{Oct. 30th, 2013 NYC} It’s now become commonplace to see prominent NBA players like Amar’e Stoudemire and LeBron James looking extra dapper at post-game interviews (see image below), or sitting front row at fashion week alongside Anna Wintour and other industry royalty. For this you can thank stylist supreme: Rachel Johnson. She’s been singlehandedly outfitting her celebrity clients with exquisite tailored suits, imaginative shirt & neckwear combos and one-of-a-kind statement pieces that have thrown a style blog or two into fashion frenzies. Her client roster also includes Chris Bosch, the New York Giants’ Victor Cruz and tennis juggernaut, Serena Williams. The NJ native broke into the industry styling music videos and album covers for popular urban artists. Her transition to celebrity athletes came via a styling gig for former NBA star, Jalen Rose. She’s been featured in the NY Times and several other high profile publications, and she was gracious enough to share with Style.No.Chaser some thoughtfully crafted tips to help guys everywhere look their best.Read and take notes – you may just end up being drafted to the major leagues of style.

“Your priest, barber and tailor should be on speed dial! Find a fantastic tailor and stick with him/her.” – Rachel Johnson


ICON INSPIRATION: I always encourage my clients to select a style icon who they would like to emulate. Of course you can have more than one as we all have many sides. You can embrace one icon for his casualwear, another for his groundbreaking grooming and yet another whose tailoring is forever covetable. The only rule is you must pick icon(s) who inspire you to stretch beyond your current boundaries. It’s also genius to choose a modern-day gent and a fellow from back in the day to give your inspiration even more dimension. 

BE PRUDENT WITH TRENDS: Knowing thyself means knowing which trends do work for you and which don’t. Those neon pink cotton DSquared trousers are not for everyone! Participate in trending in doses and please only one trend at a time. For example: printed shirts are in, in, in for gents these days. BUT a shirt that boasts of chartreuse green stripes and yellow polka dots may not be the best way to embrace that trend du jour. Instead opt for a shirt with a small, repetitive print in a classic color combo like black and white or navy and brown. 

INVEST WISELY: Your wardrobe is an investment in yourself that DOES yield dividends just like your Facebook stock and pending Twitter IPO. DO spend real coin on classic closet staples like go-to suiting in greys, navies and blacks. DO spend real coin on a great navy peacoat or grey wool car coat. DO spend real coin on your classic brown brogue and black lace-up. DO NOT spend real coin on any flash-in-the-pan trendy gear with a six-month shelf life.

TAILORING IS EVERYTHING: Your priest, barber and tailor should be on speed dial! Find a fantastic tailor and stick with him/her. This step is KEY to being a well-dressed gent. DO NOT bounce around from place to place having your precious duds altered by every Tom, Dick and Leroy. You should have a connection and relationship with your tailor and he should know your body, your goals, and your quirks like no one else. When first starting with a tailor, take a reference picture of how you want your garments to fit. My clients know I am a tailoring fanatic and will tailor a tee shirt or polo shirt in a heartbeat. P.S. Your tailor should not double as your dry cleaner. Go to a tailoring shop where alterations are all they do day and night. 

PROPER SHOE UPKEEP: Shoes are a crucial component to a gent’s closet and are the ultimate smart investment. Your shoes should be durable, stylish and classic. But instead of suggesting which shoes to buy, let’s discuss footwear maintenance. Polish your shoes regularly (every 2-4 weeks depending on how often you wear them.) and use a matching cream shoe polish that will treat and condition your leather uppers. After you have broken in your shoes, take them to your shoe repair expert and have taps or rubber soles put on the bottom of them for longevity. Invest in shoe trees to keep the form of your shoes intact and insert them as soon as you remove your shoes. For comfort, try cushy insoles for added support. 

MASTER THE ACCESSORIES: As I tell my clients, accessories separate the men from the boys. One investment watch, like an Audemars Piguet, Rolex or Cartier timepiece is essential. I always encourage gents on a budget to purchase these pre-owned, at a very reduced rate and select a style that works for casual, work and formal occasions. Speaking of pre-owned, I obsess over vintage accoutrements for my guys. Vintage cufflinks, tie bars and eyewear is not only a more economically sound direction, but these gems are unique and will boost your look into another stratosphere. 

TRICKS OF THE TRADE: This may seem a bit taboo, but since I’m a gal who gets paid to see men in their skivvies, I can’t pretend to be shy. For those of you who don’t have a six pack like LeBron, embrace the newest trend of men’s shape wear. That’s right. Brands like Spanx and Equmen have created tanks, tees and underwear that give your chest, midsection and booty a smooth, defined look. Don’t worry, the offerings have names like “compression” “control” and “performance” so you don’t feel like you are wearing a girdle. These pieces will give you a smooth, contoured look, and assist with posture and circulation. 

THE SCENT OF A MAN: Nothing is more alluring then a handsome, confident, stylish man that smells heavenly! But instead of the usual go to men’s scents like Acqua Di Gio or Polo Ralph Lauren, take the time to research scents that are off the beaten path. I swoon over Encre Noir by Lalique and Mister Marvelous by Byredo. A secret I picked up from my significant other is that many women’s scents smell DIVINE on men! Especially those with notes of rose or gardenia. He wears Carnal Flower by Frederic Malle that makes me have…um….carnal thoughts. Lastly, what about creating your own unique scent? There are places like Fragrance Shop NY where you can custom craft a signature scent. All I ask is that you mist, not bathe in your new scent. 

ASK FOR HELP: Excuse me sir….may I help you? For those with a few dollars to spare, do consider enlisting a stylist to help you revise or transform your look. A great stylist should be experienced (at least two years in the game) have stellar references, possess relationships to get you discounts, and should have you immersed in everything on this list and then some. Your stylist should be an educator and must teach you tips you can incorporate for the rest of your stylish days. Expect to enlist this help for around six months (this should take you through two full seasons) to see a real transformation, as Rome will not be built in a day. Afterwards, you should be in a position to hire him/her on a seasonal or event basis or take your knowledge and fend for yourself.

CONFIDENCE ABOVE EVERYTHING: Please be happy being YOU. This is a major point I drive home with my clients. Love every quirky inch of your body and your mug and play up those features, don’t hide them. What makes you different is what makes you special. Long legs, beer belly, oversized nose, ashy knees and ALL!

Love … Rachel

To contact Rachel for your own sartorial needs, visit her company website: www.thomasfaison.com

Company Instagram: @thomasfaison

Twitter/Instagram: @lovingrachel

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