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Interview with Wale Soluade from A Curated Man

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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.

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VR: Your educational background?
WS: My educational background is focused on business, with undergraduate degrees in management and finance as well as a master’s degree in business administration.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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

http://www.acuratedman.com/


Tony Slinger Footwear

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December 15, 2014 by Ville Raivio

[Long Edit] Handmade Yorkshire – Tony Slinger Footwear from Christopher White on Vimeo.


The most beautiful 21st century tweed ?

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December 11, 2014 by Ville Raivio

Some two years ago I saw a tweed I haven’t been able to forget. It was colourful, coarse, thick, warm, and beautiful — as a proper British tweed should be, but it also had a bit of something else. I cannot name this element, so it can only be that quinta essentia men found some centuries ago, but forgot as science obliterated pondering for pondering’s sake. This tweed is Kirkton 551 from Lovat Mills and I’m calling it the most beautiful tweed of this, our 21st century.

Lovat_Mill_Kirkton_tweed_551_at_Keikari_dot_com

Head over to The Journal of Style for the full monty:
http://www.the-journal-of-style.com/2012/02/12/bespoke-three-piece-tweed-suit/


What is fashion?

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December 10, 2014 by Ville Raivio

“What is Fashion? Is it not a persuasion that nothing was ever right till the present moment, and that the present moment will immediately be as wrong as all its predecessors?”

~ Horace Walpole


A visit to Norton&Sons

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December 10, 2014 by Ville Raivio


Fred Astaire in his own words

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December 8, 2014 by Ville Raivio

“[I am] bad-tempered, impatient, hard to please, critical…At the risk of disillusionment, I must admit that I don`t like top hats, white ties and tails. I am always arriving at dinner parties not wearing a dinner jacket when I should, or vice versa…The carefree, the best-dressed, the debonair Fred Astaire! What a myth! My hats are too small, my coats are too short, my walk is loose. I am full of faults. I have a sense of humor, but it won’t always work for me. I am always blowing my top over the wrong things…I tell you, I am a very annoying guy.”

~ Fred Astaire in his autobiography Steps in Time


The Effect of Appearance on First Impressions

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December 8, 2014 by Ville Raivio

Back in 2011, professor Karen J. Pine, Professor Ben (C) Fletcher, and Neil Howlett from the University of Hertfordshire collaborated with Mathieson&Brooke Tailors Ltd. in an interesting study on the effect of appearance on first impressions. Among the three things tested, the first hypothesis argued that people make rapid judgments of others based on clothing alone, and the second that a minor manipulation of the cut of the man’s suit will influence these rapid judgments. The results tell us that the man was rated more positively on all five attributes when wearing a made-to-measure suit instead of an off-the-peg one.

The cut makes the man, and some men make the cut.

http://karenpine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Executive-summary_The-Effect-of-Appearance-on-First-Impressions.pdf


The decadence of Edwardian dress

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December 5, 2014 by Ville Raivio

“The Edwardian era was the last age in which the fortunate thought they could give pleasure to others by displaying their good fortune before them.”

~ James Laver


Factory visit at the Joh. Rendenbach tannery

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December 4, 2014 by Ville Raivio


Interview with Esosa Imoisili from Central Cali Sosa

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December 3, 2014 by Ville Raivio

VR: Your age and Occupation?
EI: I am 35 years old and I am a financial advisor for one of the larger brokerage houses in the world.

VR: Your educational background?
EI: I have a degree in Finance and Economics with a minor in accounting.
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VR: Have you any children or spouse (and how do they relate to your style enthusiasm)?
I am married and I have a daughter who is almost 2. My wife, in her own right, is very stylish. Her style is very classic. You might not pick out the individual pieces but when you she puts it together, she makes it look elegant and timeless. So, in a way, I draw inspiration from her. To make my style timeless and to convey elegance is pretty much my goal when I shop for clothing. My daughter is already developing a sense of style. It’s funny and fascinating to watch her pick out her own shoes at this age. She is not even 2 but has a strong sense of what she likes and what she abhors. I expect that, as she grows, she will have a stronger sense of her own style and hopefully will be brave enough to be herself and stay away from the whims of fashion trends.

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VR: …and your parents and siblings’ reactions back when you were younger?
EI: My parents were stylish people as well. My family is Nigerian and Nigerians are, by and large, very much into fashion. My mother and father were no different. I got my interest in style from them. Watching them get dressed for a wedding, a party or even church was fascinating. Nigerians are a very colorful people and love to use them in everything, including their outfits. So, to see that on display at an early age was amazing. My sister is also very stylish. She has had blogs write about her shoe collection. So, really she is no slouch in that regard. My brother, on the other hand, is not into fashion as much. He looks at clothes more for utility than anything else. Hopefully that will change as he gets older and moves along farther in his career.

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VR: What other hobbies or passions do you have besides classic apparel?
EI: I am an avid sports fan (mainly basketball and American football) and I am very politically active. I played basketball from elementary school all the way through my university years, so I will always love sports. I have become more politically active during the last 12 years or so because I feel as an adult you should do this. You should know where you stand on issues that affect you and be engaged enough to follow through with those views. The correlation between politics and fashion/style, in my opinion, is that people will be more willing to listen, or at least take you more seriously, on your political positions, if you look like you know what you are talking about.

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VR: How did you first become interested in style, and when did you turn your eyes towards the classics? Why these instead of fashion?
EI: It started as a child, obviously. But it was more inherent at the time because I was too young to realize what I liked and how I could make it work for me. It really hit home more when I was in college. I am a kid that comes from humble beginnings. Even though my parents did not have much, they had enough to get us through. So, when I was in college, I had just enough to make it through on my own. This was due to the fact that I was on a sports and academic scholarship. I had three outfits and that was it. I had a friend, who always had great style and a great presence, and people looked up to him for it just like I did. So that’s when my love for style really started and my exploration into developing a personal style began. This is due to my observations of how people treated him differently due to his gentlemanly attitude and his style. I made a lot of mistakes at first, because that’s what you do when you’re trying to figure out what your style is. However, what I realized is that when a man explores who he is stylistically, he’s also subconsciously searching for what kind of a man he is. That’s why I feel that, when I was comfortable with who I was stylistically, I found out what kind of a man I was. I’m not saying that style was everything but it was one of the factors that helped me figure it out. Fashion cost me money because trends came and went with the season and had no staying power.

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VR: How have you gathered your knowledge of the tailored look — from books, talks with salesmen or somewhere else?
EI: From magazines such as GQ and Esquire at first. Those were one of the few sources for men’s style that were really accessible when I first started my search. The Internet was not as informative or as expansive as it is now. I learned the basics from there and proceeded to try out different labels to figure what labels made me look somewhat like the guys in the magazines. It’s taken over 10 years but now I have reached the sartorial point where I can try something on and mentally note what I have to nip and tuck and how much. I think it’s easier now because my eye has been trained to notice what works for my frame. Salesmen were a no-go for me. I was always pointed towards the made to measure or bespoke route due to my size (6’9’’, 113kg). So, I had to figure out things on my own because I did not have the money to afford either of those luxuries right out of college.

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VR: How did you first find Styleforum and what has kept you active over the years? When did you decide to set up a Tumblr?
EI: I found Styleforum as a referral from Glen O’Brian, the style guy from his monthly editorial in GQ magazine. At the time I was trying to ascertain what the difference in quality was between a $200 suit and a $2000 suit. To my surprise, I found that salesmen at some of the top stores (Barneys, Saks, etc.) could not definitively tell me what the difference was. So it was kismet that I found Styleforum the way I did because it answered all my questions and then some. I have been an active member for years because Styleforum, at least for now, is the best source for anything menswear. There are some passionate people on there that have created a great place for the dissemination of menswear information and inspirational outfits. I have learned a lot from there in terms of fit, construction and color co-ordination. I still have a ton more to learn but it’s great to have a place to go for information on the larger luxury brands as well as the obscure no-name ones. I have found some gems thanks to that place. This is what led to me to starting a Tumblr this year because it’s a diary for my outfits and what I put together. The primary goal of my page is to share, but also to a smaller level to chronicle what I am wearing and how I am putting outfits together. In my profession, appearance is everything. If you come across ostentatious, then you scare clients away, but if you come across well-put together and professional, then clients, to a certain degree, want to hear your ideas and what you have to say. Not saying this is universally true, but what I have found from my experiences to have merit.

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VR: Which tailors or RTW makers do you favour and why?
EI: I don’t have an absolute favorite. What I have found stylistically, though, is that I favor cuts that have some structure to them. So, in terms of Italian styling, I favor the Roman cut. I find that, for my body, I need structure to smooth out certain parts and enhance other parts as well. I find that the brands that favor this style are makers like Canali, Brioni, Trussini, and Tom Ford for YSL, among others. These are the brands I own and wear. I also like mid-tier labels like Suitsupply’s Napoli cut. They make a good quality suit for a great price that, once tailored, looks like a $2,000 suit and will last you a couple years. I am definitely a fan of the Suitsupply label.

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VR: Have you any particular style or cut philosophy behind your commissions?
EI: I have discussed my love of structure for a suit. I feel that, when it’s done right, it leaves a powerful impression. For my commissions, I try to toe the line between power, elegance and subtlety. I want the person who sees me in a suit to say “He looks good!” but when asked why, they cannot explain or point out a single item that makes it work. It all works harmoniously. That is what I look for when I purchase a suit or the few times I have had suits commissioned for me.

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VR: Why should Keikari’s readers have a look at your site?
EI: Well, honestly, that’s up to your readers. My page is open for those who are looking for inspiration on cuts that work. I also provide inspiration for taller-than-average men who are trying to figure out what works for them. I will not say that my fits are out of this world or that my style is better than anyone else’s. What I can say is that my page conveys the triumph of a man finally finding comfort in what works stylistically. That’s the most I can promise.

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VR: What is your definition of style,and who or what inspires you?
EI: The well -dressed men I see on the Internet or on the street inspire me. This is because I know that a truly well-dressed man has gone on a very long journey emotionally, financially and stylistically to get to his sweet spot, and that is one of the most admirable things I feel I can witness. It takes perseverance, money and stubbornness to break away from the herd and stick to what you like. That to me is truly style and true style inspires me. True style is timeless and comfortable and carefree, but it also looks good. That is what I aim for and that’s my wish for anyone who is on the path to figuring out who they are stylistically. To find that comfort and ease in who they are because you will always look your best when you feel that way — no matter what you are wearing.

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VR: You mentioned you’re 6’9” tall — what are your style tips for men over two metres tall?
EI: Find what brands work for your body type and do not be talked into looking into an extra long. Look at a long first and see how it fits. For the most part, if it covers your bottom, fits well over your chest, covers your collar adequately and is long enough in the arms, then you have a start. Then you can start looking at the bells and whistles of the suit, like lapel size, button stance, pockets, etc.

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Photos: Esosa Imoisili

http://www.centralcalisosa.tumblr.com




Copyright © 2013 Ville Raivio









Only a beautiful life is worth living.


"If John Bull turns around to look at you, you are not well dressed; but either too stiff, too tight, or too fashionable".
~ Beau Brummell