Some weeks ago while I was at work, I got a flurry of text messages from friends telling me that I got mentioned by the inimitable Stephanie Ruhle on her morning MSNBC show. My friend Graham actually texted me a clip of her finishing a segment with guest Scott Galloway, who was uncharacteristically clad in a jacket and tie. After thanking him for coming on the show, she complimented his suit and tie style and told him he looked like a “TV George Hahn.” After shitting a brick, I nearly dropped my phone.
Though we’re connected on Twitter, I honestly had no idea I had been on Stephanie’s radar in any real way at the time, and I was floored. The cherry on the cake of the moment was Scott’s laugh, signaling his recognition of the idea. This is the kind of thing that makes the day for this narcissist.
Stephanie is someone I hold in the highest regard as a badass firecracker who knows her business with business. The idea that she held me in any regard at all as a style authority was the sexiest thing that happened to me since the pandemic hit.
Another hot thing that happened last year was discovering Scott Galloway through Pivot, the podcast he co-hosts with Kara Swisher. With intelligent, probing and often hilarious discourse on tech, business and politics, the two share an unlikely chemistry that works beautifully. Where Scott is often irreverent, sometimes inappropriate, always opinionated, consistently hilarious and usually correct, Kara volleys back with equal verve, total authority and a full serving of admonition when called for (as it often is).
Outside of Pivot, my only visual of Scott came from the cover art for the podcast, his profile photo on Twitter and the occasional video he shares on social media. From his photos and the cursory Google image search, I saw a guy ostensibly most comfortable in t-shirts or polos. A jacket and tie doesn’t seem to be his default comfort zone, even on TV.
During a recent episode of Pivot, however, Scott divulged to Kara that he actually likes dressing up and enjoys a suit and tie. Scott’s a very attractive man and looks even more attractive when he fusses up a suit and tie for the screen. And he’s someone I’ve come to admire very much. Given all that, I felt compelled to come up with a handsome, well tailored, understated uniform for Scott that would better suit his “gangster” persona.
Being a podcast host, a professor, a writer and a father, Scott has a busy life and may rather not be bothered wondering which tie would go with which suit or which shirt. It should be easy. It’s no secret that busy and successful people who operate on a high level often find a look (ideally a good, iconic one) and stick with it. A ‘uniform’ of sorts. Look at Tom Ford, Giorgio Armani, Steve Jobs, Thom Browne, Anna Wintour, Fran Lebowitz… successful, influential and busy people who all essentially settled on a uniform. Garanimals for grownups, if you will, which enable someone like Scott to reach into one’s closet blindfolded, not fuck up and look like something. In a given busy day where one has to make a million decisions, this is one less decision to worry about.
A word about widths and proportion… With respect to the size of shirt collars and the width of jacket lapels and ties, a lot of men are still stuck in the first two or three seasons of Mad Men with skinny, diminutive shirt collars, jacket lapels and ties. The time is nigh to bolden up and graduate from boys’ department widths. I’m not suggesting full ‘70s fat width, here. It’s about landing in a trend-proof zone somewhere in the middle. For Scott, I’m thinking a good three or so inches for shirt collars, ties and lapels.
In pulling together these ideas, I stuck with my usual guns on cost. Anyone familiar with my writing over the years knows that I’m a big proponent and practitioner of shopping on a budget. Scott has done very well for himself and can certainly afford clothes on a pricier spectrum. But he’s also an academic sending a message to younger people setting out in the world. Besides, I’m a firm believer that it’s not only possible to look better in a $600 suit than the show-off who spent $6,000, but it’s also very satisfying. (I’ve done the research.)
With that, I present some solid options for Professor Galloway, the Dog, the emergent prince of all media…
Many guys who have that one suit often default to black. The problem with a black suit is that it’s black, which can be a bit severe for men not working as chauffeurs, pall bearers or assassins in a Tarantino film. A subtle pop of color, a notch lighter than black, is better, especially for men with lighter skin and hair (or no hair, in Scott’s case). Navy works on everyone.
For suits, I’m a big fan of Suitsupply. The suits are well-made with great fabrics, and they’re priced very reasonably.
In terms of versatility and timelessness, nothing can touch the white dress shirt. And if someone dresses up infrequently, it’s really all you need. From there, the next consideration is the weave of cotton and the type of collar and cuff. For the cotton, a nice poplin or broadcloth is good for all seasons. For the cuff? I love French cuffs but also appreciate the ease of a barrel/button cuff.
Proper Cloth is a fantastic resource for online custom shirts with a myriad of options, starting from $95.
This one is simple. Grenadine ties are made with a light, airy waffle-like weave of silk that makes for a really nice texture. For starters, I picked solids from Chipp Neckwear, which can be had for a cool $60.
Branching out, I like dots and stripes. Another favorite resource for ties is Drake’s. They’re a splurge at $205 for a grenadine, but Drake’s makes exquisite neckwear.
Shoes are an area where it doesn’t pay to play it cheap. If you spend on good shoes, you only have to do it once. My Aldens were nearly $800/pair, but with proper care, they’ll outlast me.
The key to all of this is tailoring. This is where we separate the men from the boys. Good tailoring conforms to a man’s form without squeezing it. It should be trim yet comfortable, leaving room to move. In a simple, masterfully tailored suit, Scott would look sensational on television – and everywhere else, for that matter.
Now we just have to wait for the pandemic to be over so I can take him shopping and to the tailor.