Men at Work

The Rat Pack look, brown shoes, and women in suits. Chicago’s most creative men’s clothiers dish on the best and worst choices for their own—and the opposite—sex

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Photography by Jeff Sciortino
Hair and makeup: Joyce Taft

Drew Davis and Missy Tuber-Davis

When Davis took over Active Endeavors (853 West Armitage Avenue, three other locations, and http://www.activeendeavors.com/), his family’s business, it was an outdoor-apparel stalwart. Now he and his wife, Tuber-Davis, the fashion director for the company, have turned it into a rising star of high style.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN
MTD
: “Women shop all the time, in every price range. They buy; they return; they shop again. They debate nonstop.”
DD: “Guys in general are scared to death of shopping and go for the easy fix-the button-down plaid shirt in summer or ski sweater in winter. They are scared to ask for assistance and try new things.”

SPRING’S SPLURGE ITEM
MTD
: “A custom Luba J handbag. You pick out the shape, the detailing, and the color. My gut tells me this bag will rock.”
DD: “A few pieces that last and last-I am excited about a couple of new Corpus T-shirts with great graphics and jeans in a really dark, raw, resiny wash. After a year they are perfect.”

WHAT LOOKS GOOD ON WOMEN
DD
: “A very clean style: black pinstriped trousers, a white button-down shirt-nothing too trendy or over the top. Contrary to popular culture, I don’t like tight clothing. I like women who take risks with style, maybe putting shorts and leggings with cowboy boots like the models in Nylon magazine, who seem outrageous.”

WHAT SHOPPERS IGNORE
MTD
: “Guys ignore socks and boxers. Jeans have gotten lower, and I don’t want to see ugly boxers when guys bend over. I want to see nice Paul Stuart socks when their pants creep up. Women get stuck for the sake of being trendy. Wear the right top for your chest, get comfortable with your body, and synchronize that with what’s appropriate for your age.”

THE BEST GIFTS
DD
: “Are experiences. Missy got me tickets for a quick trip to see David Bowie at a small theatre in New York.”
MTD: “After I had my son, Drew brought a picnic basket with all the things I love, and we hung out in a room at the Four Seasons. He hired the baby- sitter; I wasn’t involved in figuring it out.”

EVERYONE SHOULD BE ABLE TO
MTD
: “Speak what’s on your mind, be honest, take a brutal look at yourself, and be flexible enough to make changes.”
DD: “Experience the world.”

Brad Habansky

The owner of Guise (2217 North Halsted Street), a Lincoln Park clothing and barbershop that has become a destination for men who want to be groomed and outfitted-head to toe-for any occasion, from a business meeting to a date night.

ON MEN’S FASHION
“Cool is the best-like the Rat Pack era, when it was cool to dress like a man and look really good. The term ‘metrosexual’ really hurt, because it made looking good a gay/straight issue. Putting a sexual connotation on dressing is ridiculous.”

WHAT’S HIP FOR MEN NOW
“Either casual, deconstructed urban street-wear or a sleek, modern Scandinavian look. When I was buying in Europe I saw vintage polo shirts with straight-leg jeans and suits with a great cut. It will look more fashionable this spring to have a skinnier cut and a tapered waist in everything. Even crazy shirts with stripes and patterns look better cut close.”

LIKES SEEING WOMEN
“In a pair of straight-leg jeans and a little velvet jacket. I do like sequins, but most women overdo them. Girls hanging out of their shirts don’t do a ton for me. I like to see Toni [Palaez, his fiancée, a private equity analyst] in a business suit.”

WOMEN WHO SHOP WITH MEN
“Can be deal breakers. This guy in my store had on a jacket and kept looking at himself in the mirror, loving it. His wife came in and bang. One word from her and it was off.”

MUST HAVES
“I am a big fan of sunglasses and probably have five pairs. And leather-I love a new J. Lindeberg motorcycle jacket. It’s hard to find leather that doesn’t look cheesy.”

BEST PURCHASE FOR SPRING
“Every guy needs a light, skinny suit in a nice cut with straight-leg pants and a skinny jacket-in khaki.”

LIFE SKILLS THAT ARE KEY
“Tell a woman you like her hair; just say something like ‘I see you have longer layers now.’ Learn how to drive a stick, swim, and do CPR-you never know when you’ll need them. Learn the etiquette for everything you do, from golf to ordering wine. Don’t take your shirt off at a street fair, a Cubs game, or walking down the street. Foreplay.”

John Moran, Edmund Paszlyk, and
John Jones (from left)

The owners of George Greene (49 East Oak Street) relate to clients ranging in age from 16 to well over 60 with an eclectic and elegant selection of menswear and accessories.

LESSONS FOR WOMEN FROM MENSWEAR
JM
: “Men buy jackets the way women buy shoes, so we should take that from each other. Every woman needs to buy a great man-tailored jacket that is timeless, or have a three-piece suit made. I saw a woman in Paris wearing a chalk-striped suit with a black turtleneck and brown lace-up shoes. That was terrific.”

THE ESSENTIAL SPRING ITEM
JJ
: “Brown shoes. They transform everything and add a sense of sophistication, especially in suede.”
EP: “I recently bought a three-button Kiton suit in a wonderful khaki wool-a nice tailored fit without being extreme.” JM: “A deconstructed linen suit or jacket. You have to just wear it and not think about the wrinkles.”

MOST WOMEN
EP
: “Have no business baring their midriffs.”
JJ: “Often they decide too early in life what works for them. We concentrate on what is good, but that may change.”

MOST MEN IGNORE
JJ
: “The details in dressing. They will wear a well-tailored suit and forget to shine their shoes.”
JM: “Men ignore the right shirt and tie. When men look at each other, our eyes go to the face and neck area. It needs to be framed right.”

DEVELOPING PERSONAL STYLE
JM
: “I go with my son to the new Abercrombie & Fitch store in New York. It’s like going to a disco-the heat is turned up; the salespeople are wearing flip-flops; the customers are yelling over the music. I see him focusing on his own style and comfort there. I started off that way in secondhand stores.”
Business Casual
JJ: “Never looks businesslike. A bank teller in jeans is very disturbing, and getting on an airplane, it looks like everyone is on their way to the gym.”

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