1. Welcome to the new Styleforum!

    We hope you’re as excited as we are to hang out in the new place. There are more new features that we’ll announce in the near future, but for now we hope you’ll enjoy the new site.

    We are currently fine-tuning the forum for your browsing pleasure, so bear with any lingering dust as we work to make Styleforum even more awesome than it was.

    Oh, and don’t forget to head over to the Styleforum Journal, because we’re giving away two pairs of Carmina shoes to celebrate our move!

    Please address any questions about using the new forum to support@styleforum.net

    Cheers,

    The Styleforum Team

    Dismiss Notice

ABITOFCOLOR Interviews Bill Charman - Men With Personal Style Series

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by GusW, May 19, 2013.

  1. GusW

    GusW Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    19,128
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Men With Personal Style Series – Bill Charman
    By Gus Walbolt, abitofcolor.tumblr.com

    From a continuing series of interviews with men who have cultivated a unique personal style reflecting their lives and passions

    From the study of Italian classic literature to smuggling vintage guitars to providing real estate services for an eclectic clientele Bill Charman’s personal style has taken a similar evolutionary course

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


    Where are you located and what do you do?

    I’m the founder and CEO of Gimme Shelter, a boutique real estate agency serving the San Francisco Bay area since 2003. We specialize in helping artists, writers, musicians, first time buyers, and the self-employed to buy in without selling out.


    How would you describe your style?

    Down and out playboy, or louche classics professor. Not that those are mutually exclusive categories, come to think of it…

    What are some of your major interests and talents?

    I have perversely catholic interests. One of my finest talents is putting my foot in my mouth. Hence my aversion to horse bit loafers.

    Why do you wear what you wear?

    For my own pleasure and amusement.

    Who or what inspired your sense of style growing up?

    I have no idea why this should be, but I would say that my personal sense of style is essentially innate, unlearned, and even to some degree a genetic aberration and/or diagnosable symptom.

    Even in preschool I insisted on a different, themed get up every day. Mailman, Astronaut, Boy scout, Frontiersman, etc. A veritable toddler village person, I was. These were elaborate, detailed, and accurate costumes, by the way. To be candid, it caused some concern about my, eh…stability. Whereas my father, although a very successful pathologist, literally lives in florid Luau print surgical scrubs. He would not hesitate to wear them anywhere or any time.


    How has your style evolved?

    Apart from the precocious work wear fetish, I grew up, playing in bands - jazz, punk, rockabilly, country, and psycho-billy, all of which had arcane dress codes. Later I lived and studied in Italy, and was made over/enlightened, Pygmalion style, by various young Italian countesses and such (a long story, for elsewhere). My first real job involved smuggling vintage instruments into Italy and Japan (this is also a story for elsewhere), an occupation which had its own style requirements, and then I spent 14+ years in the music business and owned Univibe, a cult guitar shop serving underground and national bands. Most guys retire and can’t wait to ditch the suit and walk around in jeans all the time; coming from the rock world, I couldn’t wait to go the opposite direction. Perhaps it’s a reverse midlife crisis.

    Favorite article of clothing or accessory that was as a gift?

    I’m lucky to have wonderful, generous friends. My wife never fails to give me spectacular gifts or to root out the classics long before they make it to the mainstream. Of particular note are my Stubbs & Wooten slippers, which she gave me over a decade ago. They feature monkeys riding seahorses, and are irreplaceable. Also my bespoke Olatz pajamas of the kind that Mr. Schnabel never takes off. (Size…cozy. His, not mine). An amazing straw Borsalino for my last birthday. Others have given me gorgeous pocket squares. Some especially grateful and/or guilt ridden clients once delivered me an unbelievable pair of A. Testoni Crocodile wingtips. They are truly perverse.

    Worst fashion mistake?

    As part of a negotiated compromise, and to be allowed to graduate from high school, I was conscripted into the marching band. On electric bass (they were short a tuba). This entailed tramping around on a football field, strapped to an amplifier, and wearing a kind of polyester pirate/mariner costume of catastrophic hideousness. The mistake was in agreeing. In retrospect graduation from high school was not that important an achievement.

    If your home was burning down and you could only grab one big armload of clothing what would it be?

    By which I assume you mean, what is my ideal wardrobe for such an occasion.

    Escaping from life threatening situations is an perfect opportunity to demonstrate ones verve, without, of course, appearing to do so…which is the actual definition of sprezzatura, by the way. The exact reverse of the way that “Sprezz” is practiced on the internetz in 2013…but I digress.

    A midnight blue shawl collared tuxedo jacket would be my first choice. This would lend an excellent Weegee sort of a look to any news photos of the disaster. Thank god Weegee died before he could get a Tumblr account.


    Where do you get your inspiration today?

    Brian Ferry continues to set a good example, as does Nick Lowe.
    Do you have a favorite store?

    The Church Mouse, in Palm Beach, which is a thrift store for the 1%. This is where Bernard Madoff’s bisque stained Cucinelli slacks went after he was arrested.


    What is your approach when getting dressed?

    I strive to look appropriate for business, but without looking like I actually have to go to work. As though I may be on my way to or from the next aperitif. Possibly by boat.

    What do you like to wear and carry with you while traveling by air?

    I used to have this Grahme Fowler Prince of Wales suit that was as slouchy and comfortable as pajamas, but I gave it to someone skinnier recently. Dramamine and champagne, AKA the Jimi Hendrix cocktail, always adds a pleasantly woozy indifference to the annoyance of modern flight.

    Favorite cocktail?

    3 ingredients or fewer. Or a good grappa. (not an oxymoron)

    Anything else?

    I love the Internets as much as the next guy, but gents, remember who you’re dressing for, and why. Is it to one up your fellow style geeks, to belong to some “approved” secret society of OCD rule enforcers, or is it to turn, say, the ladies heads?

    Right, that’s what I thought.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    - Gus abitofcolor.tumblr.com
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2013
    6 people like this.
  2. poorsod

    poorsod Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,057
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2005
    Is it just me or does he look like Lapo?
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. GusW

    GusW Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    19,128
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    

    He gets that a lot. Especially went speaking Italian (he is fluent).
     
  4. JubeiSpiegel

    JubeiSpiegel Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,371
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2011
    Location:
    Sartorial Wasteland
    Quite an amusing interview :lurk:
     
  5. P. Bateman

    P. Bateman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,146
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Viva la Bill!
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member

    Messages:
    33,248
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2002
    Location:
    Moscow, Idaho
    We sat with him at dinner during the SF10 celebrations, and Bill has a real knack for storytelling. What I like about his way of approaching style is the sense of romance. Whether you are dressing like a fireman, or a guy who is ready to take the Concord over to London for dinner, or a guy who might need to bring out the knuckle dusters at any time, there is something really attractive about occupying that space. I't's much better to have that romantic heart than to be the guy who is worried whether he is going to get chewed out by some unimaginative philistine of a boss.
     
    2 people like this.
  7. origenesprit

    origenesprit Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,671
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2009
    Location:
    On the good ship Serenity
  8. HEARTLESS-531

    HEARTLESS-531 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    532
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2010
    Location:
    San diego
    Nice. Is that a Makita? I thought those were cordless.
     
  9. vida

    vida Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    451
    Joined:
    May 6, 2010
    Location:
    right here, right now
    He does look a bit like Lapo. LOL
     
  10. mack11211

    mack11211 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,435
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Location:
    Brooklyn USA
    Very good interview, but I think there is one transcription error: for "Ouijee," subsitute Weegee.
     
  11. GusW

    GusW Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    19,128
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    

    You are correct. I've made the edit.
     
  12. Hampton

    Hampton Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,398
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2012
    Good interview, thanks for sharing.
     
  13. babygreenspots

    babygreenspots Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,214
    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2006
    Location:
    Beijing
    Although the highlight is the girl in red.
     
  14. GusW

    GusW Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    19,128
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    

    That is Melissa de Mata of Goorin Bros at the Styleforum X last year in SF.
     
  15. VRaivio

    VRaivio Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,226
    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2011
    Location:
    Finland
    ...well, now, it seems Lapo Elkann has finally sobered up and changed his name. Jolly good of him.
     
  16. borderline

    borderline Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    761
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    Location:
    SW U.S.A.
    Favorite quote:

    What is your approach when getting dressed?

    I strive to look appropriate for business, but without looking like I actually have to go to work. As though I may be on my way to or from the next aperitif. Possibly by boat.
     
  17. davesmith

    davesmith Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,175
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Location:
    London, UK
    Gus, after reading this and the interview with Kirby, I see you ask really awesome questions!
     

Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by