Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Nuptials/Acorns/Trees


Pater, shown here.  When you are the groom, you get to wear whatever you want.  Dark gray chalkstripe single-breasted, two buttons with one to button, black tassel loafers, blue-gray shirt, necktie right down the middle of the shirt and suit colors, and boutonniere. Classic.

Dapper District was on hand to rumble with any of the bride's brothers who might object to the wedding.  Fortunately, there were only sisters, and they were on board.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sprezzatura

I don't usually go negative here, but
1. I was an English major,
2. I was a copy editor, and
3. I read The Book of the Courtier in the course of my studies.

So I winced a bit when I read "Natural Sprezz" by the generally very smart guys at Put This On, itself probably the most widely followed #menswear blog around.  Sprezzatura gets used a lot in describing menswear, but when Baldassare Castiglione coined the term, it basically meant apparently (but affectedly) effortless nonchalance.  That is, going to great lengths to appear not to have gone to great lengths.  You see this every World Cup from the Italian team coaches--they tend to, say, tie their neckties so that the narrower blade hangs several inches below the wider blade.  We are to believe that this was accidentally done for international television.  So sprezzatura is a squishy concept, difficult to measure because measuring fixes it in spacetime.

Wearing a linen suit is not, as PTO has it, sprezzatura.  You cannot wear a linen suit in a way that makes it seem like you put on a linen suit by accident, especially in the summer.  Linen suits are nonchalant and effortless, but there is an element of irony in the use of sprezzatura.  Wearing a linen suit on purpose because it's effortless and nonchalant is a great idea, but anything worn in earnest is not sprezzatura. 

Likewise, Beau Brummell's extraordinary attention to the tying of his cravat was not sprezzatura.  Sprezzatura is like Fight Club: rules #1 and #2 are that if you are talking about it, you are doing it wrong.  Sprezzatura is futzing with your pocket square for five minutes (or hours), when you are alone, to get it to look like you just grabbed it off the shelf and stuffed it into your breast pocket without thinking.

Sprezzatura is a fun, precise word!  Let's keep it that way.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Reader Question: Ganglitude, Surmounted

"Matt" declares and inquires:

I'm working to transition from lower business casual (khakis and polos) to higher business casual, which will involve more fitted shirts and occasionally suits. I'd like to do it correctly...In addition, nearly everything I get must be tailored, or often built. Long arms and torso, and very little fits me off the rack or even from the package.
Matthias, dear reader, it sounds as though you are afflicted with the gangly.  I am not a gangly person myself, but some of my best friends are gangly.  Many of our nation's most famous power forwards, strong safeties, and presidents have been gangly.  You know who else was gangly and dressed like a ****** *** ***** **ing *** ** * boss?  Cary Grant.  You are in great company.
 
Your biggest problem will be shirts.  You, like every other reader of this blog, will definitely have to order shirts with a specific sleeve length (no more "34/35" for you) and collar circumference.  You will have to go somewhere to get measured--your local menswear shop can do this.  You will probably never buy a dress shirt in a store again as a result, except perhaps Brooks Brothers or Thomas Pink (drool). 

Start out at Paul Fredrick; their shirt skirts are longer than is average these days, which is good for a long torso.  Introductory white oxford deal here.  Good place to start for you sounds like button cuff with a button collar (assuming you will wear a tie only irregularly).  Get 3 with button collars and one Windsor spread for when you wear a tie with a jacket.

Last, if you have a long torso, you will probably need pants with a longer rise.  This means you will probably not look proper in modern-cut suits like the kind you would get at Banana Republic or J. Crew.  Pants length is not a problem if you buy pants with unfinished hems.

JAB carries a lot of long-size jackets and suits, and their default pant fit has a lot of room in the crotch (easily handled by your alterations tailor, not the one that works in the back at the local JAB).  Never pay more than 66% off list price at JAB. 

Drop another comment if you have more questions.  I live to serve.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Shenanigans

I bent over to pick up a file from a bottom drawer at the office the other day and heard a dreaded sound.  I knew I would have to get the seat re-stitched on my pants, but only once I got back into the office and hid myself could I survey the true damage.  Not only had the seat seam come apart, but the fabric itself had suffered a massive blowout--probably five inches--orthogonal to the seat seam.

I dashed to the Fair Oaks Mall Macy's and picked up a pair of winterweight dark-gray trousers.  The original suit was a dark navy herringbone, so the slacks match the jacket in seasonal texture as well as tonal sobriety.

This is, of course, shenanigan number two of this post: The old saw is that, while one might wear suit pants with a non-matching jacket in a pinch, one ought never do the reverse.  A good rule in theory; most men's trousers have less sheen than most men's suit jackets.  But when you have a jacket that is already not sheeny and even slightly more casual than, say, a pinstripe suit (due to the herringbone weave) and pants that are more formal (dark gray; fabric with a bit of nub to it), everything is fine, brah.

And they were on sale!