BBJ Podcast: Everything men need to know about fashion

Judah BBJ

The first Baltimore Business Journal Podcast of 2014 with James Briggs of the Baltimore Business Journal featured Judah Estreicher of JBD Clothiers!

“Judah Estreicher, the owner of JBD Clothiers Inc. in Baltimore, joins me in studio to offer fashion advice for men. Estreicher recently started blogging for the Baltimore Business Journal.”

Here are some highlights from the podcast:

JB: What are people looking for when they come to you?

JE: They’re pretty much looking for someone to save them time and to make them dress really well. Most of our clients are people that either don’t like to shop or don’t have time to shop but they want a complete wardrobe to be built for them so that they dont have to spend the time going to the store and doing the work on their own.

JB: Targeting men with clothing is just a losing proposition. How do you bridge that gap and reach out to men?

JE: Sometimes I don’t even reach out to the men, I reach out to the wives. Many times at an appointment I’ll ask the wife for her phone number because she’s the one in charge of it and the man just wants to get measured up. 

JB: What kind of money does it take to dress well?

JE: The way I structured it is that I sell multiple suits in packages, which allows people to purchase custom clothing at the price that they would pay for off the rack clothing at a place like Nordstrom or Brooks Brothers.

JB: Why would you argue that it’s better to come to you rather than shopping off the rack in a place like Nordstrom?

JE: If you are a person that time is incredibly valuable, you wouldn’t want to take the time to go into the store and have to do everything it takes to get what you want. You would want some one to come to you, in your home and office and take care of your needs so you can focus on your work and family. The other thing is is that with the service, custom clothing, if you have any issues with the clothing, the clothier will come to you and take care of it.  So if you have a pair of pants that tear on the seam for whatever reason… the clothier will come pick up the garment, take care of the alteration for you and bring it back.

JB: What is it about the look that you can tell men that makes it worth it for them to go the custom route?

JE: A lot of people think that when they buy off the rack, their clothing fits them. But the truth is, a lot of times it doesn’t. I have clients that one shoulder is higher than the other. When that happens, you can either get a roll in the back where there’s extra fabric, or you can get one sleeve that’s higher than another. One of the things that we do in my company is that all of our suits have functional buttonholes, or surgeon cuffs, which means that the sleeve is made specifically for the client. A lot of time people will go to the store and buy clothes based on their neck size, and it might fit their neck, but the sleeves, shoulders, stomach… there are many things it won’t fit just because it fits one thing. Like with athletes you find all the time they have very thin wastes and very big hips.

JB: Why should someone care if they don’t notice these things?

JE: Image is important when presenting yourself. Even if it’s not so important to you, and you may not be incredibly detail oriented, but someone you’re working with might be. A lot of executives are extremely detail oriented and notice every detail.

JB: How much is it necessary for the average man to spend per year for his wardrobe?

JE: I’ve worked out wardrobe packages which I started putting clients on which start out at $5000 and go to about $48,000 and that will include 5 suits, sweaters, ties, 10 shirts. Pretty much in a wardrobe you want to have 6 basic suits and a tuxedo. You want to have a black, grey, navy solid and then all of those in pinstripe and a tuxedo. The reason why you want to have the grey, navy and black is because you can not only wear them as suits, but you can also switch the pants and jackets and make blazer and slacks combinations so you can actually make it into a small wardrobe.

JB: Interesting that you say tuxedo… a lot of people say that Baltimore is not really a black tie kind of city. Why would you argue that men in Baltimore need to own a tux?

JE: If you’re renting tuxedos to go to events, the money that you’re spending to have something that does not look and fit you properly, it would be worth the investment to be able to get a tux to wear that does fit you; because most of the time when you’re going tot wear a tux to a black tie event, it’s where you should be presenting yourself in the best manner possible.

JB: How long does a shirt or pair of pants last before they need to be replaced?

JE: One of the big things I try to  educate my clients on, in addition to the quality of garments, is how to take care of your clothing. A suit should last a very long time. Every suit that I do is fully canvassed which means that there is no glue inside of the jacket. This means that when you get it pressed and when you wear it, the glue doesn’t expand and destroy the fabric. This will have the jacket last many years. You should really only dry clean your suit twice a year. Any guy that’s buying quality custom clothing should have a steamer in his house. Steaming is the best way. Shirts are different. What I do with a lot of my clients is, I put black or navy fabric inside the collar and cuff because the shirts will wear quickly; and also from sweating you’ll stain the back of  your collar, so it should last longer, But I tell every client of mine they should have a white shirt in  his office and in his car just in case.

JB: Baltimore’s always on the list for worst dressed cities?

JE: I would say that Baltimore is getting better. The more development, the more restaurants, and the more things to do, the more people will want to dress up to go out. Some of my clients dress just because they want to dress well. Whenever I wear a blazer in 95 degrees and some girl says to me, “Aren’t you hot in that?” I say, “Don’t those heals hurt?” We make sacrifices because we want to look good.

JB: What are some of the biggest mistakes men make?

JE: Not that you have to buy custom but that you don’t have the right tailor. To find the combination of looking good and fitting properly is what’s important. When I meet with clients I tell them  I want to find them the proper fit. Even if the suit comes in and it looks great, I tell them I want to do at least one fitting, I still want to hear their preference… if they want more room in the jacket. If you have a tailor that you work with, you can shop according to what you’re looking for.

JB: And what’s your advice for someone who doesn’t yet have that tailor to find one?

JE: Call me!

JB: A big trend for men is acquiring more shoes?

JE: I heard that women determine the quality of an outfit by the shoes. A basic wardrobe should have a nice black pair of shoes, a  nice dark brown pair of shoes and a nice light brown pair of shoes. If I were just to wear a navy suit with black shoes, it would just be another navy suit. But when I put it with a light pair of camel colored brown shoes and a brown belt that matches, now all of a sudden the whole outfit is kind of lit up a little bit by the shoes and the belt. Laceups are the go to shoes.

JB: Is it important for men to wear watches?

JE: I use my watch more for other people who know about watches more that to look at the time, for that I use my cell phone. Accessories can take a basic outfit and turn it into a more glamorous image.

JB: How do people reconcile what is trendy with something that is more appropriate for what people are wearing around them?

JE: With colors that are in for the season, I won’t dress my clients to go into the office in a light blue or  a red suit. But they may want a little bit of the trendy… when wearing a black suit, wear a cashmere red sweater, or wear a navy suit with a white shirt and a light blue cashmere  V neck under that. If you’re just beginning a wardrobe, buy things that are all year round. If you have an advanced wardrobe, you can already start buying light colors which were in this winter and are going into the spring also.

JB: Trends for 2014?

JE: 3 things: colorful socks, pocket squares and you will see a lot more plaid, windowpane jackets with multiple colors.

Listen to the whole podcast here to find out everything men need to know about fashion.

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