Q and Answer: Elbow Patches
Shane asks:  I would love to hear some discussion on blazers / sports coats and the use of elbow patches.  Yes or no?
Several folks have written me about elbow patches lately, so I thought I’d offer an answer.
Traditionally, elbow patches patched the elbows of coats. After all, the elbow, being both a flex point and a point likely to be abraded, is the part of a coat that wears out quickest. Elbow getting thin? Want to keep the coat? Patch it. There’s no doubt that patching a worn elbow is kosher. My favorite cashmere sweater has patched elbows, and I’ve got an old herringbone tweed coat that’s going to need some soon.
Add elbow patches to an old coat, and it instantly becomes more casual. Indeed, it’s a maneuver that only works on coats that are inherently casual to begin with - you see patches on tweed, corduroy and the occasional flannel blazer, but you’d never seen them on a pinstriped business suit. The patched elbow is suitable for the man who lives in a casual sportcoat but values thrift. Hence the professorial associations.
In the last few years, patched elbows have been seen on ready-to-wear more frequently. Brands like Brunello Cucinelli have added patches to blazers and sportcoats with great abandon. It’s part of the re-casualization of tailored clothing, a specialty of the Italians of late. At its best, it can be a nice color and textural contrast to the primary fabric. Some folks have gone a bit crazy with the idea.
Adding patches to an existing coat is an inexpensive alteration, but be careful not to go too wild, or it can look affected.
(photo by Garry Knight)

Q and Answer: Elbow Patches

Shane asks:  I would love to hear some discussion on blazers / sports coats and the use of elbow patches.  Yes or no?

Several folks have written me about elbow patches lately, so I thought I’d offer an answer.

Traditionally, elbow patches patched the elbows of coats. After all, the elbow, being both a flex point and a point likely to be abraded, is the part of a coat that wears out quickest. Elbow getting thin? Want to keep the coat? Patch it. There’s no doubt that patching a worn elbow is kosher. My favorite cashmere sweater has patched elbows, and I’ve got an old herringbone tweed coat that’s going to need some soon.

Add elbow patches to an old coat, and it instantly becomes more casual. Indeed, it’s a maneuver that only works on coats that are inherently casual to begin with - you see patches on tweed, corduroy and the occasional flannel blazer, but you’d never seen them on a pinstriped business suit. The patched elbow is suitable for the man who lives in a casual sportcoat but values thrift. Hence the professorial associations.

In the last few years, patched elbows have been seen on ready-to-wear more frequently. Brands like Brunello Cucinelli have added patches to blazers and sportcoats with great abandon. It’s part of the re-casualization of tailored clothing, a specialty of the Italians of late. At its best, it can be a nice color and textural contrast to the primary fabric. Some folks have gone a bit crazy with the idea.

Adding patches to an existing coat is an inexpensive alteration, but be careful not to go too wild, or it can look affected.

(photo by Garry Knight)

thisfits:

Brunello Cucinelli A/W 2012
It’s good seeing someone dark-skinned like myself modeling Cucinelli. I’ve developed an appreciation for his collections—even going so far as to pick up a few lookbooks from past seasons as inspiration for my own wardrobe. The styling, the cut of the clothes and especially the textures are very appealing, but I’ve always wondered how the muted palette he favors would look on a guy like me.

The answer, in my mind, is “not that great.” Even if you’re model handsome, like this dude is.
If you have a low-contrast complexion - light skin, light hair - I think the palette of Brunello Cucinelli is one you should study carefully. I don’t think anyone does a low-contrast color pallette better than him. Light gray, light blue, light brown and cream are about it, color-wise, and it always looks tremendous. If, that is, you have coloration like Cucinelli’s.
If you don’t, whether you have dark skin or light skin and dark hair, the colors will not flatter. Instead, they’ll look dull and washed out. Then, the texture is all that’s left.

thisfits:

Brunello Cucinelli A/W 2012

It’s good seeing someone dark-skinned like myself modeling Cucinelli. I’ve developed an appreciation for his collections—even going so far as to pick up a few lookbooks from past seasons as inspiration for my own wardrobe. The styling, the cut of the clothes and especially the textures are very appealing, but I’ve always wondered how the muted palette he favors would look on a guy like me.

The answer, in my mind, is “not that great.” Even if you’re model handsome, like this dude is.

If you have a low-contrast complexion - light skin, light hair - I think the palette of Brunello Cucinelli is one you should study carefully. I don’t think anyone does a low-contrast color pallette better than him. Light gray, light blue, light brown and cream are about it, color-wise, and it always looks tremendous. If, that is, you have coloration like Cucinelli’s.

If you don’t, whether you have dark skin or light skin and dark hair, the colors will not flatter. Instead, they’ll look dull and washed out. Then, the texture is all that’s left.

“The slim cargo pant is a key item in every man’s wardrobe. The fit is cleaner and more elegant than a traditional cargo. It can be worn at the office with a great blazer, or on the weekends with a cashmere knit and a polo.”

Brunello Cucinelli (via howtotalktogirlsatparties)

This is what I’m talking about. I appreciate the advent of slim cargos—I wore a pair with my tweed sportcoat yesterday—but I’d hardly call them a “key item.”

(via thisfits)

Let it not remain unsaid that everything Cucinelli says about slim cargo pants also applies to pants that don’t have a novelty fashion pocket on the side.

(via thisfits)

Put This On Episode 4: Clothing Credits

At Larchmont Barbershop

Jacket - A. Di Nella & Son of Philadelphia (Vintage)

Shirt - Luciano Barbera

Tie - Courtesy of Berg & Berg

Pants - Brunello Cucinelli

Pocket Square - Etro

The Wet Shave

Pajamas - Brooks Brothers

Robe - Holliday & Brown for Prada

In the Closet

Blazer - Chester Barrie

Shirt - CEGO Custom Shirtmakers

Pants - Brunello Cucinelli

Shoes - Vintage Florsheim

Tie - Vintage Bullock & Jones

Pocket Square - Courtesy of Kent Wang

It’s On eBay
Brunello Cucinelli Cotton Blazer
Starts at .99, ends February 13th

It’s On eBay

Brunello Cucinelli Cotton Blazer

Starts at .99, ends February 13th

All I Want For Christmas: Nick Sullivan

In our series All I Want For Christmas, we ask men we like what style item they’d like to get for Christmas.

Nick Sullivan is the editor of Esquire’s Big Black Book, and writes Ask Nick Sullivan for Esquire.com.  Unfortunately, Esquire.com is kind of hard to navigate, so the best link for that we can give you is this page of pieces he’s written.  He’s also a supremely nice guy, though it should be noted that we’ve extrapolated that piece of information solely from the fact he sent us a nice email about our first video.  So, what does a fashion editor want for Christmas?  Three things, as it turns out.


BRUNELLO CUCINELLI BROGUES
Just as its clothing sits in a unique niche entirely of its own making between dressy and casual,
Brunello’s soft hued brogues span the gulf between proper grown up shoes and trainers.  There is nothing hybrid about these shoes but they are extremely comfortable, and they knock the stuffing out of a suit and add they chutzpah - or whatever the italian word for it is - to jeans or khakis.

VINTAGE BARBOUR INTERNATIONAL
Less the huntin shootin fishing style of the traditional Toffs outerwear, the Barbour International was conceived for and worn as a two piece suit by motorcyclists from the 30s on and adapted for use by World War II Submarine captains, and later even up to the present day by NATO
Cut shorter and slimmer than the country coats, it also had assymmetric pockets on the chest for ease of access when astrid a BAS or Triumph.

SMART TURNOUT MILITARY SOCKS
Stripey socks are my schtick. Lurid combinations of pink and yellow, red and blue, lime green and orange. I wear them with jeans and occasionally with suits. I should point out that since I have never served in the The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, nor occupy my mis-spent youth at Eton, Harrow or Stonyhurst, I don’t technically have the slightest right but damn do I like those colors.  Somehow for me, in America, socks are ok. But ties are not.

Brunello Cucinelli has built his cashmere empire in a village castle in Italy.  The clothes are spectacular if you have a taste for soft finishes and soft tailoring, but even at Loehmann’s prices they’re spectacularly expensive.  According to the BBC, that’s in part to fund schools, churches and a theater in the town the factory occupies.

Brunello Cucinelli has built his cashmere empire in a village castle in Italy.  The clothes are spectacular if you have a taste for soft finishes and soft tailoring, but even at Loehmann’s prices they’re spectacularly expensive.  According to the BBC, that’s in part to fund schools, churches and a theater in the town the factory occupies.