The Influentials
Brian Bolke

The Forty Five Ten owner on fashion transparency and real-life heroes

Forty Five Ten's Brian Bolke on fashion transparency and real heroes

Brian Bolke of Forty Five Ten in Dallas
Brian Bolke is opening a luxury bookstore in Highland Park Village called Chapter Two. Photo by Sylvia Elzafon
Interior of No. 1 in Highland Park Village
Bolke's new bookstore will be right next door to Number One, his organic cafe and retail concept store. Photo by Jennifer Chininis
Brian Bolke of Forty Five Ten in Dallas
Interior of No. 1 in Highland Park Village

The Dallas Best Dressed list just wouldn’t be the same without the foresight of Brian Bolke. The prescient owner of Forty Five Ten, Five and Ten, and Number One (plus a new retail location coming this fall) knows what chic shoppers want before they do. So much so, he introduced the likes of Rick Owens, Proenza Schouler and Derek Lam to our fair city years before their lines were a stylish closet staple.

Having just launched an extended e-commerce site to make his covetable wares more readily available to in-store and out-of-town clients, he’s honing his focus on “good karma clothes” that make the wearer feel as good as they look.

Explains Bolke, “The customer is wanting transparency much more in what they’re buying — where is it made, how is it made? Just how people care about what they put in their bodies, this is something we’re at the start of, and in the next two to three years you’ll see every designer embracing transparency.”

Also trending at his various shopping destinations? Products made just for Forty Five Ten, private label initiatives and other goodies that truly make Bolke’s endeavors shops for your life, not just your style.

“We’re working hard on how to take that lifestyle aspect into a truly more national and international direction,” he says. “The market changes all the time, and we have the benefit of having great clients that shop all over the world and tell you what they want.”

Below, the things that move, inspire and calm this refined retailer.

What is your chief characteristic?

Whether it’s work or friendships or vacationing, I don’t believe in wasting energy on things you’re not passionate about.

Your idea of happiness?

I like flying first class on airplanes where no one can bother you or call you, with a glass of champagne and a good book.

Your idea of misery?

Being bored.

Your favorite food and drink?

Definitely guacamole and champagne (Together?) Well, maybe!

Your favorite motto?

“The truth lies somewhere in the middle.” I don’t know who originally said it but [Forty Five Ten’s late co-owner] Shelly Musselman said it all the time.

Your favorite heroes in real life?

Nurses. I think it’s doing the job of doctors, but more thankless and with no glamour. To be a nurse you have to really want to do it for a living — you have to really care about people.

If not yourself, who would you be?

Our dog Sophie. She’s a rescue mutt and leads the best life of anyone I know.

What is your favorite pastime?

Right now, it’s watching Scandal.

What do you love most about Dallas?

I definitely think the people are like nowhere else. They are open, honest and supportive — proud of themselves and proud of our city, but they don’t take it too seriously.

What would you change about the city?

August.

What makes a true Dallasite?

Someone who leaves in August!