Polo Shirts: How I Roll
Two categories of clothing entered my wardrobe when I moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles that I never expected: shorts and polo shirts. Both are, in my opinion, fairly maligned. The worst sartorial transgressions often involve one or both. That said, when it’s 93 degrees outside and you’re prone to crippling, heat-induced migraine headaches (me), you do what you have to.
I’m 6’3”, so the most difficult challenge for me has been finding polos that retain enough length to cover my midriff, and don’t balloon around my waistline. Lacoste polos, for example, though the classic choice, start out just barely long enough and within a few washes shrink to Britney Spears-like lengths. No one wants to see my happy trail.
I’ve found two solutions to the problem. The most frequently occuring polo in my wardrobe is by Benjamin Bixby (which Derek covered in his roundup, earlier). Bixby (which is now, sadly, out of business) fit long and lean, without being skinny. Since that describes me, pretty much, I bought half a dozen when they were clearing them out at a discount store in San Francisco. While I generally avoid branding, I make an exception for the Bixby hot air balloon, which I find charming (and which no one recognizes). As Derek pointed out, some of the shirts from the last season have moved from discounters to eBay at very affordable prices.
Of course, recommending a defunct brand isn’t exactly Best Practices for style bloggers. I did, however, come up with a solution that I think will work for me long into the future: Lands’ End. I often circle back to Lands’ End when I’m looking for simple, well-made basics at an affordable price. Between the reasonable retail and frequent sales, LE polos are often less than $20.
The great drawback of Lands’ End, of course, is that they’re cut for older, more traditional customers. (That’s a nice way of saying overweight people who wear baggy clothes.) I found that my 6’3”, 200 pound frame fit perfectly in a size medium tall. Long enough for me, even with machine washing and drying, and slim around the waist.
If you’re not exceptionally tall, you should be able to size down successfully with the standard length shirts. If you’re tall and you’ve got a chest of 42” or so, a medium tall should work well, with large and XL progressing naturally in roughly 2” increments. Lands’ End also now offers a “Tailored Fit” polo (thanks, Kevin). I haven’t tried these yet, but my experience with tailored fit is that it’s a good fit for the mid-weight man (ie: not thin, not athletic, not more than a few pounds overweight). No matter what, Lands’ End’s return policy is one of the best in the business - wear it, wash it, if it doesn’t work out, return it via mail or to your local Sears and they’ll give you your money back, no questions asked.

Polo Shirts: How I Roll

Two categories of clothing entered my wardrobe when I moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles that I never expected: shorts and polo shirts. Both are, in my opinion, fairly maligned. The worst sartorial transgressions often involve one or both. That said, when it’s 93 degrees outside and you’re prone to crippling, heat-induced migraine headaches (me), you do what you have to.

I’m 6’3”, so the most difficult challenge for me has been finding polos that retain enough length to cover my midriff, and don’t balloon around my waistline. Lacoste polos, for example, though the classic choice, start out just barely long enough and within a few washes shrink to Britney Spears-like lengths. No one wants to see my happy trail.

I’ve found two solutions to the problem. The most frequently occuring polo in my wardrobe is by Benjamin Bixby (which Derek covered in his roundup, earlier). Bixby (which is now, sadly, out of business) fit long and lean, without being skinny. Since that describes me, pretty much, I bought half a dozen when they were clearing them out at a discount store in San Francisco. While I generally avoid branding, I make an exception for the Bixby hot air balloon, which I find charming (and which no one recognizes). As Derek pointed out, some of the shirts from the last season have moved from discounters to eBay at very affordable prices.

Of course, recommending a defunct brand isn’t exactly Best Practices for style bloggers. I did, however, come up with a solution that I think will work for me long into the future: Lands’ End. I often circle back to Lands’ End when I’m looking for simple, well-made basics at an affordable price. Between the reasonable retail and frequent sales, LE polos are often less than $20.

The great drawback of Lands’ End, of course, is that they’re cut for older, more traditional customers. (That’s a nice way of saying overweight people who wear baggy clothes.) I found that my 6’3”, 200 pound frame fit perfectly in a size medium tall. Long enough for me, even with machine washing and drying, and slim around the waist.

If you’re not exceptionally tall, you should be able to size down successfully with the standard length shirts. If you’re tall and you’ve got a chest of 42” or so, a medium tall should work well, with large and XL progressing naturally in roughly 2” increments. Lands’ End also now offers a “Tailored Fit” polo (thanks, Kevin). I haven’t tried these yet, but my experience with tailored fit is that it’s a good fit for the mid-weight man (ie: not thin, not athletic, not more than a few pounds overweight). No matter what, Lands’ End’s return policy is one of the best in the business - wear it, wash it, if it doesn’t work out, return it via mail or to your local Sears and they’ll give you your money back, no questions asked.

The Five Days of Summer Series, Part III: Polo Shirts

Aside from maybe chinos, there are few things more quintessential to summer style than polos. It was invented in 1933 by legendary tennis player Rene Lacoste when he found the regulation dress code - stiff, long sleeved shirts with ties and white flannel pants - too cumbersome and uncomfortable. Thus, inspired by the wool-knit jerseys worn by polo players, Lacoste came up with short-sleeved, soft-collared, pique cotton pullover that we’re all familiar with. Though its origins may be sportswear, it’s now a staple of casual summer style, and currently enjoying a bit of a revival as young men begin to ditch their scrappy faux-vintage t-shirts in favor of sharper looks. 

As with everything, the key to pulling off a polo is getting the right fit. Look for ones that are slightly trimmer in the body, with sleeves that hit around the middle of your bicep. You can have the lengths be long or short, but if they hang below your hips, you’ll have to tuck them in. There are a good number of companies that provide these features, so let’s review some. 

By far, the most unique offering I’ve come across is from Polosophy, an Italian label that makes bespoke polos. The company has taken advantage of the two biggest trends in menswear - the long-term move towards casualwear, and the recent resurgence in custom clothing. The result is a casual polo with all the rich elegant details you would find in a custom button-up shirt. Here, the client chooses the color of the polo, type of collar and cuffs, and then decides whether he wants a monogram. Everything is cut from a custom paper pattern made from your measurements. The polos come with mother-of-pearl buttons, sewn on with chicken foot stitching (a hand-tailoring detail I’ve written about here), and linen detailing on the placket. There is also a structured and reinforced collarband, making the polo’s collar behave much more like one you would find on a woven shirt. The price is expensive, as you can imagine. Short sleeves start around $250; long sleeves start around $300. If you’re in Europe, there is a five-shirt minimum, and they’ll send a tailor to you to get your measurements. If you catch them on one of their tours, however, you can meet them at a hotel and only need to meet a three-shirt minimum. 

Of course, few people can afford bespoke polos, so let’s talk about some off-the-rack options. The first is by one of my favorite companies, John Smedley. These polos are made from Sea Island cotton, which is a “long staple” fiber. This means that each fiber measures around 2 inches long, which allows them to be woven with fewer bonds. As a result, the final fabric has an incredibly smooth, silky, luxurious hand, as well as incredible strength (as there are fewer “weak points” where the fibers are bonded together). The cotton also has a natural brilliant whiteness when it’s raw. This allows it to be dyed in richer, clear colors, as well as forgo harsh bleaching, thus allowing the colors to stay colorfast. In terms of quality, John Smedley polos are some of the best you can get. They come in traditional and slim fits, and feature one of Smedley’s three polo collar designs. Check them out at their website. 

For other great, high-quality polos, consider Moncler. Their company website doesn’t seem to feature them, but I really like the ones that Bergdorf Goodman is carrying. Sunspel is also really nice. They come in different fabrics, such as pique cotton (the traditional fabric you find on polos) and jersey cotton (a more “t-shirt” material). They also have polos in their Riveria fabric, which is similar to the traditional pique cotton, but in a more open weave (an advantage for hot days that I’ve written about). Additionally, there is Gant, which also come in pique or jersey cotton. The main line is a bit more traditionally cut, while the Rugger line is trimmer. Unfortunately, their webstore won’t ship to the US, but if you see something you like, call one of their stores in New York or Connecticut and they’ll ship it out to you. 

If the options above are too expensive for you, try Uniqlo. Be warned, however, that they’re made of a mix of cotton and polyester. Polyester doesn’t breathe, so you’ll be sweating more in these. I’m really not a fan of the fabric, so they come with a very reserved “recommendation.” You can order one of Uniqlo’s polos by calling their New York store. 

Another very affordable option is Benjamin Bixby’s. Since the company folded, some of their clothes have been popping up at various venues. These fit very slim, so you should size up. You can find them on eBay if you do a search.

Finally, we come to Kent Wang. I was curious about Kent’s polos a few weeks ago, so I inquired about it. He was nice enough to send me one as a gift, and I received it last week. This is easily my favorite of the bunch. The real upside here is the reinforced spread collar. This means there is a collarband with two layers of self-fabric, making it the collar behave much more like one on a woven shirt (a detail that we saw earlier on the Polosophy design). In other words, the collar stands up more, instead of laying close to the collarbone. The spread collar design also gives the polo a lot more panache. I’ve taken a photo of Kent Wang’s spread collar and posted it next to a Bixby collar, which is much more traditional. You can really see the difference in collar shapes there. If you decided to get Kent’s polo, I recommend sizing up; these fit very slim. 

For more readings about polos, check out these great features by Dapper Demeanor and Men of Habit

It’s On eBay
Benjamin Bixby Button-Down Oxfords
The death throes of one of my favorite brands have led to a lot of discount sales on eBay. There are a few colors and sizes available at this price in this auction.
Buy It Now for $29.99

It’s On eBay

Benjamin Bixby Button-Down Oxfords

The death throes of one of my favorite brands have led to a lot of discount sales on eBay. There are a few colors and sizes available at this price in this auction.

Buy It Now for $29.99

It’s On eBay
Benjamin Bixby Polo Shirts
I’ve written already about how much I already miss Benjamin Bixby, Andre Benjamin’s wonderful Gatsby-esque clothing line. I bought a huge amount of stuff on clearance at a store in San Francisco, including a bunch of these polos, which have a great slim fit. There are currently a number of models on eBay at $10 each.
$9.99 plus $3.95 Shipping

It’s On eBay

Benjamin Bixby Polo Shirts

I’ve written already about how much I already miss Benjamin Bixby, Andre Benjamin’s wonderful Gatsby-esque clothing line. I bought a huge amount of stuff on clearance at a store in San Francisco, including a bunch of these polos, which have a great slim fit. There are currently a number of models on eBay at $10 each.

$9.99 plus $3.95 Shipping

bowtiedandstarryeyed:

Benjamin Bixby is coming to a Filene’s Basement near you. Such a shame that the line went under in such a short time, but the prices were outrageous. All I have is a mint julep green oxford in my closet to show for it.

I had this confirmed to me by Andre’s assistant a month or two ago.  RIP Benjamin Bixby.  Very sad to hear, because this was one of my favorite clothing lines in the world, irrespective of any celebrity associations. It was expensive, indeed, but have you looked at the prices of Band of Outsiders lately?

(Source: outofstateplates)

Episode 3: Clothing Credits

Intro:

Suit - J. Crew

Shirt - Thom Browne

Tie - Carrol & Co. (Vintage)

Square - Vintage (Courtesy: Grand-Uncle Philbert)

Shoes - Nordstrom

On Set

Suit - J. Crew

Shirt - CEGO Custom Shirtmakers

Tie - Courtesy  of Berg & Berg

Shoes - Gieves & Hawkes

Square - Holland & Holland

Nerd Boyfriend Picks

Jacket - J. Crew

Shirt - Uniqlo

Pants - Hentsch Man

Shoes - American Apparel

On Roxana

Shirt - Marc Jacobs

Skirt - Marc Jacobs

Rudiments

Tie - Turnbull & Asser

Q and A

Blazer - hickey

Shirt - Lands’ End

Pants - Incotex

Tie - Benjamin Bixby

Shoes - Sebago (Vintage)

Square - Grand-Uncle Philbert

Corey shares a picture of LeBron James looking quite nice in a customized Benjamin Bixby shawl necked toggle cardigan.  Pretty sure “LBJ” stands for James’ hero, former first lady Lady Bird Johnson.

Corey shares a picture of LeBron James looking quite nice in a customized Benjamin Bixby shawl necked toggle cardigan.  Pretty sure “LBJ” stands for James’ hero, former first lady Lady Bird Johnson.

Episode 2: Clothing Credits

Intro

Pants - Uniqlo Vintage Chino

Shirt - RRL

Overshirt - Vintage (ca. 1950s)

At Willie’s

Shirt - Lands’ End Tailored Fit Oxford

Tie - Vintage, unlabeled

Blazer - Vintage by A. DiNella & Son of Philadelphia

Square - Robert Talbott

Shoes - Vintage Florsheim Longwings in Burgundy Shell Cordovan

Example Shoes - Joseph Cheaney & Sons

Cleaning & Polishing

Shirt - Brooks Brothers Black Fleece

Chinos - Benjamin Bixby

Shoes - Generic Surplus