For Philip Soriano, strong combinations are imperative. Holding citizenship with both the U.S. and Germany, the co-founder of D.C.-based online retailer Hugh & Crye has flipped his love of fashion and quality products into a career, overseeing the customer experience for the company. Hugh & Crye applies a personalized fitting system based on body type to create menswear that fits as close to perfect as possible without going full bespoke. The clever system prevents customers from swimming in their clothes or sporting the dreaded muffin-top look created when an ill-fitting shirt is tucked into pants. Being forced to dress up for work or an event should never force you to leave your panache at home.
Soriano lives the Hugh & Crye principles, so you’ll never catch him looking sloppy. That means both his clothes and accessories are considered and on point, but it all starts with grooming. A crisp shirt and slick watch are facets of the perfect look, but it’s a fresh, sharp shave that can bring it all together.
Complex recently spoke to Soriano about his grooming habits, how his look is cultivated, the role it plays in his success, and what’s distinctive about style in D.C.
Interview by Julian Kimble (@JRK316)
Photography by Douglas Sonders (@douglassonders)
What’s the first thing that you do every morning?
I hop in the shower for the wake-up. That’s typically followed by a good cup of coffee, then some breakfast, depending on how late I am.
If you could describe that routine in one snappy tweet, how would you do it?
One tweet? Shower, shave, make some coffee.
Can you elaborate on why you shave and detail the process in which you do it?
I just like dressing up, and shaving gives me the feeling of being prepared for any occasion. I shave right after the shower and follow up by applying aftershave and combing my hair.
Simple enough. So success—how would you define it?
I’d define success as growing whatever passion you have into a full-time job, while also being balanced. Balance can mean work and anything you want to do on the side, because you can’t put all of your energy into work. That balance can be exercise or any type of activity.
How does your look contribute to your success?
I tend to always dress in clothing that fits, so the most important thing for me is looking put-together or dressing for the part. That doesn't necessarily mean dressing up, but dressing for the occasion.
Where did this look originate from?
Growing up in Germany, clothes are made for slimmer body types, so I was exposed to closer-fitting clothing early on. Since joining Pranav [Vora] to start Hugh & Crye and being exposed to clothing and style daily, I quickly noticed that the most important thing is that the clothing fits. You can have a high-end suit made from amazing materials, but if it doesn’t fit, it makes everything else obsolete. Fit is the important foundation that everything else—material, construction, etc.—builds on.
In terms of style, who or what inspires you?
I like to mix up denim work wear with higher end menswear. Crisp shirts and blazers, or kind of like what you’re doing with the chambray shirt and an overcoat matched with some Nikes or something similar.
What’s one style-related accessory that you can’t live without?
I’m a big fan of bracelets; I always have a bracelet or a ring on. A pocket square is really important for me, either in the denim or in a blazer.
What does the phrase "living sharp" mean to you?
To me, sharp living means investing in quality products and not sacrificing quality for price—kind of bringing quality to your life, whether that’s people around you, the shaving instruments that you use, the clothing, or just investing in quality products to have things that last and truly mean something to you.
Let’s talk about D.C. a little bit. Outsiders still have this perception of it as being very conservative, which it still is to some degree, but what’s a hidden truth that no one knows about that you want to share with the world?
Even though it’s sleepy, there are some gems within it. The music scene—there are a lot of top artists that come through. The coffee scene is kind of on the rise, as is the restaurant scene.
As small as D.C. is, it’s still a melting pot of people, many of whom aren’t from here. What’s unique about style in the District?
Like you said, it’s a melting pot. The average guy is kind of restricted to the suit and tie, but every now and then you’ll have these underground hipsters who dress within the confines of their jobs, but then you see that they’re tweaking [their style] a little bit. Similar to in New York, you have the Wall Streeter, but you know that, at night, he’s at a rave with his hat on backwards.
...With the tattoo under his watch.
In terms of what you do with Hugh & Crye, how does the company bring a new edge to what D.C. has cultivated in terms of style?
A lot of people in D.C. wear dress shirts. We offer the standard white, blue, and pink dress shirt, but it just fits in a different way. We have this sizing system based on body type, as opposed to neck and sleeve, and in doing that, we find this perfect fit. Guys who wear Hugh & Crye take off their jackets; they don’t try to hide the billowing [shirt] beneath it. On the flip side, we try to introduce different styles. We’re coming out with a denim shirt in December, so it’s basically offering that personalized sizing system, yet trying to be fashion-forward as well. If a guy in D.C. wants to purchase the denim shirt for the weekends, he can, but if he wants to do the basic office wear, he can do that and still look good.
Is there a secret to your success that you want to reveal?
Never give up.