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Richard T. F. - Style Questionnaire

Publication Date: 
May 26, 2010
Esquire: Best Dressed Real Man

Professor Richard Ford is nominated as "Best Dressed Real Man" in Esquire Magazine:

How would you describe your personal style in a single sentence?

Understated with small unconventional flourishes; traditional Anglo-American, heavily inspired by the Italian peninsula; polished but not stuffy, comfortable and stylish but not trendy or fashion forward (isn't it wonderful how strategically selected punctuation can transform a "single sentence"?)

It's a Tuesday. You're going to work. What are you wearing?

Must I be going to work? Very well then, and since it's Tuesday, I'm wearing a black and chocolate three button, cashmere herringbone sportcoat with black suede patches on the sleeves, black slim cut, flat front trousers, black leather belt, black and white striped shirt with spread collar, unbuttoned with no tie (because it's Tuesday after all and I'm not lecturing); a grey and white cotton pocket square (the death of which has been greatly exaggerated); black leather Goodyear welted bluchers and, if this particular Tuesday is sunny, a pair of black and grey sunglasses with thick temples and squarish lenses, a la Marcello Mastrioanni-- no I don't claim to have his sense of sprezzatura, but one can at least make an effort, while, of course looking as if one hasn't.

Who or what had the biggest influence on your style and how did it impact you?

My father, who insisted on looking polished and refined even when everyone around him was wearing a short sleeved dress shirt. He trained as a tailor at a time when even professionally inclined black men needed to trade to fall back on and used that expertise in selecting his clothes from then on: tugging on seams, feeling for the canvasing in suits and short coats, checking the drape of pants, etc. He also pointed out stylish men such as Miles Davis in his early years, Sean Connery, Jack Lord, Frank Sinatra, Harry Belafonte, Marcello Mastrioanni and Alain Delon to his then ungrateful and dreadfully attired son. Years later it sunk in. And, if I may, Nick Sullivan of Esquire who always encourages daring and innovation in personal style but cautions against reckless excess (yes, shameless flattery, but what's the harm when it happens to be true).

I usually shop at the following stores: Barney's, Wilkes Bashford, Neiman Marcus,,

My favorite brands include: Isaia, Luciano Barbera, Tom Ford, Brunello Cuccinelli, Paul Smith