Christopher R. King

In My Words

17 Oct

Designing A Custom Wardrobe

October 17, 2017

One of the first lessons that I learned as a successful entrepreneur was that you have to dress for success. When I first became truly successful, I decided I needed to create a wardrobe that communicated to people something about my personality and what set me apart from my competition. That has always been my unwavering attention to details and my discipline to execute to perfection.

So how do you communicate this through clothing?

For me, it starts with the fit. If your clothes don’t fit right, then it shows you don’t care. It says that it wasn’t worth the extra step or extra money to make sure the hem fits right or the sleeves hit the wrist at the right place. It can even be a form of a distraction if you are always pulling at the fabric that isn’t fitting correctly. But when you walk into a room wearing a suit with a perfect fit, there are no distractions. The only thing people are going to notice is that you know what you are doing.

But beyond fit, you have to talk about fabric. I am lucky enough to be able to wear clothing made from some of the finest, rare fibers in the world. And as a result, I have honestly come to appreciate them. This also communicates to those in the know that you have refined taste and an appreciation for real luxury goods, not just labels.

I also need to be comfortable, which is why I eventually started keeping a tailor on retainer. If I’m sitting in a meeting, conscious that my shirt feels too tight across the back, I can’t focus on a project’s finances or timeline. I need to be as comfortable as I am confident.

After years of having my clothes tailored, I made the confidence-building leap into custom bespoke tailoring with companies like Kilgour on Savile Row and the venerable Italian fashion house Brioni, which offers an exclusive bespoke service dedicated to creating your personalized wardrobe. When you are selecting Savile Row or an Italian fashion house, you know that all these garments are modeled and handcrafted with unparalleled craftsmanship and highly trained master tailors.

Brioni for example, offers more than 800 variations of wool, light cashmere, wool and silk in a wide variety of colors and patterns. You can select your fabric, model, cut, and fit, as well as lapel shape, buttons, lining, shirt collar, and cuffs either in the VIP room at any Brioni store or the comfort of your home or office. Lifestyle, ergonomics, gait, and body type are all considered before a new pattern is designed from scratch.

Christopher R King during a Brioni Fitting

Its codes of craftsmanship are rigorous. Creating a Su Misura suit for a client is a 220-step process. Buttonholes are hammered by hand; jackets pressed more than 80 times to contour fabric to a client’s body.

Just becoming a Brioni master tailor is an arduous process, with barely a dozen students accepted into its Scuola di Alta Sartoria school in Penne, Italy, every year.

Another building block of my wardrobe is Tom Ford, which produces suits known for being edgy and masculine. Before launching his line, the Texas-born Ford was the creative director of Gucci for what I consider some of its best years.

Tom Ford suits are structured and inspired by Savile Row tailors (although produced in Italy), while Brioni suits are in the Italian design tradition. Brioni and Tom Ford have both designed suits for heads of state, powerful executives, and James Bond. I also love the trimmer cut suit with the deconstructed jacket by Brunello Cucinelli for the summer months to stay cool and still sharp enough for business. But even the best suits, the best fabric, and the best fit doesn’t communicate everything. It is also how you put it together, the watch you wear, the briefcase you carry, the shoes. But now as the founder and designer of a new luxury company, I can create pieces for my wardrobe that I only dreamed of doing before. It is just a matter of time before I can share all of that with you.