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Suit Up With Soto: Fall Style

We asked our favorite custom suit maker, Rick Soto, for his best style tips for Fall, and what to watch out for this season. Soto has been impressed with how people are expressing their individuality now more than ever:

What's good about fashion and the industry the way it is right now, is that it's super wide open and free.

Above all else, Soto implores people to put whatever style together that makes them feel good, because that's the most important thing.

Personalizing for Fall

Want to learn how to tame Fall colors, patterns, and layers? Rick talks about timeless, seasonal trends, and what to wear to be a bit more adventurous this year. He also tackles burgundy.

What are the best go-to styles for Fall suiting?

Anything from medium to dark gray suits, or navy suits, are timeless for Fall. As winter approaches, I tend to lean toward wool over linen, because linen comes across as a bit more warm-climate and casual. Wool is more classic as far as suiting is concerned. Month-by-month, I think you can still pull off linen in October, but as things really cool down, go with wool or tweed. If I'm picking among styles, it's wool for suiting, and tweed for a sport coat.

Are there any trends you're seeing this year compared with previous years?

The freedom of fashion and personal style these days is moving toward a lot of mixing and matching. Entire genres, not just colors and patterns. People are expressing their individual personality. The trend toward casual we really saw take off last year is continuing; suiting with sneakers, or hoodies with sport coats; even incorporating athleisure. It's fun to see, and at the end of the day, we know the traditional rules, but people should do what they want.

What colors do you think people need to focus on, and are there any that are underrepresented, or that people should be less afraid to try this year?

Earth tones have always been pretty popular to coordinate with the changing of the leaves and Fall, but I think terra cotta or a burnt orange type of color is something we're going to see more. You're right on time if you're wearing that color, before it gets too overdone.

Temperature ranges from day-to-night might call for layering. How do you approach layered style?

A pullover is an easy go-to item for the more casual events. A three-piece suit could be an option, too, if you're looking for some elevated versatility.

What's your attitude toward hats in Fall?

Hats are encouraged. Open Road by Stetson, either felt or straw, is a must.

Hats and The Zind Burgundy

How much should you try to coordinate or contrast your colors and patterns?

When it comes to contrasting anything, I would start with the colors. As long as there is a hard contrast, even when it comes to black and brown, it will make for a better look. When it comes to patterns, make sure the sizing is different. When we have a gingham-printed shirt with wider squares, we should pair it with a solid pattern elsewhere. When we have a solid-colored shirt, then we play with paisley or something more complex because it's not going to be too busy. When I think Fall pattern, I think herringbone; I love a charcoal-gray herringbone.

Going Bold with Burgundy

Over the past two months, we've introduced two limited-release runs involving burgundy: The Wilson Burgundy and The Zind Burgundy. We asked Rick about how to approach such a stand-out style.

What are the watch-outs with burgundy footwear?

Two things to avoid: black pants, and red pants; they're too similar in color to burgundy and they can clash instead of complement. On the other side, grays look good with burgundy, and so do olives, tans, browns, and navy blues. A little bit of contrast goes a long way, as long as you're avoiding the blacks and reds.

Do you approach suiting differently when wearing a burgundy shoe versus a burgundy boot?

If I'm looking at anything, it's more about the length of the pant than the colors. The key is to make sure you're tailoring or you're paying attention to the pant leg when it's a shoe versus a boot, and that might be something people overlook. The fit will almost always be different between the two, because a boot heel is slightly bigger than a shoe's heel.

Burgundy sock game. Are you keeping it simple or going wild?

I always match my socks with the color of the trousers I'm wearing. To me, anything else is a distraction. The way I look at suiting, for the most part, is about clean lines and symmetry. I also think about what I'm trying to convey. The boldest I will go is a solid red sock or a solid gold sock. I want everything to flow from top-to-bottom, and I find matching trousers and socks accomplishes that goal for me.