Friday, December 26, 2014

Public Transportation

I think I was on a bus.  Got this vest for about $20 from JAB.  Great for adding an extra layer of good-looking warmth.

See also the dimple on this tie.  Not a problem like the last one.  I prefer Countess Mara (often available on sale at Macy's et al.) for dimplage, although their ties are a bit more...fragile.  Not by much, though.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Necktie Weirdness and Collar Conundrum

1. JAB Executive ties tend to do this thing where you can get a good dimple in the front but only if you accept that there's going to be a side dimple on the left side which will constantly be trying to work its way around to the front.

2. Charles Tyrwhitt AND Paul Fredrick, my favorite mail-order shirtmakers, both have this problem now where the points of the collar just refuse to lie flat.  This leads me to believe the problem lies with my body--perhaps my shoulder muscles moved around in a way that causes the points to catch on my collarbones as I move around.  May need to start starching my collars.

3. Buckle up for safety!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Is There A Problem, Officer?

Because the only problem I see is that my watch wouldn't fit under my sleeve.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Well-Earned Retirement

My alterations guy was going to let some out of the seat of these beloved gray herringbone suit pants (JAB Signature line) and discovered that some previous alterations person had damaged the fabric in several places which damage would have shown if he had let the seat out any more.  We took this to be a sign that it was time to retire this suit.

I'm not too bent out of shape as I bought this more than five years ago on a buy-one-get-two-free sale.  JAB still does those ever so regularly.  The more things change, non?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Come Again Another Day

There is precisely one drawback to wearing brown suede wingtips, and that is the paralysis occasioned by precipitation.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

An Humble Himplement

Behold the microfiber towel.  I believe 20 were to be had at Costco for $19.99.  My plan was to use them for their advertised use--car cleaning--but not only do they also work well for bathroom cleaning, but they far outstrip old undershirt-rags when it comes to shoe-shining.

If you've ever cleaned clearcoat paint with undershirt, you may have noticed minor scuffs in the top layer--nothing that wax won't fix, but still.  It stands to reason that undershirt could do something similar to leather, even if we can't see it with the naked eye.  Not so with microfiber on either count.  It readily holds a dab of polish and soaks up dry wax when the process is done.  And it's cheap enough that you can just pitch it when it gets too wax-laden.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Everything In Its Place

My sister-in-law is a personage of import and talent in the scrapbooking world.  Dapper Spouse does some work for this family business (one of several, including the previously mentioned 5 Rings Fitness), such as verifying measurements, which sometimes requires her to have the final version of whatever project is at issue. 

The device shown was apparently once known as a "folio cabinet."  Dapper District disavows knowledge of folios, cabinets, folio cabinets, cabinet folios, or cabinolio folinets, but in any event, the item has been repurposed to hold my small accessories: unhangable knit ties, business cards, watches, pocketknives, sunglasses--all of those little things too large for the cufflink holder (also shown, in black) but too small for a valet tray or too cluttery for an ordinary shelf.

The doors even seal with a magnetic closure device.  It is all quite high in production values.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Color Is Hard: Cont'd

Cream trousers and burgundy oxfords, right?  What could possibly go wrong?  Tan socks.  I didn't notice for an hour or so, after which the exceedingly faint lime green in the trousers became as glaring as the noonday sun.  Like how all women on television right now have gently curled hair all of the time.  And you can't wear green with tan like that. 

Think back to the first time a significant other showed you paint swatches.  Remember how you were irritated because the differences seemed so inconsequential?  Well, bucko, you were actually irritated because the differences were truly massive but you weren't skilled enough to really distinguish them.  It wasn't a dumb question; it was that the answer was beyond your brain's accrued powers of perception.  It's not your fault.  Male-presenting people grow up not having to learn this sort of thing.  But it's there, boy-o, and people are noticing even if you aren't. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Quality Control

After much deliberation over needlessly long timeframes, I have concluded that Charles Tyrwhitt shirts are a slightly better value proposition than Paul Fredrick's pinpoint offerings.  However, one thing CT needs to work on is consistency.  This is a "spread" collar.  So is this (from a previous post):

The angle formed by the intersection of the collar points (which surely has a technical term which I don't know) is very very different.  So is the gap between the points.  I love the latter collar and feel quite dull in the former.  But the next-widest collar they sell is the "cutaway" which is just a bit much for my tastes.

Problems galore.

Monday, May 12, 2014

DC Stroll: The Menswear Miracle Mile

Acceptable Metro stations:
Dupont Circle (Red)
Farragut West (Blue/Orange)

Begin at the Jos. A. Bank flagship location at 19th and M NW.  As usual, don't buy for a discount of less than 66% off the MSRP.

Out the door, to the left one long block and across Connecticut Ave to Brooks Brothers.  I mostly go here to grope the various fabrics and teach myself more about the kids of textures I like.  They also have nice ideas for shoes, plus the occasional decent necktie sale. 

Out the door, straight ahead across 19th to Burberry.  Lust after the trench coats and leave without buying anything. 

Out the door, straight ahead across Connecticut again to Johnston & Murphy.  Get a great shoe shine for $10 plus tip, which will be well-earned.  Grab a casual shoe on clearance if it grabs you back.

Out the door, to the right, down a ways, there's a Gap on your right, worth breezing through the clearance rack.

Out the door, to the right, pass by the Men's Wearhouse without entering. 

On your right, Charles Tyrwhitt.  Overall, a slightly better value proposition than Paul Fredrick, I think, but just barely.  Nice to be able to grope the material in store rather than through mail-order.

Cross back over Connecticut Ave and hang a left.  Allen Edmonds store on your right.  I need say nothing more, although they tend to overstock weird shoes and understock cordovan.  A good way to get your AE size, in any event.

Out the door, turn right, and Thomas Pink has a storefront in the Mayflower (natch).  Marvel at the striking colors.  Consider buying one of their tuxedo shirts.

Pop in to their bar for a tonic water.  You've earned it.  Pour out a little bit for Filene's Basement, which used to be just north of you, across the street.

Back out the door onto Conn Ave, hang a left, then right on L Street.  Down a block and change, on your right, one of the few remaining J. Press retail locations in the world.  I can't afford jack squat here but love to caress the tweeds anyway.

For your victory lap, hop a taxi to the Alden store near Metro Center.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Grenadine In Context

Same outfit as the last photo.  I forget where I got that linen pocket square, but it's just thin enough that it takes on a life of its own.  It has a way of working itself out of the pocket and poofing, then falling over a bit.

And see what a lovely knot the grenadine makes!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

At Last, Grenadine

It's no secret that I'm a cheap dresser who thinks things into the ground before buying.  Nor am I free of the intonations of the menswear bloggers, who tend to all suggest a navy grenadine tie.  Drakes makes them for $100+, but I get vertigo just thinking about spending that much on a tie, no matter how useful.

Enter The Knottery's navy grenadine tie.  (The discoloration in the middle of the shot is an artifact of my camera.)  TK has been around for a while, but their ties are so popular that they tend to sell out really fast.  This time, I got on the waitlist and so was ensured one.  As promised, it has a lot of texture-based personality.  Contrasting textures can make a relatively monochromatic outfit much more interesting, and for this, it fits the bill perfectly.

Outfit photos to come.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Red, And More Red

Back when it was really cold, I wore my ebayed Gieves & Hawkes DB peak-lapel 2x2 keystone suit (pattern here) with an ebayed LL Bean red cardigan (basically Mr. Rogers's famous red sweater but with buttons) and that fun bowtie with the red reverse (not my first experiment with that, either). 

Maybe I'm overselling my own theory of clothing, and you'd have to ask my coworkers how they felt about the outfit, but I think even a Mister Rogers sweater can be appropriate in context.  A DB jacket and a bowtie tends to say, "Why, yes, I did this on purpose," not, "Why, yes, this is my first rodeo.  How could you tell?" 

That said, I wouldn't wear this particular outfit before Christmas.  Holiday outfits--even those famous Ralph Lauren red tartan Christmas trousers--are an extremely dicey affair, requiring sensitivity at an atomic level to one's partygoers' personalities.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Pattern mixing

Worsted small herringbone next to tweed large herringbone. The difficulty with mixing patterns is that if they are too close to each other in size or color, it will look as though you tried, and failed, to match. What could be worse, apart from nuclear war? Here, I fancy that I succeeded in avoiding that trap.

I worry about Mads Mikkelsen playing Hannibal Lecter on TV for a similar reason. His suits are exquisitely tailored, but they usually give him a solid shirt in a rich color with a paisley necktie in highly similar shades. It looks too matchy, whereas I insist upon only the best for Le Chiffre and the star of one of Dapper Spouse's least favorite movies, Valhalla Rising.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Spring Dance

When it was freezing cold and nasty earlier this week, I wore a navy JAB Signature Gold blazer, BR chinos (which, by the way, I do not find to be a great value, but they were the best-fitting chinos I could find at the mall on short notice to fit my weirdening body proportions), CT dress-stripe shirt, and pink PF tie.  Burgundy Allen Edmonds oxfords from eBay. 

Dress for the weather you want, not the weather you have.  Similar to the rain dance in this regard.  And behold--spring temperatures and sunlight amounts, just in time for Daylight Saving Time, which needs to be made permanent, so dark is the DC winter.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


Some black Church's perforated wingtips I acquired from EBay require resoling. The uppers are still in very good shape, although a careless waxing by yours truly left some polish in many of the larger perforations. This slightly reduces their overall appeal by reducing the contrast between black leather and whitish leather edge, but nothing serious.

The grass is always blacker on the other side, though, and I keep thinking that a new pair of Allen Edmonds would be just swell, and I could scrupulously avoid getting polish in any of the perforations.

By the way, I was at the downtown Nordstrom Rack over the weekend and was struck by how high the list price had been on so many dress shoes of rather shoddy material and construction. Sometimes, you get what you pay for only after an 80% markdown.

Saturday, February 8, 2014


Probably the closest I have ever come to wearing an outfit that might appear in a catalog for a menswear company tailored to Brooklynites happened this week when I wore a seersucker dress-stripe bowtie (The Cordial Churchman) with a poplin dress-stripe shirt (Charles Tyrwhitt).  I accidentally left my artisanal axe at home that day.

I wouldn't wear this to court or for a first-time client meeting, but the folks at my office have gotten used to, and mostly tolerate, my eccentricities.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Difficult Difficult Lemon Difficult

This is a close-up of a 2-2 keystone navy double-breasted Gieves and Hawkes that I got on eBay. The colors of the overchecks are slightly cooler than they appear here. Anyway, you see the difficulty. What amounts to turquoise and somewhere between maroon and magenta isn't easy to coordinate.

Cool, muddy colors like muted gold and blue seem to work reasonably well. Paying attention has made me better at color, but this is still one that I can't figure out without physically holding the potential tie up to the suit in good light. You're never too old to get back to the basic skills.

Monday, January 13, 2014


Been digging pretty hard into the eBay menswear universe recently, waiting for a miracle.  It ain't easy.  You see things like J. Press 3-roll-2 jackets that have been pressed into oblivion as 3-button-two jackets.  Secondhand John Lobb Chelsea boots for $700.  A seller with a ton of tweed suits, all described as "MOD VINTAGE INDIE."  Obvious misdescriptions of fabric.  Shawl-collared brown suits.  Brogued Norwegian toes.  It's about as pleasant and life-affirming as mindlessly scanning Facebook.

But for lightly used specimens of any brand you trust implicitly--such as Allen Edmonds--it's hard to go wrong.  Much like thrifting (according to the menswear bloggers with the patience for it), you have to put in a lot of time to get a good deal.  But the deals are good.