Exclusive Q&A: 10 Minutes with Esquire’s Menswear Maven

Investing in a tailor is a menswear must, Screws says. Photo by John Pesina Photography http://johnpesina.com By Sheri Alzeerah

There’s much more to a coat and tie than, well, a coat and tie. Just ask Nic Screws, Esquire’s senior fashion market editor.

"There are no general rules when it comes to tailoring because there are so many different body types. You have to understand your body type first and foremost and work with it," says Nic Screws, Esquire’s senior fashion market editor. Photo by John Pesina Photography http://johnpesina.com

Screws, representing the men's magazine tailored to fit those on the forefront of style and sophistication, teamed up with Hugo Boss and Neiman Marcus to host an Interview Wardrobing Event geared toward college guys. “The thing that you don’t want to do is come out of college and look like you borrowed a suit from your dad,” she says. “You want to look like you own that suit, like you put a lot of effort into getting that suit.”

But how do you get that suit? Screws talks menswear, paisley and yet another reason to love (and stalk) Ryan Gosling.

Orange: What does your job as senior fashion market editor entail?

Screws: My job is to be out in the market, scouring what is happening, what brands people are wearing, what’s happening in menswear and bringing it to our readers.

I go to the fashion shows. I go to trade shows. Designers invite me to their showrooms, and I say, “There’s a lot of mustard happening, so we’re going to make a mustard story happen.” Menswear is a little less trend-specific than women’s wear. It’s a lot more classic.

I do a lot of the styling for the photo shoots that we do with men. I do casting. I write for the website sometimes.

Wow, that’s a lot of hats to wear.

That’s journalism today. Journalism today is we’re all doing multiple things at very different mediums. As you know, you guys have now involved into online. We’re all working for online. I’m now an iPad editor too, so we all have to roll with it.

Well, that sounds like a very cool job. What can people expect to get out of this event?

The idea of it was both Hugo Boss and Neiman Marcus wanted to reach the college student to get them thinking about what’s important when looking for that interview suit because that’s obviously the next step after college — going out and getting yourself out there.

It’s just to encourage guys to start thinking about that — what’s appropriate to wear, what’s not appropriate to wear, details to pay attention to.

Start your closet off right with the three suits every man should have: navy, charcoal and black. Photo by John Pesina Photography http://johnpesina.com

It seems like there’s more emphasis on women’s wear, and men are just brushed aside. What are some of the most common style mistakes men make?

It comes down to fit. Like I said, menswear is a lot less trend-driven so it really comes down to proportions — understanding the lapels to your tie, the length of your jacket, where it sits on you depending on how tall you are.

There are no general rules when it comes to tailoring because there are so many different body types. You have to understand your body type first and foremost and work with it.

Investing in a tailor is key to menswear. Hugo Boss pants come un-hemmed for the reason that they really want to encourage you to tailor your pants because no suit should be off the rack.

It’s all about really rolling with what’s happening now in menswear, and it’s a lot of the slim, modern-cut things — slimmer lapels, slimmer ties. Dressing up doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be super flashy. You could be very clean. You could be wearing blue with a blue tie and a blue shirt and still look amazing. It’s all about how you wear it and like I said, the emphasis you put on fit.

Everything else goes from there — adding prints and different fabrics and such. But you really have to start with the classics.

For a lot of college students and recent college grads, budget is a big issue. Is there such thing as a budget suit that fits well and lasts a while?

Sure. I can tell the difference between a good-fitting and a bad-fitting suit a hell of a lot faster than I can tell if it’s a cheap suit or an expensive suit. You can have a cheap suit and have it tailored really well, and it can look expensive. Price isn’t necessarily what you need to be going for, especially when you’re first starting out. You don’t need to be looking for specific brands. Again, it goes back to tailoring. You can absolutely get a good suit.

I work in fashion, and I look at suits all the time and surprise myself...“Wow, you look great today. That’s an amazing suit. Who [makes] it?” and they’re like, “H&M. I had it tailored.” So yeah, you can reconstruct things. You can be thrifty. Just be a little bit inventive with things. If you know that H&M pants really fit you well and just need a little bit of tweaking, you can do that. Hugo Boss is generally known for fitting guys that have shoulders and have a little bit of size to them, so it’s all about finding the brand that fits you the closest and working with that.

But yes, you can absolutely get a great inexpensive suit.

I’m sure people will be happy to hear that. You touched on how men’s fashion is more timeless and classic than trendy. So what can men always go for no matter what’s trending?

The three suits that you can always start off with are a navy, charcoal and black. If you go with one of those three, you’re going in the right direction. From there, shirting would be either white or blue and going for a solid shirt and tie.

For more photos of the Interview Wardrobing Event, check out http://johnpesina.com/blog/. Photo by John Pesina Photography http://johnpesina.com

What’s your opinion on a patterned tie? How flashy can a guy go before it’s like, “Alright, this is just overboard”?

Hey, I embrace it. If you’re wearing a solid suit, you can do a lot of play with your accessories. You can do a crazy pocket square with a tie. I love when I see a guy that has a gingham pocket square and a different tie, and it shouldn’t work but it does. But they’re working with the proportions and they’re working with color, and they go together somehow.

For interviews, you don’t want to go too crazy. You don’t want to be wearing a puff pocket square. You want to be a little bit more classic.

"Dressing up doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be super flashy," Screws says. "You could be very clean." Photo by John Pesina Photography http://johnpesina.com

What are some trends in men’s fashion now?

A lot of color play. Men are finally exposing themselves to color. For spring, there was a lot of pastel, which was surprising, like mint. But it’s been a lot of red pants — all very Italian inspired. A look they call sprezzatura. It’s wearing something mild and classic on top with a wild pant. It’s the art of dressing men. Italian men are very into that, into color, and a lot of American men have started adapting that.

Also, a lot of pattern play, like checks with the stripe with the paisley.

Corduroy suits were really big for fall. Shearling was a surprisingly big trend. That’s seasonal, so it’s what’s in stores right now.

If you had to name one celebrity who is always well dressed…

Am I really going to have you answer that? You know who it is — Ryan Gosling.

You know, he’s in Austin right now.

I love him. I styled him for our September cover.

That must have been your dream come true.

Yeah, also because he’s honestly the nicest human in the world. That makes it very easy. He’s amazing. He creative directed the whole shoot. He doesn’t have a stylist. He uses his assistant to call in stuff for him, but he does it all himself, so he’s amazing.

Black tie, for red carpet events, I feel like Jon Hamm always nails it. He has a good relationship with Tom Ford. That’s what a lot of celebrity men do. They associate themselves with a good brand that works for them and they just continue it, like Jon Hamm and Tom Ford and Ryan Seacrest and Burberry. Always works.

For more John Pesina event photography, visit his blog.