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Nick Arrington Brings Style To Martha’s Vineyard While Ushering In A New Type Of Gentleman

Nick Arrington

Photo Credit: Patrick Camilien

Oak Bluffs in Martha’s Vineyard has a history of drawing members of the Black elite from Paul Robeson and Matthew Henderson to Adam Clayton Powell and Harry T. Burleigh. In May 2023, Bravo premiered its latest hit reality show Summer House: Martha’s Vineyard, which displayed a group of Black entrepreneurs and professionals vacationing for the summer in Oak Bluffs. Among the group was stylist Nick Arrington. Before his move to New York, Arrington’s style journey began in Woodbridge, Virginia, a small suburb outside of Washington D.C.

Arrington grew up as one of four children, having an older brother, a younger brother, and a “baby” sister as he refers to his sister who is not quite a baby anymore. But the woman who helped inspire his love for fashion was his mother who raised him and his three siblings as a single mother.

“When my mother said that she was going shopping that meant we were all going shopping," Arrington said. “It started out with just my brother and I. There was a store in Potomac Mills that has since gone out of business, it was called Daffy’s. If you are from the East Coast you know what Daffy’s is. They were in Virginia, New Jersey, and had a headquarters in New York, a store that was similar to Nordstrom or Century 21... where you would be able to buy designer clothes at a discount,” Nick shared about his early memories of shopping with his family.

“My mother was always in Armani and Ralph Lauren...she wore Dolce & Gabbana... she wore all these iconic brands but she was able to get these items at discounted prices at Daffy's.” In helping his mother, Arrington and his older brother, would pull different-sized clothing off the racks for his mother to wear, he explained. When growing up the term “stylist” wasn’t a thing, but he compares the tasks of pulling clothing from the racks at the age of five to what stylists do now.

While pulling clothes he and his brother made the experience fun. “There were these rings that would hold a brand new pack of hangers together, and we would take them and collect them for some odd reason. I guess another man's trash is another man's treasure," Arrington says. "We used to throw them at each other when we were at home."

Nick Arrington

Photo Credit: Brittany Oliver

One day while at Daffy's, a particular piece of clothing caught Arrignton's attention. “It was the silk shirt I wore in my third or fourth-grade school picture. I wanted this shirt so bad, I don’t know if it was stylish or if it was cool," he remembers. “What kid in the fourth or fifth grade wants a silk button-down shirt, I was that kid."

The eclectic young boy at the time was already on the path of his passion for fashion. "I don’t know why I wanted a silk shirt. Maybe I saw it on the rack and I wanted it. Perhaps I saw an uncle wearing it or I saw someone on TV wearing it or Eddie Murphy wearing it in a movie," Arrington reflects. The reality star was persistent in asking his mother for the shirt after she continued to deny him. Ultimately, Arrington's mother bought him his silk button-down shirt.

It was the fashion item Arrington remembered dreaming of until he was able to wear it taught him that in fashion, details matter. He paid attention to caring for the silk shirt daily. “I kept that shirt nice and in great condition. Obviously, I was a growing boy. I couldn’t keep wearing it forever, but I think that also plays to my strength or care for clothing that I have," Arrington explains.

Buying certain fashionable pieces is an investment as many know. For Arrington, getting the best use out of those investments matters. “I have dinner jackets that I’ve had for 10 or 15 years. I take care of my things." The care and attention to detail come from the brand activation manager's upbringing. “Again, being raised by a mother on her own. If she buys you something, I knew at a young age that it wasn’t easy for her to just go out and buy us whatever she wanted, but when she did buy us something, I made sure to keep it nice,” Arrington says.

Fast forward to the present day, Arrington employs those same values of caring for clothing in creating his style. “I don’t really get into trendy things or what’s in right now," he says about not basing his style on what is in. “Not to take away from it, I think those things are cool, but I’m not going to buy a pair of big red boots because I know it’s something that’s kind of kitschy right now.” Rather than the big red boots Arrington chose to buy a new pair of knee-high Ralph Lauren riding boots. “I live by [the phrase] classics always win, they will... something like a double-breasted navy blue jacket is never going to be out of style it never is. It may look traditional or conservative or formal to others but it looks like pure class.”

When it comes to what we should all have in our closets, the marathon runner says, “Every gentleman should have a navy blue blazer, whether it be double-breasted, single-breasted, one button, two buttons, gold buttons, silver buttons or wooden buttons. I have all of the above, but I think I’m also an anomaly, I think.” Arrington recognizes “the standard of building blocks to (pun intended) the Quintessential Gentleman.”

Nick Arrington

Photo Credit: Robert Pauley

Throughout his years, Arrington honed his style which led to him being voted “Best Dressed” in school, and he was able to monetize his love for fashion by helping others. “I don't think I'm a traditional stylist in the sense that I have all these relationships and pulling clothes from different designers, or anything like that," Arrington mentions.

“People come to me when they want to get married or they want to go on a red carpet and they're buying these pieces at a better price because that's the message that I'm giving them. Every gentleman should own a tuxedo but we're not going to David's Bridal to rent a tuxedo. ‘You’re getting married, bro," he jokes. “You want to be able to look at your wedding pictures and not go, ‘I can't believe I wore that.’ You want to go back and say, ‘You know what, I really looked good on my wedding day.' I think Tom Ford said it best when he said, ‘Dressing well is a form of good manners.’ I agree with that wholeheartedly,” Arrington adds.

Besides a tuxedo what are other essentials a man must have? “A navy suit, gray suit, tuxedo, navy blazer, white dress shirt, pink dress shirt, blue dress suit, and then you need one pair of jeans, one pair of wingtips, and a pair of simple sneakers." Arrington says that men could "mix in a couple of solid t-shirts, maybe a cashmere sweater. Cashmere lasts longer than cotton and wool and you can wear it in multiple different seasons.”

The standard basics of keeping style alive can always be elevated, according to Arrington. “If you want to go up another level, fellas should have a khaki trench coat, one top coat either in gray or navy blue." His stylish sense is beneficial for all, especially those who do not pay attention to detail in their wardrobe. “The reason why I'm not using black as a standard color is because it's just so stark. You can't really mix and match it. You can wear a gray topcoat with sweatpants and a hoodie and dress it up that way or dress it down or you can wear your gray topcoat on top of a tuxedo if you're going to a winter wedding."

Arrington's crusade against the color black is a much-welcomed one, even for those staunch New Yorkers who keep their closets filled with the color. "If you have a black topcoat... You can't really wear it with brown and can't really wear it with khakis, it's too stark of a color. You want something that's a little bit more neutral,” he adds.

In caring for clothes, Arrington shares, “One big misconception is that you have to hang everything up... The worst thing you can do with a cashmere sweater is put it on a hanger, for any sweater for that matter. It loses its shape. It makes it droopy. You shouldn’t lay that type of fabric on a hanger. You should fold it and put it in a drawer or put it in a closet specifically for a sweater or cashmere."

In regards to your closet, the type of hanger that you're using is very important as well. "I know it's very cost-efficient to go to Walmart and buy on Amazon, thanks to Jeff Bezos, a pack of ten hangers and plastic hangers only going for $9.99," Arrington explains. "If you spend $400 or $500 on a suit jacket, why would you put it on something that cost $9? You see the fallacy in that?” Arrington questions. He also notes that if you must use a hanger use "wooden hangers rather than wire ones to hang up anything of value."

Nick Arrington

Photo Credit: Nikk Richardson

The young boy who once and still pays attention to detail has continued to help others take pride in their style and fashion choices. He recommends that his clients machine wash dress shirts rather than dry clean them. One big mistake many of us make is adding starch to our shirts, which Arrington says is a no-no. “I really hope people aren't using starch. I don't know why they still sell it. If you're using starch on your shirts just stop. It destroys the fabric and really breaks it down. You're putting chemicals on the fabric and then adding a high level of heat. Logically, starch doesn't make any sense."

During Season 1 of the first season of Summer House: Martha’s Vineyard, Arrington got to show off an array of styles. There were some moments that didn’t make it to television that he wished could have been shown. “I wish they played the scene where I took the gentlemen from the house to a vintage shop. I got a pair of vintage Ray-Bans in there for $15, the ones that have the hooks that go behind the ear. A classic pair of aviators you can’t miss with those. Presidents have worn them. Michael Jackson wore them," he says. “I think some of the new stuff is cool, but you can always rely on your staples."

Although viewers missed out on the Ray-Bans scene, fans of the hit show are in luck as Bravo recently announced that there will be a Season 2. In the meantime, for those who want to step up their style game this fall, Arrington is taking on new clients, whether it is for tailoring needs or style advice.

Make sure to follow Nick Arrington on Instagram and if you haven’t seen him on Summer House: Martha’s Vineyard, check it out on Bravo.


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