Cleveland

Sartorial Wisdom from Walter Halle of Cleveland

In 1960, George Frazier wrote a famous piece for Esquire about men’s style titled “The Art of Wearing Clothes.” In the article, Frazier listed who he considered to be the 40 best-dressed men in the United States at the time. The list included Cary Grant, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Fred Astaire, Bill Blass, Clark Gable and several others, including Walter Halle of Cleveland.

Walter Halle with three employees looking at a blueprint for a store in 1962. (Copyright © ClevelandMemory.org)

Halle’s was a major department store in its day, in business from 1891 to 1982. It was co-founded by brothers Samuel and Salmon Halle, with its flagship emporium located in what is now one of the oldest landmarked buildings in Downtown Cleveland. Walter Halle was Samuel’s son and was, by 1960, the company’s president.

Illustration of Walter Halle published in George Frazier’s article in Esquire.

In his introduction to the article, Esquire editor and co-founder Arnold Gingrich wrote of his and the magazine’s opinions on style along with those of others. One of the men he quoted was Walter Halle, who said he favored…

“… a suit silhouette that has shoulders of medium width, not too wide and not too narrow, very slightly squared. A slight suggestion of suppression at the waistline. Trousers trim and narrow, and I am just enjoying them cuffless. The style of the lapel (which also is of medium width) is a matter of personal taste and so are details such as the pocket flaps—whether I wish a change pocket, etc. I also believe I will have a new double-breasted or two for fall, because I feel that I will get great pleasure in wearing a well-proportioned double-breasted suit after so many years.”

That’s a Cleveland boy for you.

3 Comments

  1. Christopher R Fortunato Reply

    Thanks for a great anecdote about Halle’s. I was just talking to my 27 year old secretary about Halle’s at lunch today. She did not know about it.

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