Custom clothing can add a special touch to a man's wardrobe and keep him always looking his best. Keeping classic pieces and mixing in the latest trends is the key to looking polished and fresh no matter what the season. Get expert tips on men's clothing and trends in this exclusive interview with Mike Abadi, co-founder of Arden Reed.
Expert Tips from Mike Abadi
LoveToKnow (LTK): What was the inspiration behind Arden Reed?
Mike Abadi (MA): I started Arden Reed while I was a student. I'm an odd shape and needed to find something that fit well for my Investment Banking internship. I couldn't find anything at all. It was during a trip to Asia that I went to a local tailor to find something. The minute I went back to school I could feel everyone's eyes on me. It really made a difference. Students kept asking me where I got my suits and eventually I became the University's in-house tailor.
LTK: Can you tell us about some of the pieces from the Arden Reed collection?
MA: We wanted the initial collection to reflect the classics. We have functional clothing that can be used anywhere. Versatility was the key in our first collection; in our upcoming collections you'll find more aggressive garments.
Trends in Men's Fashion
LTK: What are some of the latest fashion trends for men?
MA: Men's fashion does not move nearly as quickly as women's, but it is still a changing landscape. Some of the trends that were really big for summer were accessorizing and pants moving further and further up the leg. New trends may emerge in suit colors.
- Accessory trends: Accessorizing has only recently caught on with men. It used to be that a tie and a watch were all you would see but in the past year that has changed drastically. Now, stacks of bracelets are seen on stylish men the world over, in addition to rings, necklaces and anything else you can think of. They add character and flash to otherwise simple outfits and look especially good when they are balanced with more traditional items of men's style such as a crisp pocket square, a simple suit and a classic watch.
- Pants trends: What men put on their feet, and I'm not talking shoes, has likewise changed and become a sort of accessory in itself. Brightly colored socks stand out, and give a nice punch of confidence to otherwise drab looks. Going sockless is the hottest (pun intended) thing out right now. Coupled with the shorter pants that we're seeing everywhere means you will see more ankle on the trendy guy down the street than you ever have before. Pants have moved from a traditional break that was common several years ago, to barely any or no break, and now to the cropped look Thom Browne emphasizes, with pants falling an inch above the ankle.
- Suit colors: Looking forward, something that is I think we will see more and more of is off-color suits. More men are wearing tailored clothing on a daily basis. Some of them are also beginning to be more adventurous with their fabric, color, and pattern choices. When you want to keep it tailored but go outside the lines of a traditional gray or navy, an olive or burgundy suit is a great bet. They are solid, so they aren't as busy as stripes or checks but have a little more attitude. They also look good on just about any complexion and they're simple to style. A white shirt and navy tie looks smashing with a burgundy suit, and if you switch the tie out for a brown or camel version, an olive suit can turn field/military colors into a dapper ensemble.
Must Have Items
LTK: What are some must-have pieces that every man should have in their wardrobe?
MA: Sometimes, it seems like the fashion world is pushing us to buy more and more and assemble the biggest and best wardrobe. I don't think that is really necessary. A small, well thought-out wardrobe can be miles more effective than an enormous, careless one.
- Men ought to start with one charcoal and one navy suit, white and blue button-downs, and some nice lace-ups (black or brown).
- Add a few ties and a crisp white pocket square and you are set.
That is the beginning of a wardrobe any man would envy. I strongly believe that if a man is wearing a suit or blazer, there ought to be a pocket square in the chest pocket. That little bit of white fabric draws attention up to your shoulders and chest and shows that you gave your outfit some actual thought--that you put effort into how you look. A simple thing goes a long way.
LTK: How can a man begin designing his own clothing?
MA: That's a tough one. There are obviously things you have to know about construction and sewing, but it starts at a more basic level. You would need a concrete understanding of an aesthetic that you like and that you want to create. Think of a theme. For us, we wanted to create a way for professional, ambitious men to get custom clothing at the price and convenience that they desired. With that in mind, you go on to what you want to design. Gray and navy suits were the obvious starting point for us. To sum up: Imagine who you're designing for, and then design what they need.
LTK: How important is it to find a custom tailor?
MA: I don't believe finding a custom tailor is necessarily important at all. What is very important is wearing clothes that fit you well. Some men can find perfectly fitting suits off the rack, but those men aren't very common.
A custom tailor can build you a garment designed just for your body and to your specifications. That eliminates two steps:
- Finding a brand that comes closest to your ideal fit
- Taking the suit to a tailor for alterations
A custom tailor will also finish the piece off with things like custom linings, inscriptions and working (also known as surgeon's) cuffs. That means you have a one-of-a-kind, just for you piece. Buying custom is very personal. You get something that truly belongs to you. It fits your body just right and it has all the little details that make it yours. That is, I suppose, why custom tailoring is not necessarily important, but extremely rewarding.
A Great Suit Matters
LTK: What other tips would you like to share with our readers?
MA: Get your man in a great suit. Not only will he look great, but he'll appreciate you even more!