Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Sales

Put This On • Thanksgiving sale roundup

Courtesy of the semi-pros at Put This On. Check out J. Press, Tyrrwhit, and Lands End, if nothing else. Club Monaco also has a good reputation for quality:price.


The ONC area got only about three weeks of autumn temperatures before winter set in. I follow temperatures when it comes to suit weight but calendars when it comes to color, hence the orange tie (autumnal) with a herringbone navy suit (wintry). In context, the blue-checked shirt is fairly conservative.

Tie from Paul Fredrick, shirt Charles Tyrrwhit, suit and coat JAB.

Oh, and happy Thanksgiving and safe travels.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Paul Fredrick vs. Charles Tyrrwhit

Two great online/catalog off-the-rack shirtmakers.  I've gone through over a dozen PF shirts in my day and have another five or six in the closet.  I recently took advantage of CT's 4-for-$150 deal for new customers.  Thoughts:

Material: When it comes to patterned materials, CT tends to have an edge.  The fabric feels more substantial.  However, their white oxford is actually a bit less substantial than PF's although also somewhat softer.  It definitely feels nicer on the skin but doesn't necessarily look more luxe until you get up close.

Neck fit: I wear a 15.5 neck, and PF fits better out of the box without a doubt.  CT is a little baggy at this point.  However, after enough dry-cleanings, the PF collars shrink to the point that they're no longer comfortable; I assume the CT shirts will do the same after some use and fit well until they no longer fit. 

Arm fit: I have skinny wrists, and that means PF's shirts (whether barrel or French cuff) tend to swallow my hands, especially out of the box before the dry-cleaning process has shrunk them a bit.  As if this were possible, CT's sleevehole is even larger than PF's, so I find myself twisting my wrists a bit so that the widest part of the sleevehole is at an angle to my hand and doesn't fall as far down.  Be interesting to see whether the shirts wear out before dry cleaning shrinks the cuffs enough.  This problem, more than any other, makes me consider made-to-measure shirts and the attendant expense.

CT shirts don't have a gauntlet button, but the gauntlet opening is a lot shorter, so it doesn't seem to cause any problems.  Also, CT mostly only offers sleeve sizes in odd numbers, so if you're a 34 sleeve like me, you have to pay extra per shirt for alterations to get the desired length. 

Waist fit: CT offers an Extra Slim fit that PF just doesn't match, and it's worth it--PF's Trim Fit still has an extra several inches of material that I don't need, whereas CT has perhaps 1/2" extra.  PF's skirts are a little longer, which is nice, but I haven't had a CT shirt come untucked on me, either.

Price: CT is between 1.5 and 2 times more expensive than PF.

For now, I'm not sure whether the price premium is worth it, though I suspect that it is.  Once I see how the CT shirts age, I will have a better answer.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How To Pull It Off

1. Put it on.
2. Smile faintly to yourself at a joke you heard the other day.
3. Leave the house.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

What Is Our Ivy?

Milieu.  Zeitgeist.  Why do the words for this concept--the way things are right now, in a sort of cultural sense--all come from other languages?

Watched a little video from A Suitable Wardrobe about a display at the FIT Museum in NYC on Ivy style.  It's hard to say how widespread such trends were without consulting the clothing-aware who lived it.  We are all living the right now.  What is the current Ivy?  What do the stylemakers do?

In high menswear, the sort of thing that businesspeople wear, the zeitgeist is less about a certain look than about material and, more importantly, tailoring.*  These trends reflect movement away from manufactured look and toward artisans, whether they be custom bootmakers or the Korean grandmother at my dry cleaners.  It's almost a move toward relationships. Mass-produced clothing is, after all, a relatively new phenomenon. 

In low menswear, what you might call streetwear, there is no unanimity.  Among style bloggers, the current obsession is heritage brands, especially Made in America-type brands.  There are some unusual results: witness the artisanal axe.    But this trend does not propagate through 95% of the population of male-presenting people.  Raw denim does not intrigue the vast majority.  As far back as I can remember, at least, comfort has been the watchword for weekendwear.  I suspect that it has been this way ever since clothing self-democratized and largely lost its function as a connoter of social status.

* To the extent that we have a "look" among suits, it would be narrower lapels and higher button stance, but these are slight variations on a very old framework.