Offering a witty twist on classic menswear—we are thrilled that Jack Spade is part of eBay’s Designer Collective. So we sat down with their lead designer, Todd Magill, to talk Barbour jackets, watch collecting 101, and the art of ‘business casual.’
How would describe your role and your day-to-day at Jack Spade?
I oversee the design of all the apparel, bags, and accessories for Jack Spade. Each season I start with a concept that is usually based on an artist or architect. I then build a story with color, fabric, and inspiration images for the designers to use as a jumping off point. This then trickles down to our advertising, website, and stores.
Day to day, I work with the designers and merchants to build the collections. They are the true minds behind the brand and we all work together as a team to create everything. Ultimately, I help vet their ideas and guide the team to keep everything cohesive.
We are always working on three seasons at a time. Doing fittings, reviewing sketches, and searching for great fabrics to use.
You’re an expert! So what are the basics every guy should own?
For me the essentials to a man’s wardrobe are a well-tailored suit in navy and gray, a top coat, lots of crisp white shirts, a quality merino V-neck (here you can introduce color but you can never go wrong with navy), a khaki dress trouser, a gray dress trouser, a sharp navy blazer, and a great fitting pair of dark denim jeans.
All of these pieces work together interchangeably and the suit can be split up for a sharp wear-to-work look. After that you can layer in more pieces with personality like a patterned shirt, a sweater with an interesting stitch, or a technical outerwear piece.
What about trends—any favorites for fall?
I am really into the trend of mixing classic pieces with technical sport and leisure pieces like a fleece running pant or a sweatshirt or a functional outerwear piece. It’s becoming more common to mix leisure and sport with formal styles. That moment where the pieces mix is becoming a modern way of dressing.
What will you be wearing come cooler weather?
Over the years I have developed a very classic approach to dressing. I will be wearing crisp white shirts with khakis or dark denim, and navy sweaters or a navy sport coat. We also have a great camel top coat this fall that I plan on layering in. And I have my eye on our dipped leather slim brief—it’s a great take on a classic with a bit more personality.
What’s the secret to making ‘business casual’ work? Are there a few key rules for guys to live by?
Your shirts should always be crisp and tucked in with a great leather belt that matches your shoe (in brown or black). Then depending on where you work you can interchange a great fitting dress trouser or jean. An updated fit is key—you want to be comfortable but you don’t want to look outdated.
We introduced a wider range of tailored clothing this season that you can buy as separates. This way you can wear the pant or jacket on its own to create more looks. I’m a big fan of merino wool V-necks and cardigans that be worn over shirts and layered nicely under sport coats.
Invest in an excellent dress shoe—a brown pair and a black pair. If you take care and bring them to the shoemaker for a refresh they will last you a lifetime and be well worth the investment. Also, you can’t go wrong by adding ties to your look—it instantly makes you look powerful and confident and adds a little color.
Lastly, a smart leather briefcase is a great accessory that looks professional and tops off your look.
How about ‘weekend’ dressing? What’s a cool, kicked back outfit recipe?
Jack Spade offers a great range of casual button-downs and point-collars that can easily be worn on the weekends (you can skip tucking them in on the weekend for a more relaxed look). As an alternative, a fleece crew neck or sweater is comfortable and layers easily under outerwear. A Henley works great with denim or chinos and is a versatile alternative to a t-shirt. Our packable Peyton outerwear shell is perfect for running around in fall. It can be packed up and tossed in your bag, which is great when the weather is unpredictable.
We also did a collaboration with Barbour this year and designed a black-on-black waxed jacket. It’s a modern take on the classic and has a removable liner to adjust to the weather. We are obsessed with offering functionality in our bags and outerwear.
What’s your take on watches—should a guy wear a signature timepiece or cultivate a collection?
I think a guy should have both a dress watch with a leather strap (I like to match the strap to my belt and shoe) for more formal or work occasions. A metal bracelet watch in brushed nickel (like our new Bailey Chronograph) is great for when you’re dressed more casually.
Personally, I tend to favor our Stillwell watch. It has a simple clean face and can be worn with anything. You can switch out the leather strap from leather to a nylon strap when the mood strikes.
Do you (or does Jack Spade) have a style icon?
We are really into the idea of young tech entrepreneurs and celebrities like Jimmy Fallon. They have great classic style and aren’t peacocks. They’re men who don’t necessarily lead with their clothing—yet they care about how they look. Classic, put together, and confident.
What’s the ultimate gift to give a guy?
I think a classic leather wallet or credit card holder is a great gift. It is something he will use everyday and, most likely, for years. We offer both classic styles and fun pieces in our collection—including some dipped leather styles new this fall.
We also did a collaboration on lapel pins with hook + ALBERT that are a fun accessory. They will add a little flair to his suit jacket.
What’s the best thing you’ve bought on eBay?
This summer I purchased a collection of vintage nautical signal flags on eBay that I use out at the beach. We fly them on the flagpoles at the house. They add a cool graphic element and look great against the backdrop of the ocean. The design team also used them as inspiration for some t-shirts we’ll offer next summer.
What do you love to do when you’re not designing?
I am actually answering these questions as I relax at my beach house. It was built in 1938 and is perched right on the dunes on the Atlantic Ocean in Loneyville, Fire Island. It’s a sleepy town, not accessible by cars. You get around on bikes. Fun fact: Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft lived in Loneyville in the summers for 30 years in the house next door where he wrote many of his screenplays.
Our house is nicknamed “the Shack” and it was built from 2 Sears garages stacked one on top of the other. They were floated over across the bay in the late 1930’s. It’s the only remaining house of its kind on the island. I love it because it is no frills and you have just what you need. You are surrounded by the elements and a clear view of the ocean. You can really connect to nature. It is filled with generations of Nautical memorabilia and books that I have added to from many finds on eBay, actually.