So what does a dapper gent wear when he is going to meet one of their favorites in the fashion industry? That’s just the question I asked myself as I prepared to go meet Ken Downing.  The Fashion Director and Senior VP of Neiman Marcus was in town to discuss “The Art of Buying,” a talk hosted by the Fashion Group International of Greater Washington, DC.

More with a Dapper Gent

In a room filled with the stylish women and dapper gents of DC to hear a fashion heavyweight give his take on how the industry is changing in today’s environment, I knew my look had to be on point. I mean even the office of Covington Law Firm at CityCenterDC where the event was held was posh.

A Dapper Gent headshot A Dapper Gent standing by door

In the new normal of social media and fast fashion, Downing’s thoughts on how brands and designers need to adapt to meet the needs of their customers was truly insightful. Downing said, “The race to be first has made fashion last.”

He went on to say, “Customers are tired of looking at clothes 7 months later.” Easy access to fashion shows has put designs out to the public in real time. They are seeing the looks on celebrities and being inundated with images. By the time the clothes actually come out consumers are tired of looking at them or similar looks hit the market earlier through fast fashion. As result the trend is moving to a more see it now, buy it now philosophy. Rebecca Minkoff has had success with this and Zachary Prell just put some of his clothes online immediately during his show during New York Fashion Week Men’s.

A Dapper Gent down the stairs

As I listened to him, I thought about my outfit choice in terms of his words. Downing: Washington is a cute city and has fashionable people. It is not a conservative town. As a Washingtonian, I couldn’t agree more. I photographed my look in Capitol Hill. The sleepy part of DC was an ideal setting with its tree lined streets and the fantastic Eastern Market. This area exemplifies Washington’s cuteness. My maroon blazer with floral tie was anything but conservative.

A Dapper Gent post close up

Downing: I look at fashion through the eyes of an architect. I try to look at selecting my looks in a similar way. Choosing colors and patterns that work together along with a great fit are architectural building blocks for a fantastic look.

A Dapper Gent in front of home

Downing: The day of wearing all one designer is gone. We do wear high to low. As a self-proclaimed dapper gent, I do not normally wear one designer head to toe. I like to mix it up. While I do have certain favorite brands, a good variety of brands makes for a better wardrobe.

A Dapper Gent buttons up

I think this dapper gent looked great and exemplified DC well. I hope I did DC proud when I met Mr. Downing. Thoughts?

Shop my Look/Details

Burgundy Blazer – Armani Collezioni;  Floral tie – Paul Stuart ; Striped Dress shirt – Hugo Boss; White slacks – Polo by Ralph Lauren ; White floral lapel pin – Hook and Albert ; Brown Penny Loafers – Tom Ford ; Watch – Tommy Hilfiger


A Dapper Gent heading downstairs

Photography: BC Petrie Photography