I’ve always loved fashion as far back as I can remember.
I’ve changed my style and look over the years but my philosophy remains the same. Style comes from the inside….that’s it.
When you try to fit into a label (artsy, rebel, nerd, WASP, Brooklyn, etc.) or try too hard to keep up with the seasonal trends, you’ll end up looking like a clown or a total poser. But, finding your own personal style that actually works, seems to leave most men at a complete loss.
I find that in general, Italian-, Spanish-, German-, and Swedish men and New Yorkers have a pretty good sense of their own individual style (whether it’s good or bad is a different conversation…). French men? …not so much.
New Yorkers are definitely my favorite! Each man, south of 23rd Street and north of Canal have a unique look, a style, that you can’t really describe. I could spend hours observing the passerby and there’s always a few that intrigue me.
While most Italian- and Spanish men “own” and know how to pull off their style choices, most are still stuck in the 80s. I am always surprised how the Sartorialist is able to spot the most trendy Italians on the streets of Milano. There are the standouts of the modern era like Gianluca Vacchi and Alessandro Squarzi who are fun and inspiring.
Personally, I don’t think I have such a cool look — I fight with my hair that grows out in few days. If I really had to put a label on my default look, I would say the “Ludlow Style” from J Crew’s men’s shop, but I’ve evolved and mixed it up over the years.
Aside from that, I love shopping and it can get bad so I have a few rules, inescapable habits and favorites wherever I am in the world.
The Suite Life Men’s Style Guide
MY OWN RULES
- I never buy what I need. I always buy what I love.
- I buy a new tote bag every month.
- I never shop big brands. I’m repelled by that “branded” look, Gucci, Prada, Hugo Boss, etc.
- I keep my closet in New York within the size of 2 IKEA Pax Systems. This is a good exercise especially in NYC because space is money. I make boxes for past seasons or pieces I might wear again in a few years, and label them “SS 2017 Season” and “Special”
STYLE RULES FOR MEN
- Wear nice shoes, period. Boots, penny loafers, sneakers — no matter what occasion, they need to be nice and well kept.
- I usually wear all my clothes one or two sizes less that the average American male.
- If you have to wear a suit, get at least one size down.
- I get waxed canvas bags for work. NOT Tumi or Samsonite for anything, including suitcase.
- If you’re not into Rimowa’s, get one from Muji. It’s a third of the price but still with outstanding design and ease of use.
- I hate wearing socks but when I am forced to, during the worst of New York winters, I do.
MY FAVORITE BRANDS
- My Jeans: I used to buy Nudie Jeans in Stockholm before they came stateside. Now they have a cool store on Bowery. They are handmade in Italy, and it’s true, they do age greatly. The best is the cut; slightly different for each type of slim man. I go from Tim Grim to Slim Jim.
- Must Totes: I started with Jack Spade, when Andy was on Warren Street. I switched to Ernest Alexander, which has great duffle- and working bags made in NYC’s garment district. A classic is my Filsons, I got few of them, last one a bleu duffle. Up & coming and very cool is Blink Kirky, on the Lower East Side. They have beautiful handmade bags.
- Watches: If you are Italian, you know that your mom will give you a Rolex when you graduate. I got my first GMT II stolen in Paris from my laundry basket, which was devastating. I now have a blue Oyster that I bought in Paris and a GMT Master II, black, bought second hand in NYC. Why second hand? Because the new GMT is too much bling bling! The new models lost the character of what it had been…
- Travel Gear: Rimowa’s classic flight aviation with leather handle is my go to. I just bought a 76 liter size in Munich. In Germany, they have stores where you can get them at half the price than in the U.S.
- Shoes: I started buying Frye Boots when Franca Sozzani brought them to Corso Como 10, Milano, the first time. When they opened shop in NYC, I started buying them twice a year, although they last for years if not decades.
- Leather Jackets: I buy my leather jackets, for both summer and winter at All Saints. I was lucky to have caught some of their greatest collections a few years ago.
- Motorcycle Jacket: I have two riding jackets from Belstaff. My favorite one is the vintage Steve McQueen I found in an outlet on the way to Palm Springs from LA. I love the cut of these motorcycle jackets but the belt is so impractical!
THE #SUITE LIFE STORES AROUND THE WORLD
- Corso Como 10 Milano: I’ve bought a few things here but I go more to be inspired.
- Scotch & Soda Amsterdam: This is where they originated and the store here is an inspiriting lab for men’s style that thinks outside the box. The full collection is not always my choice but I can’t help but stop by their “blau” sweaters collection.
- Stereo Munich: Here, you can shop the racks by color. They’ve organized it so that their great menswear collection is organized by shade.
- Granit Stockholm: It’s a well tailored store of basics, like office and home stuff, a few yoga pants, soap and hand creams: the quintessential Swedish, minimalistic style.
- Filippa K. Stockholm: Where I get my suits.
- J Crew Ludlow Store Tribeca: I think Andy Spade designed it. It feels more like a cool living room than a clothing store.
- Anna Inspiring Jewelry New York: She makes the coolest jewelry pieces, really inspired! Affordable and exactly what the New Chic need!
- Shinola New York 9: Straight from Detroit, a classic all-American brand that’s now growing. It’ll probably go global soon – unfortunately! I love their ruled notebooks and the beautiful handcrafted leather hand bags for men. They are all designed with a purpose.
- RRL Ralph Lauren downtown store on West Broadway: I was a fan of the denim & supply store on University Place but it closed down so now it’s more difficult to find the closest match. It was more a teen style but with still a lot of cool pieces, from marines jackets, vests and hand made sweaters.
- Club Monaco Fifth Ave: I get the ties here, although I never wear ties…but I like to buy them!
- James Perse: Their first store on Bleecker St. was my favorite. The best yoga pants with the softest cotton that’s easy, or any relaxing outfit, I get here.