How, where to buy formal wear in Florence

by Devin Kennamer

I admire any man who takes the effort to put himself together and wear a suit to any sort of function. Although most consider a suit a piece of formal fashion, wearing a suit the wrong way can make you stand out in the wrong way. Your dad’s hand-me-down won’t do. Here are a few tips:

Be sure to wear pants that fit snugly. They don’t have to be so uncomfortable that you’re damaging your chances of having children, but they also don’t need to be so loose that it looks like you’re wearing a parachute. Be sure to pick a pair of pants that fit snugly on the waist, don’t leave too much excess in the inseam and are hemmed to an appropriate length.

Know your suit size. Working with costumers in theater, it was very disheartening to realize that most young men did not know their suit size. Don’t just throw on a suit jacket and claim it fits because it doesn’t fall off your shoulders. Your suit should fit in a very tailored manner, broad at your shoulders and slimmer near your natural waistline.

Don’t be afraid of the three-piece. A three-piece suit can be an extremely versatile addition to any guy’s wardrobe. It gives the opportunity to wear the suit without the jacket for a slightly more casual look, or go all out and really jazz it up with all three pieces together. It’s hard to make a vest look bad.

Know where to shop. If you want to look outdated and 20 years older, then shop at the suit stores that advertise older businessmen in the windows. But if you want to look your age in a suit that fits like it should, check out stores like Express and H&M (I got a suit there in Atlanta over the weekend for only $100). I’ve also heard that Gap now carries a men’s suit. Buy at stores that cater to your age.

K-Swiss by Billy Reid

Just a few blocks from UNA on Court Street is the flagship store of the man that GQ named “best new menswear designer in America” in 2010. Billy Reid’s store offers a fantastic collection of items for both men and women that are not only fashionable, but stick with the Southern class and charm of Florence. Although many of the items at Billy Reid are out of the college budget, the clearance section and a 15 percent discount to UNA students help make Billy Reid’s designer fashion more affordable. Earlier this year, Billy Reid, along with K-Swiss, released a line of tennis shoes perfect for UNA students.

The shoes are available for both men and women. The shoes look fantastic on everyone that I’ve seen wearing them. They are a perfect casual shoe but also work for semiformal occasions. They’re available in two different colors for women and three for men.

They’re affordable. With the 15 percent student discount, the $95 shoes cost a little more than $80. For a pair of designer tennis shoes that have a connection to your college town, they’re a great buy.

They’re comfortable. I’ve had mine for around a month now and have worn them as much as possible. They’ve made it through a Civil Wars concert, a few UNA football games and many days of going to class.

K-Swiss by Billy Reid are available at Billy Reid – 114 N. Court Street or at