Style in a slump? Closet need a reboot? Even the best-dressed among us has to call in reinforcements occasionally, which is exactly what three of our editors did. Personal stylists aren’t just for red-carpet regulars, so they enlisted services from across the professional spectrum to address their individual wardrobe woes—and find out what expert coaching can do for the average guy’s fashion game.
Giuseppe de Corato, De Corato Atelier
Arriving in a whirl of energy and bearing a bottle of limoncello, Giuseppe de Corato, my stylist for a few hours, proves himself a good fit within minutes. He’s confident we’ll work well together because, he says, having looked me up online, we have a similar style, which is true.
With a long career in men’s retail— most recently helming his own business, De Corato Atelier, where he stocks small Italian producers offering expertise in different areas, such as Fedeli for cashmere or Cesare Attolini for tailoring—de Corato is part stylistic adviser, part cheerleader. He sources clothes for his clients for specific occasions or builds wardrobes for those with little time or inclination to do it themselves.
The task I set for de Corato is simple. I don’t want to be sold more clothes; what I need are more options from what I already have: sartorial matchmaking, if you will. Like around 8 percent of men, I suffer from a degree of color blindness—some greens and brown turn to mud in front of me, for example—so playing with nuances within the color wheel can be challenging.
I’ve gotten around this by sticking to blues, browns and grays, with cream, beige and black appearing in the supporting cast. And while de Corato does pair a few of my favorite sport coats with some of my shirts and pants I might not have reached for, the benefit I gain from him is structural. After a recent move, my clothes are still spread among closets in three different rooms of my apartment; de Corato suggests that’s half my problem, as I can’t see all of my outfit options in one place. Soon, we’re reuniting cashmere jackets with flannel pants and knitwear, while my summer wardrobe is dispatched elsewhere. Simple stuff, admittedly, but it helps. Getting dressed should never be complicated. —Paul Croughton
Ilaria Urbanati, Hollywood Stylist
My remit was, I thought, fairly easy: refine a style formula based on my own personal capsule collection of favorite pieces—boots, unstructured blazers, oxford-cloth button-downs and, especially, black jeans. One problem: My guide, powerhouse stylist Ilaria Urbinati, who dresses a Who’s Who of dapper male Hollywood—Adrien Brody, Donald Glover, Chris Evans, The Rock, Rami Malek and more—doesn’t care for denim generally, and for black jeans even less. “Midlife-crisis black,” she calls it at one point during a call. Ditto shirting, at least for everyday wear: “Why wear a button-down if you don’t have to? Guys can be so much more comfortable now.” At least we both like roll-necks.
After a get-to-know-you chat over the phone, I send along my measurements, some pictures of myself and mood board images—standard operating procedure in terms of her client process. Urbinati recommends ditching the jeans for pairs of easy, perfectly fit slacks—dark gray or navy, not black—such as Rag & Bone’s Fit 2 chinos, combined with a knit polo from Todd Snyder or a John Smedley crewneck, all of which will play well with the new Boglioli blazer already hanging in my closet. In the winter, she says, swap the crewneck for a roll-neck. It’s what I’ve been looking for: a streamlined, modular, modern office-appropriate blueprint for getting dressed built on everyday staples plus some under-the-radar investment pieces.
The formula is basic but endlessly variable, and Urbinati recommends other brands that will add flavor to the recipe: Dolce & Gabbana and Eleventy Milano to dress things up; Officine Générale for perfectly proportioned casual wear; the Optimist for “the world’s greatest T-shirt.” And, if I really must, Simon Miller and Mother Denim for black jeans. “Just don’t wear them with more black,” she warns. “And add a brown boot and a brown belt so it feels more European, less ‘I used to play in a punk band in college.’ ” —Josh Condon
Bruce Pask & Marc Etlin, Bergdorf Goodman
I have a uniform that works for me. The issue, as I explain to Bruce Pask, men’s fashion director of Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus, and Marc Etlin, a BG personal stylist, is that it works a little too well:
I have a closet full of more slim black trousers, white oxford shirts and crewneck sweaters than any one person should reasonably own, and yet I keep buying variations on the same Mormon elder-cum-Prada salesperson theme. So we meet at the retail mecca to spice up my sartorial staple diet.
While store stylists will gladly do an in-home consultation, Etlin tells me that increasingly that work happens on Instagram, scrolling through a new client’s feed to “gauge what’s in their comfort zone and what’s one or one-and-a-half twists away from that.” Given the same-old nature of my fashion rut, we begin on the third floor, which houses several niche brands that Pask suggests can fulfill my need for “pieces that are special, but not too special.” Making our way through the racks, the duo runs a full diagnostic of my wardrobe tendencies, chatting with me about various scenarios I dress for: work, special events, the average weekend outing.
At the same time, they assemble a rack of items that jibe with my existing uniform while ever so slightly coloring outside the lines: a pair of roomy, pleated corduroys from Officine Générale; a boxy camp-collar shirt from Issey Miyake; a strong-shouldered suit from Tom Ford. All of their suggestions reinforce one central, pragmatic lesson: By riffing on the proportions I typically favor—say, wider-legged pants worn with my existing fitted shirts or a slightly dropped-shouldered jacket with my usual narrow trousers—my go-to pieces can be worn anew. “It’s not about replacing everything you wear,” Etlin says.
“It’s about creating new possibilities.” —Kareem Rashed