In Their Own Words: Mortimer’s Fall Fashion Tips

Have you ever found yourself wondering how Levitt Pavilions got its name? You’re in luck! Through fun, anecdotal snippets, our In Their Own Words blog series will introduce you to Mortimer and Mimi Levitt, and Liz Levitt Hirsch—the extraordinary people behind the Levitt Pavilions name.

The dapper and dynamic Mortimer Levitt (1907-2005) was not only a generous patron and outspoken advocate for the arts; he was also a leading clothier and creator of a men’s fashion empire of made-to-measure shirts. Born the son of struggling immigrant parents, Mortimer’s story is a genuine rags-to-riches story. By the age of 20, he had started his own business, selling custom-tailored shirts at $2.15 a piece, and by the age of 30 he had opened the Custom Shop, the first of what would grow to include 82 stores from coast-to-coast. Here he amassed his fortune crafting custom-made shirts for prominent celebrities, business executives and politicians. As you can probably imagine, Mortimer was a bold and impeccable dresser with flawless taste. He put his ideas to paper when, at the age of 75, he began a prolific writing career, completing five books on business, fashion and the intersection of the two.

Which brings us to the topic of today’s post. The leaves are changing and so are our wardrobes. It’s that time of year again to pull all your sweaters, boots, scarves and overcoats out of hiding. In light of Mortimer’s expertise, we’ve decided to share with you Mortimer’s four simple guidelines for creating an effortless and fabulous ensemble, his “Golden Rules” if you will. These tips, published in his 1981 publication, The Executive Look, How to Get It–How to Keep It were originally created for male executives. However, modern day lads and lasses might just find these tried-and-true tips to be helpful while putting together fall ensembles.


  1. Two plains and a fancy: According to Mortimer, two patterns cancel each other out, “like ice cream and pickles: pickles taste good, ice cream tastes good, but mix them together and they taste pretty bad.” Make those two plain pieces pop with one patterned piece!
  2. Base color and accent: Color coordination is key! It’s all about accenting your base with a splash of color. Mortimer makes it clear (twice) that for a man, your suit is always your accent color. This is especially true for more formal attire. Following this guideline will simplify your shopping trips, as you should only need to buy things that color-coordinate with your existing wardrobe.
  3. Dark and light, light and dark: This concept builds upon concept 2—dark suits look better with lighter shirts and vice versa. Increasing the contrast between your layers will give your look more character, regardless of the season. With that being said, Mortimer gives permission to add a third color through accessories.
  4. Fit your shirt collar to the “fourth” dimension (this one is definitely more for the fellas): Instead of only judging a collar by its size and style, be aware of the following two other key dimensions: collar back height (make sure it’s suitable for your unique neck height); and collar front height (make sure it’s appropriate for your age). He explains that a higher collar can go a long way in covering wrinkles and “wrinkles are not only an age give away; unfortunately, they also create an ‘over the hill’ image. Who needs that?”

And there you have them, four simple reminders from the man who advised his readers that, “Fashion is an industry rip-off. Forget it! Stay with the classics.”

Be on the lookout for future In Their Own Words blog posts to learn more about Mortimer, Mimi and Liz!

2 thoughts on “In Their Own Words: Mortimer’s Fall Fashion Tips

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