A Men's wear & lifestyle appreciation blog



The Fashion District – Episode 5: Christopher Schafer Clothier @ Boffi Georgetown

Check out myself & Christopher J Rondo at our recent visit to Boffi Georgetown to an event we hosted with Ernesto Santalla. CSC visits Georgetown


Christopher Schafer Clothier Photo Shoot

Thanks to Moe Taylor of Art life Studio for the Fantastic video of the Christopher Schafer Clothier shoot with David Hartcorn Photography


Wear it Out Wednesday’s

Check out my special news appearance on local Baltimore WBAL TV 11 News Sat. Where I discuss Wear It Out Wednesdays , suits and my curated event Pinstripes & Panache

Sharp Dressed Man – News and Features – Baltimore City Paper

image-3Sharp Dressed Man – News and Features – Baltimore City Paper.


I am the official recipient of Fashion Awards MD award for Best Tailor 2013!

I am the official recipient of Fashion Awards MD award for Best Tailor 2013!

Thank You ! I am a winner because of you! Saturday was the official awards ceremony for Fashion Awards MD, and I am happy to say that I walked away with the award for Best Tailor ! Thank you all for your support .


Rick Dempsey Ties

83′ World Series MVP and MASN Orioles own Rick Dempsey sits down with Phillip Ko of Baltimore Fishbowl to discuss his signature line of ties. Video edited by Ricky Johnson


Molly & Son’s

Donegal Weaving


Fashion Awards MD Nominee for Best Tailor

Please take time and go to http://fashionawardsmd.com and cast your vote for me in the established category for Best Men’s Tailor. Thank you all for your support.

Style Profile : Off The Cuff – J. Ciro Designs


Accessories are a great way to spruce up your wardrobe . A pocket square , tie bar , grosgrain watch bands and cuff links ! Not just any cufflinks custom designed cuff links made with your personality in mind. Baltimore based J. Ciro designs is a newcomer into the world of menswear . Producer of lovely affordable jewelry designed to add a pop of eye catching color to your french cuffed shirts. J. Ciro designs was created by New Jersey native Joseph(Joe)  Cirincione who became inspired while looking for gifts for his wedding party. Here’s more from Joe…..


DC King: So how long have you been making cufflinks ?

JC:  I have been making cuff links for roughly a year and a half. I was initially inspired to start designing cuff links while I was looking for groomsmen gifts for my wedding. As I was shopping around, I realized how many different designs there were and became intrigued in the idea of making one of my own. The day before my wedding, I gave my two best men, my four groomsmen, my two grandfathers, the father of the bride, and my father all a pair of custom made cuff links. It was a really cool way to show off my creativity. I also made a special pair of grey / blue cuff links that I made for myself to match my vest and tuxedo. Since then, I have enjoyed taking the ideas further and hope to grow the business more each day.


DC King: What inspires your design ?

JC:I have experimented with a few different designs; however, the current line that I have been making is one of which that I can really be proud. I was inspired to create this design after seeing the potential in matching the high quality silks of ties or vests with a unique set of cuff links. These cuff links allow the individual to match almost anything. In addition, along with the idea of presenting beautiful silk within the cuff link, I am also expanding this to sentimental fabrics. For example, the vest that I wore on my wedding day. I would love to have a swatch of that fabric housed in a pair of cuff links to keep forever. The sentiment behind this idea is to have a piece of life stored in a set of cuff links forever.


DC King: How would you describe your cufflinks three words?

JC: Quality. Class. Unique.


DC King: Who’s wearing your product ?

JC: As of right now, my family and friends are wearing my cuff links. The line is fairly new and I am hoping to expand rather quickly to additional markets within Maryland and the Tri-State area.


DC King:What can we expect to see from your brand in the near future ?

JC: You can expect to see more creativity and further enhancements on the current line. In addition, you can expect my brand to be marketed and promoted in several different ways within the next year or so. The cuff links I create and the brand that I represent is still fairly new. It’s growing and I am very excited about it.

DC King: Where can we find your product ?

JC : Currently, you will see J.Ciro Cuff Links alongside some of the Christopher Schafer Clothier events ( as well as their studio). You can also find my products on Facebook at the following link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/JCiro-Designs/503813586344623?fref=ts

Also, you can contact me directly at JCirodesigns@gmail.com

Getting A Handle On Things – Imperium Woodcraft


 Hopefully by now you’ve upgraded your wardrobe from those blousy ill-fitting shirts and boxy suits to something trim and proper. You’ve stepped up your shoe game to a decent pair of leather bottom shoes that don’t look like they were stolen from Bishop Don Magic Juan’s closet ….So why are you still using those $3 bag of disposable razors ? You wouldn’t want to go into a five star restaurant and eat with cheap plastic forks, would you?  So why do the same when comes to the tools used for your personal grooming ? Enter Imperium Woodcraft .. An Ellicott City, Md based  shop “dedicated to producing the highest quality hand-turned grooming accessories available” founded by Dan Janssen.ImageImage

  The products are made from fine heirloom wood and designed to fit your Gillette Mach 3 disposable blades as well as Venus blades for women . I had the pleasure of meeting Dan during a recent event held at Hotel Monaco here in Baltimore, where he took time out to tell us more about his products.


DC King: What inspired you to create your product?

DJ : I think people have come to a point where honest hand-made goods mean a lot. Smart consumers are looking for products that show thought, skill, style and a craftsman’s touch. Most of what is sold today is machine made, mass produced, and quite honestly ugly. I think we do ourselves a disservice by surrounding our homes, and lives with these things. Honest, stylish goods with quality material, and a makers hand, have always been a passion of mine. I have always sought to fill my life with as much quality as I could manage even if that meant having less. I started making small hand-turned things for friends and family a few years ago because I have always liked the look and feel of a good pen and woodworking was something I enjoyed. Quickly realized the demand for what I was making and I expanded to other things. Eventually I began making the razor handles I sell today.


DC King : What sets your brand apart from others ?

DJ: My products are custom designed and built by hand. Each handle, shaving, set, or razor is unique. My handles are waterproof, durable and offer a touch of to our shaving routine. I feel my razors blur the lines between old world style and modern convenience because why not have both? I’m also proud that I can offer a distinct, hand made, honest product at an affordable price.


DC King: Where can people find your product?

DJ: Look for our entire line at imperiumwood.com We are also at Hunting Ground (Baltimore), Randy and Steve’s (Ellicott City), Hell’s bottom Barber shop (D.C.) and Savvy Chic (Fredricksburg VA)


DC King – ALS

Style Profile : Fashion Awards MD Nominee David K Sommerville Jr.

Have you ever seen some one in passing and thought to yourself …”I’ve seen them somewhere before”. Well if you’re ever in the presence of David Kenneth Sommerville …Your assumptions are probably right. The Md Fashion Awards nominee Model/Actor has been in several commercials and print ads as well as television . In today’s Style Profile we get a bit more in depth with David K Sommerville.
DC King: So how long have you been modeling?
Sommerville: I’ve been modeling for about 4 years. I started out doing runway shows and photo shoots in Baltimore, Md. I have also done many print advertisements for DTLR ( Down Town Locker Room)
DC King: What was your most memorable project?
DS: Hmm… I am most proud of securing the leading role of Lee Boyd Malvo for an MSNBC movie called “I Married the Beltway Sniper.” At the time the movie premiered, my mother was taking online classes with students who were mostly international. I felt so much joy that i was being watched internationally.
DC King: I understand that you’ve also been acting tell us more?
DS: I love acting! My career as an actor stated in 2009 when I did a commercial for BET. Later, I secured a lead role in a movie for MSNBC.   Attracted to inspired works, I secured a lead role in the Historic Annapolis Foundation’s regional theater tour of award winning “Project Run-A-Way,” which led to the  “Freedom Bound” exhibition at “Historic Annapolis Museum.” 
DC King: If people were to describe you what would they say?
DS: I am a very polite, diligent, humble, and appreciative person who is always willing to help others.
DC King : How do others describe you?
DS: People see me as a hard worker with untapped potential that is clearly destined for greatness whose smile can step in for the sun on a cloudy day.
DC King: What do you hope to gain from your success as an actor / model?
DS: In short, I hope to gain a lot of support.  With this support, I could gain ideas and help to start a non-profit organization to motivate youth into productive adults.
DC King: What are somethings you would like to do/experience that would make your personal dreams come true?
DS: I would like to star in major motion picture films. I dream about working with some of the great actors of our time like Denzel Washington and Edward Norton.  

DC King:How would you describe your own personal style?
 DS: I would describe my personal style as classic. I feel most comfortable in tailored suits.
DC King: Congratulations on your nomination for Fashion Awards Md…How does it feel to be nominated?
DS: Being nominated feel amazing! It always feel great to be recognized for something I invested my heart into. It makes me want to do better work.
DC King: Name 4 items you can’t live without on a daily basis
DS: On a daily basis, I can’t live without an image of my son to remind me why I’m fighting to achieve my wishes and goals, the Holy Bible to keep my sanity, and my cell phone and laptop to stay connected with my love ones and friends. 
DC King: Who is your hero and why?
DS: My dad is my hero. He has always protected me. When I was younger I jumped into 13 feet of water and even though my dad couldn’t swim, he risked his life to save me.  That meant the world that he would fight to save my life or die along side with me.  

DC King:What is the most difficult experience you’ve been through?
DS: In October of 2012, I was the victim of a home invasion.  Six masked men forced their way into my apartment by gun point while my girlfriend and son were home at the time.  I honestly thought I was going to die that night since one of the robbers revealed his face and they were contemplating taking me to an ATM to withdraw money.  
DC King: Tell us about your childhood.

DS: I grew up in a single family home, headed by my father, who raised me the best way he knew how because my mother was “absent.” She was trying to overcome her own hurdles of substance abuse. I don’t feel that I had a great childhood. I believe that I am stronger today because of my struggles.  I am extremely grateful for my good fortune to date. Of course, to God be the glory; He gives me strength and guides me.




GQ Japan Gentlemen of Tokyo “Kensei Matsuo

Kensei Matsuo
Photo by Ko Tsuchiya (kotsuchiya.tumblr.com/)
Music by H. Lee
Directed by Karl Edwin Guerre (guerreisms.com)
for GQ Japan

Style Profile: Fashion Awards MD Nominee for Best Emerging Photographer Christopher March

As you most of my readers in the DMV may know, April 1st marked the start of the campaign for Fashion Awards Md finalists. Today we visit one of the finalists for Best Emerging Photographers Chris March of Christopher March Photography . Although Chris may label himself as “lifestyle photographer”, his great eye for fashion is making him a very sought after photographer here in Baltimore and possibly beyond . 



DC King: How long have you been a fashion photographer ?

CM: A little less than three years as a pro. I consider myself more of a 
lifestyle photographer. I love fashion, but true fashion photographs 
tell a story – mine don’t. I’m not ashamed to say I’m not there yet. I 
have much respect for fashion photographers, but see myself reaching a 
more commercial goal in the future – like shooting menswear for great 
clothing lines/stores. Most of my photographs are creative portraits.

DC King: What was your first big project?

CM: I was hired by Goodyear to shoot a lot of wiper blades. The first 
time, it was totally nerve-wracking!!! I didn’t have much experience in 
product photography and felt an immense amount of self-inflicted 

DC King: It was brought to my attention that you received a well deserved 
nomination in this years Fashion Awards Md

CM: Yes, Best Emerging Photographer. Emerging because I’ve been pro for 
less than three years. I’m honored and the awards are May 8th. To be 

DC King: Who’s work in your field do you admire the most ?

CM: I admire and respect the work of many people on many levels. The 
people who catch my eye the most are the ones who are successful because 
they “get it” – they are agency-repped, frequently traveling, very busy 
people shooting big commercial clients on a weekly basis. I’ve worked 
as an assistant on some major shoots and two people who do just that are 
Matt Hoyle and Gary Copeland. Laretta Houston is inspiring in many ways 

DC King: Do you have a style Icon living or dead whose style that you 

CM: Hmm, Johnny Depp. He is extremely talented and very humble – that’s 
the way a gentleman does it – blowing minds and out of the spotlight. 
I’m not a fan of showboaters!! For a female, it has to be Rosario 
Dawson and that’s not because I have a major crush on her. She’s 
beautiful, talented, and not over-done. Both people are educated, 
class-acts and I appreciate that because that’s rare these days.

DC King: How would you describe your own personal style?

CM: Oh Jeesh! Today, it’s realistic, classy, and somewhat clean. I’ve 
been getting into some new ideas, so don’t get too comfortable!

DC King: Name for items you can’t do without on a daily basis?

CM: Coffee, Diesel Jeans, music, and more coffee!


Sole From The City of Brotherly Love – Doc C Custom Clothiers


  After finally finding the right tailor, choosing swatches and getting measured, some weeks have gone by and your suit has finally arrived. You’ve matched up shirts, ties, pocket squares  but something is missing….. Shoes !  It’s the final piece to complete the look you’ve gone through the trouble, and lets face it no matter how nice your clothing looks on you without the right pair of shoes , it can through everything completely off. So you’ve tried going to every shoe store , and you can’t find anything that jumps out at you, enter Philly based Doc C Custom Clothiers .


A custom footwear firm that is looking to make it’s footprint in Baltimore, possibly at a fine men’s clothing store or “design studio” near you. Despite being based in Philadelphia, you are still able to place orders on-line at Doc C Custom Clothier.

We caught up with owner and creator of Doc C Custom Clothier , Darrell Cleveland to get a brief tutorial and a peek into the world of Bespoke and MTO (Made To Order) shoes.

DC King: How long have you had this passion for men’s footwear ? 

DC: I have had a passion for quality men’s footwear for several years; at least 15 years now.  I purchased my first pair of custom made-to-order footwear five years ago and have not looked back.  I plan to purchase my first pair of true bespoke shoes this year in preparation for offering true bespoke services as well.

DC King: What is the inspiration behind your shoe line ?

DC: I was inspired to begin my shoe line when I decided to begin my custom clothing business.  Many custom clothiers do not offer handmade custom footwear and I decided I wanted to differentiate myself by also giving customers the option to purchase made-to-order custom footwear as well.  I offer custom footwear at reasonable prices and customers can choose from many styles and options. However, some customers do not want to wait 6-8 weeks for custom footwear so I decided to create my ready-to-wear line; Conrad by Doc C.  These footwear are also hand constructed but customers cannot modify the styles.



DC King: Explain Bespoke vs MTO (made to order) Custom shoes ?

DC: Like suits, custom made footwear has two different processes, made-to-order and true bespoke. At Doc C Custom Clothier I offer made-to-order footwear footwear that entails tracing the foot and measuring the foot if four places.  Customers can then select the color(s), the style of shoe they want and the details.  Possibilities are endless and customers can have their shoe constructed with the many sample details in the store. For example, if a customer likes a style but wants details from another style such as punch hole design, 2-tone colors, 2-tone skin (leather and suede), all leather sole or slip guard and height of heal just to name a few.  Made-to-order custom shoes are constructed on an existing shoe last and can be constructed with goodyear welted construction or blake stitching.   Made-to-order footwear generally take 6-8 weeks.  My made-to-order footwear comes standard with cedar shoe trees to retain the shape of the shoe while absorbing moisture and rear heel plates to protect the heel.   Doc C Custom Clothier Made-to-Order footwear begins at $550. Image

Bespoke shoes on the other hand have many more steps.  More detailed measurements are taken then the made-to-order process.   Meticulous notes are taken for irregular toes, bunions, flat feet, etc.  The foot is also traced but with more notes and details.  From these measurements and drawing  a wooden shoe lasts is hand-carved; essentially the customers foot is re-created.  Shoe lasts take anywhere from 2-4 weeks to produce which is why the bespoke process takes – 8-12 weeks longer then the made-to-order process.  Once shoe lasts are constructed the customer can continue to get shoes constructed with the same shoe last reducing the time to construct the footwear.  Essentially the shoe lasts is used to create a pattern that is used to cut the leather that is sewed while wet, molded and dried to ensure the perfect fit.  All bespoke footwear is made with goodyear welted construction.  Bespoke footwear can begin at $3500 and go up to as much as six figures for exotic skins.   




DC King: What sets you apart from other custom shoemaker ‘s ?

I don’t think I set myself apart from other shoemakers.  I do think I set myself apart from other haberdashery’s by offering custom footwear to customers as well as full handmade, full canvas suits.  I chose not to offer half-canvas and fused suits.  My suits and footwear are very reasonably priced for the quality.  I also think that sets me apart is I am a one-stop shop.  I also offer luxury Swill time pieces by Edouard Lauzières, and accessories.  I also offer tuxedo rental as well.  

DC King: Describe your brand in three words ? 

Exceptional, Quality, Service

DC King: Where can one find your shoes ? 

DC: My shoes can be found at 7150 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia, PA  19150.  It is my hope that you will see my shoes in other fine men’s shoe and clothing stores around the country next year.  I also offer private label service so my shoes may be in a shoe store in your area with the retailers logo.

DC King: What’s on the horizon in the near future for your brand ?

DC: “… I am hoping to place my footwear in other fine men’s clothiers and footwear retailers around the country.  This will be primarily my ready-to-wear footwear and my bench made brand where custom made-to-order styles can be purchased by retailers in bulk according to the specific details they want, my brand or their own private label.

DC King -ALS

Style Profile : Nick Mosby, Baltimore City Council 7th Dist.

Nick J Mosby is sits on the Baltimore City Council for Baltimore’s 7th District. Voted by Baltimore’s City Paper as Baltimore’s Best Politician, Nick Mosby could arguably be one of Baltimore’s most progressive , and best dressed leaders . A family man he is very involved with his community in his 7th District.


 Nick has served as an instructor and mentor with the Omega Academy where he served as role model to adolescent boys in West Baltimore, a College Tour coordinator and mentor with the Winning Teams Mentoring Program at Coppin State University, a seminar facilitator with Inroads, Inc., as well as a volunteer with the Upward Bound program.

Educated in the Baltimore City Public School System, Nick attended the prestigious Polytechnic Institute, and would later go on to attend Tuskegee University where he would earn a Bachelor’s in Electrical Egineering and was also selected for Eta Kappa Nu, International Electrical Engineering Honor Society, and later committing himself to the betterment of his community through public service. We took time out to sit with the councilman to find out his philosophy on personal appearance and style.


DC King: At what point in your life did you come to the realization that personal appearance or dressing in a particular manner had an effect in how others perceived you? 

NJM: I grew up in an old school house and my mother did not play when it came to appearance. At a very early age she taught me the importance of managing my personal appearance and understanding that the first appearance is a lasting one. 
DC King: Reading your bio I see that you hold a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Tuskegee University, what inspired you to make the move from engineering to public servant? 

NJM: That was always the plan. I have wanted to be a public servant since I was about 8-years-old. I tell people all the time to trace my roots all way back to elementary school. Ask my classmates what I wanted to be when I grew up, and they will tell you that I wanted to be a public servant in Baltimore. I am the first in my family to go away to college and doing so was a major financial struggle. I wanted to major in an area that would afford me the opportunity to earn the most so I could assist my mother upon graduation, hence the reason I went into engineering. But the plan was to always serve the city that I love. 

DC KING: At one time in our youth we may have latched onto a particular style or trend where, in hindsight, we think “What was I thinking?” Was there a particular style or something you may have might have worn at one time that you wouldn’t go near again?
NJM: That’s an easy answer. I always tried to push the envelope on things and be different on my mother’s budget. It worked some of the time, but most of the time they were epic failures. In elementary school I wore Dwayne Wayne glasses to my closing exercise. Middle school graduation I wore a silky button-up pattern shirt I bought from the Alameda Shopping Center. But high school takes the cake. First week freshmen year I wore a sleeveless ruffled white shirt from Merry Go Round. 
DC KING: You have worked with a lot of youth initiatives such as The Upward Bound Program, The Omega Academy, and Winning Teams mentoring academy at Coppin State University. If there is one thing you could tell young men about the importance of professional dress & style what would it be?

NJM: Keep it simple and straight to the point. You should define your professional attire and not the other way around. A sharp shape up, nice watch and fly shoes tie a wardrobe together nicely.

DC King: How would you describe your personal style?

NJM: I really like nice thick ties and spread-collared patterned shirts with fitted suits. I especially like my jacket to be fitted. I hate not seeing my shirt sleeve under the jacket sleeve. I love grey or navy blue suits, and I also like to wear brown leather belts and shoes. 
DC KING-ALS: Do you have a particular style icon from whom you derive your personal style from?

NJM: I like to mix it up. I have never really followed after a particular person, brand, or trend. 
DC KING: What are 4 items you can’t function without on daily basis? 

NJM: Cellphones, Watch, IPAD, and extra Business Cards.


Photos courtesy of Photos by Carde Cornish , find his work on www.facebook.com/PhotosbyCarde.

Fashion Awards Maryland


Thank you to everyone who voted . I have OFFICIALLY made the final ballot for Fashion Awards MD as the best tailor! Please check out the list of all the great talent in the local fashion industry, it’s quite impressive. Hope to see you on May 8th at Wear it Out Wednesday at the Tremont Grand and June 15th at the Fashion Awards MD show. Voting Starts April 1st .http://fashionawardsmd.com/?p=785




I was recently featured in Made Man Magazine as a style contributor , Check out my Style Q&A with Reza Farazmand


Style Tips for the College Grad

posted by Reza Farazmand, 03/12/13

Style Tips for the College Grad
Reza Farazmand


College is a wonderful time. You get to meet new people, explore your interests and test your partying limits. You also get to wear pretty much anything, as evidenced by the sheer number of students who stroll around campus all day in full pyjama attire. That’s just fine during those four special years, but once you hit the real world a slightly more grown-up wardrobe should be in order. For all of you soon-to-be college grads (or twenty somethings still in transit) we’ve lined up a few tips on how to dress for success, respect and—with a little luck— your first real job. Stylist Derrick King of Baltimore’s Christopher Schafer Clothier offers up his expert advice.


“If your clothes walk in the door way before you do, you’ve gotten their attention but in the wrong way.”


MADE MAN: What are a few essential style pieces a recent college grad should have in his wardrobe?
DERRICK KING: I always tell my clients with anything in life you have to start with your basics. It’s the same for your wardrobe; those basics are going to allow you to create numerous outfits as you add on to your wardrobe. When first building your professional wardrobe you should start out with the following:

I. One charcoal solid suit and one navy solid suit. This will be the foundation of your wardrobe.

II. Button cuff shirts in blue, white, pink and even lavender or light purple. These colors look good on any skin tone. Avoid french cuff shirts this early in the game. Button cuffs will allow you to seamlessly take your outfit from dressy to casual. Once you have the solids down, then you can start going into stripes and patterns, but only after you have that as your foundation.

III. One pair of black shoes and one pair of brown or chestnut colored shoes in either wing tips, cap toes or plain oxfords. Brown or chestnut shoes are perfect for either charcoal or navy suits. Black can give a more formal or evening appearance to a charcoal suit when paired with a crisp white shirt.

IV. Finally to “tie” it all together, an assortment of ties. These will allow you to be able to create several outfits just out of those few pieces. Your suits and shoes are your framework to work within, and you can create a multitude of different looks by changing up shirts and ties. Just remember to rotate your suits and shoes throughout the week to keep things fresh.

Left: Hedge/Gense Trim Fit Stripe Suit Right: BOSS Black Suit & Dress Shirt

MM: Are there any specific pieces he should avoid?
DK: When transitioning from college to your career you want to give off the appearance  of being mature and confident. Avoid anything that appears too youthful or too flashy. Things like excessive jewelry, extremely pointy or square toed shoes, and loud, bright colored, black, or extremely loud print shirts.

MM: How can a young man dress professionally while still expressing his personality in his choice of clothing?
DK: Accessories are a great and safe way to express your personality in your choice of clothing. Pocket squares and ties are great ways to add punches of color and personality to the basics of any wardrobe at this early stage. Just avoid the novelty stuff. Your South Park or Star Wars tie may have you looking like more of a goof than a gent .

MM: A guy scores his first job interview out of college. How should he dress to meet his potential employers?
DK: Take the “less is always more” approach. A simple plain white or blue shirt, navy or charcoal suit (avoid black, which should be reserved for evenings and formal events) and a solid color or conservatively patterned tie. Avoid sneakers or t-shirts with suits. Chinos are way too casual for an interview, and leave your boat shoes at home. While this may seem like common knowledge you’d be surprised the questions I get from guys first starting out. You want to create the impression of being confident and stable to your potential employer. Your clothing should essentially be a tool that accentuates your personality. If your clothes walk in the door way before you do, you’ve gotten their attention but in the wrong way.

Left: The North Face Jacket, Hickey Freeman Sweater & Grayers Straight Leg Pants Right: Bonobos Blazer, French Connection Sport Shirt, Levi’s® Made & Crafted Chinos

MM: What are the three biggest style tips you’d give to a young man transitioning into adulthood?
DK: 1. Get the basics down. 2. No matter what amount of money you invest into your wardrobe, if it doesn’t fit it doesn’t matter. Fit is vital whether you go custom or off the rack. If you walk into an interview looking like a kid in his dad’s oversized suit, or in something that is extremely tight, it makes it hard for anyone to take you seriously. 3. Once you’ve gotten the basics down and you’ve learned the rules, you now have the supplies needed to start the journey into your own personal style. Explore and have fun!

Editor’s note: The styles pictured in the top-most image are the Ibiza Sportcoat and Tommy Bahama Sport Shirt (left) and Kroon Sportcoat, Michael Kors Cardigan & Hickey Freeman Sport Shirt (right). All clothing available at Nordstrom.

Read more: http://www.mademan.com/style-tips-for-the-college-grad/#ixzz2NQn0Y2E1





Style Profile: Howard Wicker , The Sharp Dressed Man Behind The Mentoring Academy



  A Life Suited is more than just a tongue & cheek play on words , the title itself is a representation of what a man sets out to do the moment he becomes aware of himself and his needs. He seeks to build a life suited for himself, and sets out on a path to do so. Often at times the wrong choices made can lead one down a path in the wrong direction, that would make life less suitable for themselves and those around them. Today’s style profile is dedicated to Howard Wicker, a man whose sole mission is to get men back on the right path. 


    Howard is the Program Manager for Patrick Allison House inc. and the director of The Ex-Offender Mentoring Academy and Training Center through Living Classrooms Foundation , a non-profit dedicated to fighting recidivism amongst male ex-offenders returning home after being released back into society. Which he founded in August of 2012 after receiving a grant from the state of Maryland for $1Million. The Academy is tucked quietly away in Baltimore City’s Mt. Vernon neighborhood. Part of keeping these men out of prison is ensuring that they are able to have employment so that they are financially independent. This can be a difficult thing to achieve when being released back into society with virtually nothing and no support system. Howard through The Mentoring Academy working hand in hand with Sharp Dressed Man, a non-profit set up by Christopher Schafer through The Baltimore Fashion Alliance seeks to help these men overcome that first hurdle by providing them with donated business attire to wear to job interviews. Today Mr. Wicker gives us an inside look into the program and what drives his own personal style. 



 Top : Christopher Rondo of CSC with members of The Mentoring Academy 

Below: The members of The Mentoring Academy after visiting the Sharp Dressed Man Boutique




DC King:  What inspired you to create The Mentoring Academy ?


HW: Something in me just wants to help people , I don’t know what to call it , but I do know where it comes from (GOD).. And the need to help men coming home from jail is big. More importantly is the need to help them not to go back. Did you know that over 50% of the people in Baltimore who come home from jail go back to jail.. Unbelievable 


DC King:  What inspired you to include the Sharp Dressed Man Boutique as a part of The Mentoring Academy? 


HW : I love fashion , it was my dream to be a fashion designer. I was actually accepted and attended Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C. But I chose the “Street Life” instead. But I was always into style and fashion from a very young age. So the Sharp Dressed Man Boutique just  compliments my personality , so it’s my personal touch on the Ex-Offenders Mentoring Academy and Training Center thanks to Chris (Schafer), Rondo and Yourself.


DC King: Why do you think teaching men to have pride in their personal appearance, is a key component in helping to fight recidivism?


HW:  What we are attempting to do is to remove the stereotype and the “label” ex-offender. Society has given the ex-offender a “look”. A well dressed man NEVER comes off looking like a ex-offender ……


DC King: How would you describe your own personal style?


HW: Classic with a twist of Swag… 


DC KIng: Do you have a style icon, time period in history or favorite designer that you draw your inspiration?


HW:   I am a Ralph Lauren baby. I grew up wearing the man on the horse on everything. But Ralph Lauren is bigger then Polo. I like “Purple Label” / “Black Label” / “Denim Supply” / “Rugby” ..I could continue , Yes I am truly a fan a Ralph… 


DC King:Name 4 items that you can’t do without ?



My Blackberry

My TAG watches

My Bow-ties 


DC King: Lastly… What impact do you hope to see The Mentoring Academy make here in Baltimore City?


HW: It is already making a difference , in 4 months since we opened we have already enrolled over 75 men. All have been given the opportunity to meet true fashion designers. Not only meet them , but to be personally measured for a suit. I have talked to guys in the Academy that have cried once they put the suit on and saw how they looked in the suit. I hope we are bringing hope back to the city of Baltimore ” One Suit At a Time” … Thanks to the Sharp Dressed Man Boutique

If you are interested in providing donations to the Sharp Dressed Man program, go to http://www.sharpdressedman.org. Or if you are interested in finding out more about The Mentoring academy contact Howard Wicker at hwicker@livingclassrooms.org


Style Profile : Peter Watkins of Sette Neckwear


Some of you who follow me on Tumblr and the A Life Suited FB page may remember the video I posted last week introducing Sette Neckwear. Sette which means seven in Italian is a new luxury neckwear line of Italian 7-fold ties founded by Peter Watkins. Today we caught up with the former White House Aide for a bit of Q&A to find out more about the brand and the inspiration behind it .
1. When was Sette started ?
We officially launched Sette in December, 2011.  However, we got the idea several years ago, while in a former life of politics we found ourselves traveling in Italy on official business.  We noticed that the Italian head of government was giving out as a ‘gift’ some very personal ties handmade by a local label. They were nothing you could find in the U.S.  It made us extremely envious of the recipients that there were very small Italian companies making neckties with the sole purpose of making a beautiful accessory with all of the most personal touches.
2. What is it that sets Sette a part from other neckwear brands?

We have yet to see a seven fold tie constructed like ours, or with all of the hand crafted features. For example, the silk on our seven-folds crosses the entire width of the blade when you open it in the back. The idea being, that we wanted the ties to still have the necessary heft without using a cotton liner. In order to achieve this, we had to make up for it with extra silk. Our bar tacks are also intentionally left higher so that our customers can take a look inside. We have nothing to hide! That idea came after reading the book on Steve Jobs, and learning about how obsessed he was that Apple products were quality from the inside as well as the outside. We have a rare confidence that our neckwear would pass the ‘gut’ check test. In addition, we number each tie. After we make a certain number of any of our lines, we end it. Its like a club. ImageImageImage

3. Who is currently wearing Sette Neckwear.?

People who have a love for handmade neckwear or to own a tie with a personal story. Your readers in Baltimore would be happy to know a handful of the Superbowl Champion Ravens are among our family. In addition, we’ve been seen on a number of television programs on anchors or guests.

4. If you could sum up your brand in 3 words what would it be ?
Finest In Neckwear.
5. Outside of your website where can readers find your neckwear ? Christopher Schafer Clothiers ! 
If you are in Baltimore and want to know more about the Sette go to the Christopher Schafer website and send an inquiry.

Style Profile – Grant Harris,MBA of Image Granted


This particular post is a labor of love for me..To help you to understand why lets go back to about a year ago. After getting my walking papers from my corporate job, I set out to try to establish myself as a menswear blogger…. I just had no idea how I get started , then I remembered sitting one night with my friend months ago playing around on Vimeo and seeing videos of Grant explaining his transition from corporate life into world of style. I figured if anybody could offer me advice and steer me in the right direction it would certainly be this gentleman. I It all started with a direct message on twitter and here we are a year later, but back to Grant.

Grant Harris,MBA is the owner of Image Granted and a style contributor for Primer Magazine and featured in several international publications such as The Wall Street Journal, TIME Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, CNN,  AOL, Men’s Health and others.  His Washington, DC based Image Consulting company is dedicated to solving image and style issues for men.

Grant was kind enough to stop by A Life Suited for a bit of Style Q&A for today’s Style Profile. So without further adieu …

1. How did you get into style writing?
Style writing?  I think you’re really asking what makes me think I can write anything that anyone will care to read and get away with it.  In that case I guess I fell into it the same as anyone else might.  I wasn’t born writing, but I’ve always been comfortable doing it.  In high school and college it was theses on philosophy, abnormal behavior.  Now the subject matter has changed, but the audience hasn’t.  It’s still for anyone who will listen and have a tolerable and coherent response.  There are too many other “writers” with more skill, flair, and practice than myself, but I take pride in the fact that someone somewhere gets enjoyment out of my work and see fit to ask me questions about it.

2. Image Granted is so much more than just a blog. I find it to be more of a style and personal branding guide.  Where did the idea of Image Granted come from?

You would be correct.  There are enough clothing blogs out there.  There are enough pictures for everyone to look at.  Instead, I’m more concerned with helping my audience learn something they didn’t before, have access to something they didn’t before, or be able to apply something in a way they couldn’t before.  True style is not only about building a relationship with your tailor and then fussing about the buttonholes in your shirt.  It’s about building a relationship with your tailor and helping your tailor build relationships with your friends and his friends and their friends and passing on the art of style and enjoying the process.  I treat dressing well as a personal business, and my business is personal

3. Are there currently some upcoming events or projects that you would like to tell our readers about?

Too many to count.  While I don’t put stock in quantity—except when it comes to socks, one can never have enough—the quality of the projects is what counts.  You can normally tell the quality of a project by how many hours you’ve invested in it.  Hours of thought, process, procedure, step after step until you’re able to look back and see the journey and appreciate where you’ve come.  IG is currently involved in several individual and collective projects which will be manifesting themselves in the short and long-term.  Panel discussions with some of DC’s brightest minds, co-hosting boutique events, major magazine features, and the first of its kind lifestyle showcase in DC in the spring.  My plate is full but I’m still hungry.

4. I’ve read that you attended the prestigious Virginia Military Institute. How did your experience at VMI influence how you view style and grooming?

The military has an effect on everyone either positively or negatively.  You can fight the establishment and buck the system, or you can conceded to the fact that the machine is bigger than you and while you do not surrender to it, you allow it to be the leader and take from it what you can.  I chose the latter.  Wearing a uniform everyday instills discipline, it engenders routine, and it nourishes appreciation and care…if you allow it.  If not then it promotes laziness, fosters incontinence, and nurtures complacency.  Fortunately, in my case I chose the former.

5. How would you describe your own personal style?

So many people ask this question.  Sometimes I give the technical tried and true explanation.   Classic, manicured, polished, approachable, versatile etc.  Other times I leave it up to the viewer.  My style is still evolving.  Most people assume I’m wearing either designer labels or custom.  Yes, many of my pieces are custom, not nearly as many as I’d like but I’m a man of meaning means.  The majority of my wardrobe is thrifted or gifted.  I only buy something new if it’s old.  While my style is nothing to boost about I do have the ability to make my clothes that are cheap look as if they cost much more than they did.  This also keeps me out of the poor house while being able to build my wardrobe until I’m care free enough to have everything in my closet made for me.

6. Name 4 items you can’t live without on a daily basis?

Bresciani socks.
Cashmere or silk scarf.
Randolph Engineering Sunglasses
My VMI class ring

7. What are some things and or items that men should absolutely avoid when developing their own personal style?
Avoid nothing.  Try it all.  If you avoid something you’ll never know if it truly works for you or not.  One man telling another man to avoid something is based off of the first man’s personal experience which is probably based off the experience of someone else, which in turn makes the second man a pawn.  Try as much as you want, until you make decisions for yourself that it doesn’t work, just don’t make the general public and those in your vicinity pay for your transgressions.

8. Are there any other jewels that you’d like to bestow upon our readers today?
If you’ve read this far you’ve gotten plenty of them.  It’s up to you to polish them and let them shine.





Photo from a recent shoot I styled for Christopher March Photography this past Thursday . Model : Michael Ryann Clothing: Christopher Schafer Clothiers

Style Profile Rob Morton of Studio Tre’ Lynn


You may not know the man behind the lens, but his resume’ speaks volumes. Rob Morton is a self taught veteran photographer with 30 years of experience. His studio Tre’ Lynn a combination of the names of his oldest son and his wife has been producing high quality work for highly satisfied clients is tucked away in historic Mount Vernon . Since discovering his passion for photography in 1983 , the New Jersey native has had the pleasure of having an esteemed client list that includes but not limited to Maserati , Dolce & Gabbana , Southwest Airlines and The Baltimore Ravens just to name a few. I caught up with our featured visionary to get to know more about what inspires his work and his personal style.

DCK-ALS : What was your first fashion gig?

RM:Oh wow.. That was so long ago. It was a Debutante Ball sponsored by the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and the designer that made all of the young ladies gowns wanted to do a shoot of her gowns… I was in H.S. when I did that shoot….
DCK-ALS : What was your most memorable shoot and why?

RM: There have been so many, but I think the most memorable shoot was comercial shoot for an ad agency, having accomplished it and having the shoot published internationally.. That one and my shoot with Maserati and seeing those images in an Italian magazine, I will never forget those.

DCK-ALS : Who or what inspired you to get into fashion photography?

RM: I wouldn’t label myself as a “Fashion Photographer” per se however my inspiration to start photographing Fashion came from a friend of mine that works for the Washington Post.. He’s been a mentor for a number of years and has always been a helpful hyper critical eye of my work. I appreciate that. Especially from a helpful critical eye.. My leaning towards Fashion is because it’s pretty neat, it continuously changes, but then my life has always been a life through a lens.

DCK-ALS: How would you describe your own personal style?

RM:I’ve never had to do that.. Wow… I get inspired by my client. I derive a style that gel’s with them and their personality, it’s always a combination style that I like to infuse with a bit of me.. To make us both excited yet different… Not sure if that makes sense, but my style depends on my subject, the result though is a look that’s completely mine.

DCK-ALS: Who or what do you draw inspiration from when it comes to your style of dress?

RM: I love being a sharp dressed man, i get inspired by some current trends mixed with my ability to clothe my body type…. Just because someone makes a garment does not mean that you have to wear it. but Classic Vintage will never fade, that’s my style…
DCK-ALS: Name four items you can’t live w/o on a day to day basis?

RM: 1. My Ties… all 150+ of them (With room for more..)
2.My variety of unique pocket squares.
3. My love affair with Nordstroms (shoe Dept)
4. my HAPPY SOCKS… Man I love them things…
DCK-ALS: How do you see the future of Baltimore’s emerging fashion scene?

RM: “I think that some of the right people are on top of the Men’s Fashion scene here there is room for more however designers need to be careful not to cast a shadow on the functionality of a garment with their personal artistic expression… The garment still needs to fulfill a function, not just look good to you because that’s what you, (the designer) woke up and felt like creating that day..”

DCK-ALS: On the international scene is there a fashion photographer whose work you admire?

RM: “I’m an admirer of Photographers in general but if I had to narrow it down it would be
Patrick Demarchelier, Anna-Lou “Annie” Leibovitz and of course the founders of light and shadow”


Derrick C. King-ALS

The Delta Sigma Theta Centennial Celebration-DC


This weekend we had the honor of showing for a crowd of 12,000..yes! 12,000 honorable members of the largest black sorority in the US Delta Sigma Theta Inc. This has been the largest fashion show of my entire career.The theme was for the period of 1953-1963 and we were the only menswear designers to walk. We wanted to give a nod to that period and a time when all men regardless of creed or color dressed like gentleman, despite their station in life. The period in which my parents were born and my grandparents lived. It was a for me a reminder of how we carried ourselves with dignity and class despite being viewed by some as second class. As an African American I was proud to be a part of the event, and learned much about the rich history of this sorority of strong proud women. Their participation in the struggle for civil rights, justice & equality and how because of the sacrifice and hard work of organizations such as theirs and the other frats and sororities of the “Divine Nine” I and my son are able to enjoy freedoms that we sometimes take for granted.





I am happy to announce that I received the official nomination for best designer/tailor in Maryland for my work with Christopher Schafer Clothier from Fashion Awards MD . This is an awesome opportunity and I am grateful. With Chris winning the award for best tailor last year it would be an honor to keep it in-house . So I still need your help to make on the final ballot , so please continue to vote and share this w/ friends co-workers etc . The deadline for voting is Feb. 1st. Thank you for your vote.
- Derrick C King- ALS – CSC


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