My Style: Eric Jennings

Eric Jennings of Saks Fifth Avenue

Photo: Ricardo Mario — Courtesy of Eric Jennings

How do you select your clothing every morning?

If I am running late, I will wear a suit. It’s easy and it’s always better to be overdressed. If I’m not running late, I’ll wear a sport coat and attempt to do the whole sprezzatura thing. I also never use more than three colours in a look (and at least one colour is a neutral).

Please describe your style in three words.

Classic meets contemporary.

Do you believe in role models?

Absolutely. I’ve been lucky to have met role models who have made a real impact on my life. Some have helped guide me on my career path and some on my spiritual path.

What are your favourite fabrics?

I love Harris Tweed. If you look at it under a loop, it’s like looking into the universe. Seriously, try it.

Are there any style combinations that you object to?

I’m not into guys over-stacking bracelets on their wrist.

Which city has the best-dressed men?

Florence in January, Paris in June, and NYC every other month.

Would you say that you are conservative or bold?

I like to mix conservative and bold pieces. Like today, I’m wearing a Band of Outsiders glen plaid suit with a Saks custom made white shirt and Jimmy Choo bright red loafers.

What are the rules in the way you dress?

I must be totally comfortable with how I’m dressed before I step out the door. If not, I take everything off and start from scratch.

Celebrities and style...

Do not always go hand in hand.

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

Shoes. I had to double the size of my closet and build an entire wall just for shoes when I renovated.

A man should always look like...

A pro. Whatever it is he’s doing, he should dress like he’s at the top of his game.

Who taught you what you know about style?

When I moved to New York and was getting started in the fashion business, my first style mentor was Frank Schipani (author of Frank’s Rules), who had such a passion for men’s tailoring and style that it was just infectious.

What is your biggest regret?

Quitting choir when I was in the 7th grade because I was afraid of my voice cracking. I should have stuck with it!

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

Pay more attention to the way a garment fits than the size on the label. Your tailor should be on speed dial. See points 1 and 2.

Do you have any shopping rituals?

I make shopping lists. This helps me to stay focused on what I need to purchase and to not duplicate what’s already in my closet. In theory, this works… in reality, not always.

We will never see you wearing...

Voluminous trousers. Ever.

The most stylish person you have ever seen...

That’s tough. I meet so many of them in my work. Right now I love the ACF guys (Art Comes First). Those guys just ooze style every time I see them.

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

Squeezing too much look into an outfit. One statement piece is all you really need.

What is the first thing you notice on a man?

I’ve learned to process a man’s entire look, haircut to shoes, with one swift glance. It’s a trick I picked up from guys in Italy. For any man who’s worked in Florence or Milan, you will know what I’m talking about.

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

I’ve actually always had a more British approach to style; most likely from the Disney films set in London that I watched when I was a little kid. Think Mary Poppins, 101 Dalmatians, and Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

Which new designers do you follow and why?

I see so many new designers each season. The ones I admire most have a distinct point of view and are able to take familiar things and make them look totally new. Last season that was what I saw from Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne of Public School.

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

The most important piece is his trousers. A man’s sport coat, sweater, or jacket may come off during the course of a day, but his trousers (hopefully) stay on at all times, so they have to look good.

What are the most treasured items in your wardrobe?

My Isaia tailored clothing and my Church’s brogues.

Is comfort an enemy of style?

Absolutely not, especially when it comes to men’s shoes.

Which designer never fails to impress you?

I’m pretty critical. No one nails it every time.

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

Sam Lambert from Art Comes First.

The best words of advice you have ever heard?

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” I always thought my mom made that up, but I just googled it and it’s from Mark Twain!

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