Justin Berkowitz might fly under the popular street style radar, but he’s been a beacon of personal style for me from the moment I met him. He dresses fairly simply on the surface, but his execution is precise and he always looks comfortable. Working in an industry often fixated on the present, Justin finds a way to blend the timeless and the modern effortlessly. While imitation should never be your style goal, you’d do well to take these five outfits into account as inspiration if you’re thinking of where to next take your look.
Like everyone else I’ve featured with this series, I’ve been lucky to call Justin a friend. He’s the sort of person that really listens to you and responds accordingly; he doesn’t come to the conversation with a personal agenda. When I lost a job two and a half years ago, he was nice enough to take time out of his busy schedule (as the men’s fashion director of Bloomingdale’s) to give me career advice over a drink.
My hope for this series is to give you a 10 minute respite from your day—maybe you’re just here to look at outfit photos, or maybe, like I was, you’re at a career crossroads and the information gleaned from these experts can help you as it helped me. Justin and I discussed how art and fashion intersect, Dries Van Noten’s legacy and unusual styling, the desire for a casualized wardrobe and how to properly build it, and much more.
I know you’re an art history major and now you’re the men’s fashion director of Bloomingdale’s. Can you tell me about your career path from college to Bloomingdale’s?
My mom is a women’s clothing buyer, and growing up there were always various fashion publications on the kitchen table. I was a naturally curious kid and would dive into them at a young age. By the time I was a teen, I was buying every magazine in stock at the local Barnes & Noble. I’m still not sure why they let me in, but I was lucky enough to study at Columbia, which marked the beginning of my career path.
As I was living in New York, I spent a lot of time interning in various roles at different fashion companies but my last internship, which lead to my first job, was at Harper’s Bazaar. Once I graduated, Bazaar hired me freelance in various assistant roles. Sitting next to an editor there lead to a conversation with one of her friends, and ultimately an on-staff assistant position at Teen Vogue, where I oversaw the samples coming in and out for the fashion shoots. From there, I followed one of my bosses to Marie Claire, where I worked in the accessories department for her. She gave me the opportunity to cover the watch market, which meant attending the big watch trade shows in Basel and Geneva. At one of those shows, I was seated