Portland’s gray haze overhead filters out all the potential Mon., Feb. 4, 2013 morning sunshine on the corner of Raleigh and NW 23 Street.
I meet up with fifth generation Portlander Lance Miller and principal at Threads Count PDX as he unlocks the front door to begin the day.
Gray haze or not the welcome Lance gives is warm and friendly, he says, “Here we are. Now you can see the magic behind it all.”
Entering through the portal into the world of fine men’s consignment clothing is intriguing and somewhat mysterious.
The attention to detail, quiet finesse, low-key location and manly designer offerings add to the demeanor of the whole luxurious experience. Lance turns on the record player and plays some jazz.
Interesting to me because it feels like a new dawn of men’s style and clothing. Russell Davis-Cohen co-founder of Bowyer & Fletcher (Men’s bow ties) stops by with a quick hello.
Rather than discuss Lance’s love life we jump right into the concept of consignment and our interview begins.
Catherine Garvin: What’s the attraction for men these days to wear bow ties?
Lance Miller: I am of the opinion and the empirical data will confirm men’s fashion is undergoing a bit of a renaissance right now. Dressing up is important. A little peacock(ery) can go a long way so the bow tie is a good way to dress up an outfit without using a straight necktie. Bow ties are whimsical. Look at them they're fun. Bow ties historically used to be a professorial thing but now athletes and movie stars have taken to wear them so it’s used a bit more a colloquially.
Garvin: Talk to me about your line up of designer consignments and where do you replenish your inventory?
Miller: Paul Smith, Armani, Burberry prorsum, Prada, Louis Vuitton to name a few. We also have designers like the PDX fashion team Bowyer & Fletcher, Atom Willis from Austin, Texas and others.
Designer consignment is Portland’s trade secret, it’s what gives us a competitive edge, we find people who have bought fine men’s clothing in Paris and Milan, and then they bring the clothing to us.
Garvin: Fast forward men’s style trends for 2013? What’s on the horizon for menswear?
Miller: What you get from designer clothes is the cut and fit of the garment. The designers have done the research. They know what’s in style. With that said, you must have the body to fit into the clothes. So get to the gym guys take care of your body.
Trends like the fitted shirt, floral prints and quality of fabric are few things to look forward to for spring and summer. Linen fabrics, white, pantone colors like poppy red, Monaco blue, tangerine, emerald and a great suit. It all starts with the suit. It’s been my experience men shop when they need something not months ahead. So it’ll be a while before we pulled out the summer threads.
Garvin: How do you shake a guy out of a fashion rut?
Miller: First men always tend to buy one size to large. So you’ve got to be able to communicate the importance and vision splendor of clothing that fits well. Every guy has an idea of what he’s looking for so offer him what he thinks he wants and add a few options that might shake it up. If a floral print isn’t your thing try it on with a pullover. Use the trend in small ways.
Garvin: So help him get over the Ryan Gosling idea of style.
Miller: Exactly. Men’s fashion in the here and right now is what’s hot and happening. Threads Count offers the best menswear jackets in America. Atom Willis is a brand out of Austin, Texas that is Portland’s soul sister city.
The buttery Italian lambskin leather jackets are a fantastic fit, designed in the US, the removable lining can be worn as a separate, made in Korea and part of the proceeds go toward the fight against multiple sclerosis. It’s menswear Americana in motion.