Let the Man Behind Menswear’s Biggest Trade Show Tell You What to Wear

Erik Ulin knows menswear. The stylish Swede cut his teeth in the fashion industry as the President of J.Lindeberg USA, before moving on last November to helm the men’s division of PROJECT, a massively influential trade show that takes over Las Vegas and New York twice a year apiece. With his finger directly on the pulse of men’s fashion, we decided to catch up with the Columbia-educated tastemaker to get his take on what dudes should be investing in and wearing right now.

What are the five items every man needs in his wardrobe right now?

1. Definitely an overcoat either in camel or herringbone. It’s a versatile piece that’s easy to either toss on over a suit or elevate your more casual ensembles.

2. A bomber jacket or a variant of one is always a must for a guy’s closet. The brand Bombers Original has a nice selection if you’re in the market for one.

3. A sport coat. The right one gives a refined edge to whatever you pair it with.

4. Well-worn denim jeans. They’re classic, comfortable and go with absolutely everything.

5. A simple, elegant watch is an absolute essential. Daniel Wellington makes a great one.

What’s the one staple piece you find yourself reaching for the most?

A cool blue sweatshirt from Jason Scott.

How about the most treasured item in your closet?  

Definitely my denim sport coat in Loro Piana fabric by J.Lindeberg.

What do you typically wear during the week and on weekends?

For weekdays, I typically have a uniform: sport jacket with a dress shirt, sometimes a tie, jeans and either sneakers or boots. On weekends, I like to keep it fairly casual with a pair of jean, sneakers and a sweatshirt.

What would you wear to a dinner party?

If I get to dress up for the party, then a nice-fitting suit from Todd Snyder or Bespoken in a navy, midnight or rich blue colour. Those are my go-to guys and shades. A classic black tuxedo is also a great choice if the occasion calls for it.

What are the most significant trends that have jumped out at you recently during PROJECT? 

It’s interesting — in the last few years the athleisure trend is spreading more and more in the men’s world, but there are also more brands trying to bridge the functional pieces into garments with a fashion element. For instance, designers are creating fabric like waterproof wool that gives a real sense of versatility to the clothing. So, I feel like there are always more incremental changes in menswear trends rather than major shifts.

Are there any particular brands that come to mind with regard to the athleisure look you’re describing? 

Definitely! There’s Craft Atlantic, a New York-based contemporary luxury sportswear label that recently showed at PROJECT, as well as Aztech Mountain, which is a very high-end skiwear brand. Jerry Kaye incorporates great fabrics with tailored looks, and Surfside Supply is more leisure infused. Faherty makes really high quality garments, but offers a dressed down approach. 2(X)IST, finally, had a great athleisure line this season.

Who are some of your current favourite menswear designers?

It’s hard to choose, but Todd Snyder, Billy Reid, Bespoken, MATiAS and Baldwin Denim are all ones I like to keep on my radar. They represent collections that you can dress up and down, from a very tailored look to a casual look and fit your full day for whatever you’re doing.

Who do you look to for style inspiration?

Anyone who feels comfortable in what they’re wearing. It gives me confidence to mix and match and try new things.