Are you following Ty Severe on Instagram? If not, you should be. This powerhouse of style not only finds time to act as Artistic Director on films like “The Emissary” and work as VIP Stylist at Tommy Hilfiger to personalities such as James Marsden, Tony Hale, and James Van Der Beek; but also to blog about his experiences in stylish travel as well. Ty initially caught the eye of Ricardo with his imagery that seamlessly blends impeccable men’s style inspiration with a love for visiting new places, and we sent him on a trip with our newest collection: Arris. We spoke with Ty to learn more about how he puts together the perfect look for himself and his clients – and how to pack in a way that will get him where he’s going in style.
Ricardo: Tell us about your journey from a cosmetic artist at Nordstrom to VIP stylist at Tommy Hilfiger and beyond.
Severe: I always wanted a career in fashion. The end goal was to be a stylist in LA. Learning the artistry behind make-up was something that I felt was the foundation to style. So I began at MAC make-up. At the time MAC was doing every fashion show during NYFW. I figured, why go to school for two years, when I can just get right into the field. From there I moved from Utah to LA to open a new Nordstrom. I would be working in Collectors and Couture; diving into my passion. After several years I switched gears into a more artistic role doing the window displays for Nordstrom. Curating the mannequin looks and propping the set design around the store. A couple years later Nordstrom wanted to elevate their shopping experience and introduced the personal styling department. I was at the Grove in LA and had never been busier! Not long after that did I meet Tommy Hilfiger who had a pop-up shop in the Grove at the time. With my preppy vibes, his keen eye spotted me from a crowd of streetwear. I was loving every minute of it. I was meeting with celebrities all the time and finally doing what I came to LA to do. Fast forward a few more years, and Tommy closed his only West Coast location. I could either move to NYC or start my career as a blogger. I chose the latter.
Do you find that your skills in cosmetics continue to influence your personal style?
Cosmetics teaches you all about color theory. It also encourages you to take chances. Create a bold eyeshadow with a color popping lip. I now do the same with a bright tie and bold print pocket square.
You’ve styled the likes of James Marsden, James Van Der Beek, and so many others, so you know how to take a stylish person and make them look even better. What’s your best tip for bringing someone's wardrobe to the next level? Any tips for staying stylish (but comfortable) while flying?
For me style comes from tailoring. You can have a classic blue suit and it can look sloppy as ever – or you can have the fit perfect and trim to make the man look outstanding. Understanding body type and having the right tailor is really what makes you stand out in the crowd. Every time I travel, I wear either my sneakers or Gucci slippers with fur. White jeans, a chambray oxford and a knit chunky cardigan. And always a leather or down and fur jacket. I might take it off during flight, but at least I have something so cozy to curl up with.
From the falling snow in winter time reflected on a Swiss-dotted Oxford shirt to a pimento-colored shirt that reminds you of a martini with extra olives, we just love the symbolism in your style. What inspires you when you are putting a look together?
I love a story. Something I always say is ‘Life is an editorial.’ That inspires me to either make characters from my looks, or an emotion. I love to play Jay Gatsby, James Dean, John F. Kennedy and other iconic gentleman.
Your work on the film “The Emissary” as the Artistic Director truly rounds out your portfolio. Do you find that your work in the film industry has influenced your style at all?
Being on set to create an art that is about anything but yourself is very fulfilling. I was able to create a world that I did not live in, but that absorbed all of my creative energy. I found myself wearing a tee shirt and jeans every day. Realizing my mind was almost ‘saving’ my artistic outlet from dressing myself to dressing the set. It is a wonderful experience.
Let’s talk travel. Not everyone thinks about their complete look, from head to toe, when they are on the road. But you do! Let’s say you are only going to be away from home for 48 hours. What are the pieces that you absolutely must pack into your suitcase?
I always travel with a navy suit. I bring three or four ties and pocket squares. They take up no space in my luggage and that way I don’t have to commit to a certain mood or tone right away. A crisp white oxford shirt. I love wearing this under my suit, or over my swimsuit to the pool. Effortless chic. A pair of camel leather shoes and white sneakers. I never worry about a sandal because the hotels always have slippers! Salvaged dark denim jeans, a polo and tee shirt round out my needs. Oh, and a candle. I ALWAYS travel with a candle. My favorite is Diptyque Figuier.
Your work has taken you all over the world. What have been some of your travel highlights in your career?
One trip I will never forget is being invited to stay at Le Logis. A chateau in Bordeaux, France owned by Grey Goose Vodka. During that trip we had farm-to-table 6-course meals, private chefs on hand, took a bread making class and visited the vineyards where the vodka grains were farmed from. The trip was breathtaking from start to finish.
You love Paris, even though you had never been until recently! Now that you’ve been, what are the top places/experiences you discovered someone might not find in a travel guide?Paris to me is home. It felt like I had been there before, even before I got off the plane. I went with no agenda, which is how I like to travel. I tell anyone who is going to do the same. You truly find the city that way. Every morning I would have coffee and a croissant at my local cafe. Spend an hour greeting the morning as I watched the Parisians walk by. A Balenciaga bag under arm, cigarette in hand, groomed dog following closely behind. Visit Versailles at 7am. Be the first to the estate and prepare to be emotionally moved in a way you never thought possible.
What was the best thing you had to eat when you were in Paris?
My favorite thing is cliché for Paris, but it has great meaning to me…is the Ladurée macaron. There are a few other options for the iconic treat, but Ladurée is the best. Although you can’t eat them inside…you can certainly sneak a bite in the corridors. Ladurée has a sweet flavor called ‘Marie Antoinette’ I decided to eat one while I was standing inside Marie’s sleeping chambers. Worlds collide!
As a resident of LA, do you have any other favorite California destinations?
The beauty of San Francisco can be quite charming. It has some of the smallest and beautiful cafes I have visited. I love Santa Barbara. Polo games and seaside retreats will always get my attention. At the end of the day, there is nothing like LA. I adore this city.
Do you have any exciting travel plans for the upcoming year that we can look forward to catching on your blog and Instagram?
I will be going to the Bahamas, back to Quebec, NYC and Paris again this year!