Men Style Guide - Illustrated Menswear Articles
A Tailored Suit's library of men style articles; these unique fashion articles will help you build a foundation in classic men style.Contrary to popular belief, men dress clothes should always be comfortable. If they are not, it is the fault of the clothes' fit, and not of their nature. Suffering for beauty's sake does not do a man any good, either; if the fit of a garment makes its wearer uncomfortable, he will look it. Indeed, a man looks his best when his clothes fit so well he barely notices them. On the other hand, if his suit or dress shirt are too tight, they will be pulling and choking at every turn; too loose, and a man looks like he has had to borrow some clean clothes from his older brother as he struggles to keep them out of the way. A man clothes send a message to the world about him, and if they fit him well, he will always make a good impression. Most men today wear poorly-fitting clothes, and it is not hard to see why. The menswear sold in stores are cut to fit as many men as possible, and that means big.
21st Century 3-Piece Lookbook
It’s not wrong to assume that most of your wardrobe is a modern variation of a fashion forefather. The idea behind our updated twist on a traditional look can be applied consecutively across the board when done carefully and with consideration! Have a scout around and see what you can bring in to the 21st century.
- What do you guys think?
- Have you been wearing this particular look for a while?
- If so, what combinations are your favourite?
- Alternatively, are you a purist that thinks the 3-piece shouldn’t be tampered with?
- What other looks do you think need an update or subtle twist?
Men's Dress Shirts - A Deeper Understanding of Custom Shirts
Many details go into the construction of a men's dress shirt, and the more attention one pays to these the better results one can achieve in purchasing and wearing one. this article deals chiefly with the construction and design features of men's dress shirts. If you haven't yet read our, we advise doing so as that it lays a foundation for this article's topics.
In retail stores, men's shirts are sized by collar circumference and sleeve length. Most are cut to fit the most corpulent members of each size, and thus look blousy on most men. Those with an uncommon pairing of neck size and arm length have difficulty even finding a shirt that fits in these two places. Since even the simplest alterations can add 25-50% to the price of a dress shirt, it is often more economical to have shirts made to one's exact measurements. For a man starting out who is unable to afford custom-made, the best bet is to try on a lot of shirts until one finds a particular size of a particular brand that fits him well in the chest, stomach, neck, and sleeves, and then buy as many colors and patterns of these as he can find.
Aside from fabric and fit, a man has a few matters of construction to consider when picking out or ordering a shirt: Collar, cuffs, pocket, and pleats. As with fit, in retail these are standardized to the lowest common denominator and one has little choice in the matter. Even in a store with thousands and thousands of shirts, you will likely be able to count on one hand the few that are really what you want.
The men's dress shirt collar is the most important, both in determining the garment's level of formality and in flattering the wearer's unique face. Button-down collars are the least formal, and are the best collars to wear without a tie. They also go well with a tie and sweater, blazer, or sport coat. The wing collar, which does not cover the band of the tie around the neck, is reserved for formal wear.
Most men's dress shirts sport some sort of but there is huge room for variety here. While the standard point collar looks good on most men, those with narrower faces do better with slightly shorter ones, while round faces carry well above long collar points. As a general rule, the greater the angle between the short sides of the collar points, the more formal the presentation. Spread collars, which leave a wide opening between them, take large tie knots especially well. The edges of the nearly form a straight line above the tie knot; this is the most formal collar arrangement. An exception to the parallelism of spread and formality is the tab collar: here little tabs of fabric extending from each side connect behind the tie knot, holding the collar close together and projecting the knot outward for a precise, no-nonsense look. The white , in any style, with or without matching white , is a favorite of power-dressers. While it certainly raises a suit-and-tie above the masses, let the wearer be warned against it if he cannot equal its eminence.
On most decent dress shirts, the collar's points are kept straight by . These 2- to 3-inch pointed splints are inserted into slots on the underside of the collar after ironing, and later removed for washing. Besides the plastic ones that come with most shirts, you can buy them in brass, silver, and even ivory, but their material has negligible effect on their function.
Barrel cuffs, standard on most dress shirts, come in a variety of styles and except for the most formal of occasions are never the wrong choice. The common variety have a single button; cuffs with two or even three buttons are somewhat more artful. French cuffs are de rigeur for formal wear; they look good with a suit but are always optional. A button in the sleeve placket helps the sleeve to stay closed during wear and can be opened to iron the cuffs; it is optional but nearly ubiquitous.
The traditional left breast pocket adds a little depth to a dress shirt, especially if worn without jacket and tie, and can be useful for holding pens, tickets, and the like. A shirt with no pockets can look slightly cleaner with a coat and tie, but since the coat covers the pocket the difference is minimal when wearing a suit. As with most things, simplicity equals formality, so the pocketless shirt is the dressiest.
The placket is the edge of the left front panel, with the button holes on it. The standard placket is a strip of fabric raised off the men's dress shirt front with stitches down each side; this is what most casual shirts and many dress shirts have. In the more modern French placket, the edge of the shirt front is folded over, creased, and held together only by the button holes. This cleaner front sharpens more formal dress shirts; it should not, however, be combined with a button-down collar.
A man's back is not flat; thus we use pleats on the back panel of a shirt so that the fabric may hang from the yoke (the piece covering the shoulder blades) and better conform to the body. There are two common varieties of pleated shirt back styles: the box pleat consists of two pleats spaced one-and-a-half inches apart at the center, while side pleats lie halfway between each edge and the center of the back. While the former are more common on ready to wearshirts, the latter better align with the actual shape of the back, and thus fit most men better. A well-made custom shirt can be cut and sewn to fit its wearer perfectly without pleats, and this makes it cleaner and easier to iron. Nonetheless, many men prefer to have pleats even on their bespoke dress shirts.
Finally, a man may elect to have his shirt monogrammed, usually on the edge of the breast pocket (or in a similar place on a pocketless shirt). Monogramming originated as a way to identify one's shirts in a commercial laundry, akin to writing a child's name on the tag of their jacket. More recently, as the shirt has taken a more prominent role in men's dress, the monogram has emerged as a way to subtly communicate the care a man has taken in obtaining his clothes. While large, garish monograms certainly do more harm than good, many men enjoy the quiet display of their initials, usually in a color similar to the shirt's own.
Choosing a tailor used to be easy; you either went with the tailor who had been servicing your father or you headed to the knowledgeable suit salesman who would make the proper introduction. Today unfortunately, the task is harder – good tailors are hard to come by, and the average menswear salesman does not have the knowledge to point you in the right direction. In this article, I equip you with the tools to find a reputable men’s tailor whose services can transform you and your clothing.
The below steps are in order of action to be taken, and are meant to be used in conjunction with one another to select a competent tailor. The first point is very important, and should not be skipped.
Before you talk with a tailor or seamstress, you need to have a foundation in The hardest thing for most men to do is to find a few hours to sit down and read about suits, shirts, and other menswear; however most men find once they start reading the material they become enthralled. Reading about the intricacies of quality menswear you start noticing men’s clothing details you never saw before; you pay attention to the fit of suit jackets, working sleeve buttonholes, and the break on a pair of trousers.
Stepping into the world of menswear, you’ll realize just how important your clothing is in sending messages about who you are. Most people you pass by everyday know you only by the clothing you wear; your appearance is the only way they can make any sense of who you are and what you do in this world. The suit, shirt, and tie combination you put on in the morning covers 90% of your body, and before you open your mouth this garment combination and the way it fits on your body announces who you are and signals to others whether or not you deserve attention.
To build a solid foundation in the basics of men’s style, I recommend reading any book by Alan Flusser, Nicholas Antongiavanni’s “The Suit”, or Bernhard Roetzel’s “Gentleman” and spending time in , Once you have a foundation, you should then seek clarification and interact with knowledgeable people at places like Style Forum, an online community of men’s clothing enthusiasts. When you find you can speak the tongue of custom menswear, you are ready to start interviewing tailors.
Be careful here – most men are not selective in choosing their tailor, and stay with their current tailor only because they are unaware of a better option. Combined with the fact most men do not understand what proper fit is, it is very possible that a tailor who receives high praise only does so because of the cluelessness of his patrons. Do not assume because someone calls themselves a tailor or seamstress that they know anything about men’s style or can assess proper fit.
Take a critical look at your friends – who among them are smart dressers? These are the people you want to ask for tailor recommendations. You can broaden your search by asking women as well, but be careful. The way clothes fit on a man versus the way they should fit on a woman is very different. A skilled woman’s tailor does not necessarily have the right skills to tailor men’s clothing.
You now have a list of tailors – next you need to start talking with them. You can do this over the phone or even email, but your goal is to see if this is a person you can work with. Do they have good communication skills? Do they actually listen to you, or are they trying to push in a direction you know you don’t want to go down? Do they have time to talk, or are they in a rush? To be fair, you shouldn’t hold the last one against them if you call their office out of the blue – but any professional should be willing to put aside 20 minutes to speak with a potential client at a set time within a few days of calling.
You want to work with a tailor whom you feel confident in – this decision is very personal and should be based off the tailor’s knowledge and communication skills – ideally you find a tailor with strong skills in both areas. Unfortunately, a combination of the two is rare except in larger cities. You can have a very skilled tailor, but if he does not understand you or feels he should ignore your wishes and do what he thinks is right, both parties are going to be disappointed. Communication is vital, and making certain that both sides clearly understand and respect each other is key to a long term partnership.
There is one answer here; the tailor should not be satisfied until you are satisfied. This doesn’t mean that a skilled tailor or seamstress always gives you what you want or doesn’t make mistakes – no, a tailor really worth keeping is one who learns what your idea of the perfect fit is and constantly works to achieve this.
I mentioned this earlier, but do not assume a tailor or seamstress understands classic men’s style. Although many skilled tailors are experts at building anything you can imagine, their eye for what color fabric or style of jacket suits a man is often at odds with reality. Culture differences can also play a factor here, as that many of the most skilled tailors today are native Chinese, Thai, or Indian – what worked in Mumbai in 1970 may not be applicable today. With your foundation in classic men’s style (see point 1), you should be able to figure out quickly if the tailor possess an eye for timeless fashion.
Pictures, example pieces, alteration miracles – you are looking for samples of their work that validate the tailor’s claims of greatness. If the overall garment looks good, spend a few minutes studying the details – does the stitching look secure and clean, is the build and silhouette something you want in your clothing. Be wary of a tailor who doesn’t have anything to show or happy customers to refer you to.
The best tailors out there are very busy people. They have more work than they can handle, and unfortunately wait times of more than a month are not unheard of. Ideally you want a tailor who can attend to your needs quickly, especially when you need a quick fix before an important appointment. Be upfront about your needs here, as that most tailors will accommodate emergencies knowing it creates loyalty and goodwill.
Notice I didn’t mention Price – this is the least important factor and should be a minor consideration even for those tight on money. You want to find a skilled tailor who can help you realize your vision of the perfect custom fit. Saving twenty dollars and not getting what you want is a waste of money – spend a little more and getting exactly what you pictured is always worth it.
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We've known for quite some time that double-breasted suits would stil be a hit for 2012. And we've also been noticing that young Daniel Radcliffe, freed from the shackles of Harry Potter, has been upping his style game wearing three-piece suits in America, sweaters on more casual red carpets, and now this fantastic Antonio Azzuolo DB at last night's London premiere for The Woman in Black. Perhaps these fantastic looks have something to do with Radcliffe's new stylist (who, himself, put in some time at Esquire's Big Black Book — new issue is on newsstands April) or maybe it's simply that Radcliffe succeeds at taking grown-up tailoring and make it feel youthful. In either case, the clean fit and four-button stance on this navy jacket, worn with black accessories, are a model for how all men can pull off double-breasted without looking too trendy.
The first thing I thought when I saw Michael Fassbender in Shame was that no self-respecting sex addict would ever wear so many scarves. And, apparently, the first thing the voting members of the Academy thought was... meh. The movie was completely locked out of this year's , which is, well, a shame (too easy!) for us style bloggers because Fassbender looked excellently urban throughout the whole film. And, though costume-design awards tend to go to the woman that makes Johnny Depp look most insane each year, there's something to be said for a great performance while wearing a nice wardrobe — glen plaid overcoats, corporate hair that doesn't reek of gel, all those damn scarves — that conveys a character, but also offers solutions for how men might want to dress as they get ready for work and go on dates (or, you know, sex binges).
Also, this probably means Michael Fassbender won't be on the Oscar red carpet. Bummer. And nor will Ryan Gosling, who had the best casual wardrobe in Drive this season — who can forget that custom jacket? — and was also shut-out of the awards. If he's looking to show his new-found style mettle, maybe The Gosling will show up in support of his movie's nomination for sound editing. Or do one better, pull a Shame, and turn up completely naked with co-star Albert Brooks, who had the of the morning: "I got ROBBED. I don't mean the Oscars, I mean literally. My pants and shoes have been stolen." Unfortunately, he may not need them anyway.
"Jon Hamm looks the way Republicans think they look," joked SNL's Seth Meyers, who, as we've learnd in our pages, knows what he's talking about when it comes to style. But on the night in Washington when everyone has something to say — that the president so Donald Trump was as curious as the Washington Post inviting him; that the White House tried its hand at staire was downright stupid — the host of the annual PG-13 pissing contest happened to be wrong. Hamm, normally on the red carpet, looked like he either tied his tie drunk or didn't care to straighten it, then committed one of the bigger black-tie sins by taking off his jacket for the entire evening without a cummerbund to cover the bottom of his plackets. Not that we pay too much attention to this sort of thing, but with wedding seson on the way, we figured it best to decode right from wrong when it comes to some of the bore daring variations on formalwear we saw over the weekend.
When Rhett Bonnett was creating tailored clothing for Ralph Lauren Purple Label, he would browse through the catalogs of the Japanese textile factories from which the designers would sometimes source their fabrics. Often, his favorite materials were too pricey (or too niche) to use at the Goliath of all American brands, what with its massive bottom-line and thousands of items to constantly keep in mind.
Perhaps that explains why, perusing the new namesake collection that Bonnett is launching for Fall/Winter 2012, this young designer is relying on something he was previous denied: All those fabrics from Japan, but only because he believes they're of the highest quality — created by craftsman whose tradition will die if young brands, like Bonnett's, don't make use of their costly bolts. From there, his line of shirts ($275 to $325) and ties ($130) are sewn up in New York's Garment District, another hub of hand-makers that Bonnett wants to keep alive, even if it's also nice to have his first line of clothing made in close proximity to his apartment.
This first collection (which you can see on is full of shirts and neckwear which look great separately — full of wooly texture of rustic plaids — but can also be worn more boldly as matching sets; most of those ties have a twin button-down made from the exact same material. Rounding out the collection, which was just shown to buyers at the Project trade show in New York, are popover jackets and anoraks that, while not appropriate for Wall Street, help tone down the dress shirts for weekends. That's our plan, anyway, as we're eager to see what retailers pick up this new collection for fall — and where we can track down the pieces before scores of other men get to them first.
Jeffrey Westbrook/Studio D
If one's suit bears peaked or notched lapels, is it appropriate for his vest to bear lapels? Furthermore, if one's suit bears peaked lapels, is it appropriate for his vest lapels to be notched?
— Nick Karras, McAllen, Tex.
Blimey. This is a level-three sartorial question, and it's gratifying to know our readers are pondering at such levels. Vests with lapels are not technically wrong, but a vest without lapels would be my preference. Lapels on a vest look dressier and feel bulkier, and since a suit with a vest is already a killer look, there's no need to over-egg it. As to the rest of your question: If your jacket lapels are peaked, the vest should not be notched. You might consider going with a peaked-lapel vest under a peaked-lapel jacket only if the vest itself is double-breasted.
Last awards season, the Academy and the fashion department here at Esquire were in agreement: It had been a stylish year in Hollywood, not just on the red carpet but onscreen, with The King's Speech taking best picture at the Oscars and in over the likes of fellow double-nominees Inception and True Grit. Well the list of, uh, real nomines or this year that just came out is nowhere near as good-looking — at least in character. (With apologies to George's Hawaiian shirt and Brad's, well, visor.) Is it just us, or has this thing gotten a little out of hand? Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close? In a year with visual splendor ranging from road-rage-rad in Drive to Savile Row-trad in Tinker Tailor Solider Spy? Last we checked, film was a visual medium.
Alas, as an antidote to all the hyperbole, and a prelude to The Style Blog's of the red carpet now through the Academy Awards on February 26, we present our nominees of the clothes, characters, beards, and pocketsquares that mattered this year. Drive and Shame lead the pack with five nominations, followed closely by The Artist and Tinker with four each, but the results, as intended, will both surprise and inspire.
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Mens Style Guide - Illustrated Menswear Articles,A Tailored Suit's library of mens style articles;
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Last edited: 2012-05-21