Ethnic Background: African American
Hometown: Rahway, NJ (by way of Elizabeth, NJ)
Fashion-related occupation: Stylist
Twitter/Instagram: @thejeffbrooks; @thejeffbrooks
Weapon of choice: Fur
Go-to accessories: A white pocket square; silver tie bar; fur when it’s cold
“My look is not complete without a smile.”
“People always stop and stare whenever I wear my furs.“
They say there’s nothing like a guy in a suit and tie. Well, in that case, Jeff Brooks is definitely one of a kind. This Jersey native is the epitome of debonair and vaunts a fur collection so mean they should call him King Jaffe Jeffer. But don’t think this is just a weekend thing. In his eyes, “everyday is Saturday.”
CM: It seems hard to catch you without a suit and tie. What is it about the professional look that you love so much?
Jeff: The professional look goes back all the way to my senior year of college. I was involved with the college democrats at Seton Hall University, and I was invited to attend a Super Tuesday rally for then-Senator Barack Obama. Long story short, I ended up meeting Sen. Obama and we were wearing almost the same exact suit. That may not have been the case if I were dressed in Omavi jeans. I was dressed for the occasion, dressed to impress, and dressed with self-respect. I’ll always have [that] story to tell. ([Plus] it’s hard to question a man with a tailored suit.)
I know you were previously involved in politics, does that play a role in your day-to-day attire?
[Yes.] I’ve worked on the Obama for America presidential campaign as a field organizer, as well as other campaigns. I’ve worked as a chief of staff for a New York non-profit, and I currently serve as a coordinator for a federal grant under the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Not necessarily [in] a political position right now, however my day-to-day dealings can be very political.
How often do you dress down?
I rarely dress down, but when I do, it’s usually on a Sunday afternoon after church service.
Tell me a little more about your role as a stylist.
I style many of my peers, mayors, assemblymen, etc. It’s part time for me.
Have you dressed any notable celebs or public figures?
I’m currently styling NJ Assemblyman Jamel Holley. He’s one of my favorite clients. He is always open to new looks and advice. He trusts my judgment, and I believe it pays off.
What are your goals as a fashion professional?
My only goal is to spread joy to the people of the world. Help and encourage people, speak life into others. If I can do that all while earning a living, it will be a life well lived.
Are there any public figures who’ve influence your sense of style?
The president, European heads-of-state, James Bond [and] the old European dandies. *
Who is your favorite fashion designer?
Ozwald Boateng of London. Amazing cuts and colors. He puts an African twist on British Bespoke tailoring. I would encourage any and every one to check out his work. He’s known by the fashion enthusiasts, but not nearly as known he should be, in my opinion.
Not too many people in our age group and from our environment dress the way that you do. What advice would you give to anyone when it comes to staying true to their personal style, and handling the criticism that comes with it?
I would say act and dress as a king to be treated like one. Now obviously, we live in modern times so most people don’t walk around with robes, capes and crowns. However, the modern version of visual success is the tailored-suit look. If you want respect, dress and present yourself as you’d like to be addressed.
A quick story: I used to do a lot of club-hopping in my early-to-mid 20’s. I kid you not, because I was dressed [in suits], I would just walk right in a club. I would just dart to the front and past the bouncers and doormen, and never get questioned. It was only because of the way I was dressed, and the way I came to present myself. It’s hard to question a person who dresses for success. The looks may be weird at first, but it pays off once you master it.
And mastered it he has. Check out some of Jeff’s best looks on the next few pages.
*Men who put a significant amount of importance on style and physical appearance. Old-fashioned dandies had a distinctive look that mirrored the high-class, aristocratic style of the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe.