Style is one of those things that you either have or don’t have; it’s as simple as that. A lot of people think great personal style is being trendy and in-fashion but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Leo Pataccia is a perfect example of someone with great personal style. Leo isn’t obsessed with the hottest brands or the latest trends, instead he has his own tastes and sense of style and stays true to it.
At only 30 years old Leo already has more knowledge of menswear than a man twice his age. As the former Online Editor at Sharp Magazine and currently a Personal Stylist at Brooks Brothers, Leo has experienced almost every aspect of the fashion industry, which means he can pretty much do just about anything. On top of it all he has one of the best beards I’ve ever seen! With that being said meet Toronto’s godfather of menswear, Leo Petaccia.
Describe your style
Easy: Take one part ‘90s grunge guitarist, add half an ounce of Milanese banker, then throw in a tad of ‘50s American prep and you’ve got my style.
What got you into fashion in the first place?
I’ve always been an artist. I would draw as a child. Comic strips and life portraits in particular. I’ve always loved beautiful things. As far as I can remember I’ve always had an strong interest in wearing unique clothes, but it wasn’t until I was 13 when my older cousin Bruno introduced me to the idea of putting effort into one’s dress. He taught me how to mix and match prints, fabrics, and colours. He taught me the rules, and how to break them. To this day I’ve been a massive menswear nerd, and it’s what I love most.
Favorite item in your wardrobe and why
Good one. I’d have to say my camouflage Barbour waxed coat. Here’s why: I’m a pretty analytical shopper, meaning I take my time, I ask questions, and I never buy impulsively. Not that case with this one. I loved it upon first sight. It just felt right. I tried it on, then bought it. It wasn’t cheap, but fuck it; I’m happy to pay handsomely for unparalleled quality. Plus it has this wicked motif that’s hidden in the camo print. It’s this silhouette of a hunter, his dog, a duck, and a trout. I love details.
You feel your best when wearing…
I felt my best in a perfectly fitted sport coat, preferably something navy and textured, a plaid sportshirt, buttoned all the way up, a pair of chinos, some crazy socks, and some black wingtip shoes (the more scuffed the better).
How do you approach getting dressed every day?
I wing it. Always. I never, ever plan my outfits. I dress myself based on my mood, as cliché as it may sound.
Your sartorial pet peeve and why.
It’s a tie between two specific ones:
1) Popped collars. If I were Prime Minister I would make it so that this would be punishable by law. Collars were designed to stay put. Jesus Christ.
2) Neon running shoes paired with everything under the sun. I get it. I even used to appreciate it. These days it’s so ubiquitous that I fear I may go blind the next time I run out to buy a case of beer.
Favorite brand or retailer
Band of Outsiders. I absolutely love everything they make. I think their aesthetic strikes a perfect balance between American prep and youthful rebellion. There’s even a bit of slightly-deviant nerd in there (i.e. the shrunken blazers) and I dig that a lot. Also, everything garment that I’ve tried on happens to fit me perfectly. So I’m a little biased. Sue me. Regardless, it’s a beautiful, whimsical brand that I can’t get enough of.
Who or where do you get your style inspiration?
I suppose you could say a mix of things: There are two famous musicians for whom I hold a lot of admiration and respect regarding both talent and style. Ian Curtis and Kurt Cobain. I like that both of those guys developed their styles organically, and likely without even trying, or knowing it. That’s the best kind of stylish, I think. GQ Editor Justin Doss and American designer Thom Browne are also huge influences. I think Doss is the just the coolest-looking guy on earth. No one else can wear a green fedora better than he can. Lastly, nostalgia. I’m always inspired by my childhood, and the ‘90s. I used to wear basics as a kid, like striped tees with plaid shirts. Once in a while, I’ll do that again.
For more on Leo follow him on Twitter at @LeoPetaccia