Mickey Boardman is a master in the unsubtle art of not giving a damn, especially when it comes to fashion. Uniquely himself through and through, Mickey makes best dressed and most photographed lists every year, due to his unabashed love of color, sparkles, patterns, and his uncanny ability to wear pieces that logically shouldn’t go together but somehow magically do. His work for Paper Magazine, where he’s been for almost thirty years, is equally as magical and unique, consistently placing the world’s hottest celebrities in unexpected settings (you may remember him when they broke the internet). Mickey graciously welcomed us into his Nolita apartment, which is itself an extension of his eclectic taste, to show us how he makes it all work so well.


In 1992, you started as an intern at Paper Magazine, where you’re now the Editorial Director. What’s it like having worked and grown with the same magazine for 27 years? What’s changed? What’s stayed the same?

From the moment I first came to Paper, it felt like home. Once you've had that feeling at a job, it's hard to consider going any place else. I still feel that way. Paper is the same in that it's an office full of amazing, diverse, creative, welcoming people. It's changed in that it's grown and gotten more well-known and fancy. From the beginning, Paper embraced change, so I'm good with the changes and love the things that have stayed the same, as well.

Along with your work at the magazine, how has your style and fashion sense grown over the last 27 years?

When I started, I did an Academy Awards-level look every day. I would try things on and take them off a million times. And I really did a layered look back then, so I would have to peel everything off and start again until I got it right. As I've gotten older, I'm happy in a uniform and really only pull out all the fashion stops for special occasions or events.

Also, I used to be a thrift store and flea market addict and would even find clothes on the street and wear them. As I got older, I was more into store-bought designer looks. Now, I'm all about a Lacoste shirt, jeans, and maybe a necklace or cardigan. Sparkle for evening and special occasions [Editor’s Note: like a Weejuns photo shoot!].

You’re well known for you “Ask Mr. Mickey” advice column in Paper. What’s one piece of advice you think the world needs to hear more often?

Be yourself. People think they need to pretend to be cool or hip or chic or rich. That's all bullshit. People go crazy for authenticity, so you should just be who you really are. Embrace it and flaunt it.

You wear a lot of eclectic, bold looks. What’s one tip someone who might be a little hesitant to wear a full sequins-on-sequins outfit might still take away from your style?

You have to really believe in what you're wearing. It can be the craziest, most ridiculous thing but you have to just tell yourself, “I can do this, this is fabulous.” Once you doubt the look, it all falls apart. I challenge people to try new things and push their boundaries. There's the cliché that's so true that happiness begins where your comfort zone ends. Nobody makes the best-dressed list for wearing sensible separates. But you don't have to dress like a clown to make it fun and exciting.

Speaking of bold looks, how does the versatility of Weejuns play a role in your wardrobe selection?

Shoes are literally the foundation of the look, so they're critical. Weejuns work when I'm in all black sparkle and want a chic, simple shoe or when I want a splash of plaid to contrast with my solid color look. We have different moods and different looks, so we need shoes that can adapt to whatever we've got going on, and Weejuns do that!

Mickey's Questionnaire

Photography: Aaron Bengochea

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