“I’ve always said that I dress as sort of a sartorial mullet. I like it one way on the top and some other way on the bottom… I like contrast and tension in rooms and in clothes.”

Nick Wooster in an interview on Styleforum.

-Pete

Declaration of Tweedependence
This tweed is authentic as all hell. Styleforum member Zissou posted the certificate of authenticity for the cloth for a friend’s father’s jacket,  handwoven in Scotland in 1959 by Don MacDonald (presumably from a long line of Donald MacDonalds), and certified at Stornaway, which is way the heck up there. I bet that jacket is SICK.
-Pete

Declaration of Tweedependence

This tweed is authentic as all hell. Styleforum member Zissou posted the certificate of authenticity for the cloth for a friend’s father’s jacket,  handwoven in Scotland in 1959 by Don MacDonald (presumably from a long line of Donald MacDonalds), and certified at Stornaway, which is way the heck up there. I bet that jacket is SICK.

-Pete

Q & Answer: How Do You Pick the Right Shoe Size Online?

Zack writes to us to ask: I’m interested in buying a pair of shoes online, but am having trouble figuring out if they’d fit. I emailed the manufacturer and they gave me the length and width measurements in millimeters. The problem is, I don’t know whether the longest part of my foot aligns with the longest part of the shoe. Do you have any suggestions for what measurements I should ask for, so I can make an educated guess?

I’m not a big fan of measurements for shoes. Like you, I never know what I’m supposed to do with them. 

The length of a shoe can vary depending on a few factors.

  • Size, most obviously. But you’d be surprised how little changes from size to size. The difference can be as small as an eighth of an inch.
  • Welting technique. By welting technique, I mean how the sole was attached to the uppers. The length of your shoes — as measured from the bottom of your soles — can vary depending on the welting technique, as well as within the same kind of construction. Check out the two shoes above, for example. One is from Allen Edmonds, the other from Edward Green. Both are made with Goodyear welts, but the heel on the Allen Edmonds sticks out a bit more from the heel cup, while the heel of the Edward Greens hugs the shoe. 
  • Heel design. Although not as common, some shoes will have what’s known as a canted or Cuban heel, such as these from Saint Crispin’s. Again, compare them to the straight-down heel of the Allen Edmonds shoe above, and you can see how this would affect the measurement of the shoes at the bottom of the sole. 
  • Most importantly, the last. The last is the wooden form on which the leather is pulled over so that it can take a certain shape. You can have lasts in all sorts of shapes. Some shoes can be round and stubby (like Alden); some can be very long and pointy (like Gaziano & Girling). This will affect the length of a shoe more than anything else. You can have two perfectly fitting shoes, but one might be slightly longer simply because the toes were designed to look sleeker. 

In the end, it’s not even the length of your shoes that matter, but rather the heel-to-ball measurement. Critical to your fit is where the heel and ball of your feet sit in your shoes, not whether the ends of your shoe come within a certain distance to your toes.

There’s really only one way to figure out your size online, assuming you can’t try stuff on first.

  • Figure out your Brannock size. Go to a place like Nordstrom and ask someone to measure you. It’s sometimes good to get both feet measured, as few people have the same sized feet. 
  • Ask the store or manufacturer for advice. Not all salespeople will know what they’re talking about, so take their advice with a grain of salt. That said, there are few better places to get sizing advice than from the store or manufacturer you’re buying from. They’re the ones who are likely to be most knowledgeable. Tell them your Brannock size, and if you have other high-end shoes, your size in other brands and models. I don’t mean sneakers like Nike, but rather dress shoes from companies such as Allen Edmonds, Alden, Crockett & Jones, etc. 
  • Check this advice against the forum threads. Styleforum has the biggest archive of all clothing forums, but depending on what kind of shoes you’re buying, Superfuture and Ask Andy About Clothes can be useful as well. Iron Heart and Denimbro are also good for workwear type stuff. The key here is to search the archives before posting anything, as there’s usually a wealth of information you can mine. 

Finally, once you get your shoes, you can check to see if they fit according to this post.

Long story short: measurements are good for clothes, but bad for shoes. To find your size, you have to do some other stuff.

(Photos via Leffot, The Shoe Buff, and Bengal Stripe)

“Hell if you really wanted to show you are a primetime businessman, buy a live shark with that $20k. Take it to your meetings. Nothing shows the ability to close a deal like an apex predator.”

Styleforum member g transistor on the $20,000+ wristwatch as a status symbol in the business world.

-Pete

StyleForum’s co-owner, administrator, and head-moderator-in-chief Fok-Yan Leung, is doing an AMA on Reddit for the next two hours. AMA, for those unfamiliar, stands for “Ask Me Anything.” You can check it out here. 

StyleForum’s co-owner, administrator, and head-moderator-in-chief Fok-Yan Leung, is doing an AMA on Reddit for the next two hours. AMA, for those unfamiliar, stands for “Ask Me Anything.” You can check it out here

Rise High, Full Pleats, Can’t Lose
The advice that you should always avoid high-rise, pleated trousers - or that only heavier set men should wear pleats - is one of the most tired and wrongheaded ideas in menswear. Especially among fashion writers. Above is the photographer behind Guerreisms wearing a pair of bespoke trousers made for him by Salvatore Ambrosi, which he commissioned through The Armoury. The cut is on the rakish side of Italian tailoring, but as you can see — it looks great. 
With suits, a higher rise is especially nice, since it helps you avoid the dreaded shirt triangle that Jesse talked about. But even with odd trousers (meaning trousers that aren’t meant to be worn with a suit jacket), the cut can be flattering if it’s done well. 
Duke Ellington once said of music: “If it sounds good and feels good, then it is good.” The rules about whether or not you should wear pleats are silly. Maybe you like them, or maybe you don’t, but it’s always best to go by your eye. 
(Photo by EFV on StyleForum, where some Pitti Uomo coverage is going on)

Rise High, Full Pleats, Can’t Lose

The advice that you should always avoid high-rise, pleated trousers - or that only heavier set men should wear pleats - is one of the most tired and wrongheaded ideas in menswear. Especially among fashion writers. Above is the photographer behind Guerreisms wearing a pair of bespoke trousers made for him by Salvatore Ambrosi, which he commissioned through The Armoury. The cut is on the rakish side of Italian tailoring, but as you can see — it looks great. 

With suits, a higher rise is especially nice, since it helps you avoid the dreaded shirt triangle that Jesse talked about. But even with odd trousers (meaning trousers that aren’t meant to be worn with a suit jacket), the cut can be flattering if it’s done well. 

Duke Ellington once said of music: “If it sounds good and feels good, then it is good.” The rules about whether or not you should wear pleats are silly. Maybe you like them, or maybe you don’t, but it’s always best to go by your eye. 

(Photo by EFV on StyleForum, where some Pitti Uomo coverage is going on)

How To Size Shoes
If you’re anything like me, you buy most of your clothes online. It’s easy, convenient, and a great way to comparison shop. The problem, of course, is that you can’t try things on, so you don’t know how things will fit before they arrive. Most of us just hit checkout and pray for the best. 
With shoes, things can be especially dicey. They need to fit right, but it’s not always so obvious whether they do when you try them on. You can walk around a bit to see if they’re comfortable, but comfort is subjective (especially when you really, really like the style and they were on sale). Plus, shoes often need a breaking in period to feel just-right anyway. Which is why it’s not that surprising when you hear about guys spending a pretty penny on a nice shoe collection, only to find out a year or two later that they bought everything in the wrong size. 
So, to avoid that, here’s a quick and dirty guide on how shoes should fit. From the basics to the less-known pointers. 
Figure Out Your True Size
As Jesse noted, if you’ve never been professionally measured with a Brannock device, the chances that you know your real size are slim. Most guys assume they’re whatever size they picked for sneakers in high school, but sneakers are sized differently than dress shoes, and most are very cushy. Which means, if you’re a half size off, it might not be a big deal. Dress shoes, on the other hand, are a lot less forgiving, so you need to know your true size. To find it, go somewhere like Nordstrom to get measured. 
Once you know your true size, you can use that as a baseline for getting sizing advice. If you’re buying from a store, ask a sales rep; if you’re shopping on eBay, turn to StyleForum (where there’s a wealth of advice in the archives). Remember: different shoes fit differently, so sometimes you’ll have to size up or down (although, most dress shoes do fit true-to-size). 
The Basics of Fit
As you know, shoes are sized by length and width. Let’s start with length. Except for certain slip-ons, there should always be a bit of space between the ends of your shoes and your toes, which means if your toes are butting up against the shoe, you need to size up in length. Similarly, make sure the ball of your feet match up with the ball of the shoe. 
Width, as we’ve mentioned, is more about the total circumference of the shoe, as measured around the ball, rather than just the width itself. So if your shoes feel tight at the sides or top, then size up in width. Remember: leather breaks in pretty easily, so don’t worry if they’re a touch snug. They just shouldn’t feel painful when you walk.
The Most Obvious Giveaways
Perhaps the best way to tell if your shoes fit is by seeing how the eyelets look when you lace them up. If the eyelets are really far apart, like you see above, then you’ll need to size up (most likely in width). If they come crashing together, then you’ll need to size down. 
Additionally, check to see where your shoes bend as you walk. Proper fitting shoes should flex pretty close to where your foot naturally flexes. If you see the creasing creep up too close to the toes, you’ll want to size down (this is easiest to tell on cap toe shoes, where the creases should never cross into the cap itself). If the leather is cutting into your foot as it bends, then you’ll want to size up. 
A Note About Heel Slippage 
Finally, a word about heel slippage. Don’t think that just because your heel slips a little that your shoes are too big (obviously, the term “a little” can be subjective, so use your best judgment). Some shoes have really stiff soles, and they’ll need a little breaking in before they feel right (this is mostly true for slip-ons, such as double monks and loafers). If they slip just a tiny bit, but everything else above checks in nicely, then trust that you probably have the right size. 

How To Size Shoes

If you’re anything like me, you buy most of your clothes online. It’s easy, convenient, and a great way to comparison shop. The problem, of course, is that you can’t try things on, so you don’t know how things will fit before they arrive. Most of us just hit checkout and pray for the best. 

With shoes, things can be especially dicey. They need to fit right, but it’s not always so obvious whether they do when you try them on. You can walk around a bit to see if they’re comfortable, but comfort is subjective (especially when you really, really like the style and they were on sale). Plus, shoes often need a breaking in period to feel just-right anyway. Which is why it’s not that surprising when you hear about guys spending a pretty penny on a nice shoe collection, only to find out a year or two later that they bought everything in the wrong size. 

So, to avoid that, here’s a quick and dirty guide on how shoes should fit. From the basics to the less-known pointers. 

Figure Out Your True Size

As Jesse noted, if you’ve never been professionally measured with a Brannock device, the chances that you know your real size are slim. Most guys assume they’re whatever size they picked for sneakers in high school, but sneakers are sized differently than dress shoes, and most are very cushy. Which means, if you’re a half size off, it might not be a big deal. Dress shoes, on the other hand, are a lot less forgiving, so you need to know your true size. To find it, go somewhere like Nordstrom to get measured. 

Once you know your true size, you can use that as a baseline for getting sizing advice. If you’re buying from a store, ask a sales rep; if you’re shopping on eBay, turn to StyleForum (where there’s a wealth of advice in the archives). Remember: different shoes fit differently, so sometimes you’ll have to size up or down (although, most dress shoes do fit true-to-size). 

The Basics of Fit

As you know, shoes are sized by length and width. Let’s start with length. Except for certain slip-ons, there should always be a bit of space between the ends of your shoes and your toes, which means if your toes are butting up against the shoe, you need to size up in length. Similarly, make sure the ball of your feet match up with the ball of the shoe. 

Width, as we’ve mentioned, is more about the total circumference of the shoe, as measured around the ball, rather than just the width itself. So if your shoes feel tight at the sides or top, then size up in width. Remember: leather breaks in pretty easily, so don’t worry if they’re a touch snug. They just shouldn’t feel painful when you walk.

The Most Obvious Giveaways

Perhaps the best way to tell if your shoes fit is by seeing how the eyelets look when you lace them up. If the eyelets are really far apart, like you see above, then you’ll need to size up (most likely in width). If they come crashing together, then you’ll need to size down. 

Additionally, check to see where your shoes bend as you walk. Proper fitting shoes should flex pretty close to where your foot naturally flexes. If you see the creasing creep up too close to the toes, you’ll want to size down (this is easiest to tell on cap toe shoes, where the creases should never cross into the cap itself). If the leather is cutting into your foot as it bends, then you’ll want to size up. 

A Note About Heel Slippage 

Finally, a word about heel slippage. Don’t think that just because your heel slips a little that your shoes are too big (obviously, the term “a little” can be subjective, so use your best judgment). Some shoes have really stiff soles, and they’ll need a little breaking in before they feel right (this is mostly true for slip-ons, such as double monks and loafers). If they slip just a tiny bit, but everything else above checks in nicely, then trust that you probably have the right size. 

Rugged Belts For Jeans

There’s probably a theory about why a guy my size would like such rugged belts (overcompensating for something, perhaps?), but regardless — lately I’ve come to really like Don’t Mourn Organize, a small, one-man operation based in Utah that makes custom leather goods. Eight months ago, I had Scott, the owner of the company, make me a harness leather belt cut to a 0.25” thickness. It’s thicker than your average belt, but not so thick that it’d be too tough to break in. The color of the leather was originally an unwearable pale beige, but quickly darkened to a light brown after I applied two or three coats of Obeanuf’s LP. It’s since darkened further, to a solid mid-shade of brown, after eights months of regular wear and use. You can see how it looks now in the photo above.

I’ve enjoyed the belt so much that I recently ordered another — this time a two-layer horsehide “Clint stitch” belt that’s so named because the stitching pattern is modeled after something Clint Eastwood wore in one of his movies. I find the Western style goes well with a canvas RRL jacket I own, while the plainer, harness leather belt looks better with heavy leather jackets.

Scott’s belts are beautifully rugged and uncommonly thick. These are not the type of belts you’d wear with dressy chinos or wool trousers. They’re what you wear with denim, fatigues, or heavy workwear pants. Being as thick as they are, there’s something satisfying about cinching up a belt that’s as rugged as your jeans or boots, and it’s great to see how the leather acquires a natural patina over time. You can order one of Scott’s belts in any color you wish, but for me, the joy is all in getting that natural colored leather that darkens with age. Much like how guys like the process of breaking in their raw denim and seeing how it fades, this is essentially the same thing, except that leather gets darker when you treat it to oil and conditioner, and as it gets exposed to sunlight. 

Simple belts like the one I first bought cost $65. The Clint stitch belt ran me $75 (shipping included in both prices). Everything is custom made, so if you want some tweak in the design, Scott can usually accommodate.

To see more photos of the Clint stitch belt, you can check out this post at StyleForum. For photos of Scott’s work in general, check out this thread at Iron Heart’s forum

Epaulet’s Made-to-Order Trousers

One of the online menswear community’s favorite retailers, Epaulet in NYC, recently loaned me some samples from their made-to-order trouser program. Their trousers are a popular recommendation for posters on StyleForum, as they’re aggressively priced, well made, and stylishly cut. Surprisingly, even with the growing menswear market in the last ten years, finding all three of these things in one package - particularly in trousers, for some reason - is very difficult. 

The swatchbooks here are impressive. There are just enough options to satisfy whatever you might want, but not so many that you feel lost in the choices. In linens alone, for example, there are five different shades of brown, all of which would be great for summer. Epaulet also has some tropical wools, which are often hard to find off-the-rack (tropical wool being a lightweight, breathable fabric that’s very useful for hot days). After selecting their fabrics, customers can choose some basic design details, such as how they want the waist to be styled (with belt loops, side tabs, or suspender buttons) and fly closed (zippered is easier to use, but buttons will help you avoid fly tents).

As it goes with most custom clothes, these aren’t returnable, so you’ll want to be sure of how their trousers fit before you go made-to-order. Which perhaps is my only reservation. Epaulet has a wide range of ready-to-wear trousers you can try, but those are returnable only for store credit. Which means if you know you’ll be shopping there for some time, trying out some trousers can be less of an issue (and subsequently going made-to-order easier), but otherwise, you’re taking a bit of a risk. For what it’s worth, I found their Walts to have a slimmer thigh than most pants I’ve tried on, but things fit nicely once I sized up from my regular 30 to a 31 (they also have a slightly fuller cut Rudy, but on that model, as the thigh expands, so does the seat). 

If you do find that their pants fit you well, then this made-to-order program is a great way to get what you want quick-and-easy. No more searching around endlessly for that right pair of trousers you have in your mind, as there are enough options here to make almost anything you’d want. 

Ivory Tower Style goes through some of StyleFourm’s best threads, and gives some pretty funny commentary on each. 

Most useful thread? My vote goes to "Get Foofed." Most interesting? "Sartorial Mythbusting." Funniest? "Critique My Jantzen," obviously.