December 15, 2014 by Ville Raivio
VR: Your age and occupation?
WS: I am 31 and work for a financial service organization within Human Resources, managing one of our corporate programs.
VR: Have you any children or spouse (and how do they relate to your style enthusiasm)?
WS: I have been married for five years now and have no children yet. My wife is my biggest motivation for everything that I do. Her smile when I get dressed to leave for the office in the morning encourages me as she takes pride in my sense of style. She is quite stylish herself, so compliments from her make my day.
VR:…and your parents and siblings’ reactions back when you were younger?
WS: Both of my parents were my first experiences with style. I still have many memories of visiting the tailor shop with my dad and watching him get measured for various items, so it was almost expected that my siblings and I would develop our own personal sense of style early on. I have a younger sister who is a Certified Public Accountant and a younger brother who is an attorney. My brother is probably more into style than my sister is, but they are both well-dressed individuals
VR: What other hobbies or passions do you have besides classic apparel?
WS: When I was much younger, I developed a passion for all things aviation-related and could spend hours at the airport watching planes take off and land. To this day, flying is one of my favorite things to do. I am also an avid collector of Lego City sets and just recently completed collecting all of the airport/airplane sets from the ‘90s and 2000s. My wife and I are great fans of the arts and spend quite a bit of time at museums and the theater.
VR: How did you first become interested in style, and when did you turn your eyes towards the classics? Why these instead of fashion?
WS: I first truly became interested in style about five years ago. As I progressed in my career, attire-wise I was doing enough to meet the requirements. I wore a suit, shirt and tie to work everyday but never really gave any thought to fit or fabric. I bought cheap and fast, which I now know cost me so much when I look over that time span. When I was even younger than that, I bought whatever was fashionable based on magazines and television instead of understanding why. What I eventually learned was how transient fashion is. I can’t think of a single item I purchased when I was much younger that I still own now. One day I had the realization that I wanted to dress in a way that I could look back at photos of me and not seem dated, kind of how my father dresses. I then turned my sights on classic style, researching how men dressed as far back as the early 1900s.
VR: How have you gathered your knowledge of the tailored look — from books, talks with salesmen or somewhere else?
WS: My knowledge has truly come from all over the place. I have spent time talking with older gentlemen, including my tailor who has decades of experience in classic tailoring, having worked in the age when there were actually men’s shops in department stores. He has seen so many fashions in men’s clothing come and go. I also continue to read any and all books on menswear that I can get my hands on. I actually keep a copy of Bernhard Roetzel’s A Guy’s Guide to Style on my nightstand which my wife makes fun of me about. It’s one of the quickest and most concise reads on men’s style. Alan Flusser’s various books have also been valuable reading. Finally, the Internet is a great resource providing access to a wealth of information.
VR: When did you decide to set up your own site, and what goals did you set for yourself in the beginning?
WS: I decided to set up my own website about two years ago after a long conversation with a few friends who were getting to the same place I was when I decided to improve my style. My goal at the time was to take the information I was coming across and the things I was learning and curate the information in one place. My friends shared with me that as they were looking to improve their style, the biggest challenge they were coming up against was knowing what applied to “real” people versus bloggers, stylists or magazine models. For example, seeing a look in a magazine that they really like but then finding out that the suit was $6,000 was intimidating for someone who was considering their first made to measure suit. I set out to show that in the maelstrom of marketing and information about menswear, there was still a way for guys taking that first step to get some clear direction.
VR: Which tailors or RTW makers do you favour and why?
WS: Corneliani is one of my favorite RTW makers. My shoulders have a slight slope to them, and I have found that their jackets, aside from the incredible workmanship, fit me like they were made for me. Considering that I can sometimes be impatient when it comes to things like waiting for a made to measure suit, this is a huge positive factor. I am also a fan of Suitsupply because they do a good job of taking the classics and updating them to give them a bit of edge by playing with cuts and fabrics. I appreciate being able to get a staple navy wool single breasted suit and a plaid alpaca double-breasted suit under the same roof at what I consider fairly reasonable prices.
VR: Have you any particular style or cut philosophy behind your items?
WS: I’m not sure I would necessarily call it a philosophy, but I do believe in being very comfortable in my clothes. My style continues to evolve and as that happens, I’m taking more risks. The one principle that doesn’t change is that of fit. It’s important to learn what works for your body style and go with that. So, for example, I look for a natural shoulder in my jackets because that’s what looks best on me.
VR: Why should Keikari’s readers have a look at your site?
WS: There is a lot of information out there on the Internet when it comes to menswear. My site focuses on taking that information and only putting the things that we as men should know in front of my readers. The information is presented from the perspective of a man who, like most of his readers, gets up and goes to work everyday and not solely as a style or fashion blogger. My site covers everything from caring for your clothes to a man’s relationship with his tailor to understanding the difference between Goodyear-welted and glued shoes.
VR: Who or what inspires you?
WS: My inspiration is my wife. Her style is very non-traditional and bold as she combines colors and textures in ways that leave me asking, “How did she come up with that?”
VR: What’s your definition of style?
WS: My definition of style is that it’s something intensely personal. I believe each person develops their own style with the passage of time and for me, that is still happening. Style should be driven by what inspires you and what works for you and not the pages of a magazine or a label.
VR: Finally, how would you describe the Afro-American style of your home state? I trust Sunday Best is still the done thing?
WS: This is an interesting question for me. I was born in Nigeria and was fortunate enough to travel around the world growing up, spending some time in Europe. I moved to the United States for college and settled in St. Louis after meeting my wife. Located in the Midwest, I find St. Louis quite interesting as while there are definitely a lot of stylish men, the state in general has struck me as being behind when it comes to men’s style. While I do believe that at predominantly African-American churches members dress at a much higher level, that’s not the case at the church I go to which has a large number of younger people and college students who do not appear to feel a need to dress up.
Photos: A Curated Man