Walk into any shop along 5th Avenue, and if you look the part, some eager but cool sales associate will swoop. For the modern business man, these shops—with gaping tourists in the summer and sales-hungry shoppers around the holidays—are neither appealing nor useful. They fail to meet the demands and desires of men who need real help picking out an outfit, but lack the patience and the wherewithal to brave a typical shop.
Ten stories above the fray in a penthouse with no storefront to speak of, a new company called Vesture outfits a different clientele entirely. Sleek, polished double doors open into a tranquil showroom with soft stone carpeting and smooth wood paneling that recalls Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth project. The whole look is designed to exude the influence and elegance befitting the modern business leader, who schedules an appointment for Vesture’s made-to-measure studio and first-rate tailor shop.
IVY member Nader Naeymi-Rad began Vesture, with his business partner Franco Salhi, to appeal to the prosperous gentleman, who lacks the time to shop but needs to look the part. He’s successful; he’s cultured; he’s ambitious—but he needs some help building a wardrobe that will show him how to dress for success. In a recent interview with IVY Magazine, Nader discussed how Vesture dresses leaders for success and offered tips for the modern gentleman to look his very best in every occasion.
Nader is an IVY Member (NYC). Connect and collaborate with him here.
IVY: Tell us about Vesture.
Vesture makes made-to-measure suits and casual wear for very specific clientele. This person is typically a CEO, business executive, entrepreneur, professional entertainer or athlete, someone who has reached the top of their trade or profession. He’s in the public eye and needs to look the part — and that requires time, focus, and working with someone who can understand what you’re trying to accomplish and maintain it over time. That’s really what Vesture is about: helping people build a wardrobe with a purpose, showing them how to dress for success.
IVY: How would you describe the current retail market?
The current retail model, whether online or brick-and-mortar, by definition has to appeal to a broad range of consumers. It’s evolved over the decades to include a store-front with street-level access and now the web. It’s heavily reliant on promotions, whether that’s advertising or discounts and loyalty programs, and essentially revolves around buying inventory and stocking, so you have availability for items when people want them. In retail, you also need a sales team that can get things out the door when you need them to.
Retail works for 99% of the population. But there’s a small 1% who aren’t really being served because they don’t like to walk into a store, they don’t like to bargain-hunt at the end of the season, they don’t care for online flash sales, they refuse to compromise on style or fit, and so they’re a different priority set of people. This 1% is catered to by specialists like Vesture, who are all about customer service.
IVY: Studies show that making a single decision hinders one’s ability to make other decisions later in the day. Some people—Steve Jobs, President Obama, even Albert Einstein—have used this rationale to advocate for wearing the same outfit everyday. Do you think making wardrobe decisions hinders your ability to make other decisions during the day? How does this affect your work at Vesture?
It’s not about removing the decision; it’s about having more confidence in the decisions you make. It’s removing the doubt and the lack of confidence and the fear that you’re making a mistake. Many of our clients are very confident, incredibly accomplished people, but they’re not experts in all aspects of their lives. People want to know why they’re wearing something. It’s the “I want to wear red pants, and I know I’m going to feel good in them” mentality.
IVY: How do you build confidence? What are some wardrobe misconceptions you’re trying to dispel with Vesture in order to show people how to dress for success?
“I need to wear a suit and tie to look powerful.” No, you don’t. Sure, if you’re wearing Docker khakis, a Brooks Brother’s blazer from the 90s, and a Lands End white shirt, unless you’re Jack Welch, you’re probably not going to project much at all. (Jack Welch could come in a Speedo, and people are still going to listen to whatever comes out of his mouth.) What I tell my clients at Vesture is that you can wear a pair of comfortable pants with a blazer and a shirt and no tie and really look good, and when people look at you, they’ll be curious to hear what you have to say.
IVY: Let’s say you’re building a new wardrobe for one of your ideal clients at Vesture. What do you think 5-10 essential pieces might be? What will change their life?
The modern man is looking for instances and opportunities where he might make a statement, and he should be making the right statement. So, generally, when someone walks into Vesture to learn how to dress for success, I think he needs to think in categories rather than pieces.
- Every guy needs a really good business casual set of solutions. That means great jackets and blazers that can dress something up without making him look like he’s at a job interview. Colors and styles depend on the season and on someone’s personal style, but all guys need to have a blue blazer. Maybe not navy blue, maybe they want to pick a different shade, but a nice blue blazer is a staple.
- Next, men need to think about evening social occasions, maybe a crucial cocktail party. Going-out attire is about softer shoulders, instead of hard-board room shoulders, and is often slimmer-cut with less muted colors and maybe some silk blends.
- Third, every guy should have a good tuxedo. Think about it: if you’re going somewhere where a tuxedo is required, then it’s probably an important occasion, where you’ll meet key people and be photographed. So, bite the bullet and purchase a good made-to-measure tuxedo — it’s an investment that will pay off for years.
- Fourth, men often need an outfit for those moments where they need to project power. For example, you just became CEO and it’s your first meeting with your Board of Directors. When you walk in the Boardroom—and before you say a single word—everyone around that table needs to know you’re in charge. We’re talking about that Presidential look. You’re making a statement that projects good taste and confidence.
- The last necessary category is quality day-time casual wear, something a guy might wear to meet his possible in-laws for lunch for the first time. He can’t wear business casual because it’s not really right — it’s about having the right kind of blazer, the right kind of slacks to blend into a casual scene, look comfortable, but at the same time stylish and confident.
IVY: So much talk of suits and blazers, what about the tie? (And how skinny can it be?)
Pick a width—if you like narrower ties, go with narrower ties. I think for younger guys, narrower ties are definitely “in” right now. Generally, when you go out, you want to reduce the width because you’re just accenting your outfit; the tie’s not the main focus. If you’re going to a business meeting, the tie may be a statement. It’s a way to take a conservative suit and make it into something more interesting.
I think men’s accessories have been a massive growth market. Men are finally discovering that they can wear accessories, but they’re also very personal. (Some men will simply never wear accessories.) Accessories have to seem authentic. Generally, I advise most men to start small, maybe one piece that they really like and go from there.
For me, watches are also crucially important, particularly if you want to be in the circle of men who dress well. A lot of men are now only learning what to look for in a watch, how to wear it, and what to expect in its role in an overall outfit. But tread carefully–watches are expensive—have someone who knows watches, but preferably doesn’t sell them, help get you started.
IVY: How can the IVY Community help you?
What I want for IVY is to learn and celebrate — for members to come into the Vesture studio and have my partner and 20-year veteran of men’s luxury fashion, Franco, explain sartorial excellence and help them see what to look for in a suit. If you need alterations or a suit of course, by all means Vesture will help you. Visit our website to learn more about the Vesture experience.
What inspires you?
I studied history and philosophy, so I’m always inspired by people who ask why. That’s what really drives me: why? Why are we doing this? And that’s my underlying need: not so much what I’m doing, where I’m doing it, but why.
IVY is dedicated to fostering a community for thriving people—inspiring connection, collaboration, and growth. To learn more, visit www.ivy.com.