Defensive Tackle and Dandy in the Making
I was perusing the style section of the New York Times yesterday and saw an article by Greg Bishop titled "Preparing To Look Good On Draft Night." The piece focused on a defensive tackle named Dontari Poe from Memphis who is slated to be drafted [Note: Poe ended up going at #11 to the Chiefs] in the first round of this year's NFL Draft (you can view the article here).
There were a lot of things to like about the article, not the least of which was Mr. Poe's desire to look good on draft night. Aside from a few minor nitpicks, I thought Mr. Poe's stylist, Rachel Johnson, did a nice job of creating an elegantly subdued combination of clothing for Mr. Poe. Based on the slide show that accompanied the article, Ms. Johnson put together a wardrobe of dark suits (the suits appeared to be a collection of charcoal greys and navy blues - no abysmal blacks) with normal proportions (two or three button enclosures, double vents, single-breasted) with light-colored shirts and muted ties. Indeed, I even let out a slight murmur of appreciation when I saw Mr. Poe's wingtips in British tan in one image - God bless his heart.
Initially, I thought things might take a turn for the worse when Ms. Johnson indicated that she looked to the NBA's player/fashionistas for inspiration. I waited for the parade of five-button suits in creme colors with dark pinstripes; but the deluge of vulgar patterns and offensive colors never came. In the end, Mr. Poe looked . . . well-dressed. Perhaps I need to pay closer attention to the sartorial cues put forward by Monsignors James, Stoudamire, Wade, et al.
One thing that did confuse me throughout the article was the use of the term "custom made." I generally use the terms "custom-made" and "bespoke" interchangeably - usually to mean a suit that has been cut from a cloth pattern by a tailor for his customer. What seemed to be happening here though - and I certainly could be mistaken - was that Joseph Abboud flew in a handful of suits for Mr. Poe and Ms. Johnson then adjusted the suits, which were presumably sent to a tailor for the alterations to be done.
Mr. Poe probably won't be complaining, but it seems he was sent a few off-the-rack suits, which were then tapered up by his stylist, who either made the alterations herself, or (more likely) sent them to the tailoring department. Regardless of the exact order of events, this is hardly what I would consider "custom-made." It would seem that Mr. Poe has had an off-the-rack suit tailored to fit him - and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. I do it all the time. But to say that the suits have been "custom-made" seems either incorrect, at best, or misleading, at worst. Either way, I would expect more clarity from the New York Times.
As to my nitpicks, they are quite minor. However, as Mr. Poe seems to be a burgeoning dandy, I will throw them out into the vast nothingness that is the internet, in the hope that they might one day find their way to his attention. Of course, I'm not even sure if the images accompanying the article showed off the completed suit; however, if that was the case, I would simply suggest that the pants be shortened so there is less of a break in the trouser leg. A straight, unbroken trouser line will have a heightening effect. The cleaner line of the unbroken trouser leg would give Mr. Poe a neat appearance, and might actually counter his naturally stout frame by providing the appearance of a more elongated frame.
Finally, Mr. Poe, don't be afraid to let a little sleeve cuff protrude from the sleeve of the suit jacket. After all, every good dandy should show some.