The Silhouettes of Jackets

I’ve paid less and less attention to Pitti Uomo photos over the years, largely because so much of it gets monotonous. This past tradeshow, however, I caught these three photos from Tommy Ton over at GQ and thought they’re worth highlighting, if only to underscore the importance of how a suit is styled and shaped — two aspects which are just as important as how a suit fits. 

How a suit fits and how it’s styled are two different things. Fit can be basic and not so basic, and we’ve written a ton about the subjectFor a suit jacket or sport coat, having a good fit means making sure the collar stays on your neck (even as you move your arms), the chest doesn’t buckle away from your body, the shoulders end near your natural shoulder joints, and that there aren’t any ripples or pulls anywhere. Somewhat straightforward. 

Style is different. Style is not just about the fabric chosen and pocket details, but also about how the jacket is shaped and cut. 

Take the first photo, for example, of the three young guys in blue suits. All three wearing slim, columnar silhouettes, with low rise trousers and narrow shoulders. The lapels are a bit wider than what’s normal for such looks, but it’s a style that was made popular by Hedi Slimane when he designed for Dior Homme. These kinds of suits have been tremendously popular for over a decade now, but they only really look good on very skinny guys, such as these three. 

In the next photo, we have Mark and Jake from The Armoury, who are wearing something a bit more comfortable and relaxed looking. On Jake (the dude in the darker grey suit and pink shirt), the shoulders are a bit extended, the trousers come up higher, and the notches on the lapel are a bit lower than what’s popular nowadays. Still soft shouldered like everyone else’s jackets at the tradeshow, but the overall effect is different. Perhaps more Armani than Slimane. 

Lastly, Antonio from Eidos Napoli in the third photo is wearing a dark brown suit that he designed himself. Slim fitting, like the first photo we saw, but less columnar, as the chest looks slightly more relaxed (giving the illusion of a more nipped waist), and the quarters (which is that part of the jacket just below the middle button) sweep away as it falls towards the hips. The overall line, going from the top of the lapel down to the hem, is a lot more curved. 

A suit should always fit well, but how it’s styled is a totally open question. Pay attention to the different shapes that a tailored jacket can take, and you’ll notice that they can be framed like As, Vs, Xs, or columnar Is. Some shapes will look good on you, some will not, but that’s where the fun really begins — finding the style that’s right for you. 

To learn more about silhouettes, you can read our old post here

(Photos via Tommy Ton)

“This summer, I was in Naples and discovered Neapolitan tailoring.”
—Peter Saville, amazing graphic designer; menswear noob.

This summer, I was in Naples and discovered Neapolitan tailoring.

—Peter Saville, amazing graphic designer; menswear noob.

(Source: gq-magazine.co.uk)

“I would love everybody to be able to buy beautiful bespoke clothes, believe me. But that’s just not realistic. These posts on here often going on about full canvas this and that, just put undue pressure on young people on StyleForum with its young demographic. I remember being 19 looking at GQ and it had an article about things you need to be a man, one of them was a suit that’s made for you bespoke. At the time I was sort of like ‘whoa really?’ It’s the male equivalent of thigh gap.” Bespoke tailor David Reeves
British GQ interviewed some of the top dogs at Reddit’s Male Fashion Advice forum. A couple of them gave very generous shout-outs to Put This On - thanks guys! It’s a great read.

British GQ interviewed some of the top dogs at Reddit’s Male Fashion Advice forum. A couple of them gave very generous shout-outs to Put This On - thanks guys! It’s a great read.

The Chunky Turtleneck

A friend of mine recently asked me if I knew of a good source for chunky turtlenecks, which reminded of how much I like wearing mine. The one I bought is a cream-colored cable knit with a thickly ribbed, fold down collar. I think it pairs well with heavy outerwear pieces, such as duffle coats, waxed cotton jackets, and pea coats. Ideally, you would wear it when it’s bitterly cold outside, so that it’s more of a functional garment than just a fashion piece.

The best chunky turtleneck I know of is made by Inis Meain, a traditional knitwear maker based on one of the Aran Islands outside the coast of Ireland. Their sweaters are exceptional, but admittedly also very expensive. You can purchase one of their Aran turtleneck designs from Axel’s. For other options in this price tier, consider the offerings by Malo, Sandro, and E. Tautz. Note that Barney’s and Mr. Porter will hold 75%+ off sales at the end of the season (though, that’ll still leave many of those pieces in the “very-expensive” range).

For something more affordable, there’s S.E.H. Kelly’s moss-stitch knit and Ralph Lauren’s cable knit (the latter of the two is having a pretty big sale right now, incidentally, but unfortunately not on that sweater). Fisherman Out of Ireland also has a cabled and ribbed turtleneck available for $150, which you can buy from them through email. I’ve never handled any of their products, but reviews online seem to be good.

Finally, for lack of a better descriptor, there are slightly more rugged options that stay true to the sweater’s workwear origins. Orvis, North Sea Clothing Company, Nigel Cabourn, Aero Leathers, What Price Glory, and Freeman’s Sporting Club may have better bets if you’re likely to wear your turtleneck with things such as jeans and workwear jackets.

A word of caution before you proceed: though Tom Junod once had a great article in GQ about how his father religiously believed that turtlenecks were the most flattering thing a man can wear, I think they really should only be worn by men with defined jawlines. It doesn’t have to be model-esque, but a man with a weak jawline or flabby chin will only look worse when a turtleneck covers up whatever little definition he has. Best to be honest with yourself before you splurge on an expensive sweater. 

“Some people would say that you should always wear a white shirt in the evening. I still know men who will insist on it. White is more formal, it’s more flattering to your face under artificial light and it looks cleaner and sharper.” — Simon Crompton, as interviewed by GQ (the rest is a good read, by the way)
“The unpadded shoulders, the three-buttoned long and boxy coat, the too-short, thin pants, and the thin ties with striped buttoned shirts in dark colors—well, I suppose this may go very well with some personalities but it’s not for me. To me, all such look like TV producers. Maybe they want to.”

Fred Astaire on the Ivy League look

(via ASW)

“Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I look at my tie rack. And I think, ‘Should I wear a tie?’ Because I don’t want to wear a tie. But I have all these nice ties. And you have to decide whether you’re going to wear a tie before you pick your shirt, you know, because some shirts don’t really work with ties. But you have to also sort of know the color of the shirt you’ll end up with so you know what tie would go with it. So I’m looking at the ties, thinking I don’t necessarily want to wear one of these, but also thinking about which shirt would go well with the tie I don’t want to wear. And it’s kind of dark because it’s the morning and I get this feeling that there’s maybe a tie that I would want to wear hidden behind all these other ties that are sort of meh. So I’m basically paralyzed. Anyway, in these moments I used to feel terribly, horribly alone. But then came 2006, and with it menswear blogging. And now, with this oral history, I have learned that not only am I not alone, but also people are making a living having the same thoughts I have from 7:58 to 7:59 a.m. every morning.”

Vanity Fair’s oral history of the time they read the oral history of menswear blogging. A pretty hilarious read. (Also, he should pick a navy grenadine tie.)

Jesse and I were interviewed for GQ’s latest article, "The Oral History of Menswear Blogging." As Lawrence might put it, it’s a great read about bloggers talking about bloggers blogging. Check it out when you have a chance.
Also, huge thanks to David Greenwald for including us!

Jesse and I were interviewed for GQ’s latest article, "The Oral History of Menswear Blogging." As Lawrence might put it, it’s a great read about bloggers talking about bloggers blogging. Check it out when you have a chance.

Also, huge thanks to David Greenwald for including us!

My Father’s Fashion Tips

I have a sense of style, I guess, but it is not like my father’s—it   is not earned, and consequently it is not unwavering, nor inerrant, nor   overbearing, nor constructed of equal parts maxim and stricture; it is   not certain. It does not start in the morning, when I wake up,   and end only at night, when I go to sleep. It is not my creation, nor   does it create me; it is ancillary rather than central. I don’t   absolutely f’ing live it, is what I’m trying to say. I don’t put it on every time I anoint myself with toilet water or stretch a sock to my   knee or squeeze into a pair of black bikini underwear. Which is what my   father did. Of course, when I was growing up, he tried as best he could   to teach me what he knew, to indoctrinate me—hell, he  couldn’t  resist, for no man can be as sure as my father is without  being also  relentlessly and reflexively prescriptive. He tried to pass  on to me  knowledge that had the whiff of secrets, secrets at once  intimate and  arcane, such as the time he taught me how to clean my  navel with witch  hazel. I was 18 and about to go off to college, and so  one day he  summoned me into his bathroom. “Close the door,” he said.  “I have to ask  you something.”
"What, Dad?”
”Do you…clean your navel?”
“Uh, no,”
”Well, you should. You’re a man now, and you sweat, and sweat can   collect in your navel and produce an odor that is very…offensive.” Then:   “This is witch hazel. It eliminates odors. This is a Q-Tip. To clean   your navel, just dip the Q-Tip into the witch hazel and then swab the   Q-Tip around your navel. For about thirty seconds. You don’t have to do   it every day; just once a week or so.” He demonstrated the technique on himself, then handed me my own Q-Tip.
”But Dad, who is going to smell my navel?”
”You’re going off to college, son. You’re going to meet women. You never want to risk turning them off with an offensive odor.”

One of my favorite articles ever published in GQ is this essay by Tom Junod, titled “My Father’s Fashion Tips.” It’s excellent  not for its fashion advice (that part is secondary), but because we get  to see a portrait of a charming man who cared about style. Give it a read when you have a chance.

My Father’s Fashion Tips

I have a sense of style, I guess, but it is not like my father’s—it is not earned, and consequently it is not unwavering, nor inerrant, nor overbearing, nor constructed of equal parts maxim and stricture; it is not certain. It does not start in the morning, when I wake up, and end only at night, when I go to sleep. It is not my creation, nor does it create me; it is ancillary rather than central. I don’t absolutely f’ing live it, is what I’m trying to say. I don’t put it on every time I anoint myself with toilet water or stretch a sock to my knee or squeeze into a pair of black bikini underwear. Which is what my father did. Of course, when I was growing up, he tried as best he could to teach me what he knew, to indoctrinate me—hell, he couldn’t resist, for no man can be as sure as my father is without being also relentlessly and reflexively prescriptive. He tried to pass on to me knowledge that had the whiff of secrets, secrets at once intimate and arcane, such as the time he taught me how to clean my navel with witch hazel. I was 18 and about to go off to college, and so one day he summoned me into his bathroom. “Close the door,” he said. “I have to ask you something.”

"What, Dad?”

”Do you…clean your navel?”

“Uh, no,”

”Well, you should. You’re a man now, and you sweat, and sweat can collect in your navel and produce an odor that is very…offensive.” Then: “This is witch hazel. It eliminates odors. This is a Q-Tip. To clean your navel, just dip the Q-Tip into the witch hazel and then swab the Q-Tip around your navel. For about thirty seconds. You don’t have to do it every day; just once a week or so.” He demonstrated the technique on himself, then handed me my own Q-Tip.

”But Dad, who is going to smell my navel?”

”You’re going off to college, son. You’re going to meet women. You never want to risk turning them off with an offensive odor.”

One of my favorite articles ever published in GQ is this essay by Tom Junod, titled “My Father’s Fashion Tips.” It’s excellent not for its fashion advice (that part is secondary), but because we get to see a portrait of a charming man who cared about style. Give it a read when you have a chance.