Old School Cool

Keith Mitchell and Sid Mashburn Bring Classic Style Back to the PGA TOUR

By Michael WilliamsApril 16, 2021Photos by Chris Stanford

This is a positive development. Keith Mitchell is exclusively wearing Sid Mashburn while playing on the PGA TOUR. The partnership took shape in the most organic way possible — Keith has long been a customer of Sid Mashburn and he just loves the clothes. The other interesting twist here is the fact that all the fabrics are natural and Keith is wearing dress pants. Many talk about wanting to throw things back and dress like Arnold Palmer and the old school greats, but rarely does it happen with this much purity.

This tie-up is the stuff dreams are made of for people like us. Sid is a legend and this only further cements his status as a menswear king. Keith's penchant for Tour Visors, 7" khaki shorts, cotton polos and DryJoys give us hope for humanity.

We took the opportunity to talk to both Sid Mashburn and Keith Mitchell about how this all came together, golf style and what it's like to wear actual dress pants on tour. Hope you like it. 

Photos by Chris Stanford for Mashburn

ACL GOLF: I love the quality and consistency in your collections. What's your philosophy when it comes to how men should dress?

Sid Mashburn: First off, thank you Michael... we definitely try hard to put something out there that is consistent, is of the best quality we can afford, and is a good value. We don’t always get there, but that’s the goal.

And in terms of how men should dress? The back of our first business cards said “Vestitum et sanae mentis” which means “Clothed and in his right mind.” (We cribbed it from the Gospel of Mark.) And I think then, and even more so now… that’s it. What is going to give a guy the confidence to not worry about his clothes, but still approach the world looking his best? And for some guys that might be 5-pockets and a polo and loafers, or others it might be a handmade suit or a tuxedo, or just as simple as or a great pair of swim trunks for the beach. I think ultimately, we want to help dress all of them.

What is your take on golf style in 2021?

Honestly, I'm not what you'd call a great golfer, but I have worked in golf apparel through the years. And I think golf is really not so different than the rest of the world. Look around… there's a LOT out there! And honestly much like fashion, it’s sort of hard for me to judge… I tend to spend a lot more time looking back to look forward. And for all style, I always like the 60s - slim-ish, traddy, colorful with a bit of spirit, which you can see from golfers of that time. It’s been fun digging through old photos of Arnold Palmer & Seve… looking at old Masters Tournament pictures or trying to better understand Hogan’s color palette. But I always find inspiration in the archives (that we can riff off of), and then to find something that has a hint of special sauce.

What did you think when this opportunity to dress Keith on tour came about?

"How cool?!"

We knew Keith because he’s shopped in our Atlanta store for 10 years. So that’s a pretty good starting point. And I’ve always looked at the everyman appeal of Arnold Palmer as not just a style icon for golf, but a style icon period. So when you get a guy who we’re friends with, is charismatic and interesting, kind and thoughtful, already wears our clothes and then he says "can you make me look like AP in late 60s while I’m out on tour?”. You basically just ask how soon you can start.

Do you have thoughts on performance fabrics that have become almost universal in golf?

That’s a great question… if I’m being honest, I’ve spent my entire career obsessing over natural, old-school fabrics. I take so many design cues from nature - colors, textures, context - so by default I sort of have blinders on to anything that’s not. Not saying that performance fabrics are bad, or that I have anything against guys who like and wear them, but for me, I’m just drawn to cotton, wool, cashmere... how can I find creative ways to make it breathe naturally that wears well? Now I will say that I DO have a weakness for nylon...in my mind it feels like a natural synthetic.

A lot of great fabrics fell out of vogue, and we love trying to re-discover those and play with them. What's old is new! I think of them as "natural" performance-wear. And I believe it’s just as good, if not better. But I’m biased…

I'm fascinated by the thought that Keith is wearing dress trousers while playing on the PGA TOUR. Is he wearing standard pants or is the fabric special to allow for easier movement?

When he came into the office over the holidays, the first thing he did was put our clothes through his agility test. We had a pair of our high-twist wool trousers, and some tropical wool trousers. He was crouching down and impersonating awkward lies, and finishing swings with his hands super high so his shirt would come untucked… we didn’t know if we were passing or failing. And then he was like “okay, this’ll work.” So yeah, we’ve hardly done a thing to them outside of tailor them for him. And considering the Sony Open was in like, 2 weeks, I’m glad they checked out.  

Any plans to make golf a formal part of your collection?

I’d say we'd like to kinda ease into it… we really like this idea of more spartan essentials, so when Keith came to us we just looked around said, “hey, what are 10 things that can take you from a chilly day at Pebble Beach in February, through a warm, spring day Augusta," and built a little golf capsule around that. We’ve made a little shop on our website and are excited to keep adding to it as the seasons change

Photos by Chris Stanford for Mashburn

ACL GOLF: It doesn't feel like there are many players on tour who put much thought into their personal style. What's your relationship with clothing / style?

Keith Mitchell: My dad always dressed sharp, and I was oftentimes envious of his clothes. I even would try and wear them when they were 2 or 3 sizes too big when I was younger! Mostly because I thought they were so great. My mom is also a lead designer (interior design) so I feel like design in general comes naturally for me more than anything. I’ve always loved and enjoyed learning about her work, and I find myself often channeling that in my clothes because hey - it’s one of the few places a guy can really experiment in that field.

How did you get the idea to go from Sid Mashburn customer to wearing the brand on tour?

It’s actually been a long time coming. I had always joked with Alex (my main man at Sid) from day one about how much better Sid Mashburn clothes would look on Tour, especially since they seemed to be so similar in style to what the big three wore in their heyday - which was one of the greatest eras in golf. So when my clothing sponsorship was up for renewal this year, I couldn’t email the guys at Sid fast enough. I’d always wanted to but was eager to test it on the course. Once I knew it was as functional as anything else, it was off to the races.

The idea of you playing PGA TOUR tournaments in a cashmere sweater is delightful. How has it been wearing only natural fibers and forgoing all of the performance clothing?

During the west coast swing, and into the Florida spring, the natural fibers have been fantastic. The weather was always at or below room temperature so it was very simple. Also, the clothes fit so well, that stretch isn’t a necessity, because they aren’t too snug, yet hold the balance of not being too baggy. The only negative I’ve heard about the new outfits is that people seem to have concern for me in hot weather -- “what are you going to do in the summer?!!” etc. To their point, it was the first thing I brought up to Sid when we met, and he told me no problem. But to be frank, I was worried up until he sent me the latest stash... there’s a pair of solid seersucker pants that’s cooler-feeling and -looking than any performance pant I’ve ever worn. Absolutely fantastic. I’m extremely excited to wear them in the heat of the summer, and show that they can outperform performance fabrics.