MEN USED TO HAVE WIVES. NOW THEY HAVE STYLISTS. | Kanebridge News
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MEN USED TO HAVE WIVES. NOW THEY HAVE STYLISTS.

By JACOB GALLAGHER
Thu, Feb 15, 2024 2:29pmGrey Clock 5 min

Jay Buys’s wife changed his life with 10 words: “You know, you don’t have to just wear band T-shirts.”

Shirts from Nine Inch Nails and Thrice—for years, this was the bulk of Buys’s wardrobe. Were they awesome ? Yes. Did they make him look like the CEO of a successful web design firm? Not quite. “If I looked better, I would’ve felt better,” said Buys, 44, of San Diego. So he hired someone to teach him to look better.

For most, the term “stylist” brings to mind a celebrity dresser putting Timothée Chalamet in a bombastic red carpet outfit. But there is also an industry of white-collar stylists helping hapless corporate types find the right shirts and trousers for their daily lives.

For Buys, that guy was Patrick Kenger.

Kenger runs Pivot, a personal styling service, charging as much as $5,000 to remake your wardrobe. Kenger’s job is part Marie Kondo, part therapist and large part a personal shopper. He helped Buys retire the band tees at work, subbing them with Suitsupply blazers and Bonobos trousers.

The switch had a Superman-bursting-out-of-the-phone-booth effect on Buys. “​​I look like I know what I’m doing.” Strangers seem to think so, too. He was startled when a random 20-something at the grocery store saw his leather John Varvatos jacket and chirped, “I like your drip, bro!”

Today, strivers in tech, law and finance are wealthier than ever, but corporate dress codes have collapsed. The hoodie-clad billionaire has become a cliché. In the C-suite, Loro Piana sneakers have trounced dress shoes. Fleece vests have vanquished ties. At the same time, we’re in a new era of boardroom boasting.

Executives crow about their pay packages, their workout routines (looking at you Mark Zuckerberg!) and the rarity of their sneakers. To look like you haven’t bought new clothes since we all clutched BlackBerrys is to risk being lapped on the corporate ladder.

So, if you’re sitting there confidently dressed and accepting compliments on how well your pants fit, congrats! But there are many men who lack the skills to piece an outfit together. Stylists say their work has ballooned in the past decade as the range of options on what’s office “appropriate” has waylaid even confident corporate leaders.

“Men are very confused right now with the dress codes that have blurred the lines of formality,” said Jacci Jaye, a white-collar stylist in New York City for two decades, whose services start at $3,800 plus expenses. Jaye, who works solely with executives, said that many of her roughly 50 clients knew what they liked in terms of style, but had no idea how to achieve that look.

“I looked sloppy and I didn’t want to look sloppy,” said Raj Nangunoori, 36, a neurosurgeon in Austin. He spent working hours in scrubs, but out of them, he was adrift. “Even shorts, like I was never great at picking out shorts,” Nangunoori said.

Around a year ago, he googled in search of a stylist and hired Peter Nguyen, a former menswear designer turned $10,000 stylist. Nguyen’s entrepreneur- and tech-type clients are long on money, short on time and scant on clothing knowledge.

Nguyen’s first step is a lengthy questionnaire: What music do you listen to, what are your hobbies, where do you vacation? “I view my clients like they’re characters in a movie,” he said. They give him their background and Nguyen’s job is to outfit that character.

The pair landed on a neat framework for Nangunoori’s new look: What would Ryan Reynolds wear? Prosaic tees were swapped for polo-neck sweaters and James Perse chinos were tailored to fit properly. Nguyen got Nangunoori into a pair of Common Projects minimalist $500-ish sneakers. Most importantly, he convinced him to ditch his shopping mistake paint-splattered jeans.

“I can’t pull off what Travis Scott’s wearing,” said Nangunoori, relaying all his hard-bought wisdom.

Like working with a trainer, some clients are wary of admitting they enlisted a fashion guru. One CEO I spoke with who hired a stylist told his business partner he had done so, only to be mocked. After that, he decided “I’m not talking to anyone.”

“I never had my own confidence in going shopping and buying suits or dress clothes or even my weekend stuff,” said Nate Dudek, 42, an executive at a software company living in East Hampton, Conn. A “technology nerd,” Dudek wasn’t born with a strong visual sense. “That goes from everything from picking a wall color in my house to the way I dress.” His tees-and-jeans wardrobe was as spicy as a glass of milk.

In 2022, about one year before co-founding his own company, Dudek “set out to invest in myself” by hiring Cassandra Sethi, a New York stylist behind the company Next Level Wardrobe whose services currently start at $5,500. Dudek’s wife, who has “killer style” and occasionally shopped for him, took some warming up to the idea. “She was like, ‘Why? I’m so good at buying you clothes!’”

But Dudek wanted an objective outside advisor—someone who didn’t know him as intimately as his wife—to overhaul his closet. (His wife has come around, and is relieved to not be his unpaid personal shopper.)

He never even had to meet her in person. Sethi shipped him boxes of clothes and over a three-hour Zoom session they deduced what suited him best. The transformation, Dudek said, “was fairly obvious.” Colleagues commented that he was carrying himself differently in his new gray Ted Baker blazer, and Save Khaki United’s trim tees. “I felt it too,” he said.

It is a cliché—but a factual one—that in many relationships, the wife or better-dressed husband is the begrudging fashion consultant. Supreet Chahal, a personal stylist in Oakland specialising in tech guys, says many clients come in saying “my girlfriend tried to help me, my wife tried out on me, but she keeps dressing me the way she wants me to look.”

Marco Rodriguez’s former girlfriend didn’t shop for him, but did steer him towards Nguyen a few years ago. “She was like, ‘Hey listen, I know you hate shopping,” said the 39-year-old musician and entrepreneur in Austin.

And oh, he did. Rodriguez could never find pants that fit his “interesting physique.” When he needed new clothes, he had to force himself to buy them. His style was directionless.  I knew what I wanted but I just didn’t know how to get there.”

With Nguyen’s assistance, Rodriguez landed on a sort of “Soho boho, I hate to say rockstar” look of low-key Justin Theroux-style leather jackets, Chelsea boots and pieces from Parisian label Officine Générale. The experience “got me out of my comfort zone,” Rodriguez said.

The mindlessness that comes from working with a stylist is enticing to efficiency-obsessed tech workers. “I don’t want to spend a lot of time thinking in the morning,” said Michael Peter, 53, a principal architect at Google in cloud technology. Previously, he dressed like your standard tech worker—jeans, tennis shoes, the odd Batman tee—but a lightbulb went off during one meeting when he watched a better-dressed colleague take charge.

“He walked in the room, he had gravitas,” said Peter. Striving for that same effect, he hired Sethi of Next Level Wardrobe. She directed him toward a “refined elevated casual look” of slender-but-stretchy Vuori pants (which accommodate his gym-rat legs) and James Perse polos. Rather than his girlfriend telling him what to buy, he says, she’s stealing his clothes “all the time.”

To be sure, all of this comes at a cost. Businessmen I spoke with view the hefty fees as an investment, like renting a well-appointed office.

“The cost didn’t faze me a bit,” said Aaron Preman, 48, who owns a roofing company in San Diego, and hired Kenger at around $3,500.

“He taught me a lot in a short amount of time,” Preman said. He discovered that wintery colours suit his olive complexion and that he really likes Theory suits and Zegna ’s $990 triple-stitch sneakers—he now owns several pairs. The cost of everything—the guidance, the clothes—has been worth it to Preman. “He could’ve told me $10,000 and I would’ve said, ‘Okay, when are you coming over?’”



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Saudi Arabia’s 2024 Summer TOURISM Plans Unveils New Incentives and Global Attractions

“Saudi Summer is Next Door” plans to boost tourism in the Kingdom over four months across seven destinations.

Wed, May 22, 2024 4 min

Saudi Arabia has unveiled its plan to attract international tourists this summer. The strategy includes appealing visa options, complimentary airline tickets for families, a lineup of major events, and opportunities for tax-free shopping.

The initiative, organized under the guidance of Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism and Chairman of the Saudi Tourism Authority (STA), is named “Saudi Summer is Next Door.”

Jeddah

Extensive Summer 2024 Tourism Activities

The initiative will span four months, ending in September, and will be hosted across seven key destinations: Aseer, Al Baha, Taif, the Red Sea, Jeddah, Riyadh, and AlUla.

It features over 550 tourism products and more than 150 specially tailored offers and packages for families and various interest groups including adventure enthusiasts, luxury seekers, and cultural and heritage buffs.

The launch event of the Saudi Summer Program 2024 was attended by notable figures such as Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, in addition to more than 250 key partners from both public and private sectors, prominent media personalities, and influential opinion leaders.

Showcasing Global Events and Cultural Richness

This year’s program will also welcome back the Jeddah Season and introduce the Aseer Season, each filled with various activities and events for families. The Kingdom will host several significant events as part of the summer program, including the first Esports World Cup in Riyadh, an eight-week competition featuring top esports athletes, and various boxing tournaments in Riyadh and Jeddah.

During the event, Al Khateeb highlighted the latest global tourism trends, the Kingdom’s growth in the tourism sector, and the record-high tourist numbers that have propelled Saudi Arabia to the top of the UN World Tourism list and the G20 nations list.

Al Baha

Al Khateeb emphasized, “Saudi Arabia is witnessing a transformative period in tourism, driven by our vision to position the Kingdom as a premier global destination. The Saudi Summer Program 2024 is our commitment to showcasing the rich cultural heritage, natural beauty, and unparalleled hospitality that Saudi Arabia offers. “We invite local and international tourists to experience the diversity of our seven unique destinations and take advantage of the exceptional offers and packages designed to create unforgettable memories. “This initiative, supported by our strategic partnerships and groundbreaking efforts like the eVisa and increased flight connectivity, demonstrates our dedication to making Saudi Arabia more accessible and appealing to tourists worldwide. “We look forward to welcoming visitors from all corners of the globe to explore and enjoy the vibrant experiences that await them this summer.”

Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, also remarked, “Saudi tourism is witnessing unparalleled development at all levels, achieving great leaps in recent years, which I witnessed during my multiple visits to this hospitable country.”

Riyadh

“Saudi Arabia has global indicators related to the number of tourists, which has qualified it to top the UN World Tourism list of significant tourist destinations.”

“All of these great achievements for Saudi tourism would not have been possible without proper planning by those in charge of the sector in the Kingdom and the great potential it possesses in terms of diverse climates, stunning natural landmarks, and the generosity of Saudi people who are distinguished by their hospitality, raising the ceiling of ambitions for new achievements.”

STA CEO Fahd Hamidaddin said: “While temperatures in the region rise to high levels during summer, temperatures in the highlands of Saudi Arabia in the southern region decrease to the extent that we even witnessed snowfall in Al Soudah yesterday.” “Through the promotional campaign for the Saudi Summer Program 2024, we seek to highlight the uniqueness of our destinations and their climatic, natural, and cultural diversity, along with the exceptional events and activities happening during summer. “This year’s summer program includes more than 550 tourism products and 150 special offers designed in collaboration with STA’s partners, which include attractive offers from hotels, airlines offering free tickets for children in partnership with major travel, tourism, and aviation companies, and exceptional products in the Aseer Season and Jeddah Season like tax-free shopping offers and many new and exciting experiences such as private beaches for tourists and ladies’ beaches.”

“The campaign slogan “Saudi Summer is Next Door” embodies an open invitation to explore the magic of Saudi destinations and their diversity. This diversity is expressed with simple words that reflect the uniqueness of each destination, such as “Closer,” “Cooler,” “More Beautiful,” and “More Affordable.”

The private sector is a very important component of the success of tourism programs and initiatives, and the Saudi Tourism Authority is committed to empowering it by fostering demand for products and offers that align with the aspirations of tourists globally.

The launch of the Saudi Summer Program 2024 marks a period when visiting the Kingdom has become easier, smoother, and safer through measures such as the availability of the eVisa to citizens of 66 countries, a 20 percent reduction in eVisa prices, and a significant increase in the number of weekly flights from

Gulf cities to Saudi summer destinations, now totaling 1,100.

Residents of the GCC can also benefit from the GCC residents visa, which allows them multiple entries and a stay of up to 90 days in the Kingdom over a year. Moreover, the number of hotel rooms available to travelers is set to increase, with an additional 25,000 rooms expected to be added this year.

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