Worn Out Wednesday – Christopher Berre
With tie wearing on the rise, we thought we would check in with Christopher Berre, founder of Artfully Disheveled. Here he gives us his backstory as well as tells us a bit about his personal style.
I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. Still, it comes as no surprise to me that most people don’t actually know where to find this great city. Sure, the average Joe knows it’s in Ohio, but without knowing more, most assume that this place is just another “cow town.” Glance at a map, and you’ll find Cincinnati to the right of the Ohio River, a stone’s throw away from the banks of Kentucky. Rolling hills and pockets of metropolitan neighborhoods aren’t exactly conducive for raising cattle. But beyond geography alone, Cincinnati is defined by its working parts—a city rooted in Midwestern ideals, developed by tenacious German immigrants, and emboldened by hints of southern charm and elegance, Cincinnati is truly a sensational contradiction in terms. Welcome to the city where pigs fly!
With so much to offer, this city has big expectations of its inhabitants. Lucky for my brother and me, Cincinnati was not the only one pushing us to be our best while looking our best. Our parents raised us to understand the significance behind one’s appearance. It is not the sole characteristic that defines a person, to be sure, but it is the first thing that people see, so where possible, make a good impression. Moreover, dress with respect for the occasion. Wear your Sunday best to church, dress well for a flight, don a jacket to a nice dinner, and so on. These lessons have stuck with me. Yes, my style has grown and developed over time, and I have fallen prey to bad trends. But now, I can safely say that I am rooted in finding and maintaining classic pieces of clothing. Fit and feel are more important to me than the independent status of the clothing alone. Forget the label; if it doesn’t fit right, it’s a lost piece. Wear a lost piece, and the “you” behind the clothing becomes lost within the fabric.
I started Artfully Disheveled in 2010 with my close friend, Michael Palmer and my brother, Trey. The idea behind this movement was to develop a men’s ‘lifestyle brand’ that was geared toward the well-styled misfits. Our target clientele is the guy who learns the rules of clothing etiquette in order to best know how to break them.
I developed this idea one summer while in Chicago during law school. My educational background and training is in both philosophy and the law, not fashion design. Knowing this, I required the input and support of my friend, Palmer, to transform the dream into a reality. Without his background in graphic design and brand development, Artfully Disheveled would still just be a great idea with good intentions.
Now, with the background story brought into the foreground, allow me to outline the array of products I’ve relied upon in creating and maintaining my brand and my style:
Jeans: Noble Denim makes the best pair of denim I’ve had the privilege of wearing. The craftsmanship is spectacular. The fit is perfect. And the story behind it all is remarkable..
Shirts: My close friends joke with me that I only wear white shirts. Sure, I have a handful of custom shirts, but for the most part, I do tend to fall back on my everyday white shirt. Banana Republic’s Slim Fit, Non-Iron, French Cuff, Royal Oxford has been my go to for years. Payday or not, one should always buy these shirts when they are on sale. The fit is great, the length is just right, and the price is reasonable enough not to spark an internal crisis every time one needs to be thrown out. White shirts take a beating.
Pants: Bonobos has solved my pant conundrum. Their slim straight cut finds the ideal middle ground for men—not too skinny, not too loose, solid waist, structured seat, and reasonable rise and length. Long story short, it is a pant that just works.
Suits: I have the great privilege of working at a haberdashery with one of the nation’s few remaining Master Tailors, Romualdo Pelle. At 80 years old, Romualdo still works five days a week and has more energy than I did at 21. His storefront is a hidden gem run by a true veteran in menswear, Trevor Furbay. I had my first custom suit made for me a few years back and I will admit, I can’t go back to off-the-rack options. Suits should be looked at as investments. Treat them well.
Dress Shoes: Allen Edmonds is a brand made in America and crafts some of the most classic and iconic models around. If you take good care of these shoes, polishing them regularly and avoiding being “too hard on them,” they will last for years to come. In addition to putting out a quality shoe from the start, Allen Edmond’s Recrafting program takes worn down shoes and completely rebuilds them, keeping the product in perpetually good shape while allowing them to be well traveled.
Boots: For boots, it has to be Lucchese. I went to college at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Texans and southern gentlemen alike know their boots. Why then should a Midwestern man wear anything less? Every man should own at least one solid pair of boots. Make that one Lucchese.
Sneakers: I buy a pair of off-white Vans Canvas Authentic every spring. They fit every occasion, pairing with anything and everything; from a cotton chino suit, to my swim trunks at the pool.
Accessories: I am not a big watch guy, but who doesn’t respect a good watch? I have never personally invested in a great watch myself, but I did receive a Timex Military watch as a gift a few years back. As for hats, I have recently gotten the itch to try a true Panama hat. In this vein, I recently reached out to my friend Max Wastler of All Plaidout who kindly pointed me in the right direction. I’ll have an Optimo Panama before Memorial Day.
Outerwear: Ohio can take a beating from brutal winters—the kind that makes even your memories shiver. Luckily, I came across an amazing Private White V.C. collab for Harrods at a great Cincinnati men’s shop called Article. I swear they got this jacket by mistake, but their mistake was my gain. It is a down jacket with leather trim accented by high polished copper hardware.
Favorite App: Camera Plus. It allows me, that guy who is completely untrained with a camera and by no means a natural photographer, to snap and edit pictures for social media that end up looking halfway professional after some cropping and edits.
Favorite piece of technology: I am never on the cutting edge of technology. However, I did just get the iPhone 5s after shattering my old phone beyond repair. It started as an inevitable upgrade, but now I don’t know what I would do without this little gadget. Siri is the closest thing to a girlfriend I have at this point.
Next tech purchase: A solid set of Bluetooth speakers. Any suggestions?