Style Inspiration from Classic Novels feat. Chuck Martell

April 24th, 2012

Style is about the individual. Your outward appearance represents, in some capacity, who you are on in the inside – your personality, individuality, etc.

With that said, we’re always looking for new guests to feature and share their personal sense of style. When I heard that Townsend’s friend Chuck, a literary buff and style enthusiast, often combines his two passions into literary-inspired looks, we had to make it happen.

“I’m Chuck Martell.  I’m the product presentation and marketing manager for the Rugby flagship store on University Place in NYC, as well as a freelance stylist, creative consultant and all around nerd. I live with two good friends in Harlem and am originally from right outside of Boston. I spend my time reading, fantasizing about clothes, and hanging out with my incredible (and fantastically talented) group of friends. Also, I swear I’m not a pretentious asshole.”

    1. John Steinbeck / The American Dustbowl


    “John Steinbeck was my first ‘grown-up’ author.  I was assigned The Red Pony for summer reading one year in elementary school, and I really took to his writing.

    I was raised listening to my grandmother’s stories of growing up in Boston during the depression and quickly became fascinated by Steinbeck’s stories of the same period from California to the midwest.”


    • Green suspenders by Rugby RL
    • Driver’s cap by Rugby RL
    • Knife necklace by Bing Bang
    • Yellow pants by Levi’s VIntage Clothing
    • Olive shirt by Levi’s VIntage Clothing
    • Brown lace-ups by Ralph Lauren
    • Beige henley by Ralph Lauren Polo

    2. F. Scott Fitzgerald / American Sportswear


    “First off, I fully acknowledge that it’s obvious and incredibly cliché to cite F.Scott, but there really is no way of avoiding him.  His work has truly influenced my perspective above everything else.”


    “I was assigned The Great Gatsby sophomore year of High School; we reviewed the passage where Gatsby ends the tour of his mansion (with Nick and Daisy) by casually throwing his English-made shirts into the air, in his dressing room.  The shirts flew beautifully through the “East Egg” light and settled elegantly on the floor.”

    I read this right before my spring break and confirmation. The next week, I spent my break, and all my confirmation money, in Manhattan, where the highlight of the vacation was a trip to the Ralph Lauren mansion on 72nd to pick up such beautiful shirts.”





    • Green plaid shirt by Rugby RL
    • Brown herringbone tweed jacket by Ralph Lauren
    • Blue tie by Ralph Lauren
    • Brown herringbone tweed vest by Ralph Lauren
    • Khaki chinos by Ralph Lauren Polo

    3. Jack Kerouac / Beats


    “As I got older, and a little more rebellious, I got really into the Beats.  I loved the meandering cynicism and how switching up traditional grammar and composition made it feel as if I was reading an entirely different language.

    I also really dug the clothes; the idea that you could pair traditional classics with a totally badass leather jacket. This sense of style definitely influences the way I dress today.”


    • Cream aran sweater by Rugby RL
    • Olive pants by Balenciaga
    • Beret by Rugby RL
    • Brown leather belt by Rugby RL
    • Black motorcycle jacket Vintage

    4. Jack London / Call of the Wild


    “As an awkward only child in the Boston suburbs, I spent a lot of time alone. And bored.

    I became such a voracious reader as a method of escape and a desire for adventure. Enter Jack London.”


    “I ran around my ‘cookie-cutter’ development like it was the Yukon during the gold rush.

    Even if all of my expeditions these days happen within the confines of New York City, I still like to occasionally dress as if I’m on a wild adventure.”


    • Green oil cloth bomber jacket by Ralph Lauren
    • Tan suede pants by Ralph Lauren
    • Brown hunting belt by Ralph Lauren
    • Brown boots by Ralph Lauren
    • Tan foldable travel hat by Minnetonka
    • Beige henley by Ralph Lauren Polo

    5. Bret Easton Ellis / “L.A.” Cool


    “Bret Easton Ellis became a favorite of mine shortly after I moved to New York for school as a freshman.

    I was a fairly sheltered kid but I quickly found myself surrounded (and fascinated) by the indulgent, debauched nightlife scene in Downtown New York.

    His characters were languidly beautiful types, that lined up outside of Don Hills for MisShapes parties, prepared with fake IDs and affected apathy.”



    • Suit by Vivenne Westwood MAN
    • Tiger stripe sweater by Maharishi
    • Wayfarer sunglasses by Ray-Ban
    • Black monkstrap shoes by Ralph Lauren

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

    Yours in style,

    Dan Trepanier


    Photography by Alex Crawford. 

    • Lasse

      Fuckin´hell this is awesome!

    • Victor

      I liked everything except the last style, but that’s just me. Just not my style and I don’t ever think I could pull it of. Let’s also flip the table on one thing here: “Why do you have to assure people that you aren’t a “pretentious asshole”? Let’s instead ask: “Why would you asume a person you’ve never met is a pretentious asshole from the way he looks in some photos?”

      Who’s being shallow here? I’ll give you a hint. It’s not the one defending himself from rash, first impression judgements of his character.

    • CLD

      I happen to know this guy fairly well and can tell you that this is who he is. 100% uncalculated. 100% genuine. One of the chilliest people you’ll meet. Supreme taste. Big up chuck!

    • dave

      I wish there were links to purchase some of these items. #2 F. Scott, is all amazing stuff. The pants with a hole – awesome touch. If there are ways to get some of these clothes online, please let me know. Thanks!

    • Adyna

      Instead of the negative comments (no disrespect, everyone has his own opinion)..has anyone thought that maybe this is who he really is and he`s not afraid to show it. Maybe some people don`t understand his way..that only means his has a unique way to go. I know people who don`t wear many of the clothes they own cuz they think to much of what other people say. Chuck is a good example with a very clear message: people should wear outfits that represents them..from head to toes.

      For someone who pass you by, you`re a stranger, that person doesn`t know what you think! or do! and the only impression he/she gets are the 2 seconds when they notice your face expression and your outfit. You decide what you what you show to the people: someone who you really are..or someone that you`re not.

      • TO

        At first I saw this post and thought, “New York City, unique dresser, literary influences, cool” and didn’t give it a negative thought. Seeing others’ reactions in a way introduced a shadow of a doubt for me when I looked back over the post- “oh maybe there is something wrong here”. So unintentally I became influenced and looked back with seeds of confirmation bias regarding a “costume-appeal”. I started to see it a bit and then I realized to myself “Oh yeah, he dresses differently…and that’s the whole point… He got an outstanding job based on his creativity and dressing by drawing influence from the past, something he is obviously passionate about and talented at [which is also something we all do to varying degrees, so the argument could be made that we are all wearing ‘costumes’:]… And he lives in New York City where people would not be ‘phased’ but actually will embrace something different… And oh yeah so do I.”

    • hj

      those suede pants are so hard to find!

    • BF

      Am I open to seeing new looks and ways to dress ? = yes

      I respect the guy for his “look”.

      But from the “I’m not an asshole” combined with the “mantle” items it’s coming off as completely different from most of the galleries on this site.

      Dan appears at ease and comfortable in his gallery pics, whereas these pics show a young guy simply trying too hard.

      Regardless, keep up the varied content.

    • Casey Flah

      I personally know Chuck and this is how he dresses daily. It’s not a costume! If you knew Chuck you’d get it. It’s just his style , he’s a bit out there and that’s why we love him!

      • cam

        just b/c he dresses this way everyday, does not mean its not a costume. its clearly a costume or so many would not be pointing to the fact. i have no real problem with it as long as you own it and don’t feel the need to defend yourself by stating “i swear, im not a pretentious asshole”. that alone says it all. you should see someone and say “wow, that guy looks nice, oh and what a nice jacket he has on”. in other words, your clothing should not be noticed before you are noticed. thats obviously not the case here. just my opinion of course

    • alton

      if i had that dude’s sweet hair, i’d never wear a hat!

    • Jake

      why do you have to assure people that you aren’t a “pretentious asshole”?

      • Adyna

        he shouldn`t..but unfortunately, maybe cuz sometimes people hurry up on judging others..

      • Sam

        It seems like he knew he was putting himself out there and wanted to show a sense of humor about it…looks like everyone else should try havig one of those too. Plus he’s cute and wearing balenciaga, so I say cheers!

    • Don the kong

      It’s more costume than style.

      • Joe

        Exactly what I was thinking. Except for a couple of the looks. All of these are too costume-y.

    • Simon Hawkin

      Too many commenters need to chill out. Come on, guys, let’s have a game or something. Nothing wrong with a playful attitude to the wardrobe.

      I like this feature. It shows how, even though the clothes do not make the man, a man can choose the clothes to change the mood and the whole atmosphere. Some of the stylistic choices may be too forward, but overall a very nice presentation.

    • Leonardo

      I really enjoy the idea of this editorial, it’s good. Congrats!

    • Anthony

      Seriously??? C’mon guys.

    • Jonni

      Man! So many critical and negative comments! I think this is a great idea, and kudos to Chuck for thinking outside the box. People are taking this WAY too seriously.

      • Adyna

        Great comment Jonni!


    • Tad

      Of these listed authors, Kerouac is my favorite. And of these looks (which, you know, it’s a cute idea), the Kerouac one is the only one that gives me a tiny pain behind my eyes. It’s just not right. At all. More respect for Jack, yo.

    • Craig W
      • pete

        It’s sad when somebody writes: “IF YOU’RE GOING TO TRY, GO ALL THE WAY. OTHERWISE, DON’T EVEN START.” and than posts trolled photo And than you understand that blogs author is right, the guy in the picture was not trying enough. Moreover this should not be photo, but b&w movie (XIX style) and guy should be running through some xxxx old town ruins and screaming: I FOUND IT, I FOUND IT…. The (place some artifact you like here) is mine!!!
        Is that what author meant by going all the way??

      • Adyna

        If this is your best Craig, it takes only a second to imagine your worst.

    • Carlo-Antonio

      Very Interesting Post! Enjoyed the looks. Looks 2 and 5 are my favorites. One thing though, As a voracious whiskey/scotch drinker :), please tell me you don’t keep that decanter in the sun like that.

    • An

      Nice costumes.

    • K

      There’s a ton of sick items this guy has, and by themselves he wears them well, I’m sure. But these looks and that mantle-piece are so contrived. Honestly? You BOUGHT a moose-jaw?

    • Anonymous

      could have had some fun with a hunter s. thompson inspired look..

    • Adam

      Not particularly a fan of the looks, but that’s just my own opinion and I respect your sense of style. one thing I will say though is that forewarning people that you’re not a pretentious asshole is sort of a great way of making people think you are one.

    • cm

      I’d be a lot more into this if Chaz had ever read anything by a woman or person of color. I guess white guys learn from white guys, and the beat goes on.

      • ESR

        A rather harsh reply and assumption you make there. Just because the outfits pictured are inspired by writers who happen to be white men, it doesn’t mean our friend Chuck has never read anything beyond that. I’d venture to say that as a”voracious reader” he certainly has. These are just some nice starting points for basic time period outfits that he happens to like. If that’s his style, then so be it.

      • D

        Are you implying Chuck should be dressing like a woman? Do black men somehow dress differently than white men? The fact that he drew style inspirations from white men is because HE IS A WHITE MAN. Maybe if he were black or a woman, he’d draw more inspiration from a black or female writer, but he’s neither.

        People always have to bring up race when there’s really no need for it.

    • Vidal

      This was a rather interesting post. Although I didn’t find it particularly applicable in the sense of ‘advice’ or ‘tips’ that I generally look for in most posts, it was interesting to get a look at someone else’s style, and the mindset that informs that style. I look forward to getting to pick the brains of some of SB’s other associates and seeing not just what they wear, but why they choose to do so. Keep’em coming SB!

    • Ambyr

      He has fantastic style. I love the vintage, rustic feel. His looks totally portray that he’s lived and loved, expressed through his clothes. My favorite look is the F. Scott Fitzgerald / Classic American Sportswear. Classic and chic.


    • Awesome

      This post is amazing! So much different than the usual posts on here, but equally as cool!

    • Adyna

      O..and..that D`Artagnan cat :) or wthatever name she/he has..luv it!!

    • Adyna

      This is a different post but not differently of what you like. It`s actually, incredible and it gets even more interesting as I read his story. In 18 photos you throw an entier history. I think you couldn`t find a more appropriate person for this kind of post than Chuck. My favorite part is: “I became such a veracious reader as a method of escape and a desire for adventure. Enter Jack London.” Tell Chuck it was an honor to read his style story, of course we couldn`t without you guys. Great post, and Alex, great photos!

    • Anon

      Appears to be a lack of identity going on here. Maybe too literal of an interpretation for me.

      And that cat looks like a ‘fox eared asshole.’ (Couldn’t let this get away without the Archer reference.)

    • TO

      The blue duck tie is QUAKTASTIC! (couldn’t help it- no actually, it is really amazingly cool) and the herringbone scale mix is just great! Neat double button detail on the pants in the first look as well…

      Wow, this guys really can ‘articulate’ through style so well- no wonder he holds that position at Rugby! Thanks for sharing SB x Mr. Martell!

    • Daniel

      “Style is about the individual. Your outward appearance represents, in some capacity, who you are on in the inside – your personality, individuality, etc.”

      So begins a feature in which, outwardly, Chuck’s style drastically changes from look to look. Inwardly, though, his style is consistent: costumes inspired by his favorite authors. While I only wear a costume at a costume party – I say this without judgment, as they are consciously worn as costumes (right?) – that Chuck wears these says far more about who he is on the inside, who he is *as an individual*, than what many people wear on a day-to-day basis.

      Food for thought indeed. Also, I’d like to commend Townsend for how he deals with less positive comments. Mark of a gentleman!

    • Joe

      The collar pin in look two??? Vintage? Safety Pin?

    • Literary Pedant

      “I became such a veracious reader…”; that should read “voracious”.

    • MrJBeee

      1,2,5 are looks you def could wear. Feeling this post! Keep up the good work guys!

    • Dan L.

      cool post. what’s the necklace in the last look?

    • cam

      so is this a piece on how to dress in costume? im sorry, but im confused

      • Townsend

        Just some outfits “inspired” by great American authors. Fashion/style for thought. Thanks for reading!

    • shey

      Now this is refreshing, a lot of the guy’s style that you post are a lot like yours, nothing wrong with that SB you have a great style but this guy’s style is something different! I love it!

    • Oli

      Some incredible pieces in there, but all together it gets a little ‘costumey’ for everyday wear

      • Townsend

        This post was inspired by Chuck’s favorite authors… it was always intentionally “costumey”. These are slightly exaggerated looks to evoke a sense of a literary theme/time period. Thanks for reading!

        • An

          all fine and dandy if this wasn’t a fashion blog.

    • Lisa

      This. Is. Awesome.

      Nice work SB team!