This is the public Greg Wingfield, President and CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership.
Discreetly tailored in his well-cut Leviner Wood clothing, Greg could sell Richmond to the world on the strength of his elegance alone. But he is truly passionate about our hometown and the entrepreneurial wave that has hit the River City like a tidal wave. We caught up with him to ask a few questions about another one of his passions that appeals to us. Especially since we make his shirts now, too. Here’s a hint: they are all French-cuff…
LW: You collect sterling cufflinks. Why sterling and what got you started?
GW: I decided when I began collecting to just focus on one type of metal. As I liked silver the best and most of my watches and belt buckles were sterling, it was an easy choice.
(Not a man to mix his metals, Greg’s watches coordinate nicely with his cufflinks.)
I didn’t get serious about collecting until the mid 90s. At that time, I found the shirt style that was right for me: spread collar, split yoke back, large mother of pearl buttons, monogram (small case, six buttons down, left side), and French cuffs. So, if I was going to wear nothing but French cuff shirts, I needed a variety of cufflinks.
With the popularity of E-Bay, my collection really took off. I would guess I have bought over 150 pairs from that site alone. Other sources include antique shops, stalls and markets worldwide. It has become my habit to search for cufflinks on my time off as I travel the globe promoting the Greater Richmond area.
While I do not know exactly, I think I have over 350 pair of links in rotation.
(A couple of the drawers in the antique Chinese medicine cabinet that his wife bought him to house his collection.)
LW: With that kind of collection is it safe to assume that all of your shirts are French cuffs? How are Larry’s shirts compared with others you’ve had made?
GW: Yes, currently all the shirts I wear to work have French cuffs. In rotation I would guess I have about 120 shirts. I have another 20 “week-end” shirts and about 70% have French cuffs.
While I have all of my suits, odd jackets and trousers made by Leviner Wood, my shirts, until recently, were made by another local shirt maker. With the passing of the owner recently, I have turned to Larry for my custom shirt needs. We are still tweaking the first round of new shirts, but I am very impressed with the results so far.
LW: Among all your cufflinks, do you have a favorite and why? What is their story?
GW: I have several favorites: The most unusual is a replica of the winning ticket for a horse race from a track in Florida that paid off huge. As a result the ticket winner had cuff links made celebrating the date, track and horse and gave them out to all of friends!
Another is a pair I bought in London in the Burlington Arcade. They are from a special 2007 series commissioned by England celebrating the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown. The face sits a top of a Virginia stamped quarter that was also produced for the celebration.
Another “favorite “ is an Art Deco styled link that I found on E-Bay with my initials “ghw” in block already etched on them. I had to buy them!
Others are just plain interesting, like a pair I bought in the gift shop in Scotland after visiting the house once owned by Aleister Crowley, “the great beast”.
Each of the cufflinks has a story and I wish I know them all.
LW: When looking for vintage/antique links, what are a few things that you look for and what do you watch out for?
GW: I am not an expert, I just collect what looks good to me, fits my price range and style.
With that said, I tend to stay away from cufflinks made in Mexico as the silver is not as pure as those made domestically and from Europe. I also shy away from vintage links made in Japan after WW2, as the silver purity was not very good because of the scarcity of product.
I enjoy vintage sterling silver links particularly from the 30s-40s and if it is from an “estate “ sale, I feel better good that they came from someone who knew their stuff.
LW: You come from a clothing background, what made you choose Leviner Wood?
GW: Having grown up in the “rag” business, I have an appreciation of good fabric and tailoring.
I have found Leviner Wood to be a great place to have my garments made to my specs. At 6 foot 5 inches 225 pounds, I can’t just walk into a men’s wear shop and buy something off the rack (nor would I want to!) At Leviner Wood, Larry and I chat about what fabric I am looking for, what I already have in my wardrobe, what changes I am looking to make in my current suit silhouette and then walk through the vast array of fabric available to narrow down my choices until I hit upon the perfect one. Larry takes the time to work with me and I enjoy the outstanding customer service I get there.
(Larry and our Global Gentleman at Large outside the studio.)