Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Peacock in Brooklyn…

Photograph by

Dennis Cahlo is a Brooklyn based musician and aspiring composer, originally hailing from Staten Island. He chronicles his quest for great menswear and the importance of well-fitting clothing on his blog, Made To Measure. He candidly shares his experiences about getting his clothing tailored and purchasing bespoke pieces.

This well-groomed and elegant peacock favors classic menswear pieces in navy blue and grays. Underneath his well-tailored wardrobe Dennis is building a collection of colorful tattoos. His goal is to have full sleeves in the next 2 years. His latest tattoo is a Geisha pin-up girl.

Mr. Peacock: When did you acquire your first made to measure item in your wardrobe?
Dennis: Believe it or not, my first made to measure suit was done by Indochino about a year ago (above and below photo show custom suit details). After that, I find it very tough to go back to off the rack. Although Hugo Boss is one of the only OTR that usually fits me perfectly straight away.

How would you describe your own style?
Cary Grant having lunch with the male cast of Quadrophenia—with a quick visit from James Dean at the table.

Above: Dennis looking classically elegant in his tux with his custom shirt from Alexander West. As Dennis summed it up, "Once I put it on, I had the full realization of just how good the fit is. Every part hugged by body perfectly and there was no need at all for tailoring."

How old were you when you realized you were a peacock?
Growing up Roman Catholic I had to have a communion. My mother bought me my first all white suit and I absolutely fell in love with the idea of getting "dressed up." I stared in the mirror for a while thinking of how great the suit looked and how confident I felt in it. It was all very natural; like a second skin.

Above: Lean and mean in his tailored suits...and take note of his sliver of a pocket square—perfectly folded.

Do you have a favorite menswear designer or brand?
I tend not to discriminate. To me, it's never about the brand or designer. It's all about the fit. I can find stuff from a “no name” that fits better than Prada...or have it tailored perfectly.

Do you have a particular item of clothing you're obsessed with?
As a matter of fact, yes. Anything in navy blue! I have 3 navy jackets, 3 navy suits, navy slacks and many pairs of navy socks. I don't know what it is about that color but it makes me feel so good when I wear it and it can be combined with many patterns as well as solids.

What's your favorite item in your wardrobe
My favorite item (at the moment) is a pair of DKNY cap toe oxfords I found for $30. They go with virtually everything in my wardrobe from jeans to a tuxedo.

Above left to right: His favorite cap toe oxfords; $89.99 beauties from Alfani; and a bargain pair of vintage wingtips.

Do you wear vintage clothes or only "new" clothes?
I definitely like to marry both elements into my wardrobe. New is great, but sometimes you come across an old pair of Cordovan shoes sitting in a junk shop/thrift store that may just need a resoling, shine, and some shoe trees to bring them back to life. Those $8 treasures with an extra $14 investment are sometimes more gratifying than anything you can find new.

Style icon?
David Bowie (below: a dapper Bowie—then and now, with his wife Iman).

Tote bag, satchel or messenger bag?

What would be your dream purchase right now?
I would buy a Townhouse in Brooklyn.

Above: A peek inside the tidy and organized summer wardrobe of Mr. Cahlo.

Any sartorial disasters you can share?
I used to have blue hair, braces, and wear over sized clothing in High School. I was a total disaster, but at least I was punk rock.

Any menswear trends you adore? or abhor?
Adore: Fitted suits, shirts, and slim line shoes. 
 Abhor: Flip flops!

Above left to right: Dennis casually attired, yet still looking very polished, wearing boots and a leather jacket—a gift from his girlfriend; and a $30 washed cotton jacket from Urban Outfitters.

What city has the best-dressed men?
It's a toss up between Rome and Milan.

What are your favorite fashion magazines?

I'm very middle of the road with this. I subscribe to GQ, Details, and I am very fond of Menswear Magazine (by Fairchild—note from Mr. Peacock...does anyone know if they're still publishing this title?) when I can find it. I read more blogs these days just because the opinions are more real and not sponsored. I love GQ but how many men can honestly afford a $500 pair of cashmere socks?

My father only wore black or gray cashmere socks! They're definitely a luxury item Mr. Peacock can't justify. What are you looking forward to wearing this autumn?

This season I am very into heavy tweeds, muted colors, work boots, medium weight suits, and long over coats...and my favorite wool-driving cap!

Any style advice for fellow peacocks?
a. Define yourself by yourself.

b. Do not fall into trends, but stay current.

c. Always go for the proper fit. (ie...If you squeeze into a suit too small, you will look like a sausage).

Above: Dennis toasts made to measure menswear (it's water, not vodka).

Mr. Peacock couldn’t agree more about proper fitting clothes for any gentleman's wardrobe—and the importance of a good tailor, and finding brands that suit your body type. I also admire Dennis’s tenacity at consistently upgrading and editing his wardrobe—and his commitment to amassing his tattoos. Stop by Made To Measure and take a peek at his advice (and trial and tribulations) with bespoke clothing and tailoring. Thanks Dennis!


Barima said...

Well done, Dennis. The key to a good interview is in having a wealth of observations to offer

His punk days must have made for some memorable photography - missed opportunity, R! Peacocks are good with blue

pve design said...

Reminds me of the first bound buttonhole I made as well as using horse-hair interfacing for a tailored lapel. I covet hand made tailor details. My great grandfather was a tailor. Perhaps it is in my blood.

I would buy a farm upstate and open a shop and have a small shop in front, like the ones in Colonial Williamsburg and spend my days working and the evenings by candlelight - gossiping.

Mr. Peacock said...

There's nothing like a good tailor!!!
Thanks Dennis for sharing!