Behind The Counter: Henry "Hank" Battie

Photography by Lori Sax By Susan Burns October 31, 2012

Henry “Hank” Battie, Owner Cravats’ Custom Clothiers

You were born in Sarasota. How did you get into the tailoring business?

I’ve always loved clothing. I started buying my own clothes when I was nine. When I got out of the military, I needed a job and worked at a St. Armands store for 16 years. After an ownership change, I started looking around, and no one was doing custom.

How do you describe your business?

We’re custom clothiers. Everything is made specifically for our clients. We do ladies clothes, too.

Who comes into your shop?

We have myriad clients—financial advisers, attorneys, professionals and, since we have such an active retiree community, retirees.

How do you keep up with trends?

A lot of the stuff I see in GQ I wouldn’t wear. The new style looks like Pee-wee Herman’s clothes or your little brother’s hand-me-ups. We do what’s best for the client.

What percentage of men buy custom clothing?

The percentage who enjoy dressing. It’s about 7 percent to 10 percent [of the male population]. Our suits average between $1,200 and $1,500.

Your most unique fashion request?

A sequin jacket. He called it edgy.

What is the most essential item a man should have in his closet?

A navy blazer with a couple of nice coordinated pants in charcoal gray, taupe, khaki. Then a navy suit.

What’s changed most in the 20 years you’ve been doing business?

Men aren’t dressing as much as they used to. It started with casual Friday and became casual every day. I think dressing better is returning, though.

Worst look?

A short-sleeve shirt with a tie.

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