Obtainable, honestly crafted goods. The commitment to this concept is what separates Brad Bennett and his effortlessly stylish, carefully curated, and aptly named blog, Well Spent, from all other cyber sartorialists. Showing his readers that ethical need not mean unaffordable, Brad regularly lays out an unwaveringly cool array of apparel and accessories that are built to last, from sustainable products to organic goods manufactured in the United States (and all without a prohibitive price tag!).
Below, we talk with the blogger about his appreciation for well-made things, his girlfriend’s fashion advice, and whether or not his future self would dig his current style.
Barneys New York: What inspired you to start your blog?
Brad Bennett: I’m a bit of a fanatical researcher. I like to know who makes my clothes, where, and out of what. It’s partly because I want to be sure that what I’m buying is of good quality, and partly because it’s important to me that all of my purchases—clothing and otherwise—are as socially responsible as possible. Seeing how much effort I put into that research, my girlfriend told me I should make my findings public, in case there were others seeking the same info. And so, Well Spent was born.
BNY: And the name Well Spent?
BB: It just came to me one day. I liked that it had more than one meaning: time well spent reading the site, money well spent on the items featured.
BNY: How do you choose the items you feature?
BB: In order for an item to be posted, it has to meet three criteria: there has to be something good or responsible about it (made in the U.S., fair trade, sustainable, etc.), it has to be attractive, and it has to be affordable (relatively speaking). In other words, if I wouldn’t buy it for myself, I won’t post it.
BNY: What did you want to be when you grew up?
BB: I grew up in a fairly unconventional household. From a very young age, I was taught that instead of finding a career, I should figure out what fulfills me, and then try and make a career out of that (a lofty aspiration, but one I’ve enjoyed pursuing nonetheless). Over the years, that fulfillment has come from a number of different places, including music and the theater, to name a few. Now, it comes from writing about responsible apparel. Not exactly the place I thought I’d end up, but I’m still happy to be here.
BNY: How would you describe your personal style?
BB: Tailored, lived-in, age-appropriate. I like simple things, well-made things, things that get better with wear. I hate to use clichés like “classic” and “timeless,” but I can’t really think of any other words to take their place. Ultimately, I’d like to be able to look at pictures of myself thirty years from now and not wince. Will “Grandpa Me” approve of this?
BNY: If we ran into each other on the corner of 61st and Madison, what would we find you wearing?
BB: Selvedge denim or heavy twill chinos, a chambray or Oxford shirt, wingtips or penny loafers, a sweatshirt or a vintage chore coat, rucksack or tote, and pilot sunglasses—all of it made in the U.S.
BNY: If you were accidentally locked in Barneys New York overnight, what would we find you wearing by in the morning?
1. Black Fleece herringbone blazer 2. Gitman vintage check sport shirt 3. 3sixteen slim jean 4. Michael Bastian x Randolph Engineering Signature Intruder 5. Alden lace-up boot 6. Tanner Goods harness leather belt
BB: Plus, every one of the Comme des Garçons fragrances.
BNY: What is the most valuable fashion advice you have ever received?
BB: When my girlfriend says, “Don’t buy that. You won’t like it in a year,” she’s been right every time.
BNY: What items are high on your holiday wish list?
BB: New hiking boots to keep my feet warm, a new winter coat to keep my body warm, and some tweed blazers because I think they look nice.
- Alisha Prakash