Photographer: Steven Danner
Edited by: Myra Grady
In his own words, Christian Menne refers to himself as an entrepreneur, visionary, artist and entertainer. “Truly a renaissance man.” The professional St. Louis real estate agent, and long-time client of Gentry’s Limited, was able to share his insight into sartorial choices and the St. Louis scene. Brimming with depth and courage, we are choosing to share his words in their original interview format. His voice is not one which will be unheard or overwhelming, "I am exactly who I was born to be. I am not afraid of anything."
GL: What attracted you to your current career?
CM: “Growing up in Richmond Heights and Ladue, I was always surrounded by wealth and big beautiful houses. After an unfortunate incident in my late teens I spent months recovering from brain and spinal injuries. Months turned into years. I scraped my intention of going to Mizzou and decided to get into sales like my parents. I had an epiphany. Sell houses!
I have the attitude, the grit, the look, and the personality. Working with people is the main reason I do it. I love houses, the architecture of them, and especially the interior design. The environment a house creates can be magical and mesmerizing.
There are only three environments you can really control; your house, your outfit, and your car. More importantly are the people you choose to spend your time with. Nothing feels better to me than putting friends, a family or couple into their new house, or helping a neighbor sell their old house. It is the true American dream, and most people’s largest investment.”
GL: What impact does your appearance have in your professional life?
CM: “The way you dress says a lot about yourself. If I wear a hoodie or a cheap outfit people immediately assume, I’m in college or just another kid. But if I walk around wearing a suit, nice shoes and shirt, and proper accessories people think, “Who is this young man, and what does he do?” It starts a dialogue.
When I first started working in real estate, I quickly realized all of the top Realtors dressed very well all of the time. I wanted to mirror the people I looked up to, but in my own style. Wearing suits when nobody else does requires serious confidence. Also, it seems like a lot of my generation are conformists. Nobody wants to stand out because they are afraid of being judged. Not me. I don’t follow trends, I set them.
If you knew you were not going to wake up tomorrow, what would you wear today? I would wear a custom suit.”
GL: Would you describe yourself as bold or classic in your wardrobe choices?
CM: “A mix of both. I like a full suit, and or 3-piece suit. Usually with peak lapels, which are more fashionable in my opinion, and old school. I designed a 5-inch acute-angle collar shirt with Dakota Grady that was inspired by Italian-American gangsters in the 1960s “Goodfellas.” I always wear a tie if I’m wearing these shirts, and they all have French cuffs and my names embroidered on the sleeves. I like to wear designer loafers with these suits if its nice outside with no socks.
Without even realizing what we were making; my suits and formal outfits intuitively have a very “Gatsby” look to them. Dakota and I have recently made a handful of casual button-up shirts for spring and summer that I will wear with the top buttons undone for a cooler look. I also have a few very nice outerwear jackets and parkas depending on the occasion or weather. If I’m at home or with friends I’ll wear a nice crew shirt and jeans for comfort. Love sun glasses and jewelry as well. I have created a style of my own which is very bold, but also classic and sophisticated. “
GL: What items are a necessity in your daily carry and why?
CM: “I wear a Cartier Pasha watch every day. It goes with anything I want to wear, and looks like it was something that a Portuguese explorer would have worn in the 1600s. I promised myself when I closed my first multi-million-dollar property that I would buy myself a rare watch. The first house I helped sell did the trick at 21, and that watch is a daily reminder that I can acquire top dollar listings and deals. I also wear Tom Ford shades, and sport Creed cologne. I am big believer in the power of smell. When I hold open houses, I make sure to light candles and spray air freshener. If you, your house or car always smell good, people will notice.”
GL: What draws you to St. Louis and what aspects of St. Louis culture and life do you admire most? What would you tell a new-comer?
CM: “I really like the fact that everybody seems to know each other. It creates a real sense of community, and it’s a great place to raise a family. Excellent private and public schools. All of my family live here or nearby. And it is diverse, with plenty to do if you actually look and have a good attitude.
I love downtown Clayton. It isn’t huge, but full of professionals and doers. Great area to network. Café Napoli is the place to be on a nice evening. When I’m hanging out somewhere, I want a nice atmosphere, high quality service, and great food and drink. I want to know the owner and all of the employees as well. I also enjoy “The Hill” Love all of the Italian restaurants and shops.
St. Louis is a place to stand out. It’s a place to start a business. It is unique. In bigger cities you probably will not run into the same people all the time, thus giving you the freedom to slack off or be average. Here in St. Louis you have a reputation to consider at every moment of every day. If you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen. You have more rights here: more opportunity. Affordable real estate. If you like to travel, this city is a perfect home base. Why would I leave? Only if an extraordinary opportunity presented itself to me, which it might at some point. Trust in the process. Time and pressure. Persistence and determination.”
GL: Why did you choose Gentry’s Limited?
CM: “I chose Gentry’s because I know Dakota Grady provides top notch customer service and the highest quality products however I choose to make them. He is making the best bespoke apparel in St. Louis. Period.”
PHONE: (314) 495-8549