If there is anyone who knows how to reinvent their wardrobe and reverse their squeaky-clean child star status and come out the other side as one of the hottest stars in the world, it’s Nick Jonas. Having broken out as one-third of Disney Channel favourites Jonas Brothers, Nick re-invented his tween-bopper image into something far too raunchy for Mickey Mouse to ever approve of. Rolled-up blazer sleeves, bandanas and terrible tie knots made way for slick leather jackets, cool denim and an envy-inducing wardrobe of suits.
Ahead of the launch of his new fragrance with John Varvatos, we spoke to the actor and singer-songwriter on the most treasured possessions in his closet, who inspires his style and why you don’t have to pick a side when it comes to tailoring and streetwear.
As a seductive R&B crooner do you feel any pressure to fit that vibe with your outfit choices?
Yeah at times. It depends on the project I’m working on but I think it always comes down to my interests but then also trying to stay on top of trends and even trying to create some of my own at times. As a musician there are moments where being a bit of a rebel is fun and you get a bit of a free pass at times. It really depends on the environment and I like to be a chameleon to a certain degree but I want people to see my outfit on stage and have them recognise me for it.
Tailoring or streetwear?
I like a combination of each. I love traditional men’s tailoring and I have a great stylist who focuses on the tailoring and makes sure I feel really comfortable and confident with whatever I’m wearing. But then streetwear has become such a big part of the conversation and there is so much great stuff out there that I feel like I’m missing out if I don’t draw on that too.
I’ve got to hang out with Kim Jones [creative director of Dior Homme] a bunch of times and get his take on things. He is a great inspiration along with another friend of mine, Richard Chai, a New York designer. They are both pushing that combination of traditional menswear but also embracing the importance of those great streetwear elements too. I love to do that with my style, mixing it up, trying new things and taking some big risks but also just bringing it back to the classic stuff.
So what do you wear for a big date night?
There’s nothing quite like getting suited up with your significant other and feeling comfortable and confident in a good piece of tailoring.
Are there any style icons whose way of dressing influences you?
Elvis Costello was a big inspiration for me. I’ve been a big fan of his for a long time and the way he approaches his style. Then someone like Sting as well. Over the years he has done a really good job of owning whatever he is wearing. You can tell that some of those articles of clothing are things that he has had for a long time and he wears them effortlessly.
Do you feel inspired by any of the younger guys too?
Well, I’m saying all Brits here, not by design here I promise, but David Gandy has been a big style inspiration for a lot of people and of course there is David Beckham who really needs no introduction.
Also, I live between New York and LA and just walking down the street here in New York you’ll see people who just have the best style and make some really bold and exciting statements. It’s fun to just go for a walk, check out what people are doing and sometimes the best style inspiration just comes from a guy you’ve seen on the sidewalk.
What are the most treasured items in your wardrobe?
Well, one of the things I’ve had longest is my New York Yankees cap. I grew up in New Jersey and I’m a big Yankees fan but it’s also become this massive style piece as well. It’s a staple of my wardrobe and something I can wear with pretty much whatever.
Another thing I think that every guy has to have in his wardrobe is a pair of white sneakers. And as far as clothing goes you can’t go far wrong with some great denim that you love wearing. A denim shirt especially with a white T-shirt underneath is definitely one of my key looks.
What’s your relationship like with John Varvatos and what was it like creating this fragrance?
My relationship with John began from me picking his brain like I do with Richard [Chai] and Kim [Jones] and he has been a part of my life for many years so getting the chance to create the clothing line we put out at the beginning of the year was fantastic and then the next piece of the puzzle was creating this fragrance. He is one of the best and working with him has been a dream come true.
For this new fragrance I sat down with John and we went through the different scents and I had a say even as far as the bottle. It was a very collaborative process. I’d equate building it up from scratch to making an album. There’s a lot of hard work that goes into it but at the end of the day it was just a whole lot of fun. I think a fragrance is an essential part of a man feeling comfortable and confident within himself and that’s something we’ve hopefully been able to create.
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Revlon
The JVxNJ fragrance launches exclusive to Selfridges on August 20 and goes on sale nationwide in October