Saturday, November 28, 2015

Saturday Errands

I don't wear a suit on the weekends or to bed. But going to Home Depot naked is illegal in Loudoun County. I put on an old pair of Gap outlet khaki shorts, a neon/pastel/??? blue H&M t-shirt, and my Clarks desert boots (50% off, no idea why). I also had on a Nats cap because I didn't wash my hair before going out.

No-show ankle socks are key here.

Also, before you ask, I was not front-tucking while I was out. That was so you could see my all-purpose d-ring belt.

Monday, November 23, 2015

If You Have $500 And You Want To Spend It On Me

In the window of J. Press downtown.  I think this is it.

The Darkness

I have discovered its lair.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

On The Return Of Filene's Basement

Filene's Basement on Connecticut downtown was one of my most favorite places of all time to go on a lunch break.  Then the company went bankrupt and sold all its stuff and closed all its stores and took a long nap.  Now it's back, solely online.  I don't have my own PACER account, so I can't look at the bankruptcy filings, but I betcha what happened is somebody bought the marks and trade dress to relaunch it without the retail-space rent overhead. 

The website is an honest reflection of what Filene's always was.  Random stock, only gently curated, not well-presented, but with value everywhere--like TJ Maxx without the vertigo.  The shoe brands are in the same market level as always: Italianate names with prices at long last reflecting their actual value instead of a brand-based markup.  The selection of suits is completely random.  Some poor sod is having to take pictures of the suit jackets on a mannequin and use the lasso tool in Photoshop to make a cutout.  It's very eBay at the moment.  Greater things to come, I'm sure, if they can capitalize on the goodwill.  Meanwhile, the inability to try things on is a drag.

And they only have a few dozen ties.  In my day, they had millions of ties.  Millions, I tell you!  Kids these days.  No respect.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

To The Members Of My Fantasy Football League

These socks are lavender colored.

For the rest of you: Socks from Dapper Classics, white bucs from Johnston & Murphy; blue seersucker suit from JAB for one seventh of list price.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Pater, shown here.  When you are the groom, you get to wear whatever you want.  Dark gray chalkstripe single-breasted, two buttons with one to button, black tassel loafers, blue-gray shirt, necktie right down the middle of the shirt and suit colors, and boutonniere. Classic.

Dapper District was on hand to rumble with any of the bride's brothers who might object to the wedding.  Fortunately, there were only sisters, and they were on board.

Sunday, May 10, 2015


I don't usually go negative here, but
1. I was an English major,
2. I was a copy editor, and
3. I read The Book of the Courtier in the course of my studies.

So I winced a bit when I read "Natural Sprezz" by the generally very smart guys at Put This On, itself probably the most widely followed #menswear blog around.  Sprezzatura gets used a lot in describing menswear, but when Baldassare Castiglione coined the term, it basically meant apparently (but affectedly) effortless nonchalance.  That is, going to great lengths to appear not to have gone to great lengths.  You see this every World Cup from the Italian team coaches--they tend to, say, tie their neckties so that the narrower blade hangs several inches below the wider blade.  We are to believe that this was accidentally done for international television.  So sprezzatura is a squishy concept, difficult to measure because measuring fixes it in spacetime.

Wearing a linen suit is not, as PTO has it, sprezzatura.  You cannot wear a linen suit in a way that makes it seem like you put on a linen suit by accident, especially in the summer.  Linen suits are nonchalant and effortless, but there is an element of irony in the use of sprezzatura.  Wearing a linen suit on purpose because it's effortless and nonchalant is a great idea, but anything worn in earnest is not sprezzatura. 

Likewise, Beau Brummell's extraordinary attention to the tying of his cravat was not sprezzatura.  Sprezzatura is like Fight Club: rules #1 and #2 are that if you are talking about it, you are doing it wrong.  Sprezzatura is futzing with your pocket square for five minutes (or hours), when you are alone, to get it to look like you just grabbed it off the shelf and stuffed it into your breast pocket without thinking.

Sprezzatura is a fun, precise word!  Let's keep it that way.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Reader Question: Ganglitude, Surmounted

"Matt" declares and inquires:

I'm working to transition from lower business casual (khakis and polos) to higher business casual, which will involve more fitted shirts and occasionally suits. I'd like to do it correctly...In addition, nearly everything I get must be tailored, or often built. Long arms and torso, and very little fits me off the rack or even from the package.
Matthias, dear reader, it sounds as though you are afflicted with the gangly.  I am not a gangly person myself, but some of my best friends are gangly.  Many of our nation's most famous power forwards, strong safeties, and presidents have been gangly.  You know who else was gangly and dressed like a ****** *** ***** **ing *** ** * boss?  Cary Grant.  You are in great company.
Your biggest problem will be shirts.  You, like every other reader of this blog, will definitely have to order shirts with a specific sleeve length (no more "34/35" for you) and collar circumference.  You will have to go somewhere to get measured--your local menswear shop can do this.  You will probably never buy a dress shirt in a store again as a result, except perhaps Brooks Brothers or Thomas Pink (drool). 

Start out at Paul Fredrick; their shirt skirts are longer than is average these days, which is good for a long torso.  Introductory white oxford deal here.  Good place to start for you sounds like button cuff with a button collar (assuming you will wear a tie only irregularly).  Get 3 with button collars and one Windsor spread for when you wear a tie with a jacket.

Last, if you have a long torso, you will probably need pants with a longer rise.  This means you will probably not look proper in modern-cut suits like the kind you would get at Banana Republic or J. Crew.  Pants length is not a problem if you buy pants with unfinished hems.

JAB carries a lot of long-size jackets and suits, and their default pant fit has a lot of room in the crotch (easily handled by your alterations tailor, not the one that works in the back at the local JAB).  Never pay more than 66% off list price at JAB. 

Drop another comment if you have more questions.  I live to serve.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


I bent over to pick up a file from a bottom drawer at the office the other day and heard a dreaded sound.  I knew I would have to get the seat re-stitched on my pants, but only once I got back into the office and hid myself could I survey the true damage.  Not only had the seat seam come apart, but the fabric itself had suffered a massive blowout--probably five inches--orthogonal to the seat seam.

I dashed to the Fair Oaks Mall Macy's and picked up a pair of winterweight dark-gray trousers.  The original suit was a dark navy herringbone, so the slacks match the jacket in seasonal texture as well as tonal sobriety.

This is, of course, shenanigan number two of this post: The old saw is that, while one might wear suit pants with a non-matching jacket in a pinch, one ought never do the reverse.  A good rule in theory; most men's trousers have less sheen than most men's suit jackets.  But when you have a jacket that is already not sheeny and even slightly more casual than, say, a pinstripe suit (due to the herringbone weave) and pants that are more formal (dark gray; fabric with a bit of nub to it), everything is fine, brah.

And they were on sale!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Texture And Physics

Cream wool trousers, gray wool vest (appears to be twill) with black weft, and navy blazer.  Alongside burgundy briefcase, lest we forget.   Click through to the big version.  I just love texture.  I am sure that by age 40 I will have developed a Grand Unified Theory of texture combinations in menswear, but for now, I am like Newton, delighted as apples fall on my head.