John Jannuzzi

We’ve been pals with John Jannuzzi since we hosted a panel with him at Lucky Fabb last year. What we can’t say we’ve done is sat down for ribs in his hood with him; that’s a whole other story (and now we can say we have). It’s no surprise that Jannuzzi recently moved from Lucky to GQ, where he’s the Senior Digital Editor. The social media-savvy personality represents all things we love about the fashion-forward Manhattan straight male. You know; that unique hybrid of a guy that has a penchant for taste and style as well as for munching on ribs and perhaps even watching football. It’s what all us Manhattan ladies are looking for, isn’t it? We hung out with Jannuzzi and enjoyed musings on his personal style, manhattan restaurants, and his past work in a female-focused office…

On his neighborhood…

I live in NoLIta, on Elizabeth between Prince and Spring. When I first moved there, I was kind of like, this is a little too cool for school for me. It’s basically all off-duty models. If they’re not off-duty models, they’re kids who don’t need to work because they have so much money from wherever, which is good for them but that’s just not how I am. But after a while I kind of got used to it. I live right across the street from that sculpture garden on Elizabeth, so in the fall, spring and summer – and sometimes even in the winter – it’s nice to just relax in there. It’s very chill and it’s close enough to SoHo that you’re very central but you don’t really have to deal with the massive tourists. There is a lot of good Mexican food around which, second to barbecue, is my favorite. My whole life is down there. I have neighborhood people that I see, and wave to…I didn’t think you could really find that. I thought it was kind of like a myth from Friends and Seinfeld but it is just really friendly.

I live a half a block away from Café Habana which is totally awesome. You go there on a Sunday, early and just eat Huevos Rancheros by yourself. Oh my God, I can’t get enough.

For Italian in the neighborhood I really like Emporio, which is on Mott between Prince and Spring. They have really good risotto balls and octopus. The Smile has the best chocolate chip cookies in the city. The giant ones with the big salt.

Where else is really good in the neighborhood? Cafe el Portal which is on Elizabeth. It’s a really hole-in-the-wall place. There are very few seats but it’s some of the best Mexican around. Hecho en Dumbo up on Bowery; I love going there. They have really good drinks and their desserts are really good too. They have a spicy chocolate cake situation…I’m obsessed with chocolate so I always get that. I also like Grey Dog, Parm, Torrisi, and Ruby’s.

On his personal style…

It’s funny because when I first moved to the city I’d say my personal style was really bad. I just felt like I was trying really hard because I really wanted to work in the industry. I remember my first day at my internship, I was like, “Okay, I don’t have the right clothes for this,” so I took whatever money I had and went to Club Monaco, which at that time was a totally different brand. And I bought all this stuff for this internship at an accessories licensing company called Cipriani. Everyone thought I was working at the restaurant.

I worked there on the accessories stuff for Michael by Michael Kors and Guess – just design stuff. It was really basic. But I was also working at a restaurant at night, and I had to wear a suit. So my parents bought me a nice suit, but working in a restaurant, within two weeks that suit was covered in grease and it was nasty. So then I started buying suits at H&M and I would just toss them in the garbage after a few months. Then my style really kind of changed. I just got older, and men’s fashion in general sort of went in this whole Americana workwear thing, and I did that for a while. And then I just…discovered navy blue crew-necks and V-necks and I never really went away from that after I did it. I pretty much wear the same thing everyday. It’s a navy sweater, black jeans, or these jeans that I’m wearing now, and white sneakers. I love white sneakers.

On being a straight man working in fashion…

Well, it’s funny. Being a straight guy in fashion, everyone’s like, “Oh you’re like this unicorn!” But you know, it’s like any other job. It’s the people you work with. I worked in women’s fashion most of my career and it was great, but I eventually got to the point where I was like “I’ve been saturated. There’s nothing more I can really give.”

I wanted to get into mens for the longest time and I had my sights set on GQ. Working with men is a lot different than working with women, obviously. It’s like I said – there are strong personalities in every office. Especially now, it’s not so much dealing with men versus dealing with women, it’s dealing with Type A personalities. There are man divas and there are woman divas. You’re just going to have to deal with all of that stuff.

Working at Lucky, the office was full of candy. There were just sweets everywhere. People would deliver us chocolate and macarons. Like, “They’re fashion girls. They must love macaroons over there.” And yeah, everyone loves them but I would just eat a ton of sugar all day long and then crash. It’s a lot different at GQ. We don’t get too much candy and things like that. Guys definitely eat a lot differently than the girls. There is a lot of McDonald’s that comes through our office and sometimes I’m just like, “Yeah, I could really go for that.”

On balance and a healthy lifestyle…

I really try to do the healthy lifestyle thing as much as I can. I work out pretty much everyday, sometimes twice a day because I do like to eat things like this. It’s important to reward yourself with a full rack of ribs, a giant piece of cornbread, a piece of chocolate cake and a couple of beers. When you eat clean and healthy during the week, you just feel so much better. But you’ve got to save room for this.

On the new potato of the fashion industry…

I would say it’s modesty. It was interesting going through this past fashion week because it just seemed a lot quieter. I don’t know if that was because of what IMG did with Lincoln Center or maybe it was because I was going to men’s shows and not women’s shows, but lately it just seems everyone’s like, “Let’s calm down; let’s remember what this is all about and let the circus die.” Nothing would make me happier. So I think modesty – and being very serious about what you’re doing.

On the difference between how men and women approach style…

I think a lot of men approach style from a utilitarian perspective. Like, I need clothes because it’s a fact of life; you have to get dressed. And eventually they find things that they really like – like me and the navy sweaters. I don’t think I was ever really dressing for anybody…except maybe the whole fashion industry because I wanted to fit in. But I think women approach style from a place of really high self-expression. There’s a reason that Leandra Medine wears the stuff that she does. I mean, it’s her to a T. If I saw her in some Bambi bandage dress, I’d just be like, “What? This doesn’t make any sense.” And I think men do express themselves through style, just not as overtly I guess.

*John Jannuzzi, photographed at Georgia’s East Side BBQ by Danielle Kosann