How I Got This Look: Fashion Designer John McDavid Lehman’s Bespoke Style

L.A.’s most buttoned-up boulevardier deconstructs his signature style

Fashion designer John McDavid Lehman—a third-generation Angeleno, former proprietor of McMarden’s Men’s Boutique, and creator of local labels R.B. of McD, McMarden, and Davey—has a look that may scream 2021, but this West Adams-based designer’s bespoke style is a gift from his grandfather.

Style Philosophy: “Style is a confidence game—the ultimate candy-coated grift. On my best day, I’m a Fitzgerald daydream, a modern-day Gatsby presenting only what I want you to see. There’s also a great deal of heritage involved. The importance of tailoring and fabrication were passed down to me by my family.”

Frames: I’ve worn glasses since I was 13, and I’ve always preferred a weighty frame. Tom Ford makes the perfect pair. I can wear it all day without fatigue.

Lapel pins: This handmade boutonniere was a gift from a dear friend. For me, crafting a look is all about the details—knowing when to push and when to show restraint. The red popper is a bright little push.

 Sweatshirt: My handmade streetwear line is named Davey, which is my family’s nickname for me. This sweatshirt, part of last year’s collection, is embroidered with the words, “Oh, Davey.” It was meant to be an expression, like a sigh: “Oh, Davey!” But It recently slid into heavy rotation.


Tunic: My Korla tunic is named after the late musician Korla Pandit. He was born John Roland Redd, a fair-skinned Black dude from Missouri. But in the early ’40s, he moved to L.A. and adopted a whole new persona as a French-Indian organist from New Delhi. My father, who’s a classically trained pianist, introduced me to Pandit. I love his story of transformation, and I often reference him in my work.

Pants: I designed this pant years ago and I wear a version of it almost every day. I’m not a huge fan of belts—I hate belt loops, actually. None of my trousers have them. The glen-plaid fabric is a shout-out to my grandfather, who wore a beautifully cut glen-plaid suit whenever the sun was out, usually paired with a red sock and the heaviest of wingtips. I have most of his suits in my closet.

Socks: I call these tie-dye numbers my COVID socks. I purchased a handful of off-white socks from Uniqlo a few weeks ago and got busy tying and dying. I love the process but have yet to perfect it, obviously.

Shoes: The G.H. Bass penny loafer is not my favorite shoe, but it’s the easiest. I’ve worn a version of this loafer since seventh grade, when I was a kid in private school. I wore them when I played basketball during lunch breaks in ’88, and now I wear them when I walk the dogs.

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