Cooper, an associate editor at Sarasota Magazine, has a logical, no-frills outlook on fashion. A straight shooter, the Oregon native gives us the lowdown on his creative style and lays down the law with his top style tips for men (and we agree with them all!).
WHO: Who: Cooper Levey-Baker, 37, associate editor at Sarasota Magazine
WHAT I DO: I write stories about local food, civic issues and culture.
FAVORITE STORY YOU’VE WRITTEN: Whichever one I just finished, because that means I’m done with it! But for real, the ones I’m most proud of recently are a feature about why Sarasota is a tough place for millennials to succeed and one last year about the brave and selfless work that hospice nurses and volunteers do.
MY STYLE: Cheap! I edge toward bright colors and simple patterns like stripes and polka dots or just plain color swaths.
I tried to get into wearing hats but was… let's say... discouraged by my wife. I'd like to be able to wear a cool hat, but I just can't pull it off.
HOW HAS YOUR STYLE EVOLVED: I’ve always struggled with caring too much about other people’s opinions of me, and when I was younger I cared way too much and so I dressed to fit in. Today, I am actively trying to give less of an F-dash-dash-dash about other people’s opinions and so wear whatever I want.
FAVORITE DESIGNER: Jacobim Mugatu.
YOUR GO-TO ITEMS: Each year, I try to buy a new wallet at one of my favorite events, Atomic Holiday Bazaar. There’s not always a ton of stuff for guys, but I can usually count on finding a wallet with a distinctive design.
I’m also a major fan of the sunglasses at Target, but you have to shop in the women’s section to get the good designs.
FAVORITE ITEM YOU OWN: Chuck Taylors. No other shoe need exist.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE WRITING ABOUT MOST? For me, it’s less about the topic I’m writing about than the process of doing the research and crafting the story. I love doing anything that gets me out of the office, meeting interesting people from way different backgrounds, hearing their stories and talking to them about what they’re passionate about, whether that’s biscuits or criminal justice reform—or both.
WHOSE STYLE INSPIRES YOU? Dont Look Back-era Bob Dylan: The coolest dude on the planet. Diplo: I stole my haircut from him. Susan Sontag: It might sound strange, but she’s a prime example of the fact that you can be super-smart and super-serious and still have swag to spare.
STYLE TIPS FOR MEN: Burn all your cargo shorts! No one ever needs more than four pockets, and if your shorts hang down to your knees, you’re wearing pants, not shorts. You’re doing it wrong.
Also, ditch clothes with corporate logos on them. I just paid you for the shirt you manufactured. I don’t need to serve as a walking advertisement for you, too.
And another thing… Never wear that cord that keeps your sunglasses on your head! Are your sunglasses really falling off your face that often?
FOR A NIGHT ON THE TOWN, I WOULD WEAR: Pants.
Cooper is wearing Converse All-Star sneakers, Uniqlo pants, an H&M shirt, a Gap belt and a platinum wedding band. Also featured in this column was a pair of sunglasses from Goodwill and a briefcase from Etsy.
A Florida native, Alicia King Robinson is the director of public relations at Sarasota-based ThreeSixOh Public Relations and the blogger behind New Version of You. Her love of fashion and eye for stylish living began at an early age. Meant to inspire, she explores fashion and the evolution and ever-changing versions of ourselves with style-inspired content.