Eye-popping laces are part of his style show
Jay Higgins, the man behind Hamilton’s Food and Drink Festival, tailors his attire to suit the occasion
Jay Higgins knows that one of the best ways to sell a product is to sell himself, too.
Why would a potential client believe he’s an expert on consumer trends if he’s wearing an ill-fitting, out-of-date suit?
Which is why Higgins, president of festival and consumer trade show company Beau Monde Productions, tailors his attire to suit the occasion. If he’s meeting with a restaurant about participating in Hamilton’s Food and Drink Fest, he’ll probably opt for a stylish blazer, shirt and trendy jeans or khakis. But on the day of the actual show, Higgins brings it — suit, tie — the whole nine yards.
“I notice that the exhibitors step it up when all my team is in suit and tie or dress,” says Higgins, 52, who grew up on the east Mountain and has also taught marketing at Mohawk College.
Not one for mixing bright colours, Higgins prefers pastel tones, often from the blue and purple families. His look is monochromatic but he adds texture by incorporating subtle prints like the Nick Graham floral shirt he found at Marshalls that he wears here underneath a heather blue blazer from Banana Republic.
“I’ve never been a flashy per se type of person,” he says. “But I certainly enjoy stepping outside of my boundary.”
Higgins adds yet another print here in the way of his blue stripe socks from Buffalo, which peek out from beneath his rolled-up Gap jeans. A black Polo belt and tan shoes from Call It Spring add polish and the addition of blue laces adds a touch of whimsy to his overall look.
Most eye-catching piece:
I bought a Rudsak winter coat, which is kind of out of my wheelhouse ... I saw this coat in the window and (thought), ‘Wow, that’s really sharp.’ And I was in the market for a coat. I ended up buying it, but I didn’t buy it right away because that’s not how I play. I had to shop around. I had to go to, like, 100 other stores and try on other coats to see if this is the one … it just fits me like it was tailored. It’s black but it’s got leather elbows on it, kind of a leather collar, the zippers all have leather inlay on them. Quirkiest wardrobe item: I have a pair of red jeans. My wife said, ‘No way you’re buying those things, right?’ And she went her way and I went that way and I bought them. And I got home and she was like, ‘I can’t believe you bought those things. You’re kidding me, right?’
I do wear them. And every time I wear them, people stop. I’ve had people stop a car and back up and say, ‘Where did you get those pants?’ I got them at Marshalls at the outlet mall. Wardrobe must-have: A reversible belt … for travelling, it’s brilliant. I bring one belt and don’t have to worry about bringing another belt. For the Niagara (wedding) show I’ll bring two pairs of shoes and one belt and a couple of suits and it’s just like, flip, and I’ve got the new look. Best purchase: I bought an overcoat from the (Bay’s) 1867 line. This black overcoat is three-season and it works with everything — even a mild winter … I had it on three or four days ago and a guy stopped me and said, ‘Where did you get that coat?’ And it’s not the first time. Regrets buying: A number of years back, I bought a motorcycle. And I had to run out and get the biker jacket — the black biker jacket. And at the time it broke the bank; it was an expensive coat to buy. But you had to do the right thing and also for safety reasons; you can’t have vinyl because if you do fall, it’ll burn right into your skin. Whereas leather is protective and that’s the whole reason you wear a leather biker jacket. A year later I was trying to buy my first home — a townhouse — and for the down payment, I had to sell my bike. And I’ve never worn the coat since. So it’s sitting in my closet and I still have the thing. Loves to shop at: I actually hate shopping because I grew up as the youngest, with two (older) sisters, and I was dragged to the mall endlessly, like every weekend … but I love the hunt. So, for example, if I need a new pair of shoes or a suit or whatever, I’ll go everywhere. I’ll go to 25, 30 stores and try it on. I have a lot of patience for that somehow. I tend to like Banana Republic — it seems to fit me like a glove. Marshalls, I get lucky … I like The Bay …. I like The Gap. Ridding his closet of: My wife is a clean freak and obsessed with organizing. So probably four to five times a year she forces me to, literally, go (through my wardrobe) from socks to suits … she says if you have not worn that in a year, it goes. Splurges on: Road-bike-riding gear. The kit, they call it … with riding gear, I probably spend the most amount of money. So that’s the shirt, the shorts, the socks and the gloves and all the different riding gear that you need.
Beauty product he can’t live without:
Sunscreen. It gives you the moisture that you need and certainly the protection that you need.
“I play with colour. I’m certainly not scared of colour,” says Jay Higgins, president of Beau Monde Productions, whose monochromatic blue look is punctuated with the subtle floral print on his Nick Graham shirt from Marshalls. He wears it under a blue heather blazer, with blue Gap jeans and a black Polo belt. His tan shoes from Call It Spring and bright blue laces finish his look.
Bright blue laces add an unexpected pop of colour to a pair of tan shoes from Call It Spring. Higgins says he used to love wearing crazy ties with outrageous patterns but now he adds whimsy to his outfits in a more refined way.
Higgins’ monochromatic blue look is punctuated with the subtle floral print on his Nick Graham shirt from Marshalls.
A reversible belt is a must-have, especially for travelling. Here Higgins adds a black Polo belt to a pair of Gap jeans.