The Point of Distinction

Here at Put This On, we’re all about encouraging a simple, classic aesthetic. You won’t find Ed Hardy t-shirts or Versace suits here. But what makes a simply constructed outfit something special? I call it a “point of distinction.”

It’s an idea I first read expressed by my friend MistahWong, who’s one of the best-dressed men I know. The principle is simple. One’s style should be impeccable. Fit should be inarguable. So on and so forth. But there should be something about your outfit that says “this isn’t generic, this is me.”

Back when MistahWong was wearing business suits for work, he wore almost exclusively solid navy and gray with white shirts. Perfect fit, conservative cuts. Heavy black or burgundy longwings. But he also wore casual silk knit ties. Or, as above, a felt flower in his lapel. A simple point of distinction.

Above is what I’m wearing on a cool morning in Southern California. Literally a white t-shirt, khakis, and a black chamois shirt. Add some bold sneakers and sunglasses and you have distinction.

Accessories, of course, are the easiest choice. I find that adding the glasses above (which are made by the California maker Kala) to an otherwise very conservative outfit works well. I’ll sometimes add a vintage stickpin to my lapel. There are trendy choices, like colored laces or bracelets, though those have run their course to some extent. The goal isn’t necessarily to be outrageous, but simply to demonstrate that you care.

It’s easy to pile wild choice on top of wild choice, or conversely to make nothing but down-the-middle clothing decisions. To choose to demonstrate understated mastery and nonetheless show distinction is much more difficult.

It’s On Sale: Striped Knit Tie
I was admiring this photo of our friend MistahWong, and it reminded me that A Suitable Wardrobe (one of my favorite online stores) has been carrying a similar tie for a long time. So I went over there to see how much it was again, and lo and behold - it happens to be on sale (click the white on black version). What luck. 
You can check out the rest of A Suitable Wardrobe’s sale items here. 

It’s On Sale: Striped Knit Tie

I was admiring this photo of our friend MistahWong, and it reminded me that A Suitable Wardrobe (one of my favorite online stores) has been carrying a similar tie for a long time. So I went over there to see how much it was again, and lo and behold - it happens to be on sale (click the white on black version). What luck. 

You can check out the rest of A Suitable Wardrobe’s sale items here

MistahWong gets it absolutely correct.
mostexerent:

Because I’m sick in bed with MAN FLU EPIC PROPORTIONS for the last 4 days..
* & these are just my opinion so take them how you would
What’s wrong with this from top to bottom:
Shirt collar points are visible, better if they were touching or below the lapel roll
The middle button should be positioned at his natural waist, it isn’t at the moment according to the visual imbalance from the pant rise, the spacing between the buttons are also out of proportion, & funnily the hip pockets seem well positioned
Length of jacket is TOO short
Length of sleeve is TOO long
Rise of pants look too long or he is not wearing them properly i.e. he is wearing them as if they are jeans.
Please finish the hems for the photo shoot, don’t just roll them up underneath.
What’s right with this from top to bottom:
Shoulder width
Chest room
Lapel balance
Rounded open quarters
Again promotion material like this as well as the badly stylised magazines is to blame, not the youth as they know no better.

cbenjamin:
Adrien Savauge really doesn’t get the shine he should…
thisisnotasuit:

A. SAUVAGE 2012 AUTUMN-WINTER LOOK 3

MistahWong gets it absolutely correct.

mostexerent:

Because I’m sick in bed with MAN FLU EPIC PROPORTIONS for the last 4 days..

* & these are just my opinion so take them how you would

What’s wrong with this from top to bottom:

  • Shirt collar points are visible, better if they were touching or below the lapel roll
  • The middle button should be positioned at his natural waist, it isn’t at the moment according to the visual imbalance from the pant rise, the spacing between the buttons are also out of proportion, & funnily the hip pockets seem well positioned
  • Length of jacket is TOO short
  • Length of sleeve is TOO long
  • Rise of pants look too long or he is not wearing them properly i.e. he is wearing them as if they are jeans.
  • Please finish the hems for the photo shoot, don’t just roll them up underneath.
What’s right with this from top to bottom:
  • Shoulder width
  • Chest room
  • Lapel balance
  • Rounded open quarters
Again promotion material like this as well as the badly stylised magazines is to blame, not the youth as they know no better.

cbenjamin:

Adrien Savauge really doesn’t get the shine he should…

thisisnotasuit:

A. SAUVAGE 2012 AUTUMN-WINTER LOOK 3

Our friend, Mistah Wong, demonstrates what clean fitting shirt should look like (as well as how to clean your teeth). Remember: too tight is often just as bad as too baggy. 
(source: Most Exerent)

Our friend, Mistah Wong, demonstrates what clean fitting shirt should look like (as well as how to clean your teeth). Remember: too tight is often just as bad as too baggy. 

(source: Most Exerent)

Our friend PG (aka MistahWong) has some great reminders about fit on his blog Most Exerent. (Not least of which is: “Jacket MUST cover your ASS”).

Our friend PG (aka MistahWong) has some great reminders about fit on his blog Most Exerent. (Not least of which is: “Jacket MUST cover your ASS”).

Three Basic Points of Fit: Waist, Shoulder & Length

I want to highlight a few fit mistakes I see all too often on men in the street - and even in professionally-styled photos. To help, I’ve created one of the most brilliant Photoshop illustrations of all time to serve as guide - I call him Nude Dude. I’ve also presented a professionally-shot and styled photo that mostly gets it wrong (Pro Photo), and a picture of our friend Mistah Wong getting it right.

Here are three important points of fit:

  1. The waist. The center button of a three-button jacket and the top button of a two-button jacket serve as fastening point. Their placement is vitally important. It should be on the waist. See that red line running across the top of Nude Dude’s hips, right around his belly button? That’s the waist. This is where you want the sides of your jacket coming together, just above the hips, where your body heads back out. Remember that a longer line in the upper body makes you look taller and stronger.

    If you look at Pro Photo, you’ll see that the waist button is nearly at the model’s sternum. If you’re thin and have narrow shoulders, your jacket will hang more or less straight down, and this will be less of an issue, but if you’re a man, with a little extra volume in the chest or gut, it’s a problem. Current fashion favors high-to-very-high waist buttons. You can see that even this model looks awkward.

    Compare to our friend MW. His buttoning point is still on the high side in a nod to current styles, but not absurdly so. Keeping it around the waist flatters his grown-up body. MW isn’t a skinny teenager, and he has no reason to want to look like one. Or worse, like he’s trying to squeeze into a teenager’s ill-fitting clothes.
  2. The length. The general rule of thumb is that a jacket should cover your rear. I’ve drawn a big red line on Nude Dude to illustrate the approximate placement. You can go a little longer, but you should be careful to make sure your legs don’t look shorter than your upper body.

    Our friend Pro Photo’s jacket barely reaches the bottom of his fly. It’s a little unflattering to a model, but very unflattering to anyone with some meat on their bones.

    MW’s coat is similarly styled - but it actually fits his body. Note that even from the front view we can see that it’s relatively longer. This makes him look leaner. MW isn’t especially tall, so he wants to balance a longer torso and a longer legline, and he does it very well here.

  3. The shoulders. Like all these elements, shoulder width is affected by style and trends. No matter what the style, though, the fit of your jacket’s shoulder should flatter your natural shoulder line without looking artificial.

    If you pat the side of your shoulder, with your hand perpendicular to the ground, you should be able to feel first the jacket shoulder, then within half an inch or so, your actual shoulder. A soft shoulder must be very close, a more padded shoulder has a bit more leeway - but it should still be extremely close, even in an exaggerated silhouette.

    A stronger shoulder, as was favored in the 30s & 40s and again in the 70s and 80s, makes for a strong silhouette. Still, the shoulder line should be clean and natural-looking. All the tucking and pulling going on in Pro Photo makes it tough to tell for sure, but those weird ripples may be a sign of a shoulder that’s a little big and a little ill-fitting. Either way, he’s not too far off in this department.

    Mistah Wong’s shoulder line is very soft - both the Neopolitan and American Ivy League styles favor soft shoulders, in contrast to the British - but see how it naturally follows his real shoulder line? At the same time, it smooths and flatters that line. With a soft, sloping shoulder he looks less “strong,” but more relaxed and comfortable.

These are three points of fit that are essentially inalterable, and they’re three I see men blithely ignoring every day. Hopefully this will help you look your best!

mostexerent:

keep it simple..
Ladies - stay away from men that have novelty links or anything..

Nobody keeps it simple better than GW.

mostexerent:

keep it simple..

Ladies - stay away from men that have novelty links or anything..

Nobody keeps it simple better than GW.

Our friend MistahWong’s brief treatise on balance and fit is a must-read, especially if you’re on the shorter side.

Our friend MistahWong’s brief treatise on balance and fit is a must-read, especially if you’re on the shorter side.

WSJ: How to Get the Bespoke Suit That Fits
Featuring G. Bruce Boyer and MistahWong.

WSJ: How to Get the Bespoke Suit That Fits

Featuring G. Bruce Boyer and MistahWong.

mostexerent:

Forgot that I had my navy DB.. Sheesh it was 28c & only 0800 when this was taken.
Details: Jacket (part of suit) - Bespoke 8.5 oz Fresco (same as grey suit I had on last week), Shirt - Bespoke, Pantaloons (part of suit) - Bespoke 8.5 oz Fresco, PS - vintage Japanese silk, Shoes - black “Belgrave” Crockett & Jones.

That’s 82F at 8AM, and our man MistahWong looks clean as the Board of Health. Living somewhere warm is no excuse for dressing like a slob.

mostexerent:

Forgot that I had my navy DB.. Sheesh it was 28c & only 0800 when this was taken.

Details: Jacket (part of suit) - Bespoke 8.5 oz Fresco (same as grey suit I had on last week), Shirt - Bespoke, Pantaloons (part of suit) - Bespoke 8.5 oz Fresco, PS - vintage Japanese silk, Shoes - black “Belgrave” Crockett & Jones.

That’s 82F at 8AM, and our man MistahWong looks clean as the Board of Health. Living somewhere warm is no excuse for dressing like a slob.

(via howtotalktogirlsatparties)