Natty Professor

Heed this lesson in pairing color, pattern, and cool accessories to accentuate a smart, funny lifestyle.

There’s a saying that you should “dress for the job you want.” It seems Bernie Armada, 46, professor of communications and journalism at St. Thomas University by day, improv comedian by night (he has performed at Huge Theater, Brave New Workshop, and ComedySportz) has the job thing nailed down. But his wardrobe didn’t project the creative fire that  you notice within minutes of meeting him. This became, instead, “dress for the knockout personality you have,” accentuating Armada’s star power and keen intellect.



Before TransformationAfter Transformation

The Challenge: Color, pattern, accessories—it’s time for Armada to live out loud, sartorially speaking.

Our Take: Armada has the whole package—handsome and charming. It was just a matter of expressing it through his wardrobe.  The beauty of the new wardrobing was that it doesn’t stray far from classic styling and men’s basics, which means it’s easy to change the look and layer on some accessories to add personality.  Don’t discount a quick hit of color (a watch face, for example) or pattern (pocket square) if you’re feeling squeamish about wearing something new. Add layers for visual interest—and fun.

Armada’s Takeaway: “I know I will now be more willing to stray away from so many solids,” he says. “It can be too much of a good thing. I never thought of accessories at all—most guys don’t, I don’t think. If I would have seen the [orange windowpane check sportcoat] on the rack, I would have definitely said no, but seeing it all together changed my mind. I’m ready to add some fun and experiment with color.”


1.  It’s a go-to sweater that can layer with just about anything. A perfect canvas for some brighter pieces.
2.  Yes, you can accentuate a sweater pocket with a pocket square. No longer just for suit coats! 
3.  A journalism professor definitely needs a grown-up take on a newsboy hat.
4.  Classically tailored pants get an update in olive green. Pair with oxblood for the most current color combo.


Sunglasses, Brief Case, Gloves

Above: Sweater, $325; chambray shirt, $145; pocket square, $50; olive pant, $275, all @ Twill, Galleria, Edina, 952-922-2711, Altea hat, $118 @ MartinPatrick3, 212 Third Ave. N., Mpls., 612-746-5329, Rancourt & Co penny loafers, $270 @ Askov Finlayson, 200 N. First St., Mpls., 612-206-3925, Main Photo: Sport coat, $1,098; button-up shirt, $198; brown vest, $198; pocket square, $75; denim, $220, all @ Twill. Belt, $60; watch, $95, both @ Hammermade, Galleria, Edina, 952-681-2534, Moccasin, $230 @ Askov Finlayson. Briefcase, $690 @ Twill. At Right: Chair, $1,295 @ Danish Teak Classics, 1500 NW Jackson St., #277, Mpls., 612-362-7870, Briefcase, $690 @ Twill. Sunglasses, $180 @ Askov Finlayson. Taki watch, $95 @ Hammermade. Howlin Castro scarf, $80 @ Askov Finlayson. Norse Projects gloves, $90 @ Askov Finlayson. Below: Vest, $225; button-up, $148, both @ MartinPatrick3. Pant, $218; key chain, $20, both @ Askov Finlayson. Wallet, $115 @ MartinPatrick3. Shoe, $367 @ MartinPatrick3.


Collected Casual

Small changes add up to a big style statement.

1.  Polka dots add a lively twist to a closet staple.
2.  Think small: add patterns and textures with accessories.
3.  Gray is the new black—at least, if you’re looking to make a change.
4.  The Explorer pant from Askov Finlayson is American made.

Watch this video and see what goes on when our subjects undergo a transformation.