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.
I have always loved staying in hotel suites where you want to steal pieces of the room to bring home. From the radio, the soap dish, the shampoo dispensers, the notepads and pen, the literature, the table lamp — if you loved the stay, you want to take it with you as a living memory of that Suite Life.
The best beds are those that I place in all my MySuites properties. The best deal that I’ve encountered so far is IKEA’s memory foam mattress. The value / price proposition is impressive. Super comfortable and affordable.
For pillows, I usually do 7 per bed.
And always, my black note books. I always have one on me. I write down pretty much everything: inspirations, ideas, project details, wish lists, and on girlfriends, too.
Vlychada, Perivolos, GREECE
+30 2286 081115
If you can’t break your budget at the Canaves Oia, the Notos Therme & Spa Hotel is a lovely boutique hotel. One of my favorite parts on the island.
It’s by the beach of Vlychada and situated in a dismissed part of the island with an authentic, small port for local fisherman, and is not yet contaminated by the global riches. Much less tourists.
The hotel has nice room service with good and basic Greek food. A perfect pool and a lovely spa that’s in one of those Greek tunnels — lovely but not for the claustrophobic!
Oia 84702, Thira, GREECE
+30 2286 071453
If you need to seal a date, or are facing a gut-taking engagement proposal with a difficult princess, this is the place to go.
The honeymoon suite will crack her down, or win her over, however you want to see it.
No one can resist this view!
It’s a bit of a fairytale place, little corners, gorgeous views, the idyllic Greek life.
It’s on a cliff, yes, like all hotels in Santorini, but the hotel spirals downward to their small pool area where a dozen lounge chairs amidst breakfast tables are ready to welcome you in. It’s intimate lik the Soho House roof top in NYC but instead of a city view, you get the volcano.
Another good thing is that the architectural layout that climbs up the cliff calls for a natural inner peace. This automatically helps you avoid other guests going in and out if you are looking for a private retreat sentiment.
This is a swim club turned Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. Not an easy job!
At first, you feel the disproportion of everything and it can make you feel lost, at least for someone like me that love small and cozy places.
It took me a quite a while to get adjusted to the space and air of the desert so I was close to driving back to LA to stay at one of my other favorites, the Mondrian, but my girlfriend then, managed to make me stay.
Soon after, I was completely sold. This ACE is very cool.
The common area, the lobby, the bar and restaurant, the spa — all of it breathes the ACE style and I love them, as you know! The walk to the rooms can be a bit impersonal but that’s the swim club thing.
The rooms have a private garden with a fireplace which is absolutely lovely and the decor with the stretched canvas on the walls and large blinds make you feel like you are camping with glamour! Love that, too.
But be forewarned, the benches by the outdoor fireplace are dangerous! If you relax there a little too much, you’ll fall asleep and probably won’t wake up until the fire’s long gone.
When I manage to ship my triumph to LA, I am planning to do the ride out to Palm Beach for sure with a stop in the desert as well.
Carrer del Rosselló, 265 SPAIN
+34 934 45 40 00
When I first slept at the Omm Hotel, I fell in love with the roof top pool! There were just a few other guests and myself and the idea of roof top bar was not so hip yet, so we could enjoy the peace.
Omm is pretty big, but it also has everything. I love the water walk at the spa, and the room service with the best jamon croquetas…such that during one of my 36 hour escapes there, I literally didn’t go out of the hotel grounds.
To complete, a restaurant, club, salon, and a few shops just off Passeig de Gràcia makes the experience complete.
Get room 402. It’s on the courtyard side but has a modern, small balcony that is really lovely. Perfect for a siesta by one of the windows. I don’t take a single nap, ever, but I am sure you will be tempted here.
Ledererstraße 8 München, Germany
+49 89 2422490
This hotel was my home throughout the fall of 2016, truly!
The Cortiina Hotel feels like home. Super understated reception, very spacious suites tastefully decorated so that it feels like more like a pied-a-terre apartment than a hotel room. Some have small kitchens, German style — like, you get all of the kitchen appliances somehow in a vertical system. From the small bottle opener to the induction cook top, all of it feels high tech, sometimes too tech but it works.
The revolving bathroom door is in a Japanese style .. and that, I never got the sense behind it, especially in the context of the room’s otherwise modernist style.
If you happen to get the suites with the side entrance, you are in luck. It’s fantastic as you can actually feel like you live in this private building – like the MySuites & Co. apartments in NYC plus all the Hotel amenities and services.
You can skip the Hotel breakfast and just walk across the street to the Bar Centrale for the absolutely best warm chocolate croissants in South of Europe!
The Bar Centrale hosts a colony of handsome Italian men serving you the best rigatoni for lunch!
Via S. Giovanni, 19, Positano, ITALY
+39 338 561 0749
It is what it says — a magic mansion! I think Italians can be pretty tacky when it comes to creating their own boutique hotels but this takes it way beyond.
About an hour and a half drive from Napoli Airport through busy streets and curvy roads, you finally arrive at this old mansion located on the East side of this hill in Positano and it is well worth the surprise. The spectacular beauty of this place, I believe, is the way this villa responds to the steep mountain on which it is built. The effect is an architecture design where the master plan was not dictated by man but rather by nature’s landscape.
The mansion was originally built in the 13th century as a watchtower to warn the coastal population of Saracen pirates headed their way, which gave them enough time to escape and hide in the hills of Montepertuso.
The current owner’s parents purchased the property back in the 90s’. They had their wedding there, so it’s a property with an incredible soul. Although the Vespoli family now owns most of the hills of Positano with other hotels and fancy restaurants under their management, the small family run Villa Magia has been the exception.
Now, the son and his family own and still live in the mansion to help and attend to guests on different matters. You really feel as if you are being hosted by a friend in their mansion. So much so that it really doesn’t feel like a hotel although the staff is really efficient, the service is impeccable and on time, and the suites are clean and immaculate.
Breakfast is generous, delicious and addictive. They serve the mini German kraken in a series of 6, with chocolate and Italian marmalade. After 3 days, your diet is screwed.
The panoramic suites are exceptional with a balcony as big as the suite itself. The gate to the entrance is elegantly understated and from the inside, it feels as if you are on someone private home balcony, casually looking out.
If you ask me, I think the best time to go will be May and October. The Amalfi coast can get incredibly packed and it takes away from the exceptional atmosphere that exists during the off season.
A well curated mix of modern, luxury and authentic Italian southern lifestyle. Unbeatable.