Interview with Andy Poupart

6

November 12, 2016 by Ville Raivio

VR: Your age and occupation?
AP: I’m 59 years old and I’ve spent my entire career in the computer industry. I started out working in the computer center of a British university and moved to the US in 1981 and started working for a computer manufacturer and I’ve spent the majority of my career since then working for several computer companies. For most of my career I’ve been either a software engineer or I’ve managed software engineering teams.

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VR: Your educational background?
AP: I have a bachelor’s degree in computer science and physics.

VR: Have you any children or spouse (and how do they relate to your style enthusiasm)?
AP: I have two grown daughters who are largely bemused by my style renaissance. It’s also true to say, however, that my Instagram presence is largely due to their prompting. But when they were young, I did not dress remotely like I do now. They knew me as a father who largely dressed in jeans and polo shirts, a man who wore sneakers most days. So, the father they see now does not look like the father of their memories and I think that is disconcerting for them on some level.

I am very happily married. It is the second marriage for both of us. My wife is a stylish and elegant woman in her own right and it is perhaps because of her that I  started dressing better than I did. Not at her prompting, however. It was more because I wanted to honor her, to try to be someone that she would be proud to be escorted by.

VR: …and your parents and siblings’ reactions back when you were younger?
AP: My mother was also a stylish woman and I think she recognized when I was fairly young that I knew how I wanted to look. She knew that if I wanted a particular look, whatever it might have been, that I was not prepared to compromise. I can look back and recognize now that, within the limits of a family budget, she helped me to express myself in the way that I wanted. She let me experiment.
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VR: What other hobbies or passions do you have besides apparel?
AP: I am a fairly accomplished photographer, although I don’t shoot as much as I used to. I cook and my wife and I enjoy enjoy wine. We do travel a fair bit, too.

 

VR: How did you first become interested in style, and when did you turn your eyes towards the classics?
AP: I’ve always been interested in style and fashion, both men’s and women’s. But, as I mentioned above, I’ve lived most of my adult life in jeans and polo shirts. About four years ago, I had to make some changes in my diet and lifestyle to reverse a trend of increasing blood sugar. These changes had a side effect for me of losing around 30 pounds, too, and so I needed a new wardrobe. Over the years, I had accumulated a number of jackets, some of which now fit me better than they had in years. But even the jackets that fit me were rarely worn and I decided I wanted to change that. so I started to wear them, even though I was still wearing jeans and sneaker, for the most part. But over time, I realized I needed better trousers, which led to better shoes, which led to wearing a tie occasionally, which led to bow ties, and so on.

Then I began to do some research. I began to learn about how clothes were suppose to fit. I realized that most of my clothes were too big, for example, and as I learned more and came into contact with more resources, from which I learned more, I began to understand.

In addition, I had always harbored a desire to have a suit made for me by a Savile Row tailor. But I did not know which tailor to select and I was somewhat daunted at the prospect. But I heard of a tailoring firm called Steed Bespoke Tailors that is part of the Anderson&Sheppard diaspora and that visited San Francisco regularly and I decided to go with them. And it has been a good relationship.

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VR: How have you gathered your knowledge of the tailored look — from books, talks with salesmen or somewhere else?
AP: All of the above, I would say. Except, perhaps, salesmen. I would add online resources, too, as a major learning resource for me. I’ve learned a tremendous amount in direct conversations with some of the people that I have met online.

Clearly, menswear has standard texts by Boyer, Flusser, Manton, and others. But there’s no escaping that the internet is and continues to be a tremendous tool for learning and for obtaining items that, without it, one simply would not encounter. An example of that might be the French sock vendor Mes Chaussettes Rouge. I would never have encountered them if were not for their online advertising and for an article I read, online, about the socks that they carry that are used by the Catholic church. I’ve been to the physical store in Paris and I think it’s fair to say it’s not in an area where a typical tourist might wander. So that experience is a direct result of discovery online.

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VR: How would you describe your personal style?
AP: To the extent that I have a style, it’s a combination of what I hope is a classic English style and then at times a fairly unrestrained exuberance bordering on dandyism. I love color and I love wearing things that few others would wear. For example, I bought some of the last few meters of an ivory flannel with a navy pindot windowpane from Fox and had it made up into a lovely double-breasted suit. I wear it on warm evenings, or sunny summer days and I love it. People notice it because you almost never see anyone wearing such a thing. But I have a gorgeous lovat green tweed jacket that is classic and conservative and occasionally people notice it because it is so classic and well cut.

 

VR: Which tailors or RTW makers do you favour and why?
AP: I use Steed, as mentioned earlier and Hemrajani Brothers for my tailored clothing. I have more or less stopped buying ready-to-wear clothing.

 

VR: Have you any particular style or cut philosophy behind your items?
AP: I like to create a long line. I have my jackets cut longer than is “fashionable” today, and somewhat longer than many people are comfortable with. But it creates the line I’m looking for. I want my clothes to be well cut, to be comfortable, and to look like they were made for me.

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VR: Who or what inspires you?
AP: My wife inspires me. She empowers me to express myself and to follow my own path. In terms of men’s style, I admire Fred Astaire and Cary Grant. If I could have a sliver of their style and gracefulness I would be a lucky man.

VR: What’s your definition of style?
AP: That’s a tough one. Style is individual. Style is harmony. Style is beauty. Style is being comfortable in your own skin and having confidence in your appearance. I don’t think you can have style without confidence.

 interview_with_andy_poupart_at_keikari_dot_com6Featuring the lovely Michèle Free

VR: Finally, given your knowledge on the subject, how would you describe the dress of the American IT-crowd?
AP: Extremely casual. In my little corner of the industry, dress is virtually irrelevant. It simply does not matter how you dress. What matters is how you do your job. I accept that I work in an industry that is, even now, somewhat unusual in that regard. But where most of my colleagues interpret that freedom to mean they can dress extremely casually, which I also used to do, I have used it to dress the way I do now, in tailored clothing. Why? Because I want to.

https://www.instagram.com/styleafter50/

Photos: The Poupart Archives


6 comments »

  1. Mrs. Sarah Painter says:

    ~ One last comment: In an age where people dress casually, it really is a turn-off. Casualness has surreptitiously crept into our culture; so much so that it’s disgusting. Tattoos, body piercing, cursing, rudeness and addressing me by my first name are a part of that. In the late 30s-40s, when people dressed up, their attitudes were different. People treated each other with RESPECT. Americans have lost that. Classic actors like William Powell and Fred Astaire KNEW how to dress. They had a certain panache. We have lost that today which is why our country/culture is askew. Thankfully, men and women like Mr. Andy Poupart, his wife Michele Free, my husband and I, there is a small RESURGENCE OF ELEGANCE being restored. Thank you, Andy Poupart for your inimitable style and how it’s done after 50. In my late 60s, I’m glad to be a part of that resurgence [of dressing well] and will continue doing so until my last day on earth! ~

  2. Mrs. Sarah Painter says:

    ~ In the 40s, actors such as William Powell (The Thin Man series) knew how to dress and he looked good in whatever he wore. Women also dressed well, accessorizing their outfits with a fur stole. Sadly, those days are gone but they don’t have to be. I appreciate Andy Poupart’s take on dressing well as well and his dapper English style. Casualness has crept into our society surreptitiously. Americans are too casual for my taste; it shows in their behavior and the way they live. Everyone wants to be on a first-name basis these days. Not so for me; I constantly correct people who do so, to address me as Mrs Painter and not by my first name. When my husband and I shop for groceries, we see folks at a local Walmart dressed in their jammies! As an older, happily married woman, I recommend 2 things: Stay in shape, eat right and dress well. Works for me! ~

  3. Mrs. Sarah Painter says:

    ~ I found this English gentleman and his wife on http://www.cindyhattersleydesign.com website. In an age where Americans dress way too casual for my taste, I decided to step up my game. As a former New Yorker, I attended Fashion Institute Of Technology and graduated with a degree in Fashion Design. Then, I worked in the rag trade and retail industry. Fast forward, I worked in the corporate world for many years. My position as an Executive Assistant made me realize that I had to look the part to be taken seriously. When my husband and I married in 2011, I curated my closet; donating all my corporate clothing to ThredUp, Poshmark, eBay and a women’s shelter. Living in the mountains, I now wear jeans, Double D Ranch, Ralph Lauren, Old Gringo cowgirl boots and lots of turquoise. My husband loves cuffs in his pants, tailored jackets with peak lapels and a bevy of bowties. It would be great if people dressed up more. Ralph Lauren said: “Fashion is over very quickly. Style is forever.” I agree, the way we dress says a lot about who we are. ~

  4. JAMES I. LAURSEN says:

    Serendipity led me to this interview while exploring photos of Sam Hober neckties….Kudos, well done !
    I have been semi-retired for a few years and just recently rediscovered the satisfaction of dressing like a “True Gentleman.” My wife is beautiful and very sophisticated. We are, with a purpose, seeking out fine dining and music/dancing venues. Black tie affairs are back on our “fun” priority schedule.
    All the best

    James I.Laursen

  5. Lou Di Cerbo says:

    Also, check out my own Instagram feed @ld1306

  6. Lou Di Cerbo says:

    Andy,

    I appreciate your website and Instagram fees. You have immaculate taste and wear your clothes very stylishly. Like you, I am in my 50s, and I live in Chicago.

    I greatly enjoyed your story about your personal style evolution. I had gotten into mes fashion back in 2007, and I also read the Flusser books and other resources while participating in StyleForum. I drifted away from tailored clothing when I began to work in more casual environments. Adding 40 lbs didn’t help either. However, since October, I have lost 45 lbs. and I am in the bet physical shape of my life. This transformation rejuvenated me, and I came back to my passion for menswear.

    I don’t have any bespoke suits (unless you include a suit I had made up for US$250 in Hoi An, Viet Nam). My dress shirts are made-to-measure from Harvie & Hudson on Jermyn Street in London (they are a delight and both Richard Harvie and Andrew Hundson are gentlemen of the first order). My suites and sportoats are mostly from either Hickey-Freeman and Italian (Zegna, Corneliani, Ralph Lauren (made by Corneliani), Canali, Caruso…). My necktie collection (which my wife has forbidden me from increasing) is very diverse but my favorites are bespoke from Sam Hober inThailand (another wonderful vendor). Shoes are C&J (for BB), Alden, AE and Alfred Sargent (2 bespoke pair).

    I hope that we can correspond about matters sartorial in the future.

    Cheers,
    Lou

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