Sartorially speaking, Nick Wooster is a true jack-of-all-trades. The menswear influencer is creative director of his own line Wooster + Lardini, consults for influential global brands, and has a generally impressive CV spanning 30 years of working with the biggest names in fashion—including a stint as a buyer here at Barneys! All the while, he’s cultivated a strong digital presence, where his multitude of social media followers and avid readers of his site nickwooster.com consider him the ultimate authority in men’s fashion. Lucky for you, he’s used his expertise to curate a savvy gift list for all the guys on your list as hard to shop for as Wooster himself.
Wooster may now be a fixture at international fashion weeks, but he’s actually a Kansas native who grew up spending the holidays cozied up by the fire eating his mother’s delicious recipes. Here, he lets us in on his family-oriented traditions, his all-occasion approach to gifting, and his first Christmas in New York.
The Window: What do ‘the holidays’ mean to you?
Nick Wooster: I still think of myself as a big kid. I love to get gifts, and I love to give them—even after all my years of working in retail, that’s never really gone away. Christmas is just such a charged time—in a positive way— with everything super amplified, like the schedule and the eating. I feel like it’s a season of adrenaline.
What’s on tap this year?
I’ll see my brother and his family in Tampa. I grew up in Kansas, so my choices are Kansas or Tampa, and I generally choose the warmth of Tampa for Christmas and Kansas for Thanksgiving. I have nephews who are 9 and 11, and it’s really fun to be with kids during the holidays. I usually go somewhere sunny afterward for New Years, but haven’t made plans yet. Considering I’ve traveled almost 200,000 miles this year, I kind of want to stay put!
Tell us about a favorite holiday tradition.
My sister-in-law has co-opted the family recipe for my mom’s Chex party mix, which she used to make by the tin canful every year. My brother and I used to eat so much of it! There’s also this crazy egg casserole that we have on Christmas morning, which I love. It’s not very classy—think: white bread and sausage baked with eggs.
What’s the strangest situation you’ve found yourself in for the holidays?
I have to say, 1987, the first Christmas that I lived in New York, was memorable. I was a buyer at Barneys at the time, and I didn’t go home to Kansas because we were working through the holidays. I’ll never forget walking outside on December 25 and the city being totally normal. There are so many people here that don’t celebrate Christmas, which never occurred to me growing up in Kansas. When I was a kid, the streets were desolate on Christmas Day because everyone was at home. Meanwhile, in New York, it was just like any other day. I realized how limited my experience was that I was so surprised by this.
Are you a fan of holiday parties? Any memorable ones that stand out?
There was a time in my life where I was! I’ve been sober 20 years now, so the short answer is: not like I used to be. They are a necessary evil, and now I enjoy watching it happen around me rather than being the center of attention or a target for mishaps. There was a party in 1984 that will go down in history for me. I worked at New York magazine at the time, but I can’t tell you about it or I would incriminate too many people.
What’s your absolute favorite holiday treat?
Generally, the whole concept of candy and cookies is pretty great. As a kid, my mom would bake every day during the holidays, and though I don’t enjoy treats in the same way now, being around them makes me nostalgic for growing up.
What’s your gifting technique?
I hate the idea of having a gun to my head that I have to get people things. I like getting something for someone whenever I find it, whether it’s July or November. I am a big believer in the non-occasion gift. Obviously, there are certain people in my life, like my nephews or my doormen, who require proper gifts at the proper time.
What item do you wish you could put on your holiday wishlist this year?
I’m the worst because I’m so self-obsessed that I don’t want for anything! If I want something, I buy it. This makes me extremely hard to shop for! I always say, cash never goes out of style, but really what I want the most is a week of the phone being disconnected. Unplugging would truly be the ultimate gift, but I haven’t figured out how to make that happen.