Bling is the Thing

by Harry Sheff

If you’ve read the urban dress-up section in the April 2007 issue of MR April (click here to be taken directly to that story), you’ll know that I am a big fan of that market—of the charming personalities as well as the unapologetic, over-the-top colors and styles that, frankly, tend to stereotype the genre.

Now I realize that the exaggerated silhouettes and metallic and/or colorful fabrics used in some of these suits might not be for everyone—they’re not even for everyone in the urban dress-up market—but the accessories that typify this market are very colorful, and could add some much-needed “bling” to the sales floor of any store, from a hip contemporary boutique to a mainstream department store. And, in most cases, they’re priced to move!

Stacy Adams neckwear, jewelry, socks…!

Stacy Adams hat

Let’s start at the top: the black dress-up customer is crucial to the modern hat business, and those we showed from Stacy Adams/Dorfman Pacific and Giorgio Brutini/Park Royal were just the tip of the iceberg. According to Dorfman Pacific’s Jack Lambert, “We sell fantasy. A hat is the last thing people put on, but the first thing they notice. The classic ‘homburg’ style, now known as ‘the Godfather,’ is one of our best sellers.”

Giorgio Brutini hat

Paul Barron, fifth generation scion of Park Royal Hats that holds the Giorgio Brutini license (see MR June 2007 for more about them), says, “This is a perfect niche for us, especially for the customer who wants ‘hook-ups,’ coordinating the suits, ties and shoes.”

Moving down the body, there is some beautiful jewelry included in these collections. As you might expect, there are cuff links that are flashy, yet elegant. Leave the novelty themes in the display case for this customer—he wants pure power at full scale.

Stacy Adams cuff link

An interesting piece that Stacy Adams jewelry licensee Status is doing well with: the “tie ring.” It’s a jeweled ring, working much like an earring, but clasping around the throat of a tied necktie. Again, it might not be for everyone for every day, but what a fun way to spice up black tie, or to add flair to an otherwise minimal, tonal outfit. I’d love to see one adorning a black shirt and tie worn with dark denim.

Giorgio Brutini hat, Stacy Adams tie ring, Steven Land necktie

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention neckwear here. No place for the skinny ties of the last few seasons’ European runways — these ties are full-sized and…do I even need to say it?…full color. Although I was pleasantly surprised by the subdued retro looks of the Rooster collection.

Rooster necktie

Last on our list, but first in consideration, it’s all about the shoes, and whether you’re looking for a classic spectator, a reptile, an ankle boot or a multi-color mix, urban dress-up footwear resources are the places to go for styles that are beyond the ordinary, and which look amazing when paired with denim, distressed khakis or linen trousers.

Giorgio Brutini and Stacy Adams shoes

Next time you’re at MAGIC, don’t speed through that southern section of Central Hall on your way to South Hall or the shuttles. Linger a little. Listen to some be-bop at the J. Anthony Brown booth or check out “the world’s tallest man” at the Stacy Adams tailored clothing booth. But mostly, keep an open mind to what might be some fun, profitable new resources.