Modern Classics

Haberdasher Marc Streisand is bringing back the idea of casual polish


“I’m trying to teach people to dress well without making it complicated. My three adjectives that I use when I get dressed are powerful, crisp and clean,” says Marc Streisand, the creative force behind custom menswear boutique Marc Allen. “Mostly, my style is classic with a bit of an edge. How I get my edge is through the infusion of color – not so much trendy clothing, but with classic pieces that have unique color and pattern in them.”

Without a dash of creativity, menswear can be a little dull. Marc creates interest in his outfits by layering patterns, and teaches his clients to do the same. “Often, what I like to do is blend several different patterns until they create a harmonious look. For men, it’s easier than women. In menswear, if you’re wearing a suit, as long as the pattern in the suit is a different dimension than the pattern in the shirt, you can wear it.” A broader stripe in a suit is nicely complemented by a narrower stripe in a shirt, and even a striped tie – as long as that stripe is a different width than the other two. But, Marc observes, “Guys aren’t wearing as much neckwear anymore.”

It’s all part of the current trend towards a much more casual aesthetic, he says. “The dress down Friday culture has completely taken over the sartorial aspect of dressing for work,” Marc comments. “The problem with that is that you can’t tell the CEO from the janitor, because they’re wearing the same thing.” However, especially in the warmer months, the traditional suit and tie is very restricting. But, Marc says, there’s a fix. “One of the key elements that men should focus on is wearing a sport jacket,” he says. “It allows you to be sporty and still put together. It’s more complicated to mix the shirt and pants with a patterned sport jacket, but a sophisticated dresser will match a nice jacket with a patterned shirt and a crisp pair of trousers or jeans. You can dress up any outfit that way.”

The key to maintaining a more casual look, he believes, is by reading style blogs, which range from trendy to classic and polished. Those remind you to wear a crisp shirt, to make sure you aren’t wrinkled, and to think about the message you want to communicate for the day. “It’s okay to dress well,” Marc says. “It doesn’t mean that you’re part of the system, it means you take pride in the way you look.”

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