Custom Continental feat. Tito Hill
May 30th, 2013
Tito Hill is a fellow style enthusiast and Columbia basketball alumnus. He’s lived all over the world, and his continental sense of style reflects it.
“I was born in Africa, raised in Germany and moved to the US in eighth grade. I spent the next five years living all over America, including Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, Los Angeles and San Francisco before moving to New York to play basketball at Columbia University. Post college, I spent 7 years in NYC working mainly in the financial services industry before taking a sabbatical in the woods of New Hampshire to get my MBA.
As for my style, I think it’s probably an amalgamation of all of those experiences. There is definitely a European influence…and some US prep too. It’s easy to navel gaze when it comes to style and let it drift too far north on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, but I do believe that style is an outward representation of your inner state.”
Like many difficult-to-fit athletes, over the years Tito has accumulated plenty of experience with custom clothiers and alteration tailors. He’s also come to accept the golden rule of menswear: quality over quantity. As you can see here, he invests in quality pieces that fit properly and will last the test of time, no matter where in the world he ends up.
1. Custom Business Solutions
“Long arms are a blessing on the basketball court, but a curse when buying suits or shirts.
Carl at CEGO has been my go-to shirtmaker for years and I have spent many a late afternoon drinking Scotch and watching people as they pick out swatches.
First lesson of custom or MTM tailoring, DO NOT bring your spouse or girlfriend. There is a reason you visit these professionals…for their expertise.”
I love the simplicity of Tito’s looks.
Less is more.
No socks, no pocket square, no crazy bracelets or lapel pins… The law of diminishing returns can apply to dressing confidently as well.
The double-monk loafer has been all the rage lately.
This here is a case for the single-monk. A serious, beautiful, hand-made case.
- Blue Suit by Kent Wang
- Lavender Dress Shirt by CEGO Shirtmaker
- Purple Striped Tie by Altea
- Watch by Sinn 103A
- Brown Monk Strap Shoes by Berluti
2. Weekend Chill
Having an unusual fit forces you to have experiences with tailors and seamstresses, which is always a learning experience in clothes manufacturing (so pay attention!). What can be done, what can’t be done, and most importantly with off-the-rack, how to think about creative solutions to your wardrobe issues.
“A lot of my stuff has either been made-to-measure or tailored. I have been lucky in that I have always lived close to cheap alteration‘s tailors…
This Hickey rugby shirt, for example, fit well off-the-rack but had a very limp collar. I had a rarely-used oxford shirt laying around so I removed the collar [with a seam ripper] and had my local seamstress sew it on the shirt. Now it stands much better and I’m wearing the shirt more often (and more confidently).”
I love Tito’s timepiece selection.
Similar to my Montblanc, his Sinn chronograph is proportional in size to his wrist and can be dressed-up (see look 1) or dressed-down.
If you’re going to invest a few stacks on a luxury watch, that’s the smartest way to do it.
As a fellow basketball player, Tito knows the difference between basketball shoes and sneakers.
Leave the high-top tri-color Lebron’s for the court, and invest in some simple, low-cut, monochromatic sneakers for the weekend runaround.
- Grey Wool Driver Cap by Gant x Bastian
- Grey Leather Jacket by CP Island
- Navy Polo Shirt by Hickey Rugby
- Khaki Cargo Pants by Incotex
- Watch by Sinn 103A
- Brown Leather Sneakers by Cole Haan x Nike
3. Evening Investment
Speaking of custom clothing, the industry goes beyond office suits and shirts.
“This leather jacket was made at my friend’s now sadly defunct shop, Teddy Boy. We played soccer together and I always like the stuff they turned out so I sketched up a jacket, based somewhat losely on the Perfecto… He had some amazing reindeer leather, which is comparable to Lamb with regards to comfort and pliability, but is a lot more resilient…so he made it happen.”
In the custom world, it’s not just about perfect fit. You can also co-design a one-of-a-kind piece exactly how you dreamed it up.
If you’re thinking about making a potentially life-long investment in a quality leather piece, for example, this makes sense.
Again, it’s about quality over quantity: better to have one beautiful leather that you wear day-in and day-out for a decade, than having 3-4 cheap leather jackets that you don’t love and eventually feel the need to replace.
Another great example of simple, low-top, monochromatic sneakers.
- Black Hat by Street Vendor
- Black Leather Jacket by Teddy Boy LES Custom
- White T shirt by Todd Snyder
- Blue Jeans by Tim Hamilton
- Watch by Sinn 103A
- Black Sneakers by Puma Black Label
Thanks for reading, and special thanks to Tito for participating!
Yours in style,
Articles of Style
Photography by Alex Crawford.