Dave Carr is vice president of sales and marketing at Levvel Inc., a technology consulting firm headquartered in Charlotte. He’s built a wardrobe that reflects his enjoyment of design history, and a respect for fine craftsmanship. Carr graduated from Appalachian State with a B.S. in Business Administration. He lives in Charlotte with his wife, Catie, and their three daughters.
Q. What’s something you remember from your childhood closet?
A. A J. Crew barn jacket. And there’s a gentleman by the name of Sid Mashburn who became famous because as a very young man he invented the barn jacket for J. Crew. I met him at his store in Atlanta!
Q. Was there a piece of clothing your mom made you finally get rid of?
A. My parents are ex-hippies and my mom used to make my clothing, which I didn’t appreciate. She was the opposite; she would make me repair things and not get new stuff.
Q. When did you develop your own style?
A. In high school. I didn’t really fit in. It was the late ’90s in suburban New Jersey, so hip hop was big, but I didn’t wear baggy pants. I was on the tailored side.
Q. What were the hot brands?
A. Polo, J. Crew, L.L. Bean was big. In Lambertville there was a catalogue outlet store so we would go there quite a bit to find the deals.
Q. How do you put together an outfit?
A. I am pretty color blind. The idea of curating your clothing is to make it as easy as possible to get dressed in the morning. I just want to have a uniform with some key pieces that fit very well.
Q. Where do you push the limits?
A. With outerwear. I’ll wear something different that you can have a little fun with. I’m interested in where it is made, and the quality of the construction. There’s always something unique so I will remember where I got it and why I got it.
Q. Why do you care where it is made?
A. I like to understand the history behind the company. I try to avoid things that are mass produced. Knowing where it is made lends to the authenticity of it. Take a Barbour jacket; Queen Elizabeth wore one. They are tried and true garments that will get better with age.
Q. How do you decide where to shop?
A. I enjoy independent boutiques, and the trick is finding those. So I’ll look at the brands that I like, and then I’ll look at the stockists, and find where to shop for them.
Q. Where do you shop and why?
A. I shop at Abbeydale for all tailored clothing. That’s because of David Watkins, and his ability to curate and guide your selection. He’s helped me build a tailored wardrobe for every occasion. He outfitted me with my tuxedo for my wedding. He does footwear as well.
Q. Anywhere else?
A. Tabor. It’s a New York- or San Francisco-like boutique that exists here in the Queen City. They do a tremendous job curating the brands they carry, and they go above and beyond to service their customers.
Q. Do you shop on the internet?
A. I do a lot of shopping on the internet, but I don’t do a lot of buying. I really like to buy things in person. A garment might be amazing but if it doesn’t fit right I won’t wear it, and I probably won’t return it either.
Q. What’s a fashion mistake many make?
A. Not focusing enough on the fit. You can buy really inexpensive clothing, and if you tailor it you can look great, or you can wear $7,000 Brioni suits like Donald Trump, and it looks confused. Some guys try too hard to be too over the top, when keeping it simple makes life a lot easier.
Q. What piece of clothing was a game changer?
A. My first custom suit from Abbeydale. Once you buy a suit jacket that is fully canvassed and is made for you, it’s really hard to go back.
Q. Tell me about your Thom Browne coat.
A. I got it at Tabor. It’s a classic tan trench coat, but Thom Browne adds a lot of different details, with the functional button cuffs, as well as the red, white and blue grosgrain. His outerwear is made in Japan, and is of exceptionally high quality.
Q. Where have you splurged?
A. On a Saint Laurent jacket I bought second hand at Grailed, an online men’s consignment site for gently used clothing.
Q. Tell me about your glasses.
A. These are Persols. My doctor said I need them for driving and when I’m on the computer, which is like 18 hours a day. I like the combination of the plastic and the metal.
Q. Are you loyal to any products?
A. Tom Ford cologne, I’ve been wearing that for 10 years.
Q. Have you purchased any investment pieces lately?
A. A watch. I got this Tudor from Windsor Jewelers. Tudor reintroduced themselves to North America a couple of years ago and released an incredible line of sports watches.
Q. What’s your best bargain?
A. A quality mechanical watch, because it will always hold its value, if not increase its value. There are no bargains in clothing.
Q. What’s a label you’ve recently discovered?
A. Tomorrowland, which is a Japanese brand that recently opened a store in New York City. I found a great fitting jean jacket with really good distressing.
Q. Can you recommend a book?
A. “Men and Style,” by David Coggins. It just came out and it’s unbelievable.
Q. Describe your look.
A. My goal is to throw on clothes that look good. I don’t want anything that is precious. I dry clean stuff about twice a year. I try not to care too much, and if you buy the right way you can do that. I aspire to be the elderly Italian gentleman who is always impeccably dressed but looks like he doesn’t give a care.