Brett Carron's closet, not surprisingly, looks like a miniature version of his Cannonborough menswear store, Indigo and Cotton, minus the antique stadium seats in the dressing room and the cool art on the walls. The former Manhattanite is all about high-quality, classic pieces that will last a lifetime, and his personal style reflects the stock at his store.
New Directions. A native Midwesterner, Carron worked for an antique picture frame company in the Big Apple before moving to Charleston with his wife in 2009 after she landed a job at MUSC. "I was sort of at a crossroads in my working career and was ready to do something different, so moving down here was a chance to start over," he says. "It wasn't even my intention when we first got here to open a store. I decided to do something else, and thought, what do I like? I like clothing and menswear, and I was sort of looking around and there weren't really any shops doing what we do, presenting things in a little bit more of a unique way, showcasing the brands and letting them speak for themselves."
Southern Style. "When I opened the store, I kind of looked at it as taking cues from what I perceived as Southern style. We moved down here and I noticed that generally guys are thinking about their appearance and dressing a little bit nicer," he says. "There's sort of a formal quality that I think is pervasive in Charleston. ... There are classic elements to Southern style, like the suede bucks and clean khaki pants and button-down shirt typically tucked in. It's not super fashion-forward, but most places guys aren't really that put together. So in putting the store together I wanted to play off of that and kind of bring something a little fresher, better quality, better fitting."
The Labels He Loves. The brands Carron supports, both in his own wardrobe and in his store, are typically American-made with a bit of history behind them: labels like Gitman Brothers, Levi's Vintage, Raleigh Denim, Jack Spade, and Birdwell. "Nothing's really mass-produced," he says. "It's not made overseas, it's made in some of the few remaining areas in the States that still manufacture apparel and footwear, and so they're using the best materials and craftspeople, and, probably most importantly, they're paying them a livable wage, and the working conditions are not scary ... I think people appreciate that and can find value in that."
Simple is Better. Carron's favorite piece of clothing is a raw selvage pair of 505 Levi's from the capsule collection, originally designed in 1967, that he hasn't washed since buying them 18 months ago. His shirts include mostly long-sleeve button-ups made out of plaid or chambray. He wears white sneakers in the summer, boots in the winter, or wingtips when he wants to look a little dressier. "I don't spend a whole lot of time getting dressed, so I want to grab things that are easily going to go together depending on how I'm feeling," he says. "I used to have tons of clothes, and more recently, I've started to pare it down to just the essentials, which is just nice shirts, denim, and a variety of shoes."
Keeping it Old School. Carron always keeps a pocket square or handkerchief with him. "It's functional and it's a more old-school thing, like everybody's grandpa probably had one," he says. "There was a time you wouldn't be caught dead without one." He also has a few vintage ties and belts, which he usually shops for online.
investment opportunity. "Buy nice shoes, if you're going to spend money on something."