Style

On Style: with Rhondale Haywood

dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

Rhondale Haywood likes pocket squares so much he makes his own out of neckties and fabric that he hand-stitches. A native of Houston, Haywood, 32, earned a B.S. from Hampton University and an MBA in finance from Rutgers. He’s an investment adviser and vice president at PNC Wealth Management, and an occasional contributor to WBTV Bounce TV. He and his wife, Deborah, have two boys and two girls, ranging from newborn to 7 years old.

Q. What’s something you remember from your childhood closet?

A. I used to wear a Tommy Hilfiger polo shirt. It was three colors, striped, but it was my favorite shirt and I’d come home from high school and wash it so I could wear it the next week. We weren’t affluent enough to afford multiple Tommy Hilfiger shirts.

Q. Do you and your brothers influence each other’s style?

A. My younger brother C.J. is as into fashion as I am, and he’ll send me a text message when he thinks he has a nice outfit on. My grandfather influenced my style. My grandfather died, and my feet are a little bigger, and C.J. has the same shoe size as my grandfather, so C.J. got all his shoes. He’s wearing $350 dress shoes in college, while all his buddies are focused on the newest pair of Jordans.

Q. What was distinctive about your grandfather’s style?

A. He had multiple closets: one just for his suits, one for his shirts and shoes, and a separate one for everything else in his room. He would wear a $1,500 suit with amazing Italian loafers, and then wear it with a $15 shirt.

Q. What would surprise people about your style choices?

A. I spend a lot of time picking out my clothes. I love everything in my closet, and I won’t stand to have anything I don’t love in it.

Q. Do you have any fashion rituals?

A. When I’m out of shirts, I go to the cleaners on Friday. That Friday I will wear the one “B” shirt that I allow in my closet, or the one I can wash, so that all my shirts are clean. Then on Saturday or Sunday night, I unwrap them all and I match the ties with the shirts. I tuck the tie in, and then do an initial matching with the suits. It’s about five weeks of combinations.

Q. Do you wear the same combinations?

A. I do have some favorites, and it’s tempting to wear them frequently, but I really try to push myself to the fashion edge, while staying in the realm of professionalism.

Q. What is the edge of professionalism?

A. I work with high-net clients, so I can’t wear wild pinstripes. I try to express myself with socks, or with a tie. If I do wear a loud tie I wear a pretty plain shirt. Most of my suits are conservative. If you have too many pieces in your wardrobe that are fighting for attention, you will look distracting.

Q. Describe a conservative suit.

A. Traditional conservative suits are solid colors, muted stripes and muted checks. I really like blue because I exclusively wear brown shoes. I probably have 25 shirts that I love, and I have three white shirts. I almost hate white shirts.

Q. What do you look for in a pocket square?

A. Color. One of the tenets in my fashion philosophy is you make your own rules. I prefer for it to match my outfit. It could be my shirt, it could be my suit. Material makes a difference: Wool, cotton, silk and linen are what I wear.

Q. How does your sense of style help you do your job?

A. The things that I wear help increase my confidence. I insist on wearing things that fit well. I try to find the best quality for my money. When you are managing people’s money they have to have confidence in you, and if you have confidence in yourself that comes through.

Q. Where do you buy suits?

A. I order most of my suits from a British retailer named Charles Tyrwhitt. They come with working button cuffs, which is an attention getter. It gets you that bespoke feel without the bespoke price tag. I’m thin, and it’s hard to find suits that fit me well.

Q. What’s a fashion mistake men make?

A. Their clothes don’t fit. The pants are too long so they have a pant buildup around the ankle. Coats are too big, so the coats are hanging off of their natural shoulders. The chest is too big, so when you close the suit there’s too much space.

Q. Is there something you wear every day?

A. My wife gave me these cufflinks with my initials on them. I wear them almost every day.

Q. I would trade closets with…

A. There is a fashion blogger who I follow. It’s called a Curated Man and he’s got some pretty amazing things, and I picked him because I have a very strong business wardrobe, but if you saw me on the weekend you’d think I got all my clothes from Goodwill. I’m just getting started next to this guy.

Q. Tell me about your socks.

A. Life is too short to wear plain socks. I have a collection of polka dots, stripes and argyles, and they always match my outfit. I keep my socks in a basket so I can grab the pair that match my outfit.

Q. When do you shop?

A. Typically I only shop twice a year. I’m very strategic in my fashion selection. I lay out my wardrobe. I look for the holes, and I go acquire the pieces I need.

Q. Do you shop at any trendy stores?

A. Custom clothing for men has really taken off. I use this newer custom shirt maker called Proper Cloth. It’s Internet based. They have a video of how you measure yourself, or they suggest you go to a cleaners and have a good tailor measure you, and they do your first set of adjustments for free.

Q. What should every man have in his closet?

A. A shoe horn and shoe trees.

Q. If you could own any car it would be …

A. A steel gray Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe, with cinnamon brown seats.

Q. What can you not believe you once wore?

A. A tangerine tie, with a matching tangerine shirt. I wore it to my college graduation. There should be some differentiation between your shirt and tie.

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