Most stylish New Yorkers: JD Samson

The arty, androgynous MEN frontwoman insists on comfort while exuding effortless cool.

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  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    "I call this look 'lesbian Easter,'" jokes Samson in reference to the outfit's pastel tones. Jeans from Copenhagen's Wood Wood (woodwood.dk) are paired with a shirt from a friend's Oakland thrift store, Down at Lulu's. "I think it's old Banana Republic," she guesses, "but it fits so good, and I love denim button-downs."

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Samson's multicolored wire-rim glasses, purchased at Fabulous Fanny's (335 E 9th St between First and Second Aves; 212-533-0637, store.fabulousfannys.com) a couple of years ago, are children's frames by OshKosh B'gosh---"pretty much the best thing that ever happened to me," she enthuses.

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    When Samson was doing a shoot for trans fashion mag Candy last summer, the stylist shot her in these leather Converse high-tops. "I took them because I loved them," she admits.

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    For Samson, this outfit embodies "art-fag realness." She pairs an Acne sweater with faded black Chronicles of Never (chroniclesofnever.com) jeans she scored on flash-sale site Gilt (gilt.com). "They were really tight at first, so I had to have someone else wear them until I could put them on," she admits. The musician tie-dyed the T-shirt last summer in upstate New York, where she was recording soon-to-be released MEN songs.

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Samson acquired this Chlo Sevigny for Opening Ceremony houndstooth cap when she appeared in the line's look book and fashion show last year. "I love the fit of it and how it's so malleable," she confides. "I can stick it in my pocket or whatever."

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    "These are the fanciest shoes I own," says Samson of her teal vintage '80s Clarks, a gift from a friend. "I have them in pink, too, but I never wear them. For some reason I can't---yet."

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Samson dubs this outfit "formal couture, but normal." Blue Acne pants and a creamy yellow Wood Wood button-down are topped with a black jacket from Australian label P.A.M. (perksandmini.com) featuring an embroidered shoulder detail. "They really make art with their pieces," notes Samson. "I really appreciate that in a designer."

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    These round specs weren't always shades: Samson found the frames in a Vienna flea market. "Then I lost my sunglasses and had these fitted with dark lenses," she explains.

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    "About 12 years ago, my friend Emily Roysdon gave me a couple yards of this ribbon that says life is short enjoy, and I always had it on my wall," recounts Samson of her unusual neckwear. "Then I had to go to an event and decided I wanted to make a tie out of it, so I did."

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Samson was given these silver Adidas Originals ObyO Jeremy Scott Wings sneakers by the designer to wear on tour last year.

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    "This is my woodsman realness outfit," says Samson, who admits to a hankering to move upstate. Trusty Acne jeans are worn with a sweater she bought on the street in Norway, and an old white T-shirt she "stole from Johanna Fateman of Le Tigre in 2001." Dollar-store tanks and soft thrift-store T-shirts are wardrobe staples, though "it's for warmth and protection, not so much style," she concedes.

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Samson snagged her much-loved Patrik Ervell suede cap at Opening Ceremony.

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

"I call this look 'lesbian Easter,'" jokes Samson in reference to the outfit's pastel tones. Jeans from Copenhagen's Wood Wood (woodwood.dk) are paired with a shirt from a friend's Oakland thrift store, Down at Lulu's. "I think it's old Banana Republic," she guesses, "but it fits so good, and I love denim button-downs."

JD Samson, 33, artist and musician (menmakemusic.com); Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Her personal style: "Practical, 12-year-old boy with necessary 'artist' identifier."

Her inspirations: "I'm influenced by content, so if I feel midrange one morning when I wake up, I'll wear all gray. I like to put color in a context and make outfits based on a dialogue the clothes are having with each other."

Favorite stores: "Opening Ceremony (33--35 Howard St between Broadway and Lafayette St; 212-219-2688 * 1190--92 Broadway between 28th and 29th Sts, 646-695-5680 * openingceremony.us) for amazing artistic pieces as well as beautiful, wearable finds. Odin (328 E 11th St between First and Second Aves, 212-475-0666 * 199 Lafayette St between Broome and Kenmare Sts, 212-966-0026 * 106 Greenwich Ave between James and W 13th Sts * odinnewyork.com) has a good selection of small-size menswear. Acne (10 Greene St between Canal and Grand Sts; 212-625-2828, acnestudios.com) is practically my mecca of pants. I'm a weird size, and they fit me."

Her signature accessory: "My glasses, but they change."

Favorite local designers: "I'm pretty into Patrik Ervell (patrikervell.com) right now, and Loden Dager (lodendager.com) is always great—anyone who makes men's clothes that fit me and are practical, understated but beautiful wins my love."

Favorite New York style icon: "David Byrne for sure. He is the master of conceptual costume, but in an understated way. He is practical and comfortable in his everyday dress, yet always has an element of [something] new or exciting or artistic."

How her style has evolved: "It hasn't evolved much. I think if anything, I have just gotten more involved in the current fashion trends, but for the most part, I wear jeans, T-shirts, button-downs and sneakers like I always have."

Favorite salon: "I have tried a lot of hairstylists, but I usually go to Seagull (240 W 10th St between Bleecker and Hudson Sts; 212-989-1807, seagullhair.com). I'm one of those people who cuts my own hair if it's too long, though, or goes to the barber on the corner. I can't stand making appointments, so in these photos I'm growing out my hair. Scary. I wouldn't want anyone else to take responsibility for this mess."

How her career influences her style: "I'm always loading a van, painting a backdrop or fixing a costume, so it's hard for me to spend too much money on my day-to-day outfits, or to wear something uncomfortable. I always make the costumes for my band MEN. It's usually more conceptual—either painted or fringed with a bunch of tampon strings—but those are just for the stage."

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