We couldn’t be more appreciative of our sponsors. As an independent menswear site, they’re why we’re able to keep the lights on. So, twice a month, we like to give them a special shoutout to recognize them for their support. Doing so also allows us to update our readers on our sponsors’ latest happenings.
For a custom tailoring company, Proper Cloth does a surprising number of lookbooks. Historically, custom tailors have been pretty hush-hush about their operations, frowning upon the mere idea of marketing. When Tommy Nutter first opened a shop on Savile Row, his neighbors couldn’t believe he had neatly arranged shop windows to attract random passersby. But times have changed, and companies such as Proper Cloth are merging the worlds of ready-made and custom tailoring. Every season, the team flies to some remote locale to shoot a lookbook, showing customers how they can wear Proper Cloth’s new customizable duds.
This springtime, the team flew to Mexico City, where they shot their new collection of tailored clothing, dress shirts, and casual outerwear against a backdrop of sand-colored architecture. The photo above shows Proper Cloth’s new stone-colored wool-silk-linen suit worn with a simple blue chambray shirt and white pocket square, a great outfit for summer weddings and fancy dinner outings. They also show how you can dress down a navy glen plaid sport coat with light-colored jeans, team beige cotton-linen sweaters with dressy puffer vests, and make a simple polo and trouser outfit look sharp.
The polo is one of the most controversial garments in menswear. Once used as a signifier of prep insidership, it has become the de facto garment of business casual and Hilton business lunch meetings. Yet, the style also has its virtues. Its stretchy knit fabric is more forgiving than a woven button-up. On hot summer days, it can be tender mercy indeed. It requires little to no ironing, making it the perfect travel shirt or ideal for lazy Sunday mornings. And in an increasingly casual world, the soft, unstarched collar frames the face better than a crewneck t-shirt but is free of the button-up’s stiff ceremony.
Wolf vs. Goat’s polo shirts are a step up from the stretchy pullovers you can find at the mall. Like many of their garments, these are entirely made in Italy — from the fabric production to the cut-and-sewing. There are a few types here. The first is linen-cotton polo made from Filmar yarns, and then pure cotton pique knits made from Maglificio Maggia fabrics (those are available in short and long sleeves).
Since these polos are free of the chest insignia that wears like a boutonniere — the galloping horses, waddling penguins, and even the original snapping alligator — they look cleaner and sharper. You can wear the short-sleeved versions with shorts, chinos, and jeans, but the long-sleeves can be worn casually or under suits and sport coats (the longer sleeves allow that requisite quarter-inch shirt cuff to peek out). The retail price is $220 but remember: if you sign up for Wolf vs. Goat’s Rewards Membership program, you get a 50% discount on all non-sale purchases for the rest of your life, bringing the price down to $110.
If you’re just starting to build a neckwear wardrobe, you could do worse than starting with a basic grenadine. The textured Italian silk adds visual interest to solid-colored sport coats but is also subdued enough to pair with patterned jackets. Your next few ties should continue to be basic — rep stripes, foulards, and perhaps a knit for casual occasions.
Once you have the basics, consider getting things in more seasonal fabrics. Raw silk and linen are ideal for summer. However, in the fall and winter months, you’ll want things such as tweed, cashmere, wool challis, and most of all, ancient madder. Paul at Chipp Neckwear once told me that the chalky hand of ancient madder reminds him of a horse’s wet nose. I’ve always thought that description is charming. Madder ties are useful in the winter because they sit in the middle in terms of formality. They’re just as good with tweed and corduroy sport coats as they are with worsted suits. Chipp’s ties are made in NYC using the same English silks as what you’ll find from top-tier producers, except theirs cost less than $70.
A new pair of socks is probably the easiest way to freshen up your wardrobe. Dapper Classics’ socks are made in North Carolina at a third-generation, family-owned mill. These socks are knitted from fine cotton and wool yarns, hand-linked at the toes, and come in classic and slightly more whimsical designs. The company’s new spring collection includes brown tartan socks, summer-ready colors such as lime green, and cheeky designs like the dog motif you see above (I mean, these are dogs, and everyone loves dogs).
The company also has some new pocket squares, which are made in Italy from wool-silk fabrics. Colorful patterns such as florals and paisleys abound. If you’re wondering which you should choose, go with this simple rule of thumb: wear a pocket square in a color that picks up one of the primary colors in your tie or complements it on the color wheel. If you’re not wearing a tie, you can go with whatever looks right. A bright, cheery pocket square would look great with a springtime tan linen jacket, whereas you might want a more sober color with something like a dark worsted suit.
Most men’s clothing derives in some way from war or sport, but few things in our wardrobe have a more direct connection to modern sportswear than rugbies. The collared pullover style has been a staple for a certain kind of Northeastern prep look for decades, but rugbies also come in many other flavors. There’s David Hockney’s “art dude” rugby look, Yvon Chouinard’s “1970s rock climbing” rugby style, and Italian Paninaro youth culture.
Our friends at Rowing Blazers have been making the kind of authentic, heavyweight rugbies that men used to wear out to the field 50 to 100 years ago. Some of their most popular models are called “dad rugbies. “We’re drawing on a very specific reference for these designs: the rugby shirts of 1980s catalog culture; the rugby shirts worn by outdoorsmen, weekend warriors, dads of all shapes and sizes in the late 20th century,” says Rowing Blazer founder Jack Carlson. “These are slightly lighter weight and baggier than our ‘authentic’ rugby shirts, and have a twill collar instead of a knitted collar. They will retail for less than our ‘authentic’ rugbies and won’t have embroidery.” You can wear them with jeans or chinos, under duffle coats, or even the right sport coat.
If you’re in or around New York City, our friends at LuxeSwap are holding a pop-up (or a trade-up) event at No Man Walks Alone’s showroom. For a few years now, the two companies have had a partnership where people consign their unwanted clothes with LuxeSwap, who will, in turn, list these items on eBay. They do all the hard work — taking professional photos, creating the listings, answering buyers’ questions, and shipping out the orders once the auction ends. In return, they take a small portion of the profits. However, if you’re willing to take your cut in the form of store credit at No Man Walks Alone, LuxeSwap lowers their fees and No Man Walks Alone will top off your profits with a bit of extra store credit. These pop-up events are a great way for you to save on shipping, as you can drop off your clothes at No Man Walks Alone’s showroom, and browse the showroom for new spring arrivals.
Additionally, don’t forget that LuxeSwap has a bunch of consignments from The Armoury, who held their sample sale a few months ago. Through LuxeSwap, these deadstock items are now available to a much wider audience (not just those who can make it to these NYC events). Look up Armoury partners’ names, such as Coherence, Ascot Chang, Ring Jacket, Carmina, and of course, The Armoury itself. You can find hundreds of Armoury-related items starting at $9.99 auction prices. Lastly, Matthew at LuxeSwap tells just that he scored a massive collection of Polo Ralph Lauren items from a collector. Lo Heads and RL fanatics will want to look up that stash, as it includes some rare sweaters.