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In My Closet: Andrew Porter

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About the series: In My Closet is a regular Sky Blue Window feature, taking readers inside the wardrobes of some of the city's most fashionable women and men.

His name: Andrew Porter

His work: Owner of Andrew Porter Fine Clothiers, a custom clothing company specializing in men's suits, shirts and personal styling.

His play: "I love watching fashion TV," Porter deadpans then quickly admits that he's joking. "Seriously, I like going to the movies, something I can do to pull away and have some relaxing time."

Closet Cliff Notes: Custom suits; dress shirts in a rainbow of colors; trim fit jeans; tartan plaid slacks; vintage pocket squares and accessories.

Favorite pieces:A flannel wool, grey window pane suit; a blue, double-breasted suit jacket with gold buttons; a pair of tartan plaid slacks and yellow corduroy pants; a pair of brown, hand-painted Magnanni dress shoes.

Something he'll never have in his closet: "I would never wear or have a polyester suit," says Porter. "Polyester is the worst. They don't clean well, they hold smells and the colors fade. I like all natural fabrics."

His style philosophy: "My personal style is classic," says Porter. "I look at a lot of styles over in England, stuff from the 1950s and '60s. I love timeless pieces."

Porter buys vintage pocket squares to accent his suit jackets. - PERRY REICHANADTER
  • Perry Reichanadter
  • Porter buys vintage pocket squares to accent his suit jackets.

When Andrew Porter shops for himself, he doesn't buy an entire look at one time. Instead, the custom clothier and personal stylist, often purchases individual pieces.

"I go out and I see stuff I like, and I buy it. Even if it's a pair of shoes, a pair of socks, a tie or a pocket square," says Porter, owner of Andrew Porter Fine Clothiers.

"A lot of times, I'll build around the favorite part of the outfit."

That means creating a look around the shoes, or even a pocket square.

"Buy accessories, like pocket squares, because you're always going to be able to find something to match it in your closet," says Porter, who creates custom suits, shirts and looks for his clients (from business owners to professional athletes).

Porter says he has a keen eye for style and instinctively knows what works for specific body types, facial structures and personalities. It's a gift some have called "God-given."

"I don't know if I would say that, but it just comes natural for me. I perceive styles and patterns and colors a little differently, I think. I guess I'm just weird, like a mad scientist," says Porter.

Porter sports a gray wool flannel, window pane suit with a green skinny tie.  - PERRY REICHANADTER
  • Perry Reichanadter
  • Porter sports a gray wool flannel, window pane suit with a green skinny tie.

Unlike others in the industry, Porter's fascination with fashion didn't stereotypically begin devouring fashion magazines as a youngster (although he bought his fair share of GQ and Esquire magazines during his teen years).

His love for fashion and sense of style was birthed inside the church in his hometown of Detroit.

"It really started with my dad, who was a pastor. He would always wear a suit and dress up for church, so I would try to compete with him," says Porter. "He even wore dress shirts to cut the grass."

Porter shows off his yellow corduroy pants with his hand-painted Magnanni dress shoes and the double-breasted suit jacket with gold buttons. - PERRY REICHANADTER
  • Perry Reichanadter
  • Porter shows off his yellow corduroy pants with his hand-painted Magnanni dress shoes and the double-breasted suit jacket with gold buttons.

Porter calls his personal style classic. "It's an original, old-time way of dressing," says the husband and father of two who began selling ready-to-wear suits out of the trunk of his car before developing his namesake custom clothing company in 2003.

"I look at a lot of styles over in England, stuff from the 1950s and '60s. I love Ralph Lauren, because his sense of style is a classic approach. It's timeless pieces. I like clean lines."

However, classic doesn't mean that Porter shies away from color. Inside his closet are yellow corduroy and cotton pants; dress shirts in a rainbow of colors, and a pair of green tartan plaid pants with red, yellow and green stripes going through them, which he pairs with a yellow dress shirt.

"I'll experiment with colors, but I keep it real classy. I actually love a yellow shirt with a blue suit ... it's gorgeous," says Porter, who keeps an extra bowtie, necktie, jacket and a pair of shoes in his car.

Porter says he knows how to use color in the right perspective.

"The strong color should never be the overbearing part of the outfit, because then you start to look like a clown. I believe in accenting with pops of color."


Here's a look at some of Porter's favorite pieces:

A gray, flannel, wool window pane suit

"I can only wear it in the wintertime because it's flannel wool," says Porter, "but it's such a gorgeous suit. It's custom from my personal brand."

His love for the suit goes far beyond the inside bearing his company's name.

"I love the pattern, I love the fabric, I love the fit and I love the shoulders," says Porter, adding that what makes a great suit to him is the fit in the shoulders.

"You see the flawlessness in that shoulder?" he asks while trying on the jacket, noting the lack of bunching or gathering in that area.

Another bonus is the jacket's gold lining, a feature of custom suits.

"Some guys don't care for (colored linings), but I like to do it," says Porter. "It does two things. You get to see a pop of color and you get to build it the way you want it. It's like ladies with their undergarments, you have on Victoria's Secret and you spent $80 on it but nobody can see it but you. It's just cosmetic, but it makes you feel good."

Porter loves clean lines, but he isn't afraid to build an entire outfit around one accessory. - PERRY REICHANADTER
  • Perry Reichanadter
  • Porter loves clean lines, but he isn't afraid to build an entire outfit around one accessory.

A blue double-breasted suit with gold buttons

Porter swears double-breasted suits never really went out of style. And he references fashion across the pond to prove his point.

"If you look at Prince Charles over in England, they've always had double-breasted suits, and he looks just splendid in it," says Porter. "So I don't think it really went out of style. In the U.S. it kind of took a break, but now it's coming back strong."

Porter says most men would wear the same blazer with a pair of tan pants and brown shoes. But, he's not like most men. Instead, Porter pairs his with a pair of yellow corduroy pants.

"I'm always going to take the classic approach, but I'm going to add a little flair to it with the yellow pants. ... I think every man should have a blue blazer with gold buttons."

Pocket squares, lapel pins and other accessories

For Porter, it's all about the accessories -- whether it's cufflinks, neckties, pocket squares or his new favorite, lapel pins.

"Lapel pins are something new that I'm doing," says Porter. "You're seeing more people dressing up their lapels. I call it lapel dressing. They're doing flowers, pins and ropes. I think it dresses up the outfit without wearing a tie."

Although Porter loves to accessorize, he says there are a couple of fashion don'ts in this category.

"I wouldn't wear a lapel pin with a tie and a pocket square, because it's too much," he says. "And you never want to wear a pocket square that matches the tie."

Porter, who owns pocket squares in just a bout every color and print, has some that are at least 30 years old. His favorite is a blue and white polka dotted one.

"Pocket squares add a bit of sophistication to the look of the suit," he says.

Porter sports hand-painted Magnanni dress shoes, and floral blue and white socks. - PERRY REICHANADTER
  • Perry Reichanadter
  • Porter sports hand-painted Magnanni dress shoes, and floral blue and white socks.

Brown, hand-painted dress shoes

It's probably an understatement to say that Porter loves brown shoes. Inside of his closet are at least six pairs in different shades and styles.

But there's a pair that stands head and shoulders above the rest.

The double monk-strap style by Spanish shoemaker Magnanni looks wooden, and that's by design.

"The shoe is hand-painted, and if I were to buy 10 of these shoes, they would all be a little different," says Porter. "They wouldn't be the same color, because it's finished by hand."

Porter says these shoes are so versatile that he wears them with jeans or suits. "I actually bought them to wear with my favorite gray window pane suit. And they also go great with a pair of dark jeans."

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