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Although they’re an online custom clothier, Proper Cloth flies to a far-off destination every season to shoot a lookbook. Their presentations are as beautiful as they are instructive. This season, the team went to Iceland, where they shot their latest collection of technical raincoats, brushed cotton flannels, and woolen coats against a backdrop of luscious, green hills and cold gray roads.
This season’s lookbook has a few notable items. There’s a beige version of Proper Cloth’s new pique knits, which are made from a Tencel and cotton blend. These knits are soft — really soft — and they have a wrinkle-resistant, comfy stretch quality that makes them perfect for lounging. At the same time, when made into one of Proper Cloth’s polos, you can use these to dress down a sport coat (use Proper Cloth’s Soft Ivy or Soft Roma Cutaway as collar options). There’s also a slate grey Tencel-cotton blend flannel, which will have a similar softness, but looks a little more dressed up.
If you ever find yourself wanting to wear tailored clothing, but feel that suits and sport coats look too formal, try an unstructured topcoat. Proper Cloth’s new topcoats come in sober colors such as grey and navy, but they have an updated, trim-ish cut that will look modern with jeans and chinos. You’ll want to wear something like a thick knit underneath (topcoats sometimes look too empty without the visual heft of a sweater). One of Proper Cloth’s flecked Arans will do just the trick.
Long-time readers know Chipp supplies the most affordable grenadine neckties. They source their silks from the same Italian mills as top-end brands, but their ties start at a much more affordable $45 (grenadines are $60 and, like everything Chipp sells, are made in New York City). Paul Winston, the shop’s owner, tells me he can’t imagine charging much more because he remembers what neckties used to cost fifty years ago, back when his family’s business dressed men such as President John F. Kennedy, Andy Warhol, and Joe DiMaggio.
If you’re looking for your first grenadine, consider three colors: black, some sort of dark blue, and silver. Black can look severe in certain contexts, which is why it’s often not recommended for suits or socks, but the color manages to be neutral for grenadines and knit ties. You can wear a black grenadine with navy suits, tobacco linen suits, and brown tweeds. Dark blue, either in the shade matching your navy suits or one shade lighter, is equally versatile (a dark blue tie can also be an excellent way to visually anchor a light-colored sport coat, which could otherwise float away from you). Lastly, silver grenadines are for guys who only wear ties on special occasions — weddings, fancy parties, and other formal gatherings. Silver ties look less like office clothes than their dark blue counterparts, and the textured grenadine weave here keeps these from looking cheap and shiny.
In the last few years, many customers have shifted their spending from made-in-the-USA products to those produced offshore. To be sure, many good things are created abroad. But as American factories have fallen like dominos, it’s worth revisiting what makes buying American so special.
Dapper Classics’ socks, for example, are produced at a third-generation, family-owned mill based in North Carolina. The company is so dedicated to American manufacturing that they even invested in machinery at this mill. By producing in the United States, they can offer high-quality socks that rival the best in the world, but offer them at a much lower price. Dapper Classics’ socks are just as well-made as those from Bresciani and Marcoliani — their dotted socks even hold up better in the wash — but instead of charging $40 for a pair of over-the-calf wool socks, Dapper Classics’ socks start at $20. They’re able to do this because they don’t pay for import fees and international shipping. When you purchase something from Dapper Classics, a larger percentage of what you’re spending goes towards higher-quality materials, top-end construction, and higher labor standards.
If you’re looking for conservative patterns to supplement an already full rotation of solid colors, try Dapper Classics’ selection of pin-dot, grenadine, and nailhead designs. Those can be an excellent way to add some visual interest to an outfit without going too quirky. Remember that navy socks go with everything. Otherwise, match the color of your socks to your trousers. This will help visually elongate your leg line (e.g., grey socks with grey trousers, brown socks with tan trousers, etc.).
Rowing Blazers brought back two of their most popular collaborations for one big, 15-piece capsule collection this past week. The collection was designed in collaboration with FILA and Babar — the first representing the perfect prep pedigree, and the second embodying the same playful spirit that Rowing Blazers has always championed.
This new collection is inspired by tennis. It includes polo shirts, shorts, tracksuits, baseball caps, tennis bags, and sweatshirts. Each piece incorporates the Babar character, including the famous “Babar the King” illustration by Jean de Brunhoff, which shows Babar and Celeste playing doubles. In addition, Rowing Blazers released a special edition of the FILA Tennis 88 sneaker, which is decorated with the Rowing Blazers, FILA, and Babar logo treatments on the tongue and heel. The shoe’s design includes a Babar illustration on the midsole and sock liners, which includes the same storybook image as seen on the graphic tee.
You can find the new collection on Rowing Blazers’ website. Select styles will also be available on FILA’s website later this fall.
In the last few years, No Man Walks Alone has become one of the menswear world’s favorite stores. Along with carrying exceptional tailoring, they also have hard-to-find Japanese labels, workwear, and the avant-garde. If you want to get something there for a little cheaper, rummage through your closet and see if you can find things you haven’t worn for a while. If you’re willing to consign them to LuxeSwap to be auctioned off on eBay, you can turn your profits into store credit at No Man Walks Alone. LuxeSwap will lower their fees a bit, and No Man Walks Alone will top off what you got through those auctions. Those credits never expire, so you can spend them whenever you want.
This program has allowed LuxeSwap to deal directly with many of No Man Walks Alone’s best customers. As a result, buyers can also find old NMWA stock at LuxeSwap’s auctions. This week, Matt at LuxeSwap put up some seriously nice duds. Discerning readers will be able to spot some familiar items: Scott & Charters shawl collar cardigan, Tony Shirtmakers chambray shirt, Inis Meain birdseye sweater, Norwegian Rain “Moscow” coat, and Rota moleskin trousers. As always, if you want to narrow in on the “best of the best,” just do a search for #1 Menswear.