My Morning Routine

⇾ Fred Castleberry, Menswear Designer

My Morning Routine

⇾ Fred Castleberry,
Menswear Designer

A slow, stylish start is key to his success

Menswear designer Fred Castleberry

An aesthete through and through, Frederick Egan Castleberry has a true appreciation for beautiful things and always looks good, no matter what he's doing. And the guy does a lot. He describes himself as “the creative director/part-time CEO/sales associate/photographer/designer/unpaid intern at F.E. Castleberry,” a made-to-measure clothing label. He epitomizes the brand's ethos, which is luxury with a relaxed, rebellious attitude. “It's the product of a bygone New York and the blurred line between upper class opulence and downtown irreverence,” he says. He's definitely got an appreciation for the finer things, but not because they're fancy but because they're well-made and will last. You might have caught the Ralph Lauren alum on the debut season of Stylish With Jenna Lyon on HBO Max. Personally, I've always appreciated Fred's manifesto, “The better you dress, the worse you can behave.” Any bad behavior aside, Castleberry is an old school gentleman, so we were eager to catch him on the way to his atelier in New York City's Greenwich Village to see how he starts his day.

The Series

Those moments between turning off the alarm and getting into our work routine can be the most defining 60 minutes of our day. Benjamin Franklin set a day's worth of plans by 5 am and Steve Jobs asked a simple question: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" Our rituals are a reflection of us. So we've ventured out to discover how some of our most influential and fruitful peers get started.

Fred Castleberry illustration

My Routine

I’m waking up without an alarm these days.

Like most people, I imagine, this year has really interrupted my sleep cycle. In 2020, I decided to ditch my alarm altogether. I wake up to the light, usually around nine am.

I aim for seven to eight hours of quality sleep.

I really prize my rest. It's the number one factor in staying healthy, right? So I never rush it.

Sometimes I’ll use a silk eye mask.

It's currently stashed on top of my nightstand. Along with the book Stealing Rembrandts—a history of stolen artwork and the enthralling stories behind the thieves who stole them—along with a glass of water and a wireless charging pad.

The first 15 minutes of my day is me just trying to get out of bed.

The next 45 minutes is me firing up the coffee machine, enjoying a hot shower, followed by a two-minute cold shower. Then having my coffee moment while reading/meditating.

I use the quiet time to mentally prepare for the day.

I spend 30 minutes, sipping coffee and reading sacred texts—usually my Bible—and in prayer/meditation.

Each morning I brew four to six cups of coffee.

I love my Technivorm Moccamaster. It's a beautiful machine and a joy to operate. I take my coffee black. Always. At a coffee shop, I'll just take a black Americano.

I only eat breakfast on the weekends, at best.

When I do, I love sausage, eggs, hash browns, and a bottomless cup of coffee. There's a spot around the corner from my atelier in Greenwich Village called Joseph Leonard that does this extremely well.

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But I need the coffee.

A strong cup is a crucial part of my morning before getting started on work.

Fitness is not all that important to me.

At least not first thing in the morning, apparently! I do cycle 20 miles several times a month, but that's really it. For me, I focus more on my diet and practice intermittent fasting.

I employ a combination of both to-do lists and a calendar.

They're both necessities to keep me on track. To-do lists with alarms/dates attached to them are key. I use them everyday.

I shave twice a week with a razor.

In preparation for shaving, I soak a washcloth in piping hot water, wring it out, and then compress the bottom half of my face with the steam for a full minute.

Getting dressed informs how my day will go.

Fashion is about feeling something ... and for me that's about what I'm feeling in the moment. I check the weather, open up the armoire, and then start with a specific piece I'm feeling—a sport jacket, a tie, or it's a variation on an already workshopped uniform I consistently wear. At this point in my life, it all happens in less than 15 minutes.

I’m not a stickler for routine when I’m traveling.

I'm just looking to nail the coffee part. I don't like the feeling of being too married to a routine. Something about it takes the excitement out of life for me.

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When it comes to grooming, I keep it simple.

But I believe in investing in quality products that are well made, aesthetically pleasing and highly effective.

Fred Castleberry's favorite grooming products

Clockwise, from top left

Ferulic + Retinol
Wrinkle Recovery serum,
$88 by Dr. Dennis Gross

RE9 Advanced Vitamin C
SPF 15 moisturizer,
$53 by Arbonne

The Botanist natural deodorant,
$24 by Corpus

Opiat dentaire
orange ginger clove toothpaste,
$20.53 by Officine Unniverselle Buly

Tortoiseshell toothbrush,
$10 by C.O. Bigelow

French Lover cologne,
from $57 by Frederic Malle

Mr. Fox Prince Albert slippers,
$450 by F.E. Castleberry

Moccamaster coffee maker,
$329.95 by Technivorm

Fred Castleberry's favorite grooming products

Ferulic + Retinol
Wrinkle Recovery serum,
$88 by Dr. Dennis Gross

RE9 Advanced Vitamin C
SPF 15 moisturizer,
$53 by Arbonne

The Botanist
natural deodorant,
$24 by Corpus

Tortoiseshell
toothbrush,
$10 by C.O. Bigelow

Opiat dentaire
orange ginger clove toothpaste,
$20.53 by
Officine Unniverselle Buly

French Lover
cologne,
from $57 by
Frederic Malle

Moccamaster coffee maker,
$329.95 by Technivorm

Mr. Fox Prince Albert slippers,
$450 by F.E. Castleberry

Clockwise, from top left

Ferulic + Retinol
Wrinkle Recovery serum,
$88 by Dr. Dennis Gross

RE9 Advanced Vitamin C
SPF 15 moisturizer,
$53 by Arbonne

The Botanist natural deodorant,
$24 by Corpus

Tortoiseshell toothbrush,
$10 by C.O. Bigelow

Opiat dentaire
orange ginger clove toothpaste,
$20.53 by Officine Unniverselle Buly

French Lover cologne,
from $57 by Frederic Malle

Moccamaster coffee maker,
$329.95 by Technivorm

Mr. Fox Prince Albert slippers,
$450 by F.E. Castleberry

Never leave
home without ...

Never leave home without ...

My canvas tote bag from The Met. It will have everything I need in it for my day without me having to think too hard about “did I remember everything?”

Canvas tote, $35 / $17.50
by The Metropolitan Museum of Art

NOTE: Items featured in this story are independently selected. Purchasing via our links may earn Valet. a portion of the sale, which helps fund our editorial mission.

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