Style inspiration is easy to find in glossy fashion magazines, on blogs or Pinterest but often vanishes when it's needed most -- as you stand and stare at your Alaska closet. It's at those moments when a little local motivation is necessary, when a stylish Alaskan could help finesse your fashion. That's where I come in: Look here every now and again for an Alaska-Grown Muse, someone who's in the business of beauty or who's simply figured out a way to work it through the fashion obstacle course we call home.
Who: Stephen Trimble, Mining and Power Business Leader at URS and representative on several local boards and commissions, including The Nature Conservancy, Alaska Arctic Policy Commission, the State of Alaska Emerging Energy Technology Fund Advisory Committee and the UAA College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Board.
Why his style is noteworthy: Trimble, 31, is kind of a poster boy for the modernization of menswear. He's redefined the concept of business casual with contemporary choices that rival their traditional counterparts in form and function. Case in point, the day we met, Trimble's sport coat, with a narrow silhouette and sharp seams, was runway worthy, and the fabric provided so much movement he could've climbed a mountain. There was personality in the finer points too, including his white pocket square with red stitching and striped socks. Consider Trimble a pioneer among Alaska men when it comes to shaping style. And it's simply because he has embraced some of the basic tenets and integrated them into his everyday approach: Style is a form of self-expression, the difference is in the details, embrace color and shun self-fulfilling style restrictions.
On his personal style: A mix of modern and classic elements. I like classic fabrics with a technical twist -- like supermarine cotton, merino wool and waxed canvas -- and never miss attention to the subtleties, things like pocket squares, belts, socks and wrist wear. Those are the areas of personal style where you get to be creative. It's the little things -- things you don't really notice right away --that are the coolest things.
One thing in his closet that he can't live without: That's my E13 Workshop Day Bag. I take it everywhere I go. It's a completely recycled piece from old car seat belts and airbags. The exterior is a driver's side airbag, the interior is a passenger side airbag and the straps are made of seatbelt straps. It's super durable. The concept of using old junkyard things is really cool. I wouldn't think of making something out of a crashed car airbag. Just visually as an object, it's pretty interesting. A lot of people are like, 'what is that? What are you carrying around in there?' It's just a backpack, but completely visually different.
Products he swears by: Outlier, I want to give them a special mention. They are building the future of clothing. I found the brand first, and I got a couple of their things and thought, "Wow, this stuff's really cool." Then I read into their mission and ordered more and then kind of got to know them. I have many others to mention: Ernest Alexander, Activist Eyewear, Rapha for cycling wear, Miansai, Tanner Goods, Kenton Sorenson, Taylor Stitch, ONA Bags. These are unique, leading, quality, and less mainstream brands that are at the cutting edge of style.
Where he shops locally: I don't shop much locally, mostly online, but if I need a few essentials then I go to Nordstrom … I read a lot of websites, of course, like GQ, and every once in a while they find something that's a hidden gem. I'm really interested in all aspects of design in my life. I'm constantly looking for new things. There are some really neat websites out there, great design websites like Cool Hunting or Well Spent. I try to consciously keep up and look for things. I just like to learn, I guess. That's part of it.
Something style-wise about him that might surprise people: I already kind of gave that away. Socks and pocket squares, including your back pocket, the handkerchief, are the places where you really get to say something about who you are … My wife always likes to tease me about things that I wear. I have this mustard-color wax-canvas field jacket that I wear all the time. Things like red coats, teal green jackets. I try to be pretty colorful, which is kind of funny because one of my hobbies is photography, but I'm kind of color blind and I take most of my photos in black and white. I don't know if my partial colorblindness makes me immune to bright clothing. Maybe it does!
His biggest style challenge: That has to be with shoes. It is hard to make a size 14 shoe not look like a gravy boat, plain and simple. Most shoes are designed for more standard proportions, and anything that's out of its element than what it's aesthetically supposed to be just looks strange. I try to be pretty conscious about picking shoes and trying to find things that don't look like clown shoes. But sometimes you just have to get a shoe.
What he thinks about Alaska fashion: Alaska fashion is an eclectic mix. Form sprinkled in with a healthy dose of function. We have to have warm and rugged clothes in Alaska, minus this summer we are having, and this is a driver for everyday life here. The nice thing with having a global economy is that we can shop anywhere, from anywhere. You are not limited to a particular style or area of fashion. You can truly take your personal style in any direction you like. It doesn't matter that I live in Anchorage, I don't have to dress like an Alaskan, whatever that means. That's really a big part of style. You get to make it to whatever you want. You're not limited by anything. I think a lot of times people can feel that way -- that you're limited -- but you're not.
Anchorage freelance writer Leslie Boyd writes a regular column on local shopping and style. Ideas, information or tips? Contact her atakshopgirl(at)gmail.com