Washington, D.C.'s Best Menswear Designer
an interview with Claire Butler, Washington, D.C.'s Lead Fit Specialist
What’s your background in menswear?
My experience in menswear began with my tenure at Polo Ralph Lauren. During my 6 years with the company, I worked on Blue Label and Black Label brands for product categories including woven shirts, roughwear and outerwear. Working for such a large and iconic company, gave me the opportunity to experience textile sourcing and production from all over Europe and Asia. The design and quality driven brand principles were embodied in the artisanal development of beautiful and luxurious raw materials.
What are some common mistakes guys make when selecting a suit in terms of fit?
I find that a lot of younger men want to be on trend with a slimmer, more modern cut in their suits. The mistakes becomes evident when the cut is too extreme. They lose the timeless appeal of the suit and cross over into wearing a suit that simply is too tight and too small for their body.
What are some of your favorite fabrics for suits?
Any fabric with cashmere! Even the smallest percentage of cashmere blended into a fabric instantly elevates the elegance factor. Cashmere is lightweight, breathable, warm and creates a lush hand feel for any garment.
What are three key tailored clothing pieces that should be in a guy’s wardrobe besides the classic dark worsted wool suit?
First, a great fitting navy blazer is a versatility piece for any man's wardrobe. Wear it with jeans, chinos, or grey trousers for a more casual day at the office or weekend wear. It's a garment any guy will go to grab out of his closet time and time again.
Next, a beautifully tailored white shirt. A white shirt can be worn as a separate for more casual wear or under any color suit. Well tailored shirts always enhance the look and fit of a suit jacket, while also maintaining a polished silhouette when a man removes his jacket.
Finally, for a colder climate like D.C., a classic and well-fitting overcoat is essential. An overcoat constructed from quality materials, such as cashmere or alpaca, will withstand harsh elements and frequent wear. It is the piece that encompasses fit, style and functionality to complete his look during colder months.
Why Hall Madden?
A team of truly knowledgeable and supportive people who strive to make all our clients look and feel amazing. Hall Madden is a company with office locations in major cities across the country, yet the culture is that of a close and encouraging family. It is truly a unique and wonderful experience. I also took this position very seriously because of the year long training I undertook and the apprenticing factor.
What’s your thoughts on men’s style in DC?
The general style of D.C. men is classic and understated. The color palettes are more muted and reserved. The men of D.C. do put an emphasis on their style and outward appearance; they want to look good. Classic, yet refined is what D.C. men's style is all about.
To learn more about the Washington DC fit studio or Book a fitting please visit our DC page.
Let a hall madden expert fitter walk you through the ins and outs of his own formal attire
1. The Tuxedo: "I went with the classic black with peak lapels, and to keep it on the traditional side jetted pockets and a single button. To modernize the fit and make it more comfortable, I went with an unstructured shoulder and dual back vents. While midnight navy shawl collar tuxedos are our most popular design among clients, it's nice to always to return to a timeless dinner jacket."
2. The Tuxedo shirt: "You don't have to wear shirt studs with your tuxedo. I prefer a "fly" front placket that covers thin mother-of-pearl buttons for a very clean and streamlined look. And I skipped the pleated front on the shirt, too, which I think looks a bit "disco." Obviously, I kept the French double-cuff as this is a formal shirt and a semi-spread collar, which I find frames my face best."
3. The Bow tie: "I always match my bow tie to my lapels on tuxedos, so it's in the same black silk satin."
4. The Shoes: "Our Hall Madden Signature Black Captoe Oxfords are a perfect option if you want something more versatile, as you can wear them with suits, too. But I really liked these formal loafers that have tassels and a bit of personality to them! Black tie doesn't allow you to make too many "statements," but sometimes it can be fun to bend the rules a bit."
5. Cuff Links & Pocket Squares: "The pocket square is a simple, TV-folded white handkerchief. My cufflinks are from my father -- jewelry is always more special when received as a gift."