Most stylish New Yorkers: Fritz Karch

The prints and patterns maven presents his best vintage ensembles.

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  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    Karch wears solely vintage goods, such as this '50s Custom Imperial Clothes cashmere jacket, cashmere sweater vest, '40s gingham wool scarf and cotton corduroy pants.

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    "You don't get bored because you can change more often, since it doesn't cost as much," Karch explains of his devotion to consignment threads. "If you go buy an Herms coat, it should last for 60 years, but I don't want to wear the same jacket for that long."

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    "They remind me of the brilliant architect I.M. Pei," says Karch of his French-made glasses from the '80s.

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    One of Karch's only nonvintage purchases is this classic leather belt from Target (locations throughout the city; visit target.com).

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    Karch purchased these Argyll wellies at Earnest Sewn (locations throughout the city; visit earnestsewn.com). "My goal is to be warm, dry and comfortable," he says. "It's never fashionable to be uncomfortable or freezing."

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    Karch dons another preloved ensemble, complete with a Nat Goodwin jacket, his father's "old party pants," a Timber Ridge shirt, a no-name silk tie and a Christian Dior scarf.

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    "I first fell in love with gingham prints one summer in the late '90s," recalls Karch. "I liked wearing a lot of patterns, but I asked myself, 'what patterns are made in wool that I could wear during the winter?' It turns out the most colorful wool ones come in tartan."

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    Karch collects wool Tam O'Shanter-style hats. "I like the name, how they look and the bull's-eye pattern," he says. He bought this one at the Golden Nugget Antique Market (gnmarket.com) in Lambertville, NJ.

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    Karch rocks a pair of tortoise Italian eyeglasses.

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    "Working for Martha Stewart enabled me to travel the U.S. and discover a lot of new vintage retail markets," says Karch of his boss's influence on his style. His no-name, pre-used silk tie matches his outfit perfectly here.

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    Karch's classic Alden leather wing-tip shoes balance out the plaid explosion.

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    "It's not just plaid; I like patterns and anything but all-solids---if you get enough colors together, it becomes like a pattern," says Karch. "I don't know if it's a revolt from my upbringing, but I just like pattern on pattern on pattern---more is more is more. There is a [Latin] phrase, horror vacui, for the fear of empty space and plainness. I think that sums me up."

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    "This is my Martha Stewart holiday party outfit," says Karch of this plaid ensemble, which he wore to a company fte three years ago. The print is called the Royal Stewart. He combines it with a Stanley Blacker jacket, Puritan vest, Nautica shirt, '30s Cape Cod Weavers tie and the Scotch House scarf.

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    "[Popped collars] are a do outdoors to protect you from weather, but a don't indoors because hopefully the weather is nicer," opines Karch.

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    He accessorizes with another Tam O'Shanter-style hat and a pair of his Sferoflex eyeglasses, purchased at the Sight Improvement Center (25 W 43rd St between Fifth and Sixth Aves; 212-921-1888, sightimprovementcenter.com).

  • Photograph: Zenith Richards

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    "Patience and luck" is Karch's advice on how to find matching accessories, like these '70s vinyl golf shoes.

Photograph: Zenith Richards

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Karch wears solely vintage goods, such as this '50s Custom Imperial Clothes cashmere jacket, cashmere sweater vest, '40s gingham wool scarf and cotton corduroy pants.

Fritz Karch, "active senior," director of collecting at Martha Stewart Living, Chelsea

His personal style: "I'm mad for patterns—can't get enough! And I only buy pre-owned and used pieces. I am a firm believer in recycling."

His inspiration: "Mr. French from the TV show Family Affair."

Favorite NYC stores: "Church Street Surplus (327 Church St between Canal and Lispenard Sts; 212-226-5280, churchstreetsurplus.com) specializes in military-woodsman and fun vintage clothes—they have great prices and a big selection. Village Style (111 E 7th St between First Ave and Ave A; 212-260-6390) has overcoats, boots, sneakers and fun-patterned shirts. I like Gentlemen's Resale Shop (322 E 81st St between First and Second Aves; 212-734-2739) for excellent-quality items and the presentation, and it constantly gets in new stock. There's one guy at the West 25th Street Market (W 25th St between Sixth and Seventh Aves, 212-243-5343) who [offers items acquired at estate sales] every week; it can be [stuff from] a flamenco star, an old Spanish man or a fashion editor. You never know what he's going to get, and that makes it so much fun. Cherry (Cherry Resource Center, 40-37 23rd St between 40th and 41st Aves, Long Island City, Queens; 718-786-8645), for finding great extremes and classic American vintage clothing, always in great condition."

His all-time favorite style icons: "Iris Apfel. She isn't afraid of scale and accessories. Also, Cary Leibowitz, who mixes patterns much more cleverly than anyone I've met."

How his style has evolved: "I stopped buying new clothes and added more patterns to my wardrobe."

His haircut spot: "Charles Li Hair Salon (359 E 19th St between First and Second Aves; 212-979-7959)."

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MICHAELA WALSH
MICHAELA WALSH

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MICHAELA WALSH
MICHAELA WALSH

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