For as long as he’s been operating his eponymous menswear business—about 12 years, give or take—Sid Mashburn has sold all of his contemporary takes on classic American menswear from his own stores, his own website or his own traveling trunk shows.
But this week, that changed. Mashburn’s wares—thoroughly colorful, punchy updates to wardrobe staples like denim, suiting and shirting—are now available through Mr Porter. It’s the first time Mashburn has worked with another retailer, and that might be because the two firms share a similar philosophy about helping guys get dressed.
“Probably our biggest drive—and I feel like it’s Mr Porter’s too, in a sense—is how do we get guys clothed and in their right mind?” Mashburn said in a telephone interview. “And if we do that, it frees them up to focus on things that are important.”
Mr Porter’s selection of the Mashburn offering—which he said is “almost like the greatest hits of each of our classifications put together”—includes everything from a cozy cashmere zip sweater to mustard corduroy trousers and a slim cotton oxford shirt. There are also a few iterations of his signature Kincaid suit, whose jackets are only lined through the sleeves and shoulders for a natural, relaxed feeling.
“I personally love the brown Kincaid No 1 Unstructured Wool-Hopsack Blazer,” said Sam Kershaw, Mr Porter’s buying manager, who helped bring the partnership to life. “As someone who travels frequently, the hopsack weave is naturally wrinkle-resistant, making it easy to throw it in my bag when on-the-go.”
“There is something truly authentic about both him and his brand,” Kershaw added. “Sid and his business demonstrate that authenticity is so important to a brand’s equity.”
Part of that authenticity is the care Mashburn applies to helping guys figure out what makes the most sense for them. “We don’t really sell on commission in our stores because we want the guys to be able to say to a [customer], ‘That’s not your sport coat,'” Mashburn said.
How does that translate online? The careful mix of clothes on offer is a big part of it (it’s hard to go wrong with a slim but not too-slim chambray shirt, or a pair of chukka boots), but so is the way those items are presented. In Mashburn’s view, they’re not simply aesthetic choices. They’re solutions to the kinds of questions that nag at lots of men, who’ve never been faced with more style decisions than they are right now.
“Guys are coming to us looking for confidence. [They’re] wondering, do I wear streetwear? Do I wear activewear? Do I wear sweats? Do I wear sport coats? These are questions that are going on across the country. Like, how do I present myself?” Mashburn said. “The red thread between all of these guys is that they want to look good and they want to be confident that they look good.”
Mashburn left us with a paraphrased quote from Deion Sanders, the ex-pro baseball and football player, that sums up his worldview and guides his mission.
“He’s much funnier about the way he says it, but it still applies,” the designer said. “‘If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good. And if you play good, they pay good.’ And it is almost just as fundamental as that.”