Considered the best-dressed coach in college basketball for seven years now, Villanova's Jay Wright is clearly a man of style.
That said, Wright's tailor, Gabriele D'Annunzio - the man largely responsible for Wright's courtside look - has a key piece of advice for the coach when he chooses the suit for his team's Saturday-night Final Four game against Oklahoma.
Go with the dark-blue double-breasted.
That would be one of the four suits D'Annunzio made for Wright at the beginning of the season at his Newtown Square bespoke men's shop, D&B Tailors.
"I had to convince him to go for that new look. This is where fashion is going," said the soft-spoken tailor. "Trust me."
D'Annunzio has been working with Wright, who reportedly has two closets in his bedroom (one for suits - which also include Hugo Boss - and the second for shoes, shirts, and slacks) for eight years.
At the beginning of each college season, Wright and D'Annunzio meet to take the coach's most current measurements and choose from a striped and checked assortment of mostly Italian fabrics.
Over the years, the specific style of Wright, now 54, who is 6-foot-1, has evolved into a two-button blazer with 31/2-inch peak lapels, side vents, ticket pockets, and, of course, a contrasting pocket square.
The blazers are usually paired with flat-front pants with side-welt pockets for jamming his expressive hands in.
And then there is the "Gabriele" shirt - a crisp dress shirt with pleats in the arms and a web of three pleats down the yoke of the back.
"It's my signature shirt," said the 72-year-old tailor, taking off his own pin-striped jacket to point out the details. "[Wright] tells me he always gets compliments when he wears it."
That's a look introduced by fashion designer Perry Ellis, D'Annunzio says - and he should know.
D'Annunzio opened his tailor/cleaners business in Newtown Square in 1966 and moved to his present space the next year. He points to his "wall of fame," where portraits of some of his famous clients - Frankie Avalon, Frank Sinatra, George Burns, and Sherman Hemsley - hang.
He's also served as the tailor for important local high-society families, like the DuPonts, Biddles, and the Widener University Dixons. He's made suits for QVC CEO Mike George, too (also known for being a sharply dressed man about town).
D'Annunzio, who says the average cost of his suits is $2,500 to $3,000, hasn't dressed too many athletes in his storied career - some can be too hard to work with, he says - but his sports roster does include former Phillies Mike Schmidt and Larry Bowa, as well as former Eagle Mike Quick. More recently, D'Annunzio fitted and fashioned former Villanova guard Scottie Reynolds.
D'Annunzio met Wright in 2008 through his relationship with Villanova's then-assistant coach Patrick Chambers. (Chambers is the current head coach for Penn State's basketball team.)
"[Chambers'] dad was one of my first customers ever," D'Annunzio said.
D'Annunzio's parents were tailors in their hometown of Abruzzi, Italy. The family, along with D'Annunzio's brother, Carmen, moved to West Philadelphia in 1955, when he was 11.
He cut his tailoring teeth as a teenager alongside his father at Joseph H. Cohen & Sons, a menswear manufacturing plant at Broad and Lehigh, before going into business for himself. Of note: The cost of a Gabriele D'Annunzio custom suit when he started was between $300 and $500.
Over the years, he's seen European cuts of the 1960s evolve into bell-bottom chic looks of the 1970s (the ugliest time in fashion, he insists). With the 1980s came more conservative cuts, followed by the sloppy 1990s.
But now, he says, after years of too-small suits, men's fashion is going back to its 1930s style heyday, and he's gladly welcoming it - with the best-dressed man in college basketball as his top model.