Characterized by its luxuriously soft fibres, Cashmere has long been considered one of the most timeless and quintessential of fashion staples. An all-season must-have and a great long-term investment, cashmere will almost certainly never go out of fashion. Its silky soft natural fibres ensure it hangs better, lasts longer and is undoubtedly the lightest and most breathable article of clothing one could ever own. From pashmina shawls, scarves, gloves, tank-tops and v-neck sweaters, to tie-front ballet tops, wrap cardigans, camisoles and more. Cashmere makes for a tasteful, elegant and effortlessly chic addition to any outfit for men.
Made from the fine soft down coat of the Kashmir goat (whose natural habitat is the high plateaux of Asia - which is why its coat is naturally so warm), cashmere first attracted the attention of Europeans in the early 1800s. Having been woven into shawls and worn in India for years (shawls made of coarser cashmere 'guard hair' were more common while those made of finer quality hair were rarer and generally reserved for noble men and women), travellers, explorers and military personnel began to appreciate its beauty and warmth, bringing it back to Europe as presents for loved ones. Once in Europe cashmere fast became the preserve of noble women - its coveted status assured because of its high value.
The value of cashmere wool tends to vary depending on which part of the Kashmir goat the fur came from. The highest quality cashmere tends to come from the goat's throat and underbelly and, as a result, garners the highest price. The goat's legs and back produce fibres of a lesser quality, which (although still of high worth) gain a lower price value.
Although I represent many different knitting manufacturers, I have found that some of the best quality of cashmere selections comes from both Dalmine & Gran Sasso of Italy. I love to wear their knits myself. Dalmine is a bit more in pricing but both are superior in quality and both have a great design team to execute their products. Specifically, Dalmine offers different qualities of cashmere:
Top Cashmere Pure cashmere yarn, achieved through a particular production process that gives it a very fine thread that makes it extremely soft and fluffy to the touch. After a study of the raw material lasting several decades, Loro Piana has obtained this exclusive yarn, transmitting the quality into a tangible reality.
Cashmere & Silk It is among the most refined and precious yarns that exist, combining in an intimate blend the softness and thermal properties of the finest cashmere, with the typical gloss and lightness of silk. The result is a delicate garment, slim and lightweight, equipped with important advantages for our well-being, such as allowing the body to adapt with ease to changes in temperature.
When looking for top quality cashmere to buy, first feel the fabric. Lower end cashmere has the feeling of a marino wool and a bit harder to the touch than superior top quality. It's a no brainer for anyone to touch and notice the softness and the easiness of wearability when touching a top quality cashmere. Above all, try on the sweater and feel it against your skin. It's a wonderful feeling!
The term Bespoke is seriously overused. I see both designers and manufacturers in the fashion industry use the term incredibly loosely and often confusing buyers. Here is a answer to a reader's question about the correct terminology of the term "bespoke". Below the terms "made to measure", "bespoke" and "ready to wear" are broken down so you may learn the difference. Enjoy! - Tim
What exactly is a bespoke suit and what goes into it? Simply put, a bespoke suit is a suit made by a tailor to the individual measurements of the customer who commissioned it.
But, what exactly does that term mean? The word "bespoke" is more often used in British English than in American English, which uses "custom-made" instead. Terms like "made to order" and "made to measure" are also used. All these terms signify something that's the opposite of ready-to-wear.
The art of bespoke tailoring goes back to early England's tradition of royalties and aristocrats commissioning hand-made custom garments from tailors and merchants, but it is still alive today. As a matter of fact, "bespoke" has become a rather trendy word that tailors in the US and other places like to use more and more.
And, sometimes - maybe even misuse! Today, the term "bespoke" is also used in a broader sense, for a suit made in a factory from stock patterns - however, a true bespoke suit comes from the corner shop. You will be meeting with the person constructing your suit, and not with a sales worker.
There is certainly a significant difference between "made-to-measure" and "bespoke", although some use the terms interchangeably. A bespoke suit is - except for the long seams - a purely hand-made garment. That fact is also reflected in the price of such a suit.
Unlike a made-to-measure company, a tailor who makes bespoke suits will not use modified base patterns, as this could lead him to miss some nuances of his client's body. That's why he will take measurements of things such as the arch of the client's back or the slope of his shoulder. The blueprint of the suit - an individual pattern - is made and stored for each individual wearer.
Sometimes, multiple fittings or "tryons" will be required to ensure that the suit fits perfectly. There will be at least three fittings at different stages of tailoring: first, there is the skeleton base fitting, then the forward fitting, and finally the fin bar fin fitting. With a made-to-measure company, there will generally be no fittings during the creation process, only an initial fitting to take measurements, and a final fitting once the suit is finished.
A bespoke suit is the absolute best that could be made. There is no limit to customizations available.
A gentleman needs at least one really good suit. Only a true bespoke suit is able to fit the bill here!
For more on bespoke suit tailors, just ask here.
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Interesting story. A gentleman came in to my store today and asked how to properly take care of his new bespoke dress shirts I made for him in Italy. Though there are many layers, dress shirt care is possibly the most underrated habitual process for most men and women wearing them. So I want to make a series of this subject and feel free to comment below about your own experiences. I try to educate daily on proper cleaning all of our dress shirts. In fact, I'm sure there are numerous blog posts about how to do this but luckily I have worked with many tailors and dry-cleaning professionals on how to properly do this without resulting to chemicals. For me, acquiring this knowledge is very important since we sell so many custom and stocked shirts. My selections go way beyond regular two ply cottons. Often I am making luxurious sea island cotton and higher counts with the hand of tissue paper and for most the issue raises some concern when spending the money to get these high quality hand made products. Below is a article that will help you with both cleaning and naturally removing stains. Particularly pit and collar stains! Let me know what you think in the comment box below and don't forget to get my free newsletter on clothing care advice and pro tips. Enjoy!
How to wash my shirts?
The best advice starting this out is to quit getting all of your dress shirts dry cleaned!! It is best to actually "COLD WASH" them yourself with a detergent that has a very limited fragrance added. I personally use baby detergent because of it's lack of chemicals and unnecessary fragrances. The result being that they keep the shirts looking and feeling fresh without the dryness and brittleness from dry-cleaning. Most dry cleaners will want to dry-clean your shirts because of the higher up-charge which equals more profit for them. The sad reality is that after chemically cleaning those shirts with the combination of tens of other people clothing can cause the fabric to never be the same again. Also, if the fabric is scorched after pressing then you may find that your dress shirt feels lacking in the body and stiff to the touch. Try to always cold wash your dress shirts together in a load yourself. Set the water temperature setting on cold wash, then hang up your shirts to dry naturally. If you live in a humid state like mine ( Florida ) then make sure to hang up your shirts inside your house as the humidity often leaves the shirts stiff and deeply wrinkled.
What if I have Pit Stains or Collar Stains?
Any pit and collar stain is from oil and perspiration blended deeply within very cotton fibers of your shirt. But don't worry, there is a way to get rid of this I promise. Not only can we get rid of it but we can do it naturally. But first I have to ask you a couple of questions that could help you in the future with this.
1) If you are perspiring enough to cause pit stains in your dress shirts then don't you think you should change your deodorant to a better anti perspiring stick?
2) Should you also consider wearing a undershirt if you are still sweating like a hog?
3) Are you wearing a aftershave that has oil based ingredients in it such as aloe? If so, this will totally stain your shirt collar. Search for a non oil based aftershave to use. There are hundreds out there just google search for them.
Now that you have applied these common solutions, it's now time to take off the existing stains on your dress shirts shirts. For me, this was common sense. I am a cyclist. I love riding. Sometimes when my bike chain gets incredibly gunky, and dirty from the road, I will take off the chain and put it in a bowl of hot water and dish washing soap. Yes, dish washing soap. The soap will degrease and properly take off all of the dirt, grime and oil. It's like having a brand new chain again minus the natural stretching from pushing those high 30mph speeds! So it is only logic if that one day I tried using Dawn as a natural way to remove oil based pit and collar stains. If it's really hard to get out, I take sea salt pieces and rub the wet fabric with it on my finger tips. This usually rubs out any existing stains. This method can be used for any stain actually. The reality is that I've only had to do this only a couple of times because I don't really cause stains in my shirts anymore because I use proper deodorant and aftershave eliminating the cause.
Here's a tip: The more you launder a shirt that has pit and collar stains, the harder it is to get out. It is better to attempt on taking off the stains immediately after noticing it with these methods.
Most people that I've given the advice to have thanked me with relief. If you found this helpful then let me know below. Also, if there are other clothing care advice you would like to know then just type away loudly at me.
written by: Tim Beasley
Pictures: Suit by Canali worn by Tim Beasley
Dawn Soap via web search
This article explains the profound differences between an off the rack suit and having a garment specially made for you during a custom process. When making for my clients I am usually faced with a time constraint as some garments are specially made for particular events. Try to plan ahead as most manufacturers take four to six weeks to fully make and deliver your custom suit. - Tim
The differences between an off-the-rack suit and a tailored suit are profound when it comes to how it transforms your look. Your occupation and body type don’t matter– a tailored suit is meant to fit your body, so it will ultimately look better on you than a generic, off-the-rack suit. Often stated as the lingerie of menswear, a custom-fitted suit is meant to accentuate the best assets of your body to create a sharp, elegant, and sexy look. Tailored, custom, or bespoke suits are considered the ultimate menswear purchase, and they’re worth every penny. Here are our top 5 reasons why owning a tailored suit will change how you look…and how you feel.
1. A Tailored Suit is Made to Fit Your Body
You may think that an off-the-rack suits fit you just fine. That’s probably because you’ve never worn a custom suit. Your body is unique, so why wouldn’t your suit fit you perfectly? Cut and sewn to fit you, a tailored suit should fit like a refined mold that accentuates your best features and disguises the ones you prefer to hide.
Furthermore, custom suits are meant to have a close fit that allow movement and comfort. They shouldn’t be so fitted that they restrict movement or tear. Meant to find the perfect balance between sexy and performance, a custom suit must look good and function well in your environment.
2. Materials Matter
Custom suits are like works of art; they’re made by experienced artisans who know how to handle exquisite materials. Simply put, a tailored custom-suit is made better, and with better materials, than off-the-rack suits.
At John H. Daniel, our suits are made by hand by the world’s finest tailors and with premium fabrics and materials. What that translates to is quality and longevity: a custom, tailor-made suit should last a lifetime. Whether visible or built within the suit, impeccable materials help retain the shape, drape, and meticulous fit of your custom suit throughout the years.
3. Handmade and Hand-Sewn
A handmade suit is not an ordinary handmade good. It’s an old-world tradition and expertly practiced trade. Supporting handmade and hand-sewn suits helps preserve a tradition that instinctually provides a level of detail, skill, fit, and quality that no machine can conquer.
Hand-sewn in the U.S.A by the world finest tailors, a John H. Daniel suit is sure to provide visible affirmations of luxury and quality. Every stitch will make you feel just as the suit looks — elegant and strong.
4. Personalized Design
Choosing a tailor-made suit is choosing unlimited personalization and design opportunities. Custom suits allow the wearer to design and express their personal style. From color and texture choices to accentuating details, taking part in the design process can be a rewarding element of buying and then wearing a custom-made suit. Building that unique suit you’ve always wanted can be an amazing experience that ultimately makes you feel like the best, and most true, you.
5. Time Saved is Money Saved
It’s true, custom suits do cost more than off-the-rack suits (for the many reasons stated above). However, think about the time you’ll save looking and searching for an off-the-rack suit that only “fits okay.” Chances are, you’ve travelled to different stores, possibly in different cities, and tried on hundreds of generically sized suits. What that amounts to is lost time…and money. Time and money that could be saved towards a custom suit that fits you beautifully.
While you may not walk out of the store with a suit-in-hand the same day, you’ve ultimately saved yourself from the unnecessary frustration that comes along with hunting for a decent suit, you’ve saved valuable time and money, and you’ll soon own the best suit you’ve ever worn.
John H. Daniel
" What do I wear to my interview?”
I’ve been in sales my whole 30 year old life. I’ve always sold something ever since I can remember and when I’m selling, I subconsciously have a constant radar of my customer’s perception. Understand? Literally, within a 3 minute conversation I pick up on hundreds of clues like postural and bodily movements, breathing rhythms, pulsating neck veins, likely sayings and many other signs that every skilled salesman must learn to be successful. It’s what I call, “locked in”. It’s when your able to understand what the customer is thinking without the formal communication or even non-communication. The art of developing live data to determine a end result in transaction is crucially important. This is what you need to be a killer salesman. This article doesn’t talk about that but I want to add it in for you before we get started. When you go into that office, you are selling yourself. About 90 percent of my clients are business owners who hire other people to work for them whether as an direct employee or contracted worker. We have a hiring process at our store in Boca Raton that requires two interviews and a trial period to see if you will “sink or swim.” Truth be told, I can tell within five minutes of talking to you during our first interview whether you are the right fit or not. If you come in wearing a suit with stains on the lapel with a yellowing collared shirt and dirty fingernails with scuffed up shoes and coffee stained teeth then I will immediately perceive you as a lazy slob and not fit to service my customers. Same with your future employer. Learn what they are looking for and make your case as your selling yourself. By far the best way to get that quick start is to manage your employers perception of you during that first five seconds of greeting for the first time. Here is a great article for making the right clothing choices when going about your interview. Enjoy! – Tim Beasley
What do I wear to the interview? It’s a question millions of people agonize over on some level while looking for a job.
The bad news is that there are few cut-and-dried answers. As the saying goes, there’s no accounting for taste, and each interviewer has his unique sense of what’s appropriate interview attire. The good news? Deciding what to wear isn’t as difficult as you might think.
Dress One or Two Levels Up
“The rule of thumb is that you dress one or two levels higher than the job that you’re going for,” explains Kate Wendleton, president and founder of the Five O’Clock Club, a national career counseling and outplacement firm. “If you were going for a job as a mechanic, you wouldn’t go in there in dirty overalls, even though that’s how you would dress for that kind of work. You would still go in there and show respect. You would go in with an open-collar shirt, clean pants and maybe a jacket.”
As Wendleton puts it, by dressing a notch or two above what’s standard apparel for the position you’re interviewing for, “you’re definitely showing that you care about this job, and that you know the game.”
“The rule of thumb is that you dress one or two levels higher than the job that you’re going for “Caution Is The Better Part of Valor
When it’s time to get dressed for the interview, remember: It’s not so much that you’re trying to get the job with what you wear; rather, it’s more a matter of not taking yourself out of contention with your presentation, Wendleton says. “Interviewers can decide in 10 seconds that they don’t want you,” she adds. “It will take them longer to decide they do want you.” Chances are good that by dressing on the conservative side, you won’t unintentionally disqualify yourself. But trying to demonstrate how hip you are with your exposed lower back tattoos or laid-back Juicy Couture outfit could backfire.
“It’s not so much that you’re trying to get the job with what you wear; rather, it’s more a matter of not taking yourself out of contention with your presentation”This Isn’t 1999
Once upon a time during the dotcom heyday, “people would come in with nose rings and sandals, and because there really was a severe labor shortage, they’d get hired,” Wendleton recounts.
She says that young, freshly minted grads often make the mistake these days of going too casual, perhaps confusing what once was with what now is. “These days, people are not desperate for you,” she says. “Recent grads tend to dress like they’re students at interviews. Nobody forgives that. Not in this market.”
Use Your Judgment
Is a suit always a must in an interview? Absolutely not. Michael Smith, who recently searched for a job in the Chicago area, went on an interview in the midst of a bitter cold snap in that region. “So instead of wearing a suit, I wore black slacks and a sweater,” Smith says. “The sweater was large and cable-knit but very nice and high quality. The interviewer actually said to me that it was nice to see something other than a suit walk through his door. And a week later, I got the job.”
So be sure to learn about an industry’s fashion culture; some are obviously more casual than others. It’s also usually fine to inquire about the dress code while setting up the interview. An Armani coat and tie or your nice Ann Taylor outfit may not be required if you discover the dress code is casual.
“be sure to learn about an industry’s fashion culture; some are obviously more casual than others. It’s also usually fine to inquire about the dress code while setting up the interview.”“But it’s never fine to go in with a collarless shirt,” Wendleton warns. And for men, she suggests putting on a jacket, even when not wearing a tie.
You Might Not Want to Be Too True to Yourself
There are those who say it’s pointless to dress for an interview in a way that you wouldn’t once you’re on the job. Why misrepresent yourself to a future employer or try to be someone you’re not?
“If you want to have eight earrings and have your tongue pierced, that’s fine,” Wendleton says. “But you’re showing you don’t know how to play the game. If it’s so important to you, go ahead and dress like you normally do, but realize that you may not get the job.”
Picture Samuelsohn SS15 – Navy Bryan Jacket with Red Windowpane
Author: Thad Peterson
Q: I just had a beautiful suit made. It is 100% wool and made in Italy. How can I make sure that I properly maintain my suit so that I can achieve a longer lifespan of wearing it?
I continuously get emails on garment care and the protocol for various cleaning methods. Today’s particular email answered is solely on 100% wool garments. Before we get into specifics on when and how to care for your garments, let’s first look into the types of classifications of different wool fabrics. Not many people know of the defined classifications and properties that wool has. If you wear wool daily then this should be a great read!
Wool fabrics are considered protein fibers. Protein fibers come from an animal and have living properties such as cooling and warming the animals during hot or cold climates. You may hear many wool mill owners say that these fabrics are made to enhance and maintain performance. Many are even treated to have water resistant and wrinkle resistant properties but these properties are not exactly natural to wool and although it’s a nice compliment to the garment, treating it to have these qualities can damage the hand and breathability. Even if the garment is a blend of protein and other fibers, the protein fiber content cannot be ignored. The most common protein fibers are silk, wool, angora, cashmere and camel hair.
Woolens & Worsted Wools
Woolens are garments that have a soft surface, the result of a low twist on the yarn and a loosely woven fabric. These characteristics mean the garment is easily pilled by anything other than light mechanical action.
Worsted wools are characterized by a smooth, flat surface that is the result of high-twist yarns.
Wool can absorb almost one-third of its weight in moisture and still feel dry to the touch. This means, unfortunately, beverages will penetrate deeper and more quickly than they do in most other fibers. Therefore, coffee and wine are more difficult and more time-consuming to remove from a wool garment. It is fortunate that wool tolerates neutral synthetic detergent (NSD) and most tannin stain-removal formulas quite well. With a little patience, most tannin stains can be removed from wool garments with no more than standard tannin protocols.
Most white and light-colored wool garments have been treated with an optical brightener to enhance their appearance. This brightener is a surface finish that is sensitive to alkali and mechanical action. Once this finish has been disturbed, the area will take on a flat or sometimes gray appearance, and the damage is usually irreversible.
It is important to find a quality dry cleaner who can determine the best route for care, especially high quality wools. Wool can be permanently and irrevocably damaged if not protected when exposed to water. The damage is a type of shrinkage referred to as felting, and it is characterized by a drastic reduction in garment size combined with a noticeable hardening. Any combination of water, heat, mechanical action and (especially) alkaline detergent will likely ruin a wool garment, if accepted wetcleaning methods are not followed.
Wool is antibacterial and I personally recommend only dry-cleaning them after every 3 – 4 wears depending on you lifestyle. City life on a subway commute, taxis and high volume restaurants is a little concerning to me even with wool’s natural antibacterial proprieties. However, if your day consist of a morning car ride to the office and an occasional cocktail hour followed with a car commute home then I would adhere to the recommended 3 – 4 wears before cleaning.
For more questions on how to care for your garment you can email me at Clothier@GuyMenswear.com
Picture: Scabal Nobel Fleece
Wearing a solid suit, dress shirt, and tie is considered conservative by today’s style standards. I find that when you add a few patterns it creates interest, conveys fashion power, and shows you are in touch with the latest trends. Staying aware of classic business fashion is important for those who want to be perceived as innovative businessmen who remain on the leading edge of the business world during these dramatically changing times. Before stepping into the limelight with a more classic-modern look, it’s important to first know how to mix and match the patterns of the dress shirt and tie.
Mastering the composition of those patterns conveys that you put deliberate thought into how you are perceived in order to get an intentional outcome – a quality sought in any leading executive. Here are a few rules to remember in that regard, which those of us in the image industry call the “rules of coordination.”
Mastering the Composition
Just like a great piece of art or an interior design of a home, your wardrobe needs to tell one coherent story by integrating color, texture, prints, scale, and the personality of your authentic style. When mixing shirt and tie combos always remember to incorporate these four elements of composition into your selection:
1) Colors – Hues Need to Coordinate
When thinking of your suit, dress shirt, and tie ensemble it is important to blend one color through two of the items to give you color-coordinated balance. When wearing a multicolored tie, for example, pick one color in the tie to match to the color tone of either the suit or the shirt. Then rather than having the look of thrown-together separates you’ll show a coherent sense of style.
2) Chroma – Bright, Bold, Muted, or Light
Add a little dash of color to your suited look, deciding what level of color intensity you need to blend with your attire. But when wearing a bright-colored tie be sure to pair it with a muted dress shirt – or vice-versa. Color worn around your face creates a great focal point, but be sure to wear brighter colors in smaller doses for business dress. A red tie, for instance, is a great power color addition for any business professional.
3) Design – Polka-dots, Geometrics, Plaids, and Stripes
Designs and prints add interest to any outfit. A man’s tie is a statement of his style and a reflection of his personality, so find a few ties that you love to give your classic suit a more cosmopolitan flair. Striped ties are great because they can slim down a man’s silhouette by directing the viewer’s eye in a vertical line. If your tie rack is filled with solids, invest in a few prints that resonate with your own unique style.
4) Scale – Size and Proportion of Prints
Think of scale when mixing similar prints, remembering to incorporate different sizes of designs in the shirt and tie to look like a really sharply dressed man. A shirt with a large pattern, for example, coordinates nicely with a necktie that has a similar type of print executed in a smaller design, and vice versa.
Mix and Match Combos
Striped Shirt and Patterned Tie
Select a tie with small polka dots or small geometric shapes to create contrast and interest. If you decide to wear a striped shirt and a striped tie, it is important to remember to wear stripes of a different scale – otherwise it will look like you just layered two of the same prints, and the effect will be lost or cancel itself out to detract from your look.
Striped Shirt and Micro-Patterned Tie
I personally love this modern look which commands a powerful presence. But remember to keep the stripes in the shirt and the tie within the same tonal range of color.
Checked Shirt and Checked Tie
Applying the scale rule, you will look best wearing a large-check shirt with a smaller-check tie. This look is also more casual because the prints add a more relaxed feel to your ensemble.
Patterned Shirt and Solid Tie
In this combination the tie must coordinate with some of the color tones in the shirt for it to look intentional. Try to focus on a single color if you can, to blend the two pieces of clothing together. Or choose a color from the suit fabric and coordinate with it.
Solid Shirt and Patterned Tie
This look is more formal and conservative and conveys a distinguished look of success. In more conservative business environments, this tends to be the uniform. When selecting a patterned tie, be sure to stay abreast of the latest trends and let those guide your choices and purchases.
Once you master an understanding of the rules of wardrobe coordination, you can easily convert your basic business look into one that is more versatile and offers stylish color and print combinations to wear with your classic-modern suit.
Picture – Stenstroms of Sweden Spring15 Collection
Author Sarah Hathorn – Image Consultant
Denim has been associated with comfort for a very long time now. Denim jeans are a rage all over the world, but not a lot of attention has been paid to the denim shirt. These shirts keep coming back to the fashion scene at regular intervals of time. The best part about these shirts is that they go well with almost everything and they are very comfortable to wear.
Denim is associated with being casual and trendy. However, the way the denim shirt turns out depends entirely on the way it is designed. A shirt made of denim can look absolutely formal and stunning, if it is stitched in that particular fashion. Most of the leading men’s clothing brands have a special section for these kinds of shirts. Designers claim that denim is a material that gives them a lot of scope to experiment with. This means that you can expect to see a wide variety of designs for any given denim shirt.
Denim is available in a wide variety of colors and textures. As far as the fabric is concerned, the lesser the weight of the denim fabric, the better it is considered to be. Colors like black and blue are the classic ones that will always look good in denim shirts. Although double denim works well sometimes, it is safest to wear your shirt with trousers to prevent a denim overdose sort of speak.
There are hardly any mens shirt designs that cannot be manufactured with denim fabric. Whether it is long sleeved or sleeveless, slim collared or not, long or short, all kinds of denim shirts look good on most men. Designers come up with different designs every season, which break myths about the use of denim. Different kinds of fits, styles and patterns are introduced every season. Denim can also be washed and there are certain washing effects that look great on the fabric. They give the shirt a faded look, which projects a very casual attitude and is the ideal attire for a day out or a weekend.
A lot of men steer clear from a denim shirt because they think it might not suit their body type. The fact, however, is that denim looks good on every possible body type. If you ensure that you are wearing a cut that compliments your body, then there is nothing better looking and more comfortable than a denim shirt.
Picture – Tumblr Feed
Written by – Sarah Pucci
Spring and summer bring to mind images of love, vacations, walks on the beach and evenings by the pool. But you need to get a job in an office. Or you already have a job and you want to move up the ladder of success. What to wear? Contrary to the popular myth, unless you are in a glamour or very artistic industry there is no such thing as summer work casual. You can, though, fine tune your attire for the summer season. Here are a few ideas.
First, unless you are a pediatrician, a chemist or a barber – ban short sleeve shirts from your spring and Summer wardrobe. Long sleeves are the only acceptable style. A variety of fabrics and colors are acceptable. Pure cotton shirts are best (I prefer pima cotton but oxford cloth and poplin are popular too). Polyester can get warm. The collar is more a function of formality and style. English spread collar is the most formal. The American straight collar in the next most formal. The button-down collar is the least formal. Tab and collar pin styles are traditional but on again – off again styles. As for colors – white and pale blue are best. A fine muted blue or gray stripe is next best. Pale yellow and pink are best left to preppy outfits such as law firms and white shoe Wall Street enclaves. French cuffs are best left to the more senior executives and the power brokers.
Every spring men put on a whole rain forest of bright splashy ties. Avoid the trend. Go with small patterns (neat diamonds or circles) or regularly spaced wide stripes (regimental or old school) in natural colors. While darker colors are more popular in fall and winter, spring and summer open the door to: yellows, purples, reds (vs. burgundy), sky blue (vs. navy) and salmon or pink. Big tropical prints, words, graphics or pictures (with the horsy exception of very small snaffles or stirrups) and heavy fabrics are OUT for spring and summer. Think light weight silk and cotton madras vs. wools and heavy drapery fabric silk. Now that MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson has shunned bow ties – as have the leadership of Nation of Islam – perhaps you should take a wait and see attitude on the classic too.
The cut for spring and summer suits are the same as for fall and winter suits. The wools should be lighter weight. The colors are the same: medium gray, gray pinstripe, navy blue and blue chalk stripe. Stay away from plaids and more fancy stripes unless you have at least six basic suits in the combinations noted above. The suits should be either two or three button depending on your build. Trousers can be either pleated or flat front depending on build but must be properly hemmed with cuffs. No spring or summer vests. Cotton suits of tan, olive and navy are acceptable once you are in the work force. The question of seersucker should be based on observation of those around you at least one level above on the corporate ladder. Most likely they will fit in on Wall Street or at preppy law firms. Finally, the blazer and trousers is not the spring and summer replacement for the suit. Keep them for the country club and dinner parties.
There is no such thing as fall and winter vs. spring and summer shoes for men. Perhaps there should be but there is not. No white shoes except for classic bucks to wear to the club or parties. No sandals with suits and no woven leather shoes – ever. They are just too tacky for words. The classics are for year-round wear: cap toed laced shoes in black and dark brown, tassel loafers (expensive dress ones – not the outlet store types) in black and dark brown, expensive dress loafers of either the penny or snaffle style or the European-styled monk strap shoe in black and dark brown with the buckle on the side (very popular with non-Asian businessmen in Asia by the way). Shoes should be well maintained and polished at all times. No clunky shoes, no flip flops, no sandals, no boat shoes and no white plastic loafers – regardless of what the salesmen say. And if your shoes look more like running shoes than dress shoes then they are wrong for both interviews and work unless you aspire to a career in law enforcement.
Two belts for suits. Classic leather, thin with brass or silver metal small buckles in black and dark brown to match the shoes. Period. No white. No cute logo belts. And always wear a belt (unless you choose to wear classic braces also called suspenders – and never clip on ones and never with a belt).
Putting it all together
Wearing a crisp cotton shirt, a spring toned but traditional tie, a classic suit in light weight fabric, traditional shoes and belt and the right underwear will not necessarily get you hired or get you promoted once you are employed. But it will not hurt you either. Follow these steps on spring and summer attire and you will have an advantage over 90% of men whether you want to get hired or be considered for the big promotion.
Article written by George F. Franks, III – franksconsultinggroup.com
Edited by Tim Beasley
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