Rules of Style: Gitman Vintage's Chris Olberding

After designer Chris Olberding came across product books from Gitman Bros' early days in the late 70s, he decided to create Gitman Vintage, a line dedicated to updating the brand's classic looks. Details caught up with Olberding about dressing for style vs. comfort, proper vocabulary, and the many benefits of choosing an annual travel destination.

1. Your personal style should be as unique as the way you sign your name. Develop a look that works for and is reflective of who you are. Don't wear what's fashionable—unless that does the trick. Wear what works for your body and is comfortable, but don't forget the importance of proper fit. I wear single-breasted jackets (never unbuttoned), regular rise, plain-front pants, darker over lighter colored fabrics, shoes with some weight, and button-down shirts.

2. Invest in the best watch, suit, and shoes you can afford. My idea was always to save up and buy one of these objects for myself on a pivotal date, e.g. birthday, anniversary.

3. A good vocabulary will get you further than your overcoat.

4. Style is understanding the situation without appearing too thought out; keep the canvas tote for the beach and black leather attache for midtown. Keep the Mac for spring rain and your Barbour for the falling leaves.

5. In matters of style, function always trumps flash, but there's also fun to be had in mixing the high and low. I'm particularly fond of wearing my old college sweatshirt with my new Hermés foulard, or my vintage Levi's with my green J.M. Weston penny loafers.

6. In all matters athletic, play sports more than you watch them.

7. Know thy art, music, and food (including wine); it enhances your world view.

8. Don't walk down the street texting, Instagramming, or Tweeting. You may miss something—or get hit by a bus, and that's not stylish.

9. Spend a little, save a little, give a little. The ratio is up to you.

10. Travel as often and as extensively as you can, but once you find a place that is ideal, make it a yearly destination. You'll be rewarded in the years that follow, usually in the form of upgrades, smiles, proper greetings, better tables, and a feeling of having arrived. Plus, by traveling back to the same place every year you can acclimate to vacation mode in a matter of hours.

—Andrew Villagomez. Follow him at @AndyVeeNYC

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Also on
What's on Your Wrist: Chris Olberding of Gitman Vintage
Rules of Style: Steven Alan
Rules of Style: Duckie Brown

Photo Courtesy of Gitman Vintage
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