Why Pay for Canvas?

As many readers know, suit jackets and sport coats mainly come in three types of construction: fused, half-canvassed, and fully-canvassed. A fused jacket will have a lightweight fusible interlining sandwiched in-between the two outer shell fabrics, and a canvassed one will have a canvas made from animal hair (usually horse or camel) mixed with either cotton or wool. Generally speaking, canvassed jackets will cost considerably more than fused ones. So why pay for them?

Well, one of the reasons is that a canvassed jacket will have a lot more three-dimensional shape. Animal hair can be molded using steam, heat, and pressure, much like how a woman’s hair can be shaped using a hot curling iron. With that shape, you get a much more beautiful garment. 

Take a look above. The top most photo is of Alan See with his lovely wife at the menswear trade show Pitti Uomo. He’s seen here wearing a three-piece suit by Liverano & Liverano, a bespoke tailoring house in Florence, Italy. Notice how his lapel line “blooms” as it moves from the buttoning point to his shoulders? It has a “roll” to it, rather than being pressed flat against his chest. Similarly, just below him are JefferyD and MostExerent, both of which also have nice, shapely lapels that “roll” near their buttoning points.

To understand how this is achieved, look at the bottommost photo above (also taken from JefferyD). Moving from left to right, the first material is haircloth, which is made from wiry horsetail strands. This is used to add shape to the chest and shoulders (ever put on a Tom Ford suit and feel like you’re wearing a prosthetic chest? This is because he puts in a ton of haircloth into his suits). The second material is wrapped haircloth, which is a softer, more affordable alternative. Next, we have a wool canvas (the brown material) and a fusible (the black material). These are added on top of the haircloth and extend from the shoulders to the hem (the haircloth is only in the chest). Notice that the brown wool canvas has a natural roll to it while the black fusible is limp. This natural roll is what gives those lapels their “bloom.” 

Of course, this isn’t to say that fused garments aren’t worth buying. They’re considerably more affordable, which is nice if you’re on a budget or if your tastes are still developing. It can take a long, long time for your tastes to settle and for you to develop an eye for what truly fits and flatters you the most. It would be a shame if you had to make your mistakes on much more expensive garments. 

If you have the money, however, and you feel confident in your choices, canvassed garments can be much more handsome. And once you own some, know how to best preserve their shape (after all, that’s what you paid for). Make sure your jackets aren’t smashed against each other in your closet and use hangers with wide, flared out shoulders. Our advertiser The Hanger Project sells some really nice ones, but if you want something more affordable, check out Wooden Hangers USA. Also, stay away from bad dry cleaners, as they can really press the life out of your jackets’ lapels, shoulders, and chests. I ship my stuff to RAVE FabriCare, but you can look for someone more local. Finally, be careful with garment steamers, and don’t hang your jackets in the bathroom while taking a shower. Steam will take out the wrinkles, it’s true, but it’ll also take out the shape. If that ever happens, you can send your jacket to a place that gives a good handpressing. That should be done every once in a while anyway, just so your jackets can maintain their form. 

(Photos via NY Mag, JefferyD, and MostExerent)

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

A dimple is certainly not required when wearing a tie, but I think it usually looks better with than without. Generally speaking, the higher quality the tie, the better the dimple. That’s because the materials used, both for the outer shell and inside lining, will affect how well the tie will curve.
I’ve also found that many times, though not always, a better dimple can be produced using the double four-in-hand knot, like you see here on our friend Mistah Wong. Whether you can use this knot depends on how high your trousers are and how long your tie hangs. You always want both ends of the tie to be no further than three inches or so apart from each other, and for the front blade to end at about the middle of your belt. Obviously, these things don’t have to be exact, but those are the general guidelines, and you may not want to have the tie end at your sternum just for the sake of having a nicer dimple. Unless you’re Bryan Ferry, anyway. 
(Photo above by Most Exerent)

A dimple is certainly not required when wearing a tie, but I think it usually looks better with than without. Generally speaking, the higher quality the tie, the better the dimple. That’s because the materials used, both for the outer shell and inside lining, will affect how well the tie will curve.

I’ve also found that many times, though not always, a better dimple can be produced using the double four-in-hand knot, like you see here on our friend Mistah Wong. Whether you can use this knot depends on how high your trousers are and how long your tie hangs. You always want both ends of the tie to be no further than three inches or so apart from each other, and for the front blade to end at about the middle of your belt. Obviously, these things don’t have to be exact, but those are the general guidelines, and you may not want to have the tie end at your sternum just for the sake of having a nicer dimple. Unless you’re Bryan Ferry, anyway. 

(Photo above by Most Exerent)

Notice that PG’s trousers sit above his hip bones, and while they’re slim, they’re not as skinny and pegged as the ones you typically see on fashion-conscious men. There are obviously many silhouettes a man can choose from, and few of them are objectively “wrong.” However, I personally find this classically grounded look to be better proportioned and more appealing. 
mostexerent:

Sans jacket..
| Oakley Froggies | bespoke OCBD | MTM P Johnson “Soraro” pantaloons | LeatherSoul Alden shell Cordovan “LongWongs” |

Notice that PG’s trousers sit above his hip bones, and while they’re slim, they’re not as skinny and pegged as the ones you typically see on fashion-conscious men. There are obviously many silhouettes a man can choose from, and few of them are objectively “wrong.” However, I personally find this classically grounded look to be better proportioned and more appealing. 

mostexerent:

Sans jacket..

| Oakley Froggies | bespoke OCBD | MTM P Johnson “Soraro” pantaloons | LeatherSoul Alden shell Cordovan “LongWongs” |

I strongly agree with our friend here, GW. Most trousers these days either sit below or just at your hips. In my opinion, this gives you odd proportions and makes your torso look unnaturally long. It’s much better, I think, to have your trousers come up a few inches higher. 
I don’t necessarily wear my pants at my natural waist, but my waistband seam does sit above my hipbones. This means that the pants themselves come up to my navel. If you think this will make you look geriatric, look at these pictures and ask yourself - does GW look old or just better proportioned? 
Lastly, you should know that according to the Canadian Medical Association Journal, low rise pants can give you medical problems. Consult your doctor before wearing “hipsters.” 
mostexerent:

Yes - I sometimes tuck but always wear my pantaloons at my natural waist not on my hips.
*Hipsters are better for jeans or on women or boys..

I strongly agree with our friend here, GW. Most trousers these days either sit below or just at your hips. In my opinion, this gives you odd proportions and makes your torso look unnaturally long. It’s much better, I think, to have your trousers come up a few inches higher. 

I don’t necessarily wear my pants at my natural waist, but my waistband seam does sit above my hipbones. This means that the pants themselves come up to my navel. If you think this will make you look geriatric, look at these pictures and ask yourself - does GW look old or just better proportioned? 

Lastly, you should know that according to the Canadian Medical Association Journal, low rise pants can give you medical problems. Consult your doctor before wearing “hipsters.” 

mostexerent:

Yes - I sometimes tuck but always wear my pantaloons at my natural waist not on my hips.

*Hipsters are better for jeans or on women or boys..

Suede Shoes

I’m a huge fan of suede shoes and wear them more or less year-round. The word “suede” comes from the French word “Suède,” which simply means Sweden. At one point, Swedish suede gloves were the most common form of luxury, and the French word for Sweden ended up being used for the leather itself.

Suede can be made from almost any leather. You often find it made from lambskin, goatskin, and calfskin. In Germany they make it from stag and in Louisiana, there’s a producer that makes alligator suede. To get the texture, the animal’s skin is buffed with an abrasive. This can be done to the grain side of the leather, which will give you a finer, more velvety texture, or on the flesh side, which will give you a slightly coarser feel. Each animal will produce a slightly different feel to the suede, however, so the variation isn’t just through top vs. flesh side usage.

I personally prefer finer, velvety suede. To examine the quality, I examine to see if the fibers of the nap are uniform in length and packed tightly together. If the nap is firm, dense, and compact, the suede will be a bit more resilient. I eschew suedes with longer naps, as I find that they get a bit ragged and develop bald spots over time. I also avoid any suede that feels a bit greasy.

Since it’s fall, I suggest that you try suede shoes with wool flannel, corduroy, and moleskin trousers. Those tend to have “softer” looking textures, and I think they look quite well next to suede. The above are just some of the options - oxfords, Norwegian split toe bluchers, chukka boots, field boots, double monks, and tassel loafers. I myself just ordered a pair of Crockett & Jones Belgraves in Polo suede from Pediwear and plan to wear it often on weekends. In being an oxford, this shoe is a bit dressy; in being made from suede, however, it’s also a bit casual. They’re the perfect way to look sharp in a non-business, casual setting, I think.

(Pictures above by MostExerent, Ethan Desu, Leffot, and Run of the Mill)