“I DID THE KHAKI THING, LIKE
EVERYBODY. THEN I JUST HIT A WALL.”
Maxwell Ryan has a mantra:
A calm home equals a happy
life. Five and a half million
monthly visitors to his 8-year-
old design blog, Apartment
Therapy, seem to agree as they
flock to the site for practical
wisdom on stylish simplicity.
And the former schoolteacher
follows his own advice: He’s
purged his closet of stodgy
khakis for a small stable—
eight or nine pairs—of denim.
Straddling the roles of life
coach and interior designer,
Ryan favors fitted jeans with
a utilitarian edge, a look that
reflects both his visual aesthetic and Internet culture’s
laid-back vibe. —MOIRA LAWLER
Do you have a favorite
G-Star. They treat denim like
pants. They fit it, cut it, shape
it, t wist it. It’s more architectural. They are constantly
throwing a wrench into the
mix. They take the structure
and explore it and scre w it
up, like by putting buckles in
strange places. They treat
the fabric and the denim more
like fashion and couture.
What’s your favorite
way to wear jeans?
If it’s nighttime, I’ll wear dark
jeans and a bright, colorful
shirt. I don’t wear light jeans
at night. In the daytime, I just
wear T-shirts and button-downs. People often think that
jeans are jeans. But they’re not.
They come in completely different weights. I didn’t realize
jeans were so variable and seasonal, but you can get lighter
ones to wear in the summer
and heavier ones for the winter.
What’s your denim
I wear an undershirt and a
T-shirt with a button-down
shirt or just a sweater. Three
shirt. It’s not only comfortable
but practical as well.
How many days a week
do you wear jeans?
I hated jeans. I never wore them,
ever. Everyone wears jeans, and
it felt too casual to me. I was a
schoolteacher, so I couldn’t
wear jeans. And then, 3 or 4
years ago, I decided to mix it up
a little bit. I got a pair of jeans.
It was a completely indulgent
thing. And now I basically wear
them every day. I did the khaki
thing, like everybody. Then I just
hit a wall. After I didn’t have to
show up to client meetings,
that’s when I started wearing
jeans. I don’t have to dress up at
all. I don’t have to look like anything for anybody else, which
is nice. Internet culture is much
Maxwell Ryan takes an
to denim care. “If you wash
jeans, they completely
change,” he says. “I freeze
them to keep the raw denim
intact and kill bacteria.
Once a month, fold them
and put them into a plastic
bag. Then leave them in
the freezer overnight.”