Q&A: Patrick Petty, the Wahlbergs’ South End Stylist

wahlberg stylist patrick petty

Patrick Petty (right) helps NKOTB’s Jordan Knight find a tux for an upcoming wedding. / Photograph by the Boston Globe/Getty Images

When Donnie Wahlberg walked into Allston Beat looking for a leather jacket to wear to the 1990 Boston Music Awards, the New Kids on the Block were just catching on. The man who outfitted him that day was Patrick Petty. One year later, another Wahlberg-led music group—the hip-hop duo Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch—sought out Petty’s styling services. Apparently, the Dorchester boys are nothing if not loyal: Since then, Petty has served as clothing guru for everything from Donnie’s September wedding to the NKOTB reunion tour. Here, Petty, who owns House of Culture, a South End clothing boutique, shares his tricks to making the Wahlbergs look oh-so fly.

How have Donnie and Mark changed in the past 20 years?

Mark went from baggy jeans and Calvin Klein underwear to Armani suits. Donnie is willing to take more chances. He went from overalls and Adidas sneakers to sneaks from Savile Row. One day you’ll see him in a John Varvatos suit and the next he’ll put on J Brand jeans.

How would you describe your friendship with Donnie?

Every time the Patriots have played in the Super Bowl, we’ve gone together. When he got married to Jenny [McCarthy], he said, “Don’t worry, I still got you for the Super Bowl.” He said, “You’re not my plus-one, you’re my plus-one and a half.”

Is that how you’ve stayed friends for so long?

Donnie can get any stylist. But whether he’s doing an ad for Verizon or Canon, when they call and say they need his sizes for the in-house stylist, the first thing Donnie says is “No, I have my own person.” That’s loyalty.

Did you help create Mark’s Calvin Klein campaign?

I used to buy a lot of their low-rise jeans for Mark, because he never wore a shirt. When we were on tour, I noticed that the fans started imitating Mark’s look, so I figured, okay, all of these fans are buying Calvin Klein because of Mark. I brought this to Calvin Klein’s PR people and that generated the commercials and ads.

Where do you find inspiration for your own store?

The most creative people are the people with the least amount of money. I’m not going to see the best style on Madison Avenue or Newbury Street. I’m going to see the best fashion at a nightclub, or if I go past an art school. Wealthy people have people like me to do it for them. Those people have so many good ideas and that’s what art and fashion is really about—the streets.