The Knot You Tie

Good morning,

It's no secret that I love a good tie - used for both casual and business. I strive for relaxed elegance, achieving a confident approach to modern dressing.  If the suit is the business card, our ties are the hand shake and the smile.  

Here are a few notes on the approach I take.

As in all the things, it is a matter of size: the correct one stays between 3"-3.5" at it's widest point. Slim never skinny.  I prefer 3.25".  It's never going out of style.

• The knot: It's important to learn to do it without tightening too much, avoiding the "hung" effect. I prefer the four in hand knot (shown here). And no, after wear, you can't leave it tied.  Always untie it in the evening and hang to reduce wrinkles.

• The material: I like heavier weighted silk jacquard for regimental stripes, and solids.  A lighter silk for printed patterns. I stay in my lane of elegant tones, and specifically lean to my favorite core colors of navy and gray.  I love wool patterns for winter clothing and ride with silk, linen and cottons for spring.

• A tie for every occasion: During the day I prefer the occasional (insert kinda rare) pop of color and perhaps some pattern. In the evening I always opt for a darker tie and almost always solid.

• Don't take my advice:  This may slow your ability to develop your own style. The only rule is to follow your instinct. Try different colors, textures, and weights.  When you've settle on your "style" and what you're choosing is coming from a place of confidence, you'll know it.  And confidence always produces the best results.

• But...please follow logic:  I'd avoid wide and showy patterns, also pale and anonymous ones. Remember that the tie reveals the personality.

• I prefer: Even tint ties in defined colors. Small patterns (dots, little squares, small prints). Ties with lines of two or three colors at the most. Anymore than that and you are flirting with the tie overpowering.

• Combinations: Avoid the overlap of a patterned tie with a checked shirt.  And  avoid combining "all-stripes". Stripe tie, stripe shirt, stripe suit. I call this "3 stripes and your’e OUT". Remember it.

• Never match your tie and pocket square: This is useless affectation.  

What would you add to this list? I'm here to answer any questions and always like to hear from you.

Oh, and if interested in my tie selection, you can shop here.
With purpose,

- DW

David Watkins
Simple and Sharp

Happy 2019!

Make no mistake...when backed into a corner I always prefer my clients to keep things clean and simple over mixing patterns and colors.

The best dressed men are so because the plan is simple. Great fit, great fit and well, great fit.

Michael Caine - solids on solid. James Bond - solids on solids.

You get the point. 

Notice a theme?

Here are a few items and a simple take on them to present yourself powerfully and with personality in 2019 and beyond.


The occasional pattern play is good, but for the most part stick to corporate color solids. Solid palettes in whites, blues, pinks and lavenders.

I favor clean white and baby blues in mid-weight oxford cloth and a spread collar.

It's a go to, never fail scenario.


First and foremost the cut is everything.

But you know that by now.

Consider cloth in solid navy or grey in flat wool cashmere blends.

Make room for cloth with character like something with a little silk woven in to offer the slightest shine. A subtle glen plaid works as well.

Simple is not boring, when the cloth is for kings (!)


This season we are seeing more and more chromatic looks.

Grey on grey, navy on navy etc.

Move beyond the shiny silk ties and look for textured cloths in wool and cashmere. This will add character and allow you to stand out in the board room without turning heads and screaming "look at me!".

Double 4-in-hand knot and keep it moving.


It's that time of year and in the south, and an overcoat is somewhere you should really invest.


Because it's not a common piece but when needed, it's a chance to shine. Similar to a tuxedo, this is an area where you can win easily.

A good wool or cashmere overcoat is one of incredible first and last impressions (you are not wearing it in the meeting but that initial handshake speaks volumes)

Get the fit close on the sides and snug in the's not a blanket. Stick with grey or navy.


Shoes: For this look we will stick with dark brown or black shoes.

Simple oxfords or an elegant monk strap are all you need to make a confident statement.

Accessories: Simple.

We don't want anything taking away from this overall sharp look.

Quiet jewelry let's the man speak - not his adornment

We can learn a lot from 1965. CAINE, CONNERY, AGNELLI.

All the best,


David Watkins
Minimalist Dressing

One awesome perk of my career is having a front row seat to some pretty amazing transformations.  

One that consistently shows up is a switch from sporadic purchases (shotgun approach) to minimalist dressing (sniper/targeted) approach.

What is minimalist dressing you may ask?

It’s an intrinsic nod to quality, functionality and purpose.  

Doing away with complex and unnecessary embellishments.  

It’s comfortable and versatile.  

Minimalist dressing is essentially a simplified look to cover varying or even all occasions.

My advice is always to build a small wardrobe with quality classics that you’ll feel comfortable in and that will last.  

It’s a strategy built around solid, neutral colors, that can all work together…which is ideal for men as it doesn’t need much thinking.

Favor the classic…

Strive for longevity …

And bring the minimalist philosophy into your game plan.

It’s a powerful, freeing transformation…

And it’s easier than you think.

Let’s chat about it.

All the best,


David Watkins
A Note From Next January

Next year, your future wardrobe is going to thank you for an action you took today.

For a foundational piece you added to the arsenal (think blue sport coat)...

For a habit you formed (lost a little weight, slimmed up the fit on those shirts)...

For a commission you made the leap on (new navy tuxedo, perhaps?)...

Even if you’re not sure of where it may lead, today is a great day to begin.

You ready?

All the best,

David Watkins
5 Ways to Improve Your Personal Brand

You'll hear me talk about presence, perception, and your personal brand a lot.


Because I’m not only a clothing guy. I offer confidence, I sell the power of knowing what you have, and not needing to be told.  I set you up for remembered handshakes and your best looking elevator pitch. My service is an investment in yourself, and you my friend are your best bet.

So, why are some people remembered while others forgotten? The short answer, presence. How you carry your head is just as important as what's in it. We all know the basics of business psychology, firm handshakes, eye contact, keep your voice full of conviction, but what about the details? That's what today's post is all about, the small details, what they are, how they affect you, and how to make them work so you create the future that you deserve.

1. Tailoring: Invest in proper tailoring. It's sad to hear from clients that their closet is littered with clothing that fits awful.  When I ask if they've seen a tailor about it, the usual response is, "I didn't want to waste the money". To me, this is flawed logic. Think of tailoring as a necessity, not a luxury. Whether you paid $2000, $200 or $20 for your suit, get some keen hands and experienced eyes to make you look your best.  It's a small cost with huge upside on your confidence.

2. Shoes: Proper shoes are often the next most overlooked detail of a killer look.  Ever heard the saying, "A man's shoes should tell you where he's going, not where he's been”?  Visit your local shoe shine guy on the regular. $10 and 10 minutes of small talk later and you're ready to take on a new direction.

3. The Knot You Tie:  Stop over thinking this.  I tie the same knot every time I wear a tie.  The Italian four in hand. It looks great, it's easy to do, and works with a wide range of collars, and necks alike. Stay away from the thick overbearing double Windsor knot or whatever the trinity knot is, and keep it simple. Please.

4. Baggage:  Book bags are a marvelous invention, allowing users to evenly distribute the weight of the bag between both shoulders.  They also somehow make it seem like you're always late for econ class. Once you've parted ways with your collegiate self and entered the world of adulthood, put the book bag to rest.  Get yourself something you can be proud of, something that will last, heck, something your grandad would carry! You need a bag letting others know that what you're carrying is super important because it is.  Just like you.

Side note:  The straps on a book bag wreak havoc on the shoulders of a suit. So if you HAVE TO wear a bookbag, please leave the suit jacket at home.

5. Sunglasses:  There's nothing wrong with shades for active wear.  But if your roll calls for dressing up, I'd suggest adding an alternate pair of shades to play the part.  The pair you wore yesterday on the back nine is not going to work for the 9-5. Also, they sit on your face for Gods sake.  Take pride in your sunglasses, and watch the compliments come rolling in.

Alright, so those are 5 things I've seen that can improve your personal brand rather quickly.  I'm here to help you look your best and to feel your best so you can be your best.

Any questions?

Hit me up.

All the best,


David Watkins
Transformation Hurts

As we're close to rounding out 2018 I'm sure most of you are planning goals for 2019 and thinking about things you'd like to change. 

I know I have a lot of stuff I'm constantly working on and looking for ways to improve.  Most I fail at...but it's part of the process.

When it comes to change...especially with is something to consider.

Transformation hurts.

But you're designed to transform.

And going against your nature, well, that hurts more.

But, remember, the pain is temporary.

But the new you, the better dressed you, the always complimented you, the standing taller you...he’s going to unlock your future.

For some of you it’s time to invest in yourself.  

You know it. 

And you deserve it.

All the best,


David Watkins
Progress and Staying

A common theme I hear when guys first start really thinking about building out a wardrobe…one that will carry them for a while is... "that's a lot of clothing" or "I have so far to go."

I hear you, but please understand this - building a great wardrobe takes time.

And it should.

Make no mistake ...the best dressed guys in the world tend to be of older age. Why? They know who they are, they know what works for them, they have a plan and stick to it.

Nothing great is built overnight.

The same can be said for your wardrobe.

Focus on the essentials first.

Get the fit right.


What fabric weights are you comfortable in?

What colors do you keep going to? Those are working for you.

What's instilling more confidence in you? Buy more of that

...then a little more, until one day it's hard to make a decision because you really do like everything in the closet.

You will know when it all works together in symphony.

Stay on the path of buying better but buying less. That's progress. Bit by bit develop the best dressed you.

Be patient my friends, the journey is what makes all of this fun.

All the best,

David Watkins
The Expediency Factor

Are you guilty of the principle known as the expediency factor?

The what?

The expediency factor. A principle assuming human nature solves problems using the most convenient approach with the least amount of effort.

Sound familiar?  We're all guilty of this at times.

The fact is, every minute of everyday we battle with this.  We should be doing what we know is right, hard, and necessary versus what’s easy and of little value. The expediency factor isn’t easily defeated.

One example that I deal with on a regular basis is that of clients using the expediency factor when choosing how to present themselves.

It’s so easy today to hop in the car, drive to a store and buy a suit. Sometimes at extremely low prices. You have a wedding coming up, you need to wear a suit...problem solved.

But how is this scenario affecting your personal brand?

Notice I didn’t say you need to look confident, sharp, well put together, thinner, modern.  You "just" need a suit.

But what if you acted in a manner of preparation?

What if you planned ahead?

What if you knew what to get and why?   

This is treating your personal image with utmost importance and I can assure you it has impact.

So what if next time, rather than doing what was easy and of least resistance, you went an extra step and prepared. Did a little research and made a solid decision in how you wish to present yourself.

And you know, working with a professional is actually easier and more expedient than attempting this by yourself.

So what if?

All the best,


David Watkins
6 Ideas To Make You Look Your Best

Here are 6 super important factors to activate if you want to stay consistent with your wardrobe and always look top notch.

1. Positive experiences create positive outcomes. Enjoy the company of your tailor.

Building a wardrobe is a collaboration between you and your tailor and you want to make it enjoyable which, in turn, will make it last.  This is a process and truly would suck to not have a teammate with your best interest at heart.

2. Be the best dressed person at your wedding. (Or anywhere you may be photographed)

You’re going to want to admire these pictures 20 years from now and you better look and feel your best.  I’ve seen too many weddings ruined with ill fitting rentals.  Make your outfit count. And do it for your partner. They definitely deserve your best effort.

3. Ever uncertain: A white oxford shirt.

It’s been time tested, over and over.  A man will ALWAYS look sharp in a clean white shirt.  Whether formal or casual, you can’t go wrong. Have several on all times.

4. Chinos will look their best a year into them.

Give them time. Wear them hard.  As they break in, they become “your pants” and that lived in look portrays a comfortable confidence.  Pair with #3.

5. Fitted is good. Slim everything. Skinny nothing.

This will keep you looking timeless no matter the year, season etc.  Dress for the body type you have, even if on the heavier side. Your gear should still fit you well.  Tailored clothing can hide flaws and is the quickest way to lose 15 lbs instantly - just by having a well tailored jacket.   

6. Even casual style demands good shoes.

Shoes are the foundation bricks for your beautiful custom home.  Without a solid and sturdy foundation your wasting your time. Make the shoes count. Don’t believe me, ask the ladies.

All the best-

PS:  If you know of anyone who could use this guide, Please feel free to forward. Cheers!

David Watkins
Are You An ABBEYDALE Client?

I was recently asked “so who are typical ABBEYDALE clients?”.  

This stuck….and really made me think.  

Quick Hint: There is nothing typical about them.

They are leaders in their field and highly respected by their peers.

They are independent, pro-active and confident people, yet willing to engage in our planning process. They have awareness to talk about their vision, where they lack currently and the courage to address these shortcomings to enable them to get where they want to go.

They are aware that they know what they know and they know what they don't know.  They seek advice in an area that they are unfamiliar with, which enables me to educate and help implement new ideas for their wardrobe.

They view me as one of their primary advisors, a key person on their team.  They're honest, open and willing to move to action to achieve their goals. Although they look to me for advice, they tend to be the driving force behind their planning.  They are concerned even more than I am about "getting it done" and wanting to look better.

So, are you an ABBEYDALE client?

If not let's chat.

All the best-

David Watkins
The Journey of Building a Wardrobe

A common theme I hear when guys first start really thinking about building out a wardrobe…one that will carry them for a while…is “that's a lot of clothing" or "I have so far to go."

I hear you, but please understand this - building a great wardrobe takes time. And it should. Make no mistake ...the best dressed guys in the world tend to be of older age. Why? They know who they are, they know what works for them, they have a plan and stick to it. Nothing great is built overnight. The same can be said for your wardrobe. Focus on the essentials first. Get the fit right. ALWAYS.

What fabric weights are you comfortable in?
What colors do you keep going to? Those are working for you.
What's instilling more confidence in you?

Buy more of that ...then a little more, until one day it's hard to make a decision because you really do like everything in the closet. You will know when it all works together in symphony. Stay on the path of buying better but buying less. That's progress. Bit by bit develop the best dressed you. 

Be patient my friends, the journey is what makes all of this fun.

With purpose,

David Watkins
Look vs. Investment

As the consumer, you need to decide “Do I want a look or something I can invest in?”  More expensive garments will last longer--you know this. On the other side, if you are unsure about a particular style of jacket - say a double breasted for the fall, a “look” might be what you need. There are plenty of brands who are experts at the “look.” They keep up well with current trends, they are experts in styling and presentation. This is great to get a feel for trying something new, or operating on a budget. We all do this. It’s OK.

A look will never perform like an investment piece. A custom jacket will always present a better you. A look will satisfy your willingness to try something new and remember, a look can always be made into an investment. Both serve a purpose. The decision is yours.

A few examples of good investments and good looks:

Classic Tuxedo - “I have three to four black tie events a year and always need to look my best.” - INVESTMENT

Holiday Jacket - “I’ve been thinking about trying a red velvet sport coat for my company holiday party.” - LOOK

Classic Grey Solid - “I need a solid grey “go-to” business suit that doesn’t draw too much attention.” - INVESTMENT

Windowpane DB Suit - “I’ve been seeing double breasted jackets in all of the magazines and really want something bold...perhaps a windowpane.” - LOOK or INVESTMENT

Either way, I encourage you to experiment with your wardrobe. Weigh the pros and cons and let me know what you think!

David Watkins
3 Important Factors to Consider When Selecting a Clothier

This is kind of weird to discuss, because, I’m pretty much talking about myself here, but I wanted to shed some light on things you should expect from your clothier.  Not everyone who reads this knows me, or cares to, and that’s OK…these are just my thoughts on what to look for when choosing one.  

They Are Likeable:

There is no way to slice it, but this business is relationship based.  I would recommend interviewing a few because no matter how great the product is, your personal clothier is just that..very personal.  They should know a lot about you and how you will be living in these clothes.  With that comes good conversation and discovery.  Make sure you actually want to spend some time with this person.  After all, you are leaving your personal brand in their hands.  

They Have an Open Line of Communication:  

I would recommend finding one with an open door/text/call policy. This is something I think is incredibly valuable.  Most people don’t shop in only one place and there will come a time when you might want to ask some advice.  This could be a size recommendation from a purchase online or a quick photo via text asking “does this work”?  In no way should your clothier not help in  that situation.  Find one who will always shoot you straight and tell you NO…not just what you want to hear.  Basically, make sure you feel comfortable asking them anything clothing related, anytime.  (Want my cell?  Email me, I’m here for you) 

They Always Make It Right:

The human body is not perfect and making clothing for people is not always the easiest task.  It’s a process and generally gets better over time.  That being said, if something lands and is a train wreck, they should make it right.  I’ve always had the mantra “I don’t always get it right but I always make it right”.  It really is the only way I feel.  Find one who guarantees their work. 

OK, so I think if your clothier meets that criteria, you’re probably on the right path.  Wardrobe building is a journey and making sure the person in the car is singing the tunes WITH YOU will make for a much more pleasurable trip.

PS:  Think you have a friend who could use this info? Please forward it to them.  My business is word of mouth and email is a great start!   

All the best-


David Watkins
Winter is for Layering

Fall / Winter

One of the reasons why I love winter is the chance to add layers. Sport coats with sweaters. Suits with scarves. Overcoats and vests. The possibilities seem endless when combining textures from different fabrics with the function of sartorial pieces. Layers give you the ability to not only look stylish but to monitor your internal temperature as well. Hot blooded? Maybe you don't need an overcoat...a nice flannel suit and tech vest will do the trick. A little on the cold blooded side? A classic overcoat works well paired with a wool suit and perhaps a cashmere sweater underneath. Either way, make the most of it. Here are a few ideas to get you going.


Matching vs. In Accordance With
"Matching" and "In accordance with" are very different things. Matching tends to give the appearance of a "purchased look" - which isn't the goal.
Take a minor color in one garment and pair it with a major color in another.

Be Smart

One thing we cannot do is predict the weather. It's always better to have more lightweight garments on - think cotton tee, button down, cashmere sweater, vest and scarf than one or two pieces that are extremely heavy. Start small.

Easy On The Color

One, maybe two vibrant colors are allowed. For the most part stick with neutrals. In the Fall, I like greys, browns, greens and pops of color from orange, maroon or purple. All interchangeable as you can easily find these colors in your natural surrounding.

Pattern Scale

When layering you need to watch the bold checks and patterns. Going with a large check or plaid overcoat? Settle in with a nice solid suit and a smaller patterned shirt. When in doubt go solid but in different textures (wool, silk, etc). Patterns should always be of different varieties. Large check, medium check, small check. Never two of the same. A loud jacket does not need loud pants. The accessories should whisper.

Texture Variation

Wool and cashmere coat. Cotton shirt. Moleskin pants. Grenadine tie. All give a different dimension and can easily be worn on their own - which is the point when it heats up and you need to start peeling off. This ties in with investing in great garments. All "go to" pieces get better when layered together.

So just a few thoughts on layering this season.  Any questions?  Hit me up!

All the best-


Winter, LayeringDavid WatkinsDW