Yesterday, as I watched the first crop of photographers raise their cameras up to snap their initial round of street style photos for NYFW, I began to think about all those New York icons that won’t be captured during this week. The scope of Fashion Week is actually fairly narrow in comparison to all how vital of a city New York is to the menswear world, and there are countless men who fly under the radar, or simply don’t pop up at all during NYFW, because they’re just working away in their offices far above the frenzy in the streets below.
One such man, who I would deem to be arguably one of the best dressed New Yorkers of all time, (and possibly the best dressed brother in the Lauren family, but let’s not leap down that rabbit hole), is Jerry Lauren. As the older brother of the high emperor of men’s fashion here in the states, (and a favorite subject of one of my favorite photographers, Mister Mort) Jerry was not only a large part of the reason why Ralph decided to go into the industry to begin with (Ralph used to actually wear Jerry’s hand-me-downs growing up), but it was Jerry who first made the move to change his name from Lifshitz to Lauren. Over the years, Jerry has carved out his own respectable niche, not just within the Ralph Lauren company but in respect to his own style as well. In the Ralph Lauren universe, Jerry is the overseer, bearing the title of Executive Vice President of Men’s Creative, and helping to dictate the vision of their men’s brands across the board. At the helm of such a gargantuan ship, Jerry has that old-school, Fifth Ave. workaday businessman look to him, but what I like best about Jerry is how pared down his wardrobe is.
As far as I can gather the man pretty much only wears blue or white shirts, and the occasional polo, often with a cravat thrown in there for good measure. He favors the strong double breasted jacket that Ralph Lauren pushed during the “Blades” days, and that authoritative look carries through in his wide ties and occasional collar pins. To me, Jerry wears Ralph Lauren the way it should be – worn in and beat up, with the same shirt style everyday, and the combinations of trousers and jackets long nailed down. It’s an elusive thing, but Jerry actually embodies that natural spirit that his company aims for year after years. You can tell that Jerry doesn’t step into the Purple Label show room and toss out his wardrobe in exchange for that season’s glossy new wares. He’s a man that’s content wearing what he knows (and has long known) is going to work for him, and for Jerry that’s enough.