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Fashion Forward: Part janitor, part golf dad with Marcus Brown


Presented by Revival

Little Village: Fashion Forward explores the unique elements of personal style and expression with some of Iowa City’s resident fashionistas.

Marcus Brown wearing a jacket and hoodie — photo by Jason Smith

I’ve bounced around a little. Originally born in D.C., spent some time in Maryland, Georgia, New York, Rhode Island and then here (Iowa City). After high school I was just doing this and that, biking a lot, odd jobs here and there; after awhile I just felt like I was getting stir-crazy.

I’m a writer, that’s basically what I do. I try and keep everything I do at least somewhat related to writing since that’s kind of my thing. I heard the writing program was really good here and coming to Iowa seemed like a good fit. Some stars aligned, some magic happened and I ended up here; everything just worked out.

Marcus Brown — photo by Jason Smith

I tend to keep to myself. I’m a pretty calm and collected person usually, I guess it depends on who you ask. I went to schools where you had to wear uniforms, so growing up I didn’t really get to pick what I wanted to wear. At first as a kid I hated it, I thought, ‘Girls aren’t going to look at me if we’re all wearing the same thing.’ But once I got older I found a renewed appreciation for the uniform, I didn’t want that vanity to be my driving focus and I’m really into uniforms now.

I wear a lot of black. Friends joke anytime they see me wearing anything other than black, whites or greys. I really just like the simplicity of it. I have a pretty good idea on how I’d ideally like to look and more often than not I see myself wearing black. If I see something I like I tend to just like buy a million pairs of it and keep it going. I dress somewhere between a janitor and a golf dad.

Marcus Brown wearing all black while riding his bike — photo by Jason Smith

I was broke as hell in high school so I would thrift shop a lot. I’d get oversized dad polo’s coupled with the Dickies I was skating in. I’d duct tape patches over them and rock the polo, I was looking weird but people dug it I guess.

I love Iowa City to death but I don’t think there are too many good places for men to specifically buy clothes. I find myself ordering a lot of clothes but a lot of my clothes I just get by accident. One of my favorite hoodies I got at a yard sale by my buddies house. I just randomly find clothes, people give me stuff, these loafers my dad gave me. Those are the things I end up loving the most because there is some sentimental value to them.

I always like to look clean and presentable but also somewhat understated. I think you can tell when someone is uncomfortable in what they’re wearing. I feel like it doesn’t really matter too much what you’re wearing as long as it is true to you. I have a similar tone in my writing, I don’t ever want to be over the top or inaccessible. I want the reader to feel comfortable that I’m comfortable with what I’m trying to say and I think I take the same attitude towards the way I dress. I think you can tell when someone’s trying too hard and I try to avoid that. I find that’s just a good principle for most things.

Marcus Brown wearing cropped pants

I’m an extreme minimalist. I try to keep everything I own to roughly about the size of one car trip and that makes me feel secure. I feel things come and go so easily that having too much stuff gives me anxiety. It takes me about five minutes to get ready. It’s really easy when everything you’re wearing is black. It’s like, ‘Do I wear my black sweater, my other black sweater or my slightly darker black sweater?’

I had one style icon, professional skateboarder Dylan Rieder. Unfortunately he passed away from cancer but I looked up to him so much in high school. He was such a good looking dude, his outfits were great and he was an amazing skateboarder. He made everything look so graceful. It was that mix of form and function of crazy stuff on a skateboard while still looking runway. Inspired by Rieder, I love cropped pants. I started doing that in high school when it was really lame. People would look at me and say, ‘What are you doing? Buy pants that fit,’ but now it’s a thing so I’m super stoked on that. I was going to do it anyway, but I can ride the wave that it’s ok now.

Marcus Brown from behind wearing a jacket and hoodie — photo by Jason Smith

French fries are great don’t get me wrong, but I love truffle fries. My favorite meal is a steak with truffle fries. That probably sounds really bougie and I promise I’m not. I’m kind of known for eating at the dining hall with a mix of gas station food. I’m pro fries, I’m double-pro truffle fries.

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