Menswear designer David Hart got his start selling whimsical neckwear. Now a full collection, Hart is also known for his vintage-inspired style.
Who are your style icons?
My style icons are Rod Serling and my grandfather. My grandfather was an avid photographer who often documented family life. It’s always a treat to look at them with him; those old photographs have helped inspire my personal style. One in particular was a late-1950s backyard BBQ where he’s wearing a great knit color-blocked Banlon shirt. It kills me to see how stylish people dressed during that era, even for everyday tasks.
Tell us about buying your first suit.
I bought an olive green double-breasted suit for a middle school dance around 1997. I thought it was the coolest thing at the time, but looking back, it fit terribly. It was probably at least two sizes too big and to top it off, I paired it with a bowler hat.
How can we get more American men to dress up?
There is a younger customer that enjoys dressing up, but he’s having trouble finding tailored clothing that interests him. He’s looking for something more exciting than a suit made of super-100s or 200s fabric. He wants something special: mohair in great colors, English fabrics, hopsack… Retailers should be more receptive to these items. The days of the year-round suit are long gone; men might start dressing up again if they felt that clothing was unique, and not the same old thing.
Do you have a favorite item in your wardrobe?
I have a pair of Swank cufflinks from the 1950s that belonged to my grandfather. They’re shaped like rangefinder cameras. I wear them almost every time I wear a suit.
See our other Well Dressed Men from the June 2014 issue: Matt Fox and Enrique Crame, Mitsu Tsuchiya, Elliot Aronow and Jace Lipstein.