Fashion

Rules of Style: J. Crew's Frank Muytjens


Frank Muytjens joined J. Crew as the head of men's design in 2008 to help steer the brand from a go-to for preppy basics to a more fashion-forward destination for everything from socks to fine suits. Muytjens was also behind J. Crew's Liquor Store, a men's-only shop located in a landmark townhouse in downtown New York City that offers high-quality slim-fit suits, vintage-inspired leather bags, and the brand's signature patterned button-downs.

Here, Muytjens tells us why a wrinkled shirt is okay, why a guy should know his way around the kitchen, and how the key to a well-fit suit starts with the shoulders.

1. You should care about the details. How you button your sportcoat (never close the first button), the knot of your tie, and even the way you wear your scarf show that you pay attention to the details.

2. It's okay for a shirt to be rumpled. You don't have to iron the life out of it.

3. Mix and match pieces of your wardrobe that you normally wouldn't. For example, wear sneakers with a suit, or a denim shirt with dress pants, and a military parka over a sport jacket. You're looking to distort your outfit a little because it gives you instant personal style—nonconformity is good!

4. Buy multiples. Once you love how something fits, stick to that brand and buy multiples in different colors; it'll make your life so much easier.

5. When buying a suit, by default guys go one size bigger to hide their bodies. Don't do this; you should always buy your size. The rule of thumb is that it all starts with the shoulder: Make sure that the shoulder of the jacket follows your natural shoulder line. The jacket should be slightly tapered. This is one of my favorite features in our Ludlow suit. It should also feel snug, but not tight, and you should still have some room to move. You'll be amazed at what a good-fitting jacket does for your posture and confidence.

6. In regards to jewelry, I personally love a watch, because not only is it functional, it's also simple and classic. However, if you're going to wear jewelry, one should really wear something that's meaningful and symbolizes who they are, like a fine chain with a Saint Christopher pendant, discreetly hidden under your T-shirt.

7. It's better to be understated than overstated.

8. A wardrobe takes time and patience to build upon. Individual pieces take time to become yours: The fading of a pair of jeans, the way a jacket forms around your body, a shoe molding to your foot, and the soft touch of a pair of chinos.

9. I always love mixing vintage pieces in my wardrobe because they tell a unique story. The same goes for your home: Mixing in vintage next to a modern piece creates an unexpected tension and gives the room more personality.

10. Learn how to cook a few dishes. I know too many people who use their oven to store sweaters. I'm always impressed when someone knows his or her way around the kitchen.

• • •

Also on Details.com:
Rules of Style: Rag & Bone's Marcus Wainwright and David Neville
Rules of Style: Topman Design Director Gordon Richardson
Rules of Style: Nicholas Kirkwood

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