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.