Fine and Dandy
When Matt Fox and Enrique Crame launched FineAndDandyShop.com four years ago, they dreamed of opening their own brick-and-mortar store. But, as Fox puts it, “It’s New York City and real estate is expensive.”
Since then, however, the couple of over 10 years has built up a solid following with their dapper accessories and vintage-inspired paraphernalia. You might not know it judging by all the guys in muscle tanks and jeans in the bars, but the nostalgia porn on shows like Mad Men and Downton Abbey has actually inspired guys to dress up more.
“It has a lot to do with the recession,” Fox explains. “We have to put our best face forward, either to keep a job or to be looking for a job.” The pocket-squares-and-bow-ties business is good—so good in fact that this month, Fox and Crame finally opened their own storefront in Hell’s Kitchen, Fine and Dandy (445 W 49th St).
Decorated with antiques the couple has collected over the years from flea markets and family members’ attics, the 49th Street shop feels like an Evelyn Waugh time capsule, a little outpost of Edwardian style in the middle of the city’s most blisteringly trendy gayborhood. The authentic early 20th century photos on the walls, Fox says, are maybe 10% of the couple’s collection. The beat-up old suitcases in the shop are filled with more of their unframed photographs.
Still, for all the store’s period atmosphere, Fox is quick to point out that he considers Fine and Dandy to be a contemporary brand. “We’re not one of those sort of museum recreation brands. We are influenced by what’s happening around us.” That philosophy is evident in some of their accessories: camouflage handkerchiefs, rainbow sock garters and other cheeky or whimsical patterns. And look closely: the jazz-age soundtrack is playing on an iPod, not a Victrola. Instead of a 19th century cash register, all sales are done on an iPad, your receipt texted or emailed directly to you. The point, Fox says, is that you don’t have to work a full dandy look to wear Fine and Dandy pieces. Fox himself pairs a bow tie—which he’ll totally show you how to tie if you ask nicely—with jeans. (See p.44 for more on bow ties).
“The bottom line,” Fox says. “Is we love the idea that guys are trying to dress a little better, to take a little bit more attention to their appearance.”