Closet Freaks: Downtown Jersey City Bloggers Share Love, a Closet and a Passion for Fashion
On weekdays, Downtown Jersey City residents Anthony Urbano (below, left) and Dustin Tyler Moore (right) throw on jeans, sweats or whatever they need to get dirty at their respective jobs as an engineer and dog walker. But once the weekend hits, they reach deep into their wardrobes and the fun begins.
Through their style blog Closet Freaks, Urbano and Moore show off what years of watching Project Runway and loving fashion have taught them. Their outfits are coordinated and feature classic lines but are also modern and often experimental. Their look is crisp and cool, but always real and human. Together, they share with their readers how fashion can be a real part of people’s everyday lives without requiring impracticality or breaking the bank.
In an email interview with JCI, the two shared their inspirations, outfit-forming methodologies and basic fashion tips.
JCI: Hi, guys. Do either of you have professional experience or formal training in a fashion-related industry? What are your day jobs?
Anthony Urbano: I went to school for civil engineering at Rutgers and work as a structural engineer in the city. My only training in fashion is countless hours of retail therapy and “Project Runway.”
Dustin Tyler Moore: I’m a professional dog walker but aspiring singer and actor at any other time.
JCI: What do you enjoy most about fashion?
Both: We like seeing how fashion evolves from year to year and seeing trends emerge. We like how an outfit can transform a persons look and image — something as simple as changing your clothes can affect your perspective on someone.
JCI: Why did you decide to start this blog?
Both: We started the blog for ourselves last September in order to create a sort of lookbook of outfits from our collective closet. The point was to have a catalog of outfits that we could choose from to make the task of getting dressed easier for ourselves, which as we all know can be a bit difficult some days. Since our blog was public, we gained a small following after about a month and that’s when we really decided to make our blog a style guide and source of inspiration for other fashion-conscious men.
JCI: Describe your audience. What is the Closet Freak man like?
Both: Our audience is comprised mostly of style-conscious guys who are into fashion, menswear, and trends as well as female readers seeking help for their boyfriends and guys looking to up their style game. A true closet freak, much like ourselves, is obsessed with clothes, has a unique sense of style, takes risks every now and then but doesn’t take himself too seriously and works on a “real” budget.
JCI: Are these your everyday outfits every day? Or do you have days where you just throw whatever on and go to the deli for some milk?
Both: Most of the outfits we shoot are what we wear on the weekends. During the week, our style is more toned down and practical because of our “dirty” jobs. As a dog walker, Dustin has to be sporty and comfortable in the humid heat and the cold winter and Anthony has to be ready for a site visit within a moments notice so we don’t usually wear blog-worthy outfits that we wouldn’t want to get dirty on the job. Plus, since we only blog part-time it’s hard to find the time (and daylight) to take pictures on a weekday.
JCI: How much effort does it take to style a shoot?
Both: Our weekend shoots do take some effort. We will usually pick the outfits the day of and then take pictures en route while doing errands or hanging out with friends. We try not to repeat items from our closet too often to have variety in our outfit posts. The same goes for locations; usually we will walk around Jersey City trying to showcase different areas. The benefit of being a couple is that shooting what we each wore on a Saturday and Sunday gives us enough content to update our blog at least four times a week with new posts.
Occasionally we will change clothes multiple times in one day if we just want to have some fun playing stylist and photographer. We usually put together our bolder, more daring looks these days — outfits that we might not have a practical place or event to wear to anytime soon but that are just fun for inspiration.
And we definitely have those days when we throw on sweats to go do laundry or get breakfast — we have even posted them to the blog! We really try to maintain a lighthearted and “real” feel to the blog because fashion and style are supposed to be fun!
JCI: Have you ever seen someone else’s outfit and thought of featuring them?
Both: Our blog is not so much street style — Marinell (Montales) at Downtown, Natch! does a great job of that already. But we do occasionally ask friends or other bloggers to collaborate on photo shoots for our blog. We usually select people who have a unique perspective on fashion — not necessarily with the same style as ourselves, but someone who knows how to own their look. When it comes to what catches our eye in general, it’s usually bold colors and prints and we love successful pattern-mixing in an outfit.
JCI: Have you also featured women’s fashion?
Both: We recently started working with one of our good friends, Melanie Schnitzlein (below), who has a young and trendy style as a guest blogger on our site. We’re beginning to feature her posts every Friday just to give our female readers some inspiration the same way we do for our male readers. We want to incorporate other female bloggers as well and do spotlights on them just to keep things interesting.
JCI: What are some basic fashion tips you have for our readers?
Both: Fit is everything. Buying clothes that fit properly is the biggest part of looking stylish. Don’t focus on brands, labels or prices, focus on fit and the way the clothes look on you.
Splurge on staples like a good pair of denim, jackets, and shoes. Save on trendy pieces that might not get much wear after one season.
And accessorize! A watch, a bright colored sock, and some sunglasses can make all the difference in elevating a simple jeans and T-shirt look.
JCI: What are some common fashion mistakes to avoid?
Both: Clothes that don’t fit properly. This goes both ways; too loose or too tight are equally as bad. Color matching, no. Color coordinating, yes. Also, wearing something you’re not comfortable in or isn’t your style just because it’s “in” or trendy.
JCI: What are some current must-have brands or looks?
Both: Must have anything with polka dots or leopard print for fall. Anything Mark McNairy.
JCI: Who are your style icons? Favorite designers?
Both: As style bloggers, it would seem natural that part of our job is to be up on trends and designers and style icons but to be honest, we don’t focus too much on that. We go with our instinct and what catches our eye. We’re inspired by what we see on real people on the street whether it’s a color combination that we haven’t thought to pair together, a certain silhouette, or a way of layering pieces. We get a lot of inspiration from our group of friends as well as magazines and the internet, but we wouldn’t say that we necessarily have a favorite designer or could even name high fashion brands and designers.
JCI: So what are your long-term plans as fashionistas and as bloggers?
Both: Ahem. Fashionistos. In the past few months we’ve had a great response from readers, fellow bloggers, and press. We get a lot of emails and messages from people who appreciated our sense of style as well as our dynamic as a couple. We have also had the opportunity to work with different brands to promote products that we believe in as far as quality and style and that match our aesthetic.
We would like to continue the blog so readers can follow us as our personal styles evolve and continue to provide a source of style inspiration for men and women. We would definitely like to work with more brands that we love for styling or photoshoot collaborations. It would even be great to work with local designers to help put JC on the map as a stylish city.
Photos from ClosetFreaksBlog.com