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Trendsetter Jonathan Baker, Photography by Troy Stains

To the Nines

by Jennifer E. Sheu | Jezebel magazine | November 28, 2011

I have zero knowledge about menswear. It has always seemed so “background” compared to the range and artistry that define women’s fashion. So, at the beginning of my shopping expedition with Jonathan Baker, for his shopping story in the December issue of JEZEBEL (stay tuned!), my expectations were low.

Meeting point: Sid Mashburn in the Westside Provisions District, a strictly-for-men outfitter. Upon entering, I was overwhelmed by the definite “men’s store vibe,” The racks and shelves were teeming with crisp shirts and clean suiting, and the smartly dressed staff (recently featured in GQ’s Most Stylish, I might add) was quick to make nice and introduce themselves, along with proffering drinks at the early hour of 11AM.

The doorbells jangled, announcing the entrance of a young fellow outfitted in a multihued button-down shirt over a neon yellow tee paired with brown slacks. I knew this was the “quirky-cute” Jonathan I had been told to look out for. After a quick survey of the shop, and with the help of a dapper staffer, Matt Lambert, Jonathan was sent to the fitting room with a pair of off-the-rack jeans. After a step up onto the tailoring altar and few pins placed here and there—voilà—he was set with enviably well-fitting jeans. “They’ll be ready at 5PM,” chimed Lambert. With that, we went on our way.

Next on the list: socks. A quick jaunt to Urban Outfitters on Ponce proved fruitless—nothing here. A stroll down the street to Bill Hallman gave Jonathan much more to play with. The front-of-store glass casings held a collection of flattop sunglasses that piqued his interest. His pick? A unique antiqued-gold framed pair that he donned and deemed a “yes.” After perusing the store’s surfeit of offerings, we left with two blazers and a shirt.

Jonathan was determined to make a stop at DrewLewis’ blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Midtown location. The dimly lit asylum of modern haberdashery whispered classicism at its finest. Jonathan was quick to notice a bright orange Jack Spade briefcase, and soon after spotted a crisp white shirt with just the right amount of pop to suit his envisioned outfit.

A three-store stop at Lenox Square concluded Jonathan’s search for the perfect ensemble. Aldo’s collection with Mr. B’s provided a handsomely bold pair of cognac-hued, wing-tipped oxfords—thankfully, we were able to nab the last pair in his size. A sprint to the J. Crew men’s shop led to the purchase of two more of Jonathan’s defining accessories—a set of booklets for on-the-go note keeping, and a pair of socks meant to be seen. After a quick browse through Urban Outfitters’ men’s section and again coming up with nil, a brief glance at the women’s section led to an “aha!” moment—and the finishing touch: a dashing scarf flecked with color.

With outfit components in tow, we made the journey back to Sid Mashburn to collect Jonathan’s tailored jeans (completed promptly on time), eagerly awaiting the fruition of the day’s efforts. A few minutes after stepping into the fitting room, Jonathan emerged wearing an ensemble that wowed. Eager to see it yourself? Stay tuned for the December issue of JEZ and get inside the mind of the clothing connoisseur himself.