Chipp2 Gets Some New Suspenders

Our friend Paul over at Winston Clothiers/ Chipp2 recently added suspenders to his small, but growing, line of men’s accessories. These are made from tastefully striped or solid grosgrain silks, leather fittings, and metal hardware. The price is $42.50, which –- much like the price of his handmade grenadine ties -– is a lot lower than most of his competitors. And, like those ties, these are made in New York City. 

Why wear suspenders? Well, a few reasons:

  • They’re much more comfortable than belts. Since your waist can expand when you sit, and return to its smaller circumference when you stand, belts are often only comfortable in one of these positions. Suspenders, on the other hand, allow you to have a little extra room at the waistband to accommodate for these changes.
  • They’re better at holding up your pants. This might be the best reason. Belted trousers have a tendency to slip down throughout the day, which requires you to constantly adjust them. With suspenders, you can set the desired length, put them on, and never have to bother with them again.
  • They help your pants drape better. For whatever reason, I’ve found suspenders help pants drape better, particularly at the back. Even if the pants have been custom made for you, belted trousers often have a bit of bunching below the seat. This issue goes away with suspenders.

There are a few things you need in order to wear suspenders, however. Most obviously, you need the buttons on the inside of your waistband in order to attach the leather bits (these often come standard on high-end trousers, but can be added by a tailor if you don’t have them). You also need something cut with a mid- or high-rise (do not wear suspenders with low-rise pants).

You can order Chipp2’s braces at their website or at their store at 28 West 44th Street in New York City. If you can do the second, I’d highly encourage it. Paul is a wonderful man, and an absolute pleasure to talk to. If you allow him, he’ll tell you all sorts of great stories from the heyday of Ivy Style (his father founded Chipp in the late 1940s, after starting his career at J. Press. In his time, he became famous for his madras jackets and for being one of John F. Kennedy’s tailors. You can read about some of this company history at the blog Ivy Style).

Note: Chipp2 is going to be an advertiser with us next month, but our advertising and editorial processes are separate. Besides, we’ve long written about his business and have always liked what he does.

A Coat for the Meanest of Winters
Again, I’m not much of a reblogger, but it’s hard to not reblog a photo of such a wonderful garment. This is what’s known as a “Guards coat,” which is a style of overcoat that takes its name from what English Officers of the Guard used to wear. It’s a “city” coat, which means it’s slightly orientated towards business, rather than leisure. Back in the day, men of a certain class used to have their wardrobes cleaved in half - so there was one part of their wardrobe meant to be worn in the city, and another to be worn in the country. This was meant for the first. 
A traditional Guards coat is made with peak lapels, a double breasted 6x3 button front, welted pockets, and a half belt at the back. You can see versions of it here on Prince Charles and King George VI.
Vox’s coat was made for him by Steed, a small bespoke tailoring house in England that specializes in the “London drape cut.” That essentially means a soft shoulder and slightly fuller chest and upper back. You can kind of see that effect here, although it’s subtle. The cloth is a heavy, heavy, 36oz dark blue cashmere from The London Lounge’s Cloth Club. That’s basically a heavy enough cashmere to keep you warm in Antarctica. 
(Photo via voxsart)

A Coat for the Meanest of Winters

Again, I’m not much of a reblogger, but it’s hard to not reblog a photo of such a wonderful garment. This is what’s known as a “Guards coat,” which is a style of overcoat that takes its name from what English Officers of the Guard used to wear. It’s a “city” coat, which means it’s slightly orientated towards business, rather than leisure. Back in the day, men of a certain class used to have their wardrobes cleaved in half - so there was one part of their wardrobe meant to be worn in the city, and another to be worn in the country. This was meant for the first. 

A traditional Guards coat is made with peak lapels, a double breasted 6x3 button front, welted pockets, and a half belt at the back. You can see versions of it here on Prince Charles and King George VI.

Vox’s coat was made for him by Steed, a small bespoke tailoring house in England that specializes in the “London drape cut.” That essentially means a soft shoulder and slightly fuller chest and upper back. You can kind of see that effect here, although it’s subtle. The cloth is a heavy, heavy, 36oz dark blue cashmere from The London Lounge’s Cloth Club. That’s basically a heavy enough cashmere to keep you warm in Antarctica. 

(Photo via voxsart)

Motoring Style

Despite having no motorcycle of my own — or even my own car, for that matter — I’ve been really into leather motorcycle jackets lately. Above are two photos from one of my favorite StyleForum members, CrimsonSox. He has a knowledge of classic men’s clothing that’s not matched by many people.

The first photo is from Vanity Fair, and shows a version of a motoring outfit in 1907 (check out the goggles). I imagine this was probably worn in open top cars, but one of the interesting things I recently learned was that motorcyclists at the beginning of the 20th century wore a coat and tie when they rode. Something perhaps not too different from this. Some men had leather jackets custom made for them (mostly styled after aviation jackets, such as the A1), but the idea that you really needed serious protective gear (i.e. a real, dedicated motorcycle jacket) didn’t come until the 1930s or 1940s, when motorcycle performance started improving and more men rode them. 

Anyway, the second photo is of a Brooks Brothers store in 1915. Apparently the second floor was used for their “motor clothing department” (clothes to be worn on motorcycles or open-top unheated cars).The first paragraph reads:

We have a complete assortment of everything in the way of clothing, furnishings, and accessories for automobile use, and are prepared to furnish anything in this line in the fashions now practically settled, and deemed correct, many of them being of our own exclusive design.

The idea that you could walk into Brooks Brothers in 1915 and buy a motorcycle jacket — one that was “in the fashions now practically settled, and deemed correct” — is just really, really awesome to me. 

Oh, and Voxsartoria has an even higher resolution image of that second photo. 

(Photos via CrimsonSox’s Twitter)

Living with a Hairy Roommate
Just a little over a year ago, I adopted a cat. She was originally my neighbor’s, but when she started peeing around the house (down air conditioning vents, of all places), she was banished to the backyard shed, never to be allowed back inside again. I felt bad seeing her outside all the time, so I asked my neighbor if I could adopt her. She agreed and ever since – by happy coincidence – I as a menswear enthusiast now live with a tuxedo cat named Clove.
Clove never fails to be near me when I’m at home. She follows me room-to-room when I’m doing chores, and sleeps peacefully on a chair next to me if I’m at my desk doing work. When I used to have a backyard, she’d walk with me outside – just to the gate – and wait for me until I returned from my daily jogs. When my clothes pile up, she sits on top of them as though to remind me fold them away, and she helps me keep to a pretty good early morning schedule. 
The only downside to living with Clove is that she sheds. Not a lot, but enough to get hair all over my shoe bags, some of my clothes, and that chair she’s claimed as hers. And like Will at A Suitable Wardrobe, who also has a problem with hairy roommates, I occasionally find cat hair on my sport coats. I’m as confused as he is on how hair manages to get stuck on clothes that never touch the floor or the seats of furniture. 
I’ve tried a number of solutions. Clothes brushes are the worst, as fine cat hair just slips between the bristles. Lint and hair rollers are OK, but not particularly effective, and they sometimes even leave a sticky residue. Picking hair off with my fingers is just too time consuming.
Some friends have made some joking recommendations. Voxsartoria said this could be solved with some catnip and a box of Nair. Another said I should dye Clove in navy Rit Dye, so her hair just matches all my clothes. Neither has been tried.
Last month, however, I found what I think might be the best solution. If you put on a rubber dishwashing glove, you can wipe the hair off pretty easily. There’s also Swipets – a more form-fitting glove with a tacky surface applied to one side – but I haven’t found it to work any better than your standard $1/ pair dish gloves. In fact, whereas Swipets can sometimes be too rough for certain fabrics (particularly cashmere blends and certain woolens), rubber dishwashing gloves are fairly gentle.
Granted, there’s something undignified about putting on dish gloves and wiping cat hair off your clothes, but it’s significantly better than actually walking out with cat hair all over you. I now consider it something you just have to do when you live with a hairy roommate.

Living with a Hairy Roommate

Just a little over a year ago, I adopted a cat. She was originally my neighbor’s, but when she started peeing around the house (down air conditioning vents, of all places), she was banished to the backyard shed, never to be allowed back inside again. I felt bad seeing her outside all the time, so I asked my neighbor if I could adopt her. She agreed and ever since – by happy coincidence – I as a menswear enthusiast now live with a tuxedo cat named Clove.

Clove never fails to be near me when I’m at home. She follows me room-to-room when I’m doing chores, and sleeps peacefully on a chair next to me if I’m at my desk doing work. When I used to have a backyard, she’d walk with me outside – just to the gate – and wait for me until I returned from my daily jogs. When my clothes pile up, she sits on top of them as though to remind me fold them away, and she helps me keep to a pretty good early morning schedule. 

The only downside to living with Clove is that she sheds. Not a lot, but enough to get hair all over my shoe bags, some of my clothes, and that chair she’s claimed as hers. And like Will at A Suitable Wardrobe, who also has a problem with hairy roommates, I occasionally find cat hair on my sport coats. I’m as confused as he is on how hair manages to get stuck on clothes that never touch the floor or the seats of furniture. 

I’ve tried a number of solutions. Clothes brushes are the worst, as fine cat hair just slips between the bristles. Lint and hair rollers are OK, but not particularly effective, and they sometimes even leave a sticky residue. Picking hair off with my fingers is just too time consuming.

Some friends have made some joking recommendations. Voxsartoria said this could be solved with some catnip and a box of Nair. Another said I should dye Clove in navy Rit Dye, so her hair just matches all my clothes. Neither has been tried.

Last month, however, I found what I think might be the best solution. If you put on a rubber dishwashing glove, you can wipe the hair off pretty easily. There’s also Swipets – a more form-fitting glove with a tacky surface applied to one side – but I haven’t found it to work any better than your standard $1/ pair dish gloves. In fact, whereas Swipets can sometimes be too rough for certain fabrics (particularly cashmere blends and certain woolens), rubber dishwashing gloves are fairly gentle.

Granted, there’s something undignified about putting on dish gloves and wiping cat hair off your clothes, but it’s significantly better than actually walking out with cat hair all over you. I now consider it something you just have to do when you live with a hairy roommate.

Donegal Tweed Ties
As conventional wisdom goes, grenadines are some of the most useful ties you can own. The reason is they’re (typically) solid in color, but also textured in weave. The textured weave allows you to wear it easily with solid colored shirts and jackets, while the solid color allow you to pair it with patterns. There are few jacket, shirt, and tie combinations where a grenadine would not work.
The same principle can be applied with other ties, although they’re slightly more seasonal in use. A tussah or raw silk can be worn in the summer with cotton or linen jacketings, while a boucle can paired with tweed or flannel in the fall. A Suitable Wardrobe just launched their end-of-season sale, and all three types are available at pretty attractive prices. Slightly similar are lightly patterned ties, such as the speckled Donegal tweed my e-friend Voxsartoria is seen wearing above. From a distance, it appears solid in color, but upon closer look, it has little flecks to keep it interesting. Again, something you can wear with solid colored shirts and jackets, or ones with patterns.
Or so I think, anyway. I wanted to get a Donegal tie this past season, but wasn’t able to. Berg and Berg launched their winter sale yesterday, and they had this very lovely speckled navy tie that someone bought before me. Brooks Brothers also had this knit tie that sold out before I even had a chance to consider it.
There are other options still available though. Vanda Fine Clothing has them in Air Force chevron and pebbled grey patterns. Those come in their signature, lightly lined construction, which allows their ties to feel a bit more “true” to their shell fabrics. There’s also Drake’s and E.G. Cappelli – two of my favorite tie makers. Drake’s is a high-quality, no-nonsense construction, while E.G. Cappelli is typically lightly lined and has a bit more visible handstitching. Additionally, there’s Howard Yount and Sid Mashburn. I have no experience with their neckwear, but both companies have solid reputations. And if someone doesn’t mind the skinny widths, there are these options by Gant Rugger and Alexander Olch.
Hopefully I can get one before winter ends. 
(Picture via voxsart)

Donegal Tweed Ties

As conventional wisdom goes, grenadines are some of the most useful ties you can own. The reason is they’re (typically) solid in color, but also textured in weave. The textured weave allows you to wear it easily with solid colored shirts and jackets, while the solid color allow you to pair it with patterns. There are few jacket, shirt, and tie combinations where a grenadine would not work.

The same principle can be applied with other ties, although they’re slightly more seasonal in use. A tussah or raw silk can be worn in the summer with cotton or linen jacketings, while a boucle can paired with tweed or flannel in the fall. A Suitable Wardrobe just launched their end-of-season sale, and all three types are available at pretty attractive prices. Slightly similar are lightly patterned ties, such as the speckled Donegal tweed my e-friend Voxsartoria is seen wearing above. From a distance, it appears solid in color, but upon closer look, it has little flecks to keep it interesting. Again, something you can wear with solid colored shirts and jackets, or ones with patterns.

Or so I think, anyway. I wanted to get a Donegal tie this past season, but wasn’t able to. Berg and Berg launched their winter sale yesterday, and they had this very lovely speckled navy tie that someone bought before me. Brooks Brothers also had this knit tie that sold out before I even had a chance to consider it.

There are other options still available though. Vanda Fine Clothing has them in Air Force chevron and pebbled grey patterns. Those come in their signature, lightly lined construction, which allows their ties to feel a bit more “true” to their shell fabrics. There’s also Drake’s and E.G. Cappelli – two of my favorite tie makers. Drake’s is a high-quality, no-nonsense construction, while E.G. Cappelli is typically lightly lined and has a bit more visible handstitching. Additionally, there’s Howard Yount and Sid Mashburn. I have no experience with their neckwear, but both companies have solid reputations. And if someone doesn’t mind the skinny widths, there are these options by Gant Rugger and Alexander Olch.

Hopefully I can get one before winter ends. 

(Picture via voxsart)

Rus in Urbe

In some parts of the world (namely England), it used to be that men’s clothing could be cleaved in half, so that there was a certain style of dress for the country, and certain style for the city. That time has long passed, and most men today have a lot more freedom in how they dress themselves, but even before things became so casual, there was a practice that some describe as “rus in urbe.” The term  means “country in the city,” and it was first coined by the Spanish poet Martial (though obviously not for sartorial purposes). In men’s dress, however, it means wearing clothes originally designed for countryside sporting pursuits, but in town. It was a way for men in the city to pull off a certain casual look, while still staying quite sharp.

It also happens to be a great style for fall. Dressing rus in urbe means relying on certain textures, patterns, and colors. Think prickly tweeds, ribbed corduroys, and velvety moleskins; patterns such as plaids and tattersalls; and colors such as rich browns, dark greens, and deep burgundies. Throw in a pair of country brogues or boots, particularly if they’re in a soft suede or a hard shell cordovan, and give your pants some nice, deep cuffs. You’ll have a great look this season. 

Of course, there’s always a way of taking things too far. I’ve seen men (on the internet anyway) forcibly layering every rustic item they have on their bodies. A tweed jacket is worn awkwardly over a quilted vest, which are then layered on top of a shawl collar cardigan and tweed waistcoat, under which you can see a wool tie and checked shirt. This kind of fifteen-level fall-layering can look incredibly contrived unless you’re posing for a Ralph Lauren ad.

Better, I think, to stick to something a bit simpler, like our friend Voxsartoria, who has a corduroy suit, or our other friend Mark (from The Armoury), who has paired a waxed Barbour jacket with some jeans. Gianni Angelli in the first photo also looks great in just a simple tweed jacket, blue shirt, and some brown corduroys. Rus in urbe doesn’t have to mean looking like you’re off to hunt pheasants on Main Avenue. When done well, it should look quite natural. 

(Images via Milstil, The Sartorialist, Voxsartoria, The Armoury, and Gezza’s Eyes)

"I suppose that most men who ‘inherit’ clothing this way, thanks to the fluidity of direct person-to-person commerce that technology now enables, have as their first condition a lower tolerance—or ability—to spend than the original owners.

But, as Peter shows, there is no reason why your eye should not be focused on what is well and handsomely made.”

(Full story at Voxsartoria)

What Is Balance?
If you’ve ever participated in online forums about classic men’s clothing, you may have come across people talking about a jacket’s “balance.” But what is balance? Sometimes, it’s a nebulous concept - just a way of someone saying whether they think a jacket looks off or not. Most of the time, however, it refers to something very specific: how a jacket hangs from the shoulders.
To understand this, you have to remember that a jacket takes on the shape of our bodies, so our unique contours and posture will affect how it fits. Which is why if you take two men with the same chest size, the same jacket can look very different on each of them.
There are two aspects to a jacket’s balance. The first is how the front and back lengths relate to each other. Very simply, if you look at a man from his side, the front hem of his jacket should be either roughly even with his back, or it can be slightly longer. The back, generally speaking, should never be longer than the front. If it is, you may see the quarters of the coat (the area of the front below the buttoning point) hike up and possibly “swing inward.”  
This can happen for a number of reasons. One might be that the person stands too erect, so the back essentially “dips down” while the front “hikes up.” It may also be that the person has a very large stomach, so the front of the jacket doesn’t have enough material to cover that area without disturbing how the jacket hangs.
The opposite of this is also possible. Someone might have prominent shoulder blades or stand with a stoop. In this case, he’ll need a bit more length in the back and less in the front. Otherwise, the quarters of his jacket might fall away towards his hips and the vents at the back might gape.
The second aspect of balance refers to how the left and right sides of a jacket relate to each other. Similarly, these should also be aligned. This might seem like it should occur naturally, but certain things can complicate it. If your right shoulder is considerably lower than your left (which is very common, by the way), you’ll notice that everything on the right side of your jacket will also be dropped accordingly.
Fixing this isn’t as easy as just adding length to the right side or taking away some on the left, however. It’s not just the hem that’s affected, it’s everything on the right – the way the left and right pockets align with each other, the notches on your lapels, as well as the buttons and buttonholes. A tailor can fix this for you, but it helps to know what to look for in order to assess whether a jacket fits you correctly.
All this can seem confusing and complicated if you’ve never thought about these concepts. In the end, however, you can simply think of it like this: if someone were to view you from the side, the front and back of your jacket should be even, or the front can be slightly longer than the back. You can examine this by seeing how the hem aligns. Similarly, when viewed from the front, the left and right sides of your jacket’s hem should be roughly even as well. If they’re not, it can be said that your jacket’s balance is off.  
(Photo via Voxsartoria)

What Is Balance?

If you’ve ever participated in online forums about classic men’s clothing, you may have come across people talking about a jacket’s “balance.” But what is balance? Sometimes, it’s a nebulous concept - just a way of someone saying whether they think a jacket looks off or not. Most of the time, however, it refers to something very specific: how a jacket hangs from the shoulders.

To understand this, you have to remember that a jacket takes on the shape of our bodies, so our unique contours and posture will affect how it fits. Which is why if you take two men with the same chest size, the same jacket can look very different on each of them.

There are two aspects to a jacket’s balance. The first is how the front and back lengths relate to each other. Very simply, if you look at a man from his side, the front hem of his jacket should be either roughly even with his back, or it can be slightly longer. The back, generally speaking, should never be longer than the front. If it is, you may see the quarters of the coat (the area of the front below the buttoning point) hike up and possibly “swing inward.”  

This can happen for a number of reasons. One might be that the person stands too erect, so the back essentially “dips down” while the front “hikes up.” It may also be that the person has a very large stomach, so the front of the jacket doesn’t have enough material to cover that area without disturbing how the jacket hangs.

The opposite of this is also possible. Someone might have prominent shoulder blades or stand with a stoop. In this case, he’ll need a bit more length in the back and less in the front. Otherwise, the quarters of his jacket might fall away towards his hips and the vents at the back might gape.

The second aspect of balance refers to how the left and right sides of a jacket relate to each other. Similarly, these should also be aligned. This might seem like it should occur naturally, but certain things can complicate it. If your right shoulder is considerably lower than your left (which is very common, by the way), you’ll notice that everything on the right side of your jacket will also be dropped accordingly.

Fixing this isn’t as easy as just adding length to the right side or taking away some on the left, however. It’s not just the hem that’s affected, it’s everything on the right – the way the left and right pockets align with each other, the notches on your lapels, as well as the buttons and buttonholes. A tailor can fix this for you, but it helps to know what to look for in order to assess whether a jacket fits you correctly.

All this can seem confusing and complicated if you’ve never thought about these concepts. In the end, however, you can simply think of it like this: if someone were to view you from the side, the front and back of your jacket should be even, or the front can be slightly longer than the back. You can examine this by seeing how the hem aligns. Similarly, when viewed from the front, the left and right sides of your jacket’s hem should be roughly even as well. If they’re not, it can be said that your jacket’s balance is off.  

(Photo via Voxsartoria)

A tremendously well cut suit elegantly worn by Michael Anton. Note the classic proportions, such as the width of the lapels and the buttoning point. If Mr. Anton were to step away from the podium, you could be sure that the jacket’s length wouldn’t be too short, either. An extended shoulder line and a touch of fullness in the chest gives him a nice, masculine look, while the soft, sloping shoulders make him look natural and at ease. 
It’s a shame you rarely find anything this good off-the-rack. But photos such as this can help train your eye so that you can better judge of what’s a truly well fitting suit. Don’t buy a jacket that is too short, has too high of a gorge, lapels that are too skinny, or a buttoning point near your sternum. 
Not even if it’s on sale. 
(photo via voxsart)

A tremendously well cut suit elegantly worn by Michael Anton. Note the classic proportions, such as the width of the lapels and the buttoning point. If Mr. Anton were to step away from the podium, you could be sure that the jacket’s length wouldn’t be too short, either. An extended shoulder line and a touch of fullness in the chest gives him a nice, masculine look, while the soft, sloping shoulders make him look natural and at ease. 

It’s a shame you rarely find anything this good off-the-rack. But photos such as this can help train your eye so that you can better judge of what’s a truly well fitting suit. Don’t buy a jacket that is too short, has too high of a gorge, lapels that are too skinny, or a buttoning point near your sternum. 

Not even if it’s on sale. 

(photo via voxsart)

“Who wants to look like a fucking Polo window?” — Charlie Davidson, The Andover Shop (via voxsart)

(via voxsart-deactivated20120827)