Style Self: Unbranded

Clothes don’t make this man. Cool accessories do.




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photograph by Luigi Ciuffetelli


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Let’s get one thing straight:

Shannon Stevens is a Mac guy—not an uptight, stuffy-suit wearing PC guy.

Much like the Mac guy in Apple’s low-key but hip commercial series, Stevens’ style is relaxed and unpretentious.

“The geek is in now,” says Stevens (shown in his favorite Herman Miller chair). “Before it was Fabio, but now it’s skinny, nerdy guys who wear pink. I’m pro pink.”

Even not clad in pink, Stevens is cloaked in geek—and he pulls it off marvelously. He wears a solid, chocolate-colored, fitted T-shirt with a perfectly contrasting long-sleeved, lighter T underneath. His slightly whiskered denim jeans collide with a pair of casual yet cool sneaker-shoe hybrids. An earthy-meets-urban vibe encircles the watch on his wrist. His finishing touch?

“My personality really changes with my glasses,” he says of the light specs
he sports. “I used to have really thick,
dark frames, but now I’m trying to open it up a bit.”

Open seems to be a theme.

The top-floor office of Essentia, his Wilmington-based creative consultant group, boasts minimal coverage but maximum style.

Modern furniture and decor dot the space, providing the perfect quantity of élan.

“For me, more informal is more comfortable,” he says. “When I go to big meetings with Fortune 500 companies, I don’t wear the normal nice shoes, nice shirts. That doesn’t project who I am. I wear jeans and a casual shirt.”

He grew up in a slew of Polo and Lacoste, but now it’s his choice.

“No brand,” he says. “I’m a brand fiend for Apple, but not for labels. I do solid colors. I hate when brands run across a shirt.”

Stevens describes his style as “easygoing, casual.”

“I wouldn’t say I’m on the cutting edge because I don’t like to be too self aware,” he says.

He digs threads from Banana Republic (ever the artist, he admires the clothes’ clean lines and understated attitude), H&M, and a brush of Abercrombie & Fitch.

“The best clothes are the ones on a sales rack at T.J. Maxx,” he says.

Does he enjoy shopping?

“Let me rephrase: The best clothes are the ones on a sales rack at T.J Maxx that my wife picks out when I’m not there,” he says.

Stevens finds shoe shopping to be the most unfulfilling.

“It’s so hard to find good shoes,” he says. “I like Cole Haan, and I just bought a pair of Sketchers I’ll probably be sick of in two weeks.”

One thing that will never make it on Stevens’ foot is a pair of Crocs.

“I think that trend is totally crazy,” he says.

He’s also not a fan of women’s velour jump suits.

“Men hate it,” he says. “Women dress for women. Those suits are not appealing.”

With high heels, jewelry and belts, women have myriad accessory choices. For a man, it’s watches, ties and the occasional man bag.

“Next time you go into a café, look around,” Steven says. “Men will sit with their cell phones out, while women don’t. That’s how men accessorize.”

He points to his ultra-sleek desk chair and his computer equipment.

“These items are an extension of myself,” he says. “Modern, comfortable and sleek. I may not wear them, but they are my accessories.”                                                       —Amy Kates

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