Manly Style :: An interview with Steve Casteel

We’ve been doing a fun series here on the blog about men’s fashion. You can read the other interviews here and here. I’ve really enjoyed hearing the different perspectives on what all goes into “manly style”…to be honest, way more goes into it than I had thought! Guys just make it look all so effortless, I guess. :) Today, we have Steve Casteel, a civil engineer who lives in the Old Northeast of Kansas City, MO with his wife Maria and son Asher ::

  • Pants :: Kenneth Cole (from TJMaxx)
  • Shirt :: Grey/Blue/White Check - Lacoste
  • Tie :: Vintage plaid wool
  • Shoes :: Two-tone brown - Aldo 

What do you do for a living?

I’m a Civil Engineer/Project Manager for electric transmission projects. Basically, we help utilities build and maintain the grid. I don’t know anything about electrons, but we make sure to use enough steel and concrete to make it all structurally sound.  

I think it’d be hard to achieve a sense of personal style when you have to put on a shirt and tie everyday, but you’ve completely nailed it. How do you think your own personality comes through in the way you dress for work?

I like to add little details or variations to my style that go a little bit against the grain but don’t totally make me stick out. It is sometimes difficult to incorporate vintage items, but some ties like the wool tie in the photo can work well.  I have also started to keep an eye out for vintage tie bars whenever I visit antique stores.  I also almost never button the cuffs on my shirts.  It keeps me from feeling too tied down and I can quickly roll up my sleeves whenever work gets stressful.

A few weeks ago Logan went shopping for dress clothes and I found it surprising how difficult it was to match complementary colors and patterns. How do you put together a work ensemble that looks good together?

This isn’t really an area where I excel, so I find that it’s best for me to run any new combinations by Maria before I unveil them.  There have been a couple of instances where a sleepy wife approved my outfit in the morning and then incredulously asked “You wore that?” when I came home in the evening. Luckily, I work with engineers so nobody really notices.  I do really like to incorporate patterns and textures into my wardrobe, but it can be tricky to figure out what is compatible. I try not to use two dominating patterns or textures together to avoid them from clashing.  Patterns or textures that appear solid color from a distance also help with this compatibility.

What’s the inspiration for your rad hair?

I love music from the 60s and early 70s, so after seeing long hair on so many album covers I had to give it a shot.  It also feels like one last rebellion against becoming a corporate yes-man.  

I love the details of your outfit, especially the tie bar. Men just don’t wear tie bars anymore, but it seems refined and delightfully old-school to me. Did you make a conscious decision to start using them?

I have to admit that my inspiration for the tie bars was Neal Caffrey from the tv show “White Collar”.  My style definitely isn’t as refined as his though.  They also serve a good purpose, so now I don’t accidentally drag my tie through my lunch.  I keep an eye out for them in any antique or thrift stores that I go to.  My favorite find so far is the compass that I’m wearing in the photo.

If we were to catch you on a day off, what would you be wearing?

I would most likely be wearing some loose fitting jeans and a long sleeve t-shirt or flannel. I’ll go for shorts and a v-neck in warmer weather.  It seems like dressing for work takes more thought, so I just like to have a go-to stack of shirts to throw on any time I’m not on the clock. 

What’s the best movie you’ve seen this year?

We haven’t watched many movies this year,  but we did catch up on an entire decade of Scrubs that we missed. Also, even though it isn’t a movie that I saw for the first time this year, I feel like the best movie I watch every year is A Love Song for Bobby Long.  I can never quite determine exactly why I love it so much, but there is something endearing about a community of passionate failures that are all seeking some sort of redemption.

What band should we be listening to right now?

Jason Isbell’s album Southeastern.  It is a beautiful set of songs with a few that make your heart ache in the best possible way. My favorite new record is “Stay True” by Danny and the Champions of the World. It is a great americana album that has solid instrumentation but allows the songwriting to shine and some soul to creep in as well. Ryan Adams and Bill Mallonee never leave the rotation, and I’ve been going back to The Band a lot lately as well.  

Thanks so much, Steve!


Posted by Aanna on Wednesday, November 13th, 2013


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