Glen Taylor has been a fixture in the Charlotte’s upscale menswear scene since he arrived in Charlotte in 1973 as a fresh-faced 25-year-old, but he’s best known as one of the founders of Taylor, Richards & Conger, where for 31 years he’s dressed bank execs, furniture company presidents and young up-and-comers.
Now, at age 70, he’s retiring from the company he started in 1986 with partners Richard Pattison and Lyn Conger, a store known for its extensive made-to-measure offerings, personal service and trunk shows designed to educate customers on the brands they’re buying.
Before hanging up his (designer) tie, Taylor took a moment to share five men’s style tips that were as true 44 years ago as they are today, in his words:
▪ Dress better than you have to. It’s a quote I heard once at a consortium of men’s clothiers, and it is true. You often get a better seat in a restaurant, or you can get through a line a little quicker if you look like you know what you’re doing. Owning an iron is an important thing. A little pressing goes a long way. It doesn’t mean you have to be starched up, just clean it up and look like you own the situation.
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▪ Buy the best quality you can afford, and choose items on the ‘up’ style cycle. Quality means more than just how much is on the price tag – it’s about how a garment is made. A little handwork around the collar or the sleeve head adds a lot. And look at the quality of the textiles. Also, try to embrace whatever the style of the day is early in the cycle. If you’re torn between the old way and the slightly updated version, buy the updated version because in the next few years that’s going to gain momentum. People think you have to buy the old staid version of something to get quality and traditionalism. I don’t think that way. You buy quality and the most updated style you are comfortable with. Keep in mind what we call the price-value relationship, meaning picking pieces where the usefullness and the price add up.
▪ Own the essentials first. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. One of the top essentials is a suit in a basic color, like blue or gray, that you can wear a lot of ways. If you’re just going to have one suit, buy quality, and buy a solid color. To enhance a suitcoat so you can wear it as a jacket separate, you can replace plastic buttons with a horn button, made from an animal horn, that gives it a more organic, interesting look.
▪ Buy from a store where salespeople know something about how clothes are supposed to fit and what looks good on you. If you’re going to buy something worthwhile you have to go somewhere with really good advice on color, style, quality and fit. For instance, when you’re buying a jacket, does it fit you properly in the shoulders? Most things can be altered anywhere else, but the shoulders must fit from the start. Make sure the store is up to date.
▪ Accessories make a huge difference. You don’t have to tie a bandana around your head, but if you stick one in your pocket, it has an effect. Just have a little bit of it showing and put it on with a pair of jeans and it gives your look a little something. Little details make a huge difference, but the key is knowing whether you’re overdoing it. If you’re doing it correctly, it will make you look like you’re comfortable with who you are, as opposed to trying to be too quiet. Not a loud noise, just a little noise.