I first spot Matthew Singer, a dapper young man with matinee-idol hair, in the men’s private dressing lounge in Neiman Marcus deep inside Garden State Plaza Mall in Paramus, which is more of a sexy man cave with tufted sofas, three-way mirrors and the requisite flat-screen TV showing Tiger Woods’ latest sporting exploits. Dressed in an immaculately tailored double-breasted suit that’s the perfect shade of navy, the handsome 34-year-old director of men’s fashion at Neiman Marcus Group (including Bergdorf Goodman) is astutely eyeing a runway look and putting his spin on it by changing khaki pants for a pair of teal blue cords,thereby elevating a bright yellow Moncler puffer vest to catwalk heights.
Part Pied Piper, part enfant terrible, this menswear taste maker is changing the way men understand fashion. And, lucky you, gentle reader, he lets HudsonMOD in on how to make a statement this summer and explains why a pocket square is the ultimate secret weapon of gentleman style. Who knew? And then, just as we’re warming up, he’s out.
Dashing for a car that’s waiting to whisk him to his home in Manhattan, birthday cake in one hand (to celebrate his 35th the next day), briefcase in the other, Matthew Singer leaves me believing he will have his cake and eat it, too. And why not? He’s the real deal, folks.
Why is dressing so important for the modern man?
Fashion is becoming the norm for a lot of guys, and they’re getting more interested in clothing. For example, men are now embracing color and pattern, but it’s an evolution, not a revolution.
What are the items men need in their closets right now?
First is a navy blazer; navy is my go-to color. A loafer—the new Gucci 60th Anniversary style is amazing. Focus on what’s going to make a statement—a graphic punch, such as a print, in either a shirt or short from Gucci, Etro or Paul Smith, definitely. A navy blue tie is a must for me as well. I definitely need a pair of blue jeans and, yes, a pocket square.
A pocket square? Really?
I travel with at least ten pocket squares. They’re amazing! I don’t wear a tie to summer events, just a pocket square. They add that Dolce Vita sensibility. A pocket square is always the ticket.
What’s your favorite pair of jeans?
Absolutely 3×1. They’re amazing, and my favorite. Their shop is in SoHo, and you can alter or modify them from an existing template. The jeans start at around $300 and go to the $500-$700 range for a custom pair. Worth every penny.
Who are your style heroes?
My dad. His whole style and his aesthetic, what he was wearing and what he was into, had a huge impact on my own style. Another person was [magazine editor and fashion icon] Stefano Tonchi. I saw him back when I was at Scoop NYC, and I thought this guy was just amazing. I didn’t know who he was then, but I knew he had style. Did he ever.
This summer you’ll be wearing…
Golf clothes, or jeans and a T-shirt.
Boxers or briefs?
Oh, it’s definitely briefs. Hanro are the best. That’s all I wear.
Suit or blazer?
I have to go with suit.
What’s the best fashion advice anyone ever gave you?
Don’t be the trend; be on trend.