Stephen Haggard

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Even the mannequins are meticulously dressed.
S.J. Haggard & Co. is described as traditional but not stuffy..
Stephen Haggard has always loved clothes. He opened S.J. Haggard & Co. in Nichols Hills Plaza in 1991.
Stephen Haggard’s attendsseveral markets a year and isparticular about everything fromfabric to buttons.

Stephen Haggard: Man with a Passion

Stephen Haggard talks clothes, coaches and trends

By Linda Miller

When Stephen Haggard landed a part-time job at a popular clothing store in the late 1960s, it turned into more than a way to earn a few dollars during the Christmas holiday. Clothes and retail became a passion.

Haggard soaked up everything he could learn about the business and held onto his dream of one day owning his own men’s apparel store. S.J. Haggard & Co. opened in 1991 in Nichols Hills Plaza. Two decades later he opened a second store at Shoppes at Northpark.

He attends several markets a year to buy the style of clothes and accessories his clientele has come to expect. He’s a stickler for details, right down to the perfect button for many suits and jackets.

And here’s an interesting bit of trivia. Haggard wears the same size jacket as George W. Bush. At one of the markets, he got to try on a custom jacket made for the president. It was a perfect fit. Which is exactly what he wants for his customers.

First, will you share how you got interested in men’s fashion and retail?

I have always liked dressing right for the occasion. Back in junior high school I met Denny Wehba at Rothchild’s Varsity Shop. At the time it was a lease department owned by the Orbach family. Everybody shopped there with Denny. It was a clubby atmosphere and I got to know all the guys well.

As time went by, I went to college and was partying way too much. At the very time I was considering what to do with my life, Denny called asking if I would want to work during Christmas. That was in October of 1968, thus launching a 45-year career. I fell in love with every aspect of the business.

Share some of the brands carried in your stores.

At the top we start with the oldest suit maker in America, H. Freeman & Son. It is made in Philadelphia, Pa., and is a wonderful garment. We have Gitman Brothers shirts and Dolcepunta ties from Italy. One of our lines for dress trousers is Berle, also made in America. On the sportswear side we were one of the first to carry Bill’s Khakis. We have Peter Millar, Scott Barber, Bugatchi from Italy, Alberto jeans from Germany, Big Star jeans and Nat Nast just to name a few. Enough to tempt you, anyway. We also do full custom from H. Freeman & Son and custom shirts from Measure Up.

You waited a long time before opening a second store. What led to that decision?

That is interesting. Tom Morris, a longtime friend and owner of Shoppes at Northpark, had always mentioned how much he would like for us to be in his center. We never really put much thought to it until it became obvious that we weren’t getting that North Oklahoma City/Quail Creek customer. They just could not drive to Nichols Hills. Northpark presented us with a package that was too good to turn down and after being open in Nichols Hills for 20 years, we finally said yes. Denny Wehba, the man that got me in this business, is running that store and it has turned out to be a great deal for all of us. We are approaching our second anniversary in Northpark and what a great center it is.

Every shop there is locally owned and, in fact, Northpark is approaching its 40th anniversary.

S.J. Haggard dresses several OSU coaches, including head football coach Mike Gundy, defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer and basketball coach Travis Ford. Can you share a little tidbit about each coach’s style?

This started with Mike Gundy’s first season as head coach. He is a man of high integrity and knows what he wants! He is a perfect model, tall and lean, and wears clothes very well. He has been named best-dressed coach of the Big 12 for nine years running. He totally trusts what I do for him and he wears it exactly like we put it together. His style is old money conservative with today’s touch.

Upon Mike’s recommendation, Coach Spencer came to us for his wedding attire this summer. Travis Ford is really into clothes and likes to shop. It is always a fun time when he comes in. He, too, is conservative but with an updated touch. He likes all the stuff I like so that makes it easy to work with him.

Menswear changes slowly. What can men expect to see for fall fashion?

This fall you will see more sweaters in zip top and collared styles. You’ll see rich plaid sport shirts and a little more color in neckwear. We are traditional, but not stuffy. We can get a little out there with our Italian shirts from Bugatchi and St. Croix.

During these times of economic unrest, men’s styles become more conservative and speaking of conservative, navy blazers have become a very hot item again. Very hard to beat with dress pants, khakis or even jeans.

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