Great things can emerge from great passion, and such is the case with Austin, Texas-based Criquet Shirts. The brand is the brainchild of NYC natives Billy Nachman (left) and Hobson Brown (right), and their passion is, yes, the polo shirt. Four years ago, they took it upon themselves to create the perfect one, and dammit if The Players Shirt isn’t just that, thanks to buttery soft organic jersey cotton, bacon collar-proof collar stays, and a sharp style that is “country club tested and farmer’s market approved.” Criquet now boasts a diverse line of polos, long-sleeve shirts and button-downs, garnering plaudits throughout the mediascape, from The Wall Street Journal to Golf Channel.
We caught up with the boys as they prepared to open their first showroom, just in time for SXSW, featuring a golf driving net and beer for customers to sip while they shop. Before tackling our Style Questionnaire, they shared a handy SXSW tip: “Bring comfortable shoes. Don’t get too creative with cowboy boots or other footwear that stay in your home closet until you come to Austin for a weekend. You will be walking a lot—it’s good for you, by the way. And your cowboy boots or chukkas may look cool, but they will be owning you after a few hours hoofing it around.”
Current Residence: Austin, Texas
Hometown: New York City
Occupation: Co-Founder, Chief Shirt Architect, Criquet Shirts
Describe your style in three words.
Billy Nachman: Durable. Versatile. Cured.
Hobson Brown: JFK meets Redford.
Who had the biggest influence on your style?
BN: I’d have to say my dad… very different style (far more ’80s preppy than me), but well put together and appointed. His suits from the early ’70s, which I stole, were money.
HB: John Hughes. Not only for his wit but also for making Jake Ryan in Sixteen Candles so classic and cool when most were far from it.
What’s one thing you always remember when getting dressed?
BN: Having lived in many places where it can be hot during the day, and cooler at night, layers are essential. If you are not sure you’ll have time to change before the transition, it’s best to be prepared.
HB: Did I put my collar stays in? I can’t stand bacon collar.
What are three pieces that every man should have in his closet?
BN: Aside from a Criquet shirt of course, every man should have a versatile sport coat that can be dressed up or down, well-worn jeans and comfortable pair of leather boots (cowboy or otherwise).
HB: A navy cashmere v-neck sweater, a well loved golf shirt or polo with a crisp collar, and a pair of thin-wale Levi cords.
What’s one thing a man should do to improve his style?
BN: Don’t try too hard and be yourself. It’s pretty obvious when a man’s style is not his own or is overly contrived.
HB: Say no to jeans with swirls on the back pockets.
If you could have one piece of clothing from your childhood, what would it be?
HB: My red CB ski jacket with all the ski tags still on the zipper.
BN: I loved my collection of early ’80s Adidas cotton shorts. I had them in just about every color combination and they would look great with a white Criquet shirt. Short shorts never looked so good.
What stores or websites do you frequent?
BN: Here in Austin, I love to go to Stag. Well curated and cohesive. A great place to browse, from clothes to sunglasses, books to vinyl, Stag has it all. Websites: Huckberry for great product and gear. ArchDaily for great architecture. This American Life for great listening (to name a few).
HB: I follow other emerging brands like Pierrepont Hicks, Taylor Stitch, Hari Mari, Howler Brothers and Ledbury.
What trend would you like to see disappear?
BN: Overly manicured facial hair bugs me. If you are trying too hard, what’s the point, right? And of course any t-shirt adorned with large wings.
HB: Ironic moustaches.
When you want to make a good impression, what do you wear?
BN: Regardless of the person I am trying to impress, a classic sport coat, vintage or new, goes a long way.
HB: A great fitting sport coat and a fresh Criquet shirt.
What’s one thing that is always worth splurging on?
BN: A great golf trip with your buddies. For those of us that like to play, but don’t have enough time, a three- or four-day outing can be the perfect recharge, not only for your game, but for your life.
HB: Good-looking women.