Sunday, April 13, 2014

At Last, Grenadine

It's no secret that I'm a cheap dresser who thinks things into the ground before buying.  Nor am I free of the intonations of the menswear bloggers, who tend to all suggest a navy grenadine tie.  Drakes makes them for $100+, but I get vertigo just thinking about spending that much on a tie, no matter how useful.

Enter The Knottery's navy grenadine tie.  (The discoloration in the middle of the shot is an artifact of my camera.)  TK has been around for a while, but their ties are so popular that they tend to sell out really fast.  This time, I got on the waitlist and so was ensured one.  As promised, it has a lot of texture-based personality.  Contrasting textures can make a relatively monochromatic outfit much more interesting, and for this, it fits the bill perfectly.

Outfit photos to come.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Red, And More Red

Back when it was really cold, I wore my ebayed Gieves & Hawkes DB peak-lapel 2x2 keystone suit (pattern here) with an ebayed LL Bean red cardigan (basically Mr. Rogers's famous red sweater but with buttons) and that fun bowtie with the red reverse (not my first experiment with that, either). 

Maybe I'm overselling my own theory of clothing, and you'd have to ask my coworkers how they felt about the outfit, but I think even a Mister Rogers sweater can be appropriate in context.  A DB jacket and a bowtie tends to say, "Why, yes, I did this on purpose," not, "Why, yes, this is my first rodeo.  How could you tell?" 

That said, I wouldn't wear this particular outfit before Christmas.  Holiday outfits--even those famous Ralph Lauren red tartan Christmas trousers--are an extremely dicey affair, requiring sensitivity at an atomic level to one's partygoers' personalities.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Pattern mixing

Worsted small herringbone next to tweed large herringbone. The difficulty with mixing patterns is that if they are too close to each other in size or color, it will look as though you tried, and failed, to match. What could be worse, apart from nuclear war? Here, I fancy that I succeeded in avoiding that trap.

I worry about Mads Mikkelsen playing Hannibal Lecter on TV for a similar reason. His suits are exquisitely tailored, but they usually give him a solid shirt in a rich color with a paisley necktie in highly similar shades. It looks too matchy, whereas I insist upon only the best for Le Chiffre and the star of one of Dapper Spouse's least favorite movies, Valhalla Rising.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Spring Dance

When it was freezing cold and nasty earlier this week, I wore a navy JAB Signature Gold blazer, BR chinos (which, by the way, I do not find to be a great value, but they were the best-fitting chinos I could find at the mall on short notice to fit my weirdening body proportions), CT dress-stripe shirt, and pink PF tie.  Burgundy Allen Edmonds oxfords from eBay. 

Dress for the weather you want, not the weather you have.  Similar to the rain dance in this regard.  And behold--spring temperatures and sunlight amounts, just in time for Daylight Saving Time, which needs to be made permanent, so dark is the DC winter.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


Some black Church's perforated wingtips I acquired from EBay require resoling. The uppers are still in very good shape, although a careless waxing by yours truly left some polish in many of the larger perforations. This slightly reduces their overall appeal by reducing the contrast between black leather and whitish leather edge, but nothing serious.

The grass is always blacker on the other side, though, and I keep thinking that a new pair of Allen Edmonds would be just swell, and I could scrupulously avoid getting polish in any of the perforations.

By the way, I was at the downtown Nordstrom Rack over the weekend and was struck by how high the list price had been on so many dress shoes of rather shoddy material and construction. Sometimes, you get what you pay for only after an 80% markdown.

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Probably the closest I have ever come to wearing an outfit that might appear in a catalog for a menswear company tailored to Brooklynites happened this week when I wore a seersucker dress-stripe bowtie (The Cordial Churchman) with a poplin dress-stripe shirt (Charles Tyrwhitt).  I accidentally left my artisanal axe at home that day.

I wouldn't wear this to court or for a first-time client meeting, but the folks at my office have gotten used to, and mostly tolerate, my eccentricities.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Difficult Difficult Lemon Difficult

This is a close-up of a 2-2 keystone navy double-breasted Gieves and Hawkes that I got on eBay. The colors of the overchecks are slightly cooler than they appear here. Anyway, you see the difficulty. What amounts to turquoise and somewhere between maroon and magenta isn't easy to coordinate.

Cool, muddy colors like muted gold and blue seem to work reasonably well. Paying attention has made me better at color, but this is still one that I can't figure out without physically holding the potential tie up to the suit in good light. You're never too old to get back to the basic skills.