Sunday, December 20, 2009

Shop Gilt Man To Get Affordable Designer Clothes

I recently signed up for Gilt Man and have to say I'm very impressed with the selection & prices on affordable designer clothes for men available.

For example, here are a few of the deals.
  • Steven Alan Woolrich wool coat. Regular $450 for $175.
  • Ralph Lauren Calfskin Lace-Up Boots. Regular $795 for $358.
  • Marc Jacobs virgin wool silk blazer. Regular $1,395 for $378.
And these aren't especially GOOD deals for the site... these are just arbitrary selections. Nearly everything is between 50-70% off.

It doesn't get much better than that.

In order to get these deals, though, you need a membership. And to get that, you need an invitation. So here is yours, courtesy of yours truly. Consider it an early Christmas gift!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Men's Shirt Collars

The shirt collar is one of the most important -- and most overlooked -- aspects of men's fashion. Choosing a correct shirt collar involves a common sense judgement of proportions: a smaller shirt collar will suit a smaller man and a larger shirt collar will suit a larger man.

The proper shirt collar will balance the structure of the face by offsetting its most prominent aspects and accenting its diminished ones. For example, a man with a long neck will wear a tall shirt collar.

Let's take a look at some of the most common shirt collars and determine which style is best for you.

Straight Point Collar

The straight point collar is the most basic shirt collar type and can be worn with any jacket. It has a narrow opening between its points and suits a round face

Spread Shirt Collar

The spread shirt collar is the most popular shirt collar and comes in a variety of styles. This shirt collar works especially well for people with narrow or triangular faces and should be worn with a half-windsor or windsor knot. A four-in-hand will look insubstantial.

Club Shirt Collar

The club shirt collar, also called the rounded collar, is a good choice for those with a square, chiseled jaw. The club shirt collar is gaining in popularity and is a stylish choice when paired with a four-in-hand knot -- just make sure its a contrasting shirt collar (i.e. white collar on blue shirt).

Tab Shirt Collar

The tab shirt collar style is best suited to people with long necks as it offers a high rising collar. Tabs fasten to each other, hidden behind the tie's knot, to hold the collar points in place. This forces the tie and collar to thrust upwards under the chin.

Button Down Shirt Collar

The button down shirt collar is an Ivy League staple that looks fantastic when paired with a casual outfit. Never wear this collar with a formal suit or to, say, a wedding, but rather pair it with a tweed jacket and brown loafers. The button down can be found in enough styles to suit most people. Those with wide faces, however, should steer clear of this shirt collar.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Best Mens Jeans

It can be tough to choose the best pair of jeans. The jeans market is ridiculously overcrowded which means most people get a pair of Levi's and pack it in -- sifting through the options can be overwhelming.

So we've done that sifting for you. Here are the jeans that stand out -- and will make you stand out -- from the crowd.


Truth be told there's not much "new" about these jeans. A.P.C. began making raw denim, lean fitting jeans 20 years ago and hasn't changed its business plan since. The big innovation that merits the label "new" is that their rise is a bit lower than previously. New Standards should hold a special place in the heart of the fashion afficionado -- that raw denim is among the stiffest out there, but isn't that the point? Why get raw denim jeans if you can't break them in yourself?


The arc of the covenant of the jean world. 501's are the classic, American go-to jean. Of course, that isn't to say they haven't adapted to the times -- namely, the expanding waistlines of the public. There's now a bit more material and a bit larger waistline. For those of you who want true vintage 501's, you can shell out $200 to get a pair of the 1947 model.


Another staple of the jean-wearing set, Dior Homme's classic denim continues to fit nicely. What sets Dior Homme jeans apart from their competitors is the interesting washes these jeans are put through. These intricate treatments bring out colours and hues that aren't seen in other brands. Additionally, the signature scar stitch along the back pocket is still one of the coolest brand details around.


Raulph Lauren's high-end line, RRL, is inspired by the jeans worn by ranchers, farmers, railroad hands, and other blue collar workers. They try and incorporate the authentic wear and fading of these jeans into their line. All the styles are made from indigo-soaked selvage denim which will make you feel even more authentic when you're wearing them to your wine-tasting event.


Rag & Bone began as a maker of jeans but has expanded far beyond that since. Their RB15 model, handmade in New York, is one of the softest pair of jeans you'll ever find, especially considering they're made out of selvage denim. Personally, I don't think you'll find a better fit than these jeans. Additionally, the trademark oversized pockets are useful and unique.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Men's Summer Shoes

It's summer and time to trade in the winter boots for something light and comfortable -- here are five of the best men's summer shoes.

Boat Shoes:

Boat shoes have rubber soles and have recently been adopted as one of the go-to men's summer shoes. They used to be primarily the domain of actual sailors and so were made almost exclusively out of leather, but now that they've grown in popularity you can find them in suede or canvas.

These men's summer shoes look good with casual chinos or more formal office attire. They're extremely versatile and look great on most people. You can find them in classic brown leather or in bolder colours. I personally prefer the brighter boat shoes, such as some of the models made by Sperry. If you're going to go this route, however, make sure they work with the rest of your outfit -- don't wear bright white boat shoes with white chinos, for example, or else you'll look like you should be handing out towels at the country club. I see too many people walking around with colourful shoes that could look great, but don't because they don't consider how the shoes look with the rest of the outfit.


If you're looking for men's summer shoes on a budget, you may want to consider espadrilles. First worn by Spanish and Portugese peasants (hence the affordability), espadrilles typically have a sole made from woven rope and either a canvas or thin leather upper.

These come in a variety of colours, patterns and styles -- basically, you can find pretty much anything you're looking for. That being said, finding espadrilles can be difficult sometimes, as many mainstream shoe stores don't carry them -- try ordering online or from eBay.

A couple of disclaimers: make sure you're actually buying men's espadrilles (as these are often worn by women in Spain) and don't wear them to the office or formal events.


Sneakers can be a great men's summer shoe, but they can also be a really terrible shoe. To avoid the latter, stay away from big, bulky shoes (like ones made by Nike) and from ubiquitous canvas shoes by Converse. These styles are both generally unattractive.

Instead, get a clean and simple tennis shoe, preferably something with a thin sole and upper. I like Fred Perry's slip-on style -- they are simple, light, and comfortable. That's exactly what a good summer shoe should be.


The most interesting men's summer shoe of the bunch if you ask me, moccasins can be really good or really bad. Your moccasins shouldn't look like slippers for around the house. Rather, they should look like the kind made by Tod's.

These are comfortable and stylish shoes that come in a variety of bright colours. Purple mocs have enjoyed particular fame for the last while. Unfortunately, a nice pair of these, like those made by Tod's, will set you back a couple hundred dollars. If that's not a concern, however, I'd recommend making mocs your go-to men's summer shoe.

Spectator Shoes:

Spectator shoes used to be worn only by cricket players, and then by golfers, and then by Ivy Leaguers in the 1950's. They are bold and difficult to pull off. These are not for the faint of heart.

However, the benefit of pulling them off is you'll probably be the only one walking around wearing them, and if you aren't you'll probably be the only one wearing them well.

Remember that with shoes like this, you want the rest of your outfit to be simple -- chinos, maybe a solid coloured button-down shirt or polo. Keep everything else simple since the shoes will obviously be the focal point.

Or just take up cricket or golf -- that's a good excuse to wear them.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Three Trends in Sunglasses For Men

It's almost officially summer, so let's take a look at three trends in sunglasses for men.

There are some interesting trends in sunglasses for men this summer that re-invent classic styles from the 50's, 60's, and 70's.

1. Clear Frame Sunglasses

This is the biggest trend in sunglasses for men: clear frames. There are a variety of clear frame styles to choose from but I think these are done best in the wayfarer form. I recently picked up a pair of clear-framed wayfarers for $20 and I'm very pleased with them. The classic black wayfarer is pretty ubiquitous these days but I wouldn't say that's a reason to stop wearing them. I made the jump from black solid frames to clear frames because I found the thickness of wayfarer frames left a brutal sunglasses tan -- so much so, in fact, that I avoided wearing them on sunny days so I could get rid of the tan lines. That's no good. Clear frames solve that problem without ditching the wayfarer style.

2. Clubmaster Sunglasses

These sunglasses have been popularized this summer by Ray Ban who dubbed them "Clubmaster Sunglasses" but they are actually called browline sunglasses. These were popular in the 1950's and are reminiscient of American law enforcement from that era. The Good Shepherd, a film about the founding of the CIA in the 50's, prominently feature browline sunglasses. The Ray Ban models looks fantastic and are a nice alternative to the wayfarer.

3. Tom Ford Sunglasses
Not many people were looking at Joaquin Phoenix's sunglasses during his on-air Letterman meltdown, but in spite of everything else, his Tom Ford sunglasses looked stylish. They aren't quite wayfarers but they do have a boxy, retro appearance while still being modern. Of course, like all else Tom Ford, they won't come cheap.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Men's Fashion Today: Belvest Lookbook

Men's fashion line Belvest has released their fall/winter 2009-2010 lookbook. It's classic style with a minimalist bent, and it's exactly what I look for in a collection.

Here are a few highlights.

Layering a sweater or cardigan underneath a suit can be tough to pull off -- I think most people who try it don't do so succesfully. But the bright blue paired with the brown suit looks great. I particularly like that rather than the typical v-neck sweater, they've used what appears to be a cardigan. It's an interesting variation on the look.

This suit also counts as more points for the overly maligned brown suit which, I think, can be one of the best colours around in men's fashion.

Single breasted coats can be tough to wear. They're more dressy than their double breasted counterparts and so it's important that they fit impeccably. Not only does this one fit beautifully but the check pattern also adds interesting flair that the typical black topcoat often lacks.

There's a few men's fashion lessons in this picture. First, co-ordinate, don't match, your tie and pocket square. The tie includes the colour of the pocket square but it also has other colours in it. If anything, I think the pocket square and tie here are too similar, but that's a matter of personal taste. In any case, the point is that you should be co-ordinating, not matching. Second, make sure your patterns are of different scale. The checks on his suit are of a different scale than the stripes on his tie so they don't blend together weirdly.

For the full lookbook of men's fashion designer Belvest, click here.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Men's Fashion: Tie Styles Part 2

Click here in case you missed the first part of Men's Fashion: Tie Styles.

In the second part of this installment of Men's Fashion, let's turn to patterns.

The printed tie style, because it is cheap and easy to manufacture, is by far the most common. That is not to say it is the best. There is something to be said for the simplicity demanded of designs and patterns woven into the fabric of the tie itself. The printed tie allows the men's fashion designer to create any tie style he can imagine -- a capacity that has spawned far too many ties that are far too gaudy.

That being said, there are still a selection of printed neckties that are in excellent taste. Let's take a look at some of the most attractive printed tie styles.


Dots were originally a pattern reserved for women. However, they eventually migrated to men's fashion, a development that has been salutary for men's style in my opinion. Dots complement most other patterns (when worn sensibly) but look particularly good when paired with the chalk stripes of a suit.


Paisley is a very interesting pattern. Freud thought that it indicated virility since the pattern resembled sperm. It was also considered one of the only bold patterns acceptable for the Ivy Leagues. The paisley tie style works well with most other patterns and adds interesting nuance to any outfit.


The club tie is one of my personal favourites. The first club ties were borne out of the flags of sports teams in England. When the teams came to adopt ties they naturally used the colours and symbols of their flags on their ties.

However, the club tie really gained popularity when men's fashion designer Henri d'Origny developed the famous Hermes equestrian design in the 1950's. Hermes has since branches out to various other designs, including elephants, trees, and one Wall Street inspired pattern of bulls and bears (pictured above). These patterns are often used to liven up the otherwise drab and unoriginal work uniform of lawyers and investors. Indeed, the inventive tie styles of Hermes have become such a staple of the men's fashion of London's lawyers that it is odd for a man of that set not to own at least one.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Men's Fashion: Tie Styles Part 1

In this segment of Men's Fashion, we'll take a look at tie styles. There are an enormous variety of tie styles to choose from, but it's important that you pick a style appropriate to the rest of your outfit.

Regimental Stripes:

Derived from British military wear, the regimental stripe pattern was used by various regiments to distinguish themselves. These unique diagonal stripes in the regiment's colour were inseperable from British uniforms.

Perhaps not the primary cause of the rift between the British and the Colonies, the American habit of wearing their stripes from right down to the left violated the English rule of stripes running from left to right. Nowadays this conflict has been pretty much resolves, as Brooks Brothers manufactured their ties in the English-style when they popularized them in the States.

Another advantage of the regimental stripe is that it, like other lines that angle across the body, has a slimming power. Its pattern makes the face appear thinner and less soft.


While originalplaid ties were made, like kilts, from wool, the pattern was quickly adopted for other materials. Its best to wear plaid with other stripes or checks of a different scale on your suit jacket or shirt. This combination, done properly, creates an interesting appearance of depth and dimension.

Solid Colour:

Various materials and weaves aside, the solid coloured necktie is often the most underrated and, strangely, most difficult style to wear well. This is not because it is difficult to match, but rather because it forces the wearer to make his entire outfit interesting rather than just the tie, which is relatively easy to do.

A solid tie isn't flashy and won't draw much attention. It's useful in that it allows the wearer to combine various patterns in a way that is more subtle but also more interesting than just wearing a loud tie.


By wool tie, I mean a worsted cashmere or cashmere silk blend, not the English country tie. Best suited for cold weather, this sort of tie is best suited for more casual outfits, such as an odd jacket-pant combination.

Use a wool tie to add interesting pattern and texture to flannels and other casual bases.

Tomorrow, we'll continue with a discussion of patterned ties in Men's Fashion: Tie Styles Part 2.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Today In Men's Fashion: Hickey's F/W Collection

Today in men's fashion...

Freeman Hickey, which still makes its clothes in their 100-year-old Rochester, NY factory, released its F/W collection. I would say that, again, Hickey shows why its one of the best American labels out there.

Some pieces that stand out:

First, the coat looks amazing, particularly the lining. Okay, so not many people will get a good view of the lining, but so what? Style is for yourself and you'll know.

But what I really like is the sweater. It's hard to make a sweater so vibrant and so stylish at the same time. Bold colours and patterns often come off as tacky, but this one manages to keep close to the line between interesting and crass without crossing over into the latter.

This shawl cardigan isn't too bulky, but substantial enough to be worn alone on a fall day and offers plenty of potential for layering. The dash of red beneath the collar is also a nice touch.

This reminds me of something you'd wear while gardening or doing yard-work. But doing it really stylishly. The cardigan makes the plaid shirt-jeans combination more exciting. I'm not sure about doing up the top button of the shirt -- it works for this guy, but maybe not for most of us. This also isn't an outfit that can easily be paired with a tie, so tread carefully.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Baggy Pants And Other Trends

I admit, the last decade of men's fashion has been a good one. And by fashion, I mean the popular trends and styles. The slim-fitting clothing, the rise of suits, cardigans, "trad" and prep styles have been consistent with my personal sense of style.

I have had no major objections to fashion, then, for the last while.

But fashion, being a fickle thing, will change, and I'd like to take a moment to lament the inevitable end to the embrace of clothes that fit and flatter.

I think the return of baggy pants is the best example of why fashion is so harmful to dressing well. The goal of dressing should be to flatter one's natural form. There are certain ways to do this that are universal, same from person to person. Pants, for example, that are too long look bad on every man, regardless of his appearance and form. Likewise, pants that are baggy look bad on everyone -- there is not a single person they flatter.

There is no reason to wear baggy pants other than conforming to a current trend. This is, of course, what happened for a while before the slim-cut look became popular. Designers are returning to this look for no good reason other than a vague need people have for change every once in a while. And designers, of course, need to change the fashion so they can sell more clothes -- why would people continue buying slim fitting suits once they had a certain amount if they were always in fashion?

Call it conservative, but I think it's common sense to say that change for change's sake is a bad thing. Change is especially bad when it's a change for the worse.

It may seem that the decline of well-fitting pants that look objectively good (in that their cut flatters the wearer) and the rise of their baggy counterparts (which do nothing but detract from the male form) is unimportant. It is, in itself, not imporant, but I think it tells us something about the restless and flitting nature of people. It is this nature -- the need for change when change isn't warranted -- that is really the force behind fashion, not any actual progress in men's wear. In order to keep up with it, one must be constantly buying new items and watching everyone else to see what they should wear.

Style, however, is not about everyone else. It is rather an individualistic pursuit, the art of covering one's natural form in such a way that actually flatters it. In this sense, fashion renders dress useless as a means of self-expression and certainly cannot be considered an art. It is conformity in the name of change without justification.

And that's why I'll always bear hostility for baggy pants.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Colorful Shoes

Add some variety to the brown leather/white canvas footwear mix with some colorful shoes.

There are plenty of options available in a range of styles. I particularly like these boat shoes by Sperry:

You can't beat such vibrant colors that still retain a sense of classic style. The blue, in particular, would look great with a pair of chinos or white denim. Even better, these are only going to run you about $80 -- pretty affordable for a very interesting shoe.

Beyond this, you can get some great moccasins in nearly every color imaginable.

The key to wearing daring shoes is that you remember that they're only part of an outfit. Too many people get a pair of really colorful shoes and then wear them everyday with every outfit they have. That will never work. If you want to do that, get a pair of plain sneakers or wingtips. If you want something more interesting, then you're going to have to put some thought into the rest of your outfit, particularly your pants and socks.

As inspiration, this gentleman, who should probably be teaching a class in how to make sweatpants look good:

Take note of how, first of all, the purple shoes look good with the light grey pants. He's gone beyond that, though, incorporating a different shade of purple into his outfit. He pulls it all together nicely.

Just make sure you do as he does and you'll be able to work colorful shoes into your wardrobe easily.

Today In Men's Fashion: Opening Ceremony Spring Line

Today in men's fashion...

Opening Ceremony releases the lookbook for their spring collection and I'm definitely liking what I see. Of course, that's usually the case with Opening Ceremony.

Lots of khaki. Lots of Thom Brown-style trousers. Pastels. Layers. Classic spring stuff.

Some highlights:

I love both of these outfits. In particular, the sky blue chinos on the right and the use of brown in a suit that works for spring. Brown suits are under-rated, in my opinion, and it's good to see them done well by OC.

A few interesting things to note.

The top button on the jacket is much higher than has been fashionable over the last few years. It's placed around the sternum rather than around, or just above, the navel. I think in most cases this creates a less elegant torso line, and this case isn't really an exception. Some people could pull this off but I will stick with the longer line.

Also, pants are becoming less fitted. The cycle from overly-baggy to overly-tight pants is a recurring one in the fashion world. It takes about 10 years, maybe a bit longer, to pass from one end of the spectrum to the other. I think that the best place is somewhere just on the side of fitted without being overly tight. Baggy pants look sloppy nearly all the time when worn by men and overly tight pants look ridiculous. It is still important, if one is looking to create a flattering sillhouette, to wear pants that are somewhat slim-fitting.

Finally, short shorts appear to making a bit of a comeback. Again, this is a trend I will not be adopting. Shorts look best when they finish just above the knee. Longer and you risk looking like a surfer, shorter and you look like you're just heading to the gym circa 1975. Avoid both of these looks.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Today In Men's Fashion: Rag & Bone Coats

Today in men's fashion...

Some beautiful spring coats in a variety of styles from Rag & Bone's spring/summer '09 collection.

This double-breasted khaki great coat is easily my favourite. Sadly, it's already out of stock.

The car coat is also a nice piece, though it looks somewhat Bond-villain-esque buttoned up the entire way -- perhaps a bit of a neckline would be an improvement?

The Dakota Jacket has a bit of a military feel to it, but not excessively so. I really like this jacket, particularly the subtlety of the pockets -- they definitely add character to the jacket without complicating it.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

5 Great Men's Summer Shoes

I've recently been in the market for some new warm-weathered footwear and I've come across a few great men's summer shoes. These styles are comfortable, stylish, and light enough for summer.

Boat Shoes:

Boat shoes, also known as deck shoes or top siders, have rubber soles and used to be made primarily out of leather. As they've migrated from use almost exclusively by actual sailors into city streets, you can find them in plenty of other materials, such as suede or canvas.

These looks good with chinos, jeans, even more formal office attire. They're extremely versatile and look great on most people. You can find them in classic brown leather or in bolder colours. If you're opting for the latter, make sure they work with the rest of your outfit -- don't wear bright white boat shoes with white chinos, for example, lest you look like you should be handing out towels at the country club. I see too many people walking around with colourful shoes that could look great, but don't because they don't blend with the rest of the outfit.


Espadrilles were first worn by Spanish and Portugese peasants, so it's fitting that they're one of the most affordable summer shoe options for men. They typically have a sole made from woven rope and either a canvas or thin leather upper.

One disclaimer: make sure you're buying a pair designed for men, as espadrilles (particularly in Spain) are primarily worn by women.

With that in mind, if you're still interested in a pair of these, there are plenty of options. As I mentioned, you can usually find them in a canvas or leather upper, with the former being more casual than the latter. They also come in a variety of colours and patterns.

Without knowing your employment situation, it's safe to say that these are not appropriate for most offices. Wear them to the beach or out running errands, but not for formal events.


I'm not talking about big, bulky, Nike shoes. Those are what some people want, but I'm going to focus on simple and light tennis-style sneakers.

The best sneakers should have thin soles and clean lines. I think the more simple the better. I'm partial to Fred Perry's styles, particularly the slip-on pictured above.

Whatever you do, stay away from Converse canvas sneakers. Unless you want to look like a pre-teen skateboarder, that is.

Spectator Shoes:

Spectator shoes were made famous as a formal sport shoes, first used by cricket players and adopted by golfers.

They are typically wing-tips (though they can be loafers or cap-toes) and are two-toned, often white and brown.

Though it's unusual, you can still wear these on the golf course and they're appropriate for a day in the city or at the office.


Moccasins have had a bit of a renaissance lately and so you can there are some really nice styles out there at the moment.

Unfortunately, the nicest (from Tod's, for example) will usually cost you a couple hundred dollars. You can find lower quality options for under a $100, but they're likely to wear out after one or two summers.

If that's not a problem for you, then these are very versatile and good for most casual settings and some business settings. They come in almost any colour you can imagine, and purple mocs in particular are something of a trend among the Italian set.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Casual Summer Shirts

Summer suits are one thing, but here are some casual summer shirts for those days spent loafing in a park or on a patio.

Polo Shirt:

The polo is a great casual summer shirt. Its roots are with Rene Lacoste who developed it for tennis in 1929. While I wouldn't recommend it for bankers and corporate executives, it can be worn in some office (and most every casual) setting.

It should fit snugly around the torso and the sleeves should end mid-bicep. As a guide, make sure the shoulder seam ends on your shoulder. The bottom of the shirt should hit somewhere around or just after your belt.

You can pair this with chinos or jeans, but if you opt for the latter keep the jeans well-fitting, clean, and crisp -- the formality of the polo doesn't blend with ripped and worn denim.

Pair this with a pair of penny loafers or boat shoes and you'll have a great casual summer look.

Button-down Shirt:

No, I don't mean a Hawaiian shirt. I mean a nice, button down shirt in a simple colour and pattern.

I've discussed the proper fit of a button-down shirt before, but what shirt you wear depends on whether you want it tucked in or not.

A tucked in shirt is formal, but can also look casual in the summer. A pale blue, pink, yellow -- any light pastel colour -- dress shirt worn tucked in with well-fitting chinos with a pair of loafers or boat shoes, preferably sockless, looks good and is casual enough for wandering downtown in the city.

Admittedly, this may not be the best look for the beach or a family BBQ. That in mind, you can always get a button-down that is meant to be worn untucked. These are appropriate for most settings. Just make sure that it's actually meant to be worn untucked and not a normal dress shirt. You can tell by checking the length -- if it ends just below the belt and doesn't fall below your hips, then it's fine to be worn untucked.

You can pair an untucked button-down with casual pants -- I'd recommend chinos as it tends to look, well, bad with jeans -- and sneakers, loafers, or boat shoes. It's very versatile and difficult to wear poorly so long as it fits well and is a simple pattern and colour.


If you insist on wearing a t-shirt, then here are a few things to consider.

Fit. Baggy t-shirts look awful. It should fit like a polo -- snugly, with the shoulder seam ending at the shoulder and the shirt ending at the belt.

Please, no graphic t-shirts. Simple, plain colours are good. If you're wearing a t-shirt, you don't want your shirt to be the most eye-catching thing you have on. This is why you'll want to pair it with something like madras shorts and loafers or white jeans and colourful sneakers.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying t-shirts can't look good, I'm just saying most people don't wear them in such a way that they look good. But if you know how, then go for it.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Exam Period

It's exam season, so In Men's Fashion will be taking a break, returning at full strength on April 21st.

Until then.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Summer Scarves: Trend in Men's Fashion?

Are summer scarves for men a new trend in men's fashion?

Decide for yourself:

The rest of the outfits these guys are wearing are pretty simple. As well, they're both wearing jeans. I think those may be the keys to pulling off a scarf: a simple outfit with jeans. I can't picture the scarf working with a suit or with a more flamboyant jacket.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

5 More Summer Essentials in Men's Fashion

You didn't think that was it for summer, did you? No, sir.

Here are 5 more summer essentials for someone searching for a more East Coast look.


Madras shorts are as preppy as it comes -- whether or not you think that's a good thing or not is a different matter. Regardless, they look fantastic. The key is to buy a pair that ends just above the knee and fits well without being tight.


When wearing madras shorts, it's essential that you keep the shirt simple. Nothing is more simple than a plain white buttondown oxford. Tuck it in if you like, or find a cut that will allow you to keep it untucked.


Moccasins conjure this awful image of the least stylish footwear (barring Crocs) imaginable. But it's not too hard to find a nice pair of mocs these days. On the high end, companies like Tod's make a great pair in a wide variety of colours, but there are more affordable options as well.


The braided style of this leather belt gives the usually more formal, plain leather belt a more casual air. Pairs well with madras shorts.


Aviators are a classic style and look good on most people. The Ray Ban is the go-to maker for these, but also one of the most expensive -- you can pick up cheaper glasses with the same look and similar quality fairly easily.

Friday, April 10, 2009

5 Summer Essentials in Men's Fashion

Spring will soon be over and it's time to start looking towards summer style in men's fashion. Here are so


While the traditional polos are always nice, a more stylish option would be an untucked, square-hemmed dress shirt in light colours. Some key points: it's a long-sleeve shirt and it's slim cut. An ill-fitting, short sleeve dress shirt is going to make you look like a Silicon Valley nerd. You don't want to look like that (I'm guessing), so take your shirt to a tailor and have them make sure it fits snugly around your torso. Then just roll up your sleeves.


A quality pair of slim-fit, white linen pants look great and can be paired with most every shirt (except for a white shirt). Make sure they aren't too long and have no to only a little break -- showing some ankle is acceptable.


Stay away from the sandals and flip-flops this summer. Boat shoes are a great alternative. I prefer Sperry Top Sider boat shoes as they're usually the cleanest, most simple, and most affordable. Wear these sock-less and with pants -- if you're going to wear shorts, then choose a very clean style. Even the one pictured would be too clunky for shorts. For white pants, wear a coloured pair, such as blue or red. With coloured pants, white usually works fine.


This belt from Ralph Lauren works perfectly with a pair of linen pants or chinos and adds a nautical flair to your outfit. For summer belts, this sort of canvas style is usually the best choice. Ralph Lauren really makes the best summer-friendly belts. While I would never spend $125.00 on a belt, you can find similar styles at thrift stores for about $3.00 -- use Ralph Lauren for inspiration.

ITEM #5: BROWLINE SUNGLASSESRay Ban recently released a pair of browline sunglasses and dubbed them Clubmasters, but they're still browlines as far as I'm concerned. Some people hate these, but I think they have a certain 'cold warrior from the 50's' vibe that's always stylish. They're also less ubiquitous than wayfarers. Get a pair with tortoise shell frames and you'll have a relatively unique, stylish pair of sunglasses.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Men's Fashion: Necktie Proportions

In this series of Men's Fashion, we'll look at the necktie, beginning with its proportions.

Choosing the right proportions for a necktie is a very logical excercise.

First, you have to determine what lapel width is appropriate for your body size. A narrow-shouldered man, having a narrower chest to bear his jacket lapels, should have narrower lapels. Thus, his tie should also be narrow, in proportion with the lapels. Conversely, a broad shouldered man should have wider lapels and a wider necktie.

If you want to play it safe, you can pick a necktie with a width (at its widest point) of somewhere between 3.5 and 4.25 inches. This is the standard width of lapels and so will prevent your tie from falling out of fashion and looking silly. However, that isn't to say that all "trends" in neckties are inappropriate -- the current trend of thin ties is appropriate for thin men and will continue to be after thin ties are no longer widely popular. By the same token, a large man with a thin necktie will always look silly.

Now, beyond picking correct proportions, the secret of wearing a tie well lies in two features: a dimple and a taut knot. The dimple -- or, as Fonzworth Bentley would say, Wall Street cleavage -- produces an aesthetically pleasing line, particularly with the four-in-hand knot. A taut knot will arch the knot out from the collar lending it a certain dignity.

For an example of how to work that Wall Street Cleavage, take a look at (who else?) Obama:

Next issue of men's fashion, we'll look at colour, patterns, and fabric of the necktie.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

In Men's Fashion: Warm Weather Style

Furniture designer cum fashion label David released its Spring/Summer '09 collection and the pieces look fantastic.

The chinos/button-down shirt combination looks particularly good and would be a perfect alternative to the polo and shorts or t-shirt and shorts.

Monday, April 6, 2009

In Men's Fashion: April 7th, 2009

Today, in men's fashion...

Unruly Heir launches their Bailout collection with "Fear and Loathing on Wall Street" and "Freddy Mac F*%$*d Fannie Mae" t-shirts. Obligatory "I survived the 2009 Economic Crisis and all I got was this lousy t-shirt" not yet announced.

Who doesn't love Japanese men's wear? Haversack, a Japanese label with a very American name has released a very American shawl cardigan. At $435.00, this piece is out of reach for most of us, but if you have the cash kickin' around, you could do worse.

NYT pronounces the end of "wife-wear," i.e. traditional pink dress and pillbox hat for political wives. What would Jackie Kennedy say?

And that's all for today in men's fashion.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

In Men's Fashion: April 6th, 2009

Today, in men's fashion...

  • Mad Men won't be back for another three months, but GQ has us covered with a photoshoot of January Jones a.k.a. Mrs. Betty Draper.
  • As the economy melts down, Cartier says it will expand into eastern markets including China and the Middle East. Of the Middle East, Cartier CEO Bernard Fornas says "[p]eople in this region have a strong sense of optimism[.]" Could've fooled us...
  • Lacoste announces a collab' with Fred Segal on a red, white and blue collection of polos, cardigans, etc due out September '09.
And that's it for today's edition of In Men's Fashion.

Men's Style Guide: Dress Shirt Colour and Pattern

In previous Men's Fashion posts we discussed how to choose a dress shirt collar and how to pick a shirt that fits. However, colour and pattern also play a big role in what shirt best suits you.


The amount of white in the shirt's background. More white in the background of the shirt makes a shirt more formal. Solid colour shirts are the most formal with white being the most dressy.

Solid blue shirts flatter the face more as white drains the colour from the face. Medium blue brings out the rich tones in a man's face and other items, like a tie, that he might be wearing. When picking a particular hue, find a mirror and figure out which hue of blue highlights the face the most without distracting from it.

Men with high-contrast complexion should pick a deeper tone of blue while those with a more muted complexion should pick lighter blue hues or blues with a white pattern that dampens it.

Men with very little contrast -- typically brown or black skin is needed -- can wear cream or tan shirts.

Pink shirts are perfect for those with a fair, rosy cheeked complexion and looks particularly good with a dark grey tie.

Yellow and orange shirts look good on men with low contrast complexion, but should never be worn by those with sallow skin. They look particularly good with navy and brown suits.


White stripes on a blue background look good on pretty much everyone. Red checks or accents complement those with a ruddier complexion while yellow patterns work well for blond, fair-skinned man.

Shirts with white backgrounds look particularly good with contrasting white collars. Try and find a shirt with a club collar if you're going to go this route. Also, contrast-collar shirts should always have French cuffs -- button cuffs on contrast-collar shirts are the domain of cell-phone salesmen in malls, not classy dressers.

The most important thing is to make sure that the pattern contrasts appropriately with the background based on your complexion. Those with high-contrast complexions should have high-contrast patterns while low-contrast complexions should stick with low-contrast patterns.

Men's Fashion: Dress Shirt Collar

In the last edition of Men's Fashion, we discussed how to choose a dress shirt that fits properly. In this issue, we're going to look at picking an appropriate collar.

The goal of dressing well is to draw the eye towards the face. To accomplish this, we rely on appropriate colour and proportion. This is different for everyone. Today, I'm going to focus on the dress shirt, and what dress shirt to choose in order to emphasize one's face.


The collar is the most important aspect of the shirt. Choosing a correct collar is mostly common sense -- a smaller man will require a smaller collar, while larger men will require larger collars.

Collars should balance the structure of the face by softening its dominant aspects and strengthening its weak ones. For example, a long neck demands a higher-sitting collar.

Let's take a look at the different collar types in detail.


This is the most neutral collar type and can be worn with any suit jacket. It has a fairly narrow opening between its points and so flatters a round, oval-shaped face rather than a narrow one.


The spread collar is the most popular collar and comes in a variety of lengths, widths, and styles.

The spread collar works especially well for people with narrow or triangular faces and should be worn with a half-windsor or windsor knot. A four-in-hand will look insubstantial.

Above, Mayor Bloomberg sports a spread collar. Whether or not this suits him is another matter, but it's a good example of what a spread collar looks like.


The rounded collar, also called the club collar, is a good choice for those with a square, chiseled jaw. While not very popular anymore, it is still a stylish choice for someone with the right face, and goes well with a four-in-hand knot.

Chuck Bass, the television character pictured above, lacks the chiseled jaw that would make the rounded collar an appropriate choice, but gives a good idea of what it actually looks like.


The tab collar looks great on people with long necks as it offers a higher collar. Tabs fasten to each other, hidden behind the tie's knot, to hold the collar points in place. This forces the tie and collar to thrust upwards under the chin.

Donald Rumsfeld, above, was known for his tab collars. They balance well what appears to be his long-ish neck.


The button down collar is an Ivy League stapble that looks fantastic when paired with a casual outfit. Never wear this collar with a formal suit or to, say, a wedding, but coupled with a tweed jacket and brown loafers, the button down can be found in enough styles to suit most people. If you have a very wide face, however, avoid this collar.

As you can see in the picture above, the buttons which fasten the collar to the shirt are visible.

Men's Style Guide: Dress Shirt Fit

Few men wear dress shirts that fit properly. Walking around a city's downtown, one notices a few common problems: collars that are too tight, sleeves that are too short, and cuffs are too big. Follow the rules of this men's fashion segment, and you should be able to find a dress shirt that fits well.


When the top button of the shirt is closed, you should be able to slide two fingers between the neck and the collar of a new shirt. There is so much space because shirt makers add an extra half-inch to allow for shrinkage during washing. If this extra space isn't there, you're going to find the shirt very tight around the neck after one or two washings.

Additionally, when wearing a tie, the collar points should remain in contact with the shirt. There should not be collar space above the tie's knot and the collar points should remain under the jacket no matter which way you turn your head.


The shirt should fit snugly around the torso so that when tucked in, there is no extra fabric billowing outside your pants. If this is the case, your shirt is too big and you'll have to add darts to the back so that it offers a tighter fit. That being said, you don't want to have the fabric straining against your torso.


The sleeve of your shirt should end just past your wrist bone, roughly at the break between your wrist and your thumb. The shirt itself should be long enough that it remains tucked into your pants when you raise your arms.


The cuff, whether barrel or French, should fit tightly around the wrist. When you move your arm, your cuff should move with your hand without sliding up or down your arm. A good rule: if you can fit your hand through the cuff without unfastening it, its circumfrence is too large.