Anil Mujumdar Attorney at Law


Written and styled by Tracy James // Photography by Chuck St. John

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Mujumdar’s python belt was handmade at Trilogy Leather. He considers it his “Kenny Stabler Memorial Belt” and has been wearing it to Alabama games ever since the passing of the late football great, nicknamed “The Snake.” Also pictured: Paul Smith black linen suit, Ralph Lauren linen shirt, and Charvet tie.

Many of my Style Icon subjects balk at the initial request to feature them, eschewing the notion that their fashion sense might make them article worthy. Admittedly, there is something in their humility that confirms their sense of style as genuine and innate. Local attorney Anil Mujumdar is no exception. 

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A few selections from Mujumdar’s colorful tie collection – from left to right: Kiton, Hermes, Brioni, and Emilio Pucci.

“The irony is that I am by far the least fashionable lawyer of the three lawyers in our office,” Mujumdar says of partners Greg Zarzaur and Diandra Debrosse. “At best, I am a style iconoclast.” Only later, during our meeting at Reed Books (the Birmingham institution on 3rd Avenue North) did he relent slightly. Flipping through vinyl records, he came across Funkadelic’s 1976 album Hardcore Jollies and noted, “George Clinton once said, ‘If you got funk, you got style.’ 

“So I suppose in that very limited sense I arguably have some measure of style.”

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An avid reader, Mujumdar’s latest interest is a book of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s correspondence. Perusing an aisle at Jim Reed books, Mujumdar wears a 3-piece blue plaid suit and pink shirt custom made by Hong Kong Tailors. His cuff links are handmade from Indian rupee coins. Etro tie, Bally shoes.

Funk and style abound in Reed Books, the self-proclaimed “Museum of Fond Memories” and Mujumdar’s choice for our meeting. Like great style, it is as comfortable in the then as it is in the now. The book loft (whose owner, Jim Reed, has as many noteworthy and rarefied stories of his own as there are on the shelves) is merely one of the Birmingham establishments frequented by Mujumdar, who enjoys supporting local small businesses. Trilogy Leather in Homewood, owned by Sam Sicola and Tony Pardi, is his go-to for custom leather goods such as exotic skin belts.  Many of Mujumdar’s suits and shirts come from Hong Kong Tailors in Homewood, owned and operated by Ramesh Kirpalani, who has been making custom clothing for more than 40 years. The Kirpalanis are like family to Mujumdar. Ramesh’s brother Bob is a close friend and former law partner. Ramesh’s wife Reshma and his sister-in-law Catherine have an import scarf business, J. Catma, that has proven to be a valuable source of gifts for friends and clients over the years. Mujumdar appreciates Ramesh’s keen eye and unwavering honesty. “Ramesh doesn’t mince words and only delivers the unvarnished truth about what he thinks I should wear and why,” Mujumdar attests, adding, “Although I don’t really get a vote in the matter, he is never wrong.” 

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A few of Mujumdar’s cufflinks sit atop the work of one of his favorite authors, British humorist P.G. Wodehouse, whose novels Mujumdar considers some of the best examples of writing in the English language. Cufflinks from left to right: Ox & Bull Trading Co. houndstooth, artist-made Rolling Stones, and Robert Graham.

Mujumdar’s litigation practice ranges from white collar matters to civil rights cases, and it is his attention to professionalism that guides his choices in what to wear.  “We all dress up at our office out of respect for the people we serve,” he says, pointing out that people dress up for funerals out of respect for the deceased, for religious services out of respect for the values they espouse, for weddings out of respect for the institution of marriage, and for job interviews out of respect for the employer. “I dress up to practice law because I want each client to know that I am honored to serve them and that their matter is important to me,” Mujumdar explains, adding, “It bothers me when lawyers dress down to work with pro bono clients, but dress up for executive clients. I put on a suit to go into a prison to meet with a prisoner and put on a suit to go into a boardroom to meet with a CEO, because I respect them both.” In addition to his law practice, Mujumdar teaches at Miles Law School and says he always dresses up to teach class to demonstrate to his students that their education is important to him.

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Flipping through vinyl records from Roberta Flack and Frank Sinatra, Mujumdar wears a Paul Smith linen suit, Ralph Lauren shirt, Charvet tie, and Bruno Magli loafers.

As for personal style inspiration, Mujumdar cites actors Cary Grant and Marlon Brando, but immediately dismisses any notion of emulating their style as “both theoretically and factually impossible.” Similarly, he notes that while he might admire the oeuvre of Robert Plant, Prince, or Jimi Hendrix, their respective wardrobes don’t exactly fit with his line of work. Instead, if Mujumdar has questions about what to wear, he simply asks himself, “What would Francis Albert Sinatra do?” If there is a picture of Sinatra dressed poorly, Mujumdar says he’s never seen it. “He always dressed perfectly—professionally and socially. He maintained an air of formality in his appearance that was just right.” 

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