David is in the Details at David August

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 Can clothing make you more powerful? Absolutely.

By David Heil

  • Does a shirt really have to have 550 hand-applied cross-stitches-on the collar?
  • Must a suit have no more, but no less, than four working buttons on the sleeves and custom pockets for iPhones and theater tickets?
  • Should you be classic or cutting edge, or a combination of both?
  • What is CEO casual?
  • Can a good suit give you six-pack abs?
  • What “must have” items make up a basic minimum wardrobe for every man?

My name is David Heil.  I am a clothier.

The dictionary defines the word as a tailor or a cloth merchant, but I feel the definition, as it relates to me, should be something more like Lifestyle Enthusiast.  Because after 20 years on this beat, I see myself as a conductor, a designer, a confidante, a consultant, a nitpicker, a bit of an artist, and most importantly, someone who helps my clients build and maintain a powerful sense of personal style. My goal is that when someone walks into a room wearing David August, people notice. In a good way.

Can clothing make you more powerful? Absolutely.

If you saw the summer blockbuster Iron Man, you saw my theory at work. When Robert Downy Jr. appears on the screen as Tony Stark to promote his latest weapon of mass-destruction, he owns his audience of generals. You sense and understand the quixotic, slightly deranged part of his personality, yet when it comes to his product, a cluster bomb called Joshua, he is nothing but powerful and in command. Call it charisma. Or call it the David August look.

I had the honor of dressing Robert for Iron Man and we’re currently discussing the sequel that is due out in April 2010. I’m also blessed to count Terrance Howard, his co-star, as a client, as well as a diverse group of successful men, ranging from Will Smith, Donald Trump, and Reggie Arvisu from the band Korn, to Dodger’s owner Frank McCourt, basketball great Jerry West, ESPN’s Jim Rome, and USC’s Pete Carroll, as well as a great group of guys whose names you may not know…just yet.

As the David August look has evolved and become more powerfully effective for our clients over the years, I realize that the details-seemingly small ones especially-really do make the man. There is a cascading effect when you combine a perfect fit with the right shoe, cufflinks, or pocket square. But it’s important to me that our clients don’t look foppish (look that one up in your Funk and Wagnalls!). We aim for the image that communicates composed but confident, never trying too hard. It’s a powerful picture that says of our clients, “I pay attention. I understand. I am in control. I am fearless.”

But I have to admit that getting to that level of detail takes a bit of fanaticism. We continually and painstakingly source the finest wool, silk, cashmere, and cotton from around the world. I have found myself in a 100-year-old Italian workshop, where three generations of men have refined and clarified the art of a hand-folded silk tie. I have spent years finding the right button for a dress shirt (that is luminous but also easy to button), and the right blend of cottons that wear well, wrinkle less, and feel wonderful.

While others simply accept the way things have always been done, we are constantly pushing to find even better ways to add complexity and texture.  And it’s clear now that we don’t just make suits, we also manage wardrobes and provide the foundation for personal brands. Our clients get the David August “Book,” a leather-bound road map to what shirt goes with which pants, which shoes, and for what occasion. I spend a lot of time in guy’s closets and believe me, I know The Book is mandatory for most of them!

I know that many people look back at some point in their careers and wonder, “How did I wind up here?” That’s never been the case for me. My family knew very early where I was headed-it might have been the whole ironing of the polo shirts thing in high school, I’m not sure-and I’ve always had staunch support.

In fact, the August in David August is a family name and honors my father, D. August Heil, who believed in me and supported my efforts to start the company while I was in my 20s.  My wife Lisa and our four incredible children anchor me and, in many ways, help me drive the creative process. I’m incredibly blessed today because my passion for clothing and the excitement I feel about continually improving the David August look has never been stronger.

By the way, those questions at the top? I’ll be answering those and many more in future issues of Haute Living. If you have questions about how to make your wardrobe more powerful, contact me at [email protected]

David August
3140 Airway Ave.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
714.545.SUIT (7848)

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