The Dandy Doctor feat. Dr. Andre Churchwell
September 22nd, 2014
Remember our friend Amber, the beautiful redhead in sharp bespoke suits? Well, she introduced us to our friend Natty Adams, who happens to be an expert in all things “dandy”. In his book “I am Dandy“; a collaboration with photography Rose Callahan, they profiled some of the world’s sharpest and dandiest dressers. I was flipping through their book the other day, and one man in particular jumped off the pages. That man was Dr. Andre Churchwell of Nashville, Tennessee.
You see, Dr. Churchwell is not just a clothes horse with great taste and his own sense of personal style, he also happens to be an incredibly accomplished professional who’s considered one of the best doctors in America. He is living proof that while in some cases the “clothes can make the man”, it’s much more powerful when the man first makes himself and then “makes the clothes”.
Here’s a snippet from his bio on the Vanderbilt School of Medicine website:
“Dr. André L. Churchwell is a Professor of Medicine (Cardiology), Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Senior Associate Dean for Diversity Affairs at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He was named the 2005 Walter R. Murray Jr. Distinguished Alumnus by the Association of Vanderbilt Black Alumni. The award recognizes lifetime achievements in personal, professional and community arenas. Churchwell graduated from the Vanderbilt School of Engineering magna cum laude in 1975. He won the Biomedical Engineering Student Program Award that same year. He received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1979 and later completed his internship, residency and cardiology fellowship at Emory University School of Medicine and affiliated hospitals in Atlanta.
In addition, he was the first African American chief medical resident at Grady Memorial Hospital (1984–1985). Churchwell received the J. Willis Hurst Award for Best Clinical Teacher in 1991 from Emory and in 2004 he was named the Emory University School of Medicine Resident Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award winner. For the past ten years he has been named one of the nation’s top cardiologists in “The Best Doctors in America.”
Alex was back in Nashville recently and had the chance to meet this legend in person. We put together a quick photoshoot at his beautiful TN home in order to inspire our readers – whether you’re an aspiring professional, dandy, or just want to leave your mark on this world as an absolute boss.
Here’s just a small taste of Dr. Churchwell’s clothing collection and his “classically eclectic” personal style.
1. Daytime Formal
Learn the rules first, the learn how to break them in your own personal style:
“My style originated from the lessons my father offered. My Dad was a member of ‘The Greatest Generation’, beautifully described in loving and respectful tones by Tom Brokaw in his book. Dad’s tutelage on dress occurred every time he watched the films of Astaire, Coop, Douglas Faibanks Jr, and a host of great dressers. From these larger than life film mentors, Dad charted his sartorial course and by the time I came along, he was ready to pass the messages and secret codes on to me and my brothers.
His main message was to find the individual unique style that fits your sensibilities, geometry, (etc) and once determined NEVER deviate from these tried and true rules. This message was echoed by Astaire and Coop. If you watch their films you can see what they thought flattered their vertical forms. It wasn’t some fashion guy’s recent erroneous epiphany, but was built on what Alan Flusser had instructed us, on architectural imperatives of symmetry and shape(s).
From these prescient messages I found what worked for me, and will stick to it as Mr. Como sang, ‘Till the End Of Time’.”
2. Sartorial Casual
“I am fortunate in being a doctor and not a corporate type. I am allowed to let my personality and creative bent determine what I wear each day. As was pointed out in the recent book on Mr. Ralph Lauren, he dresses every day based on his mood, which could lead him to wear pinstripes one day and western clothing the next — if only we all had the wide and vast latitude in choices and the closet space to allow for such creative fluctuations!”
Casual pattern-mixing: nautical stripe knit, silk polka dot scarf, solid worsted jacket, textured sharkskin pants.
It’s all about the accessories, of course.
3. Last Touch of Summer
“Personal style defines you, to yourself and to the masses, and is as reflective of your tastes as your choice in cars or wines. Recognize that even the nudist is making a fashion statement, or the faculty member who ‘disdains stylish clothing’ and dresses like a homeless person…even THAT choice offers us a definition of their own personal style – or lack of it.
I am an eclectic shopper for sure, tolerated by a forgiving wife(CEO/CFO) of 32 years!”
We shot this during the last week of summer. Otherwise, as Dr Churchwell admits, he would have put away the white seersucker suit.
He is a man who believes in the traditional rules of dress (to some degree), after all.
4. Nashville Nautical
“I do believe that bespoke tailoring is the best form of menswear, but it requires a fortune like a Duke of Windsor or of Ellington! Therefore, my wardrobe is a blend of bespoke, made-to-measure and off the peg.
A key rule for me is a rigid tolerance of hand tailoring (>80+% hand made clothing) which still restricts who you use and definitely elevates the cost! As I tell people who ask about my wardrobe; like Claude Rains as the head of the local police in the classic movie ‘Casablanca’ my choices in the cost of clothing are defined by: ‘I am just a poor incorruptible country doctor’.”
The best part about Dr. Churchwell’s style is that you can tell he genuinely enjoys the history and details of fine dress, and he has fun with it!
“Dress is as personal as your signature and as uniquely yours as your fingerprints. Treat it as such!”
Thanks, as always, for reading and special thanks to Dr. Churchwell for participating!
Yours in style,
Photography by Alex Crawford.