Major Appeal

Mark Tate, Savannah’s nattiest lawyer, dishes on style.

Mark Tate. Photo by Beau Kester

I grew up the son of a Parris Island drill instructor. He was insistent that one must be “squared away,” and that has stuck with me.

Most professionals wear a suit every day, yet there’s a notion that if your suit fits you properly, you are spending too much time on your clothes. But for me, looking professional means taking a moment to dress. As a lawyer who represents people who have been injured in some way, I’m asking them for their trust. Regardless of whether they like my particular suit choice on the day we meet, when I feel good, I’m far more able to be reassuring and project confidence.

For me, fashion is a bit of a hobby and a creative outlet, and over the years I’ve come to gravitate toward a few truly top designers — Tom Ford, Kiton and Isaia. Regardless of what you spend on a suit, get a good tailor who knows how to make it work. For example, there should be no roll of fabric under the back of your suit collar. There should be no gap between the collar and your neck.

I avoid silly trends like short suit coats or the shift from wide lapels to thin. I have wide lapel, thin lapel and plenty in between. A great suit with the right tailoring will always work. Decide the break of the suit leg. I prefer the “shivering break” where the cuff just barely grazes the top of the shoe.  No matter what, avoid having a suit pant that looks like a pajama leg. Don’t fear bold colors in dress shoes. I have and wear a pair of shoes that are eggplant. Unless someone is really checking you out, they won’t know. Occasionally comments are quite entertaining, anyway — it lets you know you’re doing something right.

Since I work eccentric hours, I’m drawn to clothes that let me move with ease and comfort from work to dinner with my fiancée, Natalie, or coffee with my daughter.

Lastly, no guy over 20 should wear a slogan T-shirt or a sports jersey. And regardless of your age, never wear a pocket square made from the same material as your tie — and definitely don’t wear a shiny satin tie that hangs way too long.

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