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Men of Style

Chicago may be the Second City, but when it comes to style, the nine men on these pages are second to none. From a dapper duo making waves in the local restaurant scene to a private wealth manager with a penchant for Prada, we asked them all to come to Primitive, a West Loop showroom with a jaw-dropping assortment of exquisite antiques from around the globe, so we could capture their singular style in an equally incomparable setting.

Alex Maier

Suit by L.B.M. 1911; shirt by Suitsupply; tie by Brunello Cucinelli; pocket square by Mr Porter; shoes by Alden; socks by Nordstrom; watch by Orient; bracelet and ring by Primitive.

The Creative
“Anyone can look good in a suit, so maybe that’s not the best way to showcase style,” muses local photographer Alex Maier. “When I see a guy in the perfect jeans and T-shirt, I think that’s much more interesting because there are fewer rules.” Bold words, but they come with experience. As the former creative director of Haberdash, Maier handled the imagery and digital branding of one of Chicago’s most influential men’s stores. And as a sought-after shooter, he’s covered New York Fashion Week for Tumblr, shot the look book for Burkman Bros.’ collection for Barneys New York, and gave GQ readers an inside look at Capsule, an annual showcase of cutting-edge fashion brands. If there’s one lesson he’s learned along the way, it’s to avoid letting the clothes wear the man. “The ideal wardrobe I’m trying to build is five perfect white shirts, the perfect wool pants, the perfect pair of denim and the perfect blue sport coat,” he says. “To me, style is not offending the people around you.” Aiding in his quest for the perfectly understated closet are excursions to Gant Rugger in Bucktown (“I absolutely love their aesthetic. Christopher Bastin, their creative director, has a great eye.”) and Carson Street Clothiers in New York. As for his wish list, Maier wouldn’t mind owning a 1967 Omega Speedmaster. “Shoes, a jacket and your watch—those are what you want to spend your money on.”

GO-TO GARMENT: A pair of black selvage jeans from 3Sixteen
STYLE ICON: Daniel Craig as James Bond (“He had the coolest casual wardrobe in Skyfall.”)
SARTORIAL PHILOSOPHY: “The most important thing about style is not having your clothes get in the way of your personality. It should be a pedestal upon which your voice is heard.”

The Visionary
“To be honest, I really don’t follow designers,” says Aaron Comes. One wouldn’t expect that quote to come from a Man of Style, and certainly not one who runs his own custom clothing business. But Comes, owner of Frederick Lynn Haberdasshere and maker of some of the finest tailored clothing in Chicago, is most definitely his own man. From modest beginnings in Sioux Falls, S.D., to his current perch atop the city’s sartorial tree, both Comes’ career path and personal style embody a pursuit of excellence. “I am a product of seeing my parents’ work ethic, and my dad, he always wore a suit and tie to work every day,” says Comes. “I remember, even when I was little, shopping with my dad and trying on sport coats.” Comes still favors a buttoned-up look (fortunately for him, all samples in Frederick Lynn’s River North showroom are his size), but this father of three is partial to dressing down on the weekends, usually in AG or Diesel jeans and a pair of Ferragamo high-tops. So if he isn’t looking to the runways of Milan and London, what does spark Comes’ creativity? “There’s so much smoke and mirrors in fashion,” he says. “Ultimately, my inspiration comes from my clients.”

GO-TO GARMENT: “My wife got me a pair of custom cuff links with my twin daughters’ names on them.”
STYLE ICON: “George Clooney. I think everyone wants to be him.”
SARTORIAL PHILOSOPHY: “What’s most important to me is fit, fabric and quality.”

The Entrepreneur
As CEO of Sugar Hills Bakery, the rapidly expanding purveyor of some of the city’s most elegant cakes and desserts, Jacob Neminarz’s days are anything but routine. But one constant remains: Whether it’s meeting with clients or attending a charity gala, Neminarz will be the picture of a modern gentleman, thanks to a wardrobe stocked with labels that run the gamut from Tom Ford to Topman. “I like mixing high and low,” he says of his everyday style. “It’s a combination of a variety of influences, from refined and polished to rugged and edgy.” Bloomingdale’s is his local go-to, but London is his ultimate shopping destination, especially for Burberry. His devotion to the British fashion house runs deep, and he snagged a number of Prorsum’s highly coveted heart print shirts. On top of his growing business (Sugar Hills recently opened a third location, with two more in the works), Neminarz donates his time and talents to a number of causes, including Bear Necessities and the Chicago Children’s Choir. “I grew up in Poland and was a choir boy for eight years, so choir music is very close to my heart. Anything to make children’s lives more beautiful.”

GO-TO GARMENT: “Bow ties. I own maybe 150.”
STYLE ICON: “I love David Beckham’s style because it’s really classic, and he always just brings it.”
SARTORIAL PHILOSOPHY: “Go out every day like you care, like you have respect for other people.”

The Party Pro
Attend some of Chicago’s most exclusive bashes or jaw-dropping weddings, and you’ll find that one name comes up again and again: Pure Kitchen Catering. And the man behind the culinary magic is managing member Joshua Yates, a true force to be reckoned with on the local event scene who is as affable as he is dapper. Having to transition from days in a professional kitchen to evenings at five-star venues calls for a daily wardrobe that is both versatile and professional. “I’m traveling all over town constantly for meetings and photo shoots, so during the day I try to keep things from getting too complicated. Jeans, a dress shirt and a blazer is the easiest way to go,” he says. “I recently discovered I’m a Prada guy when it comes to shirts. I’m kind of lanky, so it’s great to find a brand that I don’t have to alter at all.” Evenings call for either an outfit that complements the event he’s hosting or bold statement pieces that set him apart. Although a frequenter of Barneys, Suitsupply and Dovetail in West Town, Yates admits his true love is Paris. “I love shopping in Paris because they approach you
in a different way. It doesn’t even feel like shopping; it feels like an experience.”

GO-TO GARMENT: Berluti shoes (“I really admire the craftsmanship.”)
STYLE ICON: “Any of the actors from the Golden Age of Hollywood, especially Cary Grant”
SARTORIAL PHILOSOPHY: “It’s all about comfort.”

The Advisor
It comes as something of a surprise to learn that the impeccable Marcus Boggs does not like to shop. “I absolutely hate the process,” the wealth manager says. “I completely hate going into the store and picking out stuff.” That’s part of the reason he has numerous custom garments that, in turn, help him stand out in the crowd at his major financial firm. And he’s proud that his elevated game—suits set off by a bold tie or playful cuff links, in what he calls “mini-revolutions”—has inspired some of his colleagues to step things up a bit as well. As a board member for Lambda Legal (National), Metropolitan Family Services, River North Dance Company of Chicago and the Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric, Boggs has plenty of use for his five tuxedos—and even there, his style shows. Especially successful this past year was a blue number he purchased from Suitsupply on Oak Street for Lyric’s Opening Night Opera Ball. “I knew everyone was going to wear black, and I wanted to be appropriate, yet different,” he says. “I felt like it was a little risky, but I said, well, who cares?”

GO-TO GARMENT: Prada—but only for shoes
STYLE ICON: “I love Tom Ford’s brand. It requires a man to be confident, and yet it can make a man feel confident because he’ll look great in the clothes.”
SARTORIAL PHILOSOPHY: “Respect the climate, but establish your own personality.”

The Dynamos
Even by Chicago’s heightened restaurant biz standards, the founders of Dineamic Hospitality Group, Lucas Stoioff (far right) and David Rekhson, are on a roll. Launching their venture with lounge Stone Lotus in 2006, the duo has since unveiled Bull & Bear, Public House and, with Top Chef star Fabio Viviani, Siena Tavern­—and have a restaurant on Randolph Street; a steakhouse, Prime & Provisions; and a Miami location of Siena Tavern in the works. The pair’s shared vision, though, transcends business: “We have similar tastes,” say Stoioff, describing their style. Rekhson agrees: “Whoever gets [to a store] first cleans up and gets all the good stuff.” Frequent destinations include Barneys, Vince and, for custom-made suits, Nicholas Joseph. Business can also lend itself to an exciting discovery or two: On a trip to Florence with Viviani, they snatched up pairs of handmade Harris shoes, which weren’t available in the United States at the time. “Fabio said, ‘Today we were going to make a little mortadella and make a little shopping,’” says Stoioff. “But we made a lot of shopping,”
laughs Rekhson.

GO-TO GARMENT: “For years I had a pair of Joe’s jeans I loved, but I took them to the cleaner; they got dried out and split,” says Stoioff.
STYLE ICON: Rekhson: “Derek Zoolander!” Stoiff: David Beckham
SARTORIAL PHILOSOPHY: “In a word, versatility,” says Stoioff.

The Host
Marc Anderson, regional director for The Peninsula hotels, credits his father for his own commitment to a crisp appearance. Anderson Senior retired after a long career as a high school baseball coach—a vocation that requires a particular kind of work uniform. Off duty, however, he was always impeccably dressed, and now Anderson is passing that tradition on to his daughters. “They get mad at me for it because when we go to church, everyone is in their jeans and flip-flops,“ he says. “But I still believe in going in your Sunday best.” Anderson says that he has worn suits since he started his career in 1992 (“Back then,” he jokes, “there was no business casual.”), and among his first big purchases was a Bigsby & Kruthers number. Today, he favors Saks, Neiman Marcus, Hugo Boss and Hickey Freeman. When an occasion calls for a little flair, he’ll pull one of the custom suits he had made on business trips to Asia. That, he says, was “a fun experience.”

GO-TO GARMENT: A gold-and-blue Charvet tie worn each time he has met a U.S. president.
STYLE ICON: “George Clooney. Gregory Peck. Robert Redford can wear a nice suit or a tuxedo, but he can also put on a pair of jeans and boots and look just as sharp.”
SARTORIAL PHILOSOPHY: “Classic. Timeless. And I have said this to my kids a lot: You can tell a gentleman by his watch and his shoes.”

The Tastemaker
It’s fair to say that Michael Barkin is living his dream. The Buffalo Grove native has long been obsessed with menswear, first venturing into the world of sartorial experimentation in high school by “looking for the wackiest things I could find because I never wanted things I could see other people wearing.” After college, he graduated to custom clothing, and after going to work for a custom clothier, “a hobby became a career.” Eleven years later, Barkin is the director of sales for Chicago-based menswear retailer Trunk Club, which operates both online and by appointment at its River North headquarters. “What differentiates us is our team,” he says. “A lot of sites rely on algorithms; we’ve got people who look you in the eye, ask questions and make recommendations.” It’s a winning formula, as Trunk Club recently opened brick-and-mortar locations in Dallas and Washington, D.C., and has seen its custom clothing service expand rapidly. Barkin has been on the go too. “My family just moved to the suburbs because we have an 18-month-old and another baby on the way,” he says. “But most importantly, I wanted to be near golf courses. I love clothes, but I really, really love golf.”

GO-TO GARMENT: “I have 300 go-to garments!”
STYLE ICON: “Ralph Lauren. He’s a lifestyle curator.”
SARTORIAL PHILOSOPHY: “Confidence is the most important thing you can put on every day.”

Shot on location at Primitive
Styling by Mel Muoio
Grooming by Allie Kunkler with Ford Artists using Jack Black