Fashion View: Rocko Jerome

What is your fashion view?
I always say “style over fashion.” What’s fashionable is temporary, while what’s stylish is eternal. Member’s Only jackets were fashionable and now laughable, but a basic well-cut suit is stylish and always works. Fads have never been interesting to me. I try to gravitate toward things that I won’t look back on in 10 years and say “What was I thinking?” or even worse, “Well, I was just dressing like everyone else, so it’s okay.” The old saying is, “Trend is the death of the individual.” Those are words that I live by.

How do you describe your style?
I’m into a sort of perpetual business casual look with a creative slant. A few years ago, I stopped wearing jeans and T-shirts pretty much entirely. Now, there’s nothing wrong with jeans and T-shirts if that’s you. If I decided to fight that battle, I would be facing down a huge percentage of the human race. But for me, closing in on 40, I want to communicate that I’m a different person now than I was in my teens and 20s.

I always go for the basics first and build personal flourishes around them, and don’t mind faithful standbys.

I try to always look sharp and wish everyone would, because I think the world deserves to see you at your best. I always hear people say “I just want to be comfortable,” but I’m not comfortable leaving the house without being presentable. I think the sweat suit industry has done an incredible job of convincing people that if they aren’t basically wearing their pajamas perpetually, they’re being tortured. I’m only comfortable if I’ve done the best I could with what I have to work with to put the best version of me out in the world on any given day.

Who is your fashion icon?
At the risk of revealing myself as a huge geek, Harrison Ford as Han Solo from the “Star Wars” movies was a big sartorial influence from childhood all the way to now. If you ask the common person what he wore throughout the movies, they will probably say he always had the same thing on. That’s not the case. As every dork worthy of his DVD (or BluRay, whatever) collection will tell you, there were big differences in his outfits through each movie. The key was that the character always wore things that were characteristic of him. He’s got the parameters set, and he stayed inside of them. Nothing wrong with a personal uniform, so long as it’s truly personal.

What are your favorite pieces?
There’s so many little bits and pieces, things that I wore before and wouldn’t again, but recall fondly. I currently have four or five pairs of black boots in different styles; in my life I’ve probably had a dozen. One of those is a pair of harness boots that I’ve had for over 20 years that came from a trip to Mexico. They’ve been everywhere that I’ve been. If they could talk, I would be in trouble.

From the waist down, I tend to keep what I put on very simple. Shirts are where I have more fun. I like button-up shirts in different prints. I’m always looking for something that conveys an Op Art effect, and I dig paisleys. Although it’s risky and a major faux pas if you get it wrong, I like Aloha Shirts during the summer months. I’ll stick my neck out for that one.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my huge Ray Ban glasses. I’ve been called a hipster because of them, but I ask you: Is Michael Caine a hipster? They were recently destroyed in a car crash, and a dear friend bought me another, identical pair.

It’s been said that I’m afraid of change. I would say that I don’t mind it, so long as it was my idea and I considered it very carefully.

Where is your favorite place to shop?
I go all over. I’m not above getting shirts from Target or even Wal-Mart. The way I wear them, what I’ll match them with, you would never know. It’s all about weaving a tapestry. I like to hit Unique Thrift every now and then, never leave empty-handed, and rarely spend more than 10 dollars. Nitty Gritty is a fantastic store. I treat myself to a trip there a couple times a year. I always get, at the very least, a pocket square for around a buck and a magazine from the ’60s. A lot of my inspiration comes from the ads for clothes in those. Again, style is timeless.