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!