Street View is a fashion series in which Isa Giallorenzo spotlights some of the coolest styles seen in Chicago.
So here’s one of this city’s hidden treasures: Tony Bryan, a model who’s been featured in L’Officiel Hommes and campaigns for Louis Vuitton, a fashion stylist, and a tenor saxophone player for the Bama Lamas—performing tonight at Fizz in Lakeview. His rugged yet sophisticated look goes perfectly with his polished retro style and rock ‘n’ roller status. And, yes, he’s for real. He currently lives in Goose Island and was walking near Ashland and North just this week.
Isa Giallorenzo: Have you always dressed like this? When did you become interested in style?
Tony Bryan: I’m not sure where the love of clothes comes from. Certainly in the beginning, around 15, it was a result of being into different music scenes. I was wearing suits at 16, so it’s been a minute.
Are clothes important to you?
Clothes are definitely important to me. Being a man, I think, includes dressing like one. It’s much too common to see guys looking like they just left the gym locker room. Grown men dressed as ten-year-olds is ridiculous and evidence of society’s descent to infantile hell. With everyone getting undressed (both figuratively and literally) I feel compelled to put my clothes on. There are days when nothing remarkable happens, but a particularly sharp outfit can elevate every action of the day and transform it into something memorable because of what you were wearing.
How would you define your style? What inspires you?
My style is basically old man. Classic menswear from the 1930s to the 1960s. A love of both the Brits and the Italians; the inventors of all that is important in menswear. Trousers at the waist (usually with pleats, dig), hats, always a crease in the trousers, always a collar on the shirt, and so forth.
Could you tell me more about your modeling career?
I’ve been (part-time) modeling since 2001, mostly in Europe. I did runway shows for eight seasons in Paris and Milan (the real shows, as New York is a joke in this regard). Campaigns for Hugo Boss, Sandro, Aquascutum, Louis Vuitton (two times!), Corneliani, among others.
Having the option of being all over the world, why did you choose Chicago? Where did you grow up?
I was born in Astoria, Queens, moving to upstate New York when I was young. I was lucky to have time in both the city and the country, thankfully avoiding the suburbs. At college and living in Albany, New York, I met a band from Chicago, now defunct, called Hi Fi & the Roadburners at the tender age of 19. I hopped in the van with this bunch of grumpy old guys to tour. Moved to Chicago, spent five years touring the country and ended up sticking around these parts. I’ve been very fortunate to travel the country through music and see a bit of the world through modeling.
Do you have any menswear styling tips you could share?
Tips. Where to begin . . . I do have a lot of my writings on this very topic on my website. I was writing for a while for L’Officiel Hommes Italia, issuing my thoughts on style in general.
Where should guys go for style inspiration?
Dressing the Man by Alan Flusser is the bible. Gentleman by Bernhard Roetzel. For magazines, I like: Man of the World, the Rake, Fantastic Man (whose art direction was completely stolen by Mr. Porter). Not so much online, though I do like the site Gentleman’s Gazette.
See more Chicago street style in the Chicago Looks blog.