Orange is the new Black

Style Session #1: Carson Elrod

Wolf + Panther knows that the best way to lead is by example.
We’ve selected seven of our favorite stylish New Yorkers and created a photo shoot of them wearing their own favorite pieces.  The guys range from a Kung-Fu trained Bartender to a PR guru for the NBA who should really be on Dancing with the Stars.
First up in the Style Session Series is stage and film actor Carson Elrod. Carson is known for his comedic timing, dynamic physical acting, and, as we saw him do as a blue painted native in “The Explorers Club” for creating true depth in a character that could have been just comic relief.  The lesser know fact is that Carson is as committed and thoughtful with fashion and music as he is with his acting.
W+P: Describe your job?
I’m an actor.  At this point, I work primarily in the theatre.  I generally learn lines and collaborate with other actors and a director on an agreed upon framework for how we’re going to tell a story together.  And if we’re lucky enough to be part of a good project, then we share a daily recreated living story with an audience that hopefully lets people in on the secret of life. That secret, of course, is that no one is alone and that we’re all in it together.  I love my job.
W+P: When did your style become your own?
I feel like I’ve always had a stylistic point of view on how I present myself to the world.  I would say that I started to take authorship of my style in my early teenage years. I look back at pictures of what I was wearing and it’s interesting.  I was a kid growing up in Topeka, Kansas, but I can see so many influences on what I was experimenting with stylisticly.  My hair, in retrospect, was influenced by the Southern California skateboarders. And my clothes were a hodge podge of stylings.  Around fourteen, I considered myself “punk” in the way I dressed. Torn rock t-shirts, pants, and Docs with an oversized tweed topcoat was a uniform for a long time.  But, I also found myself in patterned rayon shirts and purple pants too. In some pictures I looked a lot like Duckie from Pretty In Pink.  So… the short answer is that I started to curate the way that I looked as a teenager.
W+P: Who are your favorite designers?
Well, now as an adult, I find myself gravitating toward traditional looks with a slim and fashion-forward bent to them.  I really enjoy what Thom Browne is doing with his own line and with the Brooks Brothers Black Fleece collection.  But, I have to admit, I pay more attention to the way people on the street in New York dress or to what certain stores are stocking more than particular designers.  For instance I will find myself spending lot of time checking out Unionmade Goods, Context Clothing, American Rag, and all my neighbors on the L train for ideas and inspiration.
W+P: Who are your style icons?
My style icons have always been people who kind of peacock.  I love people who take a brave, fun, and distinctly personal approach to fashion.  I recently worked with choreographer Chase Brock at The Public Theatre and was floored daily by how incredibly he dressed.  One day he came to work in a two piece suit that was a camouflage print with three or four versions of bright blue and green.  He proceeded to teach us all an intricate dance, wearing a suit and not breaking a sweat.  He became a style icon for me instantly.  Andre Benjamin of OutKast has an absurdly wonderful and distinctive style that I love.  Along the way I’ve had some people who really inspired me to find my own fashion sense just in how they dressed.  Belinda Macabee, who was the sexiest punk rock girl in the state of Kansas in 1989 was a big inspiration.  As were rock icons like Johnny Rotten, Peter Murphy, and Siouxsie Sioux.  Now, my style icons are usually my friends who know how to dress. Like Eric Peterson, who I worked on Peter And The Starcatcher with.  It’s not that Eric was dudded up in the most expensive couture pieces all the time. He just knew how to take pieces from a variety of places and put them together into outfits that just rocked. He showed me daily how easy it was to look good with just a little bit of thought put into how pieces go together.  Again, my style icons are usually my fellow New Yorkers.
W+P: It’s awards season, tell us who you would vote for in the category “Best dressed man on the red carpet?”
I think Russell Brand and Bruno Mars both show up on their on terms and I like that.  I think red carpets are hard places for men to convey their sense of style.  So often, it just has to be a version of a tux or a suit and everyone begins to turn into the same good looking fashion-robot.  But Bruno and Russell have the confidence to show up in materials or with looks that are distinct, unique, and full of personality.
W+P: Bruno Mars is pretty great.  What songs are on your play list to get you hyped for a night out?
Talking Heads ”This Must Be The Place-”
The Pixies ”Where Is My Mind?”
MGMT ”Time To Pretend”
Robyn ”Hang With Me”
W+P: What is your style philosophy?
At the moment, I’ve come around to what the French have always done, which is to emphasize quality over quantity.  A French closet may only have twenty things in it, but they are all very classy, timeless, and versatile.  So now, my closet is more sparse than it’s been in years past. But, it has more of what I would call “heirloom pieces” in it now.  So I have a pair of Red Wing boots that I pretty much wear every day and since Red Wing will always repair them, I plan to have them for the rest of my life.  The Mackintosh coat I used in the shoot is a new piece, but it’s also made for life.  So, that’s what I’m trying to do.  I’m trying to strip down the closet to some bare essentials, but what remains is what’s important, timeless, classy, and in some cases, for life.  So my style philosophy is starting to emulate my own personal philosophy.  I want to strip away all the extra bullshit and noise in my life too and get down to the high quality things that make life worth living.  So…my fashion sense is a mirror of that journey.
Wardrobe Credits:
Jeans: Momotaro x Naked And Famous Skinny Guy CutRed/White/Blue Shirt: Black Fleece by Thom Browne for Brooks Brothers Trucker Jacket: Levis x Filson Oiled Tin Cloth Chambray Jacket: J.Crew x Billy Reid Ludlow Cut Pocket Square: Fine and Dandy Shop NYC Patterned Tie: Tommy Hilfiger Denim Tie: Levis made in Brooklyn Belt: Tanner Goods Natural Belt Buckle: Gift from mother found in her father’s’ house after his passing Shoes: Allen Edmonds Manhattan Oxford Socks: Happy Feet Key Chain: Brass Hardware from Home Depot Raincoat: Mackintosh x Doyle Mueser
Follow Carson on twitter @wanderingcde
And check out his blog The New Myth