Put This On Season Two: So Far
Above: Episode 4
Below: Episodes 3, 2 and 1
Put This On Season Two: So Far
Above: Episode 4
Below: Episodes 3, 2 and 1
Q and Answer: When Can I Wear a Tie Without a Jacket?
David asks: Just recently found your blog, and it’s a go-to for me everyday. I do have a question. You are adamant about the “tie with jacket only rule.” I am a history teacher at a suburban high school in upstate New York. The school has neither proper heating nor cooling, and I am constantly on my feet, walking around, at the front of the room, helping kids etc. So when is it OK for me to take my jacket off and roll up my sleeves?
When I wrote this piece on 25 things you should know, there was a bit of controversy surrounding my suggestion that you shouldn’t wear a tie without a jacket. A fair amount of controversy, actually. But I wrote it advisedly, so let me offer you some guidelines.
First of all, it’s perfectly appropriate, in the course of work, to take off your coat. I myself take off my coat when I arrive at the office, and hang it on a coat rack. Most people who work in situations that demand a tie also work in situations that require them to sit frequently, and sitting wears unnecessarily on your coat. If I go out, or meet a colleague, or get cold, I put my coat back on. Generally, though, it’s off. That’s fine.
There are a few reasons it’s better to wear a coat. The first is that you will look better. Unless you happen to be Ryan Lochte, your physique will generally be more flattered by a coat than a shirt. It also makes you look “finished,” as though you’re fully dressed, prepared. A bit of variety and layering also makes almost any outfit look better.
But if you have some reason to take your coat off, no one will begrudge you. Taking a long walk in the sun? Carry your coat. (Short walks are often cooler with a seasonally-appropriate coat shading you.) Digging a ditch? Take off your coat. That’s fine. It’s like wearing your hat in a train station - the activity trumps the normal etiquette.
The question comes in when you are dressing with a tie but without a coat.
Ask yourself: why am I doing this? What is the occasion that demands the formality of a tie but doesn’t require a coat? Besides transitory situations (sitting at your desk, digging a ditch, eating soup), why would you need to wear a tie but not a coat?
The answer is pretty much “I work at a cell phone store.”
Which is not a good look.
Now, there’s a certain semi-ironic aesthetic that peaked a couple years ago that alludes to the (work-engaged, desk-sitting) necktied nerd of the 1960s. The NASA engineer look. It usually involves an extremely slim shirt and trousers, a skinny tie, and a tie clip. The sleeves are typically short or rolled (an allusion to those engineers-at-work). In warm weather, this look has no coat.
While I’d say that the style’s a little stale, fashion-wise, it looked fine on some people. Mostly very skinny ones who could pull off the irony. I sincerely had no beef with these people. Have no beef with these people - I’m sure there are people who look fine in this outfit even now. The truth is, though, that 99% of the guys wearing ties without coats in America today look like yutzes.
The simple solution is simple. If you’re wearing a coat, and the situation demands it, wear a tie. If you’re not, and it doesn’t, don’t. There’s no need to put the cart before the horse.
Season 2, Episode 2: PTO Place: Jay Kos
From Put This On Season 2, Episode 2, a profile of New York menswear retailer Jay Kos. Kos is known for mixing traditional style with bold fabrics and colors, and is a favorite of contemporary dandies like Fonzworth Bentley.
Put This On Presents: Dave Hill vs. Fashion Week 2012
Put This On’s intrepid field correspondent Dave Hill hit New York’s Fashion Week once again to find out what makes it so magical. Turns out, it’s mountains of cocaine!
Can you spot Anna Wintour, Scott Schuman and Bill Cunningham? How about Dave Hill? Can you spot Dave Hill?
Put This On Season Two & Season One DVD: Coming Tuesday 3/13!
Previously: Dave Hill at Fashion Week 2011
(And be sure to pre-order Dave’s new book, Tasteful Nudes… and Other Misguided Attempts at Personal Growth and Validation)
“The conspicuously well dressed man is not a well dressed man at all, but merely a block for displaying the best materials and the latest fashions upon. His clothes and all articles of outward attire cry out their quality, and forcibly draw attention to their very newest cut, set, twist, or turn; and you say “There’s a dressy man if you like! Everything right up to date, including the walking stick.” The really well dressed man attracts no such remark. Of him you are more likely to say, “That man looks very smart - for some reason or another. Wonder what it is!” You may depend upon it that the man of whom that is said is a man not only of fashion, but of something very important besides - namely, good taste, strong individuality, faithfulness to personal style.”— Fashion, August 1899
Oh my gosh, you guys!
Isn’t that celebrity author Dave Hill?
Where could he be? Fashion week?
Could he be getting ready to school everyone on the important subject of fashion on behalf of the hit videoblog Put This On?!
THIS IS AMAZING!
Transparency in Fashion
The Financial Times published an interesting article last week on a new online retailer that is taking a strong stance on transparency:
You go to “collection” and, say, you click on a coat. Under the section “material information” you will find the description of material used, its composition, weight, yarn or piece-dyed, the origin of the raw material, who spun it, who wove it, whether it is organic, if so, what certificate it has earned (and what said certificate means), and a website for the supplier – and you will find this for the fabric, the zipper, the lining, the trim, the label, the buttons, the thread and so on.
Meanwhile, under “price information”: you will find out the cost per metre of the fabric, how much was ordered, how much was used, how much labour was involved, what the mark-up was, and how the profit was used.
In other words, by the time you press “buy” you will know exactly what you are paying for.
The journalist who wrote the piece said it could be the start of a revolution. That’s a pretty liberal use of the word, but still, I think this is an important development.
One of the many problems in the fashion industry, I think, is that any and all potentially meaningful words quickly get abused through marketing. Not that this is exclusive to fashion, but since this is a site about clothing, we start here.
"Handmade" can mean anything from an artisan working with just a needle and thread to someone feeding something through a machine. "Made in Italy" has become mostly a marketing term since complex production chains and WTO Rules of Origin allow things to be made in China, sent to Italy for minor finishing, and then sold with the tag "Made in Italy." Cashmere used to mean something was made with a high-quality, soft, strong and insulating wool, but is now used to market things even lower-end than your good cottons. "Heritage brand" could have meant something, but now there are companies started by men younger than me, and they call their brands "heritage companies."
Of course, it’s not a given that transparent labeling will translate to better purchasing decisions. But as nutrition labels have helped a small segment of health conscious Americans make better decisions, I’d like to think better labels on clothing will do the same. Break down the production chain, tell us where each part of the production process was done, where things are sourced, and how much each step cost, and you would get a much less cynical consumer base.
Tom Ford: Visionary
Look past the fashion-industry required nonsense talk, and I think you’ll find an interesting a very smart man in Tom Ford. I certainly found this hour-long special from the Oprah network worth my time.