Call it cult of personality as men’s styles create a look from head to toe that’s character driven.
By James Cubby
The old saying “clothes make the man” still rings true, but the wise man uses fashion to his advantage. In fact, today’s fashion doesn’t so much make the man, but gives a shout-out to his personality. Whether you’re comfortable in “geek chic” or are looking to impress by how you dress, it’s time to claim your look and make a statement, loudly and clearly.
Geeks are the new playboys and multi-millionaires — think Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Seth Rogan. So, with their newfound wealth comes style and fashion. In a day when computers rule, geeks have shed nerd stereotyping.
In today’s fashion, it’s hip to be square — did you know “geek chic” has made it into the dictionary? But you don’t have to boast an impressive IQ to dress the part. Here’s how to get your geek on.
Wearing vintage or designer eyewear is one way to change your look and even improve your IQ image. Morgenthal Frederics’ classic Ralphie-Ts are smart choices that read fashionable and intelligent.
The bow tie, once a classic denotation of nerdiness, has now become a fashionable mainstay in most men’s wardrobes. A bow tie adds an “I’m smarter than you” sensibility. Tom Ford’s polka-dot Jacquard bow tie shouts style and playfulness, without stepping out of the lines of the geek code of honor — no geek wants to look like he’s trying to be stylish. True geeks are generally unable to tie their own ties; so this Tom Ford design, made in Italy, couldn’t be more fitting. It comes pre-tied and is adjustable. Shoes are usually high-end sneakers, but the basic shoe of choice is often a simple black basic like the Givenchy nino-studded leather lace-up derby.
Geek style is more about product productivity than fashion sense; however, the Camubutterfly backpack from Valentino Garavani is an exception. This green, cotton and leather backpack features a top handle, a two-way zip fastening, adjustable straps, a front zip pocket, an internal patch pocket, and an internal logo patch.
And the proverbial icing on the geek cake comes from having the latest and greatest gadget. The “holy grail of geekdom” is no doubt the 42mm 18-karat gold rose Apple Watch Edition.
Chairman of the Board
A boardroom meeting is no casual affair. Ask any Fortune 500 CEO and they will tell you that it’s all about taking charge. Front and center is your wardrobe.
Polished shoes (Berluti), handcrafted bespoke shirts (Ascot Chang or Stefano Ricci), and a handmade suit (Brioni) make boardroom types look and feel like a million bucks. Brioni’s Vanquish II is a favorite of Donald Trump and Brioni suits have been a Hollywood favorite, appearing in James Bond movies since 1995. Now that’s confidence. Brioni makes only 100 of the handmade suits a year with stitching created from white gold.
Stefano Ricci makes shirts that exude confidence like the multi-striped contrast-collar dress shirt — the ideal choice for a power suit — made of light, luxurious cotton and embellished with mother-of-pearl buttons. Ascot Chang will keep your measurements on file after your first fitting so that you’re always guaranteed a bespoke dress suit that is tailored to the “tee.” A man who wears a Kiton shirt is a true individual, as is his hand-finished shirt, produced exclusively in northern Italy. Only a man of confidence would wear the powerful orange, cotton-lined, fitted shirt.
Selecting the perfect tie may be the most important step to dressing, and the decision should be serious, but bold. A classic Hermés tie, like the hand-folded silk twill Boomerang in perpetual power-color red, will make an impact.
Get the look from top to bottom with the best pair of oxfords money can buy. Go with Berluti Paris, produced by hand. To walk in the most exceptional shoes money can buy, choose Berluti bespoke. And for a supremely individualized shoe, you can provide your own image for Berluti to “tattoo” or have them apply your monogram to the toe-cap — discreet, but you’ll know what’s underfoot.
The true mark of a well-dressed man is one who wears French cuffs with cuff links for the finishing touch. Movers and shakers know that the best cuff isn’t ornate or pretentious — just simple gold — enough to catch someone’s eye while you’re making a motion with your hand. The Tiffany Twist cuff links from Tiffany & Co. are simple, round cuff links in 18-karat gold.
Boardroom types know that dressing for success is a credo for living, and that image speaks volumes — even before they utter a word.
Fashions come and go, but styles that make lasting impressions seem to linger. The fashions of the ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s — often called retro style — are not only symbols of a simpler time, but represent an elegance and romance from another era. These fashions are inspired from the jazz age, the wartime era, and from the styles of old Hollywood movies. If you’re going to embrace this style, there are a few things to know. Vintage is different from retro style. For the dyed-in-the-wool hard-core aficionado, the clothing is the real deal. Pieces found are not replicas, but true from the era — made of special fabrics and even having some increased value because of their rarity.
Retro, on the other hand, duplicates the classic styles of yesteryear with designers giving a modern twist on vintage style.
How to get the look? A bomber jacket — whether real vintage or the new retro Balmain collegiate leather bomber — has caught the attention of celebrities like Justin Beiber, Kanye West, and Joe Jonas, who have all been spotted wearing the bomber that has the reputation as the most expensive leather jacket in the world. ($5,402.38) Created by Pierre Balmain — who opened his Parisian couture house in 1945 — this jacket is the height of retro cool.
Fashions of the 1950s got a lift from the TV show Mad Men. Brooks Brothers features a series of classic ties reminiscent of the ‘50s, including stripes and repps.
There’s nothing more classic than vintage Ray-Ban sunglasses. Known as the most iconic eyewear brand, Ray-Ban has been the favorite choice of celebrities for decades — seen on everyone from Al Pacino to David Beckham. The Ray-Ban Wayfarer, created in 1952, puts the lock on the look. Find real vintage shades by searching online or Ray-Ban still churns out its classic styles. Nothing says elegance like a man’s watch, and most men’s collections are not complete without a true vintage timepiece like an 18-karat rose gold vintage fancy lugs gents wristwatch, complete with silver dial. Watches like these can only be found at fine jewelers or auctions, but when it comes with a presentation box and “extract from the archives,” confirming its original sale date of 1948, then the price tag of $17,748 seems fitting. For a watch that looks vintage and takes it cues from the 1940s, Tiffany’s new CT60 collection gets its look from an historic timepiece that FDR made famous (see the story about the CT60, page 60).
To go the gamut and be truly vintage or retro, it isn’t all about clothes, but a complete atmosphere — retro music, vintage turntables, and antique furnishings.
Audiophiles who prefer vintage turntables often choose the Linn LP 12 (priced at $1,950 on eBay) with excellent sound and a classic wooden exterior. In 2011, The Absolute Sound, one of America’s top audiophile publications, ranked this product as the second most significant turntable of all time. Crosley makes a retro turntable, too, that looks the part.
Spin “Ol’ Blues Eyes” or another member of the Rat Pack on the turntable while dressed head to toe in vintage garb to recreate the mood of a bygone era.
Since fitness ranks as an important part of a successful man’s lifestyle, it stands to reason that sportswear has evolved from the simple t-shirt and shorts to luxury sportswear that rules the streets, locker rooms, and runways. Besides, the “sports luxe” man likes his casual lifestyle with a twist — yachts, planes, motorbikes, and high-performance cars are all accessories for this personality type.
Luxury sportswear — trendsetters call it athleisure — is a far cry from the gear bought in athletic shops. The sports luxe look isn’t gym wear-worthy, but more for the man who wants to create an aura of relaxed fashion wherever he goes.
Athletic shoes are no longer relegated to the basketball court. They make a statement, and there are more than a few collectors who take their shoe collections seriously. Designers are offering new twists on the old classics like Rick Owen’s take on high top sneakers. His black python basketball sneakers may be the Lamborghini of high tops.
For those who believe they are only as good as their workout prep, gear should be carried in style. Bottega Veneta’s durable duffle bag makes a step-aside statement.
For a gold-standard workout, Goldloft Dumbbells by Hock Design are the most expensive dumbbells in the world. Made from 18-karat gold and rare Grenadilla wood, the price tag for the set is $110,000.
Daytime dress down or casual night embraces the essential hooded sweatshirt, or hoodies as they are more commonly called today. Celebrities spotted around Rodeo Drive grabbing their skinny lattes have made the Givenchy paisley-print hoodie a must-have. For a more upscale version of the hoodie look, celebs who favor the leisure luxe look have also been noted wearing the green cashmere hooded cardigan form Baja East. Worn over a t-shirt or button-down shirt, the cardigan shouts “luxe” and is the perfect look for lunch at the club if jackets aren’t required.
Dressing for a day or night on a yacht, whether on and or sea, poses the quest of which wetsuit to wear. Julien David offers a wetsuit that seems to have stepped right off the runway as it’s a one-of-a-kind design with a tuxedo print and features a hooded flap with a zip. The Julien David x Quiksilver wetsuit is definitely a bold choice, but one that makes a dressy statement in and out of the water.
Or be like Bond in Goldfinger and make a splashy entrance by peeling off a faux tuxedo wetsuit to reveal a real, sparkling white tuxedo, fresh and dandy underneath.