Justin Doss, or the Man in the Hat, is much more than ‘just’ a fashion editor at GQ. He quite literally resembles the past, present and future of menswear. These transcendent powers originate from years spent in the industry, and encompass his influential mix of American sportswear and European tailoring.
Justin’s affinity for hats makes him instantly recognisable around New York and at the global fashion weeks. But that does not pay his day-to-day style the respect it deserves. His ability to clash and blend couture pieces with current urban influences is extraordinary, and ensures that his outfits always appear fashion forward yet remain completely wearable and relatable to the everyday male.
So without further ado, FashionBeans takes an in-depth look at Justin Doss’ personal style.
Justin’s profile in menswear has grown exponentially since his first employment at Ralph Lauren. By the age of 27, he had also worked at the esteemed Sid Mashburn shop in Atlanta (think Mr Porter but in person) and was an associate buyer of men’s luxury sportswear at Barneys.
His big break came in 2011 when he replaced Lisa Cohen after her 28-year tenure at US GQ. He is currently senior fashion editor at GQ, and the right-hand man of creative director Jim Moore, but there are few who predict his rise within the industry will plateau.
Honing his skills down south at Sid Mashburn, Justin’s gregarious manner is reflective of the personal values of the establishment, where a personal shopping experience is as important as the quality of the clothing produced.
The eclectic nature of Sid Mashburn and the prepiness of Ralph Lauren have certainly shaped his personal style. The holy trinity of Sid Mashburn dress etiquette – monk straps, striped shirts and plaque buckle belts – are omnipresent in his wardrobe, whilst penny loafers and jeans/tweed jacket combinations are staples inherited from Ralph Lauren. These prominent influences can be seen in nearly every outfit he constructs.
We cannot pigeon hole Justin’s look; just as we evolve, so does his style. Now only 28 years old, there is still much for Justin to explore and integrate into his look, and his steadfast refusal to be cajoled by any one season’s trends enables his own style to flourish as and when he wants.
Essential to his manner of dressing is layering. The importance of texture, pattern and colour combinations in an outfit cannot be given enough attention, and really does have the ability to make or break an outfit.
As the images show, t-shirts layered under formal shirts is a popular combination of Justin’s which exudes a boyish charm through its juxtaposition of smart and casual. This technique is at its most effective when the exposed t-shirt is a different texture to the outer shirt – try a cotton tee under a cord over shirt.
Justin is rarely seen without a tailored piece in some form or another. A sports coat or blazer is his preference and, unsurprisingly, his eclectic taste means that a wide variety of shapes and textures can be found in his closet.
Generally, the cut of his jacket is form fitting without being skin tight – a fit the majority of men should be striving for. However, the colours are often subdued, with a plethora of blues and other monochromes enabling him to introduce pops of colours elsewhere.
We all know the importance detail plays in separating the boys from the sartorial gentlemen, and Justin’s appreciation of fit, fabric and construction cannot go unnoticed. Sure, his signature hats and the subtle monograms on his shirts are great for the street style photographer, but he handles the essential elements of every outfit with assertiveness and skill.
In menswear, elegance can have a masculine, powerful edge or a refined, gentlemanly manner. In the case of Justin Doss, he certainly falls into the latter. His outfits rarely crackle and pop like the vibrant Karl Edwin Guerre; they ooze with sprezzatura where imperfection is something of perfection.
This cultured attitude can be seen in how nonchalantly he loops his scarf over his ensemble and the comfort he feels in the way he plunges his hands into his Neapolitan jacket – a style of tailoring that is characterised by a ‘soft’ shoulder and shorter body length than typical Savile Row jackets.
Justin’s relaxed manner is also emphasised by the manipulation of his hat, a tweak to his tie knot or the popular and equally effective popped collar. These ‘mini statements’ can easily be integrated into your style but are not too ostentatious to appear try-hard.
Always ahead of the street style game, Justin has been endorsing a more minimalistic, simple aesthetic, which is a sign of things to come (bye bye tie clips).
Even in the hot summer months, colour doesn’t have to be extravagant and outfits built on accents that play off each other tonally make a more mature impression than any neon-striped, slogan t-shirt:
Looking ahead to the warmer months, coloured linen trousers make a great alternative to your current collection of chinos. White versions are not out of the question, but do consider practicality and the tone of your skin. These can easily be combined with a pair of minimalist penny loafers or relaxed canvas trainers.
A simple fitted t-shirt (David Gandy recommends American Apparel so I’m not going to argue) underneath a blazer in a summer cloth forms the bulk of the look.
Finish with your choice of summer hat, hook your sunglasses onto the t-shirt and nonchalantly stuff an on trend floral pocket square into your top pocket – this is a well thought out smart-casual outfit that oozes elegance:
Justin Doss is a debonair gentleman whose appeal will elude no true fashion enthusiast. His style is as experimental and progressive as it is restrained and polished, and it is not hyperbole to claim that he is a menswear compass.
Let us know what you think of Justin’s style in the comments section below.