June 29, 2022 5 min read
It is my pleasure to introduce featured Cool Summer, Haberdasher and Executive Clothier, Chuck Alf.
For over 20 years Chuck has been addressing the sartorial needs of CEO’s, senior partners, professional athletes, business owners, wedding parties and everyday people who want their clothing to look, feel and fit perfectly. Chuck's colorful personality and understanding of personal colors makes him unique in the bespoke industry.
We met several years ago when he was referred to me by an executive in athletics at a local university. Chuck and I immediately realized the blending of our services would be invaluable for the professional looking to invest in high quality suits and accessories. My male clients most frequent questions are about the combinations of suit, shirt and tie. Understanding flattering colors is important and also incorporating the appropriate patterns, textures and combinations is necessary to create a pulled together look.
Learn more about Chuck’s evolution in the custom men’s clothing business, some of his unique clients like the Buffalo Bills and how understanding his colors has influenced his business.
What prompted you to have a color analysis?
My color analysis done was prompted by a recommendation from a client in the college athletic. Selling custom clothing and helping people coordinate colors and patterns and styles seemed like a natural “fit” with connecting clients to their natural color story. If I could help people recognize what their best colors were first with the help of Kerry at Indigo Tones, it would make my services the most valuable and more professional than any other options in the Buffalo area. It made so much sense!
How has it changed your life?
Thinking more deeply about being a Cool Summer has impacted my life. Rather than the traditional combination of dark navy or black suit with a red tie like I used to wear, I started to opt for lighter gray suits and lavender shirts and ties in softer patterns with an overall summer feel. I’ve always enjoyed purple as an accent color for shirts and ties and really felt good while wearing them. But now I understand that a soft, cool purple is a go to color rather than an accent and that I shouldn’t do “accents” as they can be overpowering on me. Instead, I need to focus on a monochromatic, less contrasting overall look. While the “red power tie” makes some of my clients look powerful, on me it would overpower me. Who wants that? Thanks Kerry!!
One of the coolest things I’ve had the pleasure of participating in since was the design and production of the Buffalo Bills “Wall of Fame” jackets. We used Buffalo head nickels for buttons, red buttonholes and commemorative logos to signify the greatest Bills of All Time!! (Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Steve Tasker, Jack Kemp, Bruce Smith, Andre Reed, Darryl Talley, Bob Kalsu, Marv Levy and Kent Hall). I was on the field to present the coats during halftime of a sold-out game. What an incredible rush!
In what ways has it changed the way you approach your business?
I carry fabrics that will rival the finest men’s stores in Buffalo to the finest men’s stores in the world. My business approach has changed and added layers to how I make smart recommendations to my clients with regard to color choices for their clothing. Men’s clothing choices can be structured based off of professions and situations but accessorizing with best personal colors can add flair, excitement and enjoyment to how someone looks without looking overdone.
My clients feel more confident in taking risks when they know it’s right for them. I have taken a deeper role in helping my clients to explore their unique style and coloring than I did when first getting started years ago when the focus was more on trends. This allows me to stay up to date but trend proof!
“I really enjoy clothing and the unending options I have with contributing to the design and choices that I can have a hand in for my suits and shirts. Thread colors, functional buttons, linings, pic stitching, button colors, buttonhole colors. Chuck lets me run with ideas and we both get inspired by the possibilities. I think I’ve taught Chuck a few things and I know he is appreciative.” Scott L. Of Counsel, Private Firm
What has been the biggest challenge?
At first, my biggest challenges was opening up men to the idea that this isn’t just something that women do. Once they see the results of the analysis, they are interested in the science behind it and get on board. Knowing why certain colors “work” is empowering and confidence building. This knowledge makes me a better clothier and my clients better at making choices for themselves and confidently investing in their wardrobe.
In today’s business climate, men are wearing suits less often, but when they do, it’s a big deal. Job interviews, speaking engagements, weddings, business presentations. More than 50% of a first impression is nonverbal, do you want to risk that the chance?
“I enjoy my meetings with Chuck because he’s entertaining and insightful. He’s not vanilla. I’ve had him speak to my advisers about “dressing for success” on multiple occasions.” James H. Financial Director
Any interesting things happen while you were wearing your colors?
I’ve had countless encounters where people have complimented me on my clothing and appearance and it has led them to becoming clients! As a haberdasher, I’m completely aware that my image is on display and I’m modeling for my business. I always to feel my best and get the most compliments when I’m sporting “cool summer.”
What was the biggest surprise?
I’m constantly surprised at how people “snap to” based off of your appearance. 55% of a first impression is nonverbal and that never gets old nor does it stop amazing me. Why dismiss how you look when you can control it?
Tell me about your favorite color in your palette.
Lavender/ purple has always been one of my favorite colors for years. I’ve always felt especially good while wearing it and the color analysis clarified why!
Tell me about your closet.
My closet is largely based off of the clients that I call on. Attorneys and financial professionals are the bulk of my business. For this reason, my suits tend to be navy and gray. I work with clients who are trying to convey power, credibility, trustworthiness, being established, etc. I think of their wardrobe as foundational and structured inspired by archetypal or historical images like:
George Washington crossing the Delaware in a navy coat…
CEOs addressing their stockholders…
Attorneys talking to a jury…
I try to mirror them so they have confidence in my ability to help them convey that look. Getting my colors done has opened my eyes to how I can add one’s personal colors to enhance the staples but I bring more style and personality along with it.
“I’ve done business with Chuck for 20 years I’ve trusted his recommendations and he’s taking me to areas with my wardrobe that I wouldn’t have had the confidence to take myself. I trust him and I consider my friend.” Robert S.Senior Partner
I’ve got a cool business!! Thanks to Indigo Tones, it’s just simply better! As a haberdasher and executive clothier, I come to you! Meeting your apparel needs in your office or home. I save you time, offer you convenience and provide more selection than you can imagine.
Contact Chuck Alf: (585)750-5550
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September 27, 2022 5 min read
The last several months have been an absolute joy working with Warm Autumn Erin Sirianni to get her closet completely refreshed and full of items that she loves. She was very focused and determined to only have things that worked and the effort she made was worth it! She completely changed her hair, she passed along hundreds of items of clothing (see where some of them landed!), purged a huge percentage of her closet and shopped everywhere from the Indigo Tones resale shop to Panache Consignment to Goodwill to stores at the mall.
Erin is a Professional Development and Life Coach who gravitated to more structured, classic clothing as it felt the most professional but as we worked with her body shape and her personality we discovered she really likes a bit more drama and softer lines suit her shape. Read more and see all the transformations in this month's colorful lives blog!
September 08, 2022 4 min read
I was excited to see Deb Willsea again on my recent travels to Cape Cod, MA. We met years ago when I did a her color analysis in Rochester, NY. Deb's petite frame and creative personality style create unique challenges in finding sizes that fit correctly while seeking unusual, creative clothing in the earthy soft autumn palette.
It was a joy to feel the harmony she had created in her home on Cape Cod using Soft Autumn colors and natural materials as we weeded out items in her closet that don't work during a recent closet "rehab". Read more about how she has incorporated the concepts of balancing a natural environment for learning in developing the Cape Cod Toy Library Inc based on the Reggio Emilia philosophy in this month's colorful lives blog.
The Reggio Emilia philosophy aligns perfectly with the concepts of personal color harmony - environments that are aesthetically attractive will help foster children’s learning as well as provide a setting that is welcoming and relaxing for adults.
August 02, 2022 3 min read
It has been a whirlwind since Soft Summer Kara came to a class I taught on the science involved in Personal Color Analysis this past spring. She immediately booked a color consultation and hit the ground running in a concerted effort to create a professional wardrobe in spite of unique challenges.
Kara is the Director of Security Strategic Initiatives for a large financial institution and needs to dress in a more neutral, reserved and traditional way.
Much of the more structured, detailed classic attire in her industry is too overwhelming for her petite frame and preferred natural style. Read more about how she was able to stay within a budget but was willing to invest in the initial color analysis consultation, a capsule wardrobe package and a personal shopping trip with me.
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