Ones to watch: Armstrong & Wilson

by Harry Sheff

By Harry Sheff and William Buckley

Ontario Armstrong and Clifton Wilson, former Nordstrom sales associates and, notably, both finalists in Esquire‘s “Best Dressed Real Men in America“ contest (Armstrong in 2009, Wilson in 2006), started their accessories company three years ago with a line of pocket squares. The Philadelphia duo met in design school more than a decade ago.

Armstrong & Wilson

While they’ve since expanded to ties and, soon, braces and scarves, they take pocket squares ($50 to $115 retail) very seriously. Each square, in materials like cotton, linen, cashmere and wool, has a button and a button hole in it. “We want guys to build their wardrobes around the squares, not as the finishing touch, but as the main focus of the outfit,” says Wilson.

The two credit trade shows for their heightened profile. “MRket and the Vanguards Gallery have been amazing for us,” says Wilson. “The trade shows took us from a Philly brand to an international brand.”

A key moment, adds Armstrong, was “getting into Nordstrom, our first department store. It was a great feeling to go from being on the floor to having your product sold there.”