    • Brent Kuz

      Haha oh boy I was looking for a Webber grille in the photoshoot man I was way off. Kids guy a style I could never pull off. I do like going sockless in summer but not all the time. If ill be out for a good amount of time I prefer socks to soak up the sweat. With a DB blazer I’d wear socks.

    • http://undefined Jeff

      The boy has some great hair..

    • Professor Black

      This guy makes me smile :) He has such a contrived look, yet he does not come across as precocious.

    • Gazman

      Yes I know it is all the rage with stylish men these days – going sockless, but going sockless with a DB and tie??? To each their own but it just looks like he’s rushed out of the house and forgot something.

    • Kevin

      Guys, I love you. You have fantastic insight and advice, feature a unique assortment of fashionable individuals, and visiting your website is now a staple of my day.

      But please retire the term “With a Twist.” I haven’t seen a single outfit on here that does not have some sort of “twist”, whether it be an accessory, a color choice, or just the dimension of a piece of clothing. At this point, I say just give TSBMen the tagline “Menswear With A Twist” and retire the term after that.

    • Jack

      This dude looks like a Mumford and Sons stand-in.

    • cam

      less is more

    • BF

      LOL…this guy is pretty funny — (There no way he can be serious with the grill)

      On the flip side, I can be funny by saying:

      -It’s not surprising the North won the Civil war

      – Thank god I live downtown Chicago and not in Nashville.

      • Wes

        Neither of those statements were funny, unlike Whit’s grill.

        • Immanuel

          HAHA. Wes’ comment was funnier than the original joke.

      • Marshall Mulherin

        Wow what the hell is with you hating on the South dude. Yew guyz up Norf may bee smarter then uss butt w’ere stil peepul two….

    • TT

      Hope that grill is a joke. And a bad one at that. Southern white guy repping the ghetto real hard. I bet his nonexistent black friends get a real kick out of that.

      • Parker

        Nice man! Everyone knows NO black people live in the south. And of course, any black person would be offended to see a white person wearing a grill. You’re so right! Man, it’s good you know so much about this guy and his friends to make a comment like this!

        • TT

          Totally, “Parker!” It’s totally cool when laid back, totally fun, totally awesome white bros wear things that originated from poor black communities in like a totally awesome ironic way! I should just laugh and not feel offended at all, as a black person, because I’ve never met the guy! He’s probably like, totally awesome and totally cool.

          As you so bizarrely point out, I insinuate that there’s “no black people [in] the south” (???) and that “any black person” would be offended by this! Hey, you know what, Parker? This one is.

          Hey TSB, looking forward to your next post with a white guy in an afro wig throwing up a black power fist. Ya hire one dude from Texas and look what happens.

          • Parker

            You’re racist.

          • Parker

            By your logic, no white person can ever wear a grill, or anything that originated in the black community. That’s so incredibly closed-minded.

            • TT

              I’m racist? No white person can do “anything that originated in the black community?”

              I think I’m done responding to you. I’ve made the point I came to make. Your arguments are sophomoric and unworthy of being responded to. Hate to break it to you, Parker, but the vast majority of things white Americans have done culture-wise, in the last 75 years, has originated from the black community. Listen to Rock, Hip-Hop or Jazz? The mainstreaming of professional sports? Read a history book, dude. Learn about racial appropriation and the master/slave dialectic and stop knee-jerk accusing people of racism.

              If my man “Whitfield” had, maybe his girlfriend wouldn’t have bought him a hilarious gold grill for graduation.

              • Parker

                TT! That’s exactly the point I was trying to make! In your first response, it sounded like you were saying it was wrong that a white person did something that originated in the black community. Clearly, I was DEAD wrong. I completely misinterpreted your post, and I apologize.

                It would be idiotic to say white people aren’t influenced by black culture. Hell, Dan and Wes wear Jordans all the time, a brand started by one of the most famous black men in recent history!

                Again, I apologize for the misunderstanding, but I don’t think you should judge this guy so harshly on the basis of a picture.

    • AK

      I can get down with almost all of this guy’s gig. Liking a lot of what he’s bringing. The tucked in tie and the one rolled up pants leg might be taking it a bit too far though. Perhaps it feels a little too theatrical or contrived? He does own it though, so all the power to him.

      • AK

        Addendum: The rolled up pants and tucked in tie for biking purposes totally makes sense.

    • Bob

      That roll is not high enough to clear any chain ring. Guessing it was rolled down a notch for the purpose of the photo shoot?

      Another option if rolling up high cramps your style: wrap the mid calf with something to take in the slack.

    • Marshall Mulherin

      This man’s wearing a grill! That’s what’s up

    • Mag

      I really enjoy the history you guys provide about the items, it gives every outfit a whole new dimension. Looked into the penny loafers, as I’m norwegian, and it is really cool seeing how the idea behing the Weejun has developed throughout the years. My grandfathers shoe collection is even more interesting now.