Farewell to an American Style Icon “Ralph Lauren”

After 5 decades of leading an American Revolution in design and style, the man himself “Ralph Lauren” is stepping down.  Ralph Lauren Corp. said it has hired Stefan Larsson, the global president of Gap Inc.’s Old Navy division, as its chief executive, putting in motion a succession plan for one of fashion’s biggest companies.

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Ralph Lauren, who will turn 76 on Oct. 14, has been the chief executive and lead designer of the company since he founded it 48 years ago and built it into a global luxury brand. While handing over operational duties, Mr. Lauren will remain at his company as executive chairman and chief creative officer.

In an interview Tuesday at his Madison Avenue office, Mr. Lauren stressed that the change wasn’t about him stepping aside, but rather about bringing on a partner to help take the company to the next level.

“The company has to change,” Mr. Lauren said. “It’s a public company and we have a responsibility to have the right leadership.”

Mr. Larsson, who is 41 years old, had been in his role at Old Navy since 2012 and is credited with helping revive sales at the casual apparel brand. Previously, he spent 15 years at fast fashion retailer H&M. He will join Ralph Lauren and its board in November.

The move to reach outside for a CEO shows how Ralph Lauren, which had $7.6 billion in sales in its latest fiscal year, is attempting to shore up its business after sales and profits have sagged this year. The company’s share price has fallen about 44% this year through Tuesday’s close, erasing nearly $5 billion in market value.

Mr. Lauren said he had been thinking about bringing on new management for several years. He was introduced to Mr. Larsson through an executive recruiter and the two met face to face for the first time “a while ago” over dinner at Sette Mezzo, an Italian restaurant in New York City.

“We connected in five minutes,” Mr. Larsson said. “Ralph surprised me by being so focused on growth.”

The appointment marks the latest changing of the guard at a big American fashion house. Donna Karan stepped down from the company she founded earlier this year. Oscar de la Renta passed the baton to designer Peter Copping in October 2014 before he died. In those cases, the CEO role was held by an executive.

Mr. Lauren said he isn’t going anywhere. ”I’m excited about my business and I’m not leaving,” he said. “I’m taking on a partner.”

Mr. Lauren’s son, David, who is an executive vice president and was considered by some investors as a potential CEO successor, said in a news release: “I’m excited to welcome Stefan to our team and I look forward to working closely with him.”

Fall Back

It’s that time again.  The weather is changing and so is our wardrobe for the season.  If your lucky enough to live where the sun always shines and the temperature is the same year round, I kind of feel sorry for you.  I absolutely love the change in seasons, it reminds me of how things can change but stay the same.  

On that note let’s talk about some of the clothes you need to change out for those summer shorts and suits.  First thing first is pull all of those wool, tweed & heavy fabric Blazers out and try them on.  If they don’t fit, donate them or take them to the tailor for a proper fitting.  

Secondly, grab those patterned shirts and the same way you meal prep try to prep your look for the week.  I love items that are functional & universal like this Brown Twill blazer from the Gap.  It’s a couple of years old but I buy for quality and longevity, fashion is too fast so buy clothing with some staying power. 

Never skimp on the shoes and you can get some great styles for affordable prices.  One thing I do is wait until a good sale then I get what I need from places like Banana Republic, Topman, Brooks Brothers & a few other brands.  Another thing you can do is buy off-season, not too many people like to do this but for me I can rock my clothes regardless of how old they are because of classic looks. 

Last thing to focus on is the small details, as always try to keep it simple without going overboard.  Style is great but when overdone it can seem like your accessories exploded and left a mess on your outfit.  Remember this rule (K.I.S.S.) and keep it simply stylish when putting together that exceptional look. 

What To Wear Today

A Banging 3 piece suit.  I’m a huge fan of the 3 piece, it’s a wardrobe staple for any gentleman.  It’s so versatile, so effortlessly in charge of any situation that you literally can not go wrong.  

What makes it better is the color does not matter, the louder the print the better.  Try it in Houndstooth, solid, floral it just doesn’t matter because it’s the best suit you have in your closet.  The lighter the color anchor it with a darker shirt and tie.  Since it’s the beginning of fall I went with a denim shirt which is really my theme this season because of the depth.  But back to the suit it’s a win either way, take the tie off and your still Billy Bad A$$ in a boardroom.  It’s easy to go overboard with everything so keep the accessories to a minimum.  

Change a few items about your look like wearing the pocket square in the actual pocket of the vest.  If your wearing a tie make sure to put that tie bar where we can see it.  Nothing like a good tie bar going to waste.  

The suit is off the rack from Express but I took it to the tailor for a specific fit and it was a steal at $125 on sale.  The tie and shirt are a Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren combo, I normally don’t like to mix American designers but they get along pretty good.  The pocket square and lapel pin are courtesy of Harrison Blake or @wearlapelpins on IG. Follow him for some amazing accessories for your look.  Make sure to put your styled look on whatever you own and rock it well. 

A San Francisco Treat

While in The Bay Area this week taking care of some business I encountered great food sites and people, and I wanted to share my experiences with you.

First is my fellow GQ Insider Michael Turner.  This guy is a Stylist, Writer & aspiring Actor.  Talk about talent and perspective, he has all the ingredients to be great.  Here he is rocking a tailored Double Breasted khaki suit with all the trimmings.  Lapel pin, bag & beret all come together to pull this look off.  To see more of his style, check him out on Instagram under @last_name_turner.

What trip to San Fran is complete without riding the trolley through the city and doing a little people watching while your at it.

Can never do enough shopping for the latest styles and trends at one of the nicest mall on the West Coast, the Westerfield Mall on Market street. This mall has like 7 floors and the top ones all belong to Nordstrom, talk about exclusive.

Spotting some of the incredible street styles just outside the mall on Mission St.

Truth is I am all over so be on the look out for me.  Remember stay fly and always show Your Styled Look and you could be featured.

Last Days of Summer

Well my favorite season is coming to an end and I want to take a few moments to say you will be missed summer.  Good for me that my 2nd favorite season is here, so before I “Fall Back Into Fashion” let me enjoy what summer has left to offer. 

I love the play on colors here with this look.  First I caught this great shirt on sale at the Gap for $24.  I didn’t know if I should go dark or light for the tie but I knew it had to be a silk knot, I did not want to go traditional here so it plays it down.  The Tie Bar is from The Tie Bar.  They have the best colors and good prices so stock up this season to add a pop of color to your style. 

Last but not least is the Lapel Pin and Pocket Square by my good friend Harrison Blake.  I thought it might be over kill but it came out great, so don’t be scared to layer on those complimentary colors to pull of that special look.  

As always wether you choose to play it up or down, make it Your Styled Look!