• Suit Yourself: Brian


    “You never forget your first suit,” David Coggins muses after a couple of beers late one weeknight—which night, exactly, I don’t recall off-hand. But he’s right. You graduated in that suit, landed the job in that suit, got the girl in that suit...you became a man in that suit.

    Rugby gets that. This spring marks the introduction to Rugby’s tropical wool, linen/silk/wool blend and cotton gabardine suiting. Though rendered in classic trad hues and patterns, Ralph Lauren fabricated an Italian silhouette. Lauren’s own Italian tailor hand cut the patterns, creating a suppressed waist, natural shoulder, fully canvassed jacket that hugs incredibly well off the rack.

    This week, presented by Rugby* and styled by me, features five creatives making it in New York City. They paid a visit to the University Rugby shop and then I tagged along on their commutes, inside their homes and into their favorite greasy spoons to not only show how to look put together in a suit, but how to break it apart. You never forget your first suit—better make it tops.

    There is something physically nostalgic about a book—a book in whose pages you can actually flip beneath the pad of your thumb. There is even something more nostalgic about a handmade book. Brian thinks so too. He makes them painstakingly by hand—imperfections and all—in small runs for clients looking for something unique. On a sun drenched afternoon, in his gray tropical wool suit, he’s putting in some time at one of his favorite local bookstores.

    Every man’s first suit should be gray, assuming you already have a navy blazer and gray tropical trousers. It will take you to weddings, funerals and if you go with a dark charcoal, it will even take you to a black tie affair. This is Brian's first suit.

    Opt for a cuff (1 3/4”) on your gray wool trousers to the maintain their versatility for everyday wear in and out of the suit.

    Blue and white shirts, any combination like the striped button down sport shirt here, are the work horses of any man’s wardrobe. They go anywhere with everything and a man can never have too many.

    Break out the tropical wool trousers and a plaid sport shirt for an everyday semi-casual go-to staple.

    Is there a better way to ride a bike than in a tweedy plaid sport jacket? Not in Williamsburg. Brian’s meetings often take him across the Brooklyn Bridge on windy spring days. His linen/silk jacket breathes while keeping him warm enough while on his bike.

    When spring rolls around, I’m an advocate of the pink oxford cloth button down with tweedy heritage jackets like this one in a linen/silk blend. Pink not only does favors for your face after a long night but provides a softer counterpoint to the masculine hearty fabric. A cotton bandana nonchalantly stuffed into your jacket makes for a functional pocket square that says you don’t take yourself too seriously.

    Sometimes-always-never, the rule of thumb in buttoning your jacket from top to bottom, applies to your vest as well.

    *In its sponsorship of this feature, Rugby provided financial compensation, in addition to the product in question, for my photography services and opinions. The entire wardrobe is provided by Rugby save a few instances in which the subjects wore their own pieces.

    Apr 8, 2011 | Permalink (24) Total Comments

    Lance left a comment on 4/17/2011 at 2:12 PM:

    Does anyone know whether Brian has a website?  I would like to see some of his handmade books.  Thanks.

    mike left a comment on 4/14/2011 at 10:28 PM:

    who makes the wingtips?

    julie left a comment on 4/14/2011 at 12:22 PM:

    you have elevated your game this week to a whole new level!  congrats on making something your own.  well done and inspiring!

    Joey Dee left a comment on 4/12/2011 at 10:48 PM:

    My favorite work this far since started I reading. I think Ali was the most inspirational, reminds me of a trad ska buddy from back in the day.

    Madison McNeill left a comment on 4/12/2011 at 12:26 PM:

    I love the photographs and clothes so much! Oh I wish for well fitted suits to become part of the every day Joe’s wardrobe.


    JS left a comment on 4/11/2011 at 7:28 PM:

    Ah, but all the better with polished shoes.

    Elizabeth V. left a comment on 4/11/2011 at 5:35 PM:

    It makes my day when I see a well-dressed gent wearing brightly colored and/or striped socks. I’ve really enjoyed the work you’ve posted here this past week, too.

    Luis Alcaraz left a comment on 4/11/2011 at 11:35 AM:

    I love the clothes and amazing pictures as always. But I dont love the shoes they look to old not for my when I wear a nice suit!

    WMM left a comment on 4/11/2011 at 11:30 AM:

    May I inquire as to what brand the saddle shoes he’s sporting are?

    dan left a comment on 4/11/2011 at 10:57 AM:

    Great job this week, FEC!

    Skeeter left a comment on 4/11/2011 at 9:18 AM:

    Button-down collar + collar pin = belts + suspenders

    saprof left a comment on 4/11/2011 at 9:14 AM:

    The photos were interesting as always.

    I particularly liked the “Cat in the Hat” blue and red socks and the sign in the background of the seventh series from the top that reads “bowel”.

    I needed a good laugh today.

    StanWhtite left a comment on 4/11/2011 at 9:11 AM:

    A little unnerved by the Bowery sign which reads as “Bowel” in the photo.

    Pink Socks left a comment on 4/10/2011 at 10:52 PM:

    “It will take you to weddings, funerals and if you go with a dark charcoal, it will even take you to a black tie affair.”
    FEC - is that a quote of Sid Mashburn for his Bearings video? Enjoying the photographs, keep up the good work.


    bunny left a comment on 4/10/2011 at 5:06 PM:

    beautiful work this week. ali was my fave with the pretty plaid tie and lavender shirt. and the ‘78 superman vs. muhammad ali book-as-backround-art. i’d buy an unabashedly prep photography coffee table book too. happy birthday, fred! sounds like you’ll have an amazing year… (from holiday mathis) today’s birthday - april 10. you’ll make sweeping decisions over the next 10 weeks, and you may even change the main direction you want your life to take. your experience in a relationship will be fun, and it also will help you gain wisdom and maturity. this summer features a magnificent collaboration. your talent gets major recognition. aquarius and capricorn people adore you. your lucky numbers are: 50, 33, 25, 15 and 48.

    Kiel James Patrick left a comment on 4/10/2011 at 12:08 AM:

    Wonderful week.  You talented/creative young man, you.  Coffee table UP photography book soon?  New lobster trap table’s looking a little bare.

    pmg left a comment on 4/9/2011 at 5:56 PM:

    Nice pics.

    Tito left a comment on 4/9/2011 at 12:47 PM:

    Brian is KILLING IT!
    Specially with that tweed combo, he gave me some ideas for the Big Apple Tweed Fall Ride.
    Fred I think you got the muscle to start branding your on line. I enjoyed my self this week with the photograph and of curse with the LEX LUGER of comments AEV!

    GOD Bless all of you guys and be safe….

    ERIII left a comment on 4/9/2011 at 11:10 AM:

    I think i found my new pink oxford, love the tennis tie. Once again, great job FEC!!! I thank you and Rugby for a week of beautiful pictures, tons of fresh “how to’s” and sparking interesting conversations. You’ve captured a side of Rugby i had yet to see. Great job guys, cheers!!!

    AEV left a comment on 4/9/2011 at 10:10 AM:

    Solid week - great photography Fred. What you did this week deserves kudos and respect. Bravo.

    AERCO left a comment on 4/9/2011 at 9:49 AM:

    I’ve really enjoyed this feature a lot

    Caron left a comment on 4/9/2011 at 9:45 AM:

    So fab! As usual.

    HLN left a comment on 4/9/2011 at 8:48 AM:

    I really like these photos.

    teversole left a comment on 4/8/2011 at 11:16 PM:

    There’s that elusive Linen Plaid sport coat and vest that escaped me this season. Sigh. I always stayed away from pink oxfords but finally gave in. Now I have 8. It somehow became my favorite color and seems to go with so many things.