Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sale Worth Watching: JAB 25% Off Clearance Price

Here for suits.  $223 for a Jos. A. Bank Signature suit is a most excellent price--$40 cheaper than you'd pay in Buy One Get Two Free, and you only have to buy one to get the savings.

Necessaries: A Suit Brush

This handy tool is called a suit brush.  It has a lint remover on one side (bottom, here) and soft bristles on the other.  When you take your suit (or, really, any lint-prone item of clothing) off at the end of the day and hang it up, give it a good brushing to get rid of dust and little bits of whatever clinged (clang?) to your garment during the day.

I think I gave $12 for this at Amazon.  Here's one.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Little Flair: From The Belt Buckle Files

There are many good reasons to have a Western-style belt with interchangeable buckles.  This--a four-inch-wide silver-and-gold buckle with your initial in it--is one of the main ones.

Friday, June 25, 2010

What I've Learned: Staying Cool

Yep, it's hot and humid.  However, fortunate reader, I have spent several suit-wearing summers in D.C., and I have a few ideas.

1.  Did I already tell you to replace your polyester dress shirts with real cotton ones?  No?  Oh, wait, I did, and I gave you a coupon code to get them for $20 each at Paul Fredrick (first-time buyers only).  Polyester is heavier and hotter than cotton.
2.  An undershirt.  It's a thin extra layer to carry around, sure, but there's a decent chance it'll keep your dress shirt from getting damp.  Also saves your dress shirts from deodorant stains, if you use a deodorant with aluminum in it. 
3.  Moisture-wicking underwear.  Yeah.  Moisture-wicking undershirts, too.
4.  Do not leave the office unless the sun is at an angle where it casts some shade on one or more sides of the street.  Do not leave this shade unless absolutely necessary and then only for as short a time as possible.  For example, stand in the shade while waiting for a walk signal.
5.  Face the breeze when you are not moving.
6.  Do not leave the office for more than one errand at a time, if you can help it.
7.  Use a bank teller instead of an ATM.  (Free air conditioning!)

What?  You were expecting some sort of miracle?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Herringbone Suit

Well, two, actually (another one in navy, which I'm wearing today), and a green suit with no pattern. 

This here is a gray herringbone from Jos. A. Bank, in the very nice Signature series, picked up during the last "buy one, get two free" sale they had.  (What?  I needed more suits!  Needed, I tell you!)  A herringbone pattern, as you can see, consists of bands of parallel lines at 90-degree angles to each other.  For whatever reason, I've been on a herringbone kick lately.  I like it because it has more texture than a suit with no finish, and it's dressier than a houndstooth pattern (that funky asymmetrical tessellation that you see writ large in women's fashion these days).

Once this one comes back from the tailor, I'll pair it with a white shirt and whatever the hell tie I want to.  (Seriously, it's a very versatile color.)  But I'll probably stick with a solid-color tie with little to no pattern to contrast the suit's pattern.  Maybe add a pocket square for a Mad Men feel.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Ultimate Retcon

High-fashion Star Wars.  Yes.  Yes.  A thousand times, yes.

Clearly, Boba Fett was financing more than a Corvette with his earnings ("Fett's Vette" on the left).

Monday, June 14, 2010

Punctilios: Maintain The Effort

This study, conducted by a British retailer, found that people spend dramatically less time dressing and grooming for work as the week progresses.

Gentlemen, society does not expect tremendously much of us in terms of prep time.

Shower - 10 minutes
Shave - 10 minutes
Brush your teeth - 2 minutes
Other ablutions - 8 minutes (I'm being generous here)
Put on a suit - 15 minutes from naked to dapper

We don't have to put on makeup, spend more than a minute or two on our hair, put on pantyhose, etc. Realistically, you're talking about 45 minutes alarm-to-door if you don't eat breakfast.

I keep harping on the idea that the way you present yourself is a highly communicative act whether you intend it to be.  I harp because it's true.  Even if you're hung over, come in Friday morning in a pressed shirt and pert collar with a clean shave and a little cologne.  People notice even if they don't realize they notice, and you'll feel better, too.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Wear Your Jacket Outside

Gents, I know it's getting unbearably hot out there in the wilds of the District of Columbia.  Now's as good a time as any to encourage you--strongly encourage you--not to take your jackets off when you stroll the streets.

A suit is a suit.  It's built, designed, and cut to be worn as a suit.  Suit pants don't fit the same as trousers, and they tend to be made out of suiting material rather than pants material.  Suit pants without their jacket just look funny.

Another thing that just looks funny is wearing slacks, a tie, and a button-down with no jacket.  It looks like your job requires you to wear a tie and you do so begrudgingly.  It makes you look like a perfunctory wearer of clothing, like you're just going through the motions.  Dress it up with a sportcoat.

Wearing a jacket and tie outside in the best as well as worst weather sends the message that you care about the way you present yourself because you have something of which you are proud enough to present--here, your personality, wit, and work ethic.

You may safely claim that I am showing you the steep and thorny way to heaven; after all, I pay to park downtown so that I do not have to sweat through my clothes on the Metro in the summer.  For what it's worth, I make an exception for the Metro platform and cars on these nasty-humid days when the air just sits on you like an unwelcome demon of hate and bile and suffering.  But once you disembark, or at least get aboveground, put your jacket back on.

Anyway, it could be worse.  You could have to wear three-inch heels to work.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Casual: Boat Shoes

I bought these for $20 or so from the Gap several years ago.  They held up okay, but I never really liked them, and I was always looking for an excuse to Goodwill them.  So when I signed up for D.C.'s Servathon and was assigned to help paint a health clinic at a D.C. civic center, I eagerly wore them, hoping they would get soaked in paint and thus be ruined.

Well, tenacious bastards that they are, they managed not to get any paint on them except, as you can see, a sort of artistic splash on the left shoe only, and in exactly the same color as the beige rubber sole.  I like the new asymmetrical, slapdash look.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Protips: Ironing a Dress Shirt

Today, we speak of an exciting thing: ironing.  Above, a prosaic image taken Sunday morning. 

Tips! (for cotton* shirts)
  1. Use the "Cotton" heat setting.
  2. Use the maximum amount of steam.
  3. Use the squared-off end of the ironing board whenever possible to reduce the amount of fabric-shifting you have to do.
  4. Iron in this order: cuffs; sleeves; collar; shoulders; chest panels; back panel.
  5. Pull the shirt's to-be-ironed surface taut before ironing.
  6. Slow and steady--I get the best results if I move the iron no more quickly than three inches per second.
  7. Use water (either from a spray bottle or your iron, if it has that feature) on unwanted giant wrinkles before you iron them out.
(*If you have any polyester dress shirts, donate them to Goodwill and buy some Paul Fredrick ones with the $20 coupon.  Current code: TZMSAM. Who takes care of you? Dapper District does.)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

In Praise Of: The Suede Blazer

A few years ago, I picked up this tan suede blazer on clearance at Jos. A. Bank for something like $75.  As you can see here, it finds some common ground for a dark green polo shirt and a pair of standard blue jeans.  It's a relatively unstructured jacket (meaning it doesn't have heavy padding in the shoulders or a substantial lining), which makes it casual-appropriate but still sporty-looking.

By the way, that's one of the interchangeable belt buckles to go with my cowboy belt.  No idea where I got it.  It's a very nice brass material.  I named the buffalo "Dale".  We've had some adventures, haven't we, Dale?