Entries Tagged as 'Sharper Staffer'
Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been discussing the basics of men’s fashion: buying shoes, proper tailoring, etc. So today, I thought we might shift gears a little bit and talk about what men, who already have the basics covered, can do to bring some added style to their look. And sometimes, it’s the little things that count the most.
The Money Clip. Nothing ruins the line of a perfectly cut suit like a giant ass tumor. So put your Castanza wallet away and start stowing your essentials in a slim, sophisticated money clip. Your rear end will thank you.
Cufflinks. Last week’s tutorial on tailoring mentioned that a man’s shirt sleeves should hang just slightly longer than the sleeves of his suit jacket. This makes a chic pair of cufflinks an essential piece in any man’s wardrobe. Plus, I think cufflinks are really dashing. They just finish off an outfit with a flourish, and it’s a great way to express your personality in the staid world of business attire.
Tie Bars and Tacks. One of my biggest pet peeves is when men wear ties without a tie bar or a tie tack. First off, their utilitarian because they keep your tie from flopping into your food or drink. And secondly, they provide an opportunity to mix a little Rat Pack chic into your ensemble.
Pocket Squares. I’ve mentioned the love I hold for these tiny silk handkerchiefs before, but let me say it again. Pocket squares really lift an outfit. Your basic navy suit makes you just another staffer in a boring blue blazer. But add a pocket square in a tie-coordinated color, and you become as close to GQ as any Hill denizen can be.
If the colors scare you, a basic white or grey pocket square is less intimidating and still suave. And to add even more swank to your suit, Sam Hober offers a myriad of creative ways to fold your pocket square.
On a financial note, I think the best place to buy stylish accessories for men is Etsy. The online shopping site has a great selection of vintage pieces at really low prices. Plus, if I ever asked a man where he got his tie bar, and he responded with, “It’s vintage,” I’d probably go week in the knees. (Just something to think about.)
So if you have the basics covered, these little extras are a great way to boost your look and take your suit from boring to breathtaking. ZZ Top wasn’t lying, every girl is crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man.
When I was a little girl, I would sit in a tall wing-backed chairs in Nordstrom’s Men’s Department and watch the tailor fit my Father for his suits. I was always so jealous that I had to buy my clothes off the rack, but my Father could have his custom fit. Of course, now, I know the difference between bespoke and basic tailoring, but part of me is still jealous of how easy it is for men to find clothes that fit.
While women’s sizes vary widely, men have got it made with standardized sizes. Stores who cater to men’s suiting have tailors on site, we don’t even have retailers who cater solely to women’s suiting. And yet, despite these advantages, some men are still walking around the Capitol in suits that look like they came right off of the rack and went straight into their closets.
Whether the cause is no tailoring or poor tailoring, it’s equally sickening. So here are some quick and essential tailoring tips for the masses.
Hemmed Tight. The easiest alteration that your suit will need is that the pants will need to be hemmed. When hemming suit pants there are a couple of facts to consider:
1) How tall are you? If you’re shorter than 5’10″, I don’t recommend cuffed pants. If for some reason, you must have cuffs, make sure that the height of the cuff is proportional to your height.
Why are cuffs bad? Well, if you’re not very tall, having cuffs on your pants is like wearing a measuring stick on your leg. It creates a scale which just accentuates your lack of vertical appeal.
2) As a general rule, the front of your trousers should touch the upper part of your shoe and the back of your trouser should not touch the ground. Where you go from there is up to you. I (like many women) prefer a generous break in the pants. I think that like a wide lapel, it looks a bit more luxe. Though if you prefer something less substantial that’s fine too, as long as it touches the top of your shoe. (This isn’t negotiable. Please stop walking around in pants that are too short. You look like a schmuck.)
Flat and Buttoned. Perhaps, the most egregious of all tailoring issues is when a jacket doesn’t fit through the shoulders. When a man is standing with his arms relaxed at his sides, his lapels should lay flat against his chest. If they lift away from the body, that means his tailor need to find a new profession.
As for the buttons, those should also rest slightly against the body or hang just slightly away depending on your preference. Oh, and if you’re wearing a three-button suit, remember that the rule is sometimes fasten the top button, always fasten the middle button, never fasten the bottom button. If you’re wearing a four button jacket (why would you?), the rule is sometimes, always, sometimes, never. Fastening the buttons this way allows for a looser feel (which is more modern) and more movement in the hips (which is more comfortable).
Hidden Up My Sleeve. Lastly, let’s talk about sleeve length. When standing with the shoulder relaxed and arms at your side, your suit sleeve should touch the base of your thumb. Not the middle of your forearm, not the top of your wrist, the base of your thumb.
In addition, your dress shirt should hang lower than your sleeve by 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch. Nothing says, “My tailor learned his craft from Sweeney Todd,” like having jacket sleeves that are longer than your shirt sleeves.
Is this an exhaustive list? Of course not. There’s also pocket location, button placement, lapel width, fabric content and shoulder seaming to discuss, but that’s another show. Today, I just want to fix the four or five worst offenses. I can conquer the rest in another post.
I hate shopping. But my girlfriend wanted to pick up something last Sunday so we dropped into Nordstrom before we went to lunch. Next thing I know, I’m in the men’s department trying on clothes. I probably tried on 30 items, and just to stop the madness I bought a pair of jeans–which, come on, they’re jeans–and she talked me into a purple sweater. She says it’s “eggplant.”
Now, I own this thing and I don’t know what to wear it with. But I have to wear it, or it will be a thing.
Do Tough Guys Wear Purple?
I laughed my head off when I received this e-mail. Mostly, because the signature line is hysterical. But also, because this poor guy thinks they just “dropped in” to a department store and just wound up trying on clothes.
I’m not saying she planned this for weeks, but I am saying that the second you stepped foot in that mall, you were going shopping. Your girlfriend’s premeditated, men’s department drive-by aside, this is a very common problem.
Girlfriend/Wife/Mom buys you a piece of clothing and now you have to wear it, but you don’t know how. This is especially problematic if the piece in question is either an odd color, a bold pattern, or outside of the box in any way. But, yes, tough guys do wear purple. (And pink.)
If you’re going to give a new outfit a test flight, you don’t do it at work. If I want to try something new, I wear it to dinner, to church, or break it out for Saturday errands. This way I can decide whether it works for me without the fear that I’m embarassing myself in a professional setting. Here’s an outfit that would be great for a Saturday night dinner date.
Add a dark or medium wash jean and a black driving moc and your good to go. Don’t own a grey sportcoat? Navy or camel would be nice. Black would also be acceptable, but I’d switch to a light grey pocket square in that case. What, you don’t want to wear a pocket square?
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: A pocket square takes from the minor leagues in Dubuque to Wrigley Field. No single item of clothing has the transformative power of a pocket square. So buy one, or 12.
Before the New Year, I pledged to start writing posts on men’s fashion since the number of male readers has grown somewhat since my last survey in 2009. I was initially hesitant to foray into the realm of men’s style because most men cringe whenever a discussion about fashion takes place.
I know that the men in my office (sans one) would rather have their eyes poked out with a red-hot coat hanger than listen to my thoughts on their wardrobes. No matter how well-intentioned and correct (IMHO) this counsel may be. It’s not a concern of theirs and they would prefer that I not try to fix something (that in their view) isn’t broken. Hopefully, my advice will be better received on this site than it is in my cubicle farm.
While I had planned to do an introductory post on shirts and ties, last night’s walk home forced me to reconsider.
As I walked through the Metro last night, I decided to count the number of men who were wearing dirty, scuffed, warped and otherwise worn out shoes. In just three stops (including one transfer), I spotted 22 pairs of broken and beaten shoes.
Even my own office is not immune from this faux pas. My co-worker often wears a pair of braided, tasseled loafers that look like they’ve been to war on the feet of a Roman legionnaire. They’re depressingly dilapidated.
A professional man should own a minimum of two pairs of dress shoes (one black, one brown). And you should care for these shoes not only so they look nice, but so they last a long while. Here’s how:
Step 1: Before you leave the store, ask if they can weatherproof your shoes for you. This is your first defense against future damages.
If they don’t offer this service, buy a can of weatherizer at Nordstrom or Bed, Bath and Beyond. Sure, it’s $15, but it could save you big in the long run.
Step 2: Use a shoe horn. This will prevent damage to the back of the shoe.
Step 3: Shine your shoes at least one per month. This will keep the leather looking sharp and keep the scuffing to a minimum. This is especially important in the winter months when sidewalk salt and grime seem to be everywhere.
Step 4: To properly store your shoes, you need cedar shoe forms. They help your shoes keep their shape (last longer), absorb moisture and eliminate odors. Your shoes can last twice as long, if you use forms.
Step 5: When your shoes start to fray at the seams and are looking less than their best, take them to a cobbler. Often, they can replace the laces and soles and freshen them up for far less than a new pair will cost.
This season, I had the toes of my boots re-leathered, the soles replaced and the heels changed for $31. This was a $125 savings. Not too shabby.
Step 6: Know when it’s time to give up the ghost. When the shoes have permanent creases in the toes, frayed seams and separations in the leather, it’s time to say goodbye.
Sure, most men will argue that it doesn’t matter what their shoes look like, because people shouldn’t judge you by your shoes. But just because they shouldn’t, doesn’t mean they won’t.
Nothing ruins a nice suit and tie like worn out kicks. It’s like wearing a frayed, acid wash denim jacket with a cocktail dress. So weatherize your shoes when you buy them, shine them regularly, and care for them as best you can.
If “fashion” makes you roll your eyes, then think of it as being fiscally responsible. You’re saving money on shoes in the long run, and looking more professional and polished in the short-term. So grab a horse hair brush and start polishing.