Checking in with Zak Ocmand, a man who wears what he wants
Where do you get inspiration for your style?
That’s a loaded question. I love history and if there’s one thing I know about the subject, it’s that there are wonderful looking outfits from all over the world that have been either photographed or sketched. I take some inspiration in different pieces from a lot of different periods. As an associate in filmography, I take a ton of inspiration from decades worth of cinema such as directors’ use of particular pieces to create a mood or tone in scenes (for example Sophia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette” and Harold Lloyd’s “Safety Last!”).
What are your local go-to shops for vintage pieces?
THRIFT STORES. Lots and lots of thrift stores. There are the occasional estate and yard sales and family hand-me-downs. Some antique stores have good finds when I’m driving around a new city. Locally, I mainly go to America’s Thrift and of course, I absolutely love Time Warp Boutique on Government Street, and there was the Honeymoon Bungalow, but they have since moved away. Other than those few, I find a lot of my wardrobe within the ongoing gamble of the thrift store. When I’m in New Orleans, I like to go to the Buffalo Exchange.
How do you decide what to put together for an outfit?
I suppose it depends on what mood I’m in or what the attire requires for the day: I’ve picked and chosen my battles and now somewhat manage to know when I need to “tone it down.” Those days aren’t usually fun, but I at least try to sneak in a bit of my personality. It also depends on how long it’s been since I’ve last worn an outfit: because I just cannot have someone ousting me in front of everyone because I wore the same outfit in one week. This has happened to me before and I got heckin’ mad at them.
What are your favorite pieces in your wardrobe?
Well, I’m a lover of old hats, so my 1920’s Skimmer’s hat is pretty up there. My first suit is dear to my heart. I mean it might be some rinky-dink three-piece brown suit from Men’s Wearhouse, but it was the first piece that actually got me into “fashion” because my previous styles were just band t-shirts (though I still wear band T’s every now-and-then, but you get the idea). Pretty much any and everything that’s floral in my wardrobe is a high contender as well: such as a ‘90s floral sundress with a sown in a corset for adjustments or a long, thinly-waisted floral coat with black 1700 style cufflinks.
Who do you look up to as a fashion muse?
Well, I absolutely adore John Waters. He’s a damn good filmmaker and his “Trash” mentality—the sort of, “F*** it, I like wearing it,” state of mind—when it comes to his fashion really speaks true to me. Iris Apfel also has that mentality: which I’m completely astonished by the way she takes contrasting patterns, accessories, and textures, and combines them into such lovely pieces. Eddie Lizard is also someone I appreciate because he openly wore dresses, and he didn’t care because of the fact that it was just an article of clothing. And it was an enlightening moment when I heard him say that in an interview. It really helped me get rid of this toxic masculinity around wearing dresses and I really appreciate that.
What advice can you give to people looking for vintage clothes?
Buy thrift, buy cheap. If you want to build an extensive vintage wardrobe or just an extensive wardrobe, then purchasing cheap is the best way to achieve it. So many thrift stores have tons of fabulous clothes. It is kind of like a hunt because there’s a lot to sieve through and you might not get anything. But it makes all the difference once youse DO find a few pieces for an affordable price. Some thrift stores do not have any changing rooms or mirrors to check yourself out, so I would also know your measurements. It took me a lot of trial and error for me to understand that. Also, if you like an article of clothing, and you think you look good in it, then just wear it. That’s somewhat what gives a person a personality: what makes youses you.
Photos by Mandy Samson