Now here’s a man that knows a few things about working hard and doing things right. It’s in his blood. Raised in the foothills of Coal Country, Trey Jolly is a Kentucky-bred man ready to make his mark. We are proud to introduce him as the newest member of our team. At Article, we’re always inspired by men that appreciate good bourbon, traditional ethics, and time-honored quality. So when we met Trey it was natural fit. Our conversation covers his style, boots that get better with age, and where to drink in Lexington, KY.
You grew up in Southeast Kentucky. How has this played into your personal style?
Growing up in central Appalachia, I learned the values of loyalty, hard work, integrity, and the importance of family and friends. Many people in the region depend on the coal industry for their livelihood. For a century now, men have been going underground in order to put food on the table for their family. The clothes these brave men wear on their back protect them against the harsh elements they withstand each day. These blue-collar workers use clothing for its practical purposes, for protection, and they wear the same uniform every single day. Growing up in this environment, around this type of industry, has certainly affected my personal style whether I was aware of it or not. I like to invest in articles of clothing that are practical and serve some purpose. I never just buy an item based entirely on what it looks like. Quality material and construction is a necessity. Likewise, I have finally found my “uniform”, which has taken some time to nail down. You should always wear what you feel comfortable wearing, no matter if you just wore the same thing for the previous five days. If you have to look too long in the mirror then something is off. I stick to the basics, so I can’t go wrong. Simple is better, and less is more. Central Appalachia is a simple place with simple people just trying to survive. I am proud of my roots, and I am forever indebted to the mountains of eastern Kentucky. It’s in my blood.
Around here, we firmly believe that if you’re going to buy something, it should last you a long time. Tell us about the one piece of gear or clothing in your arsenal that has lived up to the test of time – and gotten better with age…
I truly believe that you should invest in items that are made well and made with a purpose, be it jeans, boots, accessories, luggage, furniture, bourbon (even though that usually doesn’t last long!), etc. Invest in the future. When you invest today, the pay off in the long run is way greater. I try to hold myself accountable in what I buy and why I buy it. Taken from the badass writer, designer, and storeowner living in Chicago, Max Wastler, every time I am looking to purchase something, I ask myself, “Is this something I truly need, and if so, is this something that could potentially outlast me?” If either answer is “No”, then I should probably reconsider. This type of mindset is a life(style) that I am passionate about.
An item of mine that has certainly undergone the test of time, becoming better with age and wear, are my Red Wing Heritage Muleskinner Leather Iron Ranger boots. I remember the day I got them when I was a sophomore in college in 2008. I remember the leather being so stiff that they hurt to even try them on. I then walked outside and started scrapping my new boots against the concrete because I wanted them to look more rugged and worn. Now, after six and a half years of wear my Iron Rangers are still in my rotation of shoes, and they couldn’t look or feel better. The leather is soft and molded to my feet. I would not trade them for a brand new pair. I have walked every footstep in those boots, and every scrap and scuff has a story. They are layered with memories, and I one day hope that they will outlast me, as I pass them on to future generations.
Who is/was the most important man in your life? An icon, mentor, or figure that shaped your mentality on the responsibility of manhood.
Without a doubt, the most important man in my life growing up is my father. I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for his guidance and instruction along the way. I have learned from him what it really means to be a man and the responsibilities that encompasses. To be a real man doesn’t mean you have to be extremely “manly” or look like Brad Pitt in Troy. A real man provides, comforts, takes control, owns his mistakes, is a role model for his own children, keeps his promises, stays humble, and stays focused. These are all qualities that I have learned from my father. I know what it looks like to be successful, and I know what it takes to be successful. To be born and raised by a father who taught me the essential values of manhood from an early age is a blessing. I am not perfect, nor will I ever be, but I strive to be a little bit more like my dad everyday.
Since you’re a Kentucky boy – give me the ultimate weekend trip you’d recommend a Cincinnatian take through the Bluegrass…
Here in Kentucky, we are very partial to our great Commonwealth. “Kentucky Kicks Ass, and the Universe needs to know.” That comes from the local grassroots company, Kentucky for Kentucky (check ‘em out if you haven’t already!), which promotes our unique heritage and highlights the complexities of our state. If I have to choose just one area for the ultimate weekend getaway, I am going to recommend the short one-hour drive down to the Lexington area and the surrounding Bluegrass Region. Here are some of the main attractions:
Keeneland: Plan a weekend in April (coming up soon!) or October when the Keeneland Racecourse is open for its spring or fall meet (make sure the weather is going to be nice!) Sip bourbon and mint juleps, bet on the ponies, and mingle with the hoity-toity in your best bow tie, linen/tweed blazer and loafers/chelsea boots (don’t forget your shades). Get there early on a Saturday morning and tailgate on The Hill, where there is live music, local food trucks, betting, and shuttles to take you to the track.
Kentucky Bourbon Trail: Get out of the Lexington metro and enjoy a peaceful drive past the beautiful horse farms and rolling hills on your way to experience one of KY’s main attractions. These distilleries are some of the most historic in the nation, and most are located within 30 minutes from downtown Lexington. Take a tour and learn how bourbon is actually made and why the Bluegrass is the perfect place to distill bourbon. I haven’t been to them all, but I certainly recommend Woodford Reserve.
Brewgrass Trail: I know what you are thinking. Sorry, we like to drink. Not only is the bourbon industry at an all time high, but, recently, there have also been quite a few craft breweries pop up, given the size of Lexington. Do a brewery hop- there are about 5 within a couple mile radius- they are listed under the drink section.
Local Restaurant Scene: Enjoy some of our many local restaurants. There has been some resurgence in downtown Lexington in the last few years (with much more to come), with many new restaurants and bars bringing the city back to life. It’s like a tiny fraction of what’s happening in Over The Rhine. Check out Jefferson Street, Short Street, and Cheapside Park. There are also some great restaurants in some of the smaller Bluegrass towns that surround Lexington. Check out Midway, Paris, or Danville
- County Club
- Smithtown Seafood
- Nick Ryan’s Saloon
- The Village Idiot
- Table Three Ten
- National Provisions
- La Deauville
- Wine + Market
- Willie’s Locally Known
- Windy Corner Market & Restaurant
- Alfalfa’s (brunch)
- Stella’s Diner (brunch)
- Doodles (brunch)
- West Sixth Brewing
- Country Boy Brewing
- Blue Stallion Brewing Co.
- Ethereal Brewing
- Chase Brewing Co.
- Beer Engine (Danville)
- Rooster Brewing (Paris)
- The Beer Trappe
- Lexington Beerworks
- Belle’s Cocktail House
- Bluegrass Tavern
- Al’s Bar
- The Break Room
- Best Friend Bar
What do you do when you’re not studying menswear?
Whenever there’s a free moment or when in need of some creative inspiration, my girlfriend and I hit the open road. I consider traveling one of my hobbies, if that is a thing? I am always planning the next adventure, be it a longer road trip or just a weekend getaway. I think the anticipation of travel is the best part. The months or weeks leading up to the event are what keep me going, keep my mind positive and motivated, and keep me concentrated on the here and now, knowing there is a reward if I stay focused until a certain date. The process then just starts over upon return. The beauty of travel is that when you are in a new space, surrounded by a different culture, your brain takes a pit stop from the real world of everyday life. You slow down, and your thoughts are not consumed by what’s next on your to-do list. For me, it is an opportunity to think more macroscopically, about the big picture: what are you doing in this world and what do you really want to accomplish in the short time we have? It is important that I come back to these thoughts periodically, for it helps me realize that all the small details of everyday life will work themselves out in the end.
One of my most memorable trips was a couple of summers ago when my girlfriend and I road tripped it from Kentucky all the way up the Northeast coast for about two weeks. It was the perfect balance of camping amongst some breathtaking scenery, like the coast of Maine and in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, to staying right in the heart of some of the most exciting creative cities, like Portland and Burlington. Weird fact: I am obsessed with making detailed itineraries before most every trip I take. The Northeast road trip itinerary was three pages long. That’s ridiculous! My philosophy is that you should take advantage of every second you have and not waste time figuring out things such as where you want to eat, especially when eating is one of the best parts of traveling. I try to research and predetermine those details, unless, of course, we get a different recommendation from a local, and then everything goes out the window.