5Qs: Local Clothier on Men’s Office, Holiday Fashion


Since 1996, Tom James Co., a direct to consumer clothing business, has sold custom and bespoke suits for men. The company employs professional clothiers to meet, measure, and order pieces for its clients. DBusiness Daily News spoke with Ally Fitney, a Southfield-based professional clothier, about what to wear to holiday events and the latest trends in professional clothing. 

1. DDN: What are some popular trends right now in business fashion?

This season you’ll see a lot more patterns with suits. Popular colors right now are a wine merlot color — so kind of a deep red — and also earth tones, greens, and browns. Olive suits are really popular, as well as chocolate brown. The basics, navys, grays, and pinstripes, are popular. (Designers are) leaning away from a dark navy and going more in the direction of a royal blue navy. 

2. DDN: How can somebody who doesn’t know a lot about fashion integrate trends into their everyday style?

The key piece everyone needs in his or her wardrobe is a cashmere blazer. Whether its camel colored or navy, it’s a must have. It can be used as coat for the evening and will keep you warm throughout cold winter days. For the winter, my suggestion would be trying out a flannel in charcoal or navy. Since the business world has become more casual in certain industries, my suggestion is to wear the suit with an opened collar look. You still look professional and put together but it’s less formal than wearing a tie.

3. DDN: What are some outfit or styling suggestions for men who will be attending holiday parties and formal events?

Dinner jackets are becoming really popular again. Black tuxedo pants are really cool for more dressy holiday parties versus just a plain black suit. My favorite look for a holiday party is classic black tuxedo pants paired with a fun dinner coat. I love doing a subtle plaid with blues, reds, or greens with a black undertone. Also, winter white works with cashmere. A lot of flannels are in this season, (as well as) bright checks and windowpanes. They kind of make a statement but also are on trend and not too over the top.

4. DDN: Why is dressing well at the workplace important?

They always say dress for the job you want, and there are a lot of studies that explain how dressing in a professional manner will give you more confidence, make you demand more respect, and make you feel more comfortable and powerful. It’s important to have the four core suits — navy, charcoal, navy stripe, and a charcoal stripe. It’s really important for guys to always have a go-to navy blazer and a go-to black blazer they can throw on for a more casual meeting or event. It’s important to have a plethora of shirts, with lots of basic blues and whites.

5. DDN: What are some specific questions men should be asking when they get a fitting?

It’s important to first ask yourself what you care about when it comes to clothing. Is it durability, feel, comfort, flexibility, quality? When working with my clients I ask them many questions about what they do, where they go, and what they’re looking for, so that I can find the right quality and price point for them. They should be sure to ask about the quality of the wool, the way it’s constructed, and whether it’s a fused chest piece. Another good tip is to know that when buying fused garments they tend to bubble up and ripple in the chest versus lying flat and smooth.

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