surf globally, pour locally, drink responsibly
December 2012

Mo’ Boston, Mo’ Better
Interview with Sean Donovan
By Karyn Polewaczyk

Photo Credits: Megan Pappadopoulos
Bartender: Matt Costello
Stella Restaurant


I chatted with Sean Donovan, a.k.a. the infamous @BostonMo on Twitter, over coffee in the midst of Boston Fashion Week. If you’re not familiar with his online personality and his personal brand of brutal honesty, you’ve definitely seen him out and about: totally tailored, brightly hued, and perfectly preppy with a twist. Here, we talk fashion, the rise of the personal “brand,” and why the men and women of Boston should leave the dowdy footwear for the birds.

Cocktails & Joints: What brought you to Boston?

Sean Donovan: I moved here about five years ago for school [Donovan recently graduated with a B.S. in Interior Design from the Wentworth Institute of Technology], and I’ve been here ever since. I live right in the middle of the Back Bay, on Commonwealth Avenue, and couldn’t be any closer to the depths of the city.

C&J: And you’ve got this following—you’re BostonMo on Twitter and on your Tumblr. How did it come about?

SD: A friend set up my Twitter account, and I was bored so I started posting things. “BostonMo" is about having a connection to the city. People enjoy reading my posts [which tend to be tongue-in-cheek and unabashedly honest], and they feel like they know me online. It hasn’t really stopped since.

Stella Restaurant ****
1525 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02118

Ph: 617-247-7747

"Sleek South End restaurant with slamming bar scene and attract the city's A-gays and assorted good-looking and well-dressed others."
- Jonathan Soroff -

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Olives and Grace
Specialty Foods, Gifts shop
81 Pembroke St.
Boston, MA 02118

Ph: 617-236-4536

Olives and Grace, 28-year-old, Sofi Madison's one-stop shop for high-end, handmade, charming gifts and foods, nestled in the South End.
C&J Southend Neighborhood Roundup
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C&J: How did it shift toward fashion? Was it an evolution, or something else?

SD: It evolved, but I’ve always been this way. Talking about things I like, whether it’s fashion or something else; kind of this idea of, “They think it—I say it." I like giving praise and feedback to places and brands. It helps to raise standards for the rest.

C&J: You’re always impeccably well-dressed, and you’ve got this career in interior design [Donovan is a consultant for locally-based Circle Furniture, as well as an associate at an architecture firm in Wellesley]. Is it your passion, or are you just good at it naturally?

SD: It’s a combination. In order to dress a room or a space, you have to have a knack for it. It translates to what you put on your body, and I apply that philosophy to how I dress in the morning. I’m no fashion expert, but I do have an appreciation for it. I try to have fun with fashion.

At this point, we break to look out the window at groups of women flocking to—or coming from—a Fashion Week show, marveling at the variety of styles (Donovan notably picks apart the looks that don’t work, which we’ll get to later on in the interview).

C&J: So what is it about Boston?

SD: Boston has a very reserved sense of style. Fashion is just not a big deal here. I wouldn’t say people are necessarily poorly dressed—it’s more that some people haven’t figured out how to put things together. We’re New Englanders, that’s our identity. It’s not about trends.

C&J: Maybe it’s because we’re in the middle of this educational hub—people might brush fashion off as frivolous, worried about what people might think if they take it seriously.

SD: Exactly. In L.A., for example, it’s about what kind of car you drive. In New York, it’s about what neighborhood you live in. And in Boston, it’s about where you went to school.

C&J: With that said, which cities do you think are most stylish?

SD: That’s a good question. Actually, I really love Wellesley [a suburb about 15 miles west of Boston]. Everyone is really preppy, no one walks around in sweatpants. They look comfortable, but they’re dressed nicely. One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing people schelp around the city like they don’t care. I put effort in the morning; you should, too. It doesn’t have to take a lot of effort, either. Just keep only the things you like, that look truly good on you and fit well. You can’t go wrong.

C&J: How do you feel about being a trendsetter? About this idea of being a “brand"?

SD:  I mean, I enjoy it, but it’s not my job. I have a lot of work to do, too, and wish I could spend more time on the blog and Twitter, but I do what I can, when I can.

C&J: Let’s talk fashion no-no’s. Men should avoid...?

SD: Boston needs to tuck in their shirt. There, I said it. Also, white socks—I personally hate socks, but navy socks or a fun-colored pair are great. Wear a belt. Make sure your pants fit. And with that said, find a great tailor. Work with your assets. And men, lose the sneakers. Put down those Nikes. If you need a commuting shoe, you can’t beat Converse.

C&J: And what about the ladies? Surely, we’re committing a fashion sin or two.

SD: Ugh. UGG Boots. Knit boots. Tassel boots. Any trendy boot “thing"—just lose it. And Yoga pants, I get it: they’re comfortable—for yoga, or for home. Find a nice slim pant if you want something fitted. Dump the fleece sweatshirts and hoodies. And if you can’t keep up with things that need maintenance—hair dye or a trendy cut—skip it all together. Just keep it natural looking.

C&J: Let’s talk more no-no’s—at night.

SD: Too much cologne, too much hair product. Those damn shiny shirts. Square-toed shoes with visible seams, shirts that could house a circus. And I can’t say it enough: just tuck in your shirt!

C&J: We’re talking fashion, but in our interviews, it’s custom for us to find our subjects’ favorite cocktails.

SD: Hands down, the Polkadot Aviation at Eastern Standard. [Donovan admits he’s not quite sure what’s inside except a splash of gin and grapefruit, but says that it can be special ordered off the menu if you ask nicely.] My backup go-to is a Kettle One vodka and water, with two lime wedges.

C&J: Anything else you’d like to add?

SD: Buy local. I love Ball & Buck, and not many people know this, but the products we sell at Circle Furniture are all made here. All wooden items are made in Vermont and New Hampshire, and the upholstery comes from South Carolina and Texas. Only one line is from outside the U.S., and it’s made in Sweden. You’ll pay a bit more—and for what you get, it’s reasonably priced—and you’ll have it forever.

Follow Sean Donovan on Twitter at @BostonMo, or catch his latest digs on Tumblr.

Read the Full C&J Southend Neighborhood Roundup:

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