Phil Valles, a marketing and PR manager currently living in New York, is a man of the dark. At 23, the Bostonian import has pinned down a moody, romantic style that seeps through his mostly-black wardrobe, his wavy slicked-back hair, and even his Instagram filters. Mixing beautifully captured light, Big Apple skyscrapers, and texturally rich clothing ensembles, it’s no wonder Philip has garnered over 8000 followers on Instagram. We speak to him about his favourite bags and shoes, why black is his best friend, as well as his opinion about the way men dress in NYC.
HIS STYLE DIARY: What does personal style mean to you?
PHIL VALLES: To me, personal style means being able to reflect your personal preferences and lifestyle through the clothing you wear.
HSD: How would you describe your personal style?
PV: My personal style is definitely on the darker side. I tend to always wear black and stick to a darker palette. I would like to describe my style as edgy – I tend not to stick with traditional trends in menswear and like to set my own. For me, edge is all about combining clothing, footwear, and accessories in unconventional and unexpected ways.
HSD: Why this darker palette? What do you love about it?
PV: I feel like I’ve always been drawn to a more monochromatic color palette. I’ve typically strayed from brighter colors because I find them unflattering on me.
HSD: So, plain white undies too? Or crazy colorful ones?
PV: Black briefs!
HSD: If there was a fire and you could only save one item from your wardrobe, what would it be? (If this is too hard, how about three items?)
PV: Ah! This is a tough one. I would definitely say my Schott NYC leather jacket that I’ve had for years. On the way out I would definitely scoop up my Saint Laurent dress shoes as well.
HSD: What are your top rules for dressing up?
PV: Have a little fun with it. Having fun and experimenting with new styles and new pieces are the best parts about dressing up! Depending on the event, experiment with something new that pushes you out of your comfort zone.
HSD: Any pet peeves when it comes to dressing habits?
PV: I don’t like the pre-conceived idea that menswear is simply a bunch of two-piece suits. Menswear has evolved so much today and become more modern, edgy, and playful. I think we are slowly transitioning out of the days where men will default to a suit and tie for formal events.
HSD: Do clothes make the man, or does the man make the clothes? Why?
PV: A little of both! Great pieces definitely help support the man – but it takes a man feeling comfortable in what he is wearing to rock the look.
HSD: Describe for us the most beloved bag you own.
PV: I actually just purchased a new Alexander Wang messenger bag and I am obsessed with it. It is my new go-to and is perfect for bringing to and from events and my office. I love the fact that it is a simple black bag that has amazing structure to it. It also has these beautiful zipper accents along the bottom of the bag.
HSD: You wear hats rather frequently. In your opinion, who makes the best hats?
PV: My current favourite brand for hats would have to be Goorin Bros. They have a few locations around New York but are spread out around the States. I have been to a few of their locations while traveling to Boston and Miami as well. They are a mom & pop store and all of their pieces are extremely well-made.
HSD: If you could sit down and chat with one fashion designer, who would it be?
PV: I think I would choose Olivier Rousteing. I find him very inspirational to have accomplished so much at a young age.
HSD: Would you consider New Yorkers (men) well-dressed?
PV: I would definitely consider a lot of New Yorkers well-dressed. New York is such an amazing place to watch people and become inspired by their personal styles. The city is such a diverse place where so many new trends and styles are born every day. An aspect that I don’t like is the traditional suit-and-tie. Although I have nothing wrong with the classic outfit – I feel as though it’s important to show your personal style through other means, rather than relying on a classic for every outfit.
HSD: What are some of the brands you keep going back to? Why them?
PV: Currently my favourite brand would have to be Comme des Garçons. I’ve found myself falling in love with a lot of their pieces – especially some of the ones you can’t find online! It is a Japanese fashion label that is always producing cutting-edge styles.
HSD: Finally, could you give our readers a style tip?
PV: My tip would have to be to always embrace your personal style – never alter what you wear to suit other people around you. You can’t do yourself justice if you are dressing just to fit in!
You can follow Phil Valles on Instagram at @philvalles, or visit his site here.