How Pants Should Fit

We’ve written about how tailored trousers should fit before, but our friend Ed over at Panta Clothing just posted some images of a pair trousers he made for a customer, and nothing beats a great example. 

When trying on pants, most people first look to see if the waist fits comfortably, but the waist is actually one of the easiest things to alter. If they’re a little loose, you can take them in, and if there’s enough material inside, you can let them out. The only exception is maybe cotton, where letting out the waist can leave visible holes where the stitching used to be (this doesn’t happen on wool because of the fuzzy nap). 

Instead of focusing on the waist, look for three things:

  • First, make sure the thighs fit comfortably. The legs can be tapered pretty easily from the knee down, but the thighs should fit fairly perfectly off-the-rack. (You can alter the thighs, but it comes with a bit more risk). 
  • Second, look at the seat. On the Panta trousers above, the seat is perfectly clean, with no rumples or folds. This is the hardest part to get right, not just because everyone is shaped differently, but also because we all stand differently as well. For example, if you stand with your hips forward, you’ll need a pair of trousers with a slightly shorter “rise” at the back (“rise” being the measurement from the crotch seam to the waistband). Note, to see whether the seat fits you, you’ll have to look at yourself in a three way mirror, as twisting your torso around will affect how the pants fit. And don’t get too hung up with whether there are a few folds here and there. It’s better to aim for a cleaner fit than not, but you are moving around in these things, obviously. 
  • Third, see if the pants catch on the back of your calves. This is more of an issue with really slim trousers, particularly if you wear over-the-calf socks. If they do catch, you’ll see a bunch of rippling around your calves. 

Overall, the idea for how pants should fit is very much like the idea for how shirts, sport coats, or suits should fit: there shouldn’t be any puckering or pulling anywhere, and you should have clean lines all around. The ones by Panta above are particularly nice, and unless you’ve having something custom made, it might be hard to achieve something as good. Still, the example above is a great way to show what you should aim for. 

(Photos via pantaclothing)

It’s (Sort of) On Sale: The Knottery’s Raw Silks
Speaking of raw silk ties, The Knottery now has a selection of them on their website. The regular retail price is $50, but they’re doing pre-orders for $38. The navy dotted one looks pretty versatile, and much better designed than the ones offered by Lands End last year. 
The other sources for raw silk neckwear (that I know of) are Drake’s, Vanda Fine Clothing, Panta, Marshall Anthony, J. Press, Ovadia & Sons, vintage Ralph Lauren, and vintage Bijan. There may be a couple others out there, but the market isn’t big.
Drake’s, Vanda, and Panta are the nicest, but they retail between $120 and $150. Marshall Anthony’s are also excellent, and I find they sometimes knot better than my Drake’s. They use cheaper wool/ cotton blend interlinings, but since those interlinings are lighter in weight, they help balance out the thick fabric of the raw silk. 
J. Press’ raw silks are good, but often carry more sheen than I like, and not enough slub for my taste. Ovadia & Sons’ selections always look handsome, but I don’t have any first hand experience with them. Then there are vintage pieces from Ralph Lauren and Bijan, which are fantastic, but difficult to find. I come across maybe two or three a year, and I’m always on the lookout. 
The difference between those and the Knottery’s ties, assuming they’re like the grenadine I sampled, is that the Knottery’s are machine made and will probably be slightly beefier. On the other hand, they’re also much more affordable (about $100 less than most of the aforementioned companies). If you’re looking for an affordable raw silk tie, there’s probably nothing better than this. 
Update: Jay from The Knottery emailed to tell me they’ve switched factories and are now offering mostly handmade ties. A nice plus. 
(Sale found via Pete’s Twitter)

It’s (Sort of) On Sale: The Knottery’s Raw Silks

Speaking of raw silk ties, The Knottery now has a selection of them on their website. The regular retail price is $50, but they’re doing pre-orders for $38. The navy dotted one looks pretty versatile, and much better designed than the ones offered by Lands End last year. 

The other sources for raw silk neckwear (that I know of) are Drake’s, Vanda Fine ClothingPanta, Marshall Anthony, J. Press, Ovadia & Sons, vintage Ralph Lauren, and vintage Bijan. There may be a couple others out there, but the market isn’t big.

Drake’s, Vanda, and Panta are the nicest, but they retail between $120 and $150. Marshall Anthony’s are also excellent, and I find they sometimes knot better than my Drake’s. They use cheaper wool/ cotton blend interlinings, but since those interlinings are lighter in weight, they help balance out the thick fabric of the raw silk. 

J. Press’ raw silks are good, but often carry more sheen than I like, and not enough slub for my taste. Ovadia & Sons’ selections always look handsome, but I don’t have any first hand experience with them. Then there are vintage pieces from Ralph Lauren and Bijan, which are fantastic, but difficult to find. I come across maybe two or three a year, and I’m always on the lookout. 

The difference between those and the Knottery’s ties, assuming they’re like the grenadine I sampled, is that the Knottery’s are machine made and will probably be slightly beefier. On the other hand, they’re also much more affordable (about $100 less than most of the aforementioned companies). If you’re looking for an affordable raw silk tie, there’s probably nothing better than this. 

Update: Jay from The Knottery emailed to tell me they’ve switched factories and are now offering mostly handmade ties. A nice plus. 

(Sale found via Pete’s Twitter)

The Importance of a Good Fit
Following Pete’s post on Panta, I thought I’d share this great photo of our friend Ed Morel. There are so many “rules” in classic men’s dress that sometimes it’s useful to be reminded which ones are important and which are not. The ones about how you should match your leathers, and how the width of your tie should match the width of your lapel, for example, can always be “ballparked,” as Ed’s done here.
What’s more important is that Ed has well-fitting, comfortable looking clothes. His sport coat is neither fashionably tight nor overly loose, and his pants are slim, but don’t make him look like one of those double-popsicle sticks. The patterned jacket also is adding a bit of visual interest to an ensemble that’s otherwise mostly relying on solid colors. Shoes are nice and shined, and the collar on his shirt is big enough so that the points stay hidden underneath his jacket. To be sure, there are some men who can pull off the “short collar” look, but I think most do better with something like what Ed has here (especially if they’re planning to wear a tie).
And although I still think charcoal trousers can only be worn with a limited number of jackets – typically certain tans and light grays – it looks like we can add Glenfeshie tweed to that list. Ed looks great here in his. 
(Photo via Well Worn Worn Well)

The Importance of a Good Fit

Following Pete’s post on Panta, I thought I’d share this great photo of our friend Ed Morel. There are so many “rules” in classic men’s dress that sometimes it’s useful to be reminded which ones are important and which are not. The ones about how you should match your leathers, and how the width of your tie should match the width of your lapel, for example, can always be “ballparked,” as Ed’s done here.

What’s more important is that Ed has well-fitting, comfortable looking clothes. His sport coat is neither fashionably tight nor overly loose, and his pants are slim, but don’t make him look like one of those double-popsicle sticks. The patterned jacket also is adding a bit of visual interest to an ensemble that’s otherwise mostly relying on solid colors. Shoes are nice and shined, and the collar on his shirt is big enough so that the points stay hidden underneath his jacket. To be sure, there are some men who can pull off the “short collar” look, but I think most do better with something like what Ed has here (especially if they’re planning to wear a tie).

And although I still think charcoal trousers can only be worn with a limited number of jackets – typically certain tans and light grays – it looks like we can add Glenfeshie tweed to that list. Ed looks great here in his. 

(Photo via Well Worn Worn Well)

Being slightly less boring with Ed Morel and Panta

Ed Morel, proprietor of Panta, poses the central question of classic mens clothing in terms of high school: “I went to prep school and I had to wear a tie every day. I could wear a navy or burgundy blazer, but everyone wore the navy. After school we’d go out, try to talk to girls. How do you stand out a little bit within that realm?”

It’s that quality of standing out in a quiet way that many of us are looking for when choosing what we wear. “It’s classic menswear. You’re not reinventing the wheel. You’re wearing a shirt, you’re wearing a tie, you’re wearing a jacket and pants. Ties are within certain widths. Lapels, too. Maybe I’ll wear an eff-you sportcoat and plain pants, or eff-you pants and a solid jacket, and that’s very boring”— he laughs—”It’s incredibly boring.” (Eff-you, in this case, means louder, plaid-er fabric. Ed is pictured above with Bruce Boyer at Carl Goldberg’s Madison Avenue workroom, wearing a shirt and pants.)

The start of Panta

As we step from booth to booth at MRKet, a men’s clothing tradeshow in New York, Morel shops for clothing and shoes to carry at Panta, and with characteristic rapid-fire cadence and self-deprecation, tells me about founding the company. “It would be great if I could tell you a nice romantic story, like my parents came from some country, but… I always did like clothing. Living in New York, having access to the clothes and deals here, it led me to realize I could buy more, sell it, and pay for more clothes for myself.” Ed would buy low on high-end clothes, notably pants, at closeout sales and discounters, then sell high online. “But that inventory is limited, and I thought, ‘What if I had access to great pants all the time?’”

Ed set out to have pants made to his specs—fabrics from sources like Loro Piana and Dormeiul, in sometimes exotic blends and textures, finished by hand, in a signature cut with only one rear pocket—in New York. “Most makers don’t want to deal with the small guys. When I started, it was during the financial crisis,” and a lot of bigger customers were scaling back orders, leaving room for Panta’s business. The good reviews rolled in. Now Ed has developed relationships that allow him to regularly make trousers, ties, and shirts under his own ready-to-wear label, as well as custom tailoring, shoes from Heinrich Dinkelacker, and more to come. Made in small runs with refined cloth, the trousers have cost over $300, but Ed’s adding less expensive options, with some customization available even on the least dear (about $200—less expensive is relative). Fabrics come from top-end Italian and English mills, rare to see off-the-rack, and the make varies according to price point, with truly custom options made in New York by Rocco Ciccarelli.

Ed’s store, Ed’s taste

We stop while Ed places an order with Ron Rider for a Cortina-made split toe derby and a chukka boot, both in shell cordovan. He asks my opinion, and I admit that I don’t generally like split toe shoes. Ed’s OK with that. Panta’s stock is small and focused on what he likes to wear himself. “I’m not going to sell double monks because I don’t wear double monks. I’m not ordering 40 different ties, 40 different pants. I carry four or six styles. The shoes go great with the types of pants that I sell, that go great with the shirts.” With his custom pant program, “We can do pretty much whatever you want, except anything that I find in bad taste.” E.g., no camo.

Ed’s not the only guy to turn personal taste into a small business, but he’s got his eye on bigger things. “It started off as a hobby, but now I’m looking to build something that’ll be around long after I’m gone. I’m working on building something that, if you see a shirt or a tie, you know it’s one of my things.”

Pictured are some of Panta’s fall 2013 silk ties (the silk has a very “dry” feel), as well as new scarves, and a pair of downright beefy Heinrich Dinkelacker brogues.


—Pete

Ed Morel and Bruce Boyer, at the Panta trunk show Jesse talked about. 
Both gentlemen have especially nice shirt collars on. 

Ed Morel and Bruce Boyer, at the Panta trunk show Jesse talked about. 

Both gentlemen have especially nice shirt collars on. 

If you’re in New York City, you won’t want to miss tomorrow’s Panta trunk show. Founder Ed Morel will be on hand with a selection of pants, ties and (new) suits and sportcoats. It’s at CEGO Custom Shirtmaker, and Carl (who you may remember from our Body episode) will be offering some CEGO stuff - pajama bottoms, orphaned shirts, that kind of thing - along with the Panta line.
We’ve reviewed Panta’s beautiful ties, which are about a hundred bucks, but they’ll also be offering a full range of trousers for about $300, sportcoats for $850-950 and suits for about $1200. I’m really impressed by what Morel has been up to, and you should stop by and say “hi” to Ed and Carl even if you can’t scrape up the scratch to buy anything.
Find the sale Friday, March 23rd at the CEGO Custom Shirtmakers shop, 246 Fifth Avenue (corner of 28th), Second Floor, from 11:00-6:00pm.

If you’re in New York City, you won’t want to miss tomorrow’s Panta trunk show. Founder Ed Morel will be on hand with a selection of pants, ties and (new) suits and sportcoats. It’s at CEGO Custom Shirtmaker, and Carl (who you may remember from our Body episode) will be offering some CEGO stuff - pajama bottoms, orphaned shirts, that kind of thing - along with the Panta line.

We’ve reviewed Panta’s beautiful ties, which are about a hundred bucks, but they’ll also be offering a full range of trousers for about $300, sportcoats for $850-950 and suits for about $1200. I’m really impressed by what Morel has been up to, and you should stop by and say “hi” to Ed and Carl even if you can’t scrape up the scratch to buy anything.

Find the sale Friday, March 23rd at the CEGO Custom Shirtmakers shop, 246 Fifth Avenue (corner of 28th), Second Floor, from 11:00-6:00pm.

An interview with Ed Morel, founder of Panta Clothing.

An interview with Ed Morel, founder of Panta Clothing.

The Necktie Series, Part III: Starting Your Basics

In my estimation, a well dressed man needs at least a dozen or two neckties. A dozen if he doesn’t wear ties often; two dozen if he does. The next three entries to this series are about how to build that basic, minimal necktie wardrobe. I’ll begin with the bare basics:

Solid grenadine

Jesse has given a lot of great advice here over the years. One of his best is his constant advocation for grenadines

There are two kinds of grenadines - garza grossa and garza fina. Garza grossa is a looser, bigger weave, and the silk slightly moves over time. Garza fina, on the other hand, looks a bit finer, and the weave is a bit tighter. Both will give you the texture you need in a simple tie, but grossa’s will be more apparent from a distance. 

J Press grenadines are garza finas, and Kent Wang’s are garza grossas. Drakes of London and Sam Hober sell both. 

Solid, ribbed faille or basketweave

The other plain basic is your slightly ribbed silk failles and basketweaves. These works like your grenadines - simple, easy to wear ties that add just a touch of texture to your wardrobe. Their textures aren’t as striking as a grenadine’s, but they’re still noticeable from about an arm’s length. Jesse and GW have commented on the value of a simple necktie collection, and ribbed silk failles and basketweaves serve this purpose well. 

Pin dot

Next we have pin dots, which have become some of my favorites. Like many of the other ties on this list, pin dot ties can vary in scale, from minidots to slightly larger dots. Slightly smaller, more subtle patterns are best in this case, as they tend to be a bit more elegant and versatile. 

Club tie 

Finally, we have the club tie. Sometime in 1880, faculty members at Oxford University started taking the ribbons from their straw hats and wearing it around their neck (why, I have no idea). Soon, the practice was copied at other prestigious institutions, and the style was eventually picked up by the middleclasses in order signal their social standing. These days, the stripes and colors don’t really signal much, though there are exceptions - your favorite menswear website, for example, has a club tie, and it’ll signal that you’re part of a small, elite group of men who actually know how to dress themselves. 

Club ties can come in block or ribbon stripes, and like the garza grossas and garza finas, which you pick is completely up to you. 

Where to buy ties

As for where to buy these ties from, some of the best are by E. Marinella, Nicky of Milan, Isaia, Charvet, E&G Cappelli, and Drakes of London. I also really like Ralph Lauren Purple Label ties, but it might be because I’m a whore for Ralph Lauren’s higher end stuff. Ties from these makers are handmade from the best fabrics. They drape, as well as knot, beautifully. However, they’re also pretty expensive - ranging between $150 and $250 per tie. You can sometimes find them on sale at Saks or Barneys, but you have to wait and hunt. 

One of the best deals on the market is Sam Hober, a bespoke tie maker who handmakes all of his wares. What is the advantage of a bespoke tie? With bespoke, the maker pours his effort into one tie just for a customer, which allows him to supervise and ensure all the details of the tie construction are done well. Examine, for example, the qualitative difference between these two luxury ties - the blue one is a bespoke unlined seven-fold by Sam Hober and the brown is an off-the-rack by Borrelli. Notice the quality of the sewing, lack of crinkling, and softer rolling edges on Hober’s tie. It’s incredible to me that he’s able to offer the quality and service he does at the prices he gives.

Other nice handmade ties can be had through Kent Wang, Howard Yount, and Panta. Like Hober, these will also run between $75 and $100, and they’re very nice. You can read Jesse’s glowing review of his Panta ties here. You can also check out J PressBrooks Brothers, Mountain and Sackett, and, of lesser quality, but still decent, Lands End. Lastly, StyleForum member gshen, who has been a popular pocket square supplier, has started hand-making ties. I haven’t had the chance to handle any, but from the photos and reviews I’ve seen so far, they look great. You can read more about them on his blog

We Got It For Free: Panta Unlined Cashmere Neckties
Ed, the proprietor of the tiny boutique clothing line Panta, based in New York, sent me two of his latest neckties today. I’m absolutely wowed by their quality. They’re heavy cashmere, and unlined, which gives them an unparalleled hand and a casual, slouchy feeling. This is perfect, of course, with the soft-shouldered Italian style that’s all the rage these days. The edges are hand-rolled, and I literally exclaimed an expletive when I touched the darn things, they’re so soft.
Ed’s having a trunk show on Friday in New York City, if you’d like to check out and purchase his ties and trousers. Ties will be $99, and pants $199 (an extra $50 for cashmere). He’s promised me some pants when things settle down, and based on the evidence so far, I’m extremely excited about them.
You can find Ed on Friday at 246 Fifth Avenue (just off Fifth) on the corner of 28th street, fifth floor, from noon to six. Just look for the stream of exceptionally well-dressed men.

We Got It For Free: Panta Unlined Cashmere Neckties

Ed, the proprietor of the tiny boutique clothing line Panta, based in New York, sent me two of his latest neckties today. I’m absolutely wowed by their quality. They’re heavy cashmere, and unlined, which gives them an unparalleled hand and a casual, slouchy feeling. This is perfect, of course, with the soft-shouldered Italian style that’s all the rage these days. The edges are hand-rolled, and I literally exclaimed an expletive when I touched the darn things, they’re so soft.

Ed’s having a trunk show on Friday in New York City, if you’d like to check out and purchase his ties and trousers. Ties will be $99, and pants $199 (an extra $50 for cashmere). He’s promised me some pants when things settle down, and based on the evidence so far, I’m extremely excited about them.

You can find Ed on Friday at 246 Fifth Avenue (just off Fifth) on the corner of 28th street, fifth floor, from noon to six. Just look for the stream of exceptionally well-dressed men.