These are some things STAG co-owner Don Weir has in his house: two narrow spring-mounted metal boards formerly used by a traveling mattress salesman. An industrial dining table scored at Citywide Garage Sale. A rusty, handmade, tiered marble maze. A perfectly-patinated red metal sign for the Missouri-Pacific Railroad Line (the original MoPac). A blobby ceramic ashtray shaped like a hound dog ("I'm not a smoker but look at this"). A primary-colored pegboard from a 1920s carnival ring-tossing game. A set of vintage chairs recently purchased at a "not exactly secret" prop house in New York’s East Village.
"I guess you could say I'm obsessed with a bygone era," Weir laughs. Other obsessions the Louisiana native and former antiques dealer rattles off during our brief meeting include numbers, primary colors, classic typography, found photographs, 1900s Americana, and the juxtaposition of wood and metal. It’s a mélange perfectly personified in Weir’s South Austin home, as well as at STAG, the popular South Congress Avenue menswear store he co-owns with Steve Shuck.
Since opening in 2009, STAG has been an exercise in a similar sort of specificity, the cave-like shop a careful balance of classically ‘Texas’ style (Hamilton shirts, bandanas, and a lot of well-worn leather) meets Austin casual (denim, boots, and easy button-downs), all while keeping up with an evolving national interest in menswear that has completely exploded in the last half-decade. “Five years ago there were two menswear blogs,” Weir explains. “Today there are so many, you can spend all day looking at them and reading about what's new and not even scratch the surface.”
And in this new conversation, STAG is a key player, with Weir and Shuck working to bring in new designers, higher-end pieces, and Austin riffs on a trend-driven industry. (In case you’re wondering, suiting, shawl collars, and watches are currently in. V-neck sales have dropped off considerably. Washed jeans are (slowly) on their way back.) Last year, the shop became one of two in the country allowed to sell Ralph Lauren's exclusive RRL collection online. “That was huge for us,” Weir says. “To me, the line is the pinnacle of what STAG embodies, and to be chosen that exclusively was a pretty proud moment.” It’s more of these “twists on what works” that Weir is set on pursuing in the future.
As I’m getting ready to leave Weir’s house, I point out a big antique German number chart he has hanging on the wall, and, stumped by its provenance, Weir does a Google search to find out the piece’s history. The first result? A picture of Weir himself, holding the chart in another photo shoot. It’s a weirdly hilarious meta-moment: us, looking at a picture in the present of a scene from the past. And in retrospect it’s actually a pretty fitting analogy for Weir’s aesthetic sensibility, both at home and in what he brings to STAG. No matter if it’s an old German sign or a heritage RRL blazer, if you contextualize something in your own way, it can—and does—make sense.
Photography by: Wynn Myers
by Joanna Steblay
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