Alex Crawford is a master photographer and Art Director for Articles of Style (formerly known as TSBMen and The Style Blogger).
I've admired Alex's work and style for a long time, so I was thrilled when he accepted my invitation to be featured here on The Modest Man.
Alex graciously took the time to answer a few questions about his life, his photography trade, his height and, of course, his style.
Brock: How would you describe your style in three words?
Alex: American, comfortable, evolving.
What's up with the hats and western influence?
I’m heavily influenced by geographical location. Texas, where I grew up, Nashville, where I went to college, New York where I went to grad school, and finally LA where I live now.
The hats started as a necessity. I was never a hat guy until I started growing out my hair and went through a few awkward stages. Then once I began wearing them I got really into it.
I raided my dad’s closet of vintage cowboy hats and the rest of the western influence came along with it.
If you had a “uniform” for daily wear, what would it consist of?
Right now it would consist of a lot of black. Probably black jeans, either Birkenstock sandals or my black Blundstones, a black crew neck pocket T (or maybe a colorful Hawaiian shirt), and a grey or black chore coat.
Your style (and hair) has really evolved over the past few years. How intentional is that? Is it a result of being part of Articles of Style?
My style is constantly evolving. I’m never totally satisfied with the state of my closet and I’m always trying new things.
I’ve been like that for as long as I can remember and I think it’s way more of a curse than a blessing. I envy guys who find their style and stick with it for decades.
Since I began working with Dan at AoS a few years ago, my style has changed a lot. I can’t even really categorize it, but I’ll try.
It started as sort of trad/prep but with a mix of Nashville, then I moved more back to my Texas roots and went a little Western with it.
Now I’m being influenced by the West Coast and surf culture and it’s left me in a minimal, countercultural, hippie-who-wears-a-lot-of-black situation.
Does your passion and knack for photography influence your style (or vice versa)?
Certainly. I subscribe to most major fashion and style magazines more to look at the photography and see who’s shooting for whom than for the style advice.
It’s impossible to not be influenced by them.
Anyone who knows anything about AoS knows that fit is paramount. Do you struggle with finding clothes that fit?
Oh yeah. On top of being a short guy I have pretty severe scoliosis which gives me a very short torso.
If a shirt isn’t custom made for me I almost always have to get it hemmed. Same with most pants. Very few things fit me off the rack.
Where do you shop?
Uniqlo used to be my go to spot. Then Dan started researching fast fashion for an article he wrote called The True Cost of Cheap Clothing and it’s changed the way I shop.
Now I try to buy vintage and used as much as I can. And I buy more quality items and just shop less.
How often do you go the tailor?
At least once or twice a month. Basically whenever I buy new clothes.
What's the most common alteration you get?
Shirt and pant hems.
Brock: Has your height every been a source of insecurity?
Alex: Sure, yeah I think it’s almost impossible to be a man under 5’9” and not be a little self-conscious about it, at least in America.
Our culture puts so much emphasis on body type for both men and women, and with men height is paramount. Of course, the truth is, all that really matters is your character.
Dressing well is a great way to give a good first impression, but if at the end of the day you’re an asshole, it doesn’t matter how tall you are.
Does being a man of modest height make it hard to dress well?
The most important aspect to “dressing well” is fit. You can have the nicest clothes in the world but if they don’t fit correctly you will look like a schlub.
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This does make dressing a little more difficult for shorter guys as a lot of clothiers don’t cater to us. It means trips to the tailor and more expensive custom clothing options.
Any style tips for shorter gents who want to look sharp?
Honestly, just make sure your clothes fit. Find a good tailor and use them often.
You don’t need a lot of clothes, just solid staples that you can mix and match. Here’s a post that we did a while ago on 20 essential pieces for building a better wardrobe. It’s a good place to start.
Do you have any shorter style role models?
Not really. I don’t have a lot of style role models. Different people inspire me at different moments. I get a ton of inspiration from movies though.
Like the movie Jaws is one of my favorite style inspirations. All the looks that in that film are so dope. Especially Hooper.
Are there any other men of modest stature in the AoS family we can look to for style inspiration?
Man, all my coworkers and most of my friends are like 6’2” and they never let me play basketball with them.
Brock: What were you doing before photography?
Alex: Just generally being a 16 year old menace to society.
When did you become a full time photographer?
I started shooting 35mm film in high school and got my first paying job shooting senior portraits for my friends.
Then once I got to college I opened my own photo studio and did head shots and engagement photos and stuff for a couple years.
Then I went to New York for grad school and started getting bigger and bigger gigs. All that to say there was no one moment of being full time.
I had to wait tables in college to get by, but I’ve never really not been a photographer.
Any tips for aspiring photographers?
Shoot all the time. Carry a camera with you. Take portraits of all your friends. Just practice and practice until you find your style.
How did you get involved with AoS?
A mutual friend introduced me to Dan when I was living in New York in 2010.
We immediately hit it off and became friends. Working together just happened organically from there.
What are you currently ‘up to' in life?
Dan and I, and our new partner Will, are working hard trying to make the highest quality custom suits you can buy online.
The last year has been so crazy and tough, trying to find fabrics and factories that meet our standards but I’m very proud of the product we are now putting out.
All of our suits are made here in America and use some of the highest quality fabrics you can find. And our fitting process is so much easier than getting measured or worse yet, having to measure yourself.
Check it out at articlesofstyle.com.
If you won the lottery and never had to worry about money, how would you spend your time?
I’d probably spend all my time trying to convince Elon Musk to let me be the first photographer on Mars.
What's next for you?
How can we
stalk learn more about you?
If there's one thing to take away from this profile, it's Alex's willingness to evolve. He's always trying new things (like wearing hats), and this means he's willing to be temporarily uncomfortable.
This is a crucial character trait for anyone who really wants to dial in on their own personal sense of style.
What do you think about Alex's style? Leave a comment below!