In a lot of ways, Chris Gregory belongs in Huntsville. He’s from a military family — his dad served in the US Air Force before becoming a network engineer. His father and uncle are both pastors. In fact, that’s what brings Chris to Huntsville. His father moved here to start a church, Victory Headquarters in Madison, and Chris and his six siblings made the cross-country move from Phoenix, Arizona, to Alabama.
There is one thing that sets Chris apart from many of the men in Huntsville: He has more than 11,000 Instagram followers, ties to GQ magazine. And companies that clothe our presidents send him stuff to wear.
Chris is only 20, but name brands like Ledbury have already noticed his style. It’s a nice change of pace from the southern uniform — khakis, navy blazer and boat shoes — that can be seen all over Huntsville, from business meetings to weddings to church on Sunday morning.
It’s not just style that Chris is trying to bring to Huntsville. He’s not into brand names just for the sake of buying brand names. He’s done the math on how much it will cost if you buy a cheaper shirt several times verses a quality shirt once.
“Quality is going to stand out and last you,” Chris said. “Trends always die.”
West Coast Style
When Chris was a baby, his father was stationed in Japan with the Air Force. According to his mother, that’s when Chris got his first taste of fashion. She always made sure her first baby boy was dressed to impress. It was Chris’ mom who also taught him the importance of dressing nicely.
“She really wanted me to understand that your appearance in everyday life really says a lot. And people are going to notice what you look like first, whether it’s good or not,” Chris said.
When the family moved to Phoenix, Chris was exposed to the West-Coast style early on. The Arizona city is four hours from Los Angeles, but LA styles still popped up in the hot desert city.
When he moved to Dallas — Chris’ father has started three churches in different cities — he kept his interest in fashion. Then, when the family came to Huntsville two years ago, Chris started to ramp up his personal brand and social media presence.
“Moving here, I … didn’t want to really give up on it even though I didn’t know much about Huntsville’s fashion culture,” Chris said. “I just figured I might as well keep at it. Who knows, I might help start something over here.”
As his style grew, so did his Instagram account. When Chris found Ledbury shirts at Roosevelt and Co. downtown, he started posting about them. They’re a little more expensive than the traditional dress shirt, but Chris says the quality makes it worth the purchase.
Ledbury liked Chris’ posts. and they reached out to him, asking him to participate in a Christmas charity event. Then, they just started sending him things so he would do some impromptu photo shoots in Huntsville and spread the word about their brand.
Soon Chris’ social media reach was big enough to make him a GQ Insider — a group of “modern gentlemen who look sharp, live smart, and have the power to influence,” according to the website.
As for southern style, Chris soon noticed that southern women were always dressed to impress. It’s part of our culture for women to be pulled together at all times — at the very least, wearing a matching outfit with hair and makeup done. The men, however, were a different story. With so many people in technical careers, Chris said it was harder for the men to focus on style when they’re sitting behind a computer all day.
“I noticed it almost immediately when I got here,” Chris said. “Southern style for women — women are usually incredibly dressed over here … The ladies really know how to dress. … Then you get your guys who really … just don’t care to dress up.”
There are a lot of people on Instagram who post about fashion, but the majority of them focus on things that are in style, not things that are going to last.
“I’m a huge fan of quality,” Chris said. “I think trends are a waste of money.”
For example, the skinny suits men are wearing in magazines. They might look good in a photo shoot, but most guys are going to rip or tear those trying to do their everyday activities.
“The trend is ultra-fitting suits, but in reality, these guys just spent $3,000 for a suit that they’re not going to be able to wear in a year because their body will fluctuate or they’ll tear it because of how tight it is, and it’s not meant to go through everyday life. I think that is a huge waste of time and money because you need something that’s going to last you,” he explained.
Faith, Fashion and Family
Faith and fashion, at least in the South, go together in some ways. Southerners have long dressed up for church on Sunday morning, even though now, more and more congregations are going to casual services.
Chris is clear to note that, while he still dresses up nicely on Sunday mornings, he has no judgment for those who take the casual route. It’s all about giving God your best, whatever that may be, he said.
“What my dad has always taught is that when you come to church, you need to present yourself the best you can,” Chris said. “That does not necessarily mean that you’re wearing a full suit. … Not everybody has a suit. That’s just a fact of life. But you need to come to church and give God your best.”
While fashion might be his passion right now, Chris has his sights set on some non-clothing goals. He’s getting his real estate license this summer. Then he’ll finish his college degree in marketing with a minor in psychology.
He’s moved around a lot, but if we’re lucky, Huntsville will get to keep Chris.
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