Claire Stansfield


occupation

Designer

location

Los Angeles


“BROOKS BROTHERS SEEMED TO ME TO BE THE BRAND THAT, ONCE YOU MADE IT, YOU HAD THEIR PAJAMAS: IT WAS SO CLASSIC, SUCH AN ICONIC AMERICAN IMAGE, OF A MAN IN HIS BROOKS BROTHERS PAJAMAS. NOW THE BROOKS BROTHERS PAJAMAS ARE MY GO-TO.”

Interior designer. Coveted T-shirt creator. Former actress and model. Pajama aficionado. Claire Stansfield has always led a life devoted to style, prone to coveting a well-cut toggle coat or a pottery-laden table with equal measure. She unabashedly skirts trends and commits to classics with a bohemian twist in a fashion entirely her own—which often involves rocking a Brooks Brothers pajama shirt (unapologetically) in broad daylight.

On her earliest sartorial influences:
“I remember at a young age that dressing up was usually around going to church. My grandparents lived in Cologne, Germany, and the Cologne cathedral is probably one of the most beautiful in the world. We weren’t very religious, but in Germany, you go on Sundays and at Easter and Christmas, and you have to dress up. I would put on my beautiful German dress, my white gloves and my little purse with my lace handkerchief with my name embroidered [on it]. Outerwear was usually a peacoat or a toggle coat, so from an early age, I learned to love a mixture of work wear and dressy clothes—and also that quality clothing, however chic or casual, always goes well together.”

On her passion for pajamas:
Brooks Brothers seemed to me to be the brand that, once you made it, you had their pajamas: It was so classic, such an iconic American image, of a man in his Brooks Brothers pajamas. Now the Brooks Brothers pajamas are my go-to. If somebody comes over to the house, you can put on [the top] with your jeans or over your bathing suit, and it’s acceptable. It’s not like: ‘That girl’s in her pajamas. She’s crazy.’ You can definitely pull it off, especially with a pair of denim shorts and flip-flops. My favorite look is, I have to say, on my husband: in his Brooks Brothers pajama pants and a T-shirt, chopping wood in our driveway. That’s sexy. So Brooks Brothers pajamas to me are sexy on a man or a woman.”

On her notion of accidental fashion:
I’m almost six-foot-two, so I live in my husband’s clothes. And I kind of like to break the rules. I think most times for me, [style] is by accident. [With] design, sometimes when I move something, I’ll think: ‘I would never put that there, but it looks fantastic.’ I think [confidence] is key to fashion and simplicity. You have to be bold to do something basic and say, ‘This is what I’m rocking. I don’t need bells and whistles. This is it.’ ”

On her best Brooks Brothers moment:
“When I was getting married, my four-year-old stepson, Mars, needed a suit. I called my friend who has the best kids’ store in town, and instead of saying, ‘Come to my store,’ she immediately said, ‘Go to Brooks Brothers.’ [Mars and I] went to the Rodeo Drive [store] together, and we bought him his first suit. It was one of those really great experiences for me and, I hope, for him. We got everything we needed, from the cream linen suit to the kerchief. I paired it with some sandals and no tie and an open linen shirt. He looked sweet, and I knew he was comfortable. And I still have the suit. It’s like an heirloom piece. Brooks Brothers is that kind of true, American brand that you [just] want to save.”

On her “worker chic” uniform:
“My husband calls [my look] ‘worker chic.’ I usually mix vintage work wear or sleepwear with great accessories, like a vintage French linen nightshirt and my zip-up work boots. In my eyes, most great clothes—from denim to overalls to jackets to shoes—have become key items because they were made for a reason and they’ve evolved. And they will age well and fade beautifully. There was a turning point when I realized that I wanted to find a uniform, and I was really inspired by people who [had one]. Now I think that once you find something that really suits you, [dressing] is so much easier. It’s yours.”

On second-generation style:
“I have two little boys. It’s funny to see that you can influence them, but you can’t know which direction they’re going to go. And that’s what I like about Brooks Brothers: It’s a really great canvas of traditional American that can be ‘funkied up’—like mixing it with leather sandals or a beaded necklace to make it more bohemian.”

On living la vie bohème:
“I grew up in the ’70s and my mother was a great collector. We had a lot of Persian rugs and a lot of…I call it ‘hippie-mom pottery.’ I love things that [have] patina, that age well. I love wood. I love brass, rugs—as many as I can steal from my mom—and heavy linens. You can even see the cut marks on our dining table, and I like that because it reminds me of the great times [we’ve had] around it. I’ll put on over my Brooks Brothers pajamas a great, heavy linen apron and spend the entire day decorating that table and be really happy. Some people see it as a chore, [but] that’s my idea of a good time. I think that’s what inspires me. My kids are used to it. And that’s my lifestyle.”

After the Gold Rush: Ready-Made Suits—Pioneers of the California Gold Rush, unable to wait for a custom suits as they headed West to make their fortunes, flock to Brooks Brothers to pick up ready-made clothing—an innovation the company introduces in 1849 in response to the ’49ers’ hasty migration to the Golden State.