Which is a better overcoat color to wear with navy and grey suits: camel or grey?
This could depend on a lot of things, like your facial complexion and whether or not you want to wear both black and brown shoes. I’m sort of a stickler about the rules of not mixing black and brown together (so, no black shoes while wearing a camel overcoat), so I’d say grey. But that’s just me.
It’s the final day of the November of Dressing Nicely (aka, #NoDN) and it’s rather fitting that I actually needed to wear a suit today for work. You don’t really want to show up at a meeting with executives of a potential business partner wearing jeans. It’s also not the time to go over the top with your color, pattern and texture coordination acting as if you have something to prove.
I kept it simple and stuck to the rules: a dark, conservative, solid suit; a solid blue spread-collar shirt; a traditional necktie pattern with only two colors; a coordinating, a pocket square that’s been TV-folded; and black captoe oxfords.
Nothing’s too flashy or out of place, but it’s still a well-coordinated look that gets the job done. I’m a firm believer that if you don’t have to wear a suit everyday, then you can probably get away with owning a simple setup like this and be all right for 95% of what you’d need to wear a suit for in your life.
Get a well-fitting suit, a fitted shirt, a solid pair of leather-soled shoes and a nice necktie — and never worry again about needing something nice to wear on short notice.
If you could only choose one website for all of your clothing, shoe, and accessory needs, which site would it be? Or, if you can't pick one, then how about one for each (clothing, shoes, and accessories)?
I could probably do all my shopping at Brooks Brothers, if forced to.
If I got to split them up, then I’d probably do clothing at Howard Yount (trousers and jackets are great and I assume sweaters are as well, plus they’ve got shirting now), shoes at Leather Soul (just take a look at GW’s hoofs!) and accessories at Shrine Haberdashers (Drake’s neckties and Francesco Maglia umbrellas).
Of course, this is overlooking a lot of great online retailers that I’d love to buy stuff from down the road. Frankly, I’m glad there’s a large amount of choice out there.
Hello, The Silentist - I wanted to pick your brain on a topic on which you are a renowned aficionado - thrift shopping. Have you found a particular season has the most/best quality of apparel or is it pretty much the same throughout the year? Also, what's been your experience thrifting during the holiday season - on the one hand you'd think things would be picked over by Christmas shoppers, but at the same time it's also a time of year full of charity clothing and coat drives.
I’d suggest reading Put This On’s primers (parts one, two and three) first. Also, A Fistful of Style has bunches of thrifting tips.
I’d generally suspect that people would be in donation mode pre-Christmas or at least pre-New Year, because they’d want to get their donations in before the end of the year for tax benefit purposes. Usually, this new haul will make its way toward the racks around early January or so, but it’s kind of relative.
Ccan you recommend some brands that I can find some gloves, beanies, & scarves?
I could, but it’s hard to give recommendations without knowing price.
I could just point you toward Dents gloves and Begg scarves, and tell you “buy the best!”, but that’s probably not what you’re looking for.
For a decent pair of leather gloves, perhaps check out Nordstrom’s in-house cashmere lined gloves. I have a pair made of suede and they’re super cozy. They’ll run you about $70, but if you can hold out until their after-Christmas sale, they should be cheaper.
The one quality bargain find I stumbled across though are scarves made by John Hanly. They’ve been around since 1893, weaving and making scarves and blankets in Ireland. They’re suppliers to the likes of Ralph Lauren’s Polo line and Liberty of London.
You can find their scarves for sale here, and extremely reasonable prices. I bought a merino wool one and am very, very happy with it.
As for beanies, Well Spent found these for $9. I have one from L.L.Bean that I’m kind of on the fence about. It’s warm, but kind of too small for my head. I feel that knit hats are kind of the sort of thing you have to try on.
What's the best way to identify quality leather? I know a little, but is this something you learn with time and experience?
This isn’t something I’d say I’m an expert in, but I’ll give you a few pointers.
The first is to read whatever copy is available. If you see something saying it’s made of “polished” leather or “corrected grain” leather, then avoid it. Put This On has a good primer on the difference between these subpar leathers and full-grain leathers.
For shoes, I think it’s best to just do your initial research on the brand and line. Often, when buying new, a decent pair of shoes made of decent leather will start at around $300 and up — provided these aren’t “designer” pairs. You can do plenty of research on StyleForum.
Typically though, the best thing you can do is try to get hands-on experience with some of the nicer stuff so that you can compare the quality to lesser stuff. I was at Saks yesterday and it was really easy to tell the difference between the Edward Greens and the To Boot New York shoes — not just in construction, but also of the quality of leather used.
When it comes to stuff like wallets or belts, I’m admittedly less adept. Ofter though, I think if you can get your hands on the leather and feel it, you should be able to go with your gut on the quality. Still, you should be able to seek out belts and wallets from those who make them with well-known leathers, like those that come from the Horween tannery.
I wish I could give you more solid tips and thorough checklists to go on, but this isn’t exactly my wheelhouse.
Hi. I'm looking around for a winter coat (probably a duffle coat), but I'm having some problems with fit. Most of the brands I've tried end up having sleeves that are too long, as in they end after the base of the thumb. Is this a common problem with outerwear and are they supposed to fit like that or should I just keep looking until I find one with shorter sleeves? Thank you and keep writing.
The sleeves could appear long to you for several reasons:
You have short arms.
The coat is made to be worn with multiple layers underneath, perhaps including a suit jacket or blazer, which would cause the shoulders to rise and the sleeve to eventually fall at the proper length.
The coat just has annoyingly long sleeves to err on the side of sleeves too long rather than too short.
Regardless, a decent tailor should be able to make the necessary alterations for you.
Re: odd trousers/solid jackets, would the same idea be suggested for shirts to match the odd trousers? I'm thinking though as long as you're wearing a solid jacket, you could get away with a patterned shirt since the solid color of the jacket breaks up the flow of the two diferrent patters. At the end of the day its what you're comfortable in but I'm just looking for guidance.
I can’t say I’d try to match my shirt to my trousers in pattern. I’d generally prefer to contrast than match when it comes to pattern types.
Hey Kiyoshi, First, THANK YOU for all of the great content. Is the Howard Yount Summer Blazer review coming any time soon? Looking for some feedback before I pull the trigger.
Quickly put: great fabric, great fit (needs slight tapering in chest, let the sleeves out a bit for my arms), super lightweight. If you can afford it, then get it. Going to be a go-to for summer for me.
A more full review when I have time (maybe I’ll do it over Thanksgiving break).
For NoDN, I've been focusing on mixing patterns without getting too out of control. While I've gotten comfrotable with mixing on the shirt, tie & jacket, how do I go about things with patterned pants? I'd like to pick up some wool trousers in herringbone, mini-houndstooth & glen plaid but I'm not sure how I can play the match game between everything. Any advice would be more than appreciated.
I try not to go too overboard on patterns myself. The key with “odd trousers” is to treat them like you would an “odd jacket”: pair them with a solid.
So, just as your odd jacket would be paired with a pair of solid trousers, put your odd trousers with a solid jacket.
Water-resistant is a fabric that can resist the penetration of water for a certain amount of exposure time. Most untreated cotton trench coats will disappoint anyone looking to brave stormy weather without an umbrella. Water-proof is a fabric treated with a chemical (wax, silicone, etc.) to fill in the gaps where water molecules can penetrate. Water resistant fabric work well in drizzles and breathe well. If you want to report a hurricane for a local newstation, get something waterproof.
For the person asking about raincoats (or anyone wondering). Thanks, anon!
Hey man - I'm consistently impressed by how good your thrifted jackets look. I keep expecting to see a brand name I recognize listed on your WIWT posts, but they always seem to be second-hand. Do you have any general tips for thrifting jackets?
I got really lucky. My old job used to require that I travel to Springfield, Ill., which is the state capital and there’s a lot of government bureaucrats and other suit-wearing professionals who live and work there.
So, a lot of stuff makes its way over to the Salvation Army (or gets dropped off by out-of-town people who drive by the donation area on the way in/out of town, which is right off the highway into the city) and I would just just plunder that weekly for about five months.
That’d be my tip: find a location that tends to get a high-volume of suits and yet isn’t picked over. There’s not a big thrifting “scene” in Springfield as there is in comparison to Chicago, where hipsters raid thrift stores for stuff to put up on their Etsy shops. Plus, an entire generation of bureaucrats died off and had their stuff donated away — most of it from the 50s and 60s, where the lapels weren’t absurdly huge.
As with all things, you just have to make sure that you nail the shoulder width, the jacket length and generally don’t have it too large in the waist area. The sides can always be tapered and you can usually let out or take in at the cuffs without much difficulty. Sometimes you’ll strike out, but at least you’ll only be out a few bucks.