Clothes and Personal: George Esquivel

Thirteen lessons on the art of dressing and living well

September 12, 2016 9:00 am

This is Clothes and Personal, in which we sit down with one of the brightest names in menswear to talk about the articles every man should have in his closet.

Fall is around the bend, which means you’ll likely be updating your wardrobe.

But rather than going out and replacing everything wholesale, might we suggest a little addition by subtraction?

It’s a lesson we learned from George Esquivel, one of our favorite bootmakers and a man who strongly believes in a tightly edited closet.

His new collaboration with Florsheim is this year’s winner for best sartorial bang for your buck. When he’s not doubled over his drafting board, he likes to mountain bike in Orange County, play soccer with his kids and hit the beach.

But it’s his thoughts on what you should add — and just as importantly, what you should remove — from your wardrobe that we were most interested in.

The first shoe he ever designed was a black and white pointed spectator.
“I had it made in Mexico. I still have it.”

Edit your closet twice a year.
“I only wear items I really like, so I typically wear things until they wear out. If I haven’t worn it in 6-8 months, it’s edited out. My friends and family end up with the items I don’t keep.”

If you own one suit, it better be navy.
“In my opinion, navy blue is the suit color that works well in almost any situation.”

But don’t confuse it for a proper travel blazer, which you should also have.
“I love blazers that have some give to the fabric. My favorite is Allegri in navy blue knitted pique. It’s a modern cut, it travels well, and it’s perfect for meetings.”

Start with three shirts. Build from there.
“I think every man should have a long sleeve white oxford, a chambray in short or long sleeve and a black long sleeve.”

Know your favorite jeans. Wear them often.
“Matias is my go to. He’s into denim just as much as I’m into leather. He is a true craftsman, and the fit and quality is amazing.”

Every man should own at least one pair of brown boots.
“It goes with most outfits … I wear my Vern boots with jeans, chinos or suits. I own it in 3-4 colors/finishes. We cut and stitch the boot to have a tighter fit around the ankle, thus giving it a more streamlined look so it can be worn with different types of pants, making it very versatile.”

The key to a great boot? Top-notch leather.
“Beautiful leather has a rich texture and coloring that’s achieved in the tanning process. Most of my leathers are sourced from Italy, France, and Spain. I also recently started working with a tannery here in the States called Wickett & Craig. They create beautiful hides.”

The one toiletry every man needs? A signature cologne.
“Some say I’m obsessed with Le Labo, Labdanum 18. I travel with the tester sizes and if anyone says they love the scent I gift them a sample.”

On the perfect T-shirt …
“I’ve been looking for 10 years. Still haven’t found it.”

Ties make great gifts.
“I don’t wear a lot of ties, but when I do, it’s a brand I found in Paris called Cinabre. Very cool and modern. I like to gift them to my friends and associates that do wear ties.”

A great daily watch is not a function of price.
“It should be about the person making a connection to the watch. My daily watches are a Rolex Submariner and a Seiko Divers that my wife gave me when we were first dating.”

If you like jewelry, great. But there’s no need to force it.
“Years ago, when my kids were young, I wore bracelets that they made for me. Now I don’t really wear jewelry, just a watch and my wedding band.”

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.