Plaid Men: Growing Up, Hanson-Style

By | November 3, 2015


This story appears in the November 2015 issue of ForbesLife

ZAC HANSON is leaning against a wall in the fifth-floor hallway of Philadelphia’s Ritz-Carlton hotel, when an elevator door opens, and 27-year-old rapper A$AP Rocky emerges.

The notoriously fashionable Rocky struts toward him in skinny jeans and a knee-length black Dior coat. As he passes by, he’s introduced to the youngest Hanson brother, and Rocky immediately breaks into a grin. “I was so jealous of you guys growing up,” he tells Zac.

From Harlem to Hollywood and everywhere in between, Millennials have grown up with Hanson, and the strains of “MMMBop” have gone from middle school dance party staple to ’90s playlist mainstay. In the meantime, the three brothers have grown up, too. They’re now all married with children: Zac, 29, has three; Taylor, 32, has five; Isaac, 34, has two.

“As we’ve gotten older, you have that ‘next generation’ of people coming up,” says Isaac, who walks over with Taylor to join Zac after Rocky ambles away. “But the irony is actually most of them are about our age.”.

For Hanson, maturation included launching record label 3CG (short for “Three Car Garage”) in 2003, releasing a steady string of new albums (most recently Anthem WLP +%), continuing to sell out shows around the world (playing Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and Canada in the past 15 months) and creating Hop Jam, a music and beer festival, last year.

Their business acumen has grown along with their fashion sense. The bright colors and synthetic fabrics of the 1990s are long gone (Isaac still regrets a mesh sweater he wore on the Today Show in 1997: “It looked really sloppy even by ’90s standards,” he admits). And each brother has since established astyle of his own.

“Ike discovered the suit look about ten years ago, and he became that guy, but really always was more formal,” says Taylor, clad in a blue henley and dark jeans. “Zac always had a little bit more of a relaxed feel. I was always more interested in combining things or layering things … you look great in the things that make you feel great”–things, adds Zac, “that make you feel like yourself.”

The latest manifestation of the brothers’ taste is their very own pale ale, called–what else?–Mmmhops. On Hanson’s current North American tour, the beer will be served at nearly every venue.

“It’s an extension of our creative world,” says Taylor. “The flavor goes with the music in a way. It’s part of our brand because, ultimately, the music is an extension of our personalities, our tastes. That works in a literal way, too.”


Taylor Hanson wears a wool suit by Canali ($1,995), available at Boyds Philadelphia; cotton shirt by Paul & Shark ($300); leather belt by Torino ($210).


Zac Hanson wears a wool sport jacket by Samuelsohn ($1,150); cotton shirt by Burberry ($350); silk tie by Emporio Armani ($175); wool-blend chinos by Woolrich ($195). Isaac Hanson wears a wool suit by Salvatore Ferragamo ($2,400); cotton shirt by Tommy Hilfiger ($325); silk tie by Giorgio Armani($245).


Isaac Hanson wears a wool plaid suit by Burberry ($1,595); cotton shirt by Pal Zileri ($450); leather shoes by Fratelli Rossetti ($770). Zac Hanson wears a wool and cashmere sport jacket by Gian Luca Isaia; ($2,695); cotton shirt by Dolce & Gabbana ($845); flannel trousers by Brunello Cucinelli ($595), available at Boyds Philadelphia; leather sneakers by A.Testoni ($670). Taylor Hanson wears a double-breasted wool suit by Boglioli ($1,795); cotton shirt by Calvin Klein Collection ($350; silk and cashmere scarf by Ermenegildo Zegna ($365); leather shoes by A.Testoni ($770). Upper step stool by Kartell ($450).


Taylor Hanson wears a wool suit by Samuelsohn ($1,595); cotton flannel shirt by Woolrich ($145); silk tie by Burberry ($190); leather belt by Torino ($210); calfskin sneakers by Santoni ($625). La Marie chair by Kartell ($740).


Zac Hanson wears a wool-silk-and-cashmere sport jacket by Brunello Cucinelli ($3,595), available at Boyds Philadelphia; cotton shirt by Giorgio Armani ($475); cotton chino pants by Stampd ($145); leather shoes by Salvatore Ferragamo ($795). Isaac Hanson wears a wool suit by Ermenegildo Zegna ($3,095); cotton shirt by Giorgio Armani ($475); leather belt by Torino ($210); leather shoes by Dolce & Gabbana ($845).

Style Associate: Juan Benson

Hair and Makeup: Paul Labrecque

Style Assistants: Ilona Woodward and Andrew Rivera

Photographed at The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia

Photographer: Jamel Toppin

Style Director: Joseph DeAcetis

For more about the business of music, check out my Jay Zbiography, Empire State of Mind, and my other book, Michael Jackson, Inc. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

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