Informal Style

Playing Dress-Up

With a night at the movies as his motivation, an intrepid Aspen shopper builds an informal ensemble.

By Erik Hesselman July 1, 2015 Published in the Midsummer/Fall 2015 issue of Aspen Sojourner

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Everyone can use an excuse to buy a new outfit. My raison d’acheter? Aspen Filmfest. It may sound like a non-fashion event when compared to the Aspen Art Museum’s ArtCrush, but it did make the pages of Vogue one year. The fashion bible’s John Powers wrote: “Aspen Filmfest is a gracious, human-scale antidote to industrial-strength festivals like Sundance, Cannes, and Toronto.”  With thoughts of Vogue editors watching from the wings, I decided to give Aspen Casual an update. 

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The cuffs of Burberry Brit’s simple cotton shirt fit snuggly on the wrists, right where they’re supposed to, not above or below. The button-down is quite comfortable to move around in, yet the fabric has a luxurious heft, signifying the British brand’s heritage as a well-respected outfitter for serious outdoorsmen.

Rag & Bone jeans have become a staple of town’s well-toned legs. But there are also a few good options if more athletic appendages have ruined your relationship with skinny jeans. Here, a slim, straight cut is not as slim as you might think. The brand’s “Fit 3” lightly accentuates the shape of your leg without constricting natural movement.

At first glance, Brunello Cucinelli’s cashmere bomber jacket with a detachable shearling collar is not a statement-maker. Further inspection reveals lavish fabrication and tailor-made manufacturing. It’s the kind of piece that you can wear without it wearing you. 

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Kemo Sabe offers belts that are surprisingly fun to customize, particularly with the help of the cowgirls on staff. The hippo hide belt and silver, gold, and sapphire buckle I admire most reminds me of an heirloom I wish my father might someday pass along to me. (C’mon, Dad.It’s time.) Any self-respecting pair of jeans would look naked without one.

Ermenegildo Zegna recently severed ties with mega-manufacturer Luxottica and teamed up with Zeiss lenses. As a result, the Italian-made sunglasses have become as top-of-the-line as the rest of the collection. Wood, metal, and horn accent this variation on the Wayfarer.

Paul Smith’s patterned socks from Pitkin County Dry Goods prove that a little does go a long way. A bright avian print peeking out between your shoes and trousers is just enough to lift those tired spirits after a hard day of movie-going (or shopping).

Buccellati’s limited-edition Ornatino watch has a face cut with an impressive design. It’s delicate and discreet enough to act as a private luxury for the wearer. Considerably flashier is the patent alligator-skin strap, but a little bling is unavoidable when you drop $14,500 on a watch.


Gucci’s iconic horse-bit loafers are a timeless complement to any outfit, with pebbled soles for easy strolling. The subtle green and red stripe doesn’t compete with other colors in our outfit, now nearly complete, while the silver hardware draws just the right amount of attention. Bonus: grained leather looks great even when wrinkled after continuous use.

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