Perfect Pairing: Casey Neistat + J.Crew
Filmmaker Casey Neistat is a man of action. And as such, he’s not necessarily one to keep his clothes cleaned and pressed. So the New York-based director who was born in New London, Connecticut, may have been the best or worst guy to hire for a video on J.Crew’s new Ludlow Traveler suit. At any rate, Neistat managed to land the job, and he promised the clothing company that he’d “keep one suit perfect through the shoot and anytime you’d see it close up I’d be wearing a perfectly pressed suit.” As he boarded a plane to fly to California and Mexico to film Travel With Style, Neistat quickly filed that vow in a mental best-laid-plans column. “Because it was just my friend Zach [Treitz] and me doing the entire production, we could only handle so much luggage. The first thing to go was the garment bag,” Neistat notes. “All of the suits in the video were stuffed in the bottom of a suitcase. I couldn’t believe the beating they took,” he adds.
Neistat says he brought four of the new wrinkle-resistant three-ply wool suits along, though he used them haphazardly throughout the film. “Not a lot of thought went into which one was worn when. Whichever had the least amount of snow, gunpowder, motorcycle grease, or sand on it was the one I’d put on,” he says. To clarify, Neistat wore the garments while traveling on planes, bikes, in cars, and on foot, but he also wore them to snowboard down Big Bear’s Bear Mountain and to surf a break in Mexico just outside of Ixtapa. The suit is made in navy, and shades of light and dark grey, and Neistat reused each of the four he was given as he wove together a travelogue highlighting 17 “tips” necessary to “travel with style.” And Neistat says all of the garments remained in rotation throughout the trip. “The snowboard suit [a navy version of the Ludlow Traveler] is the same suit I’m wearing in some of the later scenes, it held together so well we just kept shooting with it on. There was no ‘hero’ suit kept pretty for the shoot. Every Ludlow Traveler in the video was properly worn.”
Treitz and Neistat took nine flights to eight cities to make the three-minute film, and although Neistat doesn’t remember seeing people wearing suits and dresses in airports when he was younger, he remembers hearing about it. “My mom used to tell us stories about the ‘olden days’ when people dressed to travel,” he says. “We didn’t do much air travel as kids, just got stuffed into the back of a station wagon wearing whatever my mom bought us from the Salvation Army.” Neistat has developed a system for travel attire not unlike the one made famous by fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld in the 2007 documentary Lagerfeld Confidential. “I always show up to the airport dressed for the day, not in pajamas or an outfit selected for comfort,” says Neistat. “Then I change as soon as the plane takes off.”
Like Lagerfeld, Neistat is no stranger to setting aside personal comfort for fashion. Neistat says he found surfing in a suit to be headache-inducing at best, and debilitating at worst (the wool shrunk and the tie choked him as Neistat sought out the perfect wave). Nevertheless, Neistat kept each element in place including the shirt, tie, pants, and jacket. Why? To follow his mantra: “Any job big or small, do it right or not at all.”
By Elizabeth Varnell
Pictured: A film still of Casey Neistat snowboarding on Bear Mountain in Big Bear, California.
Image courtesy of J. Crew