Ryan and Nadira Hurley, founders of the Vert & Vogue boutique, take a serious approach to style. Nadira’s background in fashion and Ryan’s longtime advocacy for the environment led them to open their clothing store in Durham in 2008 (by way of Paris and New York City) with a commitment to running it as a green business.
The couple landed in Durham thanks in part to the Triangle’s strong reputation on national “best of” lists. “And we loved the idea of being part of revitalizing downtown,” Ryan Hurley said. “We believe in helping create walkable cities in smaller and mid-tier cities like Durham.”
We asked the Vert & Vogue team to share its winter wish list – this time, looking out for the guys.
Ryan Hurley says the items they picked are about more than just a look; there’s a story behind every piece.
“All of these pieces here are great conversation pieces and have more meaning to them than just an object that you’re wearing,” he says.
For instance, Hurley points to the jeans from Raleigh Denim, which uses fabric from Cone Denim in Greensboro and creates manufacturing jobs in Raleigh; and the Shinola watch company, which is helping revitalize Detroit and the U.S. watch industry.
“It all has substance and meaning to it beyond just appearance,” Hurley says. “So it adds an element to someone’s experience that makes it richer.”
1. A vintage leather sneaker. Hurley picked the Camper Domus sneaker because of its vintage appeal and elevated look. “It’s a little bit dressier for a sneaker and has a great causal, chic vibe,” he says. “We love how the brand re-makes classic shoe styles.” Wear a sneaker like this with dark denim, chinos or cords. ($165, camper.com)
2. A sporty cardigan. A sporty, updated cardigan or jacket in a neutral color, like charcoal, is extremely versatile, Hurley says. This Ashe cardigan from Billy Reid is his choice (Reid, a high-end Southern designer, located his fashion empire in Florence, Ala., and most of his line is made in the U.S.).
“It’s super comfortable and soft – a beautifully tailored piece,” Hurley says. The updated spin is another plus. “One exciting thing in menswear right now is updates to heritage pieces that are modern. You don’t look like Grandpa, but you can see the through-line.”
Wear this with any outfit – go casual with a T-shirt style or dress it up with a nice button-down. ($225, billyreid.com)
3. Dark wash denim jeans. As noted, Hurley favors the local guys for denim. The Jones Original Vintage Wash jeans by Raleigh Denim are handstitched and lightly washed, so they are a bit softer than raw denim. But the key with jeans – or any pant – is the fit, Hurley stresses. These have a slimmer, straight cut.
“We encourage guys to wear more tailored pieces whether it’s a shirt or jeans,” he says. “We think this is a classic cut. The trick is achieving comfort but making sure there’s not too much volume, because that detracts from the look.”
Be sure to get the dark wash. ($325, raleighworkshop.com)
4. Long-sleeve button-down shirt. A long-sleeve button-down is a staple in most guys’ closets, but this Steve Alan Classic Collegiate in navy ecru is Hurley’s favorite. “We love that vintage inspiration,” he said. “And it’s linen and cotton dobby, which makes a beautiful print on the shirt, and has a very unique feel on the fabric.”
As with pants, Hurley stresses fit when advising men on shirts: “We recommend something that’s more of a tailored fit, because we don’t want guys to look like they’re wearing a blouse, and for a long time guys in the U.S. have worn shirts that are too big for them. Now we’re seeing more shirts with a European cut, which gives guys more confidence and they feel better with their appearance.” ($225, stevenalan.com)
5. A cashmere beanie. When picking a beanie (around here, many natives call them toboggans), Hurley says keep it simple. “Get something minimalist with interesting details that isn’t calling too much attention to itself,” he says.
He likes Eko-logic because of the company’s eco-friendly business model: “They’re all made in New York from reclaimed cashmere – they take old cashmere sweaters that might have a hole and make them into hats and gloves and sweaters.”
Plus, it’s just a great hat: “It’s not heavy. It’s got that really soft, supple cashmere feel, and it’s such a unique-looking piece that really rounds out the whole outfit.” ($72, ekologic.com)
6. A classic leather-band watch. A black leather-band watch can be worn with anything, Hurley says. He loves the Shinola Runwell not only because the company is helping revitalize American manufacturing, but because it has a “straightforward, elegant” look.
“We love the update of the classic style watch,” Hurley says. “It harkens back to that heritage vibe in the ’50s ... it really adds beauty to a guy’s ensemble and telegraphs sophistication.” And you’ll be happy to know that along with that price tag comes a lifetime guarantee from Shinola. ($550, shinola.com)