Best Dressed List 2017
Nine St. Louisans who dream and dress outside the box
Basil Kincaid, Visual Artist
The visual artist is known for his acclaimed quilted wall hangings, whose component garments he first wears and incorporates into outdoor installations before “retiring” them to the wall. Quilting is a practice passed down from both sides of his family that’s allowed him to explore personal and cultural healing in such works as the ongoing Reclamation Project. Much of the clothing and fabric that Kincaid uses for the quilts is donated by people with whom he connects with on social media.
Personal Style: “Lately I’ve been wearing the donations—things people are throwing away. They eventually end up in the quilts, but I want them to take on some of my energy.”
Fashion Inspiration: “I like wearing my dad’s old clothes and mimicking things I saw him do in the ’80s and ’90s. There’s this picture of him with my mom where he’s wearing these tight sweatpants and this mesh crop top. My mom is on his arm and wearing a baggy sweatshirt. They just look really cute. This summer, I started wearing crop tops to throw back to that style.”
Oldest Thing in His Closet: His father’s boots. “They’re at least 30 years old.”
Favorite Fall Look: Sweaters. “I wear some weird ones, so my family will make fun of that, like, ‘What kind of ugly sweater is Basil wearing today?’”
Casey Miller, Restaurateur, The Mud House and VISTA Ramen
A decade ago, Miller and her husband opened The Mud House on Cherokee Street. Then, last year, the duo opened Vista Ramen nearby. The small but striking space has quickly become a go-to spot for its ambiance and ramen. Miller, who had a heavy hand in the restaurant’s design, frequents Cherokee’s many thrift stores, including Retro 101/Cherry Bomb Vintage, Mesa Home, and Ace of Hearts Vintage Clothing.
Personal Style: “An unsupervised 6-year-old in her cool grandma’s closet. I feel like I’m just channeling my inner 60-year-old artist.”
Recent Purchase: “All of the girls at Vista ordered black denim jackets, and we had them embroidered with ‘Vista Girls’ in gold. We have a company party coming up, and we’re all going to nerd out with the jackets.”
Fashion Philosophy: “I don’t want to be like anybody else. I want to wear what I wear and feel good. I’m an artist, and I’m a creative person. It’s just another way to express myself. And it’s fun—it’s playing dress-up every day.”
Go-To Look: “Cute socks, boots, some shapeless dress, and—almost always—a hat.”
Margery Marshall, Consultant; Board Member, Saint Louis Fashion Fund
The New York native’s career has allowed her to travel around the globe, and those experiences have given her confidence when it comes to fashion. A member of the Saint Louis Fashion Fund’s board of directors, Marshall shops for looks from emerging designers but also sticks with some of her favorite brands, such as Saint Laurent and Chloé.
Personal Style: “Classic, minimalist, but with a bit of flair.”
Recent Purchase: A Lady Dior handbag. “It’s the Dior that was created for Princess Diana, so it’s very ladylike, but then it’s got this guitar strap.”
Fashion Advice: “Invest in a core wardrobe and then have fun with less expensive, more trendy things. My other trick is accessories: a scarf, great shoes, a necklace. That’s where I add my color. I’m a New Yorker, so I’ve got mostly black in my closet.”
Fave Fall Look: “I love velvet. I have velvet blazers, purses, pants… I think it’s so rich and sensual, and it holds color beautifully.”
Courtney Crawford, Fashion Designer
Before his photoshoot, Crawford rocked a T-shirt sporting Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster overlaid with “Straight Outta Cookies,” referencing the iconic N.W.A. album Straight Outta Compton and subsequent film. It’s those pairings of unexpected extremes that the shoe designer and Clayton grad likes to play with in his personal style. Recently, Crawford has spent time consulting for hat and shoe companies, and he hopes to launch his own brand soon.
Personal Style: “It’s very edgy, and that’s part of who I am. It’s a hodgepodge of everything I’ve bumped into. The other day, I was on the subway, and I had all my Mr. T jewelry on and I was reading Marcel Proust. Those are extremes I love, being unexpected.”
Shopping Strategy: “I’m never looking. I think that’s a problem for a lot of people: They’re looking for something. When you’re looking for something, you miss everything else.”
Go-To Look: “Thom Browne black button-down, black pants, sneakers, jewelry.”
Fashion Aspirations: “Givenchy, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Chanel—they all started out with a market on the corner, not trying to corner the market. That’s all I’ve ever wanted, to make beautiful and aspirational things.”
Donovan Smith, Fashion Designer, Dakota Grizzly
Smith is only in his second year as a designer for Dakota Grizzly, but he’s been working in the fashion industry for decades. The Austin native has done everything from fashion illustration to corporate stints at Target and JCPenney. Smith often retreats to his Idaho cabin for inspiration for Dakota Grizzly, which he describes as “mountain modern”—flannels with proper fit and such details as leather and suede.
Personal Style: “I like to mix vintage with new. An old pajama top with a blazer is sort of my thing. I feel the most comfortable in jeans and boots—I’m not really a suit guy.”
Favorite Items: “I have a lot of my dad’s old military jackets. My turquoise [jewelry] I’ve been wearing since I was 17, and it never comes off. If you’re in fashion, it’s bad to become a victim of it, in terms of trends. If you’re really comfortable in it, stick with it.”
Local Boutique: East + West: “That’s the look I like.”
Kelly Peck, Vice President, Barrett Barrera Projects
As vice president of artist and exhibition agency Barrett Barrera Projects, Peck’s developed a deep interest in the convergence of art and fashion. With her degree in art history, she likes to apply a research aspect to her personal style. Peck’s work requires frequent travel, and she typically acquires fashion pieces from each destination’s designer of interest.
Personal Style: “I’m interested in style that’s a conglomeration of art and fashion. It has a nuance to it that I think you can miss if it’s trend-driven. I always find myself inspired by people who dress to their personality and dress to their taste—not necessarily what trends tell them to do.”
Shopping Strategy: “If a piece strikes me, then I follow that piece along. I’m not an immediate buyer.”
Favorite Items: “I’ve found myself steering toward platform oxfords and easy-to-wear shoes because I have a toddler, and I’m working and pregnant. I have to have practical items.”
Embarrassing Fashion Moment: “I wore bike shorts for, like, a year. My parents tried to get me out of them, but they were my thing, morning to night. They were not flattering—but it was the ’80s.”
Yvonne Osei, Artist
This past year, Osei served as the Saint Louis Art Museum’s Romare Bearden Fellow. The performance artist and Ghana native now plans to pursue her master’s in fashion design and business and teach at Webster University—all while preparing for exhibitions at St. Louis Lambert International Airport and Laumeier Sculpture Park.
Personal Style: “The brighter or more colorful, the better. I embrace patterns and ambiguity in dressing. There’s nothing called status quo when it comes to what you wear. I basically have fun and see it as a form of personal expression.”
Oldest Thing in Her Closet: “A garment my mom gave me. She wore it as a French dress. It has ruffles on top, and the bottom is this pencil black velour dress. She wore that at my naming ceremony.”
Something She’d Never Wear: An all-black outfit.
Fashion Philosophy: “It has some sort of emotion and soul that we take for granted. I love that it bridges personal and shared. We make all these decisions to put clothes on our body, but once we step outside, it becomes communal.”
Nicholas Akerberg, Vice President, Crank Tools
As vice president of gadget company Crank Tools, Akerberg “lives, works, and plays” under one roof, in a warehouse beneath the famous neon Anheuser-Busch eagle that overlooks Interstate 64. The all-in-one space means getting more done and maximizing potential. Crank Tools’ most notable product, the Crank Juice Box, is a lightweight battery pack with enough power to jumpstart a car.
Personal Style: “Everything is deliberate and has a purpose. My style is drawn from a lot of different people and eras. There’s elegance, simplicity, and an understanding of color. I take my time to study color.”
Recent Purchase: A T-shirt by German brand Braun Büffel that he scored in a Chinese airport.
Favorite Fashion Era: “Right now. I say that because of the things that Tom Ford and Brioni are doing in fashion, where clothes are starting to fit again. People are starting to understand that having clothes that fit right is important.”
Something He’d Never Wear: “White socks. There’s nothing good about them.”
Charles Smith, President, Road Rage Fuel Booster
Smith is a busy guy. Not only is he presiding over Road Rage Fuel Booster and three liquor brands, but he’s also the co-founder of NoCoast Originals and has executive-produced such car-centric reality shows as Speed Is the New Black and Fast N’ Loud. Still, he finds time to stay true to his personal style.
Fashion Partner: “My wife [Annie Smith of Euro Trash] is very in tune with what I like. She knows how to capture that mindset and translate it into something that’s comfortable and exciting for me.”
Favorite Items: Gold Rolex watch. “I wear that if I’m going to a big business meeting or if we’re out working in the yard—I have it on all the time.” He also cherishes a gold chain from his father.
Go-To Look: “A Don Henley—it’s just a Henley, but it’s not fun unless you call it a Don Henley—with a sport jacket, dark jeans, and boots.”
Embarrassing Fashion Moment: “In grade school, for some reason, my mother thought it would be OK for me to wear tinted glasses to school—that and a lot of fluorescent green hats and pants.”
See images from this year’s Best Dressed event, presented by St. Louis Magazine and Lexus on September 15 at Neiman Marcus.
Hair and Makeup: Shaheera Bhutto
Photography Assistants: Theo Welling & Will Driscoll