Real People: The Peak-Lapel, Single-Breasted Suit

Having peak lapels on a single-breasted jacket can be tricky. Without the longer lapel line of a double-breasted coat, a peak lapel can look unusually truncated – more like the stubby wings of a rotisserie chicken rather than the sweeping fins of a shark. 

Jeff in Louisville, however, shows how to do it well. The key is to get a jacket with a traditional buttoning point, where the center of a three-button coat, or top button on a two-button coat, sits at your waist. This gives the lapel its optimum length without making the bottom of your jacket look unnaturally short. A slightly wider lapel than what’s popular these days will also allow those peaks to express themselves. Jeff’s suit executes all this perfectly. 

Incidentally, almost everything Jeff is wearing above was thrifted:

  • Ralph Lauren Purple Label suit, thrifted for $50
  • Brooks Brothers Golden Fleece shirt, thrifted for $10
  • Robert Talbott Best of Class tie, thrifted for $5
  • No-name square, which was given to him as a gift
  • Johnston & Murphy Aritocraft shoes, thrifted for $12 

The thing about thrifting is that you often have to embrace the vintage look. It kind of comes with the territory. Jeff, however, somehow manages to always find pieces that fit perfectly (I assume after some alterations), and are styled in a classic and timeless way. Not only would you never know that his clothes were bought secondhand, but much of what he wears looks better than what’s sold as new in-stores today. You can check out more inspirational stuff from him at his blog The Thrifty Gent.

Real People: Madras and Brown Grenadine
It can be quite difficult to wear madras, the bold Indian cotton, without looking like a clown. I love The Thrift Gent’s approach. A plain white Brooks Brothers button-down shirt and a simple blue pocket square are mainstays, here, but the real masterstroke is the brown grenadine tie.
As you can see, there’s a bit of earthiness in the color palette of this old Polo jacket, with the reds being a little rusty and the greens a little mossy. The tie grabs those and settles down the look. A brown tie isn’t what you’d necessarily think to grab in the height of summer, but it works really well to ground the whole outfit, and tie it to a pair of plain brown bluchers.

Real People: Madras and Brown Grenadine

It can be quite difficult to wear madras, the bold Indian cotton, without looking like a clown. I love The Thrift Gent’s approach. A plain white Brooks Brothers button-down shirt and a simple blue pocket square are mainstays, here, but the real masterstroke is the brown grenadine tie.

As you can see, there’s a bit of earthiness in the color palette of this old Polo jacket, with the reds being a little rusty and the greens a little mossy. The tie grabs those and settles down the look. A brown tie isn’t what you’d necessarily think to grab in the height of summer, but it works really well to ground the whole outfit, and tie it to a pair of plain brown bluchers.

We Got it for Free: The Tie Bar’s Grenafaux
The Tie Bar recently released a line of solid-colored, textures silk neckties that vaguely resemble grenadines. These aren’t true grenadines; they just somewhat look like them from a few feet away. Curious about the quality, I contacted Greg Shugar, one of the co-founders of the company, to see if he would be interested in sending me one for review. It arrived last month and I’ve worn it a few times since.
The tie is better than what one might expect. It compares well to the mass-manufactured neckties you might find in a department store – the Perry Ellises, Tommy Hilfigers, Calvin Kleins, and the like. To be sure, I don’t think any of these brands make particularly nice ties, but I appreciate that The Tie Bar has a bit more honest pricing - $15 for such a tie, rather than $50 in a department store, regularly discounted to $35, then $25, then $20, in hopes that customers think they’re getting a steal.
Obviously, a $15 tie will have its limitations. The grenafaux they sent me lacks the body on a truly, well-made tie, and the fabric has a slight sheen to it. It’s a bit light and flimsy, and not particularly enjoyable to knot. On the upside, the interlining is a wool-poly blend, which isn’t as ideal as a pure wool interlining, but at least it dimples better than a tie lined with polyester, and the wrinkles fall out a bit more easily at the end of the day.
It’s become a bit of a cliché, but I strongly believe in the “buy less, buy better” philosophy. Better one tie from EG Cappelli than three from Brooks Brothers, and better one from Brooks Brothers than three from Alfani. Men don’t need as much clothing as they think do, and if they traded many of their purchases for nicer things, I think they’d be left more satisfied. The most affordable grenadines I know of are from Chipp2 ($47.50) and The Knottery ($55). After that, there’s Kent Wang ($75), Sam Hober ($80), J Press ($90), Henry Carter ($100), Drake’s, Vanda, and EG Cappelli (~$120). I would feel more comfortable recommending any of these - or even a non-grenadine from a mid-tier maker - over The Tie Bar.
At the same time, I remember there was once a point in my life when I couldn’t afford a $50 necktie. It wasn’t that I was being stingy; it’s just that all my money went to rent, food, and my education. For people who on a truly tight budget, but still wish to dress well, I think The Tie Bar’s grenafux ties are an option. They’re not the best ties in the world, but I couldn’t say someone would look terrible for wearing one. As you can see above, it does indeed kind of look like a grenadine, and The Thrifty Gent wore one a few weeks ago and still looked pretty sharp. Plus, if you needed to skimp on your wardrobe, it would better to cut out $50 from your necktie wardrobe than, say, footwear. There, $50 could mean the difference between full-grain leather shoes and corrected grain, the latter of which you should never buy.
My standard recommendation for affordable neckties remains the same: Land’s End and Brooks Brothers once they hit their sales. They usually discount stuff to under $40 a few times a season. If you can’t afford those, try thrift stores or eBay. If you don’t have the time, however, then consider The Tie Bar’s grenafaux. I still believe people should buy the best they can afford – as they’ll be happier in the long run – but the same can be said about buying what you can afford, and not spending outside of your means. 
(Pictured above, from left to right: The Tie Bar’s grenafaux, Drake’s navy grenadine, E.G. Cappelli blue grenadine)

We Got it for Free: The Tie Bar’s Grenafaux

The Tie Bar recently released a line of solid-colored, textures silk neckties that vaguely resemble grenadines. These aren’t true grenadines; they just somewhat look like them from a few feet away. Curious about the quality, I contacted Greg Shugar, one of the co-founders of the company, to see if he would be interested in sending me one for review. It arrived last month and I’ve worn it a few times since.

The tie is better than what one might expect. It compares well to the mass-manufactured neckties you might find in a department store – the Perry Ellises, Tommy Hilfigers, Calvin Kleins, and the like. To be sure, I don’t think any of these brands make particularly nice ties, but I appreciate that The Tie Bar has a bit more honest pricing - $15 for such a tie, rather than $50 in a department store, regularly discounted to $35, then $25, then $20, in hopes that customers think they’re getting a steal.

Obviously, a $15 tie will have its limitations. The grenafaux they sent me lacks the body on a truly, well-made tie, and the fabric has a slight sheen to it. It’s a bit light and flimsy, and not particularly enjoyable to knot. On the upside, the interlining is a wool-poly blend, which isn’t as ideal as a pure wool interlining, but at least it dimples better than a tie lined with polyester, and the wrinkles fall out a bit more easily at the end of the day.

It’s become a bit of a cliché, but I strongly believe in the “buy less, buy better” philosophy. Better one tie from EG Cappelli than three from Brooks Brothers, and better one from Brooks Brothers than three from Alfani. Men don’t need as much clothing as they think do, and if they traded many of their purchases for nicer things, I think they’d be left more satisfied. The most affordable grenadines I know of are from Chipp2 ($47.50) and The Knottery ($55). After that, there’s Kent Wang ($75), Sam Hober ($80), J Press ($90), Henry Carter ($100), Drake’s, Vanda, and EG Cappelli (~$120). I would feel more comfortable recommending any of these - or even a non-grenadine from a mid-tier maker - over The Tie Bar.

At the same time, I remember there was once a point in my life when I couldn’t afford a $50 necktie. It wasn’t that I was being stingy; it’s just that all my money went to rent, food, and my education. For people who on a truly tight budget, but still wish to dress well, I think The Tie Bar’s grenafux ties are an option. They’re not the best ties in the world, but I couldn’t say someone would look terrible for wearing one. As you can see above, it does indeed kind of look like a grenadine, and The Thrifty Gent wore one a few weeks ago and still looked pretty sharp. Plus, if you needed to skimp on your wardrobe, it would better to cut out $50 from your necktie wardrobe than, say, footwear. There, $50 could mean the difference between full-grain leather shoes and corrected grain, the latter of which you should never buy.

My standard recommendation for affordable neckties remains the same: Land’s End and Brooks Brothers once they hit their sales. They usually discount stuff to under $40 a few times a season. If you can’t afford those, try thrift stores or eBay. If you don’t have the time, however, then consider The Tie Bar’s grenafaux. I still believe people should buy the best they can afford – as they’ll be happier in the long run – but the same can be said about buying what you can afford, and not spending outside of your means. 

(Pictured above, from left to right: The Tie Bar’s grenafaux, Drake’s navy grenadine, E.G. Cappelli blue grenadine)

I just want to take a second to highlight Broke and Bespoke, a great tumblr, featuring a lot of “What I Wore” photos. Like another favorite of mine, The Thrifty Gent, the author posts almost exclusively thrifted and discount-purchased clothes. The Thrifty Gent is all business, wearing very traditional American styles. Broke and Bespoke has a younger, zippier style.
Someone emailed me the other day, complaining that when we write about “affordable” menswear, we often compare it to higher-priced stuff. Our goal in doing that isn’t to make you feel bad for not being able to afford to stroll into Bergdorf Goodman and buy a wardrobe at retail. Instead, it’s to help encourage folks to understand what’s good about good stuff, so they can recognize it at whatever price point they can afford… be it bespoke, Bergdorf or Bargain Barn.
brokeandbespoke:

Bow Tie: G. Fox & Co. English handblocked silk foulard, thrifted $4
Shirt: Uniqlo university striped OCBD, $15 (grand opening sale)
Sweater: Banana Republic merino wool v-neck, clearance $20
Jacket: Joseph Abboud “American Soft” line, thrifted $12

I just want to take a second to highlight Broke and Bespoke, a great tumblr, featuring a lot of “What I Wore” photos. Like another favorite of mine, The Thrifty Gent, the author posts almost exclusively thrifted and discount-purchased clothes. The Thrifty Gent is all business, wearing very traditional American styles. Broke and Bespoke has a younger, zippier style.

Someone emailed me the other day, complaining that when we write about “affordable” menswear, we often compare it to higher-priced stuff. Our goal in doing that isn’t to make you feel bad for not being able to afford to stroll into Bergdorf Goodman and buy a wardrobe at retail. Instead, it’s to help encourage folks to understand what’s good about good stuff, so they can recognize it at whatever price point they can afford… be it bespoke, Bergdorf or Bargain Barn.

brokeandbespoke:

Bow Tie: G. Fox & Co. English handblocked silk foulard, thrifted $4

Shirt: Uniqlo university striped OCBD, $15 (grand opening sale)

Sweater: Banana Republic merino wool v-neck, clearance $20

Jacket: Joseph Abboud “American Soft” line, thrifted $12

The Thrifty Gent has been running an interesting series of thrifting tips, and his latest is really great - it’s a few signs of high-quality clothing that are as useful for the new-clothes shopper as they are for the thrifter.

The Thrifty Gent has been running an interesting series of thrifting tips, and his latest is really great - it’s a few signs of high-quality clothing that are as useful for the new-clothes shopper as they are for the thrifter.

You gotta admit - elephants are a big value add in a “what I’m wearing” photo.
(photo from The Thrift Gent)

You gotta admit - elephants are a big value add in a “what I’m wearing” photo.

(photo from The Thrift Gent)