A Men's wear & lifestyle appreciation blog

Archive for March, 2013

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.