Saturday, December 31, 2011
Friday, December 30, 2011
New Year's Eve is time to put on your dancing shoes. With silk socks, if at all possible. The sheen of silk complements patent leather and calls attention to the wearer's feet on the dance floor, a la Fred Astaire. On this night, indeed on most nights, this is a good thing.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
The glen check was originally a country suit, and in England remains relegated to that role or to weekend wear in London. But subtle versions are reasonable choices for a fifth or sixth suit in the business wardrobe, where it is perfectly appropriate outside of city centers. In the photo, Mr. Bond wears a lightweight example in Jamaica.
I say a fifth or six suit because, aside from stripes, pattern is rarely as universally acceptable as solids and semi-solids. But, worn on Fridays, the glen check fills a role as something slightly more casual. And that same suit works well for maintaining appearances on the weekend, to the extent that there remain suit-preferred weekend occasions.
Consider the business glen check.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
In classical antiquity swimming and bathing was done nude, a practice that was common in natural settings until it was banned in England in 1860. To the extent that any single date can be assigned to a form of clothing, that was the beginning of the men's bathing suit.
Bathing suit wearers tend to fall into two categories. Competitive swimmers and those men who swim regularly for exercise usually swim indoors, in pools. The rest of us swim in the sun, at the sea shore or in lakes and other natural settings.
At this time of year, hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing winter for a week in the sun, and when unprotected winter skin is exposed to the sun, a painful burn usually follows. Getting badly sunburnt on the first day of a sun and sand holiday can ruin the rest of a trip. Sunburn is one of those things that cannot be cured and has to be prevented.
Sunburn prevention is a combination of avoiding over-exposure, wearing sunscreen, and proper clothing. Swimming is best done in the early morning or late afternoon, when the sun is not at its peak, and time in the sun should be limited. The tropical sun will burn unprotected skin in as little as an hour unless several days of careful limited exposure preceed full-on sun bathing.
Sunscreen also helps to prevent sunburn, however it cannot do the job on its own. Even the highest factor sun lotions only provide partial UV-protection, and none are suitable for two hours of exposure to strong sunlight. That said, they should be thoroughly applied on skin that will be exposed to the sun in or out of the water.
Dressing for the beach is the third leg of sunburn protection. Short sleeved polos may look appropriate with a bathing suit, but much better is a white, collared, long sleeved and baggy shirt, which is just as cool wearing but protects from the sun. The old, oversized Brooks Brothers oxford cloth shirts were perfect for the sunshine. Turn the collar upwards to shield the neck. And wear shoes, and a hat with a large brim.
In the photo, winter white skin and a Vilebrequin bathing suit. A tan has to start somewhere.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
In the photo, a silk scarf and a Belseta gilet cover a linen crewneck that is worn over a cotton polo. The gilet, or waistcoat, provides a couple of zippered pockets for cell phone and reading glasses. Below the waist, gabardine trousers, light gray cotton socks and a pair of Sloops.
Sunday, December 25, 2011
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Men who want a bit of variety in their evening dress without resorting to the sorts of unfortunate choices seen at the awards shows these days might consider adding variety through the use of different dress sets, which was the way it was done in the second half of the twentieth century. The estate of Douglas Fairbanks Jr., for example, auctioned half a dozen dress sets from that man's wardrobe earlier this year.
Friday, December 23, 2011
A reader sent along a link to a very worthwhile 1957 GQ interview with Fred Astaire, who was for decades considered one of the two (with Cary Grant) best-dressed actors in American films.
That same website is also the home to a memorable piece titled My Father's Fashion Tips.
And, by the way, GQ is also running a nice piece on the oral history of menswear blogging that mentions A Suitable Wardrobe.
For anyone that may not have time to read the linked pieces, just remember that skinny ties make you look like a wuss.
Posted by Will at 7:00 AM
Thursday, December 22, 2011
A man needs just a minute and a couple items of clothing to be appropriately dressed for an evening at home, assuming he has no plans to change the oil in his car or something of that ilk. A good pair of house shoes that he can slip on as soon as he walks in the door and removes his street shoes is one thing. And a comfortable sweater that can replace his jacket when he has removed his necktie is the other. Shirt and trousers can remain in place until he is ready to change for bed.
He is ready for a cocktail.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Jacket buttons. There is more to them than you might think. And it is not just that they should always button and unbutton. There is for example the number of buttons on the jacket sleeve to consider. Four is the Savile Row norm for suits these days but three are more common for tweed. Two are sometimes seen on odd jackets, and those spaced to take up the same room as four buttons might otherwise. Rarest of all, lightweight summer coats from the South of Italy may have only one.
If the number of sleeve buttons is not enough, there are also materials that must be thought about. With only one exception, jacket buttons should be made of sustainable natural stuff of one sort or another since they look better than buttons made from any synthetics developed to date. The sustainability exception is metal or enamelled metal buttons, which were traditionally used on court dress but are usually seen only on blazers today. They are commonly brass, gold plate or gold but may be other metals including silver and copper and are often embossed with some sort of design. The late Duke of Windsor had buttons with the insignia of various military organizations to which he was affiliated affixed to many of his suits and jackets.
Once reserved for country clothes, buttons made from deer, buffalo and ox horn, are the Savile Row standard for worsted suits today. They can be polished or matte and are used by default almost everywhere save for black tie, for there are no black horn buttons. Instead, black tie uses satin or grosgrain covered buttons that match the lapels of the jacket. But for that application, fabric covered buttons may raise an eyebrow and should usually be avoided.
Mother of pearl, which is used on well-made shirts, looks good on summer blazers and linen suits that see a lot of sunshine. It comes from oysters and is not the same as Troca or shell which is a less expensive substitute made from conch that is neither as strong, as lustrous, or as costly.
Then there are Corozo buttons, made from the seed of the tagua, a tropical palm tree. Corozo, sometimes referred to as the natural ivory, has the durability and scratch resistance of plastic without the ecological drawbacks but in some eyes lacks the attractiveness of horn.
Finally there are also leather buttons, which take the form of a knot and are usually reserved for tweed. They must be accommodated when the buttonholes are cut as the rounded shape of the knot is somewhat larger than a conventional button.
There are still other things to consider, such as whether buttons should properly have two or four holes for the thread that attaches them, but that is probably enough for today.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
I have been carrying my Glaser Designs Flaptop bag for two months to the day now, and it is wearing well. Regular readers may recall that Glaser, the custom leather luggage maker based in San Francisco, made me a small shoulder bag to use when I was out and about without enough pockets to hold my wallet, iPad and other accoutrements of modern life. That experiment was less than a complete success, as I frequently found myself needing a bag and unable to use the shoulder bag because it lacked a handle. After some months of discussion and outright begging on my part, Myron Glaser was kind enough to let me trade that bag for a new one that has both shoulder strap and handle so I can carry it while wearing a jacket without stressing out my jacket shoulders.
The Flaptop bag that replaced my original turned out to have enough padding to act as a computer bag, and that is where the serendipity came in. I was over-burdened with computer bag, camera bag and that shoulder bag when I travelled, but the Flaptop holds my Canon camera, iPad, headphone and various chargers, which has cut my load from three bags to two without adding any inconvenience. Wallet and reading glasses go in an outside zippered pocket. And the hand colored and hand grained finish is better looking than its predecessor's as well.
I could not be happier.
Monday, December 19, 2011
How a man wears his pocket square is a religious thing really, and the debate is likely to continue for so long as men wear handkerchiefs in the breast pockets. That said, I come down firmly on the points up style of fold, which is in keeping with the air of carelessness I believe characterizes well dressed men. To my mind, linen pocket squares should look as though they have been stuffed in a pocket, not ironed into place with military precision.
Worn with a brown Garza Fina grenadine necktie, a spread collar shirt without tie space, and espresso brown quarter brogues.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Men who have their shirts made must consider quite a few details about a shirt’s collar to achieve a look proportionate with the face and suitable for the occasion. There is the collar’s style and stiffness, both of which suggest a shirt’s formality; there is point length, which can determine whether a spread collar stays tucked under one’s lapel or whether a button-down collar has sufficient roll; and there is tie space, a small but significant part of a shirt’s composition that can alter the harmony between the face, the necktie, and the collar. Of course, by tie space we mean not the space between the collar leaves as they roll, spread, or curve away, but the point where the leaves meet the neck, and, depending on the style of collar, there can be space there or not.
Perhaps the most common collar that shirtmakers cut is the spread collar, which though known for its considerable tie space often has none, like the shirt on Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter in the photo. In fact, the common advice on the matter, whether from a shirtmaker or one of Flusser’s books, is that a spread collar should never have tie space. The argument is that there is ample room within the spread for a four-in-hand or a Windsor knot, and that the paramount issue with a spread collar is for its leaves to form an inverted V. The V, coupled with the spread collar’s typically stiff interlining, helps frame the face and present something akin to symmetry. It is a clean look, and when executed well, which is to say when the spread is balanced, may be the best way to showcase many different facial shapes unobtrusively.
The challenge with that approach is that there is no place for the necktie knot to rest. This is not to say that the tie won’t fit between the collar leaves, it will. But when those leaves touch at the neck, they tend to push the knot downward and cause a sliver of the collar band to show above the tie. A good deal of the time this breaks the desired line and can make the necktie appear stuffed into the collar, regardless of how arched it may be. So when trying to present a clean, harmonious look, consider that there should be some space for the tie at the neck. Less than a centimeter between the leaves lets a knot fit perfectly in the collar.
When the straight, inflexible lines of the regular spread collar is too formal, adding even more tie space, two centimeters or so, will allow the collar to roll a little (as will using a more pliable interlining), almost but not quite like a button-down collar does, as in the photo of Luciano Barbera. This is something of a default Italian look, softer, rounder, and more about the wearer than the article worn.
For club and straight point collars, tie space may be even more important since there is generally less room for a necktie. Indeed, when selecting a club or point collar the question might be “Where does the tie go?.” As the photo of Anthony Biddle suggests, when there is no tie space with these styles, collar leaves cover all but the narrowest of knots. Mr. Biddle manages to look elegant anyway, of course (has he ever otherwise?), but he flirts with disproportion; mainly it seems to help broaden his shoulders. So unless a man needs to right some other imbalance, he might do better to allot some space between the leaves of these collar styles, too, taking care that the space corresponds to the size of the knot he intends to place there.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Friday, December 16, 2011
If eighteenth century France can be characterized as ancient then there is something atavistic about the morning ritual of spraying the chest with two pumps of an expensive liquid that has been composed with great care to smell a certain way for hours on end, particularly here in California where the wearing of scent is only slightly less politically incorrect than donning the skins of dead animals for warmth. Atavistic or not, the men of my acquaintance tend to wear fragrance as well as fur and seem to me to be better for it.
That said, I am usually a faithful kind of guy but with a wife out of town I have been playing around. My dalliances began with L'Artisan Parfumeur's Traversée du Bosphore, which like a certain kind of woman starts with great promise but quickly becomes too cloying. I moved on a few days later to Ormonde Jayne's Zizan, which is lime, lemon and bergamot on top of vetiver. That one also becomes less interesting in a few minutes and by the time my wife returns I will be my familar self, alternating L'Artisan's Timbuktu for daytime with Ormonde Man for evening.
Fragrance of course is one of those things that cannot be overdone if a man is to be taken seriously. What is considered personal space in the West, that radius of about two feet around one's person, is the usual limit for radiated scent in polite company. Which is why those two sprays into the chest are a good habit to develop. Less is undetectable and more is too much, in my experience. Though one additional spray into the day's handkerchief does reward the nose without leaving a trail of perfume in one's wake.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
An appearance of carelessness adds to the quality of a man's dress, which is never supposed to look as though he has spent time thinking about how the elements work together. Taken to an extreme, that can lead to the mis-buttoned jacket a la Luca di Montezemolo, but there are simpler techniques. For example, when the occasion is appropriate for color in the jacket pocket the simplest technique of all is a square that complements the rest of the day's clothing without repeating any of its colors.
In the photo, the combination of navy suit, gray on white striped shirt, and navy Churchill spot necktie could have been finished with a white linen handkerchief in the jacket pocket. That would have been safe, but very dull. The entire ensemble is more interesting, and certainly more careless looking, with Drake's unicorn print square in an olive colorway that relates to nothing else in either color or texture.
Use the unrelated.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Winston Churchill once described armaments manufacture as a process that yielded nothing in the first year, a trickle in the second, and a flood in the third. Something similar applies to building a tailored clothing wardrobe.
The way I see it, the five day a week tailored clothing wearer needs to add four things a year most years. Oh, he might be able to get by with two or three for a while once he has the basics in his closet, but it takes four pieces a year for most of a decade to build a selection of appropriate clothing for a temperate climate.
Early on, a man wears out his wardrobe more quickly than he does later. Allowing for that wear, a critical mass of 18-25 pieces (that would be something like six suits for summer, winter and if necessary shoulder season, a dinner jacket, two overcoats and four odd jackets) takes seven or eight years. Men living in gentler climes need fewer pieces and the process goes considerably faster.
One way to achieve the required mass is to take the annual clothing budget and figure how much can be allocated to those four yearly pieces. That level of expenditure per item may be disappointingly low, but in the early years those four acquisitions are going to be worn to death and even the best made clothing has a shortened life when it must be worn more than weekly. It is not until the fourth or fifth year of wardrobe building that things begin to ease up.
Of course, whenever I make an assertion like this one, someone throws Anthony Biddle's seven suit wardrobe from 1960 at me, to which I reply that they are forgetting that his closet also contained morning clothes, evening clothes, odd jackets and overcoats totalling about the same number of items.
Try to plan for two things each spring and two each fall.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Worsteds may be the stuff of dressing for business, but woolens (tweed or flannel) are the cloth for less formal cool weather pursuits. They may be more colorful and patterned but they also may not, and in that case their attractiveness comes from their greater surface interest.
That surface interest is best complemented by more of the same, in my opinion. Shirts of chambray, royal oxford and oxford cloth, for example, and wool or cashmere neckties next to madder silk squares.
In the photo, a flannel jacket is paired with a light blue chambray shirt, a striped cashmere necktie and a paisley silk square in keeping with the season.
Monday, December 12, 2011
“Shit has its own integrity,” Gore Vidal recalls a wise old hack telling him during his Hollywood screenwriting days. Indeed, even in cinematic claptrap we can find interest and inspiration along with our guilty pleasure. This is, I hope, the first in a series of pieces on people in films and other media who, despite their shortcomings, offer alternatives for discussions of men’s style beyond the Astaire-Grant-Coop hegemony of taste on which Will relies. So to his snark-free, thoughtful exegeses à la David Denby, I offer to play Joe Bob Briggs, gleefully panning for gold in the muck at the bottom of our cinematic barrel. Today, 1974’s Truck Turner.
Three years after Shaft, Isaac Hayes starred in and did the score for this amazingly over-the-top film about a man who’s so badass he can cutoff Sweet Sweetback’s song and make Dolemite look alike Jerry Maguire, I’m Gonna Git You Sucka look like any other Wayans brothers movie and Michael Jai White’s Black Dynamite take his call while he’s “doing his Kung Fu.” Hayes, at his most incredibly imposing and brutally physical, plays football star turned bounty hunter and all-around tough guy Mack “Truck” Turner, because Brick “Shithouse” Turner would have been too subtle. Turner isn’t out to stick it to The Man, but like his namesake it’s just how he rolls, and you better get out of the way. He’s a man so complicated not even his woman understands him, so he gets her put in the LA County Jail for 30 days to keep her safe, which from personal experience is pretty hardcore.
Yaphet Kotto plays a gentleman entrepreneur of the evening named Harvard Blue, whose incongruous name and career are supposed to indicate a character equal parts prep and pimp, sober and flamboyant, intelligent and brutal, in contrast to his competitors’ cowardice, tastelessness and venality. Dressier than Hayes’ Turner and more sober than the rest of his rogues’ gallery, Kotto’s Harvard Blue strides a line of stylishness that seems surprisingly timely today. That was my thought, anyway. In going back through clips and stills from the movie to find his definitive look, an exotically colored cashmere rollneck Kotto carries off with as much panache as Marvin Gaye on an episode of Hef’s 1960s variety show Playboy After Dark, most of the outfits I saw him in were Pimp Lite. I finally found the sweater scene, a gorgeous fuchsia paired with tartan trousers. By the standards of the 1970s blaxploitation genre, positively restrained, particularly in comparison to the double-breasted ¾-length fur-trimmed topcoats, orange or deep blue shirts with prominent collars and white sports jackets Kotto sports in other scenes. On reflection, those help make Harvard Blue‘s wardrobe so relevant, since Tom Ford has been laying the foundation for this about-face in menswear since 2006. Ford’s bold shoulders and exaggerated lapels, tie widths and use of color and pattern are as over-the-top, ur-masculine and self-consciously camp as his signature chest-hair-peeking-through-unbuttoned-shirt-and-male-pattern-baldness-sexyface look. Over-the-top and boldly, perhaps transgressively, sexual. It’s not too long a shot to draw a comparison between this aspect of the contemporary fashion undertow (it’s not yet fully apparent, but boy will it get you) and the transgressive sexuality of these genre film characters, both in the color of their skin as sexually powerful characters for a racially mixed audience and in their actions as antiheroes and criminals – no one in this movie is a model minority, and you wouldn’t dare guess Truck Turner is kicking in your door to come to dinner. Perhaps less controversially, Harvard Blue transgresses sartorial norms held by a certain number of men with pretensions to caring about style. The colors and details of his clothing also appropriate and transform class symbols – like that of the name “Harvard” itself and all it evokes. His turtleneck would have been WASPy riding or country wear, but never in the color he wears. Yet for the appreciable percentage of us who would only have appeared in Lawrence Fellows’ Apparel Arts images as train porters, bartenders or natives, these proscribed colors work. And even to this role as a suave thug, Kotto brought the poise and dignity that makes him the finest Jewish Cameroonian prince currently working in Hollywood.
Kotto starred in this movie right after appearing in the Bondsploitation film Live and Let Die, in which 007 battles his most frightening foe to date, black people. As Kotto mentioned in commentary to that film, after appearing in a Bond film he wanted to be Bond, in real life, with the wardrobe, the drinks, the obligatory seamless arrival from first class cabin to waiting limousine to a suite at the best hotel in the city: all the seductive luxury of what he later recognized to be a self-destructive dream. None of us can do any better.
Other reasons to watch the film: Star Trek’s Uhura, Nichelle Nichols, as a foul-mouthed madam, and every cliché of the blaxploitation movie rendered so vividly it enters self-parody, from a ludicrous pimp funeral procession to a knock-down, drag-out final shootout in a hospital. Also, and I repeat: Isaac Hayes kicking butt.
Returning to my subject, our choices for inspiration aren’t just between hero and villain, nor do I intend to imply that pimps are role models for any segment of the population or the population at large. Sometimes, though, we can find an example in a trashy movie instructively flamboyant. In the end, and notwithstanding po-faced internet solipsists, it is clothing, not ideology. As Truck Turner literally shows, there is more than one way to skin a cat.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
It is nearly winter in the northern hemisphere and cold enough for an overcoat the other day. Just. And I pulled out my heavyweight flannel that had been hanging in a closet since it was delivered a year ago, in time for a trip to Italy that never saw temperatures worthy of it. The piece is the one thing I have to wear when temperatures are below freezing, as my other coats are lighter cloth in keeping with the mild temperatures where I live.
One can always have more I suppose, but I think that four over/topcoats is about the right number. A tweed for the country. A topcoat for shoulder season. A chesterfield or something for evening. And an overcoat for serious cold.
The differences between overcoats and topcoats have been discussed in this space in the past. Generally, a topcoat is lighter cloth of perhaps 18 ounces (540 grams) or even lighter - my tweed is just 15 ounces (450 grams). And an overcoat is 22 ounces (660 grams) or even heavier. That extra adds a pound or two to the weight, but it makes a considerable difference in terms of the coat's ability to keep the wearer warm.
One feature of a good coat that is often neglected but should not be is a large buttoning pocket in the front of the interior lining that will suffice for a newspaper or, more usefully, a scarf when the coat is removed in a restaurant or somewhere similar. That solves the problem of what to do with the things when a man is out and about, since stuffing one into a coat sleeve is inevitably associated with a high rate of loss. Scarves are too dear to be treated casually, and a suitable pocket is something that an alterations tailor can add at a relatively nominal cost.
With a good coat, scarf, gloves and overshoes, winter is reduced to an inconvenience. Coinsiderable, to be sure, but merely an inconvenience nonetheless.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Three gifts on the ASW store that are sure to please any man, just in time for the holidays:
- Autographed copy of Gary Cooper: Enduring Style, the photo-filled book about the timeless style of one of Hollywood’s all-time leading men, signed by co-author G. Bruce Boyer, perhaps this generation’s most important menswear author;
- My DIY shoe care kit, a nicely finished matte black box that acts as a stand when you are shining and holds your shoe care products when you are not using them;
- And three vibrant swimming trunk designs from Vilebrequin, the standard for luxury swimwear for men, in colors that will look great with a suntan.
Remember, anything (other than certain clearly identified made to order products) that the ASW store will let you purchase is in stock and will ship either that day, or the next business day.
Friday, December 9, 2011
There is considerable controversy over the issue of the pocket square and the overcoat pocket, and I come down firmly on the side of yes. In other words, where there is a pocket, there should be a discreet inch of silk or linen showing in my opinion. There are, however, a couple of considerations.
For one thing, consider whether you will be wearing a scarf and, if so, make it a plain one so as not to over-complicate your look. A solid color cashmere muffler will, for example, look better than anything patterned.
Without a scarf, the guidelines for choosing a square to complement a jacket apply to the overcoat pocket. Pair a matte square with a necktie that has sheen, or a shiny square with a matte tie. Mix up the colors. And never, ever, choose a square with the same pattern and color scheme as your necktie.
But do dress your coat pocket.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Tailors Napolisumisura were in San Francisco earlier this week. Of course that was while I was checked into the hospital for a minor procedure, and so missed a fitting on my first jacket from that house. I think of NSM, as they are sometimes called by people who don't care to spell out the entire name every sentence or two, as the tailor for off duty clothing. The house cut is very relaxed, the sewing is much better than anything available from England, and they are happy to make minimally or altogether unlined jackets which makes them a great choice for hot weather clothing generally and linen quite specifically.
Of course, given that these are travelling tailors, missing a fitting sets the project back four months which would push delivery out past the end of summer. Getting things back on track will require a trip from Florence to Naples next month once Pitti Uomo is complete. Fortunately, the train service is good, the Hotel Parker (from whose balcony the accompanying photo of the harbor was shot) has room for another guest, and any reason to visit E & G Cappelli is a good one. Things could be considerably worse.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Check your trousers in the mirror before you step out of the house in the morning. They should ideally graze the tops of your shoes, in what Luciano Barbera called the "mid-Atlantic break." A puddle of cloth on your shoes when you stand is too much, and half an inch of sock showing between shoe and trouser bottom is too little. And if no adjustment gives a proper result while keeping the trousers from falling down, get thee to an alterations tailor.
Monday, December 5, 2011
Deborah Meaden, the multi-millionaire busineswoman with a high profile in the UK due to her involvement in the popular TV show Dragon's Den, recently (2009) acquired west of england cloth merchants Fox Brothers with partner and long time friend Douglas Cordeaux, now Fox's Managing Director. Fox is a 250 year-old firm that is probably the world's best quality weaver of flannel cloth, and Meaden's investment brought much-needed capital to the company.
On television, Deborah Meaden has a stern presence which is exaggerated on the show. In person she is charming and a pleasure to chat with, particularly about Fox. She was born in Somerset and so has been aware of the company for most of her life. Fox once employed over 5000 people and had a huge presence in the area. What's more, Meaden's husband went to school in Wellington (home of Fox) with some of the Fox brothers so when Cordeaux approached her with the idea to buy the company, it felt like serendipity. She was also strongly attracted by the quality of Fox's products, which have stood the test of time and remain as relevant today as they were when the Mill first went into production.
One advantage that Meaden is acutely aware of is her high profile as a television personality in the UK; this has given her a great opportunity to talk about the Fox brand and build its profile faster than usual. To her credit, she has let the heritage, the quality and the brand have the voice.
In addition to the cloth itself, Fox have former Anderson & Sheppard tailor Brian Smith at the mill in Somerset and this gives customers the unique opportunity to see their commissions in production and have them made up as soon as they are woven. Meaden is also excited about ready to wear opportunities in the future, though they are more likely to be one off "iconic" pieces as opposed to an entire collection. One effort already underway is a limited edition collaborations brand The Merchant Fox. The web based store showcases a collection of luxury goods that combines Fox Brothers cloth with other best of British materials.
Meaden's attitude towards mens' dress has something in common with her views on investment. She prefers classic style "with a twist" but admits that risk taking is not always easy to pull off and some men may be better off playing it safe. So any entrepreneurs out there reading this should be sure to perfect their own twist before venturing out and looking for investment.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Autumn is madder season, and madder, the dye from the root of the Rubia tinctoria plant, more often than not means paisleys ranging from small pines to larger patterns in the form of scarves (the first European paisley designs were for shawls), neckties and pocket squares. A paisley necktie can liven up an otherwise plain suit.
The classic mate for the dusty finish and chalk hand of madder is of course the tweed jacket, shown in the photograph with both a madder necktie and a madder pocket square.
For Autumn is madder season.
Saturday, December 3, 2011
I hope to see you on the store.
Friday, December 2, 2011
I wore them for years but I must admit that I really see no point to the single breasted dinner jacket any longer. A double breasted means one can dispense with vest or cummerbund, and be slightly more comfortable so without looking like a man who never learned how to dress. And, being rarer than its single breasted relation, the DB also stands out in an unobtrusive way should such a thing be possible.
The only time that it might make sense to put a single breasted in one's closet is if a man needs two of them because he is called upon to wear dinner clothes on consecutive nights with some frequency (there may be a thousand such men remaining on the planet). But even under those circumstances a second double breasted makes more sense to me. It can be adequately differentiated from the first by color, cloth and collar style after all. But even that amount of difference is hardly necessary and probably less important than possession of a bow tie with a different shape than the first and a second dress set for a change of pace. If you plan to shop for a dinner jacket this season, look for a double breasted.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Another day, another mid-gray suit. This one is 9.5/10 ounce cloth from H. Lesser via Thomas Mahon. It is paired with a tan nailhead shirt and a Drake's madder necktie that looks better next to the lighter color than it did with the charcoal that surrounded it the first time I wore it (sometimes it takes a couple of tries before new additions find their place in a wardrobe).
Worn with tan Bresciani socks a la Cary Grant, and plain Cleverley oxfords.