It’s the newest edition of Jews of Philly Fashion, introducing you to the Chosen few who dress our city. They might mix wool and linen, but they’ve got some strong opinions on mixing stripes with florals. In this space, we’ll talk to designers, sellers, buyers, influencers, models and more. This week, we spoke to Brian Lipstein.
When Brian Lipstein was growing up in Malvern, he was a T-shirt guy. An oversized jeans and button-down fellow. Track pants. Hoodies. Up until about 2006, everything he wore was just enormous.
So you can imagine the surprise his friends and family felt when he co-founded his custom tailoring and image consulting business that year, just as he was finishing his undergrad career at the University of Pennsylvania.
“Who’s going to let you dress them?”, Lipstein, 36, remembered his sisters asking.
The answer turned out to be numerous business executives in Philadelphia and beyond, along with anyone else with a few hours for fitting and material selection to spare. Lipstein’s company, Henry A. Davidsen, Master Tailors & Image Consultants, is located at 17th and Spruce streets, and you’ll need an appointment.
For Lipstein, who has long since ditched the oversized jeans, picking the right suit is less about the jacket and pants, and much more about what they can communicate in a professional setting, to the wearer and the people around them.
“To me it’s not about clothing,” he said. “It’s about what clothing can do for somebody.”
Would you rather see someone wear clothing a little too tight or a little too loose?
This is an unfair question for someone who prefers to see someone wearing clothing that is perfectly fit! … If you were forcing me to choose one, I’d pick a little too loose, because the likelihood of being able to alter it is easier than clothing that is too tight and may not have enough fabric in it to be let out. It’s always easier to take something in than to let something out.
What clothing trend would you like to see make a comeback?
I’d love to see more men taking pride in their presentation. This may not be a trend, but if you look at images of businessmen (and later women) going back to the ’20s, through the ’60s and even up to the ’90s, dressing to leave the house was something they took pride in.
And what trend are you content to leave in the past?
Relevant to what I’m sure many of us have seen recently in ESPN’s documentary “The Last Dance” — I’m happy to leave the baggy, four-button suits in the past forever.
What’s the best thing you’ve read in quarantine?
I’ve been spending a lot of time reading industry articles and trying to keep up with the ever-changing legislation available to help small businesses that have been forced to close … I was able to finish “Scaling Up” by Verne Harnish, which focuses on mastering the “Rockefeller Habits” and have been actively working through the exercises in the book to apply to my business.
What person’s style do you admire?
Cary Grant is one of the most classic dressers of all time. He really understood style and lived it everyday.
What’s your favorite piece of tailored clothing, for yourself?
I still always feel best in my solid navy or solid charcoal suits. These are definitely my go-to suits anytime I have something important going on.
What talent would you most like to have?
I love music and always admire people who can play multiple instruments … I’d love to have the talent to pick up an instrument and be able to play it because I can hear notes that clearly in my head.
What is your most defining characteristic?
I try to always be understanding and patient. It’s too easy to jump to conclusions when we move at the speed the world demands. Taking those extra few moments to pause, ask clarifying questions and make the effort to understand something from someone else’s point of view is something that would benefit everybody in today’s world.
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