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Paul Stuart and Phineas Cole

November 12, 2009

Picture 5

Now that our wedding is officially complete and every last item on my checklist has been crossed off, except thank you notes of course, I can happily share some of the great experiences and worthy partners we encountered along the way. Some fashion related, some travel recommendations and even some specific wedding vendors, but naturally I’ll kick off with one of my favorite finds that just happens to be clothes related!

Long before the wedding, even before the engagement, we knew that my husband would not be saying his vows in a tuxedo, or anything that resembled a black suit. There was no clear vision and no long-awaited outfit to obtain. There was just a feeling that we had to seek out in the form of mensware. Our wedding style was informal but sophisticated and fun and we requested that our guests come dressed in natty attire which funnily threw everyone for a loop. We weren’t sure where to begin but in New York City the options are overwhelming, yet limited at the same time. There was a loose budget that got slightly more refined each shopping trip as our mouths simply dropped at price tags; it’s torture to have expensive taste! We visited the obvious department stores like Saks and Barney’s and intimate brand boutiques like Brunello Cucinelli and Hugo Boss. He actually purchased a back-up suit at the weekly sample sale held inside Chelsea Market from Hickey. The price was unbeatable, $350 for a blazer and pants that fit like a glove, but it was charcoal gray with faint pin stripes that had to be seriously snazzed up to avoid looking like a corporate finance manager or another attendee at the wedding.

Whereas a girl has to purchase a wedding dress months in advance, men have the luxury of waiting a little longer to find their coveted attire, and my husband certainly pushed the limit by waiting until about 5 weeks before the wedding to really take this shopping seriously. After a lot of frustrated browsing and being challenged to find a complete outfit to look like some of the swipe we pulled from men’s magazines, without spending $6,000, we finally decided to give one last store a try, going out on a limb that this would be the place to find one of the most important suit purchases.

My husband has always been fascinated by the models in the windows at the Paul Stuart store on Madison Avenue. Each one dressed like a proper gentleman who appear to have somewhere impressive to go while dazzling passerbys with their classic ensembles full of color, pattern and texture. A university English professor or old world banking man are the types of men I pictured as regular customers. I introduced my husband to his first Paul Stuart item when I surprised him with a pocket square for his birthday years ago; it was representative of a little taste of the style he aspired to when he had a reason to dress like that everyday.

We had little confidence that Paul Stuart was the right store for this particular occasion, but we were running out of time and disappointed in everything we had seen so far. Little did we know that his aspirational brand would solve all of our shopping needs beyond expectation. If you have never been inside the Paul Stuart store, you would be shocked to realize its size and healthy inventory once you see that it takes up half of the block with 3 levels above ground to house men’s women’s, accessories, shoes, outerwear, fitting rooms and personal tailors. Cashmere, wool, leather and silk fill the shelves and racks and every color has it’s place to paint a picture of pure wardrobe delight.

The goal was to find an outfit that fit my husband’s style and personality, matched the mood of our reception and made him stand out from a church full of men in black, gray and navy suits. I say outfit because we realized that a well styled ensemble of blazer, pants, shirt, tie, pocket square could be just as dapper as a well fitting 3-piece pinstripe suit and we were open to pushing the boundaries of ordinary. We were fortunate to fall into the hands of an amazing sales person who ended up spending the next 2.5 hours dressing my husband from head to toe.

The personal attention and trial and error experience of shopping, in what felt like a rich man’s home, resulted in an outfit hard to describe other than perfect for my husband-to-be and anyone who saw it knew that only he could get away with such flare at his own wedding. With the help of Manolo Costa, Manager of the new Phineas Cole collection from Paul Stuart, we assembled piece-by-piece a colorful, yet tasteful combination of earthy colored wool of blues and greens and complemented by a contrasting magenta to top off the cool hued look. We could not have done it without him and his patience and eye for style left a great impression.

The blazer and pants were fitted immediately by the in-house expert tailors using white chalk, measuring tape and other tools unfamiliar in the world of alterations. We left the store with only a pair of shoes left to purchase and we even considered buying those there as well. It’s not often that you buy an entire 6-piece outfit from the same brand and wear them together all at the same time. But at establishments like Paul Stuart, I have a feeling this kind of thing happens all too often.

So in the future, if you are looking to dress like an English gentleman or just want to improve your overall appearance with some classic yet distinguished mensware, I suggest an introductory pitstop at Paul Stuart and Phineas Cole. Phineas Cole is the latest collection that appeals to a more modern man who prefers a more streamlined, European look rather than the traditional, American cut. I promise you will get treated better than at most stores, especially if you can embrace the art of being an expert retail salesmen and let them bestow their knowledge and craft unto you to your benefit .

Picture 6Paul Stuart

Madison Avenue at 45th Street

New York, NY 10017

212.682.0320

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 12, 2009 12:54 am

    Can you tell me who did your layout? I’ve been looking for one kind of like yours. Thank you.

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