By: Malcolm Mayhew
| photography by Alex Lepe |
I had no clue what defined men’s style until I spent weeks with some of the most well-dressed men in Fort Worth. The theme was consistent and simple — their identity is closely tied to what they wear, and they only wear what they feel most comfortable in. Oncologist Dr. Asad Dean put it best when he said we have one life to live so why should we hold back when expressing who we are, whether colorful or conventional? And entrepreneur Jonathan Morris does not dress for others. He may even skip an event if the invite suggests attire that doesn’t fit his taste. Business casual? No thanks. His question: what does that even mean? One man’s business is another man’s casual. One thing is for sure: when dressed his best, each one of these men stands a little taller.
Style Advice: “Having a true sense of identity and not wavering from it. Walk with confidence.”
He grew up in Athens, Greece, where you could cut racial tension with a saw. His mother, a singer, and his father, a musician, dressed their son, Abraham Alexander, to a “T” because people would respect a well-dressed man, no matter his race. His parents eventually moved to North Texas to escape the racism and crumbling economy in Greece.
After 15 years in Texas, Alexander’s style is still very much influenced by his past in Europe — he can almost always be found in a well-fitted suit from Zara or J. Hilburn in Dallas. He appreciates the tailored fit of European suits, sports fine Stetson hats and sometimes suspenders. His more casual go-to is Urban Outfitters on Seventh Street because he has a thing for its T-shirts.
One evening when walking through Chimera Brewing Co. on Magnolia Avenue, several people stopped him about his hat, or his suspenders, or his cool beard. He stands out everywhere, but I’m betting that also has something to do with his illuminating character.
Alexander is finishing school part-time at Texas Wesleyan but works full-time as a banker. That is when he’s not coaching soccer or singing the “soulful blues” at intimate venues like the Live Oak Music Hall & Lounge on Magnolia Avenue. Before music, he played soccer at Texas Wesleyan but tore his ACL two years ago. Alexander turned to music. His God-given musical talent now soars. And, people are listening.
His music is filled with lyrics about hope and the fascinating life he’s already lived at 26 years old. When he’s not jamming at home with some of his best buddies, Leon Bridges and Brandon Marcel, you might catch the three of them “bebopping” down Magnolia Avenue in South Fort Worth.
Everything he does has meaning and purpose.
“If you respect yourself and make that come across outwardly, then nobody else can disrespect you. Even if they tried, it wouldn’t penetrate you because of that respect you have for yourself deep down inside,” Alexander said.
Suit: Zara men
Hat: Stetson metropolitan
Rings: Chad Barela (New Mexico)
Owner, Christopher Goetz Clothiers
Style Advice: “You have to feel comfortable with your own style. Don’t get caught up in fads.”
When he was a young boy, Christopher Goetz told his parents to quit buying him clothes. He had an innate sense for style and wasn’t going to let his parents get in the way. So at 12 years old, he got his first job and realized the importance of dressing to impress, at work that is.
“Once I made my own money, I read and researched in the New York Times or the Star-Telegram to see what men were wearing.”
He spent every penny on clothes. Goetz remembers buying his first pair of Bass Weejuns, Levi jeans and a few button-down shirts. By 13 years old, he knew he wanted a career in the clothing business.
Now the owner of his namesake Christopher Goetz Clothiers on West Seventh Street, he has been living out his dream since 1987. And although pictured here in a gray pinstriped custom suit and slip-on Alden shoes with Ray-Ban glasses, his go-to is a patterned sport coat like herringbone, check, or a classic plaid paired with a solid pant.
Shirt: Super 100s Royal Oxford
Suit: Chalk-striped suit custom-made by John Daniels
Tie: 100 percent Italian Silk by J.Z. Richards
Watch: Rolex Presidential in rose gold
Style Advice: “Find purpose in what you wear, and the passion will follow. Quality — go for things that are timeless. Build a proper wardrobe and think long term.”
This guy has been working in the men’s clothing industry his whole life, well, since he was in high school. He now works with D. Jones Clothiers as a stylist. Rusty Long and Drew Jones could not be more different in their own style. While Jones is more into contemporary trends, Long appreciates the look of movie stars like Cary Grant but without the oversized suits. The perfect fit is key for dressing well.
“I love all things Old World, antique. Give me some old Hollywood celebrities, old photographs, and I love taking those things and saying, how can you do that with the proper fit?”
His look stays intelligent and elegant even with a third child on the way.
“There’s a misconception about wearing nice garments that fit snug around kids. Quality cotton and wool are very easy to clean, and clothes that fit better are easy to move around in [similar to workout clothes].”
If he dresses well, then he feels more confident throughout the day. He takes the expression, “you are what you eat,” but applies it to his style.
Shirt, blazer and pants: D. Jones Clothiers
Belt and shoes: Magnanni Cognac
Vice President and General Manager, Neiman Marcus Fort Worth
Style Advice: “Stay current by updating your wardrobe. Do not be afraid to show your personality.”
Scott Mitchell started working at Neiman Marcus in Dallas right out of college. He has since worked all the way up to the vice president and general manager at Neiman Marcus Fort Worth. Like most men in a professional atmosphere, Mitchell is confined to a suit. However, this does not keep him from having fun and expressing himself.
“I am not afraid to pair a pink or purple dress shirt with a stand-out tie with a basic black suit or wear a subtle plaid shirt, not necessarily a dress shirt, with a striped tie.”
A fan of the current “athleisure” trend for men, he’s also not afraid to break up pieces by wearing a suit jacket over a hoodie sweatshirt with blue jeans or trousers or pair a colorful sneaker with a suit. With an innate knowledge of brands, he pointed out that Giuseppe Zanotti, Balenciaga, and Buscemi offer bold and colorful statement sneakers with distressed denim and casual trousers, while Gucci, Prada and Vince offer an elevated look that updates the traditional men’s suit.
“Sneakers are perfectly acceptable in the work place and should be worn with everything.”
Mitchell and his family moved to Fort Worth seven years ago. He’s observed the many rapid developments in this city and gets to be a part of one of the biggest —Neiman Marcus Fort Worth is moving to The Shops at Clearfork, part of the Edwards Ranch development. And he shared some news with us — two designers, Brunello Cucinelli and Canali, will be offered in the new store’s men’s department.
Vest and shirt (designer): Brunello Cucinelli
Coat (fabric): Brunello Cucinelli
Pants: Ermenegildo Zegna
Owner, Fort Worth Barber Shop
Style Advice: “Dress to inspire yourself.”
Although he calls himself “the janitor,” this 32-year-old entrepreneur is anything but. Well, maybe he does sweep the floors. Jonathan Morris owns Fort Worth Barber Shop on the corner of Lovell Avenue and Montgomery Street, so his hair always looks good. He gets a fresh cut every week, but that’s not the only reason we think this guy has great style. He owns his look with confidence and ease.
His style is so relaxed and casual that he thought it was funny we even contacted him for this article because he doesn’t take himself or social events too seriously. He never dresses for the crowd yet always speaks to them through his clothes.
“Tell people a little something about you,” Morris said.
He would say his style is eclectic. He means he can’t nail it down or call it one thing. The word “casual” encapsulates it, but one day he may look preppy and the next a skater boy. He wears whatever he is feeling at the moment. He frequents J. Crew, yet his favorite accessory is a green letterman jacket from the 1960s he found at a thrift store in Austin, Texas.
“One of my biggest peeves is when you get an invitation that has a dress code on it. Business casual? My business is different from your business,” he said with a playful smirk.
Morris is changing Fort Worth one good-looking haircut at a time. He believes a great haircut can change the way someone feels about himself.
“Which, in turn, changes their entire view of the world,” Morris said.
Pants: J. Crew
Shoes: Adidas Gazelles
Style Advice: “Do not hold back from expressing yourself in your style.”
Dr. Asad Dean might be one of the most confident men I have ever met. He’s an oncologist who doesn’t let his day job get in the way of his fashion statements. He showed up to our photo shoot with custom-made Louis Vuitton cowboy boots that had just arrived.
“Obviously if people are going to wear something different, others will notice,” Dean said. But it isn’t just about that. This is Asad’s language.”
Dean attends events all over the world, including New York Fashion Week every year for the last seven years, sometimes sitting in the second row with celebrities. He once wore houndstooth-printed velvet sequin pants as tuxedo pants to a local black-tie-fundraiser. He admits Texas men aren’t usually seen in sequins, but he isn’t too worried about that. Dean doesn’t hold back from what he feels he should wear at the moment, yet he places much emphasis on the context of the event.
“You never want to suck the energy out of the room. I [dress] because I have a respect for the people I am around,” Dean said.
Dean once attended a dinner in London with a duke and duchess. He stuck to a traditional black tuxedo. He didn’t want to steal the attention from the duke and duchess. However, he still sported his custom black M.L. Leddy’s dress cowboy boots.
“I want to make a statement with what I am wearing without saying a word. Whether it is a small detail like a lapel pin or socks, or combining colors, textures, and fabrics in a way that distinctively says ‘Asad Dean.’”
Pants: Eduar Lamprea
Belt: Louis Vuitton
Boots: Custom Louis Vuitton, Back at the Ranch (Santa Fe, NM)
Owner, D. Jones Clothier
Style Advice: “What you wear should look intentional.”
D. Jones Clothier was recently chosen by Esquire magazine as “the bespoke clothier of Dallas.” Jones and his team of five wardrobe consultants and seven full-time tailors have one foot in Dallas and another foot in Fort Worth, styling everyone from businessmen to major league baseball players.
After Jones finished college at Texas A&M as a finance major, he “randomly” moved to Beijing working in construction to build the U.S. Embassy. He met a beautiful woman there but realized he needed something to wear to impress her on their first date.
“I was the typical guy who didn’t know what to wear,” Jones said.
He got his first custom suit and fell in love (with the girl and the suit). He later married both.
“It was such a foreign concept for me […] The suit is being made for me, not altered for me, but made for me,” he said. “I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and my head exploded when I had my first suit made.”
An entrepreneurial light bulb then went off in his head when he realized custom clothiers in the U.S. were compromising fine fabrics. He started to put that finance degree to use, traveling all over Europe studying men’s style and taking extensive notes. Within a few years, he would become one of the hottest dressed men in Texas.
For Jones, it’s all about the finest fabric and no shortcuts. It turns out this attention to detail has made him a very successful clothier for major league baseball players like Nelson Cruz, Elvis Andrus, Jurickson Profar and Rougned Odor.
Shirt, blazer and pants: D. Jones Clothiers
Lapel flower and pocket square: Hook and Albert
Owner, M.L. Leddy’s
Style Advice: “Boots go with everything.”
Wilson Franklin’s maternal grandfather is M.L. Leddy, so he grew up representing a family who knew a thing or two about what Texas businessmen like to wear.
He is now the current owner of the famous M.L. Leddy’s in Fort Worth’s historic Northside. A sharp dresser at a young age, as a small boy, he chose to starch his own jeans in admiration of his grandparents’ and parents’ style. The janitor at M.L. Leddy’s picked him up from school every day and brought him to the store. So it may be by osmosis that Franklin is known as one of Cowtown’s most well-dressed men.
“They taught me to always dress in good taste because that never goes out of style,” he said.
Franklin’s style is classic Texan. Pressed jeans or slacks, a fine sport coat and white starched cotton shirt from Hickey Freeman and Oxxford suiting, with a hat, and, you guessed it, a pair of handmade M.L. Leddy’s boots. And he almost always wears a custom belt and buckle from M.L. Leddy’s. I didn’t even know they did that. Even cooler, his store is the only location in the country where you can custom order an Oxxford suit with a Western detail.
The signature detail to his look is a custom-made Holland’s pin he wears on the third button of his shirt. It was designed to wear on a tie, but his dad, Jim Franklin, requested Holland’s make a different backing to the pin, now coined as the “J.F. back” so it could slip on a button and not pierce the shirt. His dad gifted it to him when he graduated from high school.
“He wears it every day. If he’s not in a swimsuit, he’s wearing it,” wife Martha Franklin said. “It is sentimental because of his parents. It is also a great conversation starter. His father and grandfather both wear them, but his grandfather wore his on his tie.”
A 5 x 7 black-and-white picture of Franklin with his siblings and mother at the San Angelo rodeo in 1958 has made its rounds. He and his siblings are all dressed in suits custom-made by Leddy’s, completed with neckties, again, designed by his father, Jim Franklin. Wilson Franklin couldn’t help but be born dashing.
Shirt: Starched Royal Oxford by Thomas and Mason for M. L. Leddy's
Pants: Texas-weight wool by Oxxford
Coat: Loro Piana for Hickey Freeman
Pin: Holland Jewelry
Watch: Vintage Rolex with alligator band
Eyeglasses: Cartier from Eyeworks
Owner, Squire Shop
Style Advice: “Be yourself — wear what you like or feel the most comfortable in.”
A little more than 20 years ago, Steve Humble opened Fort Worth’s go-to for men’s clothing — if you need something for Father’s Day, then the Squire Shop is your place. He’s your classic Southern boy in his Austen Heller shoes with no socks, pinstriped suit, round tortoise-shell Eyebobs glasses and a perfected pocket square.
Humble’s mom always dressed him well as a young boy, but as he got a little older, he became more conscious of his own style. It made him feel confident to look good in what he was wearing. Once it was time for him to get a job, he got into the business of helping other men look good.
Humble got his start in men's clothing during college, when he worked at Henry’s, a clothing store that started out just selling jeans but evolved into sportswear for the whole family. He spent years there until the company went out of business. He wasn’t sure what else to do afterward. Clothes and people are some of his biggest loves. That’s when he opened his own place.
“I can’t wait for Monday mornings,” Humble said.
Which is why you will always find him in the Squire Shop, where he works alongside his son, Todd Humble. He adores the people almost more than the business. The customers have even become his family.
“It is satisfying to help them feel confident.”
Shirt: David Donahue
Tie: Robert Talbot
Pocket square: Private Stock
Co-owner, Pax & Parker
Style Advice: “If you have hesitations about updating your look, make incremental changes – it doesn’t have to be an ‘all-in’ thing. Also, find a good tailor. Properly fitted clothes can elevate even the most basic style.”
Co-owner of the boutique Pax & Parker, Winston Ley caught the style bug when he started working at high-end department store Julian Gold in San Antonio.
Ley’s style has an abiding Southern charm with a twist of contemporary. He relies heavily on high-quality staple items and updated classics to create looks that are clean, simple and effortless. But he isn’t afraid to throw on some Trillium beads to pair with his Gold Day-Date Presidential Rolex wristwatch. And his goldendoodle, "Fitz," goes with everything.
“I’m not much of a risk-taker, but I’m willing to adopt a trend if it has some staying power,” Ley said.
His “go-to” look is a well-tailored pant that is usually denim or twill, a polished button-down shirt, and a loafer or driver (always sockless) for shoes. He almost always rolls up his pants, too. From there, he layers according to the weather.
He prefers neutral colors yet creates interest with textures and fabrics. Ley knows the latest trends because he researches the industry by following various brands, bloggers, designers and stores on social media, but he commits to staying comfortable.
“I think fashion should always be an extension of your personal brand. If it doesn’t make sense for you, don’t do it. I try to incorporate elements of what I see while working in the industry into my wardrobe but staying true to my ‘brand,’” Ley said.
Jacket: Jack Spade
Shoes: To Boot New York
Watch: Gold Day-Date Presidential Rolex
Sunglasses: Vintage Rayban Wayfarers
By: Malcolm Mayhew