Mr Nick Sullivan

In an era dominated by proposed artful dishevelment among the sartorial peacocks, and plain sloppiness by those less fashion forward, the clean, pressed style of Nick Sullivan is a statement of understatement.

The logic in that paradox is evident in the pictures of him taken at fashion shows and by street style photographers. His simple taste, based on sartorial tradition, centres around modern classics that rely on ageless appeal and purpose. He is devoid of extraneous elements: the embodiment of style, not superfluity.

As the Fashion Director at the highly esteemed Esquire magazine in America, Nick Sullivan is one of the most recognisable faces in menswear, and his style credentials more than warrant a place in our style profile series.

In his maturity, and in his position as Esquire fashion director, Nick seems able to dissect fleeting street trends from those with enough credence to cement themselves within high fashion. Therefore, he can be seen incorporating garments or accessories considered in vogue in a subtle, refined manner.

This simultaneous nod to fashion and style is a constant theme in Nick’s dressing and being. He opines, “To me the difference between style and fashion is less important than what they add to each other.” Upon examination, the truth values in this statement become self evident, as he goes on to explain in a fascinating insight into how he gets dressed by Mr Porter.

Nick Sullivan: The Way I Dress

“Style doesn’t stay the same even if people think it does”, Nick says. He refers to movies as an example of how style evolves and wouldn’t/couldn’t do so without input from fashion, just as fashion relies on elements of style; such as the construction of garments, thereby knowing how to forego tradition in favour of a more ‘fashionable’ design.

This wisdom, and a list of his pet hates, is made all the more dogmatic by the visual appeal of his appearance. I wholeheartedly agree that I cannot see hoodies as part of any stylish gentleman’s wardrobe, and whilst these truths may hit some people hard, surely it’s made more acceptable after seeing the beauty in soft collared dress shirts, unstructured sports jackets and double monks.

Nick Sullivan: Style Analysis

What should not be dismissed, as one of the more mature members of our style icon series, is how Nick is guided, rather than dictated to, by his age. As a result, tailoring is the most prominent part of his wardrobe.

Nick tends to favour a European influence, with most of his jackets defined by their soft shoulder and a more relaxed look. Therefore, Nick can often be seen dressing down his blazers with a simple t-shirt and chinos/jeans combination.

On occasions when a shirt is necessary, Nick’s tailoring adapts, characterised by a natural shoulder – ensuring the shoulder is a little more prominent results in a smarter aesthetic. Whilst Nick stays clear of the full body that some traditional Savile Row tailors favour, this stronger silhouette can be seen as a nod to his British heritage (he was born and raised in Dorset, England). This is emphasised further by his penchant for tweed blazers and resilient wax Barbour jackets.

Although none of the above can be considered particularly groundbreaking, the mark of a truly stylish gent is found in their ability to work layers and textures together harmoniously, making the clothes look like they were made to be paired together.

This appears second nature to Sullivan, who understands the importance in reflecting the situation and location through his attire. This manner of dressing ties in with his appreciation of tradition, but also enables his charisma to do the real talking. Fashion doesn’t make the man.

Herein, it comes as no surprise that Nick values originality: “there’s a thirst for something that’s sort of your own – that’s authentic that not everybody has, and that really fuels a lot of men’s clothes. You kind of want them to be right before you want everyone else to know what they are.”

While this statement captures the essence of style, the desire for individuality and authenticity is very much an intrinsic component of a male’s disposition – we all want to solidify our place at the top of the food chain.

Apart from wanting to stay ahead of the competition – and let’s be honest, we are all in competition with each other – our icon also has an appreciation of what stands the test of time. The very foundation of Nick’s wardrobe is grounded in timeless classics that transcend seasonal trends; an approach and ethos that the FashionBeans man continues to abide by.

Nick Sullivan Lookbook

Nick Sullivan, Fashion Director at Esquire US, Lookbook

Inspired By Pieces
  • Allsaints Tonic Crew T-shirtAllsaints Tonic Crew T-shirt
  • Canali White Striped Cotton ShirtCanali White Striped Cotton Shirt
  • Drakes Silk-twill Pocket SquareDrakes Silk-twill Pocket Square
  • He By Mango Leather Elbow Patches PiquÉ BlazerHe By Mango Leather Elbow Patches PiquÉ Blazer
  • Asos Slim Fit Blazer In TweedAsos Slim Fit Blazer In Tweed
  • He By Mango Unstructured Wool-blend BlazerHe By Mango Unstructured Wool-blend Blazer
  • Tiger Of Sweden Brook Cotton BlazerTiger Of Sweden Brook Cotton Blazer
  • Barbour Trooper Waxed JacketBarbour Trooper Waxed Jacket
  • He By Mango Slim-fit Dark Wash Alex JeansHe By Mango Slim-fit Dark Wash Alex Jeans
  • Asos MacAsos Mac
  • He By Mango Slim-fit Premium Cotton ChinosHe By Mango Slim-fit Premium Cotton Chinos
  • Faconnable Dean Straight-leg Cotton-blend Twill TrousersFaconnable Dean Straight-leg Cotton-blend Twill Trousers
  • Knightsbridge Silk Knitted TieKnightsbridge Silk Knitted Tie
  • Reiss Steel Wool & Silk Dinner Suit Scarf NavyReiss Steel Wool & Silk Dinner Suit Scarf Navy
  • Grenson G-lab Dylan Suede And Leather Wingtip BroguesGrenson G-lab Dylan Suede And Leather Wingtip Brogues
Inspired By Outfits
Outfit One: Smart-Casual

With tailoring forming the foundation of his looks, Nick certainly has to find ways of making his outfits appear more casual. A jeans and t-shirt combination is as casual as it gets, so by throwing on a blazer and lacing up some smart shoes, you have the perfect balance of smart-casual.

Of course, he makes it look easy. If we pay attention to the harmony of the silhouettes throughout the outfit, such as the shape of the jacket and jeans, then we can confidently and effortlessly juxtapose the casual and smarter elements of the look.

The choice of colours is up to you, but Nick would always opt for more toned down hues, which are easier to pair together and help turn the focus to the finer points of the outfit. Case in point: the choice of a round neck as opposed to v-neck tee, as the shape and length of his face means the former works better.

  • Topman Green Pocket Crew Neck T-shirtTopman Green Pocket Crew Neck T-shirt
  • Gant Rugger Slim-fit Prince Of Wales Check Wool BlazerGant Rugger Slim-fit Prince Of Wales Check Wool Blazer
  • Levis Line 8 Jeans 511 Slim Fit Marcuse WashLevis Line 8 Jeans 511 Slim Fit Marcuse Wash
  • Reiss Clyne Washed Sea Print Silk Pocket Square DenimReiss Clyne Washed Sea Print Silk Pocket Square Denim
  • John Lobb William Suede Monk-strap ShoesJohn Lobb William Suede Monk-strap Shoes
  • Uniform Wares 300 Series Chronograph WristwatchUniform Wares 300 Series Chronograph Wristwatch
Outfit Two: Formal

The epitome of timeless style, Nick knows that the navy blue suit is fitting for almost every occasion.

As this outfit has quite a formal event in mind, the natural shoulder of the jacket is accompanied by an exquisite but subtle tie. However, our icon knows that anyone can deliberately wear their tie short or long, so he adheres to traditional dress code formality and has the tip finishing just at the waistband.

Of course, he’s not wearing a belt because his trousers fit him, and a belt on top of well fitted trousers at a formal occasion is just redundant – that’s not Nick at all. Conversely, the handkerchief does have a purpose, and that will be placed assuredly in the breast pocket.

The shoes cannot be black, as Nick hates black, but a velvet midnight blue slipper provides just the right amount of considered panache to take the look up a notch:

  • Topman White Double Cuff Long Sleeve Smart ShirtTopman White Double Cuff Long Sleeve Smart Shirt
  • Topman Blue Tonic Skinny SuitTopman Blue Tonic Skinny Suit
  • Marwood Lace And Silk TieMarwood Lace And Silk Tie

Dolce & Gabbana Swiss Dot Silk Pocket SquareAsos Velvet Tassel Loafer With Leather Sole

Final Word

Nick Sullivan embodies unbridled theatre and gentlemanly restraint. His style blueprint revolves around classic pieces, often with a modern upgrade or a dexterous European touch.

It is hard to see these sartorial inclinations going out of fashion anytime soon, and along with his assured, insightful character, his status as a style icon is unlikely to diminish either.