Two DC Men’s Shops Share Their Rules for Dressing Better for Fall
No. 1: Just say no to the blue gingham shirt
Fall is the best time of year for a man’s wardrobe: the only season you can pull out all your favorite looks without either A) sweating through them in 10 minutes or B) having to cover it all up with a parka.
So as the end of summer draws near, consider taking a good hard look at your closet and trimming some fat to make room for better, handsomer wares. First thing that should go? The blue gingham shirt so ubiquitous that both local and national headlines have pleaded with men to purge it from their wardrobes.
To help you figure out how best to replace it, we asked two custom tailors in Washington, DC, for their tips on the must-haves for a gentleman’s closet this fall, from subtle shirting tweaks to the importance of sport coats to the one thing every guy should know about layering.
Buy American (and Buy Sport Coats)
Louis Everard is the owner of Everard’s Clothing in Georgetown, an upscale men’s and women’s boutique that he owns with his wife, Jennifer Nygard. The shop has been around for over 20 years, dressed dozens of White House admins from multiple administrations, and is now the largest independent retailer in the city by default. Everard, the proud son of a tailor, tells us he’s been sewing since the age of six. After moving to the United States from his native Jamaica, he worked at Bloomingdales as one of their very first employees at their location in Tyson’s Corner. “It’s been a wonderful ride,” he tells InsideHook.
His first tip is to always find stores that stock American-made products. “We supply a lot more American-made goods than most retailers, the reason being that we can get our customers any size or trim they want practically overnight,” says Everard. “You can’t quickly get an item from Italy if you’re sold out of it in store, and that’s how small businesses can end up failing.”
Besides his affinity for American-made wares, Everard says dressing for fall is all about the sport coat, which he says they’ve been selling “like water” as of late. He partially attributes said spike in sales to the rise of the “dining out” culture in DC. A sport coat, he says, is the perfect item to take a gentleman from day to night while never looking over- or under-dressed.
If You Don’t Have a Tailor, Find One
The key to finding the right sport coat? The perfect fit. “Suits are no different from cars — you pay for what you get. If you buy a cheaper car, you’re going to get less quality.” Which is why a custom tailor can really come in handy.
Emily Blumberh, a Senior Style Advisor at Knot Standard, agrees. “At the end of the day, a custom tailor is a worthy investment. The reason being is that it makes things so simple for a man on the go once your tailor has your exact fit down. When the seasons change they have your measurements on file to make you something heavier weight or a with a beautiful brushed finish when the cooler months approach.”
Layer It On
Something both of our experts agree on is the addition of unique, tasteful prints to spice up your shirt drawer. “I’ve really been loving a micro pattern,” says Blumberh. “A tight, interesting pattern that will add personality to an outfit or suit while maintaining a level of versatility, such as geometrics or florals. People are also loving bold, thick striped shirts to wear underneath a classic sport-coat jacket, and that trend also looks beautiful as we’re transitioning into fall underneath a grey or black sweater.”
“As soon as the weather hits 70 degrees, it’s about time to start layering in heavier fabrics and pieces like a zip mock sweater,” says Everard. “The first items you should put away are your seersucker pieces and then your tan suits. Stash your white linen pants and shirts, and start trying out a layered look with a zip mock, pairing it with a sport coat and maybe some grey pants.”
Matching Patterns With Solids Is Key
Blumberh’s advice on layering starts with a very helpful rule of thumb: your dress shirt, coat and tie should always follow a pattern of maximal, then minimal, then maximal (or the opposite). For example, if you’re wearing a classic, solid-colored tie and jacket, layer a tight dot-print dress shirt in between them.
She also suggests some subtle ways to make your style stand out that suggests confidence rather than flamboyance. “A bright pop of a pocket square can make a big difference. Even a contrasting button or fun color stitched into the buttonhole,” says Blumberh. “So maybe if you are wearing a blue gingham shirt, try adding a pink button thread instead of using white, to add some contrast. A cuff or a subtle monogram also shows that you’re a man of style without it being in your face. The main key, though, is fit and fabric. A great fit will always show that a man is subtly in control of what he looks like.”