A Sartorial Poet feat. Nathaniel Adams

June 19th, 2013

Meet Nathaniel “Natty” Adams, one of the dandiest and most well-versed gents in the game.

The general manager of the Against Nature custom menswear shop (co-founded by this beautifully bespoke woman) has a truly unique and endearing sense of personal style. His wardrobe centers around artfully-designed pieces that are full of hidden inspirations and his outfits are a blend of his old-school flair, worldly point-of-view, and love of culture & literature.

“I’m also the co-author of the forthcoming book I am Dandy, which will be published this Fall. The book is based on Rose Callahan’s excellent photo blog The Dandy Portraits, with photos by her and text profiles by me.

Essentially, I’ve spent the past several years travelling and interviewing the best-dressed men in the world. So this Articles of Style feature will probably have more name-dropping than any other…hopefully I won’t trespass on your reader’s patience.”

We caught up with Natty last week and he gave us a taste of his new outfits for this summer – fresh from the tailor with all of his personal touches.

    1. Summer Garden


    “The items I design and the outfits I put together usually convey or embody some kind of story – even if I’m the only one who knows what that story is. I get a lot of my inspiration from literature – the quotes hidden around my suits are only the most obvious example of that.”


    “I designed this jacket and pant together with, for some reason, the image of a spectator on a cricket pitch in mind – I was probably reading P.G. Wodehouse or something.

    The quote embroidered under the lapel, Falling is the essence of a flower, is actually from the death poem Yukio Mishima wrote before committing seppuku. Perhaps that’s a bit macabre to put on a jacket, especially such a colorful summer one, but I found that line particularly beautiful, and I stuck with the idea of flowers by using a cream-colored jacquard lining showing falling blossoms.”


    “The pocket square, which has little daisies on it, was a gift from my friend Barima, author of the excellent blog Mode Parade.

    The tie clip has crawling vines on it, so I suppose this whole look has something of a vegetable or garden theme.”


    “I got the hat from J.J. Hat Center in midtown.

    The writer Gay Talese showed me how to wear it with the back brim flipped down, and Domenico “Mimmo” Spano, former director of tailored menswear at both Bergdorf Goodman and Saks, insisted that I should mash the front brim down to be perpendicular with the floor…but I don’t do either.

    I suppose I still haven’t figured out my trademark hat style.”


    2. White Linen Theory


    “The second look is one of two white linen suits I did this summer. This one is actually a bit off-white. The other is a bright optic white one-button three-piece with narrow pants, rounded peak lapels, and a double-breasted vest with shawl lapels.

    I tend to think of white linen suits in two different categories: there’s the slick suit that people wear in Miami or to white parties or to summer weddings, which is what my three-piece is. And then there’s the sort of romantic, more casual, off-white linen suit you might find on a war correspondent in a Graham Greene novel. That’s how I thought of this suit, although it’s still new so it isn’t as scruffy and rumpled as I’m sure it will be eventually.”


    “I used to have cheap white linen suits made every time I visited family in India. By the end of one summer month in New Delhi they were pretty battered.

    When I travelled to Brazzaville in Congo to meet and interview the incredibly stylish Sapeurs I had nothing but a box of Cuban cigars to give out as gifts, two liters of vicious Ugandan moonshine, a French phrase book, and a white linen suit… I also had fifty bucks but I had to give that to a very sexy female soldier with a machine gun in order to get my passport back and be allowed into the country.”


    “So this suit, with its reverse-pleated pants, bellows pockets, and covered buttons conjures up those adventurous images and feelings of far-flung former colonies.”


    “Inside the jacket and under the lapel I put lines from a poem by the Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, translated by the Kashmiri poet Agha Shahid Ali.”


    “The entire poem can be read here.”


    We’re also big fans of the horizontal stripe shirt and the spectator shoes.


    • Tortoise Shell Sunglasses by Vintage
    • White Linen Suit by Against Nature
    • White Horizontal Stripe Shirt by Against Nature
    • Pink Knit Tie by Against Nature
    • Horse Face Cuff Links and Tie Bar by Vintage
    • White/Brown Spectators by Allen Edmonds

    3. Eggplant Chic


    “The original inspiration for the third look came when I met the artist Paolo Canevari and he was wearing a black low-buttoning double-breasted jacket with mother of pearl buttons.

    I loved the contrast and the keystone shape which emphasized the angles between waist and shoulder. He’s six-foot-something and very broad-shouldered, so I dare say it looks more impressive on him.”


    “I was originally going to get it in navy but the director of fashion events at the National Arts Club, David Zyla, gave me one of his expert ‘palette readings’ and the next thing I know I was ordering three and a half yards of eggplant-colored mohair/wool.

    In the sunlight it’s very purple so it tends to work better indoors or at night.”


    “The pocket square was a gift from Ed Hayes, the legendary New York trial lawyer and friend of Tom Wolfe who was the inspiration for the character of Tommy Killian in Bonfire of the Vanities.”


    “The quote under the lapel, Wind-mastered, wet with light, is a line from a Philip Larkin poem that reminds me of a woman of whom I’m very fond, which seems to be reason enough for me to do just about anything.”


    • Burgundy DB Suit by Against Nature
    • White and Blue Horizontal Stripe Shirt by Against Nature
    • Gold and Black Pattern Tie by Doyle Mueser
    • Pocket Sq. and Cufflinks
    • Black Dress Shoes by Jeffery West

    Thanks for reading, and special thanks to Natty for participating!

    Yours in style,

    Articles of Style


    Photography by Alex Crawford

    • RD

      Dude is killing it. Posts like these motivate me to look better.

    • http://wacavenue.blogspot.com Theguybehindthelens

      The second looks is perfect. The details and fit of the suit is spot on. Horizontal stripes look so damn good on a dress shirt.

    • Gazman

      The first outfit is beautiful. The colour cordination spot-on. Love the jacket and especially how the skirt (?) of the jacket drapes close to the hips. Like also the pants – not too tight in the upper part (take note Dan ;).

    • August

      The lines of poetry are too pretentious.

      • Brian C.

        I agree. There is something elitist about this entire feature. But, this is just one man’s opinion.

    • http://undefined TimL

      Love the color compliments of the first outfit. The Green jacket off the light blue shirt and the white/cream pants off the tan shoes. I think I’ll try something like that this week. Thanks!

    • Ed B.

      Interesting post, but a little overkill for me. I would take one thing out of each look before I left the house. Respect for his personal choices though. Do you my friend.

    • Pat

      “Falling is the essence of a flower”

      I love that phrase. Life is short, let’s make it worthwhile.

      I love the contrast club collar by the way.

      • TW

        Or, in Mishima’s case, life is short, so end it prematurely with a sword.

    • Jakob

      This guy knows his sh*t.

    • EJ


    • TK

      This guy loves name dropping!!! Not my style but respect his hustle.

    • Changingman

      The thought of a sexy female soldier with a machine gun….nuff said:D

    • Anonymous

      Dude with str8 Gomez Addams swag in that last pic…even has same last name

    • http://www.RobertBurnsII.com Robert Burns

      If this isn’t “trying hard,” then I give up — I don’t know what is.

      Looks good, but certainly putting in a LOT of effort.

    • Dani

      This is by far my favourite guest’s style. Absolutely not overkill; while being conservatively dressed is fine, not everyone wears a suit to be that way…the beauty of a suit is that it can be outrageous or plain. Personally, many of the features aren’t incredibly appealing to me *because* they’re so plain/simple. This kinda has threads of glam rock in it, and I love that.

      I love the fit/quotes in the second look, and just…absolutely everything about the last. Well, I might have edged towards different buttons, but that’s fairly minor and solely a matter of subjective taste. It’s not that the current ones are bad, just that I’d have preferred a really light button that’s tinted veeeeery lightly with colour.

    • Joe

      I think you have found your hat style, it looks great on you. I’ve seen pictures of Talese wearing his hat with the front and back turned down and it looks great on him. Different brims for different heads.

      I really like the hidden quotes, and the idea of hidden personalizing. I’m a fan of custom cowboy boots, where you can go to town with all kinds of wild designs on the shaft. And only you and its maker know it’s there since it’s covered by your pant leg.

    • http://www.dressedbycc.com CC

      Way too much. Serious overkill here. Double breasted jacket, white buttons AND a ticket pocket! Contrast collar shirt, with horizontal stripes, and matching cuff links and tie bar…c’mon. Grow up, Count Chocula.

      • Badger

        You’re just jealous ‘cos you could never pull it off.

        • http://undefined TimL

          What’s with the name calling…. come on guys…

      • Chris

        Racist comment – ‘Count Chocula’.

        You’re the one who needs growing up. Also, why post a negative comment? Why take the time to do that?

    • Jack

      The first look is one of my favorites in recent memory.

    • Blard

      These are the kind of outfits you can only wear if you own a menswear shop.

      • Joe

        I disagree, while they certainly do advance the aesthetic of a shop, I think any of these can be worn out dancing, to a nice restaurant or a night at the theater, or to an outdoor wedding or party.

    • Anonymous

      wow. you guys just keep coming up with the new freshness.

    • Kris K

      Pure class- I wish I had style like this. Definitely a fan of the hidden text under the collar and above the inside pockets.

    • Luke V

      Fantastic post. Love the idea of truly personalizing your wardrobe with meaningful words. Well done all!

    • MS

      For the most part, it seems really costume-y and “try hard”, but I get what he’s going for. He has real style, there’s no two ways about that. And the quotations-hidden-in-the-clothes thing is unbelievably cool.

    • Bob

      Love the first look

    • http://mrsartorialist.blogspot.com Zulhilmi Rahman

      Too much swag, not all man can handle those….

    • http://undefined Mack1

      Started reading it, thinking what a tool.

      Finished reading it, what a legend ;)

      His passion felt genuine and the quotes are genius and add that personal touch we all hope to create.

      Great article.

    • Amit

      I don’t like the last outfit, and don’t get this tie clip thing. It’s not adding any sprezzatura, just looks messy.

      • Eric

        Yeah. There’s a huge gap between sprezz and an outfit just smacking of effort.

        I like TSB; more posts hit than miss, but managers of bespoke shops showing off their closets tend not to do much for me.

    • josh

      It seems a little corny, but I love the use of quotes he put into the clothing, and how it’s hidden. It adds a whole new level of value to the suits.

    • BF

      Next level dandy.

    • MN

      Slightly pretentious… Totally awesome.

    • cam

      this man is way too cool for me

    • Brady P

      Im always intrigued by peoples choices for custom/bespoke suiting. Having never had any custom clothing myself, I try to pay close attention to small details that people choose to incorporate and why. This is a whole different level! Envisioning favorite literary characters and settings, quotes placed around hidden areas in the jacket, this is gold. I absolutely love it! Great inspiration.