Most stylish New Yorkers: Kevin Townley

The writer, comedian and performer transitions his quirky repurposed looks from the street to the stage.

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  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    Townley pairs a classic black blazer, a labelless freebie from a friend, with his everyday Comune (thecomune.com) trousers, which he scored for $12 at an Urban Outfitters (locations throughout the city; visit urbanoutfitters.com) sale.

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "I realize how much of my wardrobe is comprised of hand-me-downs and things I happen upon by chance," notes Townley. One such example is this one-of-a-kind top made by a friend's grandma, Edna Hurt.

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    Townley wears Teal of Fortune by Wet n Wild nail polish. "[I painted them] blue to match a jacket made out of colored pencils that Erik Bergrin designed for me," he explains.

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    The comedian shows off his favorite specs from Warby Parker (warbyparker.com), a thrift-store tie from No Relation Vintage and a gifted Hugo Boss button-up shirt.

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "I bought this on eBay," says Townley of one of his signature toppers. "My friend Andrea dubbed it 'South by Southwest.' I grew up in Colorado, so I have a deeply ingrained fondness for Southwestern designs," he explains.

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "When I was a kid, we lived in a teepee for a while, so this is my sweater homage to that time," he says of the sentimental eBay find. "It's made from acrylic, so it's not recommended to be worn around campfires," he jokes.

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    Townley accessorizes his ensemble with a turquoise studded belt he picked up from a random shop on St. Marks Place. "I think I stole this tie from my high-school theater's costume department my junior year," he adds.

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    This Lacoste sweater is another eBay find. "I started layering at a young age--I think as a comfort thing. I didn't really fit in, so I thought if I piled on a lot of clothes, no one would notice me," he says. "But then none of the clothes really matched, so my plan kind of backfired. Then, like many things, it seamlessly transitioned from neurosis to habit, and here we are."

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    A friend creatively wrapped a birthday present with this nylon Baggu (baggubag.com) bag, and now Townley uses it to carry odds and ends. Also on his wrist is a mala bracelet, which is used in Buddhist meditation practice, and was purchased at Himalayan Vision (127 Second Ave between St. Marks Pl and 7th St, 212-254-1952).

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    Townley describes his hairstyle as "West Side Story meets Patsy Stone." He uses L'Oral Mega Hold hair gel and Tresemm Tres Two Extra Hold hairspray to achieve his unique do.

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "I actually own four ruffly prom shirts," he says referring to his teal After Six (aftersix.com) formal-wear top. "I like them because they are pretty, feminine and such a funny recent male fashion relic."

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    Townley poses in a pair of custom-made pants by Erik Bergrin. "He made these for me to wear in a show I just did with my band, Bamb. They are totally awesome," he gushes. "I move around a lot onstage and these make me feel like a pony. I would wear these anywhere, except maybe an escalator."

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "I tend to find one pair that I really like at a time and then wear them into the ground," says Townley of his penchant for shoes. He found his current kicks at a mall in Boulder, CO, and likes them because "they are a little odd; they have a Pilgrimy flair to them." A reliable black, "they take on a different character depending on how dressy or casual the rest of the outfit is," he adds.

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    An animal-print tie from Urban Outfitters spices up Townley's monochromatic ensemble. "I used to shun black on principal, but after living in New York for 15 years, it was bound to infiltrate my wardrobe," he explains.

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "Layering is a great option for people who can't decide what to wear," says Townley. "If I'm torn between two shirts, I'll just wear them both." He tops off this look with a vest from H&M. "I like to have a black vest around; it tends to ground a look and keep things from getting too whimsical."

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    Townley totes a vintage Amelia Earhart--brand piece of luggage, a keepsake from when he collected the curios ten years ago.

  • Photograph: Marielle Solan

    "This is as casual as I allow myself to get---a startling slogan lets strangers know I haven't completely let my guard down," jokes Townley of his T-shirt. He adds contrast to the informal ensemble with a neon-pink belt. "You don't have to break your neck to make a look; sometimes it just takes one tiny gesture," he says.

Photograph: Marielle Solan

Townley pairs a classic black blazer, a labelless freebie from a friend, with his everyday Comune (thecomune.com) trousers, which he scored for $12 at an Urban Outfitters (locations throughout the city; visit urbanoutfitters.com) sale.

Kevin Townley, 33, writer and cohost of the Talent Show (thetalentshowbrandvarietyshow.com), Spanish Harlem

His personal style: "High concept, low budget."

His inspirations: "Diane Keaton and Joan Didion."

Favorite stores: "Fabulous Fanny's (335 E 9th St between First and Second Aves; 212-533-0637, fabulousfannys.com) is great for vintage glasses and accessories—everything is handpicked by the owners, so everything is special. And I always check out No Relation Vintage (204 First Ave between 12th and 13th Sts; 212-228-5201, norelationvintage.com) on First Avenue for menswear staples like blazers, vests, ties and shoes."

His signature item: "My friend Anaheed calls me a sweater girl. I love them and tend to wear them past the point of seasonal reason."

Favorite local designers: "I love Erik Bergrin (erikbergrin.com). He's a mad genius who brings art into fashion and vice versa."

Favorite New York style icon: "Diane Keaton is from L.A., but I think being Annie Hall gives her honorary New Yorker status. The way she dresses is a direct reflection of how she feels about herself, which is awesome and inspiring. She's always on somebody's worst-dressed list and she doesn't give a fuck."

How his style has evolved: "The general idea is still the same, but the look has gotten more streamlined. [It's] not because my taste has gotten more sophisticated—I just have less to prove, and I'm lazier."

How his profession influences his style: "I'm more or less self-employed, so I try to dress to impress myself."

How his style at work differs from life outside of his job: "When I'm hosting the Talent Show, I sometimes put on a tailcoat to counteract the fact that most comedians dress like slobs."

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