Rules of Style: Billy Reid

Louisiana-born Billy Reid may be busy splitting his time between Alabama and New York, but that didn't stop him from nabbing last year's CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year Award. Here, the man famous for his perfectly worn-in downtown clothes talks about building the perfect closet, how to wear gold, and finding inspiration in photographs of the South.

1. Rethink the dinner jacket this winter. Younger guys can look for more interesting or out-of-the-box fabrics like wool and silk, and skip the bowtie for a crewneck sweatshirt.

2. Gut your closet and build it back up based on what you wear. I redid mine and built it up with wood so I have the right number of shoe shelves and hanging space.

3. Less is more. I usually only keep three jeans in rotation, and everything else goes in storage. I'm wearing a pair now and the other two are on the hook.

4. Whether I'm going on a two-week trip to Europe or spending a weekend in the Hamptons, I use the same leather duffel bag. My philosophy is if it doesn't fit in the bag I don't need to take it.

5. I'm really excited about layering leather right now. Try wearing a lightweight piece like a bomber under a coat or puffer jacket.

6. Knitwear is a great place for guys to wear color. Bright color on a dinner jacket or suit can take away the beauty of the tailoring, but a sweater works.

7. Gold is tough to wear, but can look terrific on the right person. Go for accents so you don't look like big bird or a banana—I love a gold hoodie under a charcoal-grey cardigan.

8. Be open to inspiration at unexpected times. For me, it can be an old man walking down the street with his pants pulled up to his chest, or my son running around with his shorts accidentally on inside out.

9. I don't work thematically or by decade, but often reference photography books in my collections. Faulkner's World has a lot of great shots from Oxford, Mississippi in the '20s, and Clarence John Laughlin's photos in Haunter of Ruins shows the dark, decrepit architecture around the South.

10. Invest in a functional coat. There was so much great bonded outerwear this past season with fur hoods or collar components. It's something you'll have forever.

—Kristen Dold. Follow her on Twitter at @KristenDold.

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Also on
Rules of Style: Nick Wooster
Tastemaker: Billy Reid
Rules of Style: Canali's Elisabetta Canali

Photos courtesy of Billy Reid.
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