Henry "Hank" Battie, a genuine Sarasota gentlemen and master custom clothier and designer, is the owner of Cravats’ Custom Clothiers & Haberdashery. A native and Booker High School graduate, he discloses his top tip for men, his style inspirations and his favorite item in the design studio right now.
WHO: Henry “Hank” Battie, president and owner of Cravats' Custom Clothiers & Haberdashery in Sarasota
ABOUT CRAVATS’ CUSTOM CLOTHIERS & HABERDASHERY: We have long been considered the premier custom clothier of Florida's west coast. I founded the business in 1990. We produce custom-made shirts and clothing for men and women. We carry everything from business attire to festive tuxedos, dinner jackets and custom-designed formal shirts, vests and cummerbund sets to fine jewelry, silk hosiery and footwear. A master tailor is on-site to fine-tune our custom garments and also accepts outside garments for alterations. The studio also offers custom-made casual-style shirts, slacks, jackets and even suits made from fantastic fabrications. Styling is limited only by your own imagination.
WHAT I DO: As a small business owner, I do it all from time to time--from cleaning to everything in between. I handle most of the day-to-day operations and make all of the accessories purchases, which are mostly all custom-designed from manufacturers' swatch samples.
FAVORITE ASPECT ABOUT THE BUSINESS: Designing clothes for our clients and myself. A client once came in wanting to have a sequin jacket made. After locating the fabric (which wasn’t easy!), I helped him design it to his exact specifications and measurements. He was so pleased that we ended up making him two others.
BEST TIP FOR MEN: Don’t get so caught up in what is deemed "fashionable" that you look ridiculous in your clothes. Rather, understand that personal style will take you to where fashion sometimes shouldn’t go. Case in point: if you’re not somewhat tall and lean, the new-look “skinny” suits and clothes are not going to project your best image. It’s good to be conscious of current trends, but create your own style within that context with a look that will be flattering to you.
FAVORITE ITEM IN THE STORE RIGHT NOW: A bespoke ancient madre silk dressing gown. The fabric, roping and trim can all be customized based on your tastes. Who says you have to dress down at home?
FAVORITE FABRIC: For suits, I like luxurious wools. For sports coats, it would be a wool and silk blend. For dress shirts, all cotton; linen for sport shirts.
MY STYLE: Classic with clean lines and with an edgy flair.
HOW HAS YOUR STYLE EVOLVED? I’m in the clothing business so I have to be fashionable, but I make the trends work for me and my personal style.
WHOSE STYLE INSPIRES YOU? I’ve always liked Brioni of Italy because it was all about quality--something sorely lacking in many designer clothes today. I will say, however, that Tom Ford is inspiring.
FAVORITE DESIGNERS: Brioni, Tom Ford and myself, of course.
MY GO-TO ITEMS: For dressing up, a classic navy suit. For a more casual look--and I never thought I would say this!)--a very comfortable pair of jeans with either a nice knit shirt, a sport jacket over a button-down shirt for fall or a leather vest with a cut-and-sewn shirt.
FAVORITE ITEM I OWN: That’s really hard to answer. But I’ll go with what I consider a memorial item, which would be my late wife’s sterling silver wedding band that is inscribed with “Forever Yours” in Egyptian hieroglyphics. I wear it daily on my pinky finger.
Hank is wearing a dressed-up ensemble and a causal Friday look.
Dressed-up ensemble: Plaid three-piece suit designed by Hank, gold watch fob, tan Mezlan shoes made of lizard (sold in the studio), fresh flower boutonnière, Mondo eyeglasses, sterling silver cuff links with amber, sterling silver bracelet by Colonel Littleton, and a beaded bracelet.
Casual Friday look: Mavi jeans (sold in the studio), cut-and-sewn shirt designed by Hank, Trafalgar hand-sewn patchwork belt with alligator, crocodile and lizard, tan Mezlan shoes made of lizard (sold in store), sport coat designed by Hank.
A Florida native, Alicia King Robinson is the director of public relations at Sarasota-based ThreeSixOh Public Relations and the blogger behind New Version of You. Her love of fashion and eye for stylish living began at an early age. Meant to inspire, she explores fashion and the evolution and ever-changing versions of ourselves with style-inspired content.