We’re incredibly thankful as an independent menswear site to have sponsors. So, twice a month, we like to give them a special shoutout and say a little about what’s going on with them.
Fall style is largely about layering, but there are better and worse ways to combine items. This week, Proper Cloth has a style guide this season that shows how you can combine colors, textures, and pieces with some nuance and sophistication. They have suggestions on how to incorporate unstructured overcoats, citified down vests, and unusually good autumnal colors. In the photo above, you can see how a black cashmere crewneck sweater can be used as a supportive base layer underneath a mid-grey sport coat and charcoal topcoat. Black sweaters, such as this one, are great for almost anything — tan suede jackets, French blue chore coats, and olive bombers. They disappear into the background and help make your outerwear visually pop. You can check out Proper Cloth’s new style guide on their website. More than a few looks incorporate their new Cortina vests, which can be layered over sweaters three seasons out of the year.
Over the last thirty years, suspenders have gone much in the way of hats. Once common in men’s wardrobes, they’ve become something of a relic of the past. But why might you want to wear suspenders? For one, they’re more comfortable than organ-squeezing tourniquets. Since your waist expands when you sit, and return to its smaller circumference when you stand, belts are 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. Plus, they’re better at holding up your pants. Belted trousers tend to slip down throughout the day, which requires you to adjust them continually. You can set the desired length with suspenders, put them on, and never bother with them again.
Chipp Neckwear has the most affordable ones around, at least if you’re looking for something well-made and produced in the USA. The price is $45.50, which is lower than their competitors — much like the price of their grenadine ties. They offer 20 solid colors and three stripes, the choice of black or brown leather kips, as well as gold or silver-colored adjusters.
We make no bones about being big fans of the inimitable G Bruce Boyer, menswear author extraordinaire. He’s one of the wisest sages out there, and his commandments are worth memorizing. But in his latest book, True Style, he was given flak for starting it off on a chapter about ascots. When he spoke on Bullseye, he clarified by saying, “I think I shouldn’t have said ‘ascots;’ I should’ve said ‘scarves.’ There’s something you can do with your neck instead of leaving it to hang out there while everything else is nicely upholstered. A nice scarf at the neck is wonderful.” We heartily agree.
This week, Dapper Classics has alpaca scarves in two sizes: 27 “x 80” and 13 “x 80” (the second being closer to a muffler). These were woven in Peru using royal baby alpaca, a luxurious natural fiber that is lightweight, hypoallergenic, and exceptionally soft. Fine alpaca is considered a noble fiber and is thus more expensive than ordinary sheep’s wool. When used in a scarf, it’s less itchy against the neck. Dapper Classic’s new alpaca scarves come in solid colors, subtle plaids, and classic herringbones. We recommend getting one in a color that contrasts with the majority of your outerwear.
During the 1980s, the Sloane Rangers were the British equivalent of American preps. They embraced things such as waxed cotton Barbour jackets, tattersall shirts, and Hunter boots as part of an upper-middle-class look, partly inspired by photos of the newlywed Charles and Diana wearing theirs while at their country home. But the most iconic pieces associated with Princess Diana are these intarsia sweaters you see above, which have been recently brought back by Rowing Blazers.
One of them is the “sheep sweater,” a red knit jumper emblazoned with rows of sheep (including one black sheep) designed in 1979 by two young women in their twenties, Joanna Osborne and Sally Muir. Their label, Warm & Wonderful Knitwear, began with a market stall in London’s Covent Garden but shot to fame in the early ’80s when Lady Diana Spencer began wearing one of their sheep jumpers to her fiancé Prince Charles’ polo matches. David Bowie, Andy Warhol, and a string of other icons of the era were also early Warm & Wonderful customers. The pattern has been copied from time to time, but Osborne and Muir have not produced the original until now. This one is a true collaboration and comes with a “Warm & Wonderful for Rowing Blazers” label.
Another iconic Diana knit is a soft pink and white sweater with the cryptic phrase “I’m a luxury” blocked out across the front. The original was produced in several colorways during the 1980s by British designer George Hostler and his compatriot Gyles Brandreth, a writer, broadcaster, and sometimes member of the British Parliament. Princess Diana and Elton John were among the duo’s devotees. “Both of these sweater designs have been copied or referenced by others over the years (sometimes without crediting or acknowledging the original designers),” says Rowing Blazers creative director Jack Carlson. “But collaborating with the original designers is exactly what makes this so special to me. I can just picture Joanna and Sally in their twenties, selling their jumpers to Sloane Rangers, pop stars, and royalty. When I was little, in the early ’90s, my family lived in Hampstead in north London, and my mother had one of the original sheep sweaters. It looks as great now as it did then.” You can find the new sweaters on Rowing Blazer’s website, their flagship store in New York City, and Selfridges London.
Every year on Thanksgiving, LuxeSwap lists the best things they have in their inventory on eBay. While other stores will be holding Black Friday sales at this time, even their best steals don’t compare to LuxeSwap prices. That’s because LuxeSwap trades in second-hand and gently used clothing (sometimes even new and not yet worn). Since these items are collected from consignors and sold through auction, their prices are always much lower than what you can get through a retailer.
If you have some things languishing in the back of your closet, consider sending them to LuxeSwap for consignment. Since they’re only listing their best items on Thanksgiving, their auctions around this time tend to get more attention. Of course, your items also have to be up to snuff, but there’s power in numbers. When your auction goes up along with names such as Sartoria Formosa, Rota, and Blue Blue Japan, you’re more likely to attract the right buyers (and fetch fairer prices). The good news is that it’s almost effortless to send things to LuxeSwap. Just email them first to let you know what you have (get a thumbs up first), then put things in a box, and ship them off. LuxeSwap will pay you back for inbound shipping (so long as you’re in the Continental US). They also have a trade-up program, where you can earn more money if you’re willing to take payment in the form of store credit at No Man Walks Alone. But hurry, as LuxeSwap is currently filling spots and will be closing this off in two weeks, so they have time to prepare for their Thanksgiving blowout.