Hayden Greene is the Director of Multicultural Affairs at Manhattan College. He was born in London and currently resides in Brooklyn. He sat down shared his style with us.
The Quadrangle: How would you describe your style?
Hayden Greene: I think that I am classically clean. I like clean lines and I do like a lot of color. One of the drawbacks of being a professional male is that most of the [professional] stuff [for sale] is either blue, black or gray, so I like to experiment with color. I like to throw it in as much as I possibly can, whether it is in a bow tie or in a different colored shirt. One of the things that I always tell people is that no matter what your style is, you should always just be neat and clean about it. I hate sloppiness, I don’t do sloppy.
TQ: How have you noticed your style change in your life, especially between when you were a college student and now?
HG: When I was a college student it was far more casual. You wore what you could afford […] I wore what I could afford to wear because I worked at a particular point in time, or even because I went thrift store shopping. Nowadays [my style] is, like I mentioned before, classic and clean, but a little bit jazzy, and I still wear what I can afford. Even though my income level has risen, I haven’t gone over the deep-end wearing really expensive stuff. A lot of the stuff that I wear is really affordable, it just looks like it’s not, and I think that’s one of my main tricks.
TQ: Would you wear what you wore in college now?
HG: No, because Karl Kani is no longer in fashion! You know what’s interesting is [that] I had really eclectic style when I was in college, I did wear buttoned shirts and jackets, and things along those lines, but I also wore baggy jeans. Hip hop was just coming into its own so I wore a lot of that stuff as well, but I was never a name brand person. I never had what was “in” at that particular time, I just wore stuff that made a reasonable facsimile of the style at the time. Again, that plays into what I do now. I’m not going to be out there wearing Calvin Klein stuff, or Ferragamo shoes and stuff like that. I wear stuff that looks really good, really clean, well made and is inexpensive.
TQ: Where are your favorite places to shop?
HG: That’s interesting, because I wear what will start to be called iconic pieces. I wear hats, I wear bow ties and I like sports coats. Where I shop will surprise a lot of people. I have a couple of hat stores that I work with, there’s a hat store in Brooklyn on Fulton Street that I really like and then there’s Goorin Brothers, they have a couple of locations in the city. My bow ties come from a place called Pinch & Pull, which is an online bowtie store, but I get my jackets from JCPenney. I shop at Target. Every now and again I’ll pick up something from wherever I’ve traveled. [I] go to Europe, [I] pick up that one piece just to remember where [I’ve] gone, but most of my stuff is from right around the corner. I think that my skill, or the thing that I have going for me, is being brave about certain combinations, certain color combinations and making my style my own.
TQ: Tell us where your outfit is from!
HG: The jacket is from Macy’s, this was my forty-fifth birthday jacket. I’ve gotten tired of going shopping [for slacks] so I signed up for a mail subscription service called Five Four Club, so the khakis are from Five Four Club. The shirt is from China somewhere. The socks are from Century 21. More than likely, the shoes are from DSW. The hat is from a hat store in Harlem, and my bow tie is from Pinch & Pull.
TQ: If you were given $1,000 to spend in one store, where would you spend it and why?
HG: I feel like it would be Century 21. I could literally blow out a thousand dollars in Century 21 and get some really great mix and match separates, some good jackets, some nice slacks, and even shoes. Yeah, it would be Century 21. If not Century 21, then maybe JCPenney.
TQ: How do you plan your outfits?
HG: I wake up in the morning and decide how I feel that day. The next thing that happens is I decide either which hat I want to wear or which bow tie I want to wear, and then I build an outfit around that. If I decide I want to wear this particular bow tie and I know it has a lot of pattern in it, then I can’t wear a patterned shirt and I go look for a solid shirt. Depending on what color the shirt is, that will determine what pants color I wear, and then I throw a jacket on to pull it all together and then find a hat that goes with it all. Or the other way around, I’ll say “oh I want to wear that hat,” or “I just bought a hat, I need to wear it,” I’ll find a jacket that goes with the hat and then pull the outfit all together. Funny enough, it normally starts with either a bow tie or a hat and building around that.
TQ: Do you have a favorite piece of clothing?
HG: Well, I love hats and [they] became what I was known for. There were entire generations of people who did not know what the top of my head looked like at one point. So, I like hats. I’ve come to really like shoes, although I’m cheap on shoes, my wife tells me this all the time. I’ll be like “those are really nice shoes but I can’t spend that much money,” and she looks at me and goes “really? You should see how much I spend for shoes!” but, definitely hats and bow ties have become what I am known for, but I don’t regularly buy bow ties. I regularly buy new hats.
TQ: Do you have any advice for dressing in a professional and fun way since you do it so well?
HG: I think you have to go against what people say is the norm, especially for men. If you say “hey, listen, a professional looks this way,” then you will be in a blue suit or a gray suit or a black suit every single day with a white shirt and a red tie or a blue tie and at a certain point in time you’re just going to get bored, right? Professional simply means that you wear a pair of slacks, you wear a sports coat, you wear a collared shirt and most of the time you wear some sort of neckwear. That opens up a whole range of things. That doesn’t mean that you have to wear a suit. I wear suits too, I have a bunch of suits, but if you want to really express how you’re feeling that day and you want people to see a little bit more of you in terms of what your personality is, take some chances. To be honest with you, it’s so much less expensive to buy separates and mix and match and really just jazz it up. You know, people notice what I’m wearing all the time and I don’t think that that would happen if I were wearing a suit every single day. There are a ton of men on this campus who wear suits every day and I don’t think that people notice that they’re well-dressed and they’re probably spending far more on their clothes than I am. So, I think that would be [my advice], you know, just really invest in separates, you know, go get some jazzy stuff. Don’t be afraid to throw some color into it. Earlier this week, I was wearing a coral sports coat, and it’s a little bit of a risk, but when you put it together properly it doesn’t seem like “oh my god, he’s wearing pink!” It works. I remember the first time I bought that coat my wife was like, “I would not have expected you to pick that out,” and it’s like, that’s exactly why I bought it.