I was introduced to Brandon Aki at a social event by social activist Femi Abodunde and once he told me he was a “real life Hitch” for women, I knew he was someone unique. He would be an ideal person to interview since not only would he be fully capable to give his male opinion on style, but also how that weaves into dating. A man of many words, Brandon talked about designers I didn’t recognize and a new perspective on how men and women should dress. After learning more about who he is as a person, this is one gentleman that is on the pulse of a style that is truly his own and makes him stand out for the right reasons.1. Describe your style.
I have had the opportunity to travel the world, and I’ve seen some of the best fashion that the world has to offer. I have always been an independent thinker when it comes to my personal style. Being from Charleston, S.C. a city that attracts and caters to the affluent tourist, I have always been attracted to the various boutiques that have lined the streets. Those S.C. boutiques, have a hint of southern charm. So, how I see it, no matter how you shake it I am a southern gentleman at heart with a southern charm that translates in the clothes that I wear every day.
I spent some time in Denver, CO. I moved to Los Angeles, CA to give my career a big push! This is a city where everyone has great fashion sense. I like to say that I stand out with southern charm and a hint of L.A. casual.
I value the way that I look, and like most men, I value the way that a woman looks. How she is dressed opens up the door to great dating possibilities.
2. Who are your top 3 favorite designers?
I often laugh when I hear this question. Because, I personally just have two favorites. Robert Graham creates amazing shirts and is an artist when it comes to the stitching and the texture that he offers in his shirts.
Layers are very important to me both literally and figuratively. Robert Graham is a genius when it comes to ensuring his shirts have depth and character. However, for me personally, I want women to look at dating as I look at the shirts of Robert Graham–demanding depth and demanding that the men that they date have layered personalities.
The work of Waraire Boswell speaks directly to what I do as a dating expert and what I offer my clients. A tailored approach and unique fit are the things that I can always count on with Waraire Boswell designs and are the things that my clients can be proud of while working with me in dating.
Both designers provide products that last a lifetime, and I provide advice that will also last them a lifetime. So, I think that my two style favorites and what I offer to my clients is a match made in heaven.
3. What article of clothing in your closet makes you feel on top of the world?
I enjoy wearing a really nice watch. For me, watches are more of an art piece. When I bought my first Rolex, I loved the vibe. A Rolex is a great piece and a great investment.
If I am stranded somewhere, and I need a way out the Rolex is accepted! Each Rolex that I have represents a different time in my life and also provides as a conversation piece.
I am also big on fragrances. Men and women should find their own signature fragrance. My personal favorite is Creed. What I enjoy about Creed is that this privately held, luxury fragrance dynasty masters the top note, middle note and base note of each fragrance.
While courting you always want to leave your mark. Why not leave a lasting impression with your signature fragrance?
4. If I were to enter your closet right now, what would I be surprised to see?
Just like designers that make me feel and look good and the timepieces that can be a conversation piece, I also love to relax, so one would definitely be surprised to see my Happy Feet Lion slippers. They are super comfortable and help me relax. My best friend and mentor always says, “Be good to yourself,” so the lion slippers are my small way of heeding his advice.
5. How much influence does the way you dress have on your personal brand?
Everything! I believe that what you wear speaks for you and paints a picture of your personality before speaking one word. People judge us before we open our mouths, and I always stress to my clients that it’s all about the presentation.
As a dating expert, ensuring that my clients create a great visual presentation is key for their success in relationships. When my clients factor in a great visual presentation, signature fragrance and are well coached on how to effectively date it takes their romantic prospects to new heights.
What you wear is a direct representation of who you are. Personally and professionally I am textured. I am layered, and like my clothes I have lots of personality.
6. Do you follow trends or make your own?
I do not follow trends, but I do follow social norms. I have a classic style, and I strongly believe that dressing for the occasion and with flair speaks to the masses and the venue.
7. How does Charleston & Colorado style compare to L.A. style?
Charleston is conservative–classic and Colorado is casual–outdoors. L.A., however, is the full gamut of fashion good and bad. There are certain parts of L.A. where people wear the most outrageous things. There’s a wide range of creativity in L.A.
8. Are you currently working with a stylist right now?
If I look like a stylist has dressed me, then I personally am doing my job. Right now, I dress myself because I understand how important it is to establish a brand and understand personal style. I will have some items tailored specifically for me, but I do offer suggestions even with my tailors. I am 6’5” and I know what fits my body the best.
More Q&A with Brandon:
9. In your opinion, what is the future of fashion?
Revival. The fashion industry is on an upswing. When something old meets something new there is an opportunity for a fashion breakout. In an article published by AdAge Magazine, the author Simon Goodall, director-strategy, Saatchi & Saatchi X in London said that men are shopping more than ever. In 2002, 64 percent bought their own clothes; four years later that number was 84 percent, according to GQ.
That article lets me know that men are shopping more and more these days. I personally can’t wait until men get back to appreciating tailored suits and collared shirts.
10. Is style a part of dating?
Yes, big time! Each day I consult women on how to be expert daters, I tell women that they must be cognizant of what your clothes are telling a potential love interest. Clothing speaks directly to an individual’s personality and it adds layers.
Your apparel tells your view on life: Do you think you have to follow trends and go with the masses to feel accepted by the world, or do you forge your own path in life? Your choice of clothing will give people a glimpse into that side of your personality. I encourage everyone I work with to give off a vibe that says, “I am somebody who says yes to the world. I have a great attitude and I’m someone you won’t soon forget.” If you dress like the masses, instead of dressing to reflect your true, inner-self, you risk becoming forgettable.
11. What one thing should women never wear on a first date?
(Brandon smiles) Insecurity. Insecurity takes away from who you are as an individual. Men aren’t attracted to insecure women. My advice to women is, “Wear something that will make you feel like a million dollars, and men will treat you like you are worth every dime.” Wearing something that makes you feel confident will serve women well both mentally and physically. For women, confidence is the sexiest outer garment that can be worn.
12. What is your favorite clothing store in LA?
I appreciate the great stores that are here in L.A. However, I don’t have a favorite clothing store. I get most of my clothes tailored because I appreciate the one-on-one interaction with the designer. And, because I am so tall most retail stores don’t have clothes that fit me comfortably.
13. What would you never be caught wearing as long as you live?
Anything that makes me look like a walking advertisement! There is a classy way of wearing a brand and that is the route I enjoy taking. I prefer subtlety–you shouldn’t put on the clothing to tell the world, “Hey I’m wearing that brand.” Instead, wear it because of the vision of the designer. Let the design speak for the brand, not the logo.
14. What fashion advice would you share with the world?
Growing up my parents always said, “Personal appearance doesn’t cost, it pays.” That advice has served me well during my entire adult life. When you are thinking about dating, it’s important to dress in a way that reflects your positive attributes physically, mentally, emotionally and attracts the person that you want to bring forth in your life.
About Brandon Aki
Brandon Aki is a dating expert. From the time he earned his appointment to the US Air Force Academy, until he was injured while deployed overseas, Brandon laid the foundation to create a courtship consulting practice. A distinguished service jet pilot, his education in economics, leadership, psychology and philosophy with over 15 years of dating experience, Brandon has single handedly created something truly special for women.
His goal is to help women understand men and dating from a gentleman’s perspective. He has been featured in the 2010 November issue of Marie Claire Magazine, appeared on numerous radio shows and is currently developing television programming to help women succeed in dating and post-nuptial courtship.
Brandon has recently finished his first book and spends his time traveling around the country, working with women and promulgating his innovative approach to dating through introspection and development of emotional IQ.