What’s an Atlanta-based menswear designer and self-described “preppy hippie” doing setting up shop in Los Angeles?
“A lot of my influence came from California because early on, I loved the way The Beach Boys looked — those pop-over shirts and the button downs, and the Hawaiian shirts,” says Sid Mashburn. The men’s style icon has brought his namesake line and boutique to the tony Brentwood Country Mart to serve clients who had previously been ordering their Virgil sports jackets (named after Sidney Poitier’s Virgil Tibbs from In The Heat of the Night) online or when they visited Atlanta.
“Growing up, I was totally into clothes. I was buying my own clothes even when I was 10, 11, 12 years old — which in the ‘70s in Mississippi was kind of weird,” says Mashburn, whose vision of a relaxed gentleman has helped shape American style over the past 30 years, during which time he’s designed for J.Crew, Ralph Lauren, and Tommy Hilfiger. (Fun fact! He designed the original J. Crew barn jacket.)
In 2007, he launched his namesake label with wife, Ann, a former Vogue editor, (she debuted her own women’s wear line, Ann Mashburn, in 2010), followed by the opening of their Atlanta flagship, a must-stop on the Dixie fashion map.
The new Brentwood outpost caters to a laid-back vibe and a more formal sensibility through its carefully edited offerings, from denim (Levi’s) to shoes (Tretorns and tassel loafers), suits, grooming and travel accessories. And while it’s a shoebox-sized spot compared to the brand’s other locations (Atlanta, Washington, D.C. Houston and Dallas), there’s still a robust selection of goods, from down-filled sports vests ($150) to dress shirts in a rainbow of hues (currently the store’s bestsellers), to holiday party-worthy silk knit ties ($75). “It’s not really in our interest to serve just one type of guy. It’s not even as much fun,” says Mashburn, whose Southern drawl and ease with a story makes you want to stay a while.
Like all stores that make their way into the coveted fold of the Brentwood Country Mart (beloved by the likes of Reese Witherspoon and Gwyneth Paltrow), Sid Mashburn was handpicked by the Mart’s proprietor, Jim Rosenfield. “Jim is very particular,” explains Mashburn. “It’s almost like he is casting a movie and he’s scripting it and producing it. [Ann and I] were honored that he invited us [to open in Brentwood Country Mart]. He heard about us and visited us [in Atlanta] and really liked it and said, ‘Gosh, some day we should do something together.’ ”
Thanks to Atlanta’s booming film business, the brand already has a built-in Hollywood fan base, including Steven Yeun, Andrew Lincoln, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jason Bateman. Mashburn — who’s almost as passionate about music as he is clothes — also counts The Black Keys rocker Dan Auerbach and Outkast’s Andre 3000 as clients, too.
Mashburn hosts a weekly radio program called “WSID”, spinning vinyl from his personal collections, on AM 1690 Voice of the Arts Atlanta (and afterward on his website).
Indeed, music is a key component in the Sid Mashburn retail experience; on any given day, walk into any of the stores and you’ll hear a handpicked selection of vinyl softly playing in the background, including Mashburn’s personal favorites such as Todd Rundgren’s “Something/ Anything” and Barbara Lynn’s “Here is Barbara Lynn.”
“To us, music is probably one of the most accessible art forms that helps people connect with each other and also share,” says Mashburn. That fact is not lost on customers: “Recently, we had Miles Davis’ son come into our L.A. shop and he brought some of his dad’s records in to play,” he says.
Customers are encouraged to get comfy in one of the low-slung leather chairs and kick back and listen to some tunes, or browse the selection of books while sipping on a coffee or even bourbon.
Come January, the brand will debut an in-store tailor shop, housed in the second floor above the boutique, for on-site customizations and alterations. Also on the docket, and just in time for awards season: Sid Mashburn tuxedos (Hello, Golden Globe nominees!). “And the prices are incredible,” says Mashburn, who plans to visit the shop every 6 to 8 weeks. “We don’t look to sell things for a season. That is not our go-to market at all. We’re looking to sell something to somebody that’s going to last literally until it wears out, both from a style perspective and a quality perspective.”
Check out Mashburn’s Spotify playlist below:
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.