Text by Jim Parker / Mark Cho / Photo by Mark Cho
Jim is the shop manager of The Armoury NYC. Friendly and even-keeled in nature, neatly dressed with a tendency for shades of blue, he has been a huge part of the team in NYC. He also happens to be from Nashville, Tennessee, part of the Southern States with its own distinct culture with huge influence on American style and music. As a Southerner, Jim is my reference for how best to wear seersucker, the classic American summer suiting.
Could you give us a brief history of your career?
I dropped out of recording engineering school because I couldn’t stand the thought of sitting in a dark room, staring at a computer screen for hours on end–a pretty typical day for an audio engineer. I also knew I wouldn’t do well in a typical 9-to-5 desk job. So, after a few years, I realized I could turn my lifelong interest in men’s style into some sort of career. I went back to university and finished with a degree in fashion merchandising. After that, I snagged an entry level job at an old-school haberdashery in Nashville, and it all took off from there.
What do you do at The Armoury?
I manage the Armoury New York retail store, which means my day-to-day activities are never set. Most days, though, you can find me on the sales floor leading clients through our made-to-measure process and assisting my staff in providing the best service possible.
How would you characterize your style?
I wish I could give a concrete answer to that question, but I can’t. My style, like most people’s, goes through phases. I live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, one of the trendiest neighborhoods in the country, and most people there don’t wear classic menswear. So lately, I’ve been interested in how to wear the clothing I enjoy without standing out, too much at least. That typically means wearing coarser, more casual fabrics–nothing too slick–and odd jackets and trousers instead of suits.
How do you find New York? Especially in comparison to Nashville?
New York is so much faster-paced than Nashville, but I like it. Just about anything one could ever want is available here, which is simultaneously liberating and frightening.
As a Southerner, could you describe what a Southern Gentleman is? What do you think of the term?
A Southern Gentleman treats everyone as a friend, even a stranger. He introduces himself by his full name, and refers to new acquaintances as Mr. or Ms. He dresses appropriately for the occasion. He always opens the door for the fairer sex, pulls out her chair, helps her with coat. And never swears in front of her.
What do you think of seersucker?
Well, I’m wearing seersucker as I type this, so I suppose I’m a fan. It’s a polarizing fabric–it seems when I wear it, everyone notices and has an opinion about it. I just like it because it’s practical and reminds me of home.
You are also a keen musician, having spent a great deal of time performing live as well. What do you like to play? Why?
It depends, really. If I’m onstage, I like to play anything that makes the crowd happy. If I’m just playing by myself, I’m usually working to improve an aspect of my playing I feel is lacking. Right now, that’s uptempo country runs.
Who are your musical influences?
Oh, so many! Off the top of my head, I can say I’ve stolen a lick or two from Randy Rhoads, Andy Summers, Alex Lifeson, Jake E. Lee, Prince, Billy Corgan, Johnny Marr, George Benson, Eddie Van Halen, the Edge, Mike Campbell, Jack White, Brent Mason, Vince Gill, Daniel Donato, Zakk Wylde, and so many more I’m forgetting.