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U.S. Royalty:

  • Paul Thornley, the guitarist, steals from his grandma’s closet.
  • His brother, singer John Thornley, has on a belt that he’s been wearing the same size since 9th grade. (Truth)
  • Bass player Jake Michael will probably give you the eye if you’re a lady who favors high waisted anything.
  • Luke Adams, who plays drums, (secretly) wants a beehive wig.

I met up with these Best Dressed List:DC finalists inside their space at Gold Leaf. “How do they ever get work done in here?” I thought, as I laid on an incredibly comfortable couch, watching each of the guys take his turn in front of the camera. Honestly, I could have easily dozed off. I was near the toasty heater, soft music was playing…

all photos: Mark Silva

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So, we began the interview with each of the guys describing the style of whoever happened to be sitting to the left of him. It went full circle, starting and ending with John.

BYT: How would you describe Paul’s style?

John: He finds, like, cool, little pieces…

Paul: …that you steal.

John: Sometimes, yeah.

BYT: You share clothes?

Paul: We all do.

John: We all do, yeah.

Paul: We’re all the same size.

Jake: So, if you travel in a band things just get thrown everywhere…you’re like, “that looks cool,” and you just grab it.

John: Or someone will get tired of wearing something, and someone else will be like, “Oh, I like it.” And then they start wearing it. And then it’s like, they find a new use for it….[About Paul] I’d say, [his style is] kind of solid, consistent…

Jake: Dark….

John: With flare, I’d say. It’s pretty clean lines, like um…it could be like uniform, but with one thing to twist it off a little bit. And it’s something that you could sleep in for three days and still seem fresh.

Paul: Alright…um, Luke. I’d say [his style is] like an early Americana type, fitted, revolutionary, Civil War, in general…But very particular…very particular about weird angles of shirts.

Luke: Angles of shirts?

Paul: Yeah. You have that weird thing about shirts. It’s not a weird thing. It’s just you have like a certain look for shirts that I can’t comprehend. Like, shorter width…But yeah…that’s fine.

Luke: I do complain about that quite a bit.

Paul: Yeah, everything you try on.

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BTY: So, the shirt you’re wearing made the cut.

Luke: Barely. Ah man, Jake…Where do we start?

Jake: I don’t know.

Luke: Urban cowboy… with Indian roots…No, I don’t know. Um, Jake’s pretty consistent, I would say.

John: Italian.  He likes his Italian, like, open shirts too.

Luke: Oh yeah. He keeps his shirts open quite a bit like that. It’s sexy, it’s cool.

Jake: (About John)…Um, this is a tough one. I’d say that everything that John wears makes a statement. It’s always different….very bold, I guess. Whether it be a jacket that you probably wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else, that only John could pull off. Or a crazy hat with a feather on it that only John could wear…something like that. He just finds significant pieces that he makes work really well.

BYT: How would you define American style?

John: What part of America?

BYT: The part that’s most significant to you.

Jake: I’d say, lately it’s gone back to kind of like…I don’t even know what era it would be….like the 50s?

John: I think that’s also like the parts we hang out in. I think America at large is sloppy all the time….Not that sloppy is bad…

Luke: America’s not very picky. They wear what corporate sells them. I don’t know…

Jake: Well, I said 50s cause like a lot of people have been paying more attention to detail…

John:…Yeah I think that’s more in urban areas…

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BYT:  Where do you shop?

John: It depends…

Jake: Ebay.

Paul: I like shopping online just because we’re on the road a lot. And also, I like the work of finding things online, like Ebay and stuff like that. I do a lot of Ebay shopping. And we shop at a lot of our friends’ stores in New York or designer stores around.

Jake: Yeah, like Robert James in New York. Or what else…what’s the one on 14th?

John: In D.C.?

Jake: Yeah.

John: Oh! Redeem.

Jake: Yeah, Redeem is the one that we like.

John: I like Annie Creamcheese in Georgetown for accessories. They have a lot of women’s jewelry, brooches and stuff.

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BTY: They have a lot of wild things in that shop.

John: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I like it.

Jake: Or Beacon’s Closet up in Brooklyn. If you’re tired of the clothes you have on, you can take them and kind of trade them in. And then you walk out with a whole other outfit.

BYT: That place is quite huge.

Jake: Yeah, I love it. The people who work there are really cool.


BYT: Do you remember your favorite outfit as a kid or something specific from your childhood?

Paul: What was I seen most in? I don’t know…I went through a lot of phases.

Jake: I guess my mom would always put me in these high, white socks. And I would always have a Lacoste shirt on, but I would always peel the alligator off. You could always see the print of the alligator, but the alligator would be missing.

John: There’s a lot of stitching…You had to do a lot of peeling.

Jake: Someone at school made fun of me for it, so I just peeled them all off.

John: I had these Spider-Man boots. I think they were snow boots. Easy to put on…

BYT: with Velcro?

John: Yeah….And for a while I wouldn’t wear shorts, but then I started wearing shorts a lot as a kid. So, it would be like, boots, shorts, sometimes a tank top.

Paul: We had different themes every year. One year was Native American themed…we wore headdresses.

Jake: Everyday?

Paul: Yeah!

John: My mom would sew stuff. So, there were always costumes. We would wear them around, because we thought they were cool.

Paul: We thought they were cooler than our regular clothes.

BYT: What about you, Luke?

Luke: Growing up, I lived on a lake. So, I wore a bathing suit all summer long. That’s the one thing I remember…Always wearing bathing suits and tank tops.

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BYT: What would you each steal from your grandmother’s closet?

Paul: I already stole a brooch. That’s one down…but don’t tell her that. I lived with my grandmother for, like, a year, when I got back from college. I actually stole a scarf when I think about it now…and some gloves…

John: She would wear my coats. I’m always buying coats, jackets, whatever. I probably only have two or three pairs of jeans, but I have, like, 18 coats. I left some at her place when I moved out, and she would wear them in the winter. She said they were warmer than her coats. I’d steal her belts. They have interesting belts, grandmothers.

Luke: …steal my grandma’s beehive wig.

BYT: You would or you have?

Luke: I wouldn’t…I was just joking. I’d probably just take a sweater. She always had cool sweaters.

BYT: Jake?

Jake: She had a lot of these crazy fur coats. I feel bad, but they were real fur coats….pearls…stuff like that.

BYT: So, your grandmothers furs and pearls!

Paul: Sounds like you’re in it for the money!

(John leaves the room.)

Paul: You can ask questions about him!

BTY: What’s the ugliest thing you’ve ever seen John wear?

Luke: Short shorts, corduroy shorts and cowboy boots.

Paul: That’s true…and in winter!

(Everyone laughs and agrees, and John is back.)

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BYT: What’s the worse thing a girl could wear?

Everyone: Uggs.

Luke: My girlfriend owns a pair of Uggs, and I’ve banned them from our house.

Jake: Uggs, Juicy…things written on the butt.

John: I think women are so beautiful they could overcome anything…

Luke: Yeah….it doesn’t help though.

BYT: What about some of the best things?

Jake: High waisted pants, high waisted jeans and stuff.

(They all strongly agree that it’s a good look.)

John: Oversized sweaters.

Luke: Knee-high boots.

Jake: Really though, high waisted anything is, like, the best thing.

Paul: Oversized sweaters that look like they could fit two people…

Luke: Knee-high boots too.

John: Past the knee boots are, like, wow.

Jake: Tall boots that lace all the way up.

Paul: Fantasies with girls or are we just talking about girls…

John: I like summer dresses….light and breezy.

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BYT: It’s your last day on earth. What do you wear?

Jake: Birthday suit.

Luke: Blue jeans, white t-shirt and slippers….actually no. I’d wear my boat shoes with no socks.

Paul: I think I’d buy a Thom Browne suit, because I’ve always wanted one for so long.

Luke: For your last day on earth?

Paul: Yeah…a suit, jacket…just look awesome. I’d probably get three haircuts throughout the day. Try different looks…

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BYT: You’d have to be careful not to go too short for the first cut.

John: Yeah, the stages…Well, I don’t know if I would do the haircut thing, but I would do the Thom Browne. Actually, I would probably do the haircut thing too…Thom Browne suit. I would do a gray one.

Paul: I would do black.

Jake: I would probably wear a pair of jeans…shirtless, some kind of necklace. That’s it.

John: Cast Away?

Jake: Savage…

Luke: Jake would walk around declaring the end of the world.

Jake: Wearing some war paint…

John: We could do that right now.

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