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

Churchwell (29 of 79)

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’.”

Churchwell (31 of 79)

“The bespoke white peak lapel dinner jacket by Len Logsdail was catalyzed by Gary Cooper’s jacket in Billy Wilder’s   enchanting movie, ‘Love in the Afternoon‘, co-starring Audrey Hepburn.”

Churchwell (39 of 79)

Churchwell (32 of 79)

Churchwell (33 of 79)

2. Sartorial Casual

Churchwell (52 of 79)

“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!”

Churchwell (58 of 79)

Casual pattern-mixing: nautical stripe knit, silk polka dot scarf, solid worsted jacket, textured sharkskin pants.

It’s all about the accessories, of course.

Churchwell (60 of 79)

Churchwell (62 of 79)

 3. Last Touch of Summer

Churchwell (1 of 79)

“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!”

Churchwell (20 of 79)

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.

Churchwell (18 of 79)

 4. Nashville Nautical

Churchwell (68 of 79)

“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’.”

Churchwell (69 of 79)

Churchwell (73 of 79)

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!”

Churchwell (74 of 79)

Churchwell (79 of 79)

Thanks, as always, for reading and special thanks to Dr. Churchwell for participating!

Yours in style,

Dan Trepanier

Shop Custom Menswear Made in America


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  • Frank

    A real dandy. And very elegant with it too.

  • leonard roger gresham jr

    I met dr churchwell in Atlanta back in 1997 while employed at the Polo Ralph Lauren boutique. He and alan flusser has been my mentor over this course of time. If I have a question I can’t answer; sartoriall speaking, these two gent are the only masters of menswear that I go to for answer, which is quite rare for me not to know as I’ve been a clothing historian since 1980. cheers

  • B.Collins

    Simply Amazing

  • TO

    Perfect. Elegant and timeless. And no one can call #menswear (for better or worse). What a breath of fresh air from Dr. Churchwell!

    I love the way he prefers a longer jacket knowing how well it plays to his slender frame. Great job TSB!

  • GPayton

    I have been waiting to see if you guys would ever do a piece on Dr. Churchwell. He harkens back to a time where personal style was paramount. I have enjoyed over the years reading about not only his endless accolades and how he has personified achievement, but also how his father influenced his style. Similarly, my father was my greatest fashion and professional inspiration, so his story becomes very relatable to me. I would love to sit down with him and have a conversation about life. Kudos to you guys for this one.

    • TO

      @ The Glove- how did you come to learn of Dr. Churchwell before this article?

  • Steve

    I think the real magic of this post is that it features a more relatable person. You usually feature either designers or entrepreneurs, but this man has a completely different perspective. I don’t do anything terribly glamorous for a living, I’m “just” a teacher. And I find I relate to this post far more than any other.

  • Tom

    This gentleman has style. Hands down!

  • Dave Coakley

    Every look is absolutely SUPREME. One of the best yet.

  • Steven Santander

    This man is an all around inspiration! Great proportions and subtle pattern mixing. I especially like the dotted knit tie and amazing hat selection. Great job guys!

  • Leslie Guthrie

    I really just can’t get enough of Dr. Churchwell’s smile throughout this post. You can really see his happy demeanor translated into how he dresses himself.

  • Juan Zara

    Unbelievable article! It’s incredible how much I can relate to this man, down to his appreciation for Gary Cooper and Fred Astaire.
    Seventy to eighty years ago, Laurence Fellows would have probably sketched a picture of this man, and his looks would have been featured on the pages of Apparel Arts and Esquire.
    Thanks TSB for this incredible piece!

  • ms

    Where are those glasses from??!

  • Miguel

    To say the least I was blown away by this post, what a great man, saving lives but dressing the part.

    Dr. Churchwell is an outstanding source of inspiration both professional and in the dressing department.

    Great article Dan, TSB guys, Alex, great photos by the way.

  • tommyjohn_45

    Great article and what an incredibly well-accomplished individual. Absolutely love that last quote. Don’t think you can sum up a reason to put your best foot forward each day any better than that.

  • Josh

    The clothing overall is incredible, but the accessories and shoes are what make this post. The subtle color play and nautical/prep influence is perfect, and spectator loafers are really underrated as far as footwear goes. Are they bespoke as well?

    • Dan Trepanier

      I didn’t get proper clothing credits for this piece, but I will try to ask the man himself. Unless…Mr. Churchwell, are you listening? :) Perhaps he’s too busy saving lives at the moment…

      • Josh

        They look like they might be Brooks Brothers/Peale? They’re great looking shoes either way! Are the pants/vest in the first look black or navy? It’s not too often that you see white tie done properly.

  • A.H.

    Gents, clean post for the books. Nothing major but noticed the word change was used instead of chance. [Last Paragraph of Opening Monologue]

    • Dan Trepanier

      Good catch. Thank you Sir.

      • A.H.

        Always brother….Canada gotta support Canada

  • Shawn

    TSBmen, I gotta say this is by far my favorite feature since probably the beginning of your venture. You’ve featured incredible chaps with equally incredible background, yet this gentleman stands out from the crowd! I find folks like him (and say, Karl Edwin Guerre, for example) have a special aptitude to incorporate colors and items in such a way that no others could duplicate. Dr. Churchwell seems like a genuinely awesome fellow, and, working in cardiology myself, I’d be glad to spend only one afternoon with the guy talking work and clothes and whatnot.

    • Dan Trepanier

      Thanks Shawn! I’m sure he’d love to meet you as well. Dr. Churchwell is a well of knowledge on all things classic menswear. If you two could connect, that would bring a smile to my face. Bringing people together to talk business, menswear and style (and beat down all the “stigma” attached) is part of my mission :)

    • Dave Coakley

      Agreed. I loved his commentary on his style as much as the actual pictures.

  • cam

    Out of all these wonderful pieces, my favorite thing is that ribbon belt! Well done.

    • Dan Trepanier

      It’s the simple things in life we forget ;)