Stan Gellers wrote a regular DNR column from 2001 to 2008. Here, in his trademark conversational tone, are excerpts from his weekly observations on the industry he covered professionally for 52 years.

You know what I think looks great at the office if you don’t have a heavy-duty appointment with a customer? Try something like a drop-dead dress shirt, maybe a Charvet or a Thomas Pink worn as a sport shirt, with a pair of Zanella cashmere flannels and a Martin Dingman alligator belt. Now that’s power dressing 2002-style, and don’t think for a moment that this outfit won’t get the looks and respect that a Canali or Zegna suit will. If I’ve opened a can of worms, that’s exactly what I have in mind. — April 1, 2002

Thom who? Actually, I hadn’t heard of him either. That’s because Thom Browne is a tailored clothing designer with only one retail customer — Bergdorf Goodman, where his own shop is set to open in January on the hip third floor. I traveled down to the Village and met the designer, who’s in his late 30s. He was wearing one of his suits, with luggage-tan wing tip shoes but no socks. We talked a bit, and I loved his idiosyncrasies and his offbeat views about fashion. Browne isn’t your typical designer trying to keep “corporate” happy. Or a commercial type trying to sell the brass at the major department group. He’s an original. — Sept. 15, 2003

By now you’ve heard the term. But for those of you who haven’t figured out exactly what bling means, it’s a hip term for something that dazzles — say, the 6.03-carat yellow diamond ring in the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book. And this isn’t just hip-hop jargon. What you might not know is that bling-bling has made its way into the mainstream and the Oxford English Dictionary. Bling once meant over-the-top and showy. Today, bling still sparkles, but it’s something else: special, unique, exciting, full of pizzazz — exactly what’s needed in the men’s wear business. — Dec. 15, 2003

The recent New York shows are now history, but the rave reviews and the lessons learned live on. Like this one: The star performer at the Collective, Project and To Be Confirmed shows was the hip new customer whom I call Mr. X. Why Mr. X? Because many in the market are trying to get the skinny on this contemporary, modern, premium, sophisticated, streetwise guy who’s certainly rocking the boat. — Aug. 2, 2004

Now, if you have jeans on your mind, go to the mall in Bridgehampton, halfway between South and East Hampton. All you need is a car, a credit card and lots of endurance. My first stop was at Gap, where I sidled up to an entire wall of blue denim jeans, all neatly labeled. All those styles, all those finishes, all those rises. A helpful young salesperson quickly tagged me and asked, “What color would you like?” Hello? What color? — June 13, 2005

The slightly battered twin files of three-by-five address cards next to the phone on my desk tell me a lot more than who’s working where. It’s a running dialogue about the many jobs that people have held over the years. — April 24, 2006

Trade shows, too, have seen dramatic change. Believe it or not, in the early days East Coast manufacturers were banned from exhibiting at MAGIC, the show that now brings together men’s wear brands from all over the world. Remember NAMSB (National Association of Men’s Sportswear Buyers), which introduced mini-Broadway musical breakfast shows in New York and set industry fashions to music with comedy skits? — Oct. 8, 2007

 

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