My Style: Douglas Hand

Portrait of attorney Douglas Hand

Photo: Audrey Froggart/CFDA — Courtesy of Douglas Hand

What is the biggest mistake one can make when getting dressed?

Attempting perfection and being obvious in one’s approach. It’s good to learn a bit of insouciance, to be unfussy and let the imperfections actually bestow you with a little panache and uniqueness. Embracing a dash of dishevelment (even as a corporate professional) can actually be your edge. Sprezzatura!

Please describe your style in three words.

Tailored. Confident. Masculine.

Do you believe in role models?

Definitely. My personal role models have both impacted the way I dress but also inspired me to adopt my own style. The understated self-assurance of JFK; Wes Anderson's playfulness with legacy; the athletic ruggedness of surfer Buzzy Kerbox circa the early 80s; all have influenced me.

What are your favourite fabrics?

Tweeds. Cashmere. Herringbone. Seersucker.

Are there any style combinations that you object to?

Probably too many — but as a lawyer I’m somewhat prone to rule-based decisions. I do loathe overtly “power dressing”: flashy cufflinks; pinky rings; shiny silk ties and pocket squares that match.

Which city has the best-dressed men?

I've lived amidst a wide spectrum of fairly distinct styles, growing up in Southern California, living in Paris for a while, and now being based primarily in New York. And I love Tokyo. But it's the Italians who floor me. The men in Milan are the best dressed.

Would you say that you are conservative or bold?

I guess it’s relative. A bit of both. I suppose that’s a lawyerly answer. But while I wear a suit (inherently a pretty conservative garment) into the office almost every day, my legal practice focuses on fashion, and that has certainly extended the boundaries my comfort zone. I think it’s allowed me to embrace a bolder style than most attorneys are likely to find appropriate for themselves.

What are the rules in the way you dress?

The clothes must fit and you must feel confident in them. Usually that goes hand in hand. When in doubt about the level of formality in dress required for the occasion, dress up. Also I go crazy making sure leathers (belt, shoes and briefcase) match. Brown and black together are hard for me. I should get over that.

Celebrities and style...

Are two terms often associated with one another as a given (i.e., that a celebrity has style). Certainly many do. But in the business of fashion, celebrity is all too often paired with product which has not been designed by the celebrity but nevertheless is intended to somehow communicate the celebrity’s style. To me this is artless and soulless and educated consumers know that.

Name one garment/accessory that you can never have enough of?

Ties. They can change an entire suit.

A man should always look like...

He’s capable.

Who taught you what you know about style?

My father — who always looked put together and took great care of his clothes. The clients I represent like David Neville and Marcus Wainwright at Rag & Bone, Phillip Lim, Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborn at Public School, Todd Snyder, Sam Shipley and Jeff Halmos.

How do you select your clothing every morning?

With an acknowledgment to the weather and respect for whom I’m meeting with that day.

What is your biggest regret?

In terms of style? I guess the ribbed T-shirts I wore in the 90s.

The three essential things a man should know about style are...

Confidence! Usually the only difference between a fashion blunder and flair is your attitude. Fit is important and your body changes. Update your wardrobe accordingly. Style can still be exhibited when lounging at home, traveling, walking the dog. There are few reasons, other than those health related, to not look your best.

Do you have any shopping rituals?

Shopping for menswear in-store with a knowledgeable salesperson with whom I have a relationship. Carson Street Clothiers in New York. Paul Stuart. Bergdorf’s. Dover Street Market.

We will never see you wearing...

Shiny fabrics. A gold watch. A baseball cap sideways or backwards.

The most stylish person you have ever seen...

Nick Wooster.

What is the first thing you notice on a man?

His watch, unless it is hidden, in which case, his shoes.

The one image that defined your approach to style...

JFK in a suit and Wayfarer sunglasses.

Which new designers do you follow and why?

Matthew Orley of Orley, for his fearless use of colour and focus on knits. Robert Geller for his German sensibility and potent, athletic looks. Michael Bastian for his nod to Americana and his attention to quality.

The only article of clothing that a man needs to pay close attention to is...

There is not a single one. Focus on the fit — of any article of clothing.

What are the most treasured items in your wardrobe?

The ones made specifically for me by designers. A grey flannel suit from Public School. A black tuxedo jacket from Rag & Bone. A royal blue suit from Number:Lab. A cowl neck sweater from Phillip Lim.

Is comfort an enemy of style?

No. Comfort breeds confidence which gives you style.

Which designer never fails to impress you?

Simon Spurr. The sharpness of his tailoring and the boldness of his design are staggering.

Who would you like to recommend for €œMy Style€?

Tyler Thoreson, VP of Editorial, Creative and Customer Experience at Gilt.

The best words of advice you have ever heard?

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail. — Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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