If you know me personally in any professional capacity you know I normally wear suits and more often than not, bow ties. This is the story of my sartorial journey. Warning, secrets will be revealed:
My dad was a banking executive, which meant that he always wore a suit. My uncle was a tailor, but not a regular tailor… he was the tailor for the king of Spain (king Juan Carlos), other celebrities, American businessmen, etc. I remember as a child my uncle coming home to measure my dad and to go over cloth samples with him. Fast forward a few years when we lived in London in the 80s, where my dad discovered the most beautiful English shirts from Jermyn St., eventually I would get those shirts handed down, they would be a little worn, but what did I care? I was in university.
The first piece I got from my uncle, López Herbón was right after college, when I “inherited” one of my dad’s tweed jackets, I still have it and I still wear it, although I had to put elbow patches on it. After that there was a slow, steady drip of hand me downs and other presents. My first full present from my uncle was a tuxedo, something a customer had left in the shop after trading it in. Unfortunately, that tuxedo was stolen from my Boston apartment while I was on a fishing trip with my friend Matthew (but that is a different story). My uncle promptly got me another tux! This one in a rich dark blue which I still wear!
When my uncle died a few years ago, he bequeathed me a bunch of his suits. A few years later my dad also passed leaving behind many, many suits. I am slowly getting them all fitted.
Around the time I was graduating from university I dated a girl who was going to a nearby university (Tufts, I met her during a Spring Break trip to St, Kitts with the aforementioned Matthew, but that is also another story). she gave me a bow tie from Barneys New York (when Barney’s was on 17th St.). I struggled to learn how to tie them but eventually I got into it (you can read about that here).
The English shirts eventually and sadly passed away, nowadays most are made in China but sold at Jermyn St. prices. Nowadays I have developed a falcon’s eye at thrift shops to find quality shirts at academia salary friendly prices, the trick is to be patient and not to settle, you can find Brooks Brothers and other fine brands in your exact size for a few bucks!
That is the foundation of my professional look. As an entrepreneur in Madrid, where bow ties are rare, I stuck out like a sore thumb – a good thing, if you want to promote your brand! Now in academia I fit the stereotype of a professor, either way, it is my look, and I like it!