Timelessness and Bespoke
Réginald-Jérôme de Mans, one of my favorite menswear writers, has been moved to a Tuesday column at A Suitable Wardrobe. Today, he does the good work of separating “timelesness” from “bespoke.” An excerpt:

What this means is that timelessness has nothing to do with the work of a superb tailor. I’d certainly hope that the tailor’s work would last a long time, because good bespoke is usually very expensive nowadays, but superb tailors like Smalto, or Edward Sexton during his time at Nutters, have made many items whose style was of their particular moments.They may still be wearable now, but with a great deal of front, irony or splendid sense of costume.
Timelessness has entered the mythos around the term bespoke precisely because bespoke has for some time been usually expensive and hard to find. However, quite recently I’ve noticed a lot of social media discount sites offering coupons for new local bespoke clothiers.  I suspect they’ve sprung up because the idea of bespoke clothing is fashionable and the meaning of bespoke so misunderstood.  In other words, my uninformed guess is that these new companies are taking advantage of those of us who actually believe the naïveté of magazine writers to think that bespoke means timeless quality and impeccable handmade construction.
[…]
Bespoke is not timeless.  Bespoke, if you’re lucky, is what you ordered. 

You can read the whole article here. For other articles in de Man’s “Untrueisms” series, where he ruthlessly goes through various menswear cliches, click here. My favorite might be this post on price and quality.

Timelessness and Bespoke

Réginald-Jérôme de Mans, one of my favorite menswear writers, has been moved to a Tuesday column at A Suitable Wardrobe. Today, he does the good work of separating “timelesness” from “bespoke.” An excerpt:

What this means is that timelessness has nothing to do with the work of a superb tailor. I’d certainly hope that the tailor’s work would last a long time, because good bespoke is usually very expensive nowadays, but superb tailors like Smalto, or Edward Sexton during his time at Nutters, have made many items whose style was of their particular moments.They may still be wearable now, but with a great deal of front, irony or splendid sense of costume.

Timelessness has entered the mythos around the term bespoke precisely because bespoke has for some time been usually expensive and hard to find. However, quite recently I’ve noticed a lot of social media discount sites offering coupons for new local bespoke clothiers.  I suspect they’ve sprung up because the idea of bespoke clothing is fashionable and the meaning of bespoke so misunderstood.  In other words, my uninformed guess is that these new companies are taking advantage of those of us who actually believe the naïveté of magazine writers to think that bespoke means timeless quality and impeccable handmade construction.

[…]

Bespoke is not timeless.  Bespoke, if you’re lucky, is what you ordered. 

You can read the whole article here. For other articles in de Man’s “Untrueisms” series, where he ruthlessly goes through various menswear cliches, click here. My favorite might be this post on price and quality.

Living with a Hairy Roommate
Just a little over a year ago, I adopted a cat. She was originally my neighbor’s, but when she started peeing around the house (down air conditioning vents, of all places), she was banished to the backyard shed, never to be allowed back inside again. I felt bad seeing her outside all the time, so I asked my neighbor if I could adopt her. She agreed and ever since – by happy coincidence – I as a menswear enthusiast now live with a tuxedo cat named Clove.
Clove never fails to be near me when I’m at home. She follows me room-to-room when I’m doing chores, and sleeps peacefully on a chair next to me if I’m at my desk doing work. When I used to have a backyard, she’d walk with me outside – just to the gate – and wait for me until I returned from my daily jogs. When my clothes pile up, she sits on top of them as though to remind me fold them away, and she helps me keep to a pretty good early morning schedule. 
The only downside to living with Clove is that she sheds. Not a lot, but enough to get hair all over my shoe bags, some of my clothes, and that chair she’s claimed as hers. And like Will at A Suitable Wardrobe, who also has a problem with hairy roommates, I occasionally find cat hair on my sport coats. I’m as confused as he is on how hair manages to get stuck on clothes that never touch the floor or the seats of furniture. 
I’ve tried a number of solutions. Clothes brushes are the worst, as fine cat hair just slips between the bristles. Lint and hair rollers are OK, but not particularly effective, and they sometimes even leave a sticky residue. Picking hair off with my fingers is just too time consuming.
Some friends have made some joking recommendations. Voxsartoria said this could be solved with some catnip and a box of Nair. Another said I should dye Clove in navy Rit Dye, so her hair just matches all my clothes. Neither has been tried.
Last month, however, I found what I think might be the best solution. If you put on a rubber dishwashing glove, you can wipe the hair off pretty easily. There’s also Swipets – a more form-fitting glove with a tacky surface applied to one side – but I haven’t found it to work any better than your standard $1/ pair dish gloves. In fact, whereas Swipets can sometimes be too rough for certain fabrics (particularly cashmere blends and certain woolens), rubber dishwashing gloves are fairly gentle.
Granted, there’s something undignified about putting on dish gloves and wiping cat hair off your clothes, but it’s significantly better than actually walking out with cat hair all over you. I now consider it something you just have to do when you live with a hairy roommate.

Living with a Hairy Roommate

Just a little over a year ago, I adopted a cat. She was originally my neighbor’s, but when she started peeing around the house (down air conditioning vents, of all places), she was banished to the backyard shed, never to be allowed back inside again. I felt bad seeing her outside all the time, so I asked my neighbor if I could adopt her. She agreed and ever since – by happy coincidence – I as a menswear enthusiast now live with a tuxedo cat named Clove.

Clove never fails to be near me when I’m at home. She follows me room-to-room when I’m doing chores, and sleeps peacefully on a chair next to me if I’m at my desk doing work. When I used to have a backyard, she’d walk with me outside – just to the gate – and wait for me until I returned from my daily jogs. When my clothes pile up, she sits on top of them as though to remind me fold them away, and she helps me keep to a pretty good early morning schedule. 

The only downside to living with Clove is that she sheds. Not a lot, but enough to get hair all over my shoe bags, some of my clothes, and that chair she’s claimed as hers. And like Will at A Suitable Wardrobe, who also has a problem with hairy roommates, I occasionally find cat hair on my sport coats. I’m as confused as he is on how hair manages to get stuck on clothes that never touch the floor or the seats of furniture. 

I’ve tried a number of solutions. Clothes brushes are the worst, as fine cat hair just slips between the bristles. Lint and hair rollers are OK, but not particularly effective, and they sometimes even leave a sticky residue. Picking hair off with my fingers is just too time consuming.

Some friends have made some joking recommendations. Voxsartoria said this could be solved with some catnip and a box of Nair. Another said I should dye Clove in navy Rit Dye, so her hair just matches all my clothes. Neither has been tried.

Last month, however, I found what I think might be the best solution. If you put on a rubber dishwashing glove, you can wipe the hair off pretty easily. There’s also Swipets – a more form-fitting glove with a tacky surface applied to one side – but I haven’t found it to work any better than your standard $1/ pair dish gloves. In fact, whereas Swipets can sometimes be too rough for certain fabrics (particularly cashmere blends and certain woolens), rubber dishwashing gloves are fairly gentle.

Granted, there’s something undignified about putting on dish gloves and wiping cat hair off your clothes, but it’s significantly better than actually walking out with cat hair all over you. I now consider it something you just have to do when you live with a hairy roommate.

asuitablewardrobe:

Prince Philip in contrasting textures and a block stripe necktie.

One of the most common questions we get at Put This On is about pattern matching. How is it done? How many patterns can one wear?
The rules for pattern matching are pretty simple - vary scale and type of pattern significantly. Prince Philip’s simple outfit above actually features a few simple patterns - the tie, the coat, the square. That said, there are plenty of other ways to have an interesting outfit.
I don’t feel a need to compete in the pattern sweepstakes. If you see me on the street, the odds I’m wearing a bunch of crazy patterns are low. If I’m in a coat and tie, the pants and shirt are solid-colored, and the coat and tie may be, too. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Derek’s a great advocate for being aware of texture, and I’m behind him 10,000%. I love texture in part because it’s as much for me as for those I interact with. I can feel it with my hands and body. It’s a physical pleasure. Even a cashmere tie, which touches only my shirt and coat while I’m wearing it, is a joy to put on.
It’s why I love the big bold ridges of cavalry twill trousers, the toughness of a heavy oxford shirt or the flannel of an old-style baseball cap. The textures are like a nest.
And they look good, too.

asuitablewardrobe:

Prince Philip in contrasting textures and a block stripe necktie.

One of the most common questions we get at Put This On is about pattern matching. How is it done? How many patterns can one wear?

The rules for pattern matching are pretty simple - vary scale and type of pattern significantly. Prince Philip’s simple outfit above actually features a few simple patterns - the tie, the coat, the square. That said, there are plenty of other ways to have an interesting outfit.

I don’t feel a need to compete in the pattern sweepstakes. If you see me on the street, the odds I’m wearing a bunch of crazy patterns are low. If I’m in a coat and tie, the pants and shirt are solid-colored, and the coat and tie may be, too. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Derek’s a great advocate for being aware of texture, and I’m behind him 10,000%. I love texture in part because it’s as much for me as for those I interact with. I can feel it with my hands and body. It’s a physical pleasure. Even a cashmere tie, which touches only my shirt and coat while I’m wearing it, is a joy to put on.

It’s why I love the big bold ridges of cavalry twill trousers, the toughness of a heavy oxford shirt or the flannel of an old-style baseball cap. The textures are like a nest.

And they look good, too.

Determining Quality in Leather Goods
Our friend Réginald-Jérôme de Mans has a very good and very active bullsh*t detector, and there’s surprisingly more bullsh*t on menswear blogs and in fashion magazines than there is in companies’ marketing materials (which already sets a high bar). In a recent piece at A Suitable Wardrobe, de Mans talks about the dumb and not-so-dumb ways to determine quality in leather goods. An excerpt, pulled from the part about Esquire’s recent advice to ask salespeople whether something has been made with French or Italian calfskin:

No salesperson in any store I can imagine - including Hermès, the best well-known quality leather goods maker - would know whether an item was made with French or Italian calf, and most would make up a response on the spot.  If the item had an Italian-sounding brand name, like David Brent’s Sergio Georgini, or was tagged “made in Italy,” they would suppose the leather must be Italian.  The same would apply if the brand sounded French.  But, of course, no matter where an item is made, or by whom, its materials are often sourced from somewhere else, for both good reasons and bad.  So even if an item is marked “made in Italy,” for instance, its leather could have been sourced from Brazil, among many other places.  (This leaves aside the thorny issue of country-of-origin labels not always meaning much work was done in that country.)  The only way a salesperson would know where the leather came from would be if some sort of marketing materials for the item in question mentioned that fact specifically – but marketing materials are by definition self-serving too.  I certainly wouldn’t expect a salesperson in a multi-brand department store to be so familiar with the materials used in a specific item, and wouldn’t trust one who claimed to be. 
[…]
 We all do want an easy metric, which is why we hope we can rely on essentially commodifying quality, as ignorant magazine writers do when they suggest all English shoes, all Scottish cashmere, or all Italian leather is of similar quality.  The reality is far more complicated, boring, and ultimately discouraging, because brands and marketers use those metrics to substitute buzzwords for integrity.  That has led to, ultimately, the perpetual one-upsmanship of brands like Loro Piana bringing to market new luxury fibers when cashmere was not enough: they announce “baby cashmere,” vicuña, lotus fiber and who knows what else, as well as to the arms race of ever finer yarn numbers (they’re not thread counts like on bedsheets) like Super 150s, 180s and 200s.  A well-finished Super 100s from Lesser will feel better, wear better and look better than a Super 150s from a less trustworthy source. And unfortunately, Lesser and many other quality cloth houses like Fox and Minnis are generally only available in bespoke.  But Loro Piana and Zegna have found an outlet for their lower quality branded cloth in having it made up by cheap suitmakers whose labels trumpet the brand which produced their cloth, without it having much bearing on the actual quality of make or cloth.  What is the casual punter to do?

de Mans has some (reasonable) suggestions for how to assess leather quality later in the article. You can read the full piece here. 
For what it’s worth, in my own attempts to learn how to determine quality in leather goods, I’ve found three things:
As with everything, it helps to check out the best. Browse around, even in stores where you can’t afford any of the products. In doing so, you’ll start to get a sense of what qualities you might want to look for when shopping for things within your own budget. Of course, figuring out what’s actually on the “high end” is its own task, as not everything that’s expensive is necessarily good, but it’s useful to just keep an eye out and not be afraid to casually (and politely) browse, even in stores that are way out of your price league.
Keep in mind that certain leather qualities are meant for certain design purposes. I was recently at a designer boutique in Canada, where slightly more “avant garde" leather jackets were being sold. The leather they used was somewhat thin, very waxy, and it crinkled easily. Someone might mistake it for bad leather, but it’s not in an objective sense. It’s just that the qualities the designer was looking for - how he wanted the jacket to drape, crinkle, and age - were very specific, so he needed a certain type of leather. When determining quality, it’s good to also keep in mind design purposes. 
Nothing substitutes for first-hand experience. After a while, once you’ve browsed around, seen things on the high end, and have had the chance to use leather products of different qualities, you’ll be able to spot the stuff that’s right for you. 

Determining Quality in Leather Goods

Our friend Réginald-Jérôme de Mans has a very good and very active bullsh*t detector, and there’s surprisingly more bullsh*t on menswear blogs and in fashion magazines than there is in companies’ marketing materials (which already sets a high bar). In a recent piece at A Suitable Wardrobe, de Mans talks about the dumb and not-so-dumb ways to determine quality in leather goods. An excerpt, pulled from the part about Esquire’s recent advice to ask salespeople whether something has been made with French or Italian calfskin:

No salesperson in any store I can imagine - including Hermès, the best well-known quality leather goods maker - would know whether an item was made with French or Italian calf, and most would make up a response on the spot.  If the item had an Italian-sounding brand name, like David Brent’s Sergio Georgini, or was tagged “made in Italy,” they would suppose the leather must be Italian.  The same would apply if the brand sounded French.  But, of course, no matter where an item is made, or by whom, its materials are often sourced from somewhere else, for both good reasons and bad.  So even if an item is marked “made in Italy,” for instance, its leather could have been sourced from Brazil, among many other places.  (This leaves aside the thorny issue of country-of-origin labels not always meaning much work was done in that country.)  The only way a salesperson would know where the leather came from would be if some sort of marketing materials for the item in question mentioned that fact specifically – but marketing materials are by definition self-serving too.  I certainly wouldn’t expect a salesperson in a multi-brand department store to be so familiar with the materials used in a specific item, and wouldn’t trust one who claimed to be.

[…]

 We all do want an easy metric, which is why we hope we can rely on essentially commodifying quality, as ignorant magazine writers do when they suggest all English shoes, all Scottish cashmere, or all Italian leather is of similar quality.  The reality is far more complicated, boring, and ultimately discouraging, because brands and marketers use those metrics to substitute buzzwords for integrity.  That has led to, ultimately, the perpetual one-upsmanship of brands like Loro Piana bringing to market new luxury fibers when cashmere was not enough: they announce “baby cashmere,” vicuña, lotus fiber and who knows what else, as well as to the arms race of ever finer yarn numbers (they’re not thread counts like on bedsheets) like Super 150s, 180s and 200s.  A well-finished Super 100s from Lesser will feel better, wear better and look better than a Super 150s from a less trustworthy source. And unfortunately, Lesser and many other quality cloth houses like Fox and Minnis are generally only available in bespoke.  But Loro Piana and Zegna have found an outlet for their lower quality branded cloth in having it made up by cheap suitmakers whose labels trumpet the brand which produced their cloth, without it having much bearing on the actual quality of make or cloth.  What is the casual punter to do?

de Mans has some (reasonable) suggestions for how to assess leather quality later in the article. You can read the full piece here

For what it’s worth, in my own attempts to learn how to determine quality in leather goods, I’ve found three things:

  • As with everything, it helps to check out the best. Browse around, even in stores where you can’t afford any of the products. In doing so, you’ll start to get a sense of what qualities you might want to look for when shopping for things within your own budget. Of course, figuring out what’s actually on the “high end” is its own task, as not everything that’s expensive is necessarily good, but it’s useful to just keep an eye out and not be afraid to casually (and politely) browse, even in stores that are way out of your price league.
  • Keep in mind that certain leather qualities are meant for certain design purposes. I was recently at a designer boutique in Canada, where slightly more “avant garde" leather jackets were being sold. The leather they used was somewhat thin, very waxy, and it crinkled easily. Someone might mistake it for bad leather, but it’s not in an objective sense. It’s just that the qualities the designer was looking for - how he wanted the jacket to drape, crinkle, and age - were very specific, so he needed a certain type of leather. When determining quality, it’s good to also keep in mind design purposes. 
  • Nothing substitutes for first-hand experience. After a while, once you’ve browsed around, seen things on the high end, and have had the chance to use leather products of different qualities, you’ll be able to spot the stuff that’s right for you. 

The Advantage of Unusual Designs in Pocket Squares

Like with ties, I find it’s easy to acquire more pocket square than you need. This is true for almost any accessory, really. As I mentioned before, accessories tend to be easier to size right, are relatively more affordable, and can satisfy that urge to buy something new. Before you know it, you have dozens of ties and pocket squares, and not nearly enough sport coats or suits to justify your collection.

In my time wearing pocket squares, I’ve come to realize that I mostly rely on just three types. The first is clean white linen, which I like to wear with everything except tweeds. Then there are madder silks, which I find to be useful in the fall and winter months. For some reason, those are a bit hard to find (especially in soft, muted colors), but Ralph Lauren sometimes stocks them.

Then there’s the third category, which I think is the most useful – squares with large, intricate designs of the kind that you’d never see in ties. The advantage of these is that you never run the risk of looking like you bought your tie and pocket square as part of a matching set (which you should never do, by the way). With a big, bold pattern – as opposed to something like pin dots – you can always be sure that your square will stand on its own, but still harmonize with whatever else you’re wearing through some complementary color. Plus, if you find something with the right square, you can get a bit more versatility by simply turning the square a bit here or there to show off the colors you want. That’s much hard to do if every inch of your square is essentially the same repeating pattern.

In recent years, the number of places where you can buy such squares has exploded. There are the standards, of course, in the form of Drake’s and Rubinacci, both of which produce beautiful pieces. You can purchase those directly through each brand’s shops, or through various online retailers such as No Man Walks Alone, A Suitable Wardrobe, Exquisite Trimmings, Malford of London, Mr. Porter, and our advertiser The Hanger Project. There are also a number of other operations worth considering:

Put This On: The first is of course our pocket square shop. Jesse finds vintage and deadstock fabrics from online sellers and thrift shops, and then has them handmade into pocket squares through a tailor in Los Angeles. That means having the edges handrolled with a nice plump edge, rather than something machined and flat.
Vanda Fine Clothing: Run by the newlywed couple Diana and Gerald, these two produce excellent high-end ties and pocket squares – all hand sewn by them in their workshop in Singapore. Recently, they came out with a series of Chinese zodiac squares, which add a bit of personalization for the wearer.
Ikire Jones: Ikire Jones is a relatively new company run by a finalist in one of Esquire’s “Best Dressed Real Man” competitions. The designer, Wale Oyejide, is a bold dresser with a strong sense of color. Whether you’re a conservative dresser such as myself, or more daring, I think his pocket squares are quite useful. I reviewed them here.
Christian Kimber: Christian has some refreshingly modern designs with abstracted shapes made to look like famous landmarks. At the moment, there are squares representing London, Melbourne, and Florence, but more cities will be released sometime this year.
P. Johnson Tailors: Like Christian Kimber, P. Johnson also produces designs with a slightly more modern sensibility. Their squares tend to have large swaths of color, so you might want to think about how you normally fold your square, lest you look like you’re wearing something that’s one solid color.
Kent Wang: Always a good source for more affordable options, Kent has printed more unique looking pocket squares in the last year. The only thing to watch out for is the size. I find that squares smaller than 15” x 15” feel a bit too insubstantial, although your taste may differ.

(Photos above by The SartorialistChristian KimberRubinacciMalford of LondonVanda Fine Clothing, and us)

Donegal Tweed Ties
As conventional wisdom goes, grenadines are some of the most useful ties you can own. The reason is they’re (typically) solid in color, but also textured in weave. The textured weave allows you to wear it easily with solid colored shirts and jackets, while the solid color allow you to pair it with patterns. There are few jacket, shirt, and tie combinations where a grenadine would not work.
The same principle can be applied with other ties, although they’re slightly more seasonal in use. A tussah or raw silk can be worn in the summer with cotton or linen jacketings, while a boucle can paired with tweed or flannel in the fall. A Suitable Wardrobe just launched their end-of-season sale, and all three types are available at pretty attractive prices. Slightly similar are lightly patterned ties, such as the speckled Donegal tweed my e-friend Voxsartoria is seen wearing above. From a distance, it appears solid in color, but upon closer look, it has little flecks to keep it interesting. Again, something you can wear with solid colored shirts and jackets, or ones with patterns.
Or so I think, anyway. I wanted to get a Donegal tie this past season, but wasn’t able to. Berg and Berg launched their winter sale yesterday, and they had this very lovely speckled navy tie that someone bought before me. Brooks Brothers also had this knit tie that sold out before I even had a chance to consider it.
There are other options still available though. Vanda Fine Clothing has them in Air Force chevron and pebbled grey patterns. Those come in their signature, lightly lined construction, which allows their ties to feel a bit more “true” to their shell fabrics. There’s also Drake’s and E.G. Cappelli – two of my favorite tie makers. Drake’s is a high-quality, no-nonsense construction, while E.G. Cappelli is typically lightly lined and has a bit more visible handstitching. Additionally, there’s Howard Yount and Sid Mashburn. I have no experience with their neckwear, but both companies have solid reputations. And if someone doesn’t mind the skinny widths, there are these options by Gant Rugger and Alexander Olch.
Hopefully I can get one before winter ends. 
(Picture via voxsart)

Donegal Tweed Ties

As conventional wisdom goes, grenadines are some of the most useful ties you can own. The reason is they’re (typically) solid in color, but also textured in weave. The textured weave allows you to wear it easily with solid colored shirts and jackets, while the solid color allow you to pair it with patterns. There are few jacket, shirt, and tie combinations where a grenadine would not work.

The same principle can be applied with other ties, although they’re slightly more seasonal in use. A tussah or raw silk can be worn in the summer with cotton or linen jacketings, while a boucle can paired with tweed or flannel in the fall. A Suitable Wardrobe just launched their end-of-season sale, and all three types are available at pretty attractive prices. Slightly similar are lightly patterned ties, such as the speckled Donegal tweed my e-friend Voxsartoria is seen wearing above. From a distance, it appears solid in color, but upon closer look, it has little flecks to keep it interesting. Again, something you can wear with solid colored shirts and jackets, or ones with patterns.

Or so I think, anyway. I wanted to get a Donegal tie this past season, but wasn’t able to. Berg and Berg launched their winter sale yesterday, and they had this very lovely speckled navy tie that someone bought before me. Brooks Brothers also had this knit tie that sold out before I even had a chance to consider it.

There are other options still available though. Vanda Fine Clothing has them in Air Force chevron and pebbled grey patterns. Those come in their signature, lightly lined construction, which allows their ties to feel a bit more “true” to their shell fabrics. There’s also Drake’s and E.G. Cappelli – two of my favorite tie makers. Drake’s is a high-quality, no-nonsense construction, while E.G. Cappelli is typically lightly lined and has a bit more visible handstitching. Additionally, there’s Howard Yount and Sid Mashburn. I have no experience with their neckwear, but both companies have solid reputations. And if someone doesn’t mind the skinny widths, there are these options by Gant Rugger and Alexander Olch.

Hopefully I can get one before winter ends. 

(Picture via voxsart)

You Might Just Be an iGent
"iGent’ (short for Internet Gentleman) is a derogatory term for a certain kind of poster on men’s clothing forums (mainly StyleForum, but much talked about elsewhere too). Although the character type is very specific, the general personality is not. Our friend Réginald-Jérôme de Mans recently wrote a funny piece at A Suitable Wardrobe about how you can tell if you’re an iGent. A sampling:
If your new Alan Flusser book is sitting on top of your old Alan Flusser book;
If you get all dressed up with nowhere to go but online;
If you look for jobs that are business formal;
If you have to decide between your Brigg or your Smith when it rains… and you post your dramatic decision online;
If you pay $10 an issue for a magazine without people committing lewd acts inside it;
If you buy magazines about shoes and clothing in languages you can’t read;
If your suit would have cost more than your car if you hadn’t bought it on 95% clearance;
If you ask strangers to look at clothed pictures of you on the Internet;
If you ask other men to post selfies from the men’s room and are not a conservative politician;
If you know where the outlet centers are in countries you have never visited;
If you have ever used the words “suitings” or “shirtings,” (even correctly);
And if you laughed at these… you just might be an iGent.
Read the full post here.

You Might Just Be an iGent

"iGent’ (short for Internet Gentleman) is a derogatory term for a certain kind of poster on men’s clothing forums (mainly StyleForum, but much talked about elsewhere too). Although the character type is very specific, the general personality is not. Our friend Réginald-Jérôme de Mans recently wrote a funny piece at A Suitable Wardrobe about how you can tell if you’re an iGent. A sampling:

  • If your new Alan Flusser book is sitting on top of your old Alan Flusser book;
  • If you get all dressed up with nowhere to go but online;
  • If you look for jobs that are business formal;
  • If you have to decide between your Brigg or your Smith when it rains… and you post your dramatic decision online;
  • If you pay $10 an issue for a magazine without people committing lewd acts inside it;
  • If you buy magazines about shoes and clothing in languages you can’t read;
  • If your suit would have cost more than your car if you hadn’t bought it on 95% clearance;
  • If you ask strangers to look at clothed pictures of you on the Internet;
  • If you ask other men to post selfies from the men’s room and are not a conservative politician;
  • If you know where the outlet centers are in countries you have never visited;
  • If you have ever used the words “suitings” or “shirtings,” (even correctly);
  • And if you laughed at these… you just might be an iGent.

Read the full post here.

The Soft Silk Knit
For as long as I’ve been buying silk knit ties, I’ve always preferred the crunchy variety - the kind where if you squeeze the tie in your hand, the silk material feels a bit “crunchy” as it rubs against itself. I like these for their heavier weight, as the tie doesn’t flop around as much, and for their more distinctive visual texture. You can find them on the high-end at Drake’s, but the best bang-for-you-buck might be from Land’s End. Those retail at $60, but it’s not uncommon to see them go for ~$30 during one of their many sales. 
Some months ago, however, I came across this photo of Dr. Keith Churchwell. Here, he’s seen wearing a brown hat, light blue shirt, Russell plaid jacket, and a burgundy soft-knit tie. The softer knit tie seems so much better suited to an autumnal ensemble, much like how a wool tie would be a better here than any of your basic silks. So, I’ve been hunting for a good soft knit to try out. 
Luckily, it’s easier to find soft knits than crunchy ones. Many the more traditional American clothiers will carry them, such as O’Connell’s, Ben Silver, and J. Press. For something more affordable, there’s The Knottery. In addition to silk, there are also ones made from wool, cashmere, and alpaca blends. Our friend Will at A Suitable Wardrobe has some cashmere ones on sale, and Brooks Brothers just came out with these Donegals. I may just try one of these options out this fall. 
Incidentally, the photo above was taken by Rose Callahan, who has two upcoming events for new her book I Am Dandy. The first is on November 7th from 6-8pm at the Fine and Dandy shop in New York City, and the second is on November 18th from 6-8pm at the National Arts Club (also in New York City). The second will double as the opening reception for a weeklong exhibition of prints by our friend Rose. If you’re in town, stop by and tell her we said hi. 

The Soft Silk Knit

For as long as I’ve been buying silk knit ties, I’ve always preferred the crunchy variety - the kind where if you squeeze the tie in your hand, the silk material feels a bit “crunchy” as it rubs against itself. I like these for their heavier weight, as the tie doesn’t flop around as much, and for their more distinctive visual texture. You can find them on the high-end at Drake’s, but the best bang-for-you-buck might be from Land’s End. Those retail at $60, but it’s not uncommon to see them go for ~$30 during one of their many sales. 

Some months ago, however, I came across this photo of Dr. Keith Churchwell. Here, he’s seen wearing a brown hat, light blue shirt, Russell plaid jacket, and a burgundy soft-knit tie. The softer knit tie seems so much better suited to an autumnal ensemble, much like how a wool tie would be a better here than any of your basic silks. So, I’ve been hunting for a good soft knit to try out. 

Luckily, it’s easier to find soft knits than crunchy ones. Many the more traditional American clothiers will carry them, such as O’Connell’s, Ben Silver, and J. Press. For something more affordable, there’s The Knottery. In addition to silk, there are also ones made from wool, cashmere, and alpaca blends. Our friend Will at A Suitable Wardrobe has some cashmere ones on sale, and Brooks Brothers just came out with these Donegals. I may just try one of these options out this fall. 

Incidentally, the photo above was taken by Rose Callahan, who has two upcoming events for new her book I Am Dandy. The first is on November 7th from 6-8pm at the Fine and Dandy shop in New York City, and the second is on November 18th from 6-8pm at the National Arts Club (also in New York City). The second will double as the opening reception for a weeklong exhibition of prints by our friend Rose. If you’re in town, stop by and tell her we said hi. 

Lots of inside humor here for StyleForumites, but tons of gems anyone can appreciate as well. E.g. “Jos. A. Bank:  Stammtisch of certain Internet clothing enthusiasts. Creator of the zen kōan ‘Is an item at 50% discount 364 days a year or is it at 100% markup one day a year?’” or “Prep: the unbearable wearing the unwearable.”

See the full post here

"I can understand that in classic clothing, the old has a cachet that can’t easily be explained rationally. Things made in the old manner, such as with ancient madder dyeing or hand block printing, or with old-style materials, like Geelong lambswool, strike a chord with those of us who still half-believe in some lost Arcadia of quality. However, rather than pay a top-drawer new tie price for the supposed glories of the old, I suggest investing, judiciously, in the pleasures of vintage."Réginald-Jérôme de Mans on the pleasures of vintage clothing.

The full article makes for a great read.