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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Gray Suit Looks Good With Any Shirt And Tie

Gray, that most neutral of colors, does an excellent job of matching everything yet playing second fiddle to anything you pair with it. Whoever wears a sport coat, wherever and however he wears it, cannot go wrong pairing it with gray flannels. This wonderful fabric is made from Merino wool, and comfortably warm in fall, winter and spring. Softer than worsted, it does not hold a crease with the same rigidity as its more formal cousin. This makes it the ideal complement to the sport coat, given the latter's heritage as dignified causal wear.

Just as the gray suit looks good with any shirt and tie, so do gray trousers provide a sure footing for any sport coat ensemble. They work with brown or black shoes, from oxfords to loafers (although most jackets have a slightly narrower range). There is no color or pattern of shirt, tie, or Men's suits Lapels with which it clashes. That means that once you have picked out a combination of these three that complement each other well, you're done! Step into your gray flannels and you are guaranteed a harmonious outfit. This does not imply that gray flannels are an easy way out of the sometimes difficult task of color and pattern matching. Indeed, Fred Astaire, one of the best dressed men of the twentieth century and one renowned for his daring agility in mixing fabrics, wore gray flannel trousers more often than not. There's plenty of room to be interesting above the waist and below the ankles.

Color aside, the texture of flannel is dressy enough for a blazer and tie while maintaining a long reach down the formality spectrum. With a turtleneck in your favorite color, they're comfortable and casual, perfect for a Fall Saturday morning at home. When it comes time to go out, you can don any bespoke suit in your closet  without worrying about whether it will match your bottoms. Herein lies another of these pants' advantages: They look just as good without a jacket as they do with one, allowing you to easily adjust the formality of your attire during the day without having to change.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Men's suits Lapels

Attached to the shoulders is the collar, and with it the lapel, which stretches down to where the buttons begin. Lapels come in a variety of styles with a number of options. The lapels' width is perhaps subject to the most variance, with the extremely narrow lapels of the 1950s standing in stark contrast to the excessively wide lapels of the 1970s. As is the case with much of classic fashion, the most timeless lapels are of a moderate width.
In addition to different widths, lapels come in three styles: notched, which has a wide, V-shaped opening where the lapel and collar join; peaked, which flares out in a sharp point, with a very narrow, deep V at the join; and shawl, where the lapel and collar are indistinguishable, curving from around the neck all the way down to where the lapels end. Notched and peaked lapels are equally classic, though the latter are most commonly found on double-breasted jackets. Shawl collars are almost exclusively limited to formal-wear, though they occasionally appear on ready-custom made suits – these should be avoided if a classic look is desired.
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Deeper Understanding of Custom Dress Shirts

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Deeper Understanding of Custom Dress Shirts

In retail stores, men's dress shirts are sized by collar circumference and sleeve length. Most are cut to fit the most corpulent members of each size, and thus look blousy on most men. Those with an uncommon pairing of neck size and arm length have difficulty even finding a shirt that fits in these two places. Since even the simplest alterations can add 25-50% to the price of a dress shirt, it is often more economical to have shirts made to one's exact measurements. For a man starting out who is unable to afford custom-made, the best bet is to try on a lot of shirts until one finds a particular size of a particular brand that fits him well in the chest, stomach, neck, and sleeves, and then buy as many colors and patterns of these as he can find.

Aside from fabric and fit, a man has a few matters of construction to consider when picking out or ordering a shirt: Collar, cuffs, pocket, placket, and pleats. As with fit, in retail these are standardized to the lowest common denominator and one has little choice in the matter. Even in a store with thousands and thousands of shirts, you will likely be able to count on one hand the few that are really what you want.

Shirt Collars
The men's dress shirt collar is the most important, both in determining the garment's level of formality and in flattering the wearer's unique face. Button-down collars are the least formal, and are the best collars to wear without a tie. They also go well with a tie and sweater, blazer, or sport coat.  The wing collar, which does not cover the band of the tie around the neck, is reserved for formal wear.

Men's Dress Shirt White TwillMost men's dress shirts sport some sort of pointed collar, but there is huge room for variety here. While the standard point collar looks good on most men, those with narrower faces do better with slightly shorter ones, while round faces carry well above long collar points. As a general rule, the greater the angle between the short sides of the collar points, the more formal the presentation. Spread collars, which leave a wide opening between them, take large tie knots especially well. The edges of the cut-away collar nearly form a straight line above the tie knot; this is the most formal collar arrangement. An exception to the parallelism of spread and formality is the tab collar: here little tabs of fabric extending from each side connect behind the tie knot, holding the collar close together and projecting the knot outward for a precise, no-nonsense look. The white contrast collar, in any style, with or without matching white French cuffs, is a favorite of power-dressers. While it certainly raises a suit-and-tie above the masses, let the wearer be warned against it if he cannot equal its eminence.

On most decent dress shirts, the collar's points are kept straight by collar stays. These 2- to 3-inch pointed splints are inserted into slots on the underside of the collar after ironing, and later removed for washing. Besides the plastic ones that come with most shirts, you can buy them in brass, silver, and even ivory, but their material has negligible effect on their function. For a in depth look at dress shirt collars, click here.

Men's Dress Shirt CuffsShirt Cuffs
Barrel cuffs, standard on most dress shirts, come in a variety of styles and except for the most formal of occasions are never the wrong choice. The common variety have a single button; cuffs with two or even three buttons are somewhat more artful. French cuffs are de rigeur for formal wear; they look good with a suit but are always optional. A button in the sleeve placket helps the sleeve to stay closed during wear and can be opened to iron the cuffs; it is optional but nearly ubiquitous.

Shirt Pockets
The traditional left breast pocket adds a little depth to a dress shirt, especially if worn without jacket and tie, and can be useful for holding pens, tickets, and the like. A shirt with no pockets can look slightly cleaner with a coat and tie, but since the coat covers the pocket the difference is minimal when wearing a suit. As with most things, simplicity equals formality, so the pocketless shirt is the dressiest.

Shirt Placket
The placket is the edge of the left front panel, with the button holes on it. The standard placket is a strip of fabric raised off the men's dress shirt front with stitches down each side; this is what most casual shirts and many dress shirts have. In the more modern French placket, the edge of the shirt front is folded over, creased, and held together only by the button holes. This cleaner front sharpens more formal dress shirts; it should not, however, be combined with a button-down collar.

Men's Dress Shirt BackShirt Back
A man's back is not flat; thus we use pleats on the back panel of a shirt so that the fabric may hang from the yoke (the piece covering the shoulder blades) and better conform to the body. There are two common varieties of pleated shirt back styles: the box pleat consists of two pleats spaced one-and-a-half inches apart at the center, while side pleats lie halfway between each edge and the center of the back. While the former are more common on ready-to-wear shirts, the latter better align with the actual shape of the back, and thus fit most men better. A well-made custom shirt can be cut and sewn to fit its wearer perfectly without pleats, and this makes it cleaner and easier to iron. Nonetheless, many men prefer to have pleats even on their bespoke dress shirts.

Men's Dress Shirt MonogramsMonograms
Finally, a man may elect to have his shirt monogrammed, usually on the edge of the breast pocket (or in a similar place on a pocketless shirt). Monogramming originated as a way to identify one's shirts in a commercial laundry, akin to writing a child's name on the tag of their jacket. More recently, as the shirt has taken a more prominent role in men's dress, the monogram has emerged as a way to subtly communicate the care a man has taken in obtaining his clothes. While large, garish monograms certainly do more harm than good, many men enjoy the quiet display of their initials, usually in a color similar to the shirt's own.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Dress Shirts

Beneath the jackets, the Mad Men are dependable variations on a theme: plain white dress shirt  and no button-down collars. While colored or patterned dress shirts and button-down collars have become acceptable in most modern workplaces, they were considered too informal by the standards of the 1960s. A crisp, white shirt (well-ironed, of course) remains the most formal option in business clothing, and is still something of a must-have on important occasions.

Since their dress code offers no variation in color or pattern, the men of Sterling Cooper mix their styles up with changes in the cut of the shirt instead. The show offers good examples of the different collar and cuff styles available in men’s dress shirts: the basic point collar is most common, but spread, pin, and even rounded club collars are seen as well. Many of the Mad Men favor French cuffs, and sport modest but individualized cufflinks as another personal element. They also tend to be free with the idea of “white,” wearing everything from very pale and bleached custom shirts like the one above to richer, almost cream-colored fabrics as seen below.

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Guide To Caring For A Men’s Suit

Dry cleaning is the best method for getting stains out of a men’s dress suit. Often we take our suits to the dry cleaners too often. This menswear guide explains how to tell when it’s time to take a suit in for dry-cleaning.
A man’s dress suit is one of the most expensive additions to most men’s wardrobes. So knowing how to care for and clean a dress suit is something that all men should be knowledgeable about. Whether you wear an off the rack suit, or a are looking into a bespoke suit, sooner or later it will need dry cleaning.
How does dry cleaning work?
Despite what the name suggests, dry cleaning uses a liquid solvent by the name of perchloroethylene (or perc) to remove dirt and oils from fabrics. The dry cleaning process was discovered by accident in 1825 by Jean-Baptiste Jolly. One evening, Jolly accidentally spilled a lamp of turpentine onto a tablecloth. Once the turpentine dried, the cloth in that spot was cleaner. Thus the birth of dry cleaning.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Travel Side of Men’s Clothing

Dressing right for airplane travel requires carefully balancing comfort and style, so that your flight and reception are equally pleasant. This guide should provide the basics for choosing an outfit for long flights, and allow even those only passingly familiar with mens clothing to dress themselves.
This article discusses the difficulties of dressing stylishly and comfortably during airplane travel. The man who arrives at his destination appropriately dressed and feeling refreshed stands on firmer ground than the uncomfortable or unsuitable traveler. For the jet-set world of modern business, every man should have an understanding of the balance between the comfort of his travel and the style of his arrival.
Firstly, the groundwork of the ensemble should be comfortable. If the shirt you choose makes you itchy or sweaty then no amount of coordination or weave will make up the confidence and poise you’ve lost. For the shirt especially it is important to remember that the suit frames you, and if you don’t look and feel your best no clothes will change that. Choose your shirt for yourself and make the suit match it.
You may be thinking along the lines of wrinkle-free shirts, or no-iron shirts. Though this appears a good choice, the synthetic material has a nasty habit of making you itchy, no small compromise on an international airplane. 100% cotton shirts, while slightly heavier, should not cause overheating and feel smooth and comfortable. Cotton will also naturally wick away sweat. A cotton shirt will maintain its shape well if you iron it just before the flight.
The importance of shoes in shaping a man’s travel style cannot be overstated, and for this reason they should be treated in exactly the opposite manner of shirts. The person you’re thinking of when you put on a pair of shoes should be the people who see them. So when choosing shoes for airplane travel avoid the mistake of the slip-on shoe. While this will save you time and energy at security, your look will be far more casual than professional.
Discounting comfort completely is a mistake, but good shoes should be able to keep a spring in your step through the longest flight.
Finally we get to the men suits itself. When picking out your jacket there are a few comforts to be careful of. You may notice that jackets generally have a label in ounces, perhaps “12 oz” or thereabouts. This clearly is not a note on how much the jacket weighs- it is the weight of one yard of the suit’s fabric. From this you can estimate the density or “heaviness” of the suit. A higher value is a heavier, warmer suit, and a lower value is a lighter, breezier suit. For travel it is preferable to wear a lighter suit to avoid overheating on the flight.
You should be sure that the suit matches the shirt and that your tie is not overbearing.
Your pants should be for comfort. Baggier pants will be more comfortable, and should be held together with a light belt. A heavy belt or tight pants will dig into you on a longer flight, and can leave you not only uncomfortable but in pain. Be sure to avoid this mistake.
While basic, this guide should allow you to build your travel wardrobe or pick an outfit for your annual business trip. Remember first and foremost that while the flight may be long, the reception will be longer- your appearance and demeanor need to be right for the destination, both in style and comfort. A thin suit in a cold climate is as out of place as jeans and a t-shirt at a formal meeting.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Menswear and suits for the short, stout man

All about fashion choices for men built shorter and heavier than average — no advertisements, no bogus links; just solid advice on finding a good men’s suit and other clothing for the small and sturdy.
A passing examination of most department store menswear racks shows the widely-shaped assumption that anyone shorter or taller than a certain point is always shaped the same — and no shortage of both short men and tall have had cause to curse it. Shorter men in particular are plagued by the tendency to cut all small-sized clothing down to something suited for large children more than short men, and the man built both short and stout is often the most frustrating to dress of all. However, choices exist that can flatter a stout man’s frame even in the 5’6″-and-under range — and the effect is worth the added effort of finding the rare pieces of well-suited clothing.

Clothing Needs of the Short, Stocky Man
Vertical Presence for Shorter Men
A shorter man isn’t disadvantaged by his stature, generally speaking — in some ways, it often works to his advantage — but clothing that gives a shortening effect will look awkward and cramped on a short man in a way that it would not on a larger frame. A smooth, unbroken vertical presence flatters most men (except the excessively tall, who will follow the opposite advice), and short men should particularly seek a simple, uncluttered up-and-down presence that draws the viewer’s gaze to the face and the space above it.
Balancing the Broad Man’s Width
Stocky men are poorly-served by clothing that attempts to constrict or disguise their breadth of body; rather, styles that draw the eye upward (a benefit to short men as well) and present even proportions make the most flattering options. Simple styles in thin fabrics, styles that direct attention upward and outward, and detailing cut to size are all crucial elements of the stocky man’s clothing.
Style and Presence
A shorter man always benefits from standing out in a crowd, while a broad man wants to offer the viewer a strong stylistic impression to focus on. Stark simplicity serves the short, stocky man best — excessive detailing will clutter the appearance and prevent the viewer’s eye from moving naturally upward and outward. By keeping his lines as clear and understated as possible, a stout man can distinguish himself from others with more detail-oriented (and ultimately distracting) fashions.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Clothing that Speaks Well — The Basics

The good news is that “well-dressed” is an easier target for men to hit than women, and it doesn’t require hours of pouring over fashion magazines. Menswear is flexible beyond the power of a “what’s hot, what’s not” article to address. Looking good is far more about finding the style that works for you than it is about following the latest trends — think of it as having something interesting to say, but with your bespoke suit.
Happily, the staples of menswear — the suit and the dress shirt — have remained fundamentally the same for a hundred years. Stylistic touches have come and gone, but it’s likely that you could wear your grandfather’s suit (cut to your measure, of course) without anyone finding it too out-of-place. You won’t need to immediately jump into details of lapels, vents, yokes, and other accents to build a good look — instead, focus on the overall impression that you want to give. Find a solid, recognizable image that you want to present, and then work with your wardrobe — or ideally, with your tailor — to come up with the details that achieve it.