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Worn Out Wednesday – Ward Williams

Today we speak with Creative Director Ward Williams about his career and personal style.

I was born and raised in the Mississippi Delta. The area is famous for producing some of the most colorful artists and generally strange people in the world. Because it was a riverbed at some point in history, farming is the prevailing industry. However, the culture is as bountiful and legendary as the crops grown there. My father was a cotton farmer and my mother a school administrator. I spent a large amount of my childhood listening to my father tell stories that I still don’t entirely believe to be true. I also spent a large amount of my childhood having my grammar corrected by my mother – who is an English teacher by trade. Perhaps it was my birthright to eventually become a writer of some sort?

College kept me in Mississippi and eventually I made my way up the eastern seaboard to Virginia for graduate school. The next step was New York – a place where I never had any intention of living. That was eight years ago and I’m not sure I ever have any real intention of leaving – save for possible small stints in a handful of places.

My career started in advertising as a junior copywriter at Ogilvy & Mather. Since then, I’ve worked at a variety of advertising agencies both large and small. I did my own thing for a while, took some time to write for myself, and enrolled in a couple of writing courses at NYU. Currently, I’m a creative director at Momentum Worldwide working primarily on the American Express account at my agency.

I joke that my family and friends don’t really understand what I do. I’m not sure that joke is really that much of a joke. I don’t blame them though. At any time I could be doing something as simple as writing a print ad. At other times, I could be working on a livestream concert and fashion show during New York Fashion Week. Just last week, I was wearing a full body suit of green lycra Zentai on a sound stage in LA with a top ranked tennis player. I don’t try to make a lot of sense out of where my job takes me, but suffice to say, it keeps things interesting. It’s fun to find interesting and creative ways to tell a brand’s story – for now, at least.

Until I eventually get around to selling that book I’ve been thinking about writing.

Like any good Southerner, my style is traditional southern preppy (I think that’s a thing). However, I like to mix it up with interesting pieces. You’re not going to see me in head-to-toe Brooks Brothers and Vineyard Vines.

Jeans: My absolute favorite jeans are a patched six-year-old pair from Simon Spurr; I have an equally old pair of Earnest Sewn skinny jeans that I wear at least two times a week. Oh, and slim fit jeans from UK brand, Jean Machine – they’re great. Related: I own too much denim.

Shirts: I am pretty hard on shirts so I was happy to discover that the Small Slimfit Oxford at Uniqlo fits me perfectly. I also have a bunch of shirts by Michael Bastian – both his regular and Gant lines.

Pants: In the winter, I live in a pair of Hickey flannels. They fit great and keep me warm. In the summer, if I’m not wearing jeans, I’m probably in a bright pair of Rugby (RIP) chinos or slim Rag & Bone five pocket khakis.

Suits: The suit I wear the most is by Boglioni. I have an old Jil Sander suit that I sometimes wear as a tux when I’m not wearing my proper one.

Shoes: If I could, I would live in Belgian’s. I love my suede wingtips from Massimo Dutti and cordovan tassel loafers by Hickey; for rain, my LL Bean Duckboots and for snow, Diemme Boots; the rest of the time it’s Quoddy topsiders and LL Bean Signature Bluchers.

Accessories: I wear an old gold and silver Rolex Datejust, my father’s signet ring, and his monogramed gold belt buckle. I just recently discovered Steven Alan’s eyewear line and it’s fantastic. My everyday glasses are a pair of rose-colored vintage clear French frames from Fabulous Fannie’s in the East Village (that sentence annoyed me too). And I love a needlepoint belt and knit ties from Michael Bastian.

Outerwear: Denim Jacket by Jean Machine and my trusty Barbour; North Face and Patagonia for skiing or freak NY snowstorms.

Your favorite App: Sure, Instagram and Google Maps get a lot of use on my phone but if you have a four-legged creature in your life, MyTalkingPet is endlessly amusing.

Favorite piece of technology: Even with cable, I’m pretty attached to my AppleTV.

Next tech purchase: I’m toying with getting a Jawbone UP bracelet, but I’m not quite prepared to face the reality of my sleep cycle – just yet.

Cator Sparks
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Cator Sparks was the Editor-in-Chief of The Manual from its launch in 2012 until 2018. Previously, Cator was covering…
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