When it comes to having a keen sartorial eye and being able to determine what's going to be the next "it" item, Wendell Brown is your guy. So we caught up with the editor for our latest installment of Trendsetters at Work.
Keep reading to find out Wendell's savviest career advice, which fashion brands fill his closet and how he went from working at Neiman Marcus during his college years to being the senior fashion editor at Esquire.
What was your very first job?
I worked at Neiman Marcus during college selling women's accessories. I just had to be in a glamorous environment!
How did you get started in your career?
My interest in fashion started when I was a small child. I had very stylish parents, and I knew then that style was an essential part of life. I watched James Bond movies obsessively throughout my childhood—I think I can even recite some of them!—and was completely captured by Bond's impeccable style. Later on, I attended Parsons School of Design, interned at Prada, and worked at Bergdorf Goodman. Throughout these experiences, I was lucky to meet a lot of dynamic people who helped me jumpstart my career. I got a lot breaks through contacts I had made.
Who are some of your career heroes?
My family serves as a constant source of inspiration. They were extremely successful, and so I use that to motivate me. I also know some wonderful people in the industry who inspire me: my best friend Frank, designer Michael Bastian, designer Matthew Zink, Paul Wilmot, Bethann Hardison, Bevy Smith. Other style heroes include Erykah Badu, Ed Bradley, Halston, Bruce Weber, Cher, Calvin Klein, Patrick Kelly, and Fran Lebowitz, to name a few.
What's a typical workday like for you?
Fortunately almost every day is different. But I spend a lot of time editing clothes for shoots, casting and making model selections, going on appointments to meet with designers, blogging for the Esquire site, attending meetings regarding photo shoot concepts, meeting with photographers, looking at locations, and planning shoots.
Describe your office décor. What was your inspiration?
My space is chaos! However, I do know where everything is. In the mix are aesthetic things like books and postcards, and practical items such as a lint roller.
List five things that are on your desk right now.
1. Barnett Newman postcard
2. Bottle of wine I plan to gift
3. Band of Outsiders LEGO man
4. Stack of Esquire and Big Black Book back issues
5. The Way We Wore: Black Style Then by Michael McCollom
What do you typically wear to work?
My style is classic but modern. I dress more casual—usually with a jacket, shirt or sweater and a non-matching pant. It's funny though, because I really go through different cycles. For a while I was wearing suits and ties exclusively.
What are your favorite stores to shop for work clothes?
I loathe shopping. I go directly to the brands I love (a definite industry perk!). I am more about fit than a specific brand obsession. But I do wear a lot of Brunello Cucinelli, Gucci, Dunhill, Ralph Lauren, Lubiam, J. Crew, Burkman Bros, and Club Monaco.
What's the best piece of career advice you've ever received?
Have friends outside your industry to be better at what you do.
Finish the sentence…
Today for lunch I had… salad with tuna, veggies and chicken noodle soup.
The first website I log onto every day is… Esquire.com.
The beauty product I swear by is… a dopp kit that holds essentials like Kiehl's hand salve.
My must-have work gadget is… my iPhone 5—the integrated smartphone is essential for work and Instagram (@wennworld).
My usual Starbucks order is… I don't drink Starbucks, but I do start each workday with an iced coffee, even on the coldest day in winter.
If I need a quick break during work, I usually… go outside and find a snack—usually raw almonds or a protein shake.
If I wasn't doing this job, I would be… a marine biologist.
The best part of my job is… travel. I've been around the world to so many absolutely amazing places.
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