Nish de Gruiter: What I've Learned

Esquire Singapore speaks to Nish de Gruiter, Market Maker of Suitsupply, on how to elevate one’s suiting game, being a gentleman and how he got started in the world of menswear.

BY Eugene Lim | Mar 28, 2016 | Fashion


Don’t wear a double breasted jacket in this kind of climate. I would highly advise against it.

If you work with synthetics and you feel it and the hand feel is like, ah it gets you sweaty. That's the worst thing, watching your body in multiples (of synthetic material). If your hands already get sweaty, can you imagine what it does on your body?

Dress the suit down. Everybody can wear it with a shirt and tie but try to give it some flair and dress it down.

Your second suit should be a charcoal suit because then you can change the jacket with the pants. Navy pants with a charcoal jacket and a light blue shirt and you get the classic James Bond look.

Go for little stripes. Don't go for loud checks. Keep it easy and then the moment you feel comfortable, then you start playing around with it. Make sure everything is well-tailored. That's the most important thing.

[Dress] according to your job. If you’re in banking, in the finance world, you’re not going to wear your pants above your ankles. No, you don't want to push it. Stick to the script.

I’m the market maker so I create a market that doesn’t exist yet.  That’s where I have the most fun—I will go behind enemy lines and I will look or create a market that doesn’t exist figure it out.

Everybody who is working here went to suit school and suit school is our internal training programme that a guy, or a girl goes to for at least two to three weeks. It’s there that you learn everything about tailoring.

Our CEO, who is our founder, [started] the whole Suitsupply as a reflection of his personality and his view on things.

If you’re a person who’s in the creative industry and you are into fashion there’s no reason for a creative person to hire anybody else to be creative for him.

We make a very serious product but we don't take ourselves too seriously and that's definitely the motto.

I’m from Sri Lanka and I was adopted by a Dutch family and my mom that adopted me, she always made clothes for me. She was always working on the sewing machine and she had a big jar of buttons. One day she asked me which kind of button do I like the most and I was opening the jar and I was looking for buttons and that's how I got into interested in fashion.

What I’ve been trying to do for last 10 years is to become the best in [what I do], the feeling of fabric, styling, creative stuff, a good street hustle—become the best in that and then all the all the stuff that that I’m not good at yet, leave to people who are.

You go to work, (and) you don't even feel that you go to work, that's a blessing.

You give the energy to other people; you can motivate a person around you, that’s when it becomes a success. It’s a fun journey.

Suitsupply is a success because the people who do this have a lot of passion and a lot of energy and a lot of motivation to do this.

If I get bored with a suit then I got bored because of the way it is paired with the shirt and tie. Nobody thinks about wearing a suit with sneakers but if you do it in the right way, it looks cool.

Nobody tells you what to do. If you feel comfortable and set that tone well, people will follow.

You can’t have enough navy jackets.

If you only focus on your own thing, you never see what happens in other stores.

Be yourself, be humble, be nice to people. Treat people how you’re gonna want to be treated.

What do I want to be buried in? Wow, I’ve never had that question before. That’s a good one. I’ll go for a tuxedo because there are only so many times you can wear a tuxedo.

Being a gentleman isn't only about wearing a suit. It’s everything that goes with it.

People compliment you if you’re wearing a navy suit, not because of its navy colour but because of the fit.