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The Perfect Cup
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"Style, to me, is about consistency,” says Kyle Ridington, one of Manhattan’s top-tier, and top-to-bottom-tailored, sommeliers. “People look at you, not at what trend you’re wearing.” Ridington, who leans toward classic Hollywood for his sartorial inspiration, cut his teeth under Laurent Gras in Chicago and Jean-Georges Vongerichten in New York, before taking his position as sommelier at the intimate West Village red-meat haven Beatrice Inn. (He’s also working on launching his own champagne brand.) “My ethos with clothes is the same as for wine,” he says. “I don’t want it to be just recognizable. I want it to be unforgettable.”
Ridington is a loyalist, sticking to a single maker for his suits and ties: Manolo Costa, a bespoke tailor on the Upper East Side. “What I like about Manolo is that first, he gets to know his client’s lifestyle,” Ridington says. “I’m really influenced by the 1930s and ’40s. I love classic fabrics like Barberis flannel wool—it’s what Cary Grant wore.” For Ridington, Costa does a soft shoulder, a large lapel, and intricate details, such as a ticket pocket flap and a Milanese buttonhole, which “takes him an hour to stitch.” manolocosta.com
He likes the shirting program at Proper Cloth. “You get measured, and you get a sample shirt to start off. You break it in. And then you’re allowed to adjust your measurements online for your future shirts,” Ridington raves. “The turnaround time is great.” He wears his fitted, with a breast pocket (“A lot of people think it’s dorky, but done well it looks really nice”) and a high collar—without too much spread. propercloth.com
His best ones are Saint Crispin’s, a handmade brand with a very limited run that until now has been little known outside of menswear circles. “They fit impeccably,” Ridington says. For more casual occasions, his go-to is Industry of All Nations, a Mexican brand that makes a woolen loafer, the Cabrales. “You can throw them in the wash,” he says. As for socks, he rarely, if ever, wears them. On the coldest days he’ll reluctantly match a sock to his suit, to keep the look. saintcrispins.com, industryofallnations.com