A Tall Order
Custom clothier Clarence Jones tends to the stylistic needs of the NBA and NFL
Story and Photos by Casey Hilder
Clarence Jones works in measures. Jones, a Hernando native, is the proprietor of CJ Custom Clothiers, where he serves as a stylist and tailor for NBA and NFL players across the country. CJ specializes in providing custom, bespoke styling service for clients ranging from Atlanta Hawks small forward Taurean Prince to the Kings of comedy: Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, and D.L. Hughley.
Q: How did you get into styling?
A: I’ve always loved fashion. My dad liked to dress, but my mother, Dolores, was always the one who was real fashion conscious. She was real big on color coordinating. She would always tell me to dress for success.
Q: Where do you get inspiration for your work?
A: Alan Flusser, the costume designer from the movie Wall Street, was one of my early inspirations. That was a movie that really cultivated my ideas of fashion. I remember seeing Michael Douglas and how well he was dressed and put together. He really did an awesome job in that movie.
Gangster and mob movies in general — The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, Scarface — you can look at those guys, especially the ones from the ‘20s and ‘30s and see they were very well tailored. The shoes shined, fedora hat, pocket watch with the double-breasted coat, things like that.
Q: What do you look for when styling a client?
A: I try to figure out what type of person someone is before I work with them, personality-wise. It’s important to know who someone is in advance because there is not one style we’re going for – we’re going for their style.
Q: Have you ever worked on any really unique or eccentric suits?
A: I’ve done a few paisley tuxedo jackets, but I try not to do anything too crazy. We go for a more conservative look most of the time, I had a guy ask me for a few printed jackets —like leopard, python-type sport coats — I ddn’t think it was too out there. It’s all a matter of how the client wants to do things.
Q: What’s your favorite material to work with?
A: Super 140s and 150s. They’re both very lightweight wools that are good for all year round.
Q: Is there anyone that you’ve always wanted to work with, but haven’t had the chance?
A: Pretty much everyone I’ve worked with in the past has pointed me to someone else I want to work with. I’ve done a suit for Malik Beasley from Florida State, Brice Johnson from North Carolina, and Buddy Hield. With Malik, I watched him play for at the beginning of the year before we worked together and I liked what I saw.