Friday, January 28, 2011

Punctilios: Tie Clips


This tie clip was a Christmas gift from Pater (guest column here).  It's chrome with a little filigree at the end.  I wear it almost every day now.  I know Mad Men and mod dressers have made the tie clip a Hip Thing to Wear, but there are several reasons I nominate it for A Trend That Should Stay.

1. They keep your tie out of your food and drink, away from the edge of your desk (snags galore), and nowhere near distractingly pendulous as they follow your pivots by gaily swinging.

2. Seriously, how many reasons do you want me to give to justify an understated, classy, personal,  functional accessory that men actually get to wear?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Color Is Hard: Matchy Matchy

I'm not doing anything particularly adventurous here, as you can see.  Conservative (but lovely-textured herringbone) navy suit, red tie with navy interweave, white shirt, and those monkey fists contain all the other colors. But when I wear this same combination with metal cufflinks, it looks a little more disparate somehow.  I'm making fine distinctions here, sure, but I select my cufflinks based on mood all the time.  When you have several decent options, give yourself the freedom to pick one that makes you happy.

And wear burgundy leather, as shown here, with navy.  I know the men's magazines say you can wear black and brown with navy, but I think they're loony.  Navy with black leather isn't bad, but burgundy is so much better.  Yeah, you have to buy another pair of shoes, but they're fracking sharp, and they also go fantastically with dark jeans when you need to dress up your denim.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Things I Do For You, The Reader: Raw Denim

I asked for APC New Standard jeans for Christmas, and Mater procured them for me.  You are looking at the back of the leg after about three weeks of nightly and weekendly wear.  APC New Standard is made of raw denim.  That means it's not washed or deconstructed or whiskered or feathered or shrunk or vajazzled before you buy it.  The idea is that you wear it for as long as possible, say, six months, before you wash it because the first wash cements a lot of the whiskering, feathering, etc which--and this is the crux--is caused solely by your own wear and tear.  It's the ultimate authentic jean.  Or so the thinking goes.

Anyway, once more unto the breach for you, my readers; I am plumbing the mystery of raw denim.  Why own four or five pair of pre-deconstructed jeans when you can own one pair to rule them all?  So far, all I know is that the fit is ****ing fantastic and timeless and that while they were as stiff as cardboard when I got them, they're breaking in nicely.  Also, they're unusually long, and you should buy a waist size maybe 1-2" smaller than you usually wear.

Expect updates in the coming months.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Earth Tones Good

Too many earth tones bad.  In trying to replicate my post on Emergency Preparedness, I grabbed a sweater that didn't have enough contrast to really go with this suit, which is itself already a browner shade of green.  (There is a reason that is not the title of any Procol Harum songs.  Remember when Annie Lennox sang that one on SNL in a tuxedo and bowler?  That was wicked hot.)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It Doesn't Always Fit Perfectly When It's New: Volume 1

I have a little bit of a complex about my wrists.  I think they are the smallest wrists I've ever seen on a grown man.  When my new white shirts came from Paul Fredrick, they were (as usual, by PF's design) slightly larger than their desired size.  A PF customer service rep told me this is because all shirts shrink a bit after several washings.  This applies to the whole shirt, including the cuffs and the collar, which is too roomy.  As a result, I think my wrists look even smaller than normal.  Here in a few weeks, these shirts will fit perfectly, and balance will be restored.

The moral?  Nothing is easy.  Finding the perfect shirt for you isn't just a matter of getting your measurements taken, and it isn't just a matter of trying it on in the store.  Sometimes, a piece's true fit only becomes apparent after several wearings.  Like raw denim, which I will write about soon.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Slim-Fit Button-Down Shirts Are Probably For You

Ladies and Gentlemen!  Boys and Girls!  For years now, rail-thin male models have been de rigeur for just about any clothing line but Carhartt.  If you doubt that you are rail-thin, you would be forgiven for hearing the phrase "slim-fit" applied to a dress shirt and thinking of whalebone corsets.  But, oddly enough, this is just not the case.  In fact, "slim fit" shirts from, say, Paul Fredrick are more likely to fit you than you think.  The reason for this is that American standard-cut men's button-down shirts are cut...very generously.

The upshot is that you should definitely try out a slim-fit dress shirt. If it does fit you, you have just saved yourself even more excess shirting that you would otherwise have to neatly tuck into your pants in the back.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

If You Starch Your Dress Shirts should give them a break from time to time and launder them on the cold cycle several times in a row.  Starch can cause your cuffs and collar to shrink, but several good, cold washes should alleviate the problem.

...and have you considered not starching them?  Reasonable minds (e.g., my father and I) can disagree on this point.  But think about it, say, in the context of a suit.  Your pants and jacket?  Soft wool with a luxurious fit. Your necktie?  Silk, grenadine, madras, linen, you name it--a little bit limp.  Contoured to your chest as it hangs.  We are talking about soft lines and drape.  Why stiffen your shirt?

On the other hand, if you wear your button-down shirts to work with jeans or simple chinos, maybe starch makes sense, since the shirt will be the focal point of your outfit.