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Grandlife interviews

TODD SNYDER’S STYLE GUIDE

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Todd Snyder knows the power of an impeccably tailored suit—as does any man who has ever worn a Todd Snyder suit. The Iowa-born, New York-based designer has built his brand on the belief that well-made, perfectly fitted clothes make the man, and that when it comes to style, versatility and comfort are key. From the fabric and fit to the craftsmanship and absolute precision of every stitch, Snyder’s collections reflect a level of integrity and effortless style that has transformed even the most nonchalant dresser into a man with taste and flair. We recently caught up with the designer and curator of gentlemanly goods to talk about the art of bringing American heritage design into the now, the concept behind his New York flagship, the reason to invest in the great basics, and where to find the pieces, clothing or otherwise, that fit the bill.

How would you define the downtown NY aesthetic?

Todd Snyder: The further I travel “downtown” the darker my outfits get.  You never know who you’ll run into so it’s better to be prepared. I prefer a great third piece, as we call it… it’s a sport coat or a suede jacket that adds a little sophistication to an outfit.

If you could dress any New York personality in head-to-toe Todd Snyder, who would it be and why?

TS: I would say, Anthony Bourdain. I never met him but always thought he was the coolest guy.  Great style.

Any tips for fall dressing in New York? What are the key pieces every New Yorker should have in their wardrobe this season?

TS: Anything from our store in New York… But seriously, everyone needs a great jacket and a mohair sweater. The old school prep style is coming back but in a street style way. Invest in a cool topcoat. I love styling with the latest sneaker. We are somewhat sneaker snobs at the TS store.

What styles or trends should be dropped into the donation bin?  

TS: Bootcut jeans and square-toe shoes. I still see them out there

What’s the secret to effortless style?

TS: Invest in the great basics: the perfect suit (you can get at least five outfits by breaking up the suit); dark denim; cool sneakers; Clark desert boots; black oxford shirt; slim trench coat; and Red Wing boots. With these basics, you can layer on the latest trends. I try to pick one item to layer on like a mohair sweater, camel topcoat, anything corduroy or an old-school cardigan.

You have teamed up with a variety of brands from Champion to Red Wing to Timex; what do you look for in a collaborative partnership? What makes a collaboration successful?

TS: A brand that has a lot of heritage is a must. Also, a brand that covets its archive. I am the only person that Champion and Timex will let into theirs. What makes them successful is designing unique product that is very limited and special. I spend a lot of time with their team truly designing something that I think my customer will love.

Tell us about your New York Flagship store; what did you set out to achieve?

TS: I wanted to create a one-stop shop for guys to get great style. I feel there’s a lot of noise in fashion right now and it’s hard for men to decode what’s going on. I want to make it easier for them to shop and to make them feel comfortable. I also wanted to give a reason for guys to come in, so I added a hair studio, a bar, and a tailor. What’s better than a good whiskey, nice haircut, and a perfectly fitted wardrobe?

Is the store tailored specifically to your New York customer? What are the pieces your customers can’t get enough of?

TS: The store is a perfect mix of all the things I love about New York and everything is for sale: furniture, rugs, books, art and, of course, our clothing. Right now, we can’t keep enough corduroy in stock. It’s the “it” fabric for sure; we have it in shirts, five-pocket jeans, and my favorite, the navy cord suit.

What are you working on at the moment; any exciting projects you can tell us about?

TS: We just debuted the first-ever Crafted Collection with The Balvenie and the CFDA which we’re excited for. It highlights talented artists and has handcrafted one-of-a-kind fashion, furniture, home décor, and entertainment pieces using parts of Balvenie barrels. Also, we have a few new collabs cooking—hopefully for next year. Also working on next fall… lots of tweeds and color.

Can you tell us some of your favorite New York spots to….

Feel like you’re living in Old New York?

TS: I love Keens Steakhouse. It’s been around since the 1900s.

Catch a live show?

TS: I just watched The National in Forest Hills. It’s the old tennis stadium where they played the US Open in the ’70s. A must go to… any concert will do, amazing part of New York City.

Find unexpected style inspiration?

TS: Always the subway. Best street style mixed with uptown and downtown influences.

Go for a cocktail, then dinner nearby?  

TS: Hmm that’s a tough one, there’s so many. If I had to pick just one then I’d go with Old Town bar for a pint and then off to Loring Place—it’s my favorite. I know the owner Chef Dan Kluger. Great food.

Enjoy an architectural moment?

TS: Hit the Beekman Hotel downtown near Wall Street and check out the bar.  It’s amazing.

Words Edwina Hagon

Photography Matthew Brookes

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