- Brennan Plain Toe white bucks from Johnston & Murphy, $130
Around town, artist J.C. Steinbrunner
is as known for his dapper style as for his paintings, popular Salon Series
events, and collaborations with other artists and designers. A couple weeks ago I ran into him at a backyard party, and as it grew dark, my eyes were drawn to his white bucks glowing in the dusk. I asked him what it takes to pull off this bold look. Turns out you don’t need a seersucker suit, a straw boater, and a handlebar mustache—just some restraint. “There’s something about that brilliant white that just really makes an outfit—the shoes do most of the work,” he says. “It feels really heritage in a nonprecious way.”
- Steinbrunner with Chicago magazine writer Amalie Drury
Steinbrunner suggests guys keep the rest of their look simple. “I’d keep it a pretty classic, almost preppy look,” he says. “Any kind of khaki or dark chino, and for me, I tend to wear button-downs or plain T-shirts.” Above all, “they demand a certain level of put-togetherness." Jeans don't really work; Steinbrunner says "they're two different vocabularies." Socks? "I have not figured out the whole socks/no socks thing. I can’t do it—they cut my feet up. I wear like running socks, as low-cut as I can get."
Another must: a hefty dose of daring. Steinbrunner says most comments are complimentary, from men as well as women. “If you don’t want to get noticed, don’t wear them,” he says. “They really stand out—they’re really white.”