Longtime followers of Who What Wear know we aren’t biased when it comes to great style—we have a soft spot for the fashionable fellows out there too. And one of those well-dressed gentlemen happens to be stylist Angel Ramos, founder of the custom sartorial brand Angel Bespoke, all-around cool guy, and our current #ManCrushMonday. Since menswear isn’t necessarily our forte, we jumped at the opportunity to pick Ramos’s brain about everything from how to shop for a guy to wedding dress-code dos and don’ts for dudes—worthy information the men in your life (and you!) will certainly appreciate. Keep reading for our exclusive interview.
What inspired you to make fashion such a big part of your life?
Growing up in NYC, I’ve always been so enamoured by menswear and the art of bespoke tailoring. I used to watch these incredible movies with my father that all took place during the roaring ’20s and the prohibition period. It was something about the care the gentlemen put into their wardrobes that drew me in. As I grew up, my style varied in all different directions, but in 2005 I got hooked watching the beginning stages of Scott Schuman give the Internet a photographic story of how gentlemen in NYC dressed. It was the coolest thing. Till this day, Mr. Shuman’s work still inspires me, but I must say, moves from the prohibition period sit at the top.
How did you first get involved in the industry?
I entered the industry in 2010 after being named Esquire magazine’s “Best Dressed Real Man.” Prior to that, I was a luxury real estate agent with Sotheby’s International Realty, dying for a way to dive into menswear. Yet, no one would give me a shot since I had no experience. After the award, it opened up so many doors with different brands, in which I ended up becoming the fashion director of a bespoke clothing brand.
Why do you think it’s important for men to invest in a bespoke suit?
Well to start, I think men should invest in their appearance in general. I truly believe our image is our strongest branding tool. For a gentleman to invest his time and money into a bespoke suit is so crucial, because you’re essentially creating your own look. Having the option to create a bespoke suit where you choose the correct width and lengths of different aspects of the suit based on your body and proportions will always trump you purchasing a garment off the rack that was made for the masses. After I had my first suit bespoken specifically for me, no matter what brand it was, I could never go back to the rack.
If someone can’t afford a custom suit, what are some other great options?
These days, there are actually several options for companies that make suits for a very low price. Prices typically range under $1000, but the quality of construction and aesthetics are brutal. So although you feel good about getting a custom suit for an affordable price, you essentially end up paying more because the quality, fit, and experience is so bad that you might as well go with an off-the-rack suit. I would say that for the money, Suitsupply does a great job of being able to provide a low-cost suit to the younger gentleman who can’t afford to go custom. They offer style that lends to the Italian and British tailoring at a price range that works well for those looking to spend under $1000 for a suit.
Buying for men can be tough. Do you have any advice for us women?
Well first, most men hate shopping. PERIOD. They’re not fans of walking through department stores, because quite frankly, the process is intimidating and most of the time they feel as if they have no clue what they’re doing. For that reason, being able to go to a private clothier tends to suit them so well—pun intended. For women, even though most love shopping, some still have no clue what looks best on them, or what’s trending. I always tell ladies that they should definitely research a great personal shopper and stylist that could really assist them after studying their lifestyle and personalities.
We’re in the thick of wedding season. What are your dress code dos or don’ts for dudes?
Well let’s start with there’s no such thing as optional in any occasion, especially a wedding. If the wedding calls for black-tie, wear a tuxedo. Don’t immediately look at the optional part and opt for a suit. In regards to dos, when it comes to suits, you can never ever go wrong with a midnight-navy suit when the invitation calls for formal. DO keep your ensemble on the elegant and simple side. DON’T wear a tuxedo when it’s not black-tie and you’re NOT a groomsman. DON’T wear a business suit; leave the pinstripe suit for the closing table. DON’T wear white, at all, unless you’re going to an all-white-attire wedding, in which I suggest you evaluate your friends and choose more stylish ones.
You’re always finishing your look with a great pair of sunglasses. What are some of your go-to brands?
A man and his frames are a huge deal. I always lean on classic brands such as Persol and Oliver Peoples. However, a couple of other great brands with awesome prices are Retrosuperfuture and Illesteva. I tend to go with plastic frames, because in my opinion it has a much more classic look, and you can’t go wrong with tortoiseshell or black.
What is your more casual style like?
I try to keep my attire no matter the occasion within the parameters of a sartorial style, so I typically still wear a bespoke sports jacket with a softer-collar shirt, no tie, great-cut jeans, no socks, and loafers. I always stress to guys that a jacket has such versatility. You can wear it in a formal manner or even throw a T-shirt on with jeans and a pair of Common Projects.
Besides a versatile suit, what should every man have in his closet?
I get asked about this so often, but I always say every man should OWN a tuxedo. If you’re a man that wears suits because of work, most likely you’ll eventually be invited to a black-tie affair, gala, or be in your best friend’s wedding, and you DO NOT want to be the guy that rented his. And if you’re none of those, at least take one night a year where you look like James Bond in Casino Royale—let it be New Year’s Eve. You’re welcome.
Is there a menswear trend you think works particularly well for women, too?
I absolutely love when women wear suits yet still carry sexy femininity to it. I’ve never been a fan of women wearing the good ol’ business suit, because they tend to look masculine, but a lady in a suit where she still looks sexy is indescribable. I also think on the casual side, women wearing sports jackets paired with jeans and stilettos looks incredibly chic.
You’re our #ManCrushMonday; who is yours?
Well thank you! I would say a man I’ve always admired because of his style, elegance, and music would be Duke Ellington. He is a gentleman with impeccable style, actually a notable dandy in history, and was able to create the most iconic music throughout my favourite era that I still listen to till this day.
Can you share five items you are loving right now?
Well with my favourite season for menswear approaching (fall/winter), there’s so much I’ve been eyeing and loving. Below are a few…
The Armoury Store Nigel Cabourn Everest Parka ($3450)
The Armoury Store Ring Jacket Belted Trenchcoat ($1050)
Brunello Cucinelli Tweed-Panelled Leather Brouges ($1095)
We shared our #MCM, now tell us yours!