Fashion in the Fast Lane

Cotton tux shirt by Zegna, $395; vest by Operations, $175; Rock & Republic jeans, $350; watch by Chanel, $14,445; cuff links by John Hardy, $595. From Neiman Marcus

When you ask Indy 500 driver Jeff Simmons why he moved here from Indianapolis he may tell you he's here for the hockey…Or you may get the real story: His wife's job brought him. Married to local talk show host Stephanie Simmons of Great Day St. Louis, Simmons  maintains his racing career by being in proximity to Lambert. "All I  need is an airport, and I can live anywhere," he says. A racer since the age of 4, Simmons has spent his life on the track, wearing very  protective (and very hot) racing gear. A stylish dresser off the track, Simmons knows a thing or two about fashion, thanks in part to  the shopping attentions of his wife. We caught up with Simmons and  learned a little about racing, and a lot about his style!

LN: How did you get into racing?

JS: My parents were racing fans, and my father did some amateur racing himself.  They took my brother and me to a car show when I was 4. We saw the Quarter Midgets (small cars piloted by kids ages 5 to 16) and were hooked.

LN: You won the National Quarter Midget racing Championship at age 5. Fast learner?

JS: I guess so, and I had good teachers.  At that age, though, you obviously need to have some natural ability.

LN: Your first Indy 500 was in 2004?

JS:  Yes, it was a last minute deal with Mo Nunn Racing and my first time driving an IndyCar. I literally had done only 37 laps ever in an IndyCar before making the qualifying attempt.  I was the second highest rookie that year, finishing in 16th place. In 2006 and 2007, I drove for Rahal/Letterman Racing in the No. 17 Ethanol car, and actually became a spokesman for the ethanol industry. (IndyCars run on 100 percent ethanol.)

LN: Did you race in 2008?

JS: Yes, I got to race for AJ Foyt, who has been great to me over the years. He is a legend in the sport and was recently voted the top driver of all time.

LN:  What are you doing now in terms of racing?

JS: I don’t currently have a team, so I’m in the process of putting together marketing proposals in hopes of getting another sponsorship.

LN: Let’s talk about fashion. What brands do you like?

JS: I like William Rast jeans, Monarchy and Dolce & Gabbana clothing for casual, and suits by Armani and Calvin Klein. Dolce is my all-around favorite, and Ferragamo for shoes.

LN: Where do you like to shop?

JS: I like to shop in L.A. and New York when I’m traveling, but here I shop at Neiman Marcus and Saks. For everyday clothes I have a lot of stuff from Express. I’m still getting to know the area so I’m sure there are places here that I haven’t heard of yet.

LN: Ever had any fashion mishaps?

JS: Well, when I was 6 I had what my wife calls my Peppermint Patty look: a red and white striped outfit that I can probably blame on my mom. Then in high school I wore those long, braided leather belts, looped over.  I guess we all have those pictures from when we were younger that we look at and say, “What in the world was I thinking?”

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