Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsFashion

STYLE ME | YOUR STYLIST

Your Next Investment

The man who put a vest on Justin Timberlake -- and made it sexy -- tells how to wear one.

March 18, 2007|Adam Tschorn | Times Staff Writer

IF the only place for the word "vest" in your wardrobe is right after the word "bulletproof," it's time to reconsider. The three-piece suit's under-appreciated third piece has been pulled from the back of the closet and put into play as part of the current '70s-inspired lounge lizard aesthetic. Roberto Cavalli sent a snug-fitting shiny blue number down the runway for spring, Robert Downey Jr. sports one (extra points for the cravat) in "Zodiac" and Ashton Kutcher mixed in a pinstriped number with his solid-colored suit at a recent movie premiere.

But no one's done more to rehabilitate the humble waistcoat than Justin Timberlake, who emerged from years between albums with a whole new look that riffs on Sinatra and relies heavily on that onetime staple of the junior-high dance.

The man behind Justin's new jive is Joe Zee, a stylist who has dressed A-listers Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Lenny Kravitz and Jude Law and given many a Gap ad (including the recent Red campaign) its distinctive look.

Zee said his goal was to work with Timberlake's "natural sense of style" to transition him from the black leather jacket "Justified" era to the skinny-suit-wearing, mirror-ball-stomping "FutureSex/LoveSounds."

"I really wanted to elevate him and grow him up," said Zee. "He hadn't had an album in three years so it was a way to take him to the next level. The suit and tie and the vests we used in the shoot were all part of that evolution."

He recently took time out from his new role as creative director for Elle magazine to share a few words of wisdom on how to wear a vest well.

Rat Pack meets Man in Black

"I started by showing Justin old pictures of the '50s, of Rat Packers like Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. -- that sort of 'done' look -- mixed with early pictures of Johnny Cash and early Dylan. Styling him for the album sort of set the tone for the look of the tour and all the rest."

(Un)suit yourself

"It's all about breaking it up: Wear a brown vest with black pants, wear a black vest with jeans or wear a navy vest with black [pants]. The minute you treat it as more casual instead of as a matching piece of a suit, it will have a little bit more of a throwaway style to it, which is better."

Think 'a la carte,' not 'whole enchilada'

"It's not about copping out for the total look, it's all about taking elements and pieces -- usually of things you already have. You can take a vest out of a three-piece suit and wear it with a shirt and a skinny tie and dark jeans. For the album, I wanted him to look modern and not retro, and we did that by taking elements from the past."

Don't be all buttoned up

"Don't wear it like you're wearing a suit; this isn't a formal look. If you're taking a vest out of a three-piece suit, treat it as something much more casual -- leave it unbuttoned or just button one button but never button it up all the way. Treat it more like a sweater vest you'd just throw on, with rolled up shirt-sleeves or a loosely done tie."

Shop around

"The ones I used for the album cover shoot were vintage vests from the '50s, but Steven Allan makes a really good vest. There are a lot of young trendy brands that are actually making vests now. The idea of dressing like your dad or your grandfather has become a very hip and trendy thing, the same way tweed jackets and skinny ties from that era have."

Work from your comfort zone

"The skinny ties and suits came from Dior Homme, and YSL -- which Timberlake wears a lot of -- and Gucci, so we mixed in the jeans or skinny pants and threw in the vintage vests and the fedoras and all those things. In the end, he's a stylish kid who knows how to give it his own personal spin."

adam.tschorn@latimes.com

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|