Suited Up with Daniel Gershburg

13 May 2014

Wedding season is in full swing and I’ve noticed ample amounts of fashionable advice being dished out for the ladies, but what about the dudes?

Raise your hand if you’ve received an invitation with dress code suggestions such as the ambiguous “black tie optional,” to the standard “semi formal” or the recently fashionable yet cryptic “creative black tie.” Leaving us all a little puzzled pondering – “what in the hell am I supposed to wear?”  You really want to wear a tux, but will you be the jerk who looks like he’s trying too hard?

I am here to the rescue.

Well, when I say “I” I really mean Daniel Gershburg, lawyer by day, restaurateur by night. With his namesake law firm, cocktail bar, Analogue and Fort Greene eatery, Colonia Verde, Daniel not only has to act the part, he must dress the part. As one of the best-dressed men I decided to heed his advice. Read on dear reader!

From Daniel:

The truth is that wedding season is the perfect time for gentlemen that don’t read blogs and aren’t so into fashion to make a statement. That’s because the same styles that made someone look good years ago, still work their same magic now. It’s tough to mess this up (think Sean Connery in ANY Bond film but do not refer to your date as Pussy Galore).

There are 3 crucial things when it comes to this:

#1 Material
#2 Fit
#3 Confidence

Material: If you immediately get itchy or begin perspiring as soon as you put on that tux, take that tux off! You should feel comfortable in what you’re wearing and a tuxedo should fit as comfortably as a well made suit.

Fit: The tailor is your best friend. If you’re buying off the rack, then immediately go to the tailor. Immediately. Do not stop and get lunch and see a movie because you’re going to forget about the tailor and then show up to the wedding looking like “that guy” with your long sleeves dipping into the champagne and wedding cake.

Confidence: The result of #1 and #2. This is the most important. Channel the male version of Beyoncé. There is no male version of Beyoncé, but you get the idea. The most important thing is that you really feel good in what you’re wearing. If you don’t, you’re going to walk around like a robot and think everyone is judging you, then you’ll over drink and talk about your ex with your date. Don’t be that guy!

Pro-tip: If you’re in Manhattan, the easiest, and I mean easiest thing to do is walk into J. Crew Ludlow Shop and tell the guys you need to buy a tux for a wedding. They will take care of the rest.

What is your go-to-suit?

A blue, peak lapel, Hugo Boss suit. I’ve worn the same one for years, and I will continue wearing it for years. It’s a no brainer. It goes with everything. If you have those days where you wake up in the morning and need to get out the door, you throw it on with a nice pressed white button down and a tie (in almost any color) and you’re good to go. You take the tie off after work (or don’t, because YOLO) and you look relaxed but put together.

How do you feel about three-piece-suits? 

Wearing one now (creepy, Jessica). I started wearing them when Boardwalk Empire premiered because I loved the confidence the characters while wearing one. It stands out, it looks outstanding. You can wear them with wide lapels, or slim lapels. I have a solid grey three-piece and a windowpane three-piece. Stick to what you know when you do this. If you don’t want to look like Diddy when you wear one, that’s absolutely fine, but you can certainly find one that stands out just enough without screaming that you window shop at Jacob the Jeweler.

One of my favorite places to get a suit is Suit Supply. Their prices are very reasonable and they do made-to-measure (crucial, see point #2) so when your suit is done, you’re going to look like a boss.

three piece suit

Suit Supply three-piece navy suit on Clark Kent and Tom Ford on the right.

You get an invite to a wedding with a dress code that reads “black tie optional.” What do you wear?

I wear black tie, i.e: a tux.  It’s not optional. It’s just like when your wife tells you they want to go somewhere but she says, “it’s up to you.” It’s never up to you. You both know it and it’s cute she hinted like you have a choice, but you don’t.

My personal rule of thumb: There is never anything wrong with dressing up for an occasion. The same cannot be said for dressing down.

What’ the worst someone can say? “Wow, you look amazing! If you don’t believe me, watch the Louis C.K. season premiere where he’s invited to do a comedy set in the Hampton’s by Jerry Seinfeld. Not thinking this was anything special, he wears a t shirt and jeans. He shows up to an estate filled with guests dressed to the nines. He does not feel good. I want you to feel good.

What about accessories? Pocket square, Ascot, tie bar, all? both? none?

Pocket squares:  Are wonderful but they shouldn’t take over the suit. They should be a part of the suit. Drake’s makes phenomenal pocket squares that you can mix + match with any suit. If the pocket square is loud, make sure the jacket is not. I have a go to J Crew blue blazer that I wear with jeans on the weekend, and I can throw a Drake’s pocket square in there and feel great, but if I’m wearing a three-piece suit (which is somewhat attention-getting on its own) I don’t want to go over the top with a crazy square.

Tie-bars: If I wear one, I won’t wear a pocket square and vice versa. It’s too much.

Ascots:  Sure, if you’re still directing 70’s era porn, or you have a yacht parked off the coast of Sardinia, please, by all means sport that Ascot! But if you’re not and you’re wearing an Ascot, you’re about five minutes away from getting a visit from Chris Hanson over at Dateline NBC. I don’t care if David Beckham wore one. You are not David Beckham and neither am I (muffles cries into jacket).

Drake's pocket squares on MR PORTER. You've seen the ties before, remember?

Drake’s pocket squares on MR PORTER. You’ve seen Drake’s knit-ties before, remember?

I’ve heard good things about the new Tuxedo rental website, The Black Tux,  care to comment? 

I have no experience with them but have read article after article about how wonderful The Black Tux is. Look, I use Uber, I use Postmates, I use Barkbox and I get that this is the new way things are done. Clothes, for me, are a personal experience. I don’t want to romanticize this too much, but I like to feel the fabric of a tux or a suit. I like to see the way it fits on me. I’m very traditional when it comes to clothing. When you need to look good in something, I just think the extra time that you devote to actually going (even if you’re renting the tux) and trying the thing on is well worth it.

What about the shirt? All I can think of is the puffy shirt from Seinfeld, help us out here.

So many options here, but for the shirt: Keep it simple. Thomas Mason for J. Crew makes a wonderful shirt. If you want something a bit more formal, try Suit Supply. If you want to dress the shirt up a bit, use studs instead of buttons. Double cuffs or not is up to you. Just see what you like and go from there.

Ryan Seacrest did it, Jared Leto, Don Johnson, is a white jacket ever appropriate?

YES! My girlfriend recently gave me a white jacket and I was all “you cray” and she’s all “hush” and then I put it on and, for some ridiculous reason, it worked. I loved it! Disclaimer: If you’re new to this, I STRESS you do not do this if you don’t feel confident. (See point #3) It will ruin the whole thing. The whole point of the white jacket is to say “I just had Joe’s Crab with Rick Ross but I had to leave because I have this wedding”. You get attention wearing a white jacket and if you’re OK with that, go all the way. And to further illustrate this fact: Don Johnson was legit in the 80’s. No one was talking about his side-kick, Tubbs, right?


Where do you look for inspiration?

Everyone is going to say Boardwalk and Mad Men, so let me say it now: Boardwalk and Mad Men. But for me, I look to Italy and France. Is it cliché? Sure. But walk down any street in Paris or Milan and you see these guys and it’s effortless and it works perfectly. Mind you they don’t have 234 shirts and 939 pairs of shoes. They have a few pieces and they pull them together beautifully and it’s timeless. People say they get inspiration when they walk down the streets of New York, but I really don’t. Someone latches on to a look and then everyone looks like that person and so we all become clones. Fashion may change but style never does.

My inspiration also comes from my mother, my girlfriend, and my best friend.

My parents were handbag and accessory designers. My mom never wore colors. Same with my dad. All black everything. But they put it together perfectly every single day for 20 years. My girlfriend, Ana Pavoni, has amazing style. I was rocking Diesel shirts and sneakers (at the same damn time!) when she met me and she put me in my place and said “Let me Upgrade You” (miss you, Diesel)! My best friend, Jon Feiler, spends much of his disposable income on clothes. We have extremely different styles but dresses impeccably well.  He’ll give me an honest opinion on what I’m buying and I’ll do the same for him. It’s important to have friends like that. It’s also important to mention them in pieces like this because he’s sensitive.

A few of your favorite shops? 

  • J. Crew Ludlow (if you couldn’t tell already).
  • Brunello Cucinelli (it’s insanely expensive. Insanely. But you buy one sweater and you will wear that sweater for the rest of your amazing life. I promise you.)
  • Hugo Boss (free champagne when you try stuff on). Amazing suits.
  • Saturdays NYC:  T-shirts are insanely soft and their swimwear is awesome
  • Uniqlo: I buy 3 or 4 cheap t shirts that last me the entire summer.
  • MR PORTER (online) the place makes look like a clothing Bodega. Is it expensive? Yes. Do I wait for the annual 70% sale and put my work phone on do not disturb? Yes
  • Last but not least, my jeans: Levis. I will always buy Levi’s jeans. I don’t care where in Japan your jeans were made and from what selvedge denim Darwinian process they were produced. I will not give you $500.


There you have it people! To keep up with Daniel and his musings, shenanigans and suits,  follow him along on Twitter at @DanielGershburg. Also if you’re in the mood for a drink and you find yourself in the Greenwich Village pop into Analogue and order the Mata Hari, it’s my favorite.

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