Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Too Cool For Court

Of the many magenta-oriented colors in the pocket square (Brooks Brothers on clearance), one is the spitting image of the pink in the necktie (Paul Fredrick), and the square has a touch of white for the shirt and tie and of black for the charcoal suit (Jos. A. Bank Signature line in herringbone; buy one, get two free).  Absolutely delightful and challenging.

Unfortunately, also a bit too outre for the deference I show to members of the bench while they are sitting on the dais, and I had court that day.  I snapped the photo for educational purposes and swapped out this pocket square for a plain white linen one (thanks, Mater).

Monday, January 30, 2012

If You Learn Nothing Else From Dapper District, Part Two: Tailored Pants Cuffs

You don't have to get the waist of your jacket suppressed. You don't have to get your pants waist perfect. Dapper District does not require that you get your pants legs on sleeves tapered.

These are all excellent but optional ideas. Not optional is having your dress pants tailored at the cuff. If you don't have them tailored, they will puddle at your ankles and make you look like you are wearing your older sibling's hand-me-downs.

This is the kind of alteration that you can trust to your dry cleaners. No need to even visit your proper tailor if you know the length you want.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

If You Learn Nothing Else From Dapper District, Part 1: The Bottom Button

Never button the bottom button on 1) single-breasted suit jackets, blazers, odd jackets, etc.; 2) vests; 3) overcoats.


For nearly 100 years, men's businesswear has been cut based on the specific assumption that you will not button the bottom button.  What started as a fad now undergirds our entire enterprise.

You may consider buttoning the overcoat's bottom button if it's really damn cold and precipitating, but your scarf had better coordinate immaculately.

If you decide to button the bottom button on a suit jacket, I'll be expecting a 1,000-word essay from you 24 hours in advance explaining why.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

ASOS's Crowdsourced Lookbook

ASOS Fashion Finder

These "look collages" are turning into a staple of style writing.  I think most of the outfits are way too thematic for real consumption, but part of the point is to get you thinking about individual pieces in new contexts.  I tend to just scan the collections for pieces which look interesting.  It's like a mildly curated version of the incredible variety of clothing available on the Internet.  Spot something you like; save it in your memory; try to find it in meatspace for a decent price.

I do wish they had a section that was "ASOS-brand only" looks for those days when I'm itching for something fun that won't last for very long and is inexpensive.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

This Suit Is Really Green

Also, notice the excess material near the knee on the left leg--a clear sign that my pants are too baggy.  When you buy an off-the-rack suit, this tends to happen.  I always have my tailor seriously taper pants, but he is too timid, like a mouse afraid to come out of its hole to...alter someone's pants.  So, 1) beware suits in bold, solid colors, though don't avoid them entirely; 2) have your pants seriously tapered; 3) be assertive when dealing with your tailor.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Netflix For Neckties

You can rent neckties now.  I don't think it would be a good value for me since I tend to have shirt/tie/suit combinations that mate for life and always feel funny the first several times I wear a new tie as my brain slowly convinces itself that this was a good idea after all.  On the other hand, it is through taking risks that we learn what works and what doesn't.  More to the point, it's probably cheaper to get designer ties on clearance, especially since you can easily get several years out of the life of a necktie.

h/t Rachael for the link.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

NYT on Male Style Bloggers

I will have you know that the Times chose not to interview me for this piece for reasons unknown.

h/t Rob for the link!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Too Much Purple

I like this combination of shirt and tie.  In fact, I love it.  And I love my burgundy belt and various burgundy shoes.  Why not combine them? 

Unfortunately, it turns out you really can have too much purple/pink/associated hues.  The assemblage on display here really brings out the purple in the burgundy and makes everything else look even more purple, even the slacks.

Much more pleasing to wear black leather with this outfit.  That way, the gray pants coordinate with the black belt and shoes, but also with the gray in the tie, which in turn uses its pinkish purple to commune with the shirt.

Perhaps burgundy is more appropriate as a "pop" color when wearing otherwise drab tones--white, gray, and light blue, for example.  Burgundy leather is also my favorite way to wear a navy suit.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Don't Stop Inspecting

You can't really see it in this photo, but there was a really obvious yellowish stain on the collar of my beloved Gap linen/cotton casual button-down.  It's currently marinating in a second round of Stain Stick goodness before I wash it.

It's hard to find the proper balance between having unstained clothes and enjoying hobbies other than inspecting your clothes every night, but a little diligence goes a long way.  Best to focus on the parts of the clothing you don't usually see--collars, shirt-backs, seats and backs of pants, undersides of French cuffs.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

APC New Standard: Year One

You may recall that Mater got me some APC New Standard jeans for Christmas last year.  After one year of regular wear, I can wholeheartedly recommend them.  First, they fit so well that I don't need a belt.  Second, there's something appealing about self-induced "destruction" of denim through regular wear:

Third, like I said, they fit incredibly well.  They started out tight (see the Internet for sizing advice--if I recall correctly, I ordered two sizes smaller than my waist as measured) but have relaxed just enough to be perfectly snug around the hip and thigh areas. 

And they have all the standard benefits of dark denim: durable, dressy with a button-down and odd jacket, casual with a Ford Mustang T-shirt and Chuck Taylors, a classic American look despite being made in Japan.  But then, when you need curated fabric made with an obsessive attention to detail, whom else would you trust before the Japanese?

At $180 or so, they're extravagant up front, but think of them like a suit: they'll last for years and fit you like a glove.  You won't need or want to wear another pair of jeans unless you wear boots from time to time, in which case hang on to one pair of boot-cut jeans.  I've slowly but surely Goodwilled most of my older denim.

Long live the New Standard.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

WaPo on Menswear

The Post has a decent article about a surge in menswear buying.  The takeaways are 1) men want to dress better because jobs are scarce, 2) wow, I need to get into the style consulting business.  $250 an hour to select outfits?  $600 for a style consultation? You do not need to pay these prices to have someone tell you what to buy.  Consumer culture is expensive enough as it is.  Spend a few hours at the mall feeling fabrics.  Watch Daniel Craig's casual outfits in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  Flip through Esquire at the bookstore.  Men's fashion, especially suiting, stays within certain parameters at all times, and you can have a decent tailor adjust older clothes to fit those parameters if you feel the urge to be a trend-follower.

h/t Rachael for the link.