David and Lavarro Jackson-Hurley are 2 of Dallas’ best dressed — and they don’t need Stetsons and big hair to show off their fashion sense
Many gay guys like to think they are fashionistas with an inherent sense of style embedded right there on the Gay Gene. But that’s just a stereotype … isn’t it?
Maybe not. Consider: Last month, Dallas Galleria and DFW Style Daily announced the Best Dressed of Dallas List, a slate of 12 local Texans — six men, six women, ranging in age from 24 to mid-60s — and three of the men on the list were gay.
More than a coincidence, we’d say.
It helps the odds that two of this year’s honorees — event planner Lavarro Jackson-Hurley and stylist David Jackson-Hurley — are a couple in life and in business.
“They are known for their uber-luxurious taste,” says Lisa Petty, founder and editor of DFW Style Daily, which selected this year’s best dressed. “They carry matching Birkin bags and had color-coordinated Louis Vuitton sunglasses made. They are just so flipping cool!”
If, as Steel Magnolias taught us, man’s ability to accessorize is what sets us apart from the animals, then the Jackson-Hurleys are mankind at its most evolved: they always start with accessories.
“Our fashion senses are similar in that we both start with which jewelry we’d like to wear first and then build around that,” says David, 32.
“Our tastes are similar, so we’ll either be found wearing the same color but different styles, or the same styles in different colors.”
There are differences, though. “Lavarro is an old-fashioned heavy-knit sweater whore, and I’m obsessed with V-neck sweaters,” David says.
“Eclectic and random would definitely describe my fashion sense, because I never plan what I’m going to wear. I simply grab what feels right at the time,” says Lavarro, 36.
That feel for presentation over extravagance is what led Petty to put them on the list. The mission behind the “best dressed” project was “to represent the diversity of the Dallas fashion community — not just ages and ethnicities, but the styles themselves,” Petty says. “We’re not all big hair, diamonds and cowboy boots.”
That’s something the Jackson-Hurleys surely prove. They are the antithesis of the Texas stereotype in practically every way: Sophisticated (urban and urbane), cultured, playful and gay.
So what makes someone “best dressed,” as opposed to simply a well-put-together public figure? It’s about style more than fashion, Petty says — and non-verbal communication.
“People like David and Lavarro communicate something about themselves through their style,” Petty says. “Sometimes it’s confidence.
Sometimes it’s defiance. Sometimes it’s wackiness. It’s about being thoughtful and deliberate.”
“I believe personal style [in fashion] is cultivated by what experiences you have, which experiences you’d like to have and what you’d like to express non-verbally through your clothing,” adds David.
Indeed, although both wear designer brands with graceful confidence, they agree that it’s not the label, but how you wear whatever you have that makes a style icon.
“I don’t really have any favorite designers per se, I just like what I like regardless of who designs it, from Gucci to Levi’s, and everything in between,” Lavarro says. “My favorite accessory is classic, timeless jewelry.” (David, in fact, describes his own style as “slightly rebellious, uncomplicated and jewel-centric — a term that’s brand new for Dallas Voice, I hope you guys love it.”)
But there’s the accessory word again — the thing that perhaps sets them apart from the crowd. While David prefers Tom For and Dior Homme (“when I’m thinner,” he cautions), it’s his Hermes Birkin bag that is the one essential. “It goes with everything!!” he gushes. “I cannot be without my 40cm blue jean Birkin bag because even when I’m dressed down, I receive style credibility. I think people only know me because of it,” he adds with a sigh.
Not everyone can just buy a man-purse, strut around parties and make a select list, though. What’s the special extra in their lives?
“For me, I believe that fit is important, but confidence and age-appropriateness are equally as important,” David says. “If you feel good, you look good.”
Lavarro concurs. “To me, being well-polished and knowing what works for your body type are the most important elements in being stylish.”
Fashion is something that comes naturally to the Jackson-Hurleys, and which they have wedded to an integral part of their lives.
“Modeling allowed me to experiment with certain fashions I wouldn’t have worn otherwise, and working in building and construction gave me an appreciation for visual aesthetics,” Lavarro says. “And event planning has taught me to take more risks with my fashion!”
It hasn’t always been easy. Together since 2001, they suffered great hardship several years ago when Lavarro had a series of strokes, which left doctors predicting a low chance of recovery. David stood by Lavarro, encouraging him back to health. (Lavarro now uses a cane to help him walk, but is otherwise recovered.)
“The health issues definitely put strain on our relationship because we were maintaining separate households on separate coasts, and I had to make sure I kept working to not only support our family, but also in order to not go crazy,” David says. “All of this showed us that we could and would be there for one another in sickness and in health. We’re now stronger than ever as a unit and know that together we can conquer anything.”
And that’s evidence of style of a much higher order.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 25, 2013.