Friday, May 31, 2013

A Man’s Belt Guide

Wearing a belt well is one of those litmus tests of fashion:  the simple task, done right, confirms you as a man who knows his clothes.  A mismatch or other error shows that you still need to learn about dressing well.  Fortunately, the basics of good belts aren’t hard to learn, and most are common sense.  The rest is personal taste — and belts allow plenty of room to express it.
Brown Braided Belt rolled
Men’s Belt Basics:  Belt Length
Dress belts should have a few inches of leather to the left of the buckle once it’s fastened.  Enough to tuck under your first belt loop, or the loop on the belt if it has one, is a good rule of thumb.  Err on the side of shortness if you need to, rather than wrapping a long tail of leather around your hip a second time.  Casual belts have a little more room for flexibility, but an overly long tail end is always an awkward look.
Belt Tab Notch Distance
Store-bought dress belts are usually measured with a range of pant sizes.  Pick your belts two or three sizes larger than your pants to get a good fit.  If you wear a 34″ trouser waist, a belt labeled 36″-38″ will probably be in the right neighborhood.  Of course, the easiest check is just to try the belt on in the store, at least wrapping it around your waist over your pants.  Just remember that it’ll sit a bit tighter when it’s worn properly.
Certain types of casual cloth bands have square brass buckles and a brass cap on the other end to feed through the mechanism.  Military surplus stores often have these, and other manufacturers have imitated the style as well.  These are traditionally worn “brass on brass,” with no spare belt beyond the buckle once fastened.  Since the belt is cloth, you can remove the buckle and trim the cloth down until it’s the right length, then clip the buckle back into place.

Related post: shirt.html wedding-attire/

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Suits, Blazers and Sport Coats

Ideally you won’t need much in the way of jackets for warm climates.  Southern gentlemen in the United States occasionally choose to sport a seersucker suit, but most men won’t have enough use for one to warrant the considerable investment.  Light-colored men suits in linen, cotton, or “tropical” wools work well if you happen to have one, and if you plan on spending considerable time in a hot climate we recommend buying one; otherwise, make do with khaki trousers and a blazer.  Sometimes called the “California suit,” the navy blazer with brass buttons worn over light khaki trousers is comfortable, classic, and acceptable at all but the highest levels of formality in warm climates.  Skipping the necktie and wearing it over an open collar is less formal, but more comfortable.
If you must wear a suit, then wear the lightest fabric and lightest earth tone suit you have
Suggested Packing List for a Week in Warm Weather
The following list is a good starting point.  Use your judgment and knowledge of the what you can expect in terms of weather, social environment and your activity level to fill in the details.   Remember that your goal is to pack light, pack smart and pack sharp.
Clothing Item Suggested Amount
Underwear 6 pairs
Socks 4 pairs
Polo shirts / Short-sleeved shirts 2 pairs
Long-sleeved lightweight dress shirts 2 pairs
Trousers 2 pairs
Boat shoe or moccasins 1 pair
Dress shoes 1 pair
Activity clothing (e.g. beachwear) -
Workout clothing 1 set
Suit / Blazer jacket (if necessary) -
Lightweight cashmere sweater* 1
Dopp kit -
*Optional: Sometimes warm weather climates have warm days, but cool nights. Pack at your own discretion

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Best Website for Men’s Clothing Deals?

Are you looking for discounts on men’s clothing?
Perhaps you’re wanting to imitate a look you saw Ryan Gosling or Brad Pitt wearing in the latest movie?
Or maybe you’re hard to please – and not only do you want the above but you also require solid information about grooming products, manly drinks, watches, and the occasional woman’s opinion delivered to your email or RSS feeder?
Have I got a website for you.
Dappered is a bargain hunter’s dream come true.  Updated daily – or more during quick changing sales is the brainchild of a smart gentlemen named Joe Weber.
Joe first appeared on my radar when he first guest posted over at Primer Magazine and later the Effortless Gent and Art of Manliness.  He impressed me then with his strong writing and knowledge – and he impresses me even more today by the way he has grown a community of bargain shopping men who share the best beals on the web and give insights into their purchases and finds.
Video of why is the Best Men’s Clothing Deal Site on the Web.

Here is an example of his writing style – he addresses a style problem, then provides solutions and links so that you can solve it immediately!

His ask a woman column is one of my favorites – although I believe every man should make his own style decisions, it is always worth hearing what the fairer sex has to say about issues that many of us might not have even thought to address.  Such as back hair :)

Last but not least – Joe is doing a great job building up a style community of bargain hunters in his very clean and well put together menswear forum.  Men who want to make their dollar stretch and are willing to share their finds and with others.
Dappered Threads
Discounts on men’s clothing:

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How to Roll Your Sleeves Up

So you’re in a situation where it’s all right to roll the sleeves up.  What’s the gentlemanly way to do it?  There are dozens of ways – here we highlight four.

Method One:  The Basic Sleeve Fold

Perhaps the most intuitive fold, this is what most of us would naturally do when we roll our shirt sleeves for the first time. This is the hardest fold to undo and aesthetically the worst looking.  However it’s simplicity and ruggedness make it a staple for the working man.
  1. Unbutton the cuff and any gauntlet buttons further up the sleeve.
  2. Using the cuff as the measuring point, we simply roll the sleeve over itself until it passes the elbow.  For me this is 3 times – depending on your cuff size and arm length, it may be 4 or as few as 2.
  3. Adjust until you’re happy, although its better to ensure each fold is clean and straight to get the best final look.

Method Two:  The Master Sleeve Roll

Depending on how well you finish the final fold, you can have either a more casual look with the end of the cuff is still showing, turned inside out and shoved up your sleeve.  This gives a decidedly more rumpled look that many consider stylish – especially if the shirt has a contrasting cuff color that pops.
  1. Again, unbutton the cuff and any “gauntlet” buttons further up the sleeve.
  2. Fold the cuff inside-out and keep tugging, without folding, until you’ve exposed just a little less arm than you want to with your finished look.  The turned-back sleeve should just be inside out and unfolded at this point.
  3. Fold the bottom of the inside-out sleeve about halfway up so that it makes a band beneath the inside-out cuff.
  4. Adjust until you’re happy, leaving the unbuttoned and inside-out ends of the cuff sticking out of the rolled fabric.

Method Three:  The AIFA Roll

This is a casual roll for the man wanting to signal the work day is over and it’s time to grab a beer.  I sport this sleeve roll when I’m walking around town and it’s a bit warmer – it looks stylish and I can easily roll the sleeves down with no wrinkles.  It is limited though by the size of your shirt cuff – too big of a cuff and this roll is impractical.
  1. Again, unbutton the cuff and any “gauntlet” buttons further up the sleeve.
  2. Using the cuff as the measuring point, we simply roll the sleeve over itself 1-2 times, stopping below the elbow.
  3. Adjust until you’re happy.

Method Four:  The Devil Dog Fold (Not Shown in Video)

A crisp and professional look.  We recommend this one for office settings and Marine Corps Change of Commands.  The finished effect is a band of cuffed cloth that’s even in width all around, with no corners or buttonholes showing.
  1. Unbutton the cuff and any gauntlet buttons higher up the sleeve.
  2. Fold the cuff in half upwards, so that the very outer edge is folded back to meet the bottom edge of the cuff.
  3. Fold again, keeping the same width — half the width of the cuff — and tucking the end of the cuff underneath the new fold.
  4. Keep going until you reach the desired height on your arm.  The roll of folded fabric should be even in width and should hide the cuff itself entirely.Related Articlea:

Monday, May 20, 2013

7 Things Women Notice

This is a guest post from my friend Megan over at Style Girlfriend – visit her blog for more men’s style advice from a woman’s perspective!
Gentlemen – Let’s talk about first impressions.
Specifically the kind you make on us ladies when we first meet you.
Women size you up as soon as you say “hello.”
Yes – it does go both ways.
The funny thing is she might not even realize the mental checklist forming in her head.  But make no mistake; she’s ticking off good and bad boxes.  And you know what they say about first impressions – you only get to make one.
So make yours count.
Below are 7 visual and audio cues a woman immediately notices and how you can get it right.

1 – Your Shoes

Why it matters: If eyes are the window to the soul, then shoes are the window to your style. Wear the wrong ones, and you’ll telegraph a less-than-ideal message. If they look flimsy, she’ll suspect you’re a cheapskate. If they’re ratty and worn-down, she’ll think you don’t care about your appearance (and will wonder what else you don’t care about).
How to get it right: Consider shoes an investment. Spend what you can on a few good pairs – dress shoes in both black and brown, and a loafer or driving moccasin for more casual outfits. And be sure your shoes are outfit-appropriate – that means no sneakers or sandals with a suit.

2 - Your Greeting

Why it matters: Why do you think it’s so nerve-wracking when contestants first get out of the limo on The Bachelor?  And guys, don’t pretend you haven’t watched this addictive reality series at least once. It’s because they only get a few words and gestures to make a good first impression. A greeting is the first opportunity to present yourself the way you want to be seen. Your handshake, smile and “hello” all contribute.
How to get it right: Be confident, but friendly. Don’t look past us, or up and down our frame before you reach our face. Of course, if you can barely make eye contact from nerves, that’s not very appealing either. Look us in the eye, smile warmly, and repeat our name (to help you remember it). And never underestimate the power of a firm handshake.

Take that hand out of your pocket and introduce yourself with a handshake.

3 - Your Hands

Why it matters: Since we’re already talking about handshakes, let’s discuss the state of your skin. I know that “Moisturize” probably isn’t high on your list of daily “To Do’s.” But rough hands are not something we ladies want to put up with. No one wants to touch scaly skin. Even if you think moisturizing isn’t “manly,” it’s in your best interest to keep your skin smooth.
How to get it right: Keep a hand cream at your desk at work and use it when you’re brainstorming your fantasy football lineup or trying to decide what to eat for lunch.
Click here to see one of Antonio’s favorite hand creams.

4 - Your “Look”

Why it matters: There are, of course, big fashion deal breakers guys (hopefully) know not to make. Showing up to a date in an “I’m with Stupid” t-shirt, for instance. Or walking into a business meeting wearing a Confederate flag biker jacket.
But usually, it’s smaller things that can trip you up with a first impression. A sloppy, untucked shirt – pants that clearly haven’t been pressed – muddy, grass-stained shoes.
How to get it right: Do a full-mirror scan before you leave your house. Do you look put together? Is your hair combed? Your shoelaces tied? Does your belt match your shoes? A quick once-over will save you from little mistakes in a first impression.
Throwing on a jacket is always a safe bet.

5 - Your Watch

Why it matters: Women don’t expect every man to flex a Rolex, but we do expect you to wear a man’s – not a kid’s – watch. No Mickey Mouse faces. No calculator watches. And nothing made of rubber if you’re not running a marathon.
How to get it right: If it’s time to upgrade your wrist wear, do a reconnaissance mission at your local department store’s watch counter to see what strikes your fancy. You can’t go wrong with a metal bracelet with a dark face, or a simple-yet-classic leather band with white face. Nothing showy, but nothing that suggests you won it in a carnival game either.

6 – Your Grammar

Why it matters: Even in the first exchange of “Hello’s” and “Hi my name is” pleasantries, ladies are making judgments. We notice if you’re using big words or not, if you say “umm,” call us “dude” or “babe,” and if your vocabulary is riddled with curses.
How to get it right: Read more books? We’re not asking for ten-dollar words dropped into every sentence, but we want to feel confident that you can hold up your end of a conversation if we introduce you to our friends or family without fear of you embarrassing us.

7 – Your Hair

Why it matters: The way you wear your hair says a lot about you. A combover trying to cover up a bald patch – you’ll seem insecure. Greasy locks that look like they haven’t been washed in days – a total turn-off.
How to get it right: Women have different opinions on the “right” length of hair, but that’s subjective. What’s more important is how it’s styled. Or really, if it’s styled at all. If you wear your hair longer, make sure it’s in check when you walk out the door. A little – not a lot – of product is best. If you’re going bald, just shave it off and rock a bare scalp without shame.

Welcome to custom made suits shop.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


men suitsSummer is a tough time in classic menswear.
Most of our most recognizable styles descended from British military and noble fashions, and the British Isles don’t face the same kinds of summer that much of the United States does, to say nothing of warmer parts of the world.
So when traditional worsted wool suits and cotton dress shirts become unbearable, what should a fashionable man wear?
Priorities What matters when it’s hot, and what doesn’t. The things you should think about when you buy hot-weather clothing.
Looks are always important, but the line has to be drawn somewhere. When the mercury climbs up above 80 degrees (26.6 C) you need functional clothing. Consider these the most essential characteristics for hot weather menswear:
men suits
This image is from Street Etiquette - Check out their blog for an amazing collection of images!
Light Weight
This should really go without saying. You want cloth that is physically light. The less ounces/grams of textile piled up on your skin, the less work you’re doing and the easier it is for air to circulate.
Wool is the only cloth that you can almost always get a weight for in specific ounces. You’ll see it for cotton and linen some of the time, but frequently you’ll need to try on a garment, or at least pick it up, to see how heavy it’s going to be.
Whenever possible, try hot weather clothes on before buying. Ten minutes of gently moving around the store or changing room will give you a very good idea of how easy it is to carry the weight. If you’re sweating after that, it’s definitely not going to be fun to wear on a hot day in the sun.
This is just as important as light weight, if not more so!
You need air circulating over your body to stay cool. Fabric that doesn’t breathe well will trap both sweat and hot air near your skin, leading to rapid overheating.
Finer threads, looser weaves, and more porous materials all help add to a textile’s breathability. Artificial fibers are typically non-breathable, and will make a garment more likely to keep sweat and air in.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of a good weave as well as a good fabric. A lot of cheaper manufacturers will sell anything cotton as “summer wear,” regardless of whether it’s any good in hot weather or not. A tight cotton weave holds both air and moisture in — it’ll be pure torture to wear on an 80-degree day.
Sun Protection
Most men spend less time thinking about sun protection than they should. Even dark-skinned men will feel the heat more in the sun, regardless of whether their skin can burn or not, and lighter-skinned men can find themselves in a lot of pain if they’re not careful.
Happily, classic men’s styles lend themselves well to full-body protection. Long sleeves and full trouser legs can be more cooling than a T-shirt and shorts in the right conditions. Hats and sunglasses play their role as well. And light colors will reflect far more sunlight than darker shades, keeping your clothes themselves from growing warmer in the sun.
Every warm-weather outfit should include a moment or two of thought for whether it can cover more skin comfortably or not. The less direct sun you’re soaking up the happier you’ll be, so long as it can be done with light and breathable fabrics.
Deliberate Style
The trouble with most summer outfits is that they’re products of necessity, not style. You throw on shorts and a T-shirt so that you don’t overhead, not because they look good.
Looking stylish in the summer is as much about small, deliberate gestures as it is anything else. Khakis and a white shirt are comfortable, but you look like a low-level IT staffer.
When you make a summer outfit you need to be thinking about the colors, patterns, textures, and accessories all together. The difference between stylish and just functional could be as small as a different belt or the right pocket square.
But if you don’t take the time to make that small difference you just look like one more overheated office guy. So believe us when we say that style is as important an element of hot weather clothing as breathable cloth!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Buy Custom Clothing Online

In a perfect world, we’d all be able to stroll down to a conveniently walking-distance Main Street and find a tailor’s shop that met all our clothing needs.
buying-clothing-onlineMost of us don’t live in that perfect world.
Depending on where you live, the nearest tailor who can make a high-quality piece of bespoke menswear could be hundreds or even thousands of miles away.
In some remote locations, just finding someone to sew a button on or repair a seam (if you can’t manage it yourself) can be a trip of multiple hours!

There is a solution.
The internet has connected customers and clothiers in ways that were never possible before.
A tailor in Shanghai can get started on a suit for a man in Dubuque, IA as soon as the customer sends his measurements via e-mail.
To be transparent – I need to disclose that I own an online custom clothier.  So my opinion is very biased – however I feel this insight gives me ability to present you a proven method for eliminating risk when you buy online custom clothing.  Please use it and share.  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Men’s Waxed Cotton Jackets

These days, “all weather” jackets all too frequently aren’t.
Too stifling in heat,
Too leaky in rain
Not enough insulation when it get’s cold.
Too porous in winds.
There’s a lot that can go wrong with your outer shell in bad weather.
Modern technology keeps working on new solutions, and there are some good ones out there. Gore-Tex is decent stuff: lightweight, breathable, and fairly water-resistant.
But for an all-in-one jacket that provides warmth, wind protection, and waterproofing, the best solution may the one that’s been around for centuries – the waxed cotton jacket.

What Is Waxed Cotton?

Waxed cotton cloth was originally used to make sails for wind-powered ships. It was the last word in technology, at its time.
Oiled sails had been used for years, since the oiled cloth caught the wind better and stayed lighter when it rained, but for many years they were made from flax fibers treated with linseed oil, which got stiff and yellowed with age.  In fact coats and capes made from old sails are where we get the association of fisherman’s slickers and the color yellow.
Egyptian cotton treated with paraffin wax allowed the creation of the light, waterproof sails that the fastest “tea clippers” used near the end of the Age of Sail. It rapidly caught on as a practical material for outdoor jackets as well, heavily promoted by the British company Barbour and sons (which still exists today), and the style has stayed with us ever since.
Waxed cotton jackets are doubly waterproofed: not only is the outside treated with a waterproof coating, the individual threads of the cloth are impregnated with wax before the bolt is woven.
The result is a waxy protection that goes all the way through the jacket — unlike a sprayed-on shell, the waterproofing can’t wear through.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Keep the Fit Close

tailored made suit
The shorter you are, the more obvious it is if your clothes are too big for you.
You can see in the video that Pete keeps the fit of his shirt very close. For someone with his build that probably means buying a “slim fit” from the brands that offer one, and some trips to the tailor for adjustments on some of his shirts as well.
Same goes for the fit in the pants — shorter guys want to keep that as close as possible, especially in the crotch and butt.
Clothes that are loose enough to start to sag do double damage to short guys: first it’s a distraction that keeps people’s eyes down on your lower body, and second it has the unfortunate effect of making you look like a kid who hasn’t quite grown into his hand-me-downs yet.
If you’re short and built more on the hefty side, you obviously won’t be able to wear quite as tight a fit, but you should still make sure you’re eliminating any sag at the seams (crotch, armpit, etc.) or the hems (trouser and shirt cuffs, shirt bottom, and so forth).
And, of course, if you’ve got an athletic build — say, because you do a lot of crossfit, just for example — a close fit has the added bonus of showing off your body. If you got it, flaunt it, right?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Ordering a Custom Shirt

custom shirt

Steve decided he wanted to purchase a shirt from Ratio Clothing, after finding their website and exploring their custom-made suit.  He has written about his experience using the site, and will write a second review in several weeks after the shirt has arrived.

I recently decided to look into buying a new dress shirt for work.  I like my clothes to fit well, more on the slim side, and most of the dress shirts I have collected over the years have been from big name retailers.  While fairly good in price range, these shirts generally lack structure and tend to billow at the waist and arms.  A common problem I have, which I have noticed most other people have as well, is the large amounts of fabric bunching around the waist.  In order to address this issue, I decided that I will now begin putting in a little more work (and likely pay a bit more) for a quality shirt that fits well.

In my search for a quality dress shirt I came across the company Ratio Clothing, a custom dress shirt manufacturer.  I was intrigued by their shirt selection and their unique sizing method.  They use 5  measurements to ensure proper shirt fit.  This is compared to the typical two measurements for retail stores, neck size and arm length.  The reasoning behind Ratio’s method is that more measurements allow for a better fitting shirt, an idea that is simple enough yet not found in major retailers.  In this post I will review the shirt selection and purchasing process, and in a future post I will review the shirt fit and quality.

The Ratio website is set up well and is user-friendly.  The shirt selection process is laid out in the “How To” tab, and and can found by selecting “Getting Started.”  The steps are simple: select a shirt material and pattern, choose the style designs, and enter your measurements.  Each step is explained in more detail by clicking on links in the description.  The explanations were very detailed and I found them to be really helpful.  The fabric selection explanation page goes into detail about weaves and yarns characteristics.  Having no previous knowledge on these topics I found the information to be useful, but I feel that pictures would have been even more helpful to fully understand the textures of the fabrics.  The design guide was helpful as well.  It went into detail about all of the style options including collar type, cuffs, and placket.  If you’re like me and don’t know what a placket is this guide is a good reference.  The pictures in the style guide were very helpful in determining which details I wanted to include in my shirt.  The fitting guide described the five measurements needed: chest, neck, sleeve, shirt length, and fit.  The explanation of the measurements was helpful, containing information on what to do if you fall between sizes or need additional tips.

After reviewing the three steps for selecting a shirt, I began designing one.  The shirt fabric and pattern varieties are impressive.  They have a good selection of ginghams, including red, which I’ve found difficult to find in stores.  There are a few plaid options, a couple oxfords, and several solids and windowpane patterns.  There were 51 patterns to choose from when I bought my shirt with the majority of the patterns were lighter colors.  I am curious to see if they change their patterns according to season, and whether I will see darker patterns in the winter.  The patterns I could choose from were all very bright, and some darker tones would have been good to have as options.  It would have been overwhelming for me to have every pattern in every fabric option, so the limited fabrics for each pattern helped to make the choice easier.

After I chose the pattern and fabric, I moved onto the shirt style options and a computer-generated image of the shirt is shown.  This is a nice feature and helped me visualize the final shirt I had created.  After I input my five measurements, the shirt was ready to be purchased.  I had to create an account, but signing up for the newsletter during the process will allow me to get updates and special offers (always a plus).  The payment process is straightforward, I noticed they offer free shipping in the United States which cut down my purchase price by a few dollars.  The shirt cost $98 in total.  This price is competitive compared to other higher end dress shirts.  While a shirt from Express can cost $60, a BOSS or Canali shirt from Nordstrom can cost upwards of $120.  Considering that the Ratio shirt is a custom fit and quality fabrics are used in construction, I feel the shirts are reasonably priced.

Aside from creating the brand new shirt, Ratio also allows the option to email 9 measurements from a well-fitting shirt you own and they will make one exactly like it.  This is a great option for folks with a shirt they love but would like it in a different pattern.  This option is not advertised strongly on their website but I think it is a great additional feature.

Considering I could have made an error when taking my measurements, Ratio offers a liberal return policy for all customers (with even more benefits for first time customers).  First time customers are allowed to return their first purchase for a full refund, store credit, or alterations within 30 days of the delivery date.  The customer must pay for return shipping but there are no restocking fees.  Returning customers may also return shirts for alterations with no restocking fee, but to get store credit for a returned shirt requires the customer to pay a $35 restocking fee.  This return policy provides peace of mind when buying a shirt knowing that it can be altered for no penalty.

Overall, I was very happy with my design and purchasing experience at Ratio Clothing.  I like their 5 measurement method which will hopefully ensure a nice slim fit for my shirt.  I was pleased with their website, its ease of use, and the information it provided before I purchased their product.  I am looking forward to receiving my shirt in 3-4 weeks and will write a review on it as soon as a get it.

Related articles: suit.html

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Adventures Of A Gentleman

Today’s post offers a particularly interesting example that perfectly demonstrates the subtle art of mixing colours and patterns.
It is a composition found in the F/W collection by beautiful and great Brioni, which PG appreciates to its true (and high) value.
At first glance, there is no doubt that the ensemble is very well executed and that the colour blend is well-balanced. Needless to say, each piece is a wonder in itself, especially the burgundy blazer and the chocolate cardigan, both in pure cashmere.
custom suits
Nevertheless, we consider that one detail falls short of the aesthetic intention, as it goes against a fundamental principle that we have often explored in these lines, namely pattern combinations.
Indeed, the very similar patterns on the bowtie and coat divert the gaze away from the face and ultimately somehow blur the overall result.
The rule being bent here is simple: when blending two similar patterns (in this case checks), make sure that they are of different dimensions (which is not the case here).
In addition, the bowtie being in (excessively) perfect harmony with the coat suitably exemplifies “anti-sprezzatura” (the famous purposeful nonchalance ).
In other words, if you met this handsome gent on the street you would immediately know that he had thought long and hard about his outfit.
Now, picture the same ensemble with a block colour bowtie: the effect would have been far more nonchalant and therefore, a lot more spontaneous.
One single flaw with our analysis: its collapses if you take off the coat…
Related articles:

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Men’s Elegance

It is our pleasure to report on the (very) recent arrival of (very) talented Manolo Costa on Madison Avenue, in the very heart of Manhattan. This name is familiar to insiders of the limited world of men’s elegance. Before launching on his solo bespoke journey, Manolo was the dresser/stylist/advisor to the most prestigious clients of Paul Stuart/Phineas Cole and then of Polo Ralph Lauren’s.
custom suit
custom suit
Today, Manolo is at the helm of his own bespoke tailoring salon. To say that his very first creations already strongly impress, with the quality of cuts, materials and finish, would be an understatement.
We have a piece in the works on the store front at 286 Madison Avenue for the winter that promises to shed more light on this new stronghold of New York dapperness.
In the meantime, we are leaving you with a preliminary selection of tailoring pieces created by a very promising new label.
tailored made suit

Related article: suit.html

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Hats off (or on) to Croatia for the contribution of introducing the necktie globally. As early as the mid-1600s, during the European Thirty Year War, from around 1618-1648, Croatian soldiers fought in various regions of Europe. The traditional Croatian military dress included a noteworthy scarf tied around the neck, which is very similar to the style in which the necktie is worn today.
The setting is now in Prague; the year, 1618.  Some Prague agents of the Holy Roman Emperor were in a state of dissent when a group of citizens threw the agents out of a window. The agents landed on a dunghill and happened to survive. Being foul tempered because of this angst with Prague, it is said that the 30 Year War ensued soon after, which gave way to an immediate need for Croatian mercenaries. Although these Croatians were rough-and-ready fellows, they held fast to making a style statement by displaying notable neckwear.
Some postulate that the word “‘cravat” is a derivative of the word “Croat”. It is an enigma as to why the Croatians exacted such imitation.  Still, as these Croatian soldiers were stationed in Paris during the reign of Louis XIV, the Croatians’ overall style greatly impressed their French counterparts and French men rather quickly borrowed from their sense of fashion–most notably when it came to neckwear.
The tie gained entry into the bourgeois style circle of that era as a sign of elegance and cultivated elitism and soon after, the rest of Europe fell at the cravate’s feet. Of course today we witness the power of the necktie in practically every culture, with up to 85 different tie methods (as found in The 85 Ways to Tie a Tie by Thomas Fink and Yong Mao) and a wide array of materials and colors. -about-tie.html

Monday, May 6, 2013


custom suits
There are three things that I notice right away about this style: the arched tie, the pocketsquare, and the contrasting button-hole stitching.  This look feels like it remains understated while still holding a strong sense of style.  And, this combination of style elements definitely allows for focus on the man instead of his clothing.  It is not overdone, but nonetheless displays flair and individuality.  The pocketsquare itself is not a duplicate of any other color or pattern (over-matching a pocketsquare to other fabrics and patterns worn comes off as looking fussy and unimaginative), but is simply white in color with interesting stitching–a fine complement to this overall look.  A properly arched tie does not fail to intrigue…it makes me wonder how it was managed…what special twist, slide, push or positioning caused it to look so steeped in 19th century tradition?  I adore this way of wearing a tie and it is pleasing to see this effect carried off well.  The red stitched button hole is bold and shows a willingness to take risks and even communicates a slight sense of adventure (even if the Parisian Gentleman finds the colored button-hole stitching to be a little too much).
custom suits
Even waist deep in hot water, Draper pulls off the ultra thin tie with ease
Another tie twist is opting for the ultra thin tie, inspired by the 1960s era, to complement a suit. Don Draper from the series Mad Men has become an icon for sporting this retro look.
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Sunday, May 5, 2013


As we take notice of how the collar fits around the neck, we develop an eye for fine tailoring.
Here are some contrasting examples of the bad and the good:

Collar gap with classic V-Tug with collapsing fabric and a curved (instead of straight) left lapel.

And now for the good:

PG Director Greg Jacomet in Cifonelli (who worked with an uneven shoulder). Here there is no collar-gap, around 2 cm of shirt collar showing in back, a straight lapel angle, and the correct amount of front tugging.

Stefan Bernard in a Zegna jacket. Notice the close collar fit on both sides of the neck, and the correct front panel tugging. The lapel angle is intentionally curved instead of straight, with both lapels curved and angled evenly.

Pal Zileri. A nice RTW specimen on all counts.
There are a few things you can do to improve the situation of dealing with a collar gap, ranging from wearing wide-spread shirt collars to mitigate the appearance of the collar opening to looking at having a tailor build up a weak shoulder on the coat, to making a subtle shift in button placement to improve a pull of the coat to the left or to the right (again, usually indicted by uneven shoulders). But, of course, having the collar correctly made to form to your neck from the beginning will save a lot of trouble in the end.

related post: everyday-suit.html

Friday, May 3, 2013

Man's Fashion Website

Alpha M Image Consulting – If this was a video blogger list, Aaron would be number one.  He is an entertainer/educator/leader when it comes to men’s style advice online.  The only reason he wasn’t in my top ten is almost everything he put’s out is video based.  Therefore he isn’t technically a blogger – but a vlogger.  That being said if you are not watching his channel you are missing a great show full of humor and sound style tips.  Highly recommended.
Art of ManlinessA great collection of all things manly. I write a number of the clothing articles over there and only 5% of the 1000+ articles are on style –  so I couldn’t put it in our top 10 (some bias there!), but it’s a great site. Lifestyle, clothing, practical skills, and more.
Ask Andy About Clothes –A venerable guide and web forum. Probably one of the largest communities for menswear fans out there. Your first stop for any obscure fashion questions you need a simple answer to.
Be Stylish - General fashion blog with a mix of product reviews, fashion history, and basic how-tos. Less frequent updates than some of our Top 10, but still good material here.
Black Tie Guide – The authority on all things formalwear. A vital guide for anyone planning on wearing a tuxedo. Don’t let the name mislead you — the “Black Tie Guide” has sections to help you with white tie, morning coats, and other variants of formalwear as well.
Fashion Beans – For the runway fans out there. A sort of online glamor mag with all the latest looks from menswear designers. Lots of photospreads and catwalk shots — and, of course, an online store where you can buy many of the products they feature.
The Gentlemen’s Standard – A style-and-perspective blog targeted specifically at men of color. Very classic style mixed with more thoughtful essays on the role and nature of a “gentleman.”
Le Vrai Winston – Photoblog presenting sample outfits for a wide range of circumstances, both professional and social. Every post creates a new outfit and runs through its elements one by one.
Made by Hand – A blog focused specifically on tailoring and bespoke construction. Infrequent updates, but good when they arrive.
Men’s Style Pro – Sabir Peele has created a solid collection of men’s style advice as he chronicles his style journey through photographs, outfit reviews, and style looks.  Philadelphia based – he brings a young and fresh view.  Need advice – contact him about style advice!
Modern Gentleman - Updates once or twice a month with solid, basic information articles. Also includes a useful glossary of style and fashion terms.
Off the Cuff - Off the Cuff has been around since 2006, making it a venerable oldster by the standards of the internet. They usually update once or twice a week, but the updates are long and full of substance, both written and visual. It’s also a deeply-connected website, working frequently with greats of men’s fashion like Alan Flusser. It brings a lot of content to the table, quite a bit of it both unique and exclusive.
Primer – “A Guy’s Post-Graduate Guide to Growing Up,” targeted primarily at young men in their 20s and 30s. Has some useful advice for men who don’t have the budget for lots of bespoke clothing. Covers lifestyle, housing, food and drink, etc., in addition to menswear.
Street Etiquette – Photoblog of outfits seen on the street all over the world. A great look at all different kinds of fashion.
Style Forum - Another of the original menswear forums on the internet. Many subforums for every kind of niche imaginable. A good place to go with fashion or style questions.
Style Girlfriend – A rare woman’s perspective on men’s style. Megan does a great job suggesting complete outfits, dispensing style tips, and is attentive to her growing community.  She is also a Wisconsinite living in New York City – Midwest sensibilities with a big city perspective.
Related post: suit.html

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Men’s Suit in Detail

The first and perhaps most noticeable element of a man’s suit is whether the jacket is single or double-breasted. Single-breasted suit jackets have a single row of buttons down the front, with the jacket flaps overlapping enough to permit buttoning.
A double-breasted suit jacket has two rows of buttons, with the front overlapping sufficiently to allow both flaps to be attached to the opposite row of buttons. The choice between a single or double-breasted jacket is a matter of personal taste, though the vast majority of American men choose the single breasted option as that this is what is readily available to them. In addition, a lack of familiarity with the double-breasted suit jacket may account for the single-breasted suit’s dominance. This is unfortunate since the double breasted jacket has a number of advantages for certain men.
Thin gentlemen, in particular those who are somewhat taller, can benefit greatly from double-breasted suits as they give a fuller appearance to the figure; on larger men, double-breasted suits can have a tendency to draw attention to the midsection, so
careful attention and an expert tailor should be employed.
When it comes to formality, all things being equal a double-breasted jacket is more formal as that it is always buttoned, although a man wearing a single breasted jacket can negate this advantage by throwing on a vest. But for the modern man, the single breasted suit is the current standard bearer; a dark, well fitting, conservatively built single-breasted jacket is perfectly acceptable at all but the most formal of occasions.
Jacket Buttons
A suit jacket has either one or two rows of main front buttons. A single-breasted jacket has anywhere from one to four, though two and three button jackets are most common.
The three-button jacket is the most traditional configuration, taking its cue from English riding jackets; properly worn, it gives the illusion of height. It’s common practice to button the middle or second buttons when standing, though the top two buttons may be fastened to produce a slightly more formal appearance (A great way to remember this is Sometimes – Always – Never).
Two-button suits are a slightly later innovation, and because they show more of the shirt and tie, can have a slimming effect. Only the top button of a two-button jacket is fastened. With the exception of the one button jacket, the bottom button is never fastened.

Double-breasted jackets most commonly have either four or six buttons (also referred to as 4 over 2 or 6 over 2) on each side – where there are six buttons, only the lower four are for buttoning, though due to the design of the suit, only two will actually be buttoned at any given time. There is also an extra hidden button called a “jigger” on the reverse of the outside flap of a double-breasted suit, onto which the inside or “hidden” flap attaches.
Contrary to the habits of certain celebrities, a double-breasted jacket should never be left unbuttoned when standing; it is always securely buttoned upon standing and remains buttoned until one is again seated. Additionally, while the bottom button of a single-breasted jacket is always left undone, it is acceptable for both of the operable buttons on a double-breasted jacket are fastened. However, this practice is looked down upon more stylish men. As with the gorge of the lapel, the height of the waist buttons can been altered slightly to accentuate or diminish height, but this must be done carefully.
Jacket Lapels
Lapels come in a wide variety of styles, and have been the subject of fashion experiments for decades. It’s hard to look back at the 70′s and not cringe at the sight of lapels extending to the shoulders, and I’m sure years from now we’ll be embarrassed with our current obsession with slim cuts, especially on men who this does not flatter.
As is the case with much of classic fashion, the most timeless lapels are of a moderate width and are matched to the proportions of the wearer rather than the winds of fashion. By doing this you can ensure your jacket doesn’t look too big or too small, despite it fitting you perfectly in other areas. The late Carey Grant used to have the notches on his lapels lowered so that he wouldn’t appear tall and lanky. A small, but effective, tailoring technique.
The vast majority of suit lapels fall into two styles: notched (seen to our left), which has a wide V-shaped opening where the lapel and collar join; and peaked (seen to our right), which flares out in a sharp point with a very narrow deep V at the join creating the illusion of slimness and height. Notched and peaked lapels are equally classic, though the latter are most commonly found on double-breasted jackets and somewhat signal a higher level of formality. A peak lapel on a single-breasted jacket is an excellent way to raise its level of formality, but is almost impossible to find on anything but a custom made suit.
Main Jacket Pockets
The most formal are jetted pockets, where the pocket is sewn into the lining of the jacket and only a narrow horizontal opening appears on the side of the jacket. These pockets, being nearly invisible, contribute to a very sleek, polished appearance, and are most frequently found on formal-wear.
The next style, the flap pocket, is slightly less formal, though it is perfectly acceptable in all the circumstances where a gentleman is likely to be found in a suit. Flap pockets are made identically to jetted pockets, but include a flap sewn into the top of the pocket, which covers the pocket’s opening. These are the most common pockets on suit jackets, and in the very best, are fabricated so that the wearer may tuck the flaps inside, mimicking the jetted pocket.
There are also diagonally-cut flap pockets known as “hacking” pockets. Though they are somewhat less common; the hacking pocket is derived from English riding gear, and is most prominent on bespoke suits from English tailors, particularly those traditionally associated with riding clothes.
The least formal are patch pockets, which are exactly what the name implies: pockets created by applying a patch to the outside of the jacket. Patch pockets are the most casual option; they are frequently found on summer suits that would otherwise appear overly formal, as well as on sports jackets.
Ticket pocket
Some men’s suit and sport jackets, particularly those with a bespoke or made-to-measure heritage, include a small ticket pocket above the right side pockets (as see here in conjunction with the hacking pockets on the right). As the name implies the ticket pocket was derived from the English and was originally used to hold tickets at sporting or theatre events. This pocket serves as an indication of the suit’s quality, although for tall men it can help them look less lanky.
Breast Pocket
Moving up the jacket is the breast pocket, which is always open (Closed pockets can be opened by a tailor on request), and into which only one item is ever placed: the handkerchief or pocket square. The reason for this is twofold: First, like the side pockets, any items placed in the breast pocket create lumpy projections which distort the sleek appearance of the suit, and second, the breast pocket and the inside left pocket share the same space in the jacket’s lining, meaning that objects in the breast pocket tend to force items in the inside pocket into the wearer’s ribs, which is quite uncomfortable.
Jacket Vents
Moving on from pockets we find the jacket’s vents, flap-like slits in the back bottom of the jacket which accommodate movement and offer easy access to the trouser pockets. There are three common styles: Ventless, Center, and Double.
Ventless jackets, just as the name implies, have no vents, and are popular on Continental suits; they provide a very sleek look to the back of the jacket, though they can lead to wrinkling when the wearer sits down. This style works well for athletically built men, but larger men had best avoid it.
Center-vented jackets, very popular on American suits, have a single slit at the back, allowing the jacket to expand at the bottom when sitting. Because of its placement, center-vented jackets have a habit of exposing the wearer’s posterior, though most seem not to mind. The popularity of the center vent is not in it’s functionality, but in that it is the least expensive vent to manufacture.
The crown jewel of vents is the double or side-vented jacket marked by two vents, one on either side, generally just behind the trouser pockets, to provide easy access and freedom of movement. Side vents facilitate sitting more easily, moving as needed to prevent the rumpling of the jacket back. Double vents do an excellent job of covering a man’s backside, especially when compared to the single ventand adds a more robust dimension to the wearer’s sillouette.
Jacket Sleeve Buttons
There are numerous historical reasons for jacket sleeves bearing buttons, from encouraging the use of handkerchiefs to allowing a gentleman to wash his hands without removing his jacket (a traditionally grave social offense in mixed company). Whatever the reason for their arrival on jacket sleeves, sleeve buttons now form an important part of the detail work or trimming of the jacket.
Most traditionally, jacket sleeves bear four buttons, though it is not uncommon to find three. Regardless of number, there should be at least as many of them as there are buttons on the waist, and they are always placed within a half-inch or so above the hem.
On bespoke suits, and even some of the higher-quality made-to-measure jackets, the sleeve buttons are functional and may be referred to as surgeon’s cuffs. This orginated from the need for doctors to roll up their sleeves for duty. When the buttons are functional, there is some temptation to leave one button undone in order to draw attention to the feature – and by extension, the quality of the suit – though this is a matter of personal taste.
Trouser Waist Band & Pleats
Men’s Dress trousers should not be the focal point of a man’s attire; rather, their job is to draw the eye upward to your jacket or downward to your shoes, perhaps subtly flattering your legs. With that being said, the fit and design of your trousers is important; nothing is more uncomfortable for a man than a pair of pants too tight in the crotch or so loose in the backside as to cause a draft.
Here to our left we see a classic expanded or tab waistband. Most men are familiar with the extra button inside a pair of dress slacks; few understand why it is there. The purpose of extra buttons also called a hook and eye closure in the waist area is to make the trousers
fit more comfortably. The idea is to distribute the weight more evenly, thus eliminating pressure points in your trousers while ensuring a snug fit. In order for this to work though, your trousers need to fit. Having them expanded or pulled in by an experienced tailor is well worth the trouble; having your trousers built custom is the best way to never have this problem to begin with.
To have your trousers pleated or non-pleated doesn’t seem to be a difficult decision for most men; whether or not they made the right one is another story. Flat fronts compliment thin men, while pleats flatter those who are a bit larger or just prefer extra room in that area. Bear in mind that pleats often add heft to the wearer’s figure and draws the eye to the midsection, while flat front pants create cleaner line and the illusion of slimness. Your decision here does have consequences – it may determine your trouser cuff decision.
Trouser Cuffs
The general rules with trouser cuffs are this – Tall men should cuff, thereby negating their lankiness and those vertically challenged should not in order to create the illusion of height. Also, if you chose to go with the pleats, you should cuff while flat fronts should never be cuffed. And now that I’ve said this, you’re wondering “What if I’m tall and thin or 5’4″ and 250lbs…..according to these rules and the ones above, I’m a contradiction.”
Perhaps this is a good way to wrap this up. All of these rules, all of these laws of fashion and style, well, they are more like guides. They are paths that have worked, they are techniques that have been tested; but they are not absolutes.
The journey to sartorial excellence is long, yet rewarding. This article only scratches the surface of the iceberg; writers whom I admire have written multiple volumes on men’s style and clothing, and still only capture a fragment of its essence. The truth of the matter is that there are as many styles as there are men; within each of us is our own personal style, in part dictated by our physical characteristics but more importantly determined by how we see ourselves. For more information on men’s suits and men’s style, visit my other Knols or A Tailored Suit’s Style Guide.
Related Article: suit.html