Matthew Brown is quite smart and quite thin, pleasantly articulate and a really nice guy with a hip sense of style that's never obnoxious. His personal style credo is this: "If you don't feel comfortable wearing it, it's not you." Brown and Jaime Jennings, his partner in life and business, recently celebrated the fourth anniversary of their Fancy Tiger empire of two stores - one for clothing and accessories and the other a DIY crafters' supply house - near the intersection of South Broadway and Ellsworth Avenue. Together, they've learned a lot about running a business in those four years.
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"I think we've solved how to put business first, without compromising our vision," he says. "As boutique owners, we try not to lose track of the customer. Denver is in a dynamic time right now, and I think we're where affordable style is going in Denver. But I'm older now, too. I'm no longer a 21-year-old kid in cut-offs, yet I'm also not conservative. I try to find a balance by dressing in a stylish, modern, clean way."
And that's how his buying has evolved at Fancy Tiger: "I buy stuff for men that I would wear. And for the women, I buy things I think I'd like to wear if I was a girl." In other words, he looks for clothing with staying power, things that go beyond the trendy, all with a pocketbook-friendly price point. For fall, he's looking at slim pants for both men and women, and for guys, he's partial to gingham shirts. Girls, he says, will be wearing classic wool jackets in solid colors with jeans of just about any cut, and the skinny silhouette, he thinks, will be with us for a few more years at least.
Brown himself is clad in gray skinny jeans from Farrah, a vintage men's fashion mainstay of the '60s now being brought back by Perry Ellis. He's turned the cuffs up one slight fold, belted them and tucked in, yes, a black-and-white checked, short-sleeved gingham shirt. His shoes are from Buffalo Exchange. He looks great. "I don't want to try too hard figure out something to wear," he explains, adding that he keeps a pretty basic closet. "I have two, three pairs of pants and some shirts and things, and they all work together. So first, I might think, 'Do I want to tuck in my shirt or not?' And then I can pick between a look that's more put together or one that's more casual, using all the same elements. Ultimately, it's about how I feel that day."