01
Jun
09

Meet Esquire’s Best Dressed Man in America

PLEASE VISIT MY NEW BLOG at http://stylewithbenefits.com.

All posts, including this one, have migrated over to the new URL.

Click here to view Kenyatte’s interview on my new blog.


Photos shot by celebrity photographer Annette Navarro. To view other great photos from the shoot, check out Tweed & Velvet.

I owe a huge thank you to my friend Aaron for connecting me with Esquire’s Best Dressed Real Man in America, Kenyatte Nelson.  As you can see from the photos above, it’s evident why Kenyatte won Esquire’s contest last year, beating out thousands of other men to claim this prestigious title.  He owns his personal style in a way that’s unparallel to anyone I know.  From looking at his different outfits, you can tell that his style spans the spectrum of being sophisticated and sharp to playful and fun.  I bet, no I know, Kenyatte would be an amazing shopping buddy, but too bad I live in Los Angeles and he lives in Cincinnati.  So the next best thing was to pick Kenyatte’s brain about his personal style and what us ladies need to know when it comes to our own style choices, according to a man who knows how to dress to impress.

The Introduction:

Name: Kenyatte Nelson (named after freedom fighter Jomo Kenyatta – my mom changed the “a” to an “e” because she thought it looked like a girls name (ha!) )
Age: 11,315 days old, or 31 if you don’t like math
City: Resident of Cincinnati, Citizen of the World

Describe your personal style in five words or less. Inspired, unpretentious and appropriately aspirational

Have you always been into fashion?  When did you start to take an interest in cultivating your personal style? I believe style is synonymous with personality.  It’s something that everyone has and like personality, it simply develops differently for different people.  I think I’m probably just a little more “aware” of my personal style vs. most men.  As far as fashion goes – Fashion is social agreement, consensus….I’ve never been into fashion.

What has been your biggest splurge to date? I have two.  The first is a pair of Victorian style boots from Dior (see photo).  The second is a suit from Givenchy (see photo with gray suit/black shirt).  True story, I walked into a Hugo Boss store in Geneva Switzerland and I had that suit on with those shoes and the sales person stopped me and said, “That suit looks amazing, and the way you wear it makes me wish I was the one who sold it to you.”

Kenyatte_Dior boots

Kenyatte_Givenchy suit

If you only had to wear one designer for the rest of your life, who would you choose? I would have to go with Ralph Lauren.  From 1967, when the brand was founded, until now there has not been a designer who has so completely addressed men’s wear.  From sweatpants to rugby’s, waist coats to overcoats, brogues to trainers he pairs amazing shirt tailoring with American sensibilities in a way that is simply outstanding!

Your house is burning and you only have time to grab one item from your closet. What would you take and why? The tan leather cowboy boots (with the Cuban heel) that I took from my fathers closet when I was in Junior High School.  Those boots are almost 30 years old and they are still my favorite pair of shoes.  I wore them when I was on the Today Show and named Esquire’s Best Dressed Man in America.  My father walked in those boots and he’s an amazing man.  When I put them on I feel more substantive.

Describe the fashion scene in Cincinnati and the current trends men and women are wearing there. The fashion scene here is burgeoning.  Like most mid sized cities Cincinnati ebbs and flows with the tides created by the current (pun intended).  That said, there is still creativity here.  From skaters with limited edition kicks to women wearing the latest item from a vintage store hunt.  You see a little bit of everything.  The one thing I wish would go away is the “jeans hanging off the ass” look.

What’s a big DON’T when it comes to men’s style? See the last sentence in the answer to the previous question.  Men look better when their clothing fits….period.  The only time your pants should be that low is when a member of the opposite sex is taking them off (then it’s okay).

Over the years, have you picked up any insider shopping tips you could share? This includes tips on sales, online shopping sites, etc. ALWAYS go to the Barney’s Warehouse sale, NEVER buy anything full price unless it is a must have.  ALWAYS buy quality clothing in the correct size, NEVER buy something that doesn’t fit just because it’s on sale (you will regret it).  Ah…and gentlemen please stop buying “outfits” and start buying pieces that work with other things in your wardrobe.  Your closet should not be a collection of conjoined twins.  Visit www.yoox.com and www.houseoffraser.co.uk (amazing sites for shopping – men and women)

For the ladies…

What’s your favorite look/style on a woman?  Elegant and sophisticated?  Super trendy and glam? Casual chic? The most amazing outfit any women can put on is a pair of hip hugging denim, killer heels and a white “boy beater”.  It’s natural, sexy and approachable.  It says, I’m a women who is comfortable with my femininity but if you give me shit I’ll kick your ass (I LOVE that).

btw – here’s a trick. Make the outfit pop with a creatively styled or colored pair of heels and sex it up with a little lace under the tank top (see photo of Leighton Meester).

Leighton Meester

You need to buy a gift for a woman.  What stores do you visit? The grocery store.  Invite her over for dinner and make sure she arrives a little before you finish.  Pour her a glass of wine and have a great conversation while you complete the finishing touches.  Prepare her food and take the plate when she is finished.  Enjoy each others company.  It will be the best foreplay she has ever had….trust me.

What women’s fashion trends would you like to see go away? I wish women would stop confusing sex with sexy.  You don’t have to exude sex to be sexy.  There is so much power in femininity.  Women have to understand that men are built to bend to that power.  If you want a “man”….dress like a “woman”.  There is nothing wrong with showing a little leg but make sure it’s balanced.  Do you remember the green Versace dress that Jennifer Lopez got all that press for wearing?  Yep, the one with a “V” cut out of the torso.  Guess what…it was long sleeved and floor length.

Two gorgeous women walk into a bar.  One is wearing a t-shirt and jeans and the other is in a body-hugging mini dress.  Did I mention both are equally gorgeous?  Who do you approach and why? I approach the woman who looks the most approachable.  The one who is smiling, laughing and joking with friends.  I approach the one with smiling eyes.  For me, it’s less about what she is wearing and more about how she is wearing it.  Is she confident and comfortable or unapproachable and cold?  I, like most men, am much more attracted to the former.  Besides, clothing is just clothing and at some point it’s all going to come off anyway.

What’s something you wish women knew about men? Women should recognize that as much as we love our independent women we want a woman who will allow us to be men.  We know you can do it yourself and we love you for that but sometimes you have to let us do it for you.  This is part of what being a man is about.  Men enjoy feeling needed.  We want the womenwe love to be taken care of, to feel protected.  Don’t give a man shit when he opens the car door or refuse his attempt to carry your bag.  Let him do it.  All men are taught, from a very young age, that they should cherish the things that they work for….now ask yourself….did your man work for you???


I loved your mission statement and fashion philosophy from your profile on Esquire.com.  Can you please share other rules you live by or your personal philosophy on life? This may sound a little corny but I would suggest every man do this:  Take a sheet of paper and split it 4 sections.  In each section make a headline – Heart, Mind, Body, Soul.  Then for each heading write 4 things that you will do to improve each part of your life over the next year.  They can be simple, the idea is to set goals.  Here are examples from mine.

Heart
– Give one compliment a day

Mind
– Read one book every two months

Body
– Go to the gym at least 3 days a week

Soul
– Stop to recognize the beauty in my world everyday (share it with another person)

I did this over a year ago and, as a result, I am a sharper, more empathetic, and in better shape than I have ever been.

Kenyatte Nelson

I know, amazing answers, right?  Thanks Kenyatte for being so open and insightful! To keep up with Kenyatte’s style picks and shopping tips, head on over to his blog Tweed & Velvet.

And voting just ended yesterday for Esquire’s ’09 Best Dressed Real Man.  The semi-finalists can be found here, with the winner being announced shortly.

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43 Responses to “Meet Esquire’s Best Dressed Man in America”


  1. June 1, 2009 at 1:04 am

    hmm who is he?? yes he is in fact very stylish!

  2. June 1, 2009 at 1:19 am

    His answers were so great!!!!!! I loved this interview so much, thank you becs =)

  3. June 1, 2009 at 1:30 am

    his life’s monickers are so heartful! very very inspiring!

  4. June 1, 2009 at 4:03 am

    Wait, I think I just fell in love, not only does he dress well but he sounds like a great guy too!!

  5. 5 Tamara
    June 1, 2009 at 4:20 am

    I loved “Stop to recognize the beauty in my world everyday (share it with another person)”, it might be good try to think this way… because the one of “Going to the gym at least 3 days a week” is completely impossible with me! 😉

  6. June 1, 2009 at 5:27 am

    very cool, his fashion philosophy is very inspiring!

  7. June 1, 2009 at 7:46 am

    Aww. That was a really sweet interview. He’s not only a dapper looking guy, but he seems really grounded and real. I love this quote: “You don’t have to exude sex to be sexy.” Very very true!

  8. June 1, 2009 at 7:58 am

    What an awesome, awesome interview, Becs! I love hearing about well-dressed men- and I’m in total agreement with the pants hanging off the ass thing. Soo over it!

  9. June 1, 2009 at 9:13 am

    he does have a great sence of style!
    it’s nice to tackle men’s fashion from time to time
    especially when it influences our wardrobe!
    I’ve just bought a beautiful man’s jacket at Zara and you’re right they do have great pieces in store !
    xoxo
    aline

  10. June 1, 2009 at 9:35 am

    How i wish my hubby could wear these! He’s really too chic!

  11. June 1, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Wow he dresses impeccably.

    Also- Yes the bag was bought recently but I heard it is sold out in lots of stores now!

  12. June 1, 2009 at 10:53 am

    Hi there-what a fabulous post, thanks for sharing and I agree, he is very sharp and stylish indeed!

  13. June 1, 2009 at 11:00 am

    amazing interview. i like his pick for what he likes to see on a chick. i love a lace bra under a white tank.
    x
    ww.tittees.blogspot.com

  14. June 1, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    I love this interview! He’s so articulate and deserved to be the best-dressed man! xxoxoxo

  15. June 1, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    this is awesome! he is stunningly dressed! x

  16. June 1, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    wow, what amazing personal style he has. Wonderful interview 🙂

  17. June 1, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    I like his take on style and thoroughly enjoyed reading this interview. I will definitely be keeping some points in mind. 🙂

    I used to have a Canon a long time ago, maybe I’ll go back? Some readers recommend Nikon though? Hmmm.. I think I had better test them both out for myself in-store.

    Can’t wait for your next outfit, love<3

    x

  18. June 1, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    He sounds like such a gentlemen. Well dressed, well spoken, and quite the good looking one!

    I loved his answer about women confusing sex with sexy; so true!

    Bisous,
    La C.

  19. June 1, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    i really like the interview 🙂 and i think he has a wonderful style! i loved the green blazer maybe because it´s my favourite color 🙂

    Im new visiting you, I found you on my night bloggers tour 🙂

    have a wonderful week!

  20. June 1, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    great interview! i especially appreciate the tips for women. very helpful and genuine.

  21. June 1, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    He sounds great, and like the perfect gentleman. thanks for offering help but I think I was able to resize the images on you r sidebar. Thanks anyways, that is very nice of you!
    XOXOXO
    Libby
    http://fashionconfectionairy.weebly.com

  22. June 1, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    cool interview!! he certainly have great style! having a philosophy like his certainly makes him even more beautiful as a person!

  23. June 2, 2009 at 12:31 am

    What a great interview – thanks for sharing! Not only does he have terrific style, but his answers are really insightful. I also completely agree with his shopping advice and the comment about a guy’s jeans falling off his ass. You wouldn’t believe how many grown-up guys I know who still sport this look thinking it’s cool… argh.

    p.s. just added you to my blogroll! 🙂

  24. June 2, 2009 at 12:36 am

    wow. such a chic sophisticate man!

  25. June 2, 2009 at 12:50 am

    wow becs, i read and reread the interview from the 1st word to the last. what an incredible subject to interview! esquire was right to award him– apparently he’s just not concerned about being fashion forward but how he has to be beautiful inside as well. if only all men would pick up his basic tips, they would all learn to be as charming as he is too! congrats on the interview, love!

    much love

    eden

  26. June 2, 2009 at 3:29 am

    thanks for sharing! this is indeed an inspiring interview!

  27. June 2, 2009 at 4:37 am

    hello!!
    He is so cool. I love his way of living…really inspiring! We really must try to be the best! In every ways :)))

    Thanks so much for your birthday message! I love it!

    a kiss and a hug,
    see you,
    Kira

  28. June 2, 2009 at 6:48 am

    What am amazing post! You really pulled out the essence of him on this interview! -i

  29. 29 Mel
    June 2, 2009 at 7:07 am

    Yes, thanks for stealing my idea! But nonetheless, great interview!

    http://www.wreckedstellar.wordpress.com

  30. June 2, 2009 at 7:23 am

    Very cool interview and pics! He is super-stylish, and I love what he describes as his ideal outfit on a woman!

    xoxox,
    CC

  31. June 2, 2009 at 10:51 am

    what a cool interview. and he is super stylish. i wish all guys will dress like this. : )

  32. June 2, 2009 at 11:14 am

    Don’t know why, but most black men always looks good in suits. Kenyette is no exception.

    Oooh..and Leighton looks so sexy in that simple jeans, white tee and little lace!

    Thanks for sharing the interview!

    xoxo

  33. 33 ak
    June 2, 2009 at 11:39 am

    fantastic interview. and his quote is amazing.
    xx

  34. June 2, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    WOOOOWWW – what’s going on, gorgeous? I hope all is well, Becs!
    We’d spent a long weekend here in good old Germany and so I’m starting into this new week from Tuesday 😉

    YOU RECEIVED AN AWARD!!

    Please visit my blog for the details 😉

    Much love as always!

  35. June 2, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Btw this is an amazing post, love it!

  36. June 2, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    I am so humbled…..I don’t even know what to say. I’m just a regular guy doing the best I can with what God gave me. I really don’t deserve all this praise. Thank you so much for all of the kind words. All the best!

    Make it an Outstanding Day!

    – Kenyatte Nelson
    http://www.tweedandvelvet.com
    http://www.twitter.com/tweedandvelvet

  37. June 2, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    fantastic interview. great blog post. did not know about him until now. but its so fun to see

  38. June 2, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    love that last photo! What a great blazer.

  39. June 2, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    Omg…. I want to marry him. What an inspirational man. *happy sigh*

  40. June 3, 2009 at 12:05 am

    wonderful interview! wow he is one intellectual and stylish man. outstanding pick and truly inspirational.

  41. June 3, 2009 at 4:14 am

    hey! your blog is awesome and thanks for stopping by mine 😀 haha oh man I’d love to raid your closet!! you have tons of great clothes 😀

  42. June 24, 2009 at 2:08 am

    thx for the article


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