Eric Dayton has been racking up style points ever since he and his brother founded three of the Twin Cities’ most lauded destinations for food, drink and dress. The Bachelor Farmer and Marvel Bar both have been James Beard semifinalists in years past, and Askov Finlayson was named one of the best men’s stores in America by Esquire and Men’s Journal. Despite the accolades, Dayton’s style remains down-to-earth meets elegant.
I try to avoid describing my style, because I’m not very good at it! I just buy individual pieces that I respond to and then put them together in a way that feels right to me.
Favorite item in your closet:
My 18-month-old son, Hugo, likes to go into my closet and make a mess by pulling whatever he can off hangers and shelves. It’s very hard to be angry with him because it’s so cute. So, Hugo is by far my favorite thing in my closet — even though he’s not supposed to be in there.
Favorite retro piece:
I have a beautiful, classic wool overcoat that was my dad’s, and it will never go out of style. It’s not so much retro as it is timeless.
Item you wear most:
We’ve started to design and create clothing under the Askov Finlayson brand, and our very first product was the Explorer Pant. I have them in a range of colors, and they’re really the only pant I wear, whether casually or with a blazer. They’re like a favorite pair of jeans but even more versatile.
I spent a year living in Paris during college, and that was eye-opening in terms of style — as well as food and wine.
Surviving a Minnesota winter in style:
I think the key is to invest in high-quality outerwear, because you know you’re going to need it every year in Minnesota. And a good pair of leather boots.
Trend you love:
I’m not sure that it’s a trend, but I’m glad to see guys dressing up again. I haven’t needed to wear a suit and tie [for years], but I often still choose to wear at least a blazer. You feel good when you look a little nicer than you have to, and it sends a strong message.
Trend you’re over:
There are some things that I really value about the heritage movement — the focus on quality and American manufacturing — but I never understood dressing for the 1800s when it’s 2014. I’m glad to see that things are becoming more forward-looking now.
Best style advice you’ve received:
It’s more business than fashion advice, but my grandfather’s saying from his days in retail was, “You get what you inspect, not what you expect.” I remember that every day.