We’ve long admired Phil Cohen (@thepacman82) for his impeccable style and signature menswear flat lays. Today, we’re kicking off our Meet and Greet series – where we’ll profile influential individuals in the menswear space – by chatting with Phil. An Art Director by day, Phil is widely known for his clean, minimal aesthetic. And while he loves working out, he can’t get enough Nacho Cheese Doritos. Read on to learn more.
How did you become a style icon on Instagram?
It’s very kind of you to say that I’m a ‘style icon’, but I certainly wouldn’t consider myself one! I never set out to become popular on Instagram. I was blessed enough to join the platform at the start of its creation—so I was definitely in the right place at the right time. From there, it was an ongoing passion project and a wonderful creative outlet. I really enjoyed discovering my style at the same time I was expressing it into the world.
Take us behind the scenes. What’s your process from planning to posting on Instagram?
It’s certainly not as glamorous as it may seem! It involves a mess of clothes, a hot steamer, and a lot of patience. I’m self-taught so I still have much to learn! I usually have a certain article of clothing in mind that I want to highlight, and then I work entirely around that. Otherwise, I just stand there for a while not knowing what to do! At that point, I go through my closet to see what I haven't posted in a while or scroll around Instagram in search of some inspiration!
How many flatlays do you usually style and photograph before choosing the final shot?
Hmmm, great question! I typically set up my flatlays at night and then photograph them the next morning. About half the time, I don’t have to make any major adjustments—just a few little tweaks here and there. Other times, I end up swapping out the pants or changing the shoes, etc. I’ll shoot multiple versions until I settle upon something I’m happy with. I could start a whole separate account with flatlays I’ve never used!
We imagine your closet(s) must be overflowing with great clothes and accessories. How do you keep it all organized? And do you wear the outfits you shoot?
My closet is fairly organized but it’s a constant struggle to keep it clean, especially when I photograph almost every day. I don’t like to have a bunch of clothes in my wardrobe just for the sake of it, so I’m always pretty selective with what I buy—making sure that I'll use and wear it frequently. I do wear the outfits I style!
What are your favorite pieces this season?
Every fall and winter season I become obsessed with overcoats and chunky knits. This year is no exception. At the moment, I’m really enjoying sweaters with a lot of texture—like boiled cashmere or brushed wool. It adds a lot of dimension and interest to the outfit, especially since I gravitate towards mainly neutral colors.
How do you stay inspired?
Instagram is definitely my main source of inspiration. I’ve made a lot of friends from all around the world. I’m constantly inspired by looks that they put together as well as some amazing brands that style combinations in ways I never thought of.
What are some of your other creative outlets?
I work in a very creative field as an Art Director for a design agency. We specialize in exhibit and environmental graphics, but I also work on a lot of print and web/multimedia based projects. So this is a constant area of creativity for me. At the moment, my wife and I are also building a home. It’s really neat project because we bought a half-built property and are reworking the design to our liking. Sometimes some of the most interesting ideas come from limitations!
What is one surprising thing about you?
I competed in drug-free bodybuilding competitions for many years in my twenties. I actually won my pro card in two different organizations. I still workout frequently but no plans to compete any time soon!
What are your favorite ways to decompress?
On that same note, working out has always been a way to decompress for me. For an hour, several times a week, I get to put on my headphones and turn off my phone. I’ve been lifting weights for 20 years now and still enjoy the time at the gym. I also really enjoy movies and binging on Netflix when I have the time!
While I still eat chicken multiple times a day (old habits die hard), my favorite food is probably Nacho Cheese Doritos. I’ll also never turn down a piece of pizza :)
My favorite book is definitely the Bible.
I'm not sure what my favorite movie is, but the one I've seen the most is Pumping Iron—a wonderful docudrama with Arnold Schwarzenegger from the late 1970s.
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