Four Inane Questions with haberdasher Tom Paolini
Not to brag, but Paolini Garment Company owner Tom Paolini has outfitted an impressive and eclectic crowd over the years—everyone from businessmen to influencers. His clothing brand has also found a following amongst coaches and athletes from the NCAA, NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLS.
The clothier successfully launched his custom suit company during the depths of the recession in early 2009 but really made a name for himself when he aligned with Sporting Kansas City during their re-branding. He helped co-design the suits for their players, owners, and leadership team. (Fun fact: Paolini also dressed Sporting for their trip to the White House following their 2013 MLS Cup victory.)
The always stylish haberdasher says his goal is to support and elevate the Kansas City fashion scene while celebrating the metro’s prodigious history in the garment trade. We touched base with Paolini in-between celeb fittings to ask him our list of random questions. And, yes, we wore a tie.
The Pitch: What’s the most memorable drive you’ve taken?
Tom Paolini: It’s as much about the cars as the drive. My dad would buy, repair, and resell cars when we were growing up. We had some gems, but many would be a PoS he’d buy, make road-worthy, add a cheap K-Mart stereo, and make it less of a PoS.
I remember breaking an axle in a 1975 convertible MGB Anniversary after being told not to take it for a drive.
But the most memorable was the drive home with our firstborn. I was so nervous that I turned on the hazards the whole way.
What’s an apparel pattern/print that needs to be discontinued forever?
When it comes to style, I like to apply the Henry Ford quote, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”
The great thing about style, which is different from fashion, or “fashun,” for that matter, is that just about everything is ‘in.’ All style advice should come with an asterisk and be qualified with an “it depends.”
Thanks to social media and a global sartorial influence, you can get validation on a specific look/pattern/print that you like. That said, regardless of your location, if you’re over 10 years old—no tie-dye.
There are now 28 hours in every day. What do you spend those extra four hours on?
There’s a Japanese term called “tsundoku,”which is the act of acquiring many books but never reading them.
When I have free time, I love to shop for books, but I’ve gotten out of the habit of reading for a long time now. I peruse magazines and keep up on fashion, design, and the happenings in Kansas City, but regardless of how many books have piled up on the bookshelf, there’s always room for that next amazing read.
Name something you’ve never quite been able to master.
Time management. It’s been said that people who are consistently late are considered optimistic because they believe they can get somewhere quicker than is actually feasible.
Someone who is always late must have written that.
I try to use the excuse that I’m on IPT: Italian People Time—10 a.m. means pretty much any time in the 10 o’clock hour.
But my wife is religiously punctual, so I’ve improved. My guideline is that if it’s for work, I’m usually on time. If it’s for leisure, I do my best. Apologies to my friends.
Bonus 5th Question: Which of life’s mysteries is the most scintillating to you?
Most technology. And medicine. And science. And the economy.
Seriously, I’ve long been enamored with art heists and looting. I have a couple of dozen books on the topic—that I’ve actually read—both novels and true crime. I try to read any articles on them and even used to keep tabs on the latest news on the art loss register website.
Now a lot of them are being made into documentaries or podcasts.
With the current fascination with the largest art heist in history—the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum theft—it’s great to see it part of the modern zeitgeist.