Freeport, ME, December 17, 2021
Mordechai Rubinstein: A Vintage L.L.Bean Aficionado on His Best Winter Finds
WORDS BY ROB ENTSMINGER FOR L.L.BEAN, PORTRAITS BY MORDECHAI RUBINSTEIN
He won’t call himself a vintage L.L.Bean expert, but we will. Mordechai Rubinstein – a self-proclaimed garmentologist and better known to the masses as Mister Mort – dresses himself multiple times a day. “At least three,” he says, “and if I could – five.” And one thing is true: the man knows clothes.
For Mordechai, style is lawless. There are no boundaries that can’t be crossed, and if there are, he’ll shrug and smirk and ride a Citi Bike to the other side. With a long resume that spans stints at Jack Spade, Levi Strauss & Co. and Marc Jacobs – as well as years as a stylist and street-style photographer – perhaps the one thing that sets Mordechai apart (among the many, many things) is his point of view on accessibility.
“I entered the fashion game in 2002, just a Jewish boy from Brooklyn wearing Hassidic young men’s clothes who happened upon a gig with Jack and Kate Spade. I quickly started learning about all these Americana brands during the time of early internet hypebeasts and the beginning of ‘drops.’ But the more that the cool kids were after ‘what’s next’ and what’s exclusive, the more I wanted what’s for everyone. The ‘want more’ culture made me want less; just well-made classics.”
Mordechai lives to go against the grain. He wears it as a badge of honor. From head-to-toe fluorescent pink sweatsuits to mixed patterns to matching father-daughter ‘fits, he’s known for his whatever-goes style that exudes nonchalance but is in fact carefully crafted.
“The world is so tired of being fooled. They want original,” he quips in his smoothed-over Brooklyn accent.
Jumping from one childhood memory to the next, Mordechai says he was raised on secondhand – everything he had as a kid was passed down by neighbors or purchased by his mom from local thrift stores. “All of my back-to-school clothes were secondhand, which I was embarrassed about at the time, but later in life it has given me an eye for spotting great used clothing.
“It’s the first thing I do on any trip – check out local vintage stores. I love clothes with a story, what I call ‘worn in, not worn out.’ I want the Chamois from the Maine logger, exactly the way he wore it.”
With a walk-in closet he can’t step foot in, Mordechai has seemingly endless racks of vintage clothes, a large swath of which he credits to L.L.Bean. Nonetheless, he shrugs it off.
“I’m not trying to be some know-it-all about Bean. I just love it. I love that you can’t destroy it if you wanted to.”
Here, Mordechai shares some of his recent vintage L.L.Bean purchases, sourced from places he’ll never tell you about. Though they date back to the 1980s, each of these items is available in new-form on llbean.com.
Vintage L.L.Bean Logo Sweatsuit
“The world is saying sweatsuits are cool. So I’m going to wear the biggest, baddest, thickest one out there.” – Mordechai Rubinstein
Vintage L.L.Bean Scotch Plaid Flannel Pajama Shirt
“L.L.Bean flannel pajamas feel like cashmere. Sure, the cuff is wide, but are you signing a check with that shirt? No, you’re at home.” – Mordechai Rubinstein
Vintage L.L.Bean Scotch Plaid Flannel Shirt
“I’m still learning my body. I’m still learning my silhouette. I live for an outfit. I’m a dad but I’m trying not to look like a dad.” – Mordechai Rubinstein
Mordechai Rubinstein is a recurring contributor to Inside L.L.Bean.