Designer for Hire

Me, My Clothes and I

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Adiba Nelson. Photo by Michelle Rooney Photography.


Style. It’s all around us – and especially on the streets. Adiba Nelson – fashionista, blogger and self-confessed Nosey Nelly – goes in search of it.

Photo by Adiba Nelson

Tucson, I think I have a problem. I can’t help myself. When it comes to great style, I must say something. I simply must. Not saying something would be the methaphorical equivalent of being face to face with Prince, and instead of asking for a selfie and an autograph, I stare as he walks on by in his purple haze of glory. Once in a lifetime moment – gone.

That’s exactly how I feel when I see a great pair of shoes walking towards me, or a fabulous cuff reaching for a cup of coffee, or a shirt so deliciously wonderful it should be framed. So imagine my utter shock when this style trifecta walked into Prep & Pastry and sat down at the table right next to mine. It was like a clothing unicorn had just floated in and, well, I’m just going to be honest – I kind of couldn’t breathe for a minute. I stared and lollygagged, lollygagged and stared. And when he was finally done eating I did I what I always do. I accosted him in true Adiba fashion, and asked my favorite six questions – with one extra thrown in for good measure, because I knew his answer would be pure fashion perfection. Folks, the unicorn did not let me down.

Photo by Adiba Nelson

Steven Quinkert. Photo by Adiba Nelson

Tucson, meet the newest soon to be downtown inhabitant who, truthfully, left me a little breathless. He is an interior designer. He lives in Detroit. And on this particular morning, he was all kinds of fabulous in his patent leather bowling shoes. He is Steven Quinkert.

Who he is: Steven Quinkert, interior designer and owner of Q Design. From Detroit, with a vacation home in Tucson.

Describe your look. Kind of funky. I came into my style in about the 7th or 8th grade. I realized I could pick my own clothes and didn’t have to wear what my parents picked for me anymore. I didn’t want to do the preppy look or the punk look, so I mixed and matched and made my own .

Where do you shop? Online. My favorite online store is They are based out of London, England. I love dress shirts from this store – but not like suit shirts, just button down. And the funkier the pattern the better for me. For instance I am totally digging last season’s Givenchy basketball motif and their Rottweiler motif! I love to mix dress-up clothes with dress-down.

Shoes - including these - are the staple of Steven Quinkert's wardrobe. Photo by Steven Quinkert

Shoes – including these – are the staple of Steven Quinkert’s wardrobe. Photo by Steven Quinkert

Fave piece of clothing – ever? A few years ago I bought this wonderful charcoal colored sports coat with purple and pink dots all over it. I love that coat. I typically pair it with my charcoal pants and red metallic patent leather Hugo Boss dress shoes. When I wear them my friends say I’m Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, and as long as a house doesn’t land on me and someone takes off with my shoes, it’s fine with me. They are amazing. It has to be really special occassion for me to pull those out.

Photo by Steven Quinkert

Photo by Steven Quinkert

If you could dress anyone, who would it be? Hugh Jackman [*sidenote – I loved him for this answer – YES. HUGH. JACKMAN.] He has a similar build to me and I think I would know exactly what would look good on him. His broad shoulders and narrow waist – you could put really great clothes on him and they would just hang perfectly, like they were on a model.

What is your staple/go-to item of clothing? Shoes – always shoes. Sometimes I will actually pull out a pair of shoes and build an entire outfit around them. Great shoes are like the dot on the exclamation point. They complete an outfit. I feel like a lot of time people make first assumptions about who you are based on the shoes you’re wearing, and I love to make people wonder about me.

Who is your style icon? Me! I make my own style, and follow my own style rules.

Can I have your patent leather bowling shoes? No

Here it is, folks – the question du jour. If the house is on fire, and you HAVE to get out – what do you save? The shoes I’m wearing. The shoes are Bally, but they come from their Berlin line. My favorite city in the whole world is Berlin – so it’s a two-fold bonus! Didn’t even have to think twice – about buying them, or saving them!

Photo by Adiba Nelson.

Steven displays another fave accessory: a leather cuff with studs. Photo by Adiba Nelson.

* Read more from Adiba Nelson at her blog, The Full Nelson. You can also read her new blog on The Huffington Post.

Love Steven’s shoes? Try these looks for your (and your toddler’s) feet

1. Mary Jane Bowling Shoes by Dexter, $39.00 on

2. Toddlers’ cap toe bowling shoe by Amour & Angel, $36 on

3. Linds Men’s SE Classic Regal Blue/Metallic Silver Right Handed (Limited Edition), $139.99 on


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  1. Well, if you think he looks good (and he does!), you should see the homes he designs. Awesome work.