Suit Up: Windsor Custom Opens Beneath the Ainsworth

For the modern man, the perfect suit is the holy grail. It reflects style without being garish, and embraces craftsmanship while still being affordable (hopefully). That’s basically the mission statement behind Windsor Custom, the new clubhouse-turned-tailor beneath The Ainsworth sports bar in Mahattan. Helmed by Florence-trained Brian Mazza (who has also worked with fellow menswear pros Generra), Ralph Lauren alum Ryan Grayson, and nightclub guru Matt Shendell, the custom suit spot opened its doors last night.

Housed in a studio that resembles a New England hunting lodge and designed by Grayson, guys are invited to visit, get fitted, have some whiskey, and play pool, all while creating their own made-to-measure suit, shirting, tie, pocket square, and jacket (clients already include chef Todd English, Ranger’s player Brandon Prust and Steelers’ lineman Willie Colon). The kicker is the bespoke details: embroidered initials, in-sewn personalized labels, and hundreds of fabrics to select from to ensure each jacket is tailored uniquely for its owner. We caught up with Mazza and Grayson to talk about how the suit-curious can score their own custom pieces, the art of the lapel, and the one mistake every guy makes when it comes to his suit.

So who can come down here? How do you get an appointment?
Grayson: We are by appointment only, and you get an hour to come down, relax and have a drink. It only takes me five minutes to measure you up, so you can come down and do some work or bring some friends down here to hang out or get fitted, too. We take all your measurements and then discuss the fit you want. You have a different collar and cuff option.

Let’s say we just wanted to come for a really great work shirt. Is that cool?
Grayson: Absolutely. We don’t have a minimum. We don’t mind if a guy wants to just come down here and try it out. We talk about how your current style is, and how we can help to add to it. 
Mazza: We take into consideration what your profession is, whether you like to wear your shirt in or out, what colors you like. There are a lot of clients that already understand fashion, and a lot of clients that don’t. And we want to cater to both.
Grayson: And we really like to upgrade your wardrobe. Push some boundaries and encourage guys to get away from the blue shirt. 

So the idea is that you can get stuff here that you can’t get anywhere else?
Mazza: All of these fabrics are unique. Our prices start at $120 for shirts. Everything is specifically made for the client: monograms, cuffs, inseams. You can even design the music here, if you want to bring your iPod. 
Grayson: The suits we are each wearing are in the same price range. But I chose a wide lapel and Brian chose a narrow lapel. 
Mazza: I’m a little Simon Spurr, he’s a little Tom Ford.

Would you say there is an element of education here?
Mazza: For sure. I wanted to create an experience for the man who felt insecure shopping the racks at Barney’s, and for the guy who knows what he wants. In every guy there is style, and we just need to find it. And we hope to bring it out by ordering food, putting on the game, and serving drinks. Before you know it, they come out of their shell.

OK, it’s the season, so we’ve got to ask: What are some good holiday dressing tips?
Mazza: A dark plum shirt with a white collar and a grey tie and you’re golden. I go against tips, because I will wear any color in any season because I feel comfortable.
Grayson: Though, some guys, I have noticed, overly clean their suits. You shouldn’t dry-clean suits too much. It really wears down the fabric.
Mazza: Hunter rain boots under suits. Never wear your shoes outside in the winter, just carry them in your shoe bag. Also, for our banker types, we like to mix blue with a gingham to make shirting more interesting, and then they can dumb it down a little with a straightforward tie.

Jessica 6’s Nomi Ruiz Talks Going Out In NYC

Nomi Ruiz has that quality—that je nes sais quoi, in fact—that doesn’t allow you to look at anything else when she is on stage. It isn’t just her gorgeous looks or the way she simply melts sex appeal; it’s also her voice and her big eyes pleading with the crowd as she purrs, wails, and beckons over the Italo-infused tech-house of her band, Jessica 6. From Lady Gaga stylist Nicola Formichetti to Antony Hegarty, Ruiz has played muse to some of music’s biggest influencers. With her non-stop tour, modeling, and DJing schedule, she is a New Yorker worth knowing. She shared some of her favorite late-night secrets with us.

Best bar when money is tight:
The Holland. Best dive bar in town!

Place or bar whose name immediately induces hangovers:
Trophy Bar. To be honest, I’ve had many a walk of shame after night there. 

Best place for a covert makeout session:
Bembe. Great place to take your mistress and do a little dancing. 

My favorite guilty pleasure venue:
Pacha. I secretly love to fist pump and hook up with gorillas on the down-low.

My favorite jukebox/DJ/bartender who plays great music:
Honey Dijon at Cielo. I always wind up in a dance battle at her off-the-hook parties.

Alcohol you won’t see me drinking:

Where you might find me a night off:
Shopping on 5th Ave in Sunset Park, back home in Brooklyn

Hands down, best drink in NYC, and you can quote me on it:
A sazerac at Williamsburg‘s The Richardson.

[Photo by Marco Ovando]

Will Raf Simons Take Over the House of Dior?

News flash: #RafSimons is currently trending on Twitter, thanks to reports trickling in that Raf Simons, the menswear visionary who transitioned seamlessly into the lead at Jil Sander, might take the top post at Dior. But before we start proclaiming our love for all things Simons, it may be too early to take this at face value. The Dior rumor has included nearly every single designer with the chops to lead the house.

Riccardo Tisci, Marc Jacobs, Alex Wang and Haider Ackermann have all been predicted to fill Galliano’s spot. Adding to the confusion was last fall’s prediction that Simons would head over to Yves Saint Laurent, despite having spent the last six years lending his street-geometry aesthetic to Jil Sander. 

What gives this news credibility however, is its source. Blogger Bryan Boy was one of the first, and’s contributor Meenal Minstry seems to concur. Even WWD says the deal is "close." Though Simons has made a move to the more baroque recently, the pick of a more austere designer after John Galliano’s tenure of flamboyancy is an interesting, of not cautious, choice. 

The Benefit for Gravely Injured Night Train DJ Jonathan Toubin Is Tonight

We’ve some sad news to report. Jonathan Toubin, the DJ responsible for the ever-popular New York Night Train parties (which, if you haven’t attended, is a soul-filled night of booty shaking and feet shuffling) is currently in critical condition in a Portland hospital. Toubin, known as the Night Train Conductor, was in Portland for a soul party when a cab crashed through his hotel room wall and plowed into the DJ while he was asleep.

He was scheduled to fly back home and play tonight at Home Sweet Home and Cake Shop, respectively. A purveyor of good jams and great vibes around Brooklyn and Manhattan, we’re saddened to hear such news about a great DJ and all-around well-liked guy. Fortunately, his night at Home Sweet Home has been quickly converted into a relief fund for Toubin, so swing on by tonight, drink some Belvedere, and donate some cash to help to a New York staple in need. Suggested donation is $5. 

Our Picks for December 9-11: Avoid the Onslaught of Santas This Weekend

What, hundreds of drunken Santas and slutty Mrs. Clauses aren’t your thing? Then steer clear of SantaCon, the annual time New Yorkers avoid the Village like a horrendous plague. Here’s what we’re doing this weekend instead.

Friday, December 9

The XMAS Pop Sing-Along: Union Hall brethren sip holiday-themed drinks and shout along to familiar pop carols like Bowie and Bing, Mariah Carey and Xtina. Free milk and cookies are provided, dignity left at the door. Union Hall, 702 Union Street (at Fifth Avenue). $8.

Saturday, December 10

Hard x Mouth Taped Shut: This dancefest features both ex-LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy and a DJ set by the Bloody Beetroots. RSVP is closed , but the event was free, so you’ll have to know a guy who knows a guy. Terminal 5, 610 West 66th Street. Free.

Boffo Does Marco Ovando: Come party with the fashioneers of Boffo to celebrate artist Marco Ovando’s first exhibition (and birthday!). The $20 door donation supports the non-profit, and is offset by the open bar. Hosted by Ladyfag and Amanda Lepore, and music provided by Cazwell. Boffo Pop-Up, 57 Walker Street. $20.

Death By Audio Holiday Party: Confusingly, the DBA party will be at the new Bushwick location of Secret Project Robot. Unconfusingly, A Place To Bury Strangers and The Immaculates will be playing original, if not totally festive, Christmas tunes. Secret Project Robot, 389 Melrose Street, $7.

Largest LES Menswear Store Suits Up: By Robert James Expands

Once upon a time (in 2008), the By Robert James Lower East Side boutique was a 200-square-foot cubby on Orchard Street in the Lower East Side, known as a small but well-stocked store for gentlemen who wanted Americana duds made locally. But in the last three years, Robert James’ super well-tailored dress shirts, blazers and trousers have attracted such a following that the shop couldn’t help but expand. And tomorrow the doors will open on a three-floor, 3,500-square-foot retail space, complete with a design studio featuring a rolling library ladder and 300-year-old barn-wood shelves.

New heritage items like four-button shirts and elbow-patches are a-plenty, but the real gem of BRJ is the top-notch tailoring. Suits can be made to custom fit thanks to an on-site tailor, and private appointments can be scheduled for more discerning clients. Which is great, because the last thing this city needs is more well-meaning dudes clad in ill-fitting suits. 

Swing by the By Robert James opening party tomorrow night from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 74 Orchard Street (between Broom and Grand) to check out some of the suiting and casual wear, plus $40 off shirts and deals galore on suits. 

Ivy Leaguers Go Clubbing With Yale’s Class On NYC Nightlife

Navigating the complexities of the New York City club scene might feel like it requires a PhD, but most dimwitted door-people at certain unnamed clubs are proof that it doesn’t. And like any constantly evolving subculture, the eggheads at Yale think it’s deserving of study, encouraging students to add a Red Bull and vodka to their discussions of cultural theory.

In a new class titled "Dance Music and Nightlife Culture in New York City," Yalies head into the city to study DJs, all-nighters, and velvet ropes. While this sounds like debauchery instead of discourse, the class promises to provide historical context, like examining Harlem cabarets, the Prohibition, and how race and gender play into the club atmosphere. Which, of course, sounds infinitely more appealing than, say, Judith Butler (no offense, Judy). 

While the course promises readings from Langston Hughes and George Chauncey, we’re secretly hoping the profs in charge might offer "The Hermeneutics of Fist-Pumping," "Why We Are Still at Max Fish After All These Years: Identity Illusion and the Maturing Self," or  "Crying, Begging, Pleading: A Boom Boom Room Primer." Now, those are papers we’d read. 

(Link via Refinery 29)

Anna Sheffield’s Bing Bang Ditches Big For New Mini Collection

Anna Sheffield’s cult brand Bing Bang (a favorite of Robert Pattinson, apparently) is not known for being anything less than over-the-top. So when her brand new but itsy-bitsy Bing Bang Mini collection was released in tiny, minimized proportions, Sheffield certainly shocked her followers who have grown accustomed to her skull-and-chain adorned statement pieces. But the toned-down Sheffield design work: her rocker girl jewelry gets a delicate makeover when rendered in smaller sizes, making wolves teeth subtle and spiders less scary.


bing bang


The tough and tiny collection is based on the idea of mixing and matching, with purposefully mismatched earring studs (Trend prediction: asymmetric earrings!) and cuffs meant for stacking. The purpose, thinks Sheffield, is for swapping with your BFF. And in such petite sizes, the new Bing Bang miniature collection is totally swap-friendly.   

Celeb Underwear Guru Stephanie Paterek Takes Us Drinking

When dirty, sexy, NYC girls want dirty, sexy, underwear, they turn to Stephanie Paterek. Paterek is the designer of NYC Sex Trash, and while the label might have a cheeky, tawdry name, her actual designs are surprisingly feminine and alluring—but with an edge. And it is that intimate edge that has attracted her serious celebrity clientele: Paterek designs all of Taylor Momsen’s on-stage attire when she tours with The Pretty Reckless (which is certainly barely-there lingerie at its finest), and we’ve all seen her handiwork front-and-center in the video for Lady Gaga’s "Born This Way." (Patarek designed those black chain bikini briefs Gaga wears while undulating with goo-covered dancers.) Taking deadstock vintage designs and modernizing them with studs, lace, and chains, NYC Sex Trash is the type of nighttime attire that is too rad to be kept under wraps. Since she knows so much about keeping cool after dark, we’ve asked Stephanie about her favorite people, places, and drinks in New York City.

Best bar when money is tight:
The Levee in Williamsburg. The sportsman special $4 is a great deal. You get a can of Black Label and a shot of Evan Williams. And the bottomless bowl of cheese puffs, of course.

Place or bar whose name immediately induces hangovers:
Double Down in the East Village. Two words: ASS JUICE! [When asked what Ass Juice entails, she replied, "It’s a mystery shot that is a horrid shade of brown and tastes sweet, like jungle juice. No one knows what is in it, but it does its job. Also, if you’re ever at Double Down in March, try the "leprechaun piss." Same idea but a lovely shade of snot green."]

Best place for a covert makeout session:
It has been a while since a public makeout sesh, but circa 1998, I’d say the alleyway next to CBGB’s.

My favorite jukebox/DJ/bartender who plays great music:
Manitoba’s in the East Village. They have classic punk albums from The Clash to everyone’s favorite Al Green. 

Alcohol you won’t see me drinking:
I guess anything too "girly," like an appletini.  

Where you might find me a night off (or on?):
I absolutely love this metal bar in the East Village called Idle Hands. It’s dark and dingy but features lots of heavy music, and a great selection of satanic beers. The bartenders are fine whiskey connoisseurs as well.

Hands down, best drink in NYC, and you can quote me on it:
Any bar that can make a Stoli and soda, and I’m one happy drunk!