Writer, raconteur, and man of the world, David Coggins has a verve and a style all his own. We stopped by his West Village apartment recently to learn a little more about his latest projects, and maybe get a few tips on how to properly pull off tweed. Fortunately, Mr. Coggins was happy happy to oblige. So pull up a chair and pour yourself a nice stiff drink.
EQ: What do you look for in a suit? What should we keep our eyes out for, and avoid?
DC: The most important things for me are fabric, construction, and fit. I like expressive fabrics, like an old Italian uncle: houndstooth, tweed, herringbone. And I like jackets without a lot of construction, that have a very natural fit. I like to get my hands on a suit so I have a sense how it was made and how it will age.
EQ: Do you have a favorite tailor in New York or elsewhere? What makes them the best?
DC: I love Italian tailoring and traditional English tailors, too. Liverano & Liverano in Florence is incredible, so is Anderson & Sheppard in London. It's interesting the store Beams F in Tokyo has the best selection of Italian clothes I've ever seen. Their private label is great, too. I work with Freemans Sporting Club here in New York. Our suits are made in America, and they fit really well and are priced very fairly. For alterations, I head to Ignacio's on 60th Street, and then have lunch at Le Veau d'Or, next door.
Featured Suit: The Capstone - Grey Windowpane
EQ: What about seasonality? What are your favorite fabrics for warm weather vs. cold weather?
DC: I love winter suits: grey flannel, corduroy, heavy tweed. It's very hard for me to give them up in the summer. I have some unlined sport coats that I wear during warm weather. Usually with very lightweight grey trousers and some old white bucks. I've been thinking about a very white sport coat. I wonder how long it will take before it's completely marked up.
Featured Suit: The Foundation - Navy Corduroy
EQ: What do you normally take with you when you travel? Give us a run-down of the essentials.
DC: I travel very light: usually one suit (which I wear), a set of sport coat and trousers, and a handful of shirts. You can do very well with a small range of clothes—a few different pocket squares and knit ties and you've got a nice variety.
EQ: Speaking of travel, what are a few of your favorite cities to visit? What would you wear there?
DC: I like to visit Paris and Florence and other European cities. I like to walk a lot and eat and look at art. I can be very happy doing that every day, and sitting in cafes and heading to small bars. Throw in a few churches and an antique store and a food market and I'm totally content. I'll wear a coat and tie everyday. I like a bit of easygoing formality. I also try to spend a lot of time flyfishing in Montana. Then I'll wear a beaten-up old sport coat and chinos. And maybe a big huge cardigan.
EQ: Any interesting souvenirs from your travels? We noticed you have some interesting pieces around the apartment.
DC: My apartment is getting pretty full. I've tried to limit book acquisition because it's just getting out of hand. When I go to Japan, I always look for ceramics—they make incredible bowls and cups and plates and little wooden trays. I've got my eye on a beautiful tea kettle in Kyoto. I got a cool old green alarm clock from the big antique market in Beijing a few years ago. They really want to negotiate with you. It's like they enjoy the negotiation more than the sale.
EQ: What's on the horizon for David Coggins? What are you looking forward to in the year ahead?
DC: I'm working on a book right now. It's about style and the details that make the modern man. There are going to be contributions from a lot of men I know and admire. It's going to be an easygoing guide that celebrates what makes men and men's clothing great.
Photography by Weston Wells