Brand Profile: Paul Stuart

Q&A with Creative Director Ralph Auriemma

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t the girl who at one time or another gripped over how easy it is for men to dress for a special occasion. It seemed pretty dummy proof while I was having to search for a dress…and shoes…and a bag….and jewelry. And it had to be the right dress, right shoes, right bag, and right jewelry for the event – no any ole thing would do. Well, the older I get, I can recognize when men take the time put some of that same nuanced effort into their wardrobe. And not just recognize it but also appreciate it.

So, for any gentleman attending an East End wedding this summer who planned to slip on his same boring navy suit – you can stop right there. Paul Stuart has opened a new store in Southampton and the brand’s creative director, Ralph Auriemma is going to guide you in dressing like the dapper guy your mother always told you you could be.

This is our issue dedicated to weddings, particularly those that happen in the summer in the Hamptons. If you were on the guestlist for such an affair, what would be your go-to look?

My go-to look would be a single-breasted one-button peak lightweight wool, royal blue navy blazer. I would pair it with a cream-colored tropical weight pant. For the shirting, I would wear a royal blue horizontal stripe shirt with a white round club collar and a 1930’s inspired blue and white art deco inspired design silk tie. I would add a white linen pocket square for the final touch.

If you could put together a Paul Stuart ensemble for the occasion, which pieces would you choose?

A white or cream-colored dinner jacket with a shawl collar has a formal look while being appropriate for a wide range of summer weddings both inside and outside. I would add a white formal shirt with pearl studs and a black silk bow tie. Grey pants in tropical weight wool or linen and a formal slip-on.

What are some does and don’ts you have for men when dressing for a beach wedding?

Do always remember to dress for the occasion. Sand and surf bring their own issues to a beachside wedding so keep that in mind when selecting your attire.

1. Make sure you know what the dress code is. Even if it’s on the beach, men might be wearing sport jackets. A linen jacket is a great item to consider for sartorial style while staying cool.

2. Even if it’s on the beach that’s no excuse for flip flops. A great pair of espadrilles would be an ideal footwear solution.

3. Skip the socks at a beach wedding.

4. Don’t forget accessories like a wonderful hat to keep your head in the shade.

We know weddings happen year-round too and many in the city are Saturday night black- tie events that require a tux. Do you have any tips on what to look for when investing in that kind of purchase?

Yes, I would stay true to the event and purchase a classic black peak lapel tuxedo that will provide you with many years of wear. To personalize it, I would add a double- breasted vest in pearl grey or cream, a silk evening scarf, and a formal lace- up shoe in black patent leather with silk socks.

How do you recommend bringing some individual personality into an outfit for men when sometimes it can seem just a little plain?

Men have more choices than they realize when personalizing their formal wear. Options range from suspenders to footwear. Pocket squares come in a wide variety of prints and materials, suspenders are available in bright colors and fun woven prints, and evening slippers are available in exotic skins, velvets in bright colors, and even embroidered details.

Lastly, if you were headed East for a Hamptons wedding, what are you packing from Paul Stuart to take you through all of the weekend’s events – poolside cocktails during the day, lobster bake rehearsal dinner at Gurney’s, all the way to the main event?

Poolside cocktails call for white linen pants paired with a Paul Stuart logo polo shirt in a fun summer color with a straw fedora. Our suede espadrilles are the perfect finishing touch for most of these events.

The lobster bake rehearsal dinner sounds casual to me so I would wear our garment washed, five- pocket pants paired with one of our Pima cotton polo shirts, a multi-color woven belt, and our Paul Stuart sneaker with no socks. I would bring along a colorful linen scarf that can double as a lobster bib if needed.

For the main event, I would wear a navy blue four-button double- breasted dinner jacket with navy satin lapels and silver buttons. I would pair it with a white formal shirt and a navy satin bow tie that matches the jacket lapel. For the trousers, I would bring lightweight wool pants and a leather slip-on formal shoe. I would finish the ensemble with a white linen pocket square.

The new store is located at 50 Main Street, Southampton.