As fashion, celebrity and pop culture writers Tom Fitzgerald and Lorenzo Marquez gained eminence in the world of clothing commentary—they've been praised by The New York Times and Vanity Fair, are annual invitees to Fashion Week and have appeared on several fashion-centric TV shows — many, it seemed, had no idea the two dared to live anywhere other than Manhattan.
That is, until T Lo, as they've come to be known, outed themselves (they now live in Old City) when Miley Cyrus came to town in April 2012.
"Everyone assumes we live in New York," they wrote on the post recapping her street style. "But T Lo manor and its surrounding acres are located in Philadelphia, land of the cheesesteak and the Mummer."
As is routine on their website — if you care even one iota about clothing, how famous people cultivate an image, or the elegant analysis of popular television, go now — they offered a sharp take on how Miley's style meshed with the aesthetics of our fair city. "If she wasn't famous, she'd fit right into Philly," they wrote, calling one of the more persistent style scenes here "Art School Chic."
That recognition of how a look coincides with a city or a particular venue, or how an outfit can speak to so many societal, cultural and gender-based norms and inferences, is central to many of the discussions on tomandlorenzo.com. Offering more than the bratty blogger quips of, "Ew, that dress sucks, the end," Tom and Lorenzo say they like to take a professional and well-thought approach to sartorial scrutiny that Tom says is "sometimes bitchy, but never nasty."
Now, they have published their first book, Everyone Wants to Be Me or Do Me, due out Feb. 4, the same day they'll be reading and signing copies at the Rittenhouse Square Barnes and Noble, 1805 Walnut St., at 7 p.m.
The site found so much success, they said last week in their chic, Midcentury design-inspired apartment, that they've been fielding book offers for some time. They wanted to be sure, however, that the book reflected their own concept and point of view— one that's pervasive on the site.
"It's fashion, celebrity and pop culture filtered through the eyes of two individuals and no one else," Tom says. "We're the gays in the cubicle next to yours that you sit and flip through fashion magazines with."
Be Me or Do Me, however, is not a style or red carpet book. Instead, they focus the narrative on advising people on how to feel as though they have worth in the world of style — essentially, people should emulate celebrities when it comes to owning a look and projecting confidence (but, they're careful to note, emulating pretty much anything else celebrities do is ill-advised).
"Look in the mirror and take a page from the famous people and say, 'Everyone wants to be me or do me,'" says Tom.
They poke fun, while closely examining, the celebrity lifecycle.
"They have no concept of a normal life," says Lorenzo. "I always compare it to your wedding day. Imagine that, on a daily basis, for celebrities."
On the site, which has been up and running since 2006 (though it used to be focused only on Project Runway recap and analysis, and was called Project RunGay), the duo has created certain categories of fashion posts. One series, "Girl, That's Not Your Dress," is a favorite among fashion editors, Tom says, because it criticizes the look without pissing off a designer, or the celebrity.
"Sometimes there's nothing wrong with you, there's nothing wrong with the dress, it's just not a good match," Lorenzo says.
Still, they say they are very careful of their tone.
"We're always aware of the fact that we're doing this as two men," Tom says. "[Someone] could accurately say that we spend our days criticizing how women look." That's why, Lorenzo says, they've added more discussion of men's looks.
One of the more unique series on the site is the recap of the explosively popular Mad Men, both from a plot and style perspective. "Mad Style" takes an in-depth look at the late-50s to mid-60s period fashion of the show, and reveals tidbits about the styling that many viewers would perhaps not have known.
Tom and Lorenzo, though, found themselves very knowledgeable about 60s fashion, so they dove right in. Their costuming theories have even been confirmed by Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant via Twitter. One observation, (spoilers if you're not caught up) about leading lady Megan's shirt, is particularly astute.
Regardless of where they live, who they happen to be discussing on the site, or what amount of levity or snark they offer in their copy, Tom and Lorenzo live by a dictum that's evident online and in their book: fashion and style are significant.
"The fashion industry is treated as a trifle because it's the only industry headed up by women and gay men...doesn't matter that it's a billion-dollar industry," Tom says. "I think in a lot of ways the fashion industry is more powerful than the film industry, in terms of how it influences people without them knowing they're being influenced."
"Good fashion design," he continued, "Will try and push the culture in a certain direction."