Sunday, June 30, 2013

Trousers in Men’s Fashion

Good trousers are never the defining characteristic of a man's outfit, unless you're a circus clown. A well-chosen outfit should direct attention toward the face and help it stand out in the viewer's mind, and drawing the eye below the waist does nothing to further that goal. Instead, trousers should present as smooth and unbroken a path as possible up the wearer's body; the best trousers will be able to retain their sleek profile whether the wearer is moving or stationary; seated or standing.
On a more practical note, of course, trousers are also where men tend to carry the little necessities of life -- their keys, wallet, cell phone, and so on. Good trousers will have pockets of the proper size and shape to carry a few small items without bulging; loading the pockets and checking a mirror can be an excellent test for off-the-rack trousers. Custom-made trousers can simply be fitted with all the usual daily items in the pockets to see if any adjustments are needed. 

Modern dressers should remember that the "fall" of dress trousers -- the distance from the waist to the crotch -- is longer than that of casual jeans, meaning that the pants should be worn higher on the body. Contemporary jeans are often fitted to be worn at the hips, while dress pants should rest comfortably above the hips. A well-fitted pair of dress pants should never be able to slide off the body on its own, even without a belt or suspenders. Trousers are often tailored for wear with suspenders rather than belts, in which case the fall will be even longer and the fit slightly looser. This allows the pants to "hang" on the man's body, which presents a very smooth and flat drape. Many fine dressers prefer suspenders to belts, and often wear trousers with no belt loops at all.
When in doubt, wear a pair of pants with no belt or suspenders and examine the fit. If the trousers pinch or are slipping off, the fit is incorrect. If excess fabric is billowing or "ballooning" anywhere, or if the crotch sags loosely, the trousers are too loose; if wrinkles and bunching appear in the fabric when you move they are too tight. And, of course, if moving or sitting in a pair of trousers is uncomfortable for any reason, you should be asking yourself if you really want to spend an entire day wearing them. 
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Monday, June 24, 2013

Suit Jacket Fit And Length

Suit Jacket Fit
A properly-fitting jacket will have its waist button just below the wearer's actual waist, and should have sleeves that leave room for a minimum of 1" of the wearer's dress shirt cuff to be visible. A very general way of determining if a jacket is long enough is to curl one's fingers at the second knuckle around the bottom of the jacket. If the jacket's hem just reaches where the fingers join to the hand, then it fits properly; if the hem touches the curled fingers – or worse, bunches up – then the jacket is too long. Another gauge is to measure from the top of the spine to the floor and divide in half. Both techniques, however, are only generalizations, and cannot take into account any unusual variations; performed correctly, both will give a relatively good measure for a ready-made suit, while a bespoke or made-to-measure suit will involve more accurate measurement. In the same line, a jacket's sleeves should be well fitted to the particular dimensions of the wearer's arm, and should taper as necessary to avoid the appearance of flaring out towards the hand. The cuffs should be wide enough to allow free movement, though not so wide as to hang loosely when the arms are raised; likewise, they should not be as narrow as to resemble the elasticized cuffs on rain jackets.
Suit Jacket Length
Inherent in all the above elements is the jacket's length. A jacket that is too short will expose undesirable portions of the wearer's anatomy, while a jacket that is overly long will dwarf the wearer, potentially giving the appearance of a 1930s film gangster, or in the case of extremely long sleeves, an orangutan. Because of the modern trend towards lowering the gorge and waist buttons on jackets, as well as the tendency of many men to wear their pants at their hips, rather than at the waist, most men have become accustomed to jackets that are too long.  
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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Choosing the right shirt collar

Choosing the right shirt collar will ensure you enhance your facial strengths while downplaying any irregularities. Collars come in a variety of individual styles, though there are two main types: Turndown collars and wing collars.

Turndown Collars
Turndown collars are the staple found on gentlemen's dress shirts, and offer the most opportunity for individual taste. These collars, as the name suggests, are turned down, forming a sort of triangle whose angles vary with the particular look one is aiming for. Although there are countless variations, the turndown collar comes in two main categories: the point and the cutaway.
Men's Dress Shirt Collar Straight PointPoint Collar- The point collar is the most common collar style, where the collar is cut so that the "points" are reasonably close together, sometimes to the extent that they almost hide the top portion of a tie. Longer, more closely set points tend to draw the eye down towards the tie and away from the face, while a more moderate cut frames the tie and completes the arrow effect pointing at the face.
Men's Dress Shirt Collar SpreadCutaway or Spread Collar - The second popular style is the cutaway, or spread collar. These collars have the points "cut away" or spread – thus the name – revealing more of the upper shirt area and leaving additional room for larger knots such as the Windsor. Like the point, spread collars come in a variety of widths, with more moderate ones resembling slightly flared point collars, while more extreme versions can be nearly horizontal. The particular dimensions are best left to the wearer's preference and body type, with very wide spreads tending to accentuate wider figures while creating a more fully proportioned look on thin gentlemen.
Men's Dress Shirt Collar Button DownButton Down Collars - The button-down collar style is most often seen on more casual shirts. These collars have small buttonholes at the very tip of each point, corresponding to a small button on each side of the shirtfront. While this collar can be worn successfully with a tie, it is the least formal of all the collar choices and is an excellent choice for the man looking to leave the tie behind. The buttons on the collar, however, are always fastened; to appear with undone collar buttons would be a faux pas.
mens Pin CollarPin and Tab Collars - It is also worth mentioning two lesser known collars, which although neglected by many ready made shirt manufactures, are none the less still popular with dandies in the know. The first is the Pin collar: this collar has small holes in each point, allowing the insertion of a decorative pin or bar behind the tie knot, which thrusts the tie knot forward and up while adding extra decoration to the collar itself. The second, the Tab collar, employs a small tab extending from the middle of each point, which is fixed together – usually with a hook-and-loop closure – behind the tie. Like the pin collar, this forces the tie forward and up, creating the "standing" look of more elaborate knots. Neither the pin or tab collar should be worn without a tie; the empty holes and flapping tabs present an untidy appearance.
Black Tie Wing CollarWing Collars
Wing collars – familiar to most as the collar frequently worn with the tuxedo – consists of a short shirt collar with no turndown, and two small "wings" at the front which are tucked behind the bow-tie. These collars are reserved for formalwear, and the gentleman need not give them particular consideration unless morning or evening dress is required.
The choice of dress shirt collar style is a matter of personal preference that a gentleman must determine for himself. There are guidelines, but the rules are not so rigid that one can’t experiment to see what looks best. When having shirts custom made, remember that all of these collars can be cut at angles and lengths that best frame your features. Once you have accomplished this, you can walk with the confidence accorded to the well dressed man.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Outerwear and Accessories

Attention to detail is one of the things that makes the Mad Men such a well-dressed crew. They don’t just wear the bespoke suit and the tie — they wear the cufflinks, and the tie clip, and the hat and the coat, and they make sure that all of those elements work together well. Each character has his own individual style, but notice that all of them incorporate more than the bare minimum of business dress. Nearly everyone has a good, felt hat, and it’s rare to see anyone without a pocket square gracing their breast.

Each of the Mad Men uses the details of his accessories and outerwear slightly differently, but one thing you won’t see is a character who doesn’t have any well-chosen adornments at all on his basic cheap suits for men -shirt-tie ensemble. Take a look at the bottom of the screen from time to time and you’ll see that they’re also all sporting very sharp-looking shoes: well-shined, usually black (or occasionally a dark brown for a more casual look), and worn with socks that match the color of the trousers over them.

When you’re as neat-looking as the gentlemen of Mad Men, even something minor like scuffed shoes would stand out as a glaring error. Their style demands — and showcases — mastery of details.
The Fashion of the Mad Men — Individual Styles
For a more detailed look at each of the Mad Men and his personal style, be sure to visit our other articles — each of the central characters has an entire piece dedicated to his own fashion! Here we provide a short overview of the basic “look” each character exemplifies:
Don Draper: Timeless Elegance in Menswear

Despite being the central character, Don Draper isn’t the flashiest dresser on Mad Men by a long shot. His taste in color and pattern is reasonably understated, and his adornments are simple — we never see his pocket square in anything but a straight, horizontal fold, for example, in contrast to Roger Sterling’s elaborate peaked folds. Draper introduces variety in the weave of his suits, the style of his shirt collar, and the pattern of his ties, always keeping his style understated and elegant. He’s the timeless well-dressed man, impeccable but never flashy — and his suits always fit him perfectly.

Monday, June 17, 2013

How to care for your suit between dry cleaning visits

To keep a bespoke suit looking its best between trips to the dry cleaners, here’s a few tips that can help.
  • Rotate your suits. Wearing the same suit over and over will cause it to show wear after a while.
  • Use a steam cleaner to remove wrinkles before wearing. Set the steam to the lowest heat setting. This way you always appear freshly pressed without the added costs.
  • Brush off any dirt or food particles that may be clinging to the suit after you wear it. Start by going against the grain of the cloth and use short, quick strokes. Finish with a second pass that goes with the nap.
  • Allow your suit to hang for a day or two on a good wood hanger after wearing it. This allows the material to recover and drape out most wrinkles between uses. Make sure all of the pockets are empty to avoid creating creases, or odd shapes in your suit.
  • Cover it up. Use a cloth cover which allows air to still circulate through the suit even when its being stored.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

When to Wear the Windsor

Not everyone is meant to wear the Windsor. That being said, the Windsor is a very smart choice for any semi-formal to formal affair. A job-seeking student would be wise to know how to tie a Windsor knot for an interview. The Windsor would also be a very nice choice for a man with a wide, stout face. The with and bulk of the knot will lift weight off of the face and add a vertical dimension.
For taller gentleman, they may also have trouble in wearing the Windsor, unless they purchase a much longer tie. This is simply because the Windsor takes so much fabric to tie, that it can appear very short on a man with an extended torso.
Knowing what collar type to wear with the Windsor is also extremely important. Anything less than a very wide spread collar shirt is not going to work well with the bulk of the Windsor knot.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Shirts and Ties for Heavyset Men

Most of your shirt concerns will be pattern- and color-related, and the same advice holds here: select bold, solid colors that suit your complexion, and avoid weaves that add unnecessary texture to the fabric. A very narrow straight-point collar helps direct attention upward and slims your face out somewhat, so seek them out — if nothing else is available, even a more modestly-cut straight-point collar will top your chest with an upward-pointing “arrow” shape that directs the gaze.
Straight-point collars live up to their name, pointing the viewer's gaze upward.
Broad men will want to avoid broad ties, and ties with flat ends. Try for narrow ties in simple colors or very understated patterns, and tie them with simple knots tightened down to a small size. Let the tie hang low enough, all the way down to just above the top of the trousers; a tie that falls too short will give the unappealing impression of draping flat over your stomach.
Completing the Short, Broad Man
Since the heavyset man’s style is defined by simplicity, there are few finishing details. Clean lines and well-matched colors will go further than any fussing with ornamentation, so avoid the temptation to dress a plain-seeming suit up with watches and pins. Trust in the cut of your clothes and offer a refined picture for people to remember — the odds are that most people will be more struck by the simplicity of a cleanly-dressed man than they would be by a busier look that flatters your body less.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Basics of Style

Style is about being who you want to be. If you’re a world-beating corporate player on the fast track upward, there’s a look for you. An off-beat performance artist keeping up contacts in the coffee shop scene has another look. And in between, there’s a world of formal and informal, classic and trendy; conservative and daring. Fortunately, the rules are simple and flexible — if you know that black, gray, and navy blue make more formal suits than other colors, that solid colors are more formal than patterns, and that ties are more formal than open collars, you’ve already conquered the basic sliding scales.
Move around within the boundaries of those basics to meet your needs, mixing and matching as desired, and you’ll be well on your way to crafting a style that speaks for you. A solid black jacket might be very dressy with matching trousers and classic Oxford shoes, but throw it over a bright shirt and a pair of jeans and you’re set for a night of casual dancing. Dress a brown custom suit up with a conservative tie and a complementing pocket square over a crisp white shirt and it can stand toe to toe with all but the most traditional business attire. Keep an eye to the realities of your environment, so that you don’t wind up wearing heavy worsted wool in the summer heat, but otherwise rely on good fit and the most basic guidelines in crafting your own look — small changes in any aspect will net big results, so long as the cut is crisp and the fundamentals observed.