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Lessons from a Gentleman: How to Dress to Impress

Just by looking at Kelvin Harrison’s appearance, you can tell he is an athlete. A frequent participant in local races – including the Louisiana Marathon –  Harrison’s athleticism naturally complements his service as a Master Sergeant in the Air Force Reserve.

With all these accomplishments, Harrison receives even more compliments on his wardrobe. Impeccably tailored and arranged, each ensemble seems specifically fashioned for the event. It immediately becomes obvious that Harrison gets dressed with intention. I met with Harrison to discuss his style inspirations and what he will be wearing this fall.

Q. How would you describe or characterize your style?

A.  I don’t normally limit myself to one style. My style varies and is somewhat hard to describe because it’s based on my mood, nature of the setting, and if it’s event oriented. However, I will tell you that I have the tendency to sometimes overdress, which is fine by me.

Q. What inspires your style or style choices? 

A. My inspiration comes mostly from media. Magazines such as GQ, Rolling Stone, and Vibe. Televised award ceremonies and professional sport figures are my other sources of inspiration.

Q. What would be your perfect ensemble (outfit)?

A. My perfect ensemble would incorporate a tan, leather, oxford style shoe and patterned socks (argyle, plaid, etc.).

Q. How would you describe your perfect suit?

A. It would be a slim-fit, single-breasted, one-button Giorgio Armani suit. I’d like it in charcoal and gray, Glen plaid pattern, made of 100% wool, and of course tailored to fit.

Q. Bowtie or necktie? Why? If a necktie, do you prefer a specific knot (French, Windsor, etc)?

A. This is a tough one because I like the look of both. A bowtie or necktie gives the fullness effect to a collared shirt. I’ve learned the technique of tying a necktie into a bowtie, which definitely comes in handy at times. Nonetheless, as for a specific necktie knot preference, I normally go with the Full-Windsor or the Balthus (a.k.a. Double Windsor) knot. Did you know there’s even a Kelvin knot? How can I ‘knot’ be a fan of that one as well? [as he laughs]

Q. How important is tailoring for men?

A. Tailoring is a preference, and it is important if you want to achieve a certain look. At this point, it’s not about fashion; it’s about respect, being thorough, and your show of appreciation by presenting yourself well. There is a big difference between altering and tailoring. In most cases, I’d prefer to have gear tailored because of my build and physique, which is important for me. If I could get my Air Force blues tailored I would, but it’s against policy.

Q. How do you infuse your personality into your outfits or ensembles? Basically how do you wear clothing to make them your signature?

A. I know my body type and I want that vibe to flow into what I’m wearing. I’m all about fitness; therefore, most of my clothing is worn slim and fitted, which is not to be confused with skinny and tight. I sometimes dare myself to be different and bold but also reserved.

Q. What will you be wearing this fall season? 

A. As the fall season comes around, I’ll be getting out the sweaters and sweater vests. Since we live in Louisiana, I opt for lightweight material. I tone down the colors a bit with more subtle colors.

Q. What is a trend, style, or clothing item that you just will not wear? 

A. You will most likely never see me wearing skinny sweatpants. I saw this was a common style over year ago on a trip to Europe and it reminded me of the late 80s.

First photo:

Sport Coat by Calvin Klein

Shirt by Murano

Pants by TruFit

Oxford Shoes by Bugatchi

Second photo:

Fedora by Daniel Cremieux

Shirt by Calvin Klein

Pants by Dockers

Wingtip Oxford Shoes by Ben Sherman

Watch by Mistura Timepieces

Pullouts: In Case You Didn’t Know

Oxford Shoe: First gained popularity at Oxford University in the 1800s. This is a low shoe with two or more sets of eyelets for laces and has become a staple for the businessman’s wardrobe.

Charcoal: This color is a great men’s suiting fabric for fall. Many men start with charcoal as their first professional suiting fabric because of the flexibility it provides.

Glen plaid pattern: The term originates from Glenurquhart Valley in Scotland and is often referred to as the Prince of Wales check after Prince of Wales Sir Edward VIII, who preferred the Glen plaid for his suits. It has a four by four and two by two color effect in both the lengthwise (warp) and filling (weft).

Windsor knot: A thick, wide triangular knot that was inspired by but falsely credited to the Duke of Windsor. Since it is a large necktie knot, it suits wide-collared shirts.

Balthus knot: The largest necktie knot forming a bulky thick knot created by Balthasar Klossowski, a Polish-French artist. This knot style is better suited made in thinner fabrics and when tied properly looks broad and conical.

Kelvin knot: This style is similar to the four-in-hand necktie, which is a standard necktie. It is different because the knot starts with the tie lying inside out creating an inverted tail that forms a slim and neat design. Named after Lord William Thomson Kelvin, a mathematical physicist, who studied knots in relation to atomic structure.



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