The Power of the Perfect Suit
By Roxy Manning
Photography by Giuliano Bekor
Occupation: Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star Right Fielder
Suit: Astor & Black Custom Clothiers
Andre Ethier knows a thing or two about donning a uniform. On the field he sports Dodger blue and white, but off, he is all about Astor & Black Custom Clothiers, a bespoke suit maker with a boutique on Miracle Mile.
Upon arriving in the major leagues in 2006—when Ethier wore “just any” suit—he discovered what the players wore when traveling between games served as a representation of their personality. Ethier made his own leap into high fashion when he bid on and won a bespoke suit from Astor & Black at a charity auction several years ago. The rest is perfectly fitted history. “At first I was a little overwhelmed when the tailor arrived at my house with his roller case full of books of fabric,” says Ethier. (More than 1,000 different cloth swatches, to be exact.) He was quickly a custom convert.
Ethier’s personal haberdasher, Aaron Benami, takes 30 specific measurements in order to achieve the perfect fit, and has even delivered the finished suits to the Dodger Stadium locker room. “We take the stress out of shopping for Andre,” says Benami. “[We do] everything from coming to him to place his order to bringing him the suits pressed and ready to go within six weeks.” The athlete wears suits from the Nobility line, which means each contains more than 2,400 stitches. Sweat guards, Bemberg silk lining in the jackets and a personalized nameplate are all custom details. Typically Ethier has his first and last name embroidered inside his jackets, but Benami adds another special touch: “His last name is monogrammed under the collar of his jacket. I told him it’s not something people will see, but you’ll know we did this for you.”
What also makes the suits stand apart is a signature canvassing method Astor & Black founder David Schottenstein describes as “making an impressionable foundation for the suit, thereby allowing the garment to drape like no other.” For Ethier, suits are more than just items of clothing. “[My custom suits] give me a feeling of accomplishment,” he says. “They symbolize the tough road I have been down over the years and show that some of my hard work has paid off.”
Full look, Ethier's own
Occupation: President of 7 for All Mankind
Suit: John Varvatos
Perhaps it was fate that made Barry Miguel gravitate to John Varvatos suits. The president of LA’s designer denim brand 7 For All Mankind (owned by VF, as is Varvatos) wears the designer’s ensembles because “I look finished and exude confidence and strength.” That’s exactly why he wore a lightweight, narrow-silhouetted, charcoal-gray Varvatos suit with a notched lapel to interview for his current position, which he landed in April 2011.
Just as Miguel cites the three most important elements in a classic pair of 7 For All Mankind jeans as “the fit, the feel and the finish,” similarly Varvatos calls out features of his wildly popular suits: “The fit comes first, then great fabrics and then the silhouette.” The designer connects to the “lost art” of suit making via such “hidden treasures” as precise lapel shapes, well-constructed shoulder pads and unique finishing patterns. Making the ready-to-wear label even more distinctive, says its namesake, is the fact “my suits are made in Italy, with 60 percent of the sewing done by hand.” Varvatos adds, “Most of our customers fall into the category of a creative executive. Someone who has confidence and style with a rock ’n’ roll attitude.” It’s as if he is referring to Miguel specifically.
As for how Miguel developed his undeniable sartorial style, it began when he was a teen working in San Francisco clothing stores. Later, his love for fashion helped him ascend through the ranks of design houses including Versace, Marc Jacobs, Tracy Reese, Nike and Zac Posen. While his fondness for denim and a proper suit is obvious, it’s not mutually exclusive: A favorite look is his denim suit, which consists of a pair of ruby-red 7 jeans, a white button-down and dark denim jacket.
“I am a firm believer in clothes not wearing the man, but rather the man wearing the clothes,” says Miguel as he slips on his favorite medium-weight charcoal Varvatos suit, complete with a 7 For All Mankind denim tie. “I like a powerful visual.”
Occupation: Motion Picture Talent Agent and Co-Head of Creative Artists Agency's (CAA) Comedy Department
styling by miriam sternoff for exclusive artists management; grooming by erica sauer at exclusive artists management