New York City and London Sales
There are four big sales this month that might be of interest to our readers in New York City and London. 
In New York City, Ovadia & Sons and Isaia will be holding sample sales. Ovadia’s will be held at 155 Wooster Street #4 on Thursday, December 5th from 8:30am until 6pm, and Friday, December 6th, from 8:30am until 2pm. Isaia’s sample sale will be held at 225 5th Avenue, between 26th and 27th Street, December 10th until the 12th (10am until 7pm) and December 13th (10am until 1pm).
In London, Drake’s will be holding a holiday sale at their newly opened factory store from December 5th until the 7th. You can check it out at No. 3 Haberdasher Street (what a great address). Present will also be holding a big sale for all their previous seasons’ unsold inventory. That will be at 20th Century Theatre (291 Westbourne Grove on the corner of Portobello Road) on December 7th to December 9th. 
All four sales should have pretty hefty discounts, and might be worth checking out if you’re in the area. 
(Picture via Drake’s)

New York City and London Sales

There are four big sales this month that might be of interest to our readers in New York City and London. 

In New York City, Ovadia & Sons and Isaia will be holding sample sales. Ovadia’s will be held at 155 Wooster Street #4 on Thursday, December 5th from 8:30am until 6pm, and Friday, December 6th, from 8:30am until 2pm. Isaia’s sample sale will be held at 225 5th Avenue, between 26th and 27th Street, December 10th until the 12th (10am until 7pm) and December 13th (10am until 1pm).

In London, Drake’s will be holding a holiday sale at their newly opened factory store from December 5th until the 7th. You can check it out at No. 3 Haberdasher Street (what a great address). Present will also be holding a big sale for all their previous seasons’ unsold inventory. That will be at 20th Century Theatre (291 Westbourne Grove on the corner of Portobello Road) on December 7th to December 9th. 

All four sales should have pretty hefty discounts, and might be worth checking out if you’re in the area. 

(Picture via Drake’s)

Where To Look First for a Suit (Part Two)

Finding the right suit can be really difficult if you’re not familiar with the terrain. And even when you are, it can still be hard. So I’ve put together a loosey-goosey guide on where one might want to look first for a good suit, given certain budgets. Yesterday, I covered stuff under $1,000. Today, I’ll talk about brands at the four-digit mark (either on sale or at full-retail prices). Again, many thanks to my friends listed at the end of this post for helping me put this together.

For a budget between ~$1,000 and ~$2,500

  • Ralph Lauren: Ralph Lauren’s Polo line (also known as their “Blue Label” line) has safe, but flattering cuts. They’re made in Italy and constructed from great fabrics.
  • Brooks Brothers Black Fleece: Brooks Brothers’ premium line, designed by Thom Browne. The jackets run a bit short (some being a bit more extreme than others), but if you’re a man of slightly shorter stature, these can be a nice buy. Like with most things at Brooks Brothers, you can reliably count on their 25% off sales. Black Fleece often gets discounted even further, especially at the end of the season. 
  • Sartoria Formosa: A famous bespoke tailoring house in Naples that is now offering a small ready-to-wear line. Style is very Neapolitan with soft shoulders and wide lapels, and construction quality is very high (e.g. lots of handwork).
  • Ring Jacket: A Japanese line with a bit of Italian styling. They’re not easy to find outside of Japan, but The Armoury and Khakis of Carmel are two stockists. Cuts are slightly fashionable, but not in a way that would look out of place in an office environment. 
  • Eidos Napoli: An interesting new line designed by Antonio Ciongoli, who formally designed for Michael Bastian and Ralph Lauren. Very Italian in style, and comes in at a very competitive price point, given the quality offered. You can find a list of stockists here.
  • Sid Mashburn: Slightly fashion forward suits with a lower rise trouser and shorter coat. If you’re going for a slightly trendier look, these can be a good option. Many have also said good things about Sid Mashburn’s made-to-measure service.
  • Lots of Italian brands: There are a ton of high-end Italian brands here that can be had on discount if you wait for end-of-season sales. Try looking for Zegna (their Milano and Roma cuts are nice), Canali, Caruso, Corneliani, Belvest, Boglioli, and Sartoria Partenopea. The retail prices of some of these will be high, but you can find them on sale through boutiques such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Barney’s New York, and Shop the Finest. You can also check each brand’s stores, as some will have their own shops. Again, the key is waiting for sales.

For a budget above ~$2,500

  • Ready to wear: The world of nice suits in this range is perhaps too big to cover. Just to start, however, you can find really great ready-to-wear models from companies such as Isaia, Kiton, BrioniAttolini, and Oxxford. All those will have good made-to-measure options too if you need something customized. If you don’t want to play the sales game, you’ll also find many of the Italian labels listed in the last category being offered here at full retail.  
  • Bespoke: In this price range, you’ll start to find some very good bespoke options. Again, that’s a topic that’s too big to cover in this post, but you can begin by checking out some of the bespoke tailoring houses talked about at StyleForum. Popular ones include WW Chan, Steed Bespoke, English Cut, Napoli Su Misura, and Rubinacci. The upside to these operations is that they regularly travel to different cities around the world, which makes it easier to get really high-end bespoke tailoring if you’re not able to regularly visit England, Italy, or Hong Kong (where these tailors are based). Savile Row tailors are also excellent, and many travel. You can find a partial list of the tailors there at the Savile Row Bespoke Association. Lastly, don’t forget to search your own local area for good tailors, as it’s not only good to support local craftsmanship, but it can be helpful to work with someone nearby. 

Ending Note

It’s worth stressing that this list isn’t meant to cover every worthwhile suit in each price tier. It’s a list of suggestions of where you might want to look first if you’re in the market to buy a suit or sport coat. As usual, fit is going to be most important, so while a $2,500 suit might be better built than a $750 one, it’s best to try on as much as you can. A perfectly fitting suit that’s fused will look a hundred times better than something fully-canvassed, but ill-fitting. Use our guides on fit and style when shopping around. Once you develop your eye, you’ll soon find what works best for you. 

(Special thanks to La Casuarina, A Bit of Color, This Fits, Ivory Tower Style, Réginald-Jérôme de Mans, and Breathnaigh for their help with this article. Also, credit to Ralph Lauren and Voxsartoria for the photos above. The Ralph Lauren photo is of a Polo suit, while Voxsartoria is wearing a bespoke 4x1 double breasted jacket by Steed, and bespoke trousers by Napoli Su Misura).

A Popover for Summer
The spate of hot weather recently had me thinking about what kind of shirts I might like to get this summer. High on the list are popovers. A popover is a woven shirt with a placket that only goes partially down the chest. I suspect they’re a holdover from when sport shirts weren’t all made with coat fronts (an early version of such a design can be seen here). They’re less common now, but I think they can look quite good on men with slim stomachs. They’re more relaxed than a traditional shirt, but more dressed up than a polo shirt, and this in-between-ness makes them just right for when you want to look smart on casual days.
I bought this one from Gant two years ago, but sadly the cut didn’t work out for me, so now I’m on the market for another. The nicest one I’ve seen is by Isaia, which is pictured above. My friend Agyesh, who actually took the image shown, works for Isaia and tells me that the brand still makes these. They should be available at Saks Fifth Avenue (especially the one in New York City), but if not, any store that offers Isaia’s made-to-measure program will be able to custom make one for you. You can get the model above, or one with a button-down collar and mitered placket. 
In addition, Sid Mashburn has some very handsome ones with a deep, long placket. Epaulet, New England Shirt Company, and Wharf also look promising. 
For something a bit more fashion forward, there’s a small selection at Need Supply, and a few designs by Engineered Garments this season at French Garment Cleaners and Oi Polloi. Steven Alan happens to have one of them on sale, which you can knock another 15% off by signing up for their newsletter. For something a bit more workwear-ish, check out Thoroughstitch and Levis Vintage Clothing.
All the aforementioned companies make really nice shirts, but they can be a bit expensive. If you want something more affordable, and don’t mind short-sleeves, J Crew has a bunch on sale right now. You can take 30% off the listed price by punching in the code SUMMER at checkout.
And finally, for people who need a special size, there are a number of options for custom. In addition to the Isaia you see above, Individualized Shirts and Mercer & Sons have made-to-order programs. They’re not exactly made-to-measure, meaning you can’t get things made to your exact measurements, but you can choose from different cuts and patterns to get the shirt you need (for Individualized, you’ll have to go to their factory, however). Luxire also makes them through an online made-to-measure service, and I can recommend my shirtmaker Ascot Chang for bespoke. Ascot Chang is actually running a promotion right now where you can get one shirt free for every six you order. Granted, they’re not cheap – so buying six at a time is pretty expensive – but they do fantastic work and offer tremendous value at their price point. You can visit them at one of their stores, or catch them on their US tour this month. 
(Photo credit: Mad House, Inc)

A Popover for Summer

The spate of hot weather recently had me thinking about what kind of shirts I might like to get this summer. High on the list are popovers. A popover is a woven shirt with a placket that only goes partially down the chest. I suspect they’re a holdover from when sport shirts weren’t all made with coat fronts (an early version of such a design can be seen here). They’re less common now, but I think they can look quite good on men with slim stomachs. They’re more relaxed than a traditional shirt, but more dressed up than a polo shirt, and this in-between-ness makes them just right for when you want to look smart on casual days.

I bought this one from Gant two years ago, but sadly the cut didn’t work out for me, so now I’m on the market for another. The nicest one I’ve seen is by Isaia, which is pictured above. My friend Agyesh, who actually took the image shown, works for Isaia and tells me that the brand still makes these. They should be available at Saks Fifth Avenue (especially the one in New York City), but if not, any store that offers Isaia’s made-to-measure program will be able to custom make one for you. You can get the model above, or one with a button-down collar and mitered placket. 

In addition, Sid Mashburn has some very handsome ones with a deep, long placket. EpauletNew England Shirt Company, and Wharf also look promising. 

For something a bit more fashion forward, there’s a small selection at Need Supply, and a few designs by Engineered Garments this season at French Garment Cleaners and Oi PolloiSteven Alan happens to have one of them on sale, which you can knock another 15% off by signing up for their newsletter. For something a bit more workwear-ish, check out Thoroughstitch and Levis Vintage Clothing.

All the aforementioned companies make really nice shirts, but they can be a bit expensive. If you want something more affordable, and don’t mind short-sleeves, J Crew has a bunch on sale right now. You can take 30% off the listed price by punching in the code SUMMER at checkout.

And finally, for people who need a special size, there are a number of options for custom. In addition to the Isaia you see above, Individualized Shirts and Mercer & Sons have made-to-order programs. They’re not exactly made-to-measure, meaning you can’t get things made to your exact measurements, but you can choose from different cuts and patterns to get the shirt you need (for Individualized, you’ll have to go to their factory, however). Luxire also makes them through an online made-to-measure service, and I can recommend my shirtmaker Ascot Chang for bespoke. Ascot Chang is actually running a promotion right now where you can get one shirt free for every six you order. Granted, they’re not cheap – so buying six at a time is pretty expensive – but they do fantastic work and offer tremendous value at their price point. You can visit them at one of their stores, or catch them on their US tour this month. 

(Photo credit: Mad House, Inc)

It’s On Sale: Isaia at STP
The discounter Sierra Trading Post is best known for their outdoor goods, but they’ve also got a few high-end surprises in their stock, like Isaia suits and sportcoats. I’ve noticed that they’ve gotten in about twenty models lately, which have been added to a pretty extensive stock. The sportcoats mostly retail for around $2500, and are marked half price at STP. Sign up for STP’s Deal Flyer service, and you’ll get regular coupons which should knock that down a further 25-35%. A great deal for one of Italy’s finest ready-to-wear makers.

It’s On Sale: Isaia at STP

The discounter Sierra Trading Post is best known for their outdoor goods, but they’ve also got a few high-end surprises in their stock, like Isaia suits and sportcoats. I’ve noticed that they’ve gotten in about twenty models lately, which have been added to a pretty extensive stock. The sportcoats mostly retail for around $2500, and are marked half price at STP. Sign up for STP’s Deal Flyer service, and you’ll get regular coupons which should knock that down a further 25-35%. A great deal for one of Italy’s finest ready-to-wear makers.

Sierra Trading Post: What To Buy

The online discounter Sierra Trading Post mostly sells outdoor gear. If you need a sleeping bag or a performance fleece at a discounted price, they’re your #1 source. Oddly, though, they also care a smattering of high-end menswear items. They’re not in the catalogs they send out, and they don’t have a special section on the website. You have to know what to look for. If you do know, though, you can find some great stuff.

What can you buy at Sierra Trading Post?

  • Isaia suits & sportcoats. One of the best Italian ready-to-wear brands often closes out stock at STP. Find suits and sportcoats for about $1000, and sometimes as little as $500.
  • Bill’s Khakis. The trads love Bill’s because their quality is consistently superb, but at retail, they’re expensive. Stack a few discounts at STP, and you can get their M3 fit (which is their slimmest, but isn’t that slim) for as little as $50-75.
  • Johnston’s of Elgin cashmere. One of the few reputable cashmere-goods makers left clears out tons of sweaters and accessories at significant discounts. Use coupons judiciously and sweaters will end up under $200. Scarves, gloves and other accessories sometimes dip as low as $20 or $30.
  • Pantherella socks. Want to buy fancy socks but don’t want to pay fancy prices? Play your cards right, and you can get these English-made socks for about $8 a pair. Sometimes even less.
  • Derek Rose pajamas. It’s tough to find good pajamas. These guys retail for about $200-250 a set, but with some couponing, you can get them for under a hundred at STP.
  • Tricker’s shoes and boots. Tricker’s might be the world’s top brand of country footwear, but they’re expensive. With coupons, you can grab a pair for about $300.

One note: using Sierra Trading Post to the fullest can be a bit tricky. Sales at STP stack with coupons, which are sent out daily if you sign up for their DealFlyer service. Coupons typically range from 10-15% off to as much as 35% off with free shipping. Sign up for DealFlyer, and your patience will be rewarded.

Isaia’s New Tartan

Three months ago, LAS made a post about Isaia’s new registered tartan. I was immediately enamored with the pattern once I saw it. It’s incredibly handsome, warm, and smart looking, and I can see it being used well for many types of garments. (I have my fingers crossed that they’ll make a scarf with this). So I contacted my friend over at Isaia, Agyesh, to talk about the company’s Neapolitan take on a Scottish tradition. He soon put me in touch with Leonardo Genova, the head of Isaia’s product development team (both managerially and creatively), and I sent Mr. Genova a few short questions about this exciting new tartan. 

Derek Guy: How long have you been designing fabric and what is your background?

Leonardo Genova: I literally grew up with fabric around me. My mother was a seamstress and my father was the Business Development Manager of a woolen mill, which also made clothing. So in other words, he grew up “a pane e tessuti" ("eating bread with fabrics"). My career started 28 years ago at a fabric mill where I spent my mornings working with bolts of fabric and evenings assisting the fabric designer. From there, I moved to the clothing industry at Confitri and then Canali. I’ve now been working for Isaia for over eight years. Moreover, I also own a small men’s haberdashery with my brother, which lends me another perspective and some insight into the actual consumer’s needs. 

Let’s put it in this way - through the span of my career, I’ve worked on fibers, yarns, weaving fabric, making garments with that fabric, and eventually selling them to the consumer. The only aspect I seem to have missed out on is the rearing and shearing of the sheep. (Maybe that will happen one day too.)

DG: What was your inspiration for this tartan and the story behind the colors you choose?

LG: I choose the tartan purely because it represents the perfect marriage between elegance, sportiness, and a beautiful old world charm. It is also a representation of the Scottish heritage of strong, individualistic men just like the true ISAIA man. Once the perfect tartan was designed, I looked to pick three core colors to ground the pattern: Midnight Blue, Brushed Grey, and a Dark Bloody Brown. Now, it was time to have a little fun and give each of those tartans a little personality. Keeping in mind that this was time for fall, I picked a Loden Green to go with the Midnight Blue, a Washed Ochre to go with the Brushed Grey, and a Aubergine-y Bordeaux for the Dark Bloody Brown. We finally decided to pick the Brown and Bordeaux combination to be registered as the ISAIA tartan because it had a unique sophistication and represented a Neapolitan take on the Scottish tartan. In short, it felt truly ISAIA. 

DG: What vision do you have for the use of this tartan?

LG: Despite the eclectic nature of the pattern and the colour combination, we’ve found it to be very versatile. We’ve used it to make trousers, suits, sportcoats, down vests, quilted jackets, and field coats. We also used it as an accent in a lot of accessories such as scarves, bow ties, and the lining and upper combination for leather goods. 

* Big, big thanks to Agyesh for taking the time to organize this interview and translate Mr. Genova’s answers. Agyesh is a champ. 

Isaia tartan is going to be next black watch for menswear geeks. Mark my words. 
howtotalktogirlsatparties:

Isaia registered their own tartan.  I’ve seen it in person. It is the bomb.
“Created for the ISAIA FW 2011-12 Men’s  collection for its presentation at the Pitti Fashion Fair in January  2011. In the early 1920s, Enrico Isaia opened a small drapers shop in  Napoli where he sold fabrics for the production of fine men’s garments.  In the 1950s the business relocated to Casalnuovo where he established a  small workshop with his two sons. ISAIA manufactures beautiful  made-to-measure suits and has become one of the most of the respected  tailoring companies in Naples. Today the company exports the ISAIA  collection worldwide.”

Isaia tartan is going to be next black watch for menswear geeks. Mark my words. 

howtotalktogirlsatparties:

Isaia registered their own tartan.  I’ve seen it in person. It is the bomb.

Created for the ISAIA FW 2011-12 Men’s collection for its presentation at the Pitti Fashion Fair in January 2011. In the early 1920s, Enrico Isaia opened a small drapers shop in Napoli where he sold fabrics for the production of fine men’s garments. In the 1950s the business relocated to Casalnuovo where he established a small workshop with his two sons. ISAIA manufactures beautiful made-to-measure suits and has become one of the most of the respected tailoring companies in Naples. Today the company exports the ISAIA collection worldwide.”