The Urbane Savant

Houstonian of Style: Travis White

A Q&A with a menswear maven who wants to paint the city dapper.

By Josh Robertson March 18, 2015

Blazer—LBM 191. Tie—Kiton. Shirt and Pants—Zegna. Pocket Square—Etro. Look by M. Penner.

In the realm of men's fashion, there has been a drastic upsurge in the way men dress. There has been a major development in what I like to call 'The Dapper Culture,' in which men are gravitating towards more tailored pieces and an over all dressier approch to their style. I have witnessed it taking place everywhere, from New York to California, and even here at home in Houston. Yes, right here in our fair city we have gents like Travis White who want to foster a dapper reign in Houston! I sat down with White to discuss his love of fashion and style and his mission to help men dress better. 

So, Travis, what’s your story?

Ha, that’s a loaded question! I grew up in Sugar Land, so I am a native Houstonian.  I graduated from UH in 2013 with a degree in finance. I found my passion for menswear and style my sophomore year of college, when I realized that girls actually did like a well-dressed man. And not just a well-dressed man but a well-rounded gentleman, which includes a personal style that stands out from the crowd. I got into fashion modeling around the same time. I was incredibly gung ho about “making it” in modeling. At 23 I went to NYC to pursue that dream.

So, while I was there,  I decided that I would return to Houston. Personally, I didn’t feel the call to chase that lifestyle. I knew I still had a passion for style so I became more interested in inspiring others to dress well, rather than playing mannequin and being dressed. Since I am no designer (yet), I figured the best way to do that would be to style myself and share it with the world. So therein lies the birth of my blog.  

Blazer—LBM 1911. Pants and tie—Ermenegildo Zegna. Pocket square and capri shirt—Bruno Cucinelli. Look from M. Penner.

How would you describe your personal style?

I would describe my personal style as incredibly versatile. If I had to use one word I would say contemporary. I will choose skinny lapels and skinny ties over the classic high peak lapel and three-inch tie. I love to dress dapper, street style, and even combine the two in a hybrid dapper/street outfit. I don’t believe in getting stuck into one label or genre.

I know the labels are there, but I believe they are there for the situation or environment you’re in, not for you to conform to one permanently. If I am at an interview, obviously I will dress dapper.  If I am out exploring in the city I will dress in street style, and if I am going out with the guys for some drinks, that’s when I love to go the hybrid route – or the weekender style as I like to call it. I also love to take style risks. I like to combine things that people won’t normally think about. Sometimes it works great, other times…well, yeah.  

What is your go-to item right now?

It has got to be my tan linen slim-cut Paisley & Gray blazer. It pops from the navy outlining around the pockets, the linen is comfortable, and I can wear with pretty much anything. Plus it was crazy affordable from Jack Threads.

What was your most recent purchase?

A black, white, and gray plaid slim-cut suit by WD.NY from Jack Threads.

What is one clothing item you should get rid of but can't?

I own an incredibly ugly, black, white, and grey multi-patterned wool blazer that I found in a thrift shop for $9. I keep telling myself to get rid of it but I always hang on to it to see if one day I can have a genius idea to style it with something and make it look good. I know I should get rid of it though.

What made you want to switch from modeling to blogging?

I think I was just more interested in styling myself rather than being styled. I also love inspiring and helping people, and I feel like I can do that more going the blogging route than the modeling route. I am also a true entrepreneur at heart and I feel like I have ownership over my business when I can run my website how I like it to be run.

Who cuts your hair?

The dopest hair stylist in town, Charlene Dique at Solution for Hair & Makeup on Westheimer. She is pure talent with the clippers. Everyone should go to her to get their hair cut.

Where do you like to shop?

I love to represent Houston style, which a lot of people don’t realize how much talent is here for menswear and fashion. The local places I go to are M. Penner, Rye 51, Manready Mercantile, DuO, The Class Room, and the nonlocal major retail brands and stores I love to shop at are H&M, Zara,, Suit Supply, Asos, Uniqlo, Diesel, Steve Madden, J.Crew, Saint Laurent & Club Monaco.

What is one fashion trend that you won't endorse?

I don’t write off any trend completely.  I will recommend to not do some trends simply because they are very hard to pull off.  For example, I wouldn’t recommend double denim to anyone. It takes a pretty creative eye to pull that look off. It’s risky. Another example is the tacky sock trend. It is difficult to pull off but not impossible. If you can pull off a trend, I say go for it.

Who are your favorite designers?

Giorgio Armani is an essential to include in my favorites, Michael Kors, Yves Saint Laurent, Kean Etro for the menswear side of Etro, Jace Lipstein over at Grungy Gentleman, Salvatore Ferragamo, Kenneth Cole, John Varvatos, En Noir Street Style, Adyn Clothing Street Style, Allen Onyia for Wanderluste repping for Houston.

Who are your style icons?

David Beckham, Bruce Springsteen, Lenny Kravitz, Yves Saint Laurent and some of the big bloggers: Denny of @Denny623, Blake Scott (@Blakescott_), Marcel of @Onedapperstreet, and a certain Josh Robertson (@theurbanesavant).

How would you compare Houston to New York?

I would consider Houston a hidden gem for fashion. We are definitely growing but New York outshines us simply due to reputation. There is so much talent here in Houston and I want to expose it.

What message do you want to send to the men of Houston?

To actually care about how you dress.  It’s okay for men to wear fitted clothing with layers. The ladies actually like it! We have that southern gentleman charm to go along with it, so if we can step up our style game, Houston gents will be in another class altogether.


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