Hey so I 3 BB ESF OCBDs about a month ago, white blue and pink. Love them, thanks for the recommendation. I had a question about them. When I wash them the pink and blue I can just hang up after drying and they are barely wrinkled, but the white is super wrinkly and I have to iron every time. The material on the white seems to be heavier. Any suggestions so I don't have to iron the white one every time?
Sorry, I don’t have an answer for you. It’s probably the nature of the fabric to wrinkle that much.
I acquired two wider ties recently, a solid navy Brioni at 4.25 inches and a gold Paul Stuart at 4 inches. I like the way the look and they fit with a couple of the wider lapeled jackets I have. They're "reasonable" widths, but they definitely won't fit in with the skinny tie thing that's going on right now. I know you can get ties altered. Should I, or should I brave the storm and start a new trend?
Dang, 4.25”? That’s approaching bib levels. I don’t doubt these are great ties, and if you have jackets with Tom Ford-sized lapels, then at least you have something to wear them with.
If you still want to slim them up, then find a tailor who knows how to do it. I believe mine charges $25/tie to narrow them (also, they can shorten the length of a tie, too).
The problem with finding skinny or fat ties is that you risk falling in or out of fashion with them as the trends change. This is why I’m only going with 2.75-3” with knit ties and 3.25-3.5” for traditional ties. They just work better for all my jackets and they’ll never be off trend.
Hello sir! I recently acquired a camel hair houndstooth blazer by Brooks Brothers from Goodwill. Fits perfectly, soft as can be, and warm as well. I'm averse to mixing brown and black—and I know you are, too—so here's my questions: would you wear this blazer with anything brown? I don't have any non-brown shoes, so I'm stuck. I feel like this jacket might be able to work with brown or chestnut, but I'm not sure. From a distance the jacket seems gray. Your thoughts?
Tough call. I think that when you look into patterns like glen plaids or micro-houndstooth checks, then you get an overall look that looks more grey than black and white. So, brown does look more acceptable.
But it’s really more about how you feel wearing it. I’m sure hardliners would say you’re doing it wrong and it should only be with black shoes, but if you like the way it looks and look sharp pulling it off, then why not?
I’ve seen some people do black with brown and I’m amazed they managed to not look terrible. But it’s usually because they really have some thought put into their look and how it fits — literally and metaphorically.
For most men, this would be between the 4th and 5th button (counting downward from the top). Again, the point is to keep the tie’s end from flailing about because of gravity or wind. More practically, to keep it out of your food while you eat. If you wear it too high, then you’re going to defeat the purpose of its functionality.
Hi, different anon here (not that one could tell). How can I achieve that slight arch in the necktie that some Italians seem to be fond of doing, without using a tie clip? I forgot what it's called.
Not sure what the look of the arch is called, but sometimes guys use a collar bar.
Frankly, it’s going to come down to your skill in knotting the tie and the quality of the fabric and materials the tie is made of.
I’ve found that six-fold ties often get a decent arch (Kent Wang, Kiton) and so do ones from Drake’s. Heavier silks seem to just knot better. I’m not 100% sure though what percentage is skill versus what percentage is the materials/construction.
Is there an age limit to wearing a tie clip? Or should it be avoided entirely?
I don’t think there should be an age limit on any article of clothing.
You should only avoid wearing a tie clip if you’re already wearing a waistcoat or want to wear it decoratively instead of functionally. When you put the tie clip up high on the placket of your shirt, you’re defeating the purpose of wearing a tie clip.
Hey kiyoshi, thought i'd give you a heads up on a sale on footwear happening at ASOS. Select lines are currently on 40% off, and with the Enjoy20 code its a further 20% off the sale price. Notable lines include quoddy and mcnairy. Just thought some of your followers might benefit from this.
Everyone should go check out this sale. Free shipping both ways is nice, too.
I inherited a navy cashmere topcoat from my father a couple of weeks ago. It's a nice coat but the buttons are outdated and some of them are broken. Do you think you could recommend some replacement options? I was thinking of going with brown horn or black. Don't think I'll go with brass. Thanks!
I think a deep, nutty brown horn button set would look great. As for where to buy them, I’m not entirely sure. My default place to look for buttons is this eBay seller, but I’m not sure if he’s got overcoat sized ones. Might be worth it to give him private message and see if he’s got access to any.
You could also ask your local tailor, as they might have some.
If you live in a place that has a “real” winter, then I think that owning several sweaters for layering is a fairly essential wardrobe consideration, especially so if you’re wearing blazers or sport coats.
Of course, I was woefully neglectful of having them in my wardrobe for quite some time. I spent most of the fall looking at options and debating how much I wanted to spend and from whom I wanted to buy them from. I teetered back and forth between fabric types (merino wool, lambswool, cashmere, cashmere-wool blends, etc.).
The verdict: I shouldn’t have waited so long — and neither should you if they fit your budget and wardrobe needs. The price of $99 is extremely fair.
The fabric quality feels substantial. I don’t feel like it’s something I have to treat with gloved hands like cashmere, but I don’t feel like it’s lacking in superb softness either.
The fit is trim to the body (I’m a 38”-chest and ordered a size small) and hugs the chest nicely if you want to layer it under a jacket.
And, yes, they’re warm. I bought the burgundy and heather grey sweaters — and I really want to buy several more.
So, how do I plan on wearing them? Here’s two examples.
The burgundy looks great against a navy blazer and grey trousers. I’ve put it over a ecru OCBD and a wool-knit tie from The Knottery. This is a nice, conservative color scheme that can go just about anywhere.
For my grey sweater, I put it over a blue university stripe OCBD and with a polka-dot blue tie. White denim? Sure, why not? And a mossy green cashmere sport coat on top. It almost feels a bit monochrome and a bit out of season until you get a closer look at the textures. I think of it as a lighter, brighter contrast to all the super dark, black and grey colors you see worn in winter (seriously, does everyone have to have a black wool or nylon coat?) that is slightly more casual.
hi there, i recently jus bought a 3 piece navy suit from calvin klein. the jacket and pants are manageable, but the vest is a bit tight. i know if it doesnt fit in the shoulders you should put it back, but the deal was too good and i wouldnt wear the vest much anyway. but i was just wondering, would it be possible to let the vest out to have some room to move? thanks!
Maybe, but I doubt it. For a real answer, ask your tailor or alterationist. They’re the experts!
Lots of good points here made by Jesse. Given the wide variety of experiences I’ve had just doing online MTM shirts, I don’t think I’m too eager to do something like suits anytime soon. Frankly, when you factor in the time, the hassle, the waiting after paying a tailor for alterations and just the possibility of inconsistently-fitting clothing based on your probably-not-so-great measurements, it’s not worth it.
I’d rather pay a semi-premium for a piece of clothing that fits relatively well (or if it doesn’t, then has free shipping/returns or a small restock fee) than deal with the problems of online MTM.
The one exception I think I’d recommend is a service similar to MyTailor.com, where you can get measured by the tailor himself at an in-person fitting and he knows how his measurements will be interpreted at the point of production. At least you know you’re getting the measurement side down pat. I can only speak for his shirts though, not his suiting.
For the most part, once you have a good fitting shirt, you can easily take measurements off of it and test out other online MTM shirting companies, which is what I’ve done with moderate success.
There’s nothing wrong for most people to buy off the rack and then get alterations. Not everyone “needs” a custom, MTM suit.
I measured one of my BB ESF shirts, it was 36 chest so I settled to buy a coat with a 36 chest. I measured my chest with just a t-shirt on and the outcome was a 34 chest. I love the way the BB ESF fits me but should I have gotten a size 34 chest in the coat? The jacket has a slim fit.
OK, here’s what you need to do. Measure your actual chest size with a tailor’s tape measure. This is your chest size.
So, if your chest is 34” (measured around your torso, under your armpits), then you’ll be a 34. The actual size of, say, a suit jacket that’s sized as a 34 will be about 36” (maybe 37-38”, depending on the manufacturer and cut).
You’re going to need some room for movement, hence why things like dress shirts, jackets, sweaters are cut a bit more larger in the torso than stuff like a T-shirt, which is meant to be close-fitting.
So, I guess I’m saying that if you ordered a jacket sized 34, then you should be OK, because it’ll be cut a bit more generously than your actual chest size.
To the anon asking about overcoats, I'm roughly the same size (38 chest though) and I've found that many overcoats that hit just below the knee look just as good when shortened 6 inches (just above). It's important to look/pin it (if possible) beforehand and make sure the button stance still looks right, but I've had it done twice and it can look great. And military surplus/vintage is fantastic because overcoats are not as common now, but used to be everywhere. Also, men used to be smaller.
I'm a fairly small guy. About 5'7, 135lbs, & about a 36 chest. I am looking for a winter coat to combat through NYC winters. I was thinking an overcoat but since small I don't think it will compliment my build. So I settled for a peacoat. I was interested in Schott but they do not have my size. Can you recommend some brands or a coat that is casual but also can be dressy?
You need to hit up a military surplus store and see what they’ve got. I usually see all sorts of sizes at my local one. Or hit up eBay and find a vintage one.
I would give Rugby a look. They have coats in size extra small, including a pea coat and an overcoat that’s about near Schott prices (on sale, no less). Not sure if you’re a student, but be sure to get that student discount if you are.
Given your former life in politics, any comments on the pattern-mixing by Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) in his segment on MSNBC's Morning Joe, including a bright pocket square, paisley tie, checked dress shirt? (sorry -- can't post link, but it's a segment from Dec. 7 with Rep. Carney from DE)
I think Cong. Schock pulls off the pattern coordination quite well along with the rest of the look: spread collar, decent knot, well-fitting suit shoulders. But it’s nowhere near his most adventurous look he’s done. He’s definitely one of the most stylish politicians out there — which is even more impressive since he’s from downstate Illinois. He definitely didn’t learn how to dress like that in Springfield.
I’m not going to give the co-sign to Cong. Carney though. Wearing a button-down collared shirt with a suit is generally a no-go, but it’s even made worse with that double Windsor knot on that collar, which only works well with a four-in-hand. Still, I’ll give him credit for having tastefully selected a BB#1 Repp Stripe tie.
Hey there! So I just bought a pair of burgundy Allen Edmonds off ebay. The problem is I only have a medium brown belt and black belt... Which one would be more appropriate until I procure a burgundy belt? And any suggestions on where to obtain a decent belt? I'm a student who doesn't have much money, so I would want a lower priced decent belt. Thanks, your blog is amazing!
I've read a lot online about full verses half canvas jackets. I wonder what your take is on this subject and if a half canvas jacket is really a bad option for a neophyte entering the professional world?
It really all depends on what you can afford. Better to have one one well-fitting fused-canvas jacket that a closet full of ill-fitting full-canvased jackets.
I think I might have one half-canvas jacket in my entire wardrobe, so, no, it’s not a terrible option by any stretch. How it fits in the shoulders and around your body is going to be more important at this point than the various craftsmanship checkoffs.
Ahoy there! Wanted to drop you a line and say that I think you have fine taste and a great blog. I was hoping you can answer something you've probably been asked before: I've recently thrifted a form fitting levi's denim jacket but find myself wondering what exactly I should be wearing with it. Any advice, rules, etiquette on denim jackets you'd like to share? If it means anything, I'm hispanic (black hair, olive skin), and hopefully my tumblr may give you an idea of what I'm into. Thanks a lot!
Denim jackets aren’t really my wheelhouse, but I’d take a look at suitsandboots to get some inspiration. I think he does quite well when he wears the denim jacket.
I’d probably try to treat it a bit like any other layering piece, except in a casual manner. Maybe skip the necktie and go with a plaid button-down collar, crew-collar sweater and then the jacket on top. I’d avoid wearing indigo denim and instead go for another colored jean (tan, white, olive) or go with chinos (except maybe navy).
I recently purchased 3 suits from Jos. A. Bank (mostly because they gave me 75% off) and 3 ties (50%) off. My question to you is, what do you think of them or their products? Did I do okay or not so much?
If you have your receipts still, then I’d get your money back and maybe hunt down a better bargain for a better-made suit with a better cut.
In regards to their neckties, I can’t really speak to their quality. But I do think that even if their top of the line “signature” ties are going for $90, you could easily get on eBay and find ties from reputable sources like Kiton, Isaia and sometimes Drake’s for that price. Not to mention you could hit up Kent Wang and score some great basics — including six folds — for $70 to $95. And you could get bespoke ties from Sam Hober starting around that range, too.
hi there, was wondering if you could recommend any shirt that has a good spread collar/slim fitting, price range from 50-100. i've tried hugh and crye and am very pleased, and just wanted to see other brands with different designs
If you’re going to spend that much, why not just go MTM? You can just take measurements off of your existing well-fitting shirts and go to any number of online MTM services and get shirts from $75-100 that’ll fit perfectly for you and have all the details you want.
If online MTM is too big of a pain for you, then there’s some others you can look at. Brooks Brothers averages $60-80/shirt depending if you buy them on sale or not (and if you buy 3 or more at once). Their extra-slim fit is pretty good.
Slightly less slim would be Nordstrom’s “Trim Fit” line of shirts. Their John W. Nordstom line uses pretty good fabrics that hold up nicely.
Depending on your size, you might be able to fit into some other retailers that use S/M/L sizing, but I have zero experience with them, since I have longer arms.
could you recommend any nice winter suits that i can add to my closet? currently dont have any, and my only two suits are navy and gray. thanks!
For wearing around the office, I’d say a good flannel suit is worth looking into. The grey flannel suit is somewhat of a long-time staple piece of a man’s wardrobe before modern HVAC systems were introduced to most workplaces.
For a more casual alternative, I think a tweed suit might be worth tracking down. The instances when you can wear a full-on tweed suit though might be sort of rare. I wouldn’t consider it office attire, given that tweed’s origins were meant for it to be worn in the countryside, not the city.
Still, I like tweed suits because you can break them up and wear the jacket and trousers separately with other elements of your wardrobe, which is what I do quite often. I was lucky to find two of mine at thrift stores (both donegal tweed).
As for where to buy new, that really depends on your budget. Be warned though that finding either types of suiting isn’t going to be something you can find on the cheap. Lands’ End has a flannel suit that’s gotten some mixed reviews in terms of the quality of the flannel used. The only tweed suit I’ve seen from memory would be from either J.Crew or GANT by Michael Bastian.
Been reading through your archives. Pure GEMS man. Keep up the good work. So you bought a Howard Yount jacket I saw. Is there a "rear" bias I've been reading about on SF where the front of the jacket is shorter than the rear? Thanks.
I’m not sure about that, as I haven’t taken a measuring tape out and compared. But I think given the fact that the jacket (the one I have at least) has open front quarters, it’s bound to seem shorter because of how the quarters are constructed. If you don’t like open quarters, then you might want to avoid the jacket. That said, I happen to like the cut.
Just read all of your "Best of" posts....one word, golden! Question regarding sport coats/blazers/suit coats. Do you leave them on when you sit at your desk at work? How about in the car? Dinner at a nice restaurant?
As for your questions, I sometimes keep my jacket on at work. It really depends on the temperature though and if I feel cold or warm that day. But if I run to a meeting or out to lunch, I’ll put it back on.
In the car, I’ll keep it on if it’s a short drive (let’s say under 20 minutes). On longer drives, I’ll take it off and lay it on the back seat.
For dinner (or just going “out” in general), I universally keep the jacket on. It’s the formality of dining at a restaurant and maintaining that decorum (even if others are going to ignore it or be ignorant of it).
I feel that if you’re going to eat at someone else’s place — public or private — then you ought to dress nicely as a form of respect. Taking off your jacket should be extremely rare. Maybe if you’re eating a slab of messy ribs at a smokehouse? But hopefully in that case you’re wearing denim, plaid and the largest appetite you can muster.
Following up on yesterday's question about the alterations on the LE suit... How much does it cost to take in the seat and also slim the legs of the slacks? Also, does this change the way the pants flow if you alter them too much?
"It costs what it costs." Sounds elitist to say that, but it’s true. Different tailors/alterationists in different cities and locations will charge different prices. My tailor in the downtown Chicago Loop charges higher prices because of costs associated with doing business at that location than a tailor might charge in the suburbs. Put This On has a price-range list of how much suit alterations cost.
Typically, I tell people to set aside $100-150 for alterations and always factor that into their purchasing decision. This is a big reason why I like thrifting and eBay, because the cost of adjustments is fixed and will more than likely need to be done on most items you buy. The cost of a garment though is highly variable.
As for how it changes the flow of the pants, I wouldn’t say they’re less comfortable to wear. Frankly, they’ll fit better to your body.
Hey Silentist, nice blog! That charcoal Lands End suit - how's the quality? looks nice enough, how is it 'in person'? I've bought their shirts and ties and love that they have the 'tailored' fit, but have wondered about their suits Thx! John
In all seriousness, buy one and see for yourself. They have a bullet-proof return policy.
I liked mine (both of ‘em) enough for the price to keep them and get them altered. Are they the nicest suits you’ll own and can buy? Nope. But for ~$200-250, they certainly are in my book. A lot better than the similarly (or higher) priced stuff from Topman, Zara, H&M, etc. Just my opinion though.