He’s My Mister: 10 Essentials for Men

Posted on September 12, 2013, 8:00 am
10 mins

A close friend and major influence in my thinking about men’s style taught me to be intrigued by individual style preferences and how they differ from women. These differences have been a source of curiosity and fascination for me. The way men develop a sense of style is unique unto each particular to man, and things that interest men are often based on different social motivations and interests than women. As an outsider looking in I enjoy learning where the individual manliness of a man comes through.

Nordstrom Men’s Shop Daily features an exclusive Q&A by Justin Abbott, who interviews some of the most cutting edge designers in men’s fashion. Readers are given a back-story of the men creating the clothes that men are wearing here and around the world: Scott Sternberg of A Band of Outsiders, Cuan Hanly of Jack Spade, Michael Bastian, Billy Reid, Shipley and Halmos, and Todd Snyder. I especially enjoyed reading the Todd Snyder interview and include a bit of it below. Photography from Robin Stein captures these designers with an enjoyable visual insight into the creative and personal world’s of these men:

Todd Snyder photographed by Robin Stein

Todd Snyder photographed by Robin Stein

From the Q&A for  Nordstrom Men’s Shop Blog with Justin Abbott and Todd Snyder:

What was it like working for your dad back then?
“One of the things I learned most from my father was just being very diligent in my work ethic. He instilled that at a young age…I hated it when he was doing it, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I talk to students all the time, and I always say, there might be people that are more talented than you, but don’t ever let somebody work harder than you.”

What led you to switch to a major in Fashion?
“I started working in a men’s store [during college], doing whatever I could just to learn. Sweeping, cleaning up, sales—and then when I saw the tailors come out, I was like, ‘What are they doing?’ And it all kind of made sense. I want to do that. That, to me, seems more fun than selling, let me go do that, because I really like working with my hands. That’s where I learned how to tailor a garment. I taught myself to sew, and that’s how I started honing my skills. It became a hobby.”

What’s the best advice you ever got? “My father told me at an early age, if you want to be the best, you’ve got to work for the best. And it was really important for me to learn as much as I could and become an expert before I did my own collection. I worked in the industry for 18 years for other people.”

What was it like when you decided to branch out and start a company of your own? “Well, it was funny, because I quit…my very secure job…thinking originally I was going to start Todd Snyder in 2008—right as Lehman Brothers went belly up. [The recession] got worse and worse, and I was like, ‘Holy sh–, I just quit my really good job!’ So then I spoke to my brother [who had taken over a small side-project I had started in 1997, Tailgate Clothing Company] and said, ‘Hey, how about I help you guys out.’ Then that started growing very quickly…and we launched Todd Snyder in 2011.”


My friend frequently reminds me that “there is nothing worse than the recent past.” I don’t think he’s referring to fashion when he says it, but it works. Styles have been going through a transition in the last couple of seasons and it’s time to catch up. This is not where a person can count on a classic wardrobe either, because the classic pieces themselves are being modified and reinterpreted. The fit of the jacket, the cut of the leg, the way the quilt is quilted, the shine of the polish on the shoe—all of these things go under major changes every decade or so (a fashion decade usually starts a couple of years after the decade is underway), and it leaves a sinking feeling in one’s gut when the shape of the toe on that classic boot somehow just doesn’t look right. For some, these changes are welcomed and make us feel new again. For other’s they can be overwhelming to try and interpret. Some just pretend they aren’t happening…but for those who want to stay in the game, it’s time to revisit and update those classic pieces.

The Fall is one of the best times of year, although seasonally it’s the beginning of the end. It does have that new beginning feeling with the start of school. As summer ends and kids begin getting ready for the colder weather, most of us are also gearing up, whether we’re still in school or not. So what does a guy need to be set for the next cycle of work and play as the weather cools off?

Nordstrom Men’s Shop Fashion Director, Jorge Valls

Any engineer or businessman knows how important a good foundation is in the structure of… everything. A wardrobe is no different. My favorite go-to place for one-stop shopping, especially for men who don’t want the hassle of running all over town, is Nordstrom Men’s Shop. Thanks to Fashion Director Jorge Valls, the Flagship store has everything a great core wardrobe needs to be complete and cohesive. Here are the 10 essential building blocks for the stylish man this fall according to Valls:






1. QUILTED OUTERWEAR – A narrower silhouette gives this heritage piece a modern update. Barbour navy quilted jacket, $179.







2. PATTERNED JACKET – A plaid or tweed sport coat is a classic yet on-trend alternative to the full suit. Wallin & Brothers trim fit check sport coat, $395.







3. LUXE CREWNECK SWEATSHIRT – Fine-gauge and trim fit make comfort look sharp. Rag & Bone grey sweatshirt, $220.







4.CHUNKY CARDIGAN – A key layering piece that’s perfect for transitioning into fall’s cooler temperatures. Ted Baker chunky charcoal cardigan, $225.







5. CORDUROY PANTS – A rich and colorful alternative to the tried and true pair of jeans. AG Jeans grey cords, $198.






6. CLASSIC WOOL OVERCOAT – Goes from a workweek essential to weekend staple in classic tweed fabrications. Billy Reid tailored grey overcoat, $795.







7. DRESS BOOTS – Lace-up vintage styles with brogue details work well with the rich fabrics of the season. To Boot New York cognac wingtip boots, $450.






8. BROWN LEATHER STRAP WATCH – Rustic style watches go perfectly with the new heritage looks. Fossil stainless steel chronograph watch with brown leather strap, $105.




9. SOFT BRIEFCASE – The perfect all-purpose bag that transitions easily from work to weekend. Jack Spade black leather briefcase with laptop sleeve, $375.







10. ICONIC SUNGLASSES – They look as sharp with a business suit as they do with a swim suit. Ray Ban Classic ‘Clubmaster’ sunglasses, $145.

Sarah Caples has lived in Seattle since 2004 working as a fashion stylist for private clients. Sarah launched an art and society blog in 2008, along with a monthly salon at The Sorrento Hotel, which ran until June 2012. As executive editor of VanguardSeattle.com, Caples hopes to cultivate an informed dialog about regional culture and bring people of diverse backgrounds together in support of nonprofits, artists and community builders.