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The weather has dipped to frigid temperatures, and if you’re dining out, you’re probably dining outside. This week, Proper Cloth has a guide on how you can enjoy a much needed and safe outing while still staying comfortable. They recommend using a cashmere turtleneck as a baselayer (a turtleneck, after all, is just a sweater with a built-in scarf), wool socks, and insulating long underwear. For added layering, they have dressy wool puffer vests that can be tucked underneath a wool-and-alpaca topcoat. For readers living in more temperate climates, there are some inspiring looks based around Westernwear — a corduroy trucker jacket paired with a grey tonal plaid shirt, pair of white jeans, and a Western belt. That belt will also do well with regular tweed ensembles, such as a denim shirt worn with a tweed jacket and jeans (a personal signature of Ralph Lauren himself).
For at-home comfort, you can try Proper Cloth’s custom-made knitted shirts. They come in a variety of fibers, such as pique cotton and wool-blends. Some have subtle flecks and texture for added visual interest. Paired with a soft spread or button-down collar, they can be something you wear at home with jeans, chinos, or in the summer, shorts. They can also be used to dress down a sport coat for impromptu Zoom meetings. Naturally, white and light blue will be your most versatile colors, but navy is surprisingly useful.
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.
Dapper Classics is running their winter sale from now until Friday, where you can knock an additional 40% off already discounted items. That puts some of their socks at $10 and trousers at $75. Shipping is also free on all orders over $50.
You may be surprised to find that many of the included items are wardrobe staples, such as mid-grey flannel trousers (now $135 in select sizes). They also have over-the-calf socks decorated with various patriotic themes — symbols of both major US parties and a bipartisan sock with just the American flag. Those would be great for wearing on election days and the Fourth of July. Search through the back pages of their sale section, and you’ll also find over-the-calf socks made from fine mercerized cotton. Breathable, airy, and durable, they compare well to top-end European makers such as Bresciani and Marcoliani, but cost a fraction of the price.
The tote is such a simple item, but one that’s genuinely useful in lockdown. When it’s sized correctly, it’s something you can use for quick grocery runs and short errands, especially in walkable cities. If the tote is too large, it can become unwieldy, and possibly invite you to carry more than you need (something you may regret halfway through your walk). Too small, and it’s useless. But in that sweet spot between sizes, it’s perfect for lugging home groceries, carrying small packages to the Post Office, or doing anything around town.
Rowing Blazers has cotton totes this season decorated with an illustration of Babar in his iconic green suit. Made in the USA from pure cotton canvas, it has straps that are long enough to carry over your shoulder, but not so long that the bag will drag on the floor. It’s cheerful, whimsical, and useful in this quarantine age. Rowing Blazers also has a similar tote in green.
Every Thursday, LuxeSwap posts a new round of menswear auctions up on eBay. These auctions run for ten days, which means they end on the second Sunday following when they’ve been posted. Since these auctions typically start at a low $9.99, the final price is often lower than what you can usually snag off retail sales.
At the moment, they have a number of notable items, not least of which includes the dispatch coat that Permanent Style made in collaboration with the Manchester-based factory Private White VC. The piece is styled after the motorcycle coat that British dispatch riders wore in the Second World War. Long, belted, and made from Ventile cotton, this specific version can be worn on dry and wet days (the fabric swells up when wet, closing the pores and thus making the material waterproof). There’s also a soft-shouldered Eidos sport coat from No Man Walks Alone, Bryceland’s turtleneck, grained Lof & Tung boots, red William Lockie cashmere sweater, and suede Carmina Chelsea boots. Lastly, don’t forget to riffle through the big batch of pocket squares. There are some deals in there.