In this first installment of a periodic new series, we interview Mr. Lucio Rivas one of Madrid's best-dressed men. An attorney, he is vice president of the Aristocrata, that city's leading gentleman's club.
We are fortunate to have in Madrid some of the best men's clothing shops in Europe, innovative, creative, elegant and stylish. My favorite shop because of their high quality and constant source of inspiration is MAN 1924, a place that will one day be renowned internationally. Shops aside, the long tradition of tailoring in Spain is going through difficult times. In the past Spanish tailors enjoyed a well deserved international fame. Nowadays, tailored clothing is relegated to second place in Spain; it has lost its leadership and is completely unknown outside of our borders.
One of the things that have made tailors in successful in places like London and Naples is that when customers do not come to see them they make tours to see the customers. People who pay attention to how they look in the United States, for example, can have suits made by Savile Row, Neapolitan or French tailors without having to travel outside their borders. On the contrary, Spanish tailors don’t promote themselves outside the country and that is unfortunate.
My personal style combines a classic look with the brighter colors of Spain. In my wardrobe I try to balance the elegance of English styled suits with bolder Italian tailoring. I think Italian tailors are better for odd jackets other than tweeds. They are making unlined jackets, and using different fabrics and patterns.
In my opinion, the double breasted suit is the most elegant of all and Savile Row does those better than enyone. There are fabrics that are best for double breasted suits and others that are not. Cloth with diplomatic or wider stripes are at their best with a double breasted suit, and, in my opinion, most checks are less successful.
I complement Savile Row and Italian tailoring with shirts from Paris, ties from Florence and shoes from Northampton. For me there is nothing like the shoes made in that English community. My preferred shoe brand is Crockett & Jones, where the hand grade oxford is the best that you can find and the best to wear with suits. While there should be innovation and creativity in the day's dress, the shoes must always be classic.
I always wear Oxfords with my suits and Derbys for less formal clothing. I agree that “brown is the new black” when it is applied to shoes, and I have more brown than black. Black shoes seem boring and don’t do much to highlight the day's clothing, except perhaps when they are combined with socks that have the same color as the tie or the vest. On the other hand, innovation in shoes should be limited to color and not extended to shape or design.
When it comes to suits, every wardrobe should have a navy blue, a Prince of Wales and a striped double breasted. Basic jackets should include a blazer, a tweed jacket, at least one in a Spanish fabric and an unstructured jacket with Neapolitan cut.
The shirt wardrobe ought to include several whites, a blue stripe with a white collar and cuffs, another with vichy squares and finally at least one light blue and a pink.
Two blue neckties, one dark blue and another light blue, are a must. Complement them with a yellow, a pink, and a couple with stripes. And don't forget a bow.
Finally, pay special attention to accessories such as braces, cufflinks, handkerchiefs and socks. A lot of times you can change accessories and look as though you are wearing an entirely different suit.