Having good taste and impeccable style doesn’t happen overnight. Sometimes, it takes learning from the best in the industry to truly perfect dressing like a fashion-forward, modern man. Welcome to our series, “How to be Stylish,” where we pick the brains of some of the most respected figures in fashion for their ultimate style tips.
We’re not going to sugar-coat it for you: It’s hard being tall. Sure, you always stand out in a sea of people and are probably one of the most desirable guys as far as the dating apps can see, but any guy six-foot-three or higher usually faces a bundle of daily obstacles like hitting his head on a lowered entryway (ouch) or constantly being asked if he’s a professional basketball player (okay, perhaps that one is more flattering than daunting). Sartorially speaking, finding fashion-forward threads that actually fit his frame? Not so easy.
Enter Kevin Flammia, co-founder of RFM, a new menswear brand that uses extensive science and research to create clothes that fit tall guys of all figures. A former finance guy and Harvard Business School graduate, Flammia teamed up with co-founder John Reynolds and Parsons School of Design’s Jodi Ingham to scheme up affordable threads that are far more trendy than a homey “big and tall” department. Only a few months after the brand’s pre-sale launch, RFM has already attracted the likes of sports superstars from teams such as the New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks, and Pittsburgh Steelers. In this installation of “How to Be Stylish,” we picked Flammia’s brain on the science behind RFM and style tips for tall guys.
The Cheat Sheet: Congratulations on launching RFM! What inspired you and your team to start the brand?
Kevin Flammia: I’ve been dressing myself for decades and have noticed a need in the market. My co-founder, John, and I met at business school: we’re both tall, athletes, and noticed the demand for stylish clothes for the athletic guy. We’re not looking to be the most fashion-forward individual in the room, but we are looking to be polished and put together. We came together in September to start researching, brought on Jodi as our design guru, and just had our pre-sale product launch.
CS: How did RFM develop your unique sizing system?
KF: During our research phase, we evaluated over 15,000 guys through body scan. What we realized at that time is that as guys grow in height, they are not proportionally growing in width, and that’s how clothes are [typically] made today. So we are using an non-linear sizing system. We’re not doing made-to-measure, we are just creating new sizes, but the sizes are for the athlete demographic.
The way we’re kind of using it right now is similar to your traditional menswear brands — think of your suit sizing, which is measured by the width of the chest — but adding a height element.
CS: That must make shopping online a lot easier for guys!
KF: We really want to get things on guys once, but hopefully we can simplify the shopping process and become a one-stop shop for a guy’s wardrobe.
CS: Whether getting dressed for yourself or leading the RFM team, what is one style rule you always follow?
KF: The biggest thing is making sure you’re sending the message you want to be sending. It’s always easier to be over-dressed than under-dressed. You can take off a tie or roll up your sleeves, but you can’t get a tie out of thin air. So I tend to lean more towards the fancy.
CS: What is the one thing stylish guys should invest in?
KF: A blazer. From going to work, to dinner, to out on the town, a blazer is versatile and works for everything. It’s worth every dollar because it will last and look right. I’m a really big fan of our Traveler blazer, it’s made out of an athlete performance fabric. It’s really comfortable when you’re sitting on an Amtrak [train], but pulls together when you’re at a meeting. It’s good for professional and personal events.
CS: What are five pieces every style-conscious guy should have in their closet?
KF: A five-pocket chino is a pair of pants that goes through everything. I’m [also] a really big fan of fashionable sneakers — I think this whole streetwear movement is really interesting. [Next], outerwear is really important: as a guy, it’s not something we put much effort into and end up wearing the same zipped fleece for five years, which is great but that’s an easy way to send a stylish message. I’m also a really big fan of the wayfarer [sunglasses] — they’re fantastic. I’ve bought three pairs of the same ones. Last, a henley is a piece than you can use more often than you’d think.
CS: What are some styling tips you can give to our taller readers?
KF: Focus on the basics. You’re already going to attract a lot of attention with your build, so there’s no need to wear anything too ostentatious. Sticking to classic black, greys, and whites is a big win. Also, break up your outfit with fun accessories and details on your garments.
CS: Where do you see RFM in five years?
KF: We’re looking to expand and be the brand that athletes wear off the court, and that means both professionals and the everyday guy who likes to go to the gym and stay fit. And eventually, we’d love to expand into womenswear.
Follow Kelsey on Twitter @KMulvs