Greg Houser (Photo by Megan Parry)
It was on a message board in 2004 when Greg Houser discovered the high-end denim community, which feels like the only appropriate way for a 20-something in the early 2000s to find his people. It was there, while working at a newspaper in Philadelphia, that the Penn State journalism grad became properly obsessed with brands like Superfuture and Mr. Freedom – brands that were taking menswear (and specifically denim) seriously.
Until that point, fashion had been a mostly solitary enterprise for Houser. He grew up in Manheim, Pennsylvania, a small, rural town where getting your Best Dressed photo taken for your high school yearbook in 1996 meant standing in front of a tractor in a Structure sweater and a pair of khakis. Houser would know — that was him.
This is a fact he only begrudgingly disclosed to me during our interview over iced coffee at the Urban Farmhouse in Scott’s Addition but one I find particularly charming, especially for a now-established menswear expert. Just have a look at Houser’s personal Instagram account, where flannel, jeans and boots #00td (outfit of the day) flat lays are often followed up by custom-tailored suits and cufflinks. His account boasts over 10,000 followers — more than double the population of his hometown.
Houser went on to get his MFA at the University of Alabama after his stint in Philly and then moved to Richmond in 2014 with his partner, Betsy Seymour. He says the only thing he knew about the city prior to moving here was that it was where Need Supply is headquartered, but upon landing on the cobblestone streets of Shockoe Bottom on his first day, he was ready to call it home. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Shockoe Denim was within walking distance of his apartment.
He secured a position as the content manager at Visit Richmond, the perfect job for a RVA newcomer, he says, since it allowed him to learn the city in an organic way. This past July, Houser left his post at Visit Richmond to become the content manager at Alton Lane, all the while freelance writing in the fashion sector. His clients include Garden and Gun, Oxford American, Ledbury, and a whole host of industry-specific businesses, blogs and publications, many of which focus on menswear and denim.
All this to say that when it comes to men’s fashion, Houser knows what he’s talking about. Which is why I talked to him about his favorite ways to style his fall wardrobe. He generously put together four different ’fits for all you gents to glean seasonal sartorial inspiration.
Essential Dressy Workwear Look
Taylor Stitch shirt, Pointer Brand Natural Chore coat, Richmond pennant, Yesterday’s Heroes Vintage; Standard Kojima denim, Shockoe Atelier; Suede Bucs, the Bass Outlet; Sashiko scarf, Kiriko (Photo by Greg Houser)
Function is key when it comes to raking leaves, installing Halloween decorations or hitting up the pumpkin patch. Houser is a fan of beat-up suede shoes and says the material is “way more resilient than we’ve been led to believe,” so don’t be afraid to break them out while you’re running errands. As for the perfect way to wear a scarf? “Wrap them a few times [so they] hit mid-chest without rising too far up on the neck,” but most of all, “remind yourself that scarves are awesome and you look awesome in one, even if it feels weird.”
Perfect Fall Day Look
Tweed blazer, Gingham shirt, Alton Lane; waxed cotton bag, 3sixteen denim, Yesterday Hero’s Vintage; Suede Bucs, Bass (Photo by Greg Houser)
Houser’s advice for buying denim is to buy a well-fitting pair of selvedge denim and then “cuff them and beat the crap out of them. Don't listen to 90% of what the internet says about care. Hand wash and air dry them when they need it. Don't sit on white leather couches till you've washed them at least twice.”
Baggy-Sweater English Professor
Standard Kojima Vintage Wash denim, Shockoe Atelier; St. Johns Bay Cable Sweater, thrifted; Need Supply x Aolis Bag, Need Supply; Thorogood Boots, Keeper Leather Wallet, Yesterday’s Heroes Vintage (Photo by Greg Houser)
There’s nothing more quintessentially autumnal (and handsome!) than a man in a cable knit sweater and corduroy blazer, and Houser likes to stock up on his oversized sweaters at thrift stores. He starts with color and pattern — whatever catches his eye on the rack, he picks up. Then, he says, he looks at the fabric and label. If it’s well-made (he’s especially into union-made vintage pieces), he’ll try it on to see if it fits. “Don’t buy something that doesn’t fit,” Houser reminds. “There’s this cognitive dissonance that happens when you’re thrifting that if something is cheap, it’s okay that it doesn’t fit exactly right. Nope, just don’t do it.” It’s the cardinal rule of thrifting and one that always bears repeating!
Military trouser Como, Shockoe Atelier; custom flannel, windowpane blazer, Alton Lane; vintage jacket, Barbour; Bean boots, LL Bean (Photo by Greg Houser)
Rainy days are part of autumn’s charm and shouldn’t deter anyone from picking pumpkins in a field or tailgating at a football game. Houser says, “You can’t go wrong with a Barbour [raincoat]. They last forever and always look good.” As for mixing patterns when you’re layering pieces, Houser suggests “mixing similar patterns in different weights, like the gingham [shirt] and windowpane [coat] that I mixed here.”