Some Sault For Your Style
There are a lot of things that I like about style. Each morning, you choose to express who you are, and your many complexities, with whatever you choose to cover your boobs or noobs with. You are the Di Vinci and you are the code. How liberating. There are just some things that are SO cool (should I mention turtleneck sweaters?) that make me question why I ever questioned fashion, why I continuously feel like I have nothing in my closet, or why I really do think that Buzzfeed is better than CNN. On the other hand, whenever I scratch my head and squint my eyes towards the black hole my closet it really irritates me. The reason for this season is this: women have more options than men. Bringing me to what could be the end-all, be-all question of my existence: do women have more style than men? Fuck that, I have more style than my mother! I simply have yet to live as long as her so therefore can’t easily know what I’m going to wear every day. I am still coming into my own, cultivating my style, figuring out that turtlenecks actually make me look the garment’s reptile namesake. However, when I am trying to get dressed before I am late to work, I can’t be satisfied with the fact that I am not as aged as my matriarch, that I do not fully know the answer to every question in the world, more importantly to my style conundrums. Yes, that is truth, but truth will not clothe my body.
Why is it that women seem to have more style than men? Fundamentally, we wear equal amounts of clothing. The quantitative—arguably qualitative, too— difference in retail stores between men and women is something that I think should be brought forth to the UN. However, it never will because clothes are just clothes. They aren’t saving lives. People save lives. Well, I know not every hero wears a cape, but I’m sure, at least legally, our heroes aren’t naked.
I know that all of my heroes are well dressed. In fact, that is absolutely why they are my heroes. Some people just seem to know every answer to the problem that is getting dressed in the morning. They know to put their right leg in their pant before their left, something that I thought I had figured out. Schooling you on everything you wish you knew about fashion and expressing yourself by just standing in their clothes, something that I have definitely NOT yet figured out. Those are my superheroes.
I have many female style icons (God bless you, Leandra Medine), but I struggle to find someone that can be embodied in my clothes. I can take from women, but only so far until I am suggesting something besides the fact that what I am wearing is totally awesome. Since there are more options for women, there are fewer male superheroes. When I look for morning inspiration I want so much more than to have to resort to the last four pages of a J. Crew catalog. There are few resources to produce my regalia and a lack of icons. What gives?
Stylistic merit should not be so hard to find. It isn’t impossible, however. There are stylish men. Those men wear clothes and buy clothes from men’s stores. Those stores, although may be a needle in a haystack, are actually hammers, and have really hit the nail on the head.
Clothes do not make the man, so I have heard, which is why I run. I could never miss leg day, which is how I happened to come across Sault New England.
My run route goes through my favorite neighborhood in Boston, South End. This seriously cool, seriously residential area is home to many shops and restaurants that adhere to the swank city lifestyle that I totally buy into. That day I was doing the opposite of my usual (hanging to the left) and was hanging to the right of Tremont Street and in my 36th minute (okay, my 6th minute, it doesn’t take that long to get to South End) I had taken notice of a sign that read, quite possibly, two of my favorite letters, GQ. Whenever I see these two beautifully round loyal members of the alphabet, my heart does a hop over the G, a skip through the Q and a jump for joy. I read GQ religiously, but I had never heard of this shop. If I have never heard of this shop, do I even read GQ? At first, I ran past it. I couldn’t possibly go in my running gear. What if GQ was in there?? Exactly… What if GQ was in there? I went in.
My workout threads were not prepared for this stylistic merit. Sault New England is New England in modern menswear. It is aged, but timeless. The store observes traditional American sartorial, but narrates a story of heritage from brands like Jack Spade and Penfield. Sault immediately felt as if it was supplying a lifestyle that was trendy, yet personal. Tastemaking is their focus. They sell armor, not just the suit.
This was so GQ.
There was one other person in the store, an assumed employee. I asked him the connection to the men’s magazine. The store was one of twenty-five stores selected to take part in GQ’s How To, a dapper month long event to feature independent retail men’s shops. I told him how thrilled I was to find this store. A nook where I could potentially find my cranny into style.
As soon as I left the store, I took out my phone to text my friend about my findings. I searched for an instagram for evidence. I came across Sault’s Instagram, saultnewengland; found the described employee to be the store’s owner (casual) and a significant social media presence (Their Instagram is a great style inspiration board, trust me).
Before I returned to this contradiction of everything I have previously fought for, I made sure to go in dressed to impress, as if being a superhero were my job. I was greeted by Philip Saul, the once employee, now store owner/superhero. He was dressed in a white button down with a navy bandana knotted around his neck, rolled up light wash denim, and Jack Purcell converse. Again, causal. Just kidding, SO. COOL.
We made light conversation as I browsed the store. I picked up a book in the store called Street Style and mentioned that it seemed almost impossible to dress like these people. He responded with “they didn’t just buy those clothes, they collected them.”–This is exactly what I mean by some people just seem to get it—I swear, on my own grave, because those words have me practically dead, that I have not shopped the same since. We talked for maybe another two minutes. He mentioned style advice that his father had given him, which I wish so badly that I could echo but can’t because I was so hung up on the groundbreaking news he dropped on me like Hiroshima. I bought How to Be a Man by Glenn O’Brien and left.
This conversation with Saul has flooded over into an on-going debate with my closet. Do I really have style like I think I do? Is it cool or “collected” enough to be featured in a book on street style? Moreover, what goes into style? What makes it and how? These are things I was sure Saul had some insight on.
Philip Saul has become a super hero of mine. Except, his ways aren’t so super. The weather dictates how he gets dressed in the morning. His style is “never-ironed” and “lived in.” Who needs an iron to cultivate their style? Not Philip, not I. Sure, style is ever evolving, but Saul has fashioned a space for men to come to mold their own.
Shop Sault New England at 577 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02118 or www.saultne.com
Photograph credit to Chris Garcia