Shades of Grey
It’s actually a light blue OCBD and a dark navy tie. Some Lightroom fuckery has generated this result.
At 36, I've been (mostly) dressing like an adult for over three years.
This suit was absent from my rotation for a while. Why? I got too fat to wear it. Simple as that. I’d been putting on weight for a while, mostly due to stress eating. I quietly consigned the suit to the closet, with a slight bit of shame, but not changing my eating habits. The turning point came when my neck got too fat to comfortably button up my pink Brooks Brothers OCBD. I finally acknowledged that I needed to make a change.
So, about six weeks and 30lbs later, the shirt fits and the tweed suit will be a short-lived part of my cool spring wardrobe.
I put this together acknowledging that Toronto is having a cool spring, but with the flowery pocket square to represent my hope for warmer days, even though that’ll mean the suit will again be out of rotation, although this time for happier reasons.
This is a Lands’ End shawl collar sweater in a cotton-wool-linen blend. Obviously, it should not go in the washing machine. Unfortunately, in the rush of a post-vacation launder it wound up in there. Once I realized what happened - thankfully, prior to it going in the dryer - I was heart-broken. I live in this sweater through fall, winter and early spring.
However, the heartbreak was premature, as you can see. The sweater survived. In fact, as it was starting to bag out a bit, the wash actually tightened it back up. Of course, the wash almost certainly shortened its life and I won’t be repeating the mistake.
Wow! I will actually be in SF on April 4th for a conference. I can’t 100% guarantee I’ll be available for this, but I will certainly try to be.
The event takes place April 4th, with drinks at our shop at 6:00, followed by dinner at a place TBD around 8:00. I’m hoping to bring in a sponsor for some fantastic whisky. Stay tuned.
The broader details on the event are here: San Francisco SF Meetup
Feel free to reblog.
Before I had kids, I was really into photography. Now, five years later, I’m getting back into it; taking photos for their own sake. This means I’m probably going to play around with my wiwt shots a bit more.
Although I started doing this just for fun it made something apparent to me: viewing an outfit in black & white helps judge pattern mixing better. By removing the different colours, you can focus on the shapes of the patterns.
I haven’t been posting many wiwt shots lately, in part because I’ve been choosing to stay casual or wearing redundant outfits. I decided to post this one because I’m particularly pleased with the combination of colours, textures and patterns in this outfit.
The suit is quite boldly checked, although the checks are hard to discern from a distance. The colour is also an unusual gray-blue. It wouldn’t work in almost any office setting. As a casual suit, I felt comfortable with the button-down collar. I also thought the wool knit tie worked well with both the pink shirt and the blue-gray of the suit. This knit tie also has a really nice texture to it. Since the tie is matte, I decided to throw in a silk pocket square.
Neither the shirt nor the tie has a pattern, so I wanted to include one in the pocket square. However, this is sort of a tricky proposition. On the one hand, the pattern of the suit is quite large. Yet, the multiple overlapping checks actually create the impression of a fairly small pattern. I thought the bold, pink polka dots of the pocket square fit into the middle ground between the impression of both big and small patterns contained in the suit.
The suit is thrifted Aquascutum.
The tie is eBay’d Lands End.
The shirt is Brooks Brothers ESF, bought on sale.
“Following the rules can be good, but do so for your own reasons. Question everything.”
On Sleeve Length
Over the past couple of years my sense of style has taken several distinct turns. I think this is very normal for someone who is young on their journey into men’s clothing and I imagine that my tastes will continue to develop over time. One change that I’ve noticed in particular is my opinion on jacket sleeve length.
When I was first learning about tailored clothing I was slavishly committed to “the rules.” For this reason, I was always adamant on showing a healthy amount of shirt cuff under my suits and jackets in order to “let them know” that I was a stylish man. I was quick to pass judgement on those who wore their sleeves at or past their cuffs; if only they knew the mistake they were making!
As I spent more time thinking about the topic and learned from more purchases I began to question the meaning behind my sleeve length manifesto. Why is it that we are told to “show some cuff”? After some reflection I was able to think of two reasons for this behavior. The first reason is the obvious one: shirt cuffs provide contrast. If you are wearing a shirt and suit of different colors (and I hope you are) the small slice of shirt provides some much-needed contrast, especially if the suit you’re wearing is a solid color. This is similar to the effect of a simple pocket square neatly tucked into a breast pocket with a TV fold; a small amount of contrast aids in breaking up a large canvas.
The second reason came to me after wearing tailored clothing more often. I found that the shirt cuff gave me a helpful amount of gradation between my jacket sleeves and wrist. As a textbook ectomorph I dislike the stark contrast created between my small wrists and the much larger opening of the jacket sleeve. A shirt cuff nicely splits the difference and eases the transition from suit to skin. I found this to be a very compelling reason as to why I felt the need to keep suit sleeves away from my wrists.
Once I began to think of this rule in my own terms and not as a GQ commandment I started to reevaluate the way I approached it. If the reason for showing cuffs is not to prove that “you get it” but to instead complete a holistic look then perhaps a more subtle approach would be beneficial. I experimented with different sleeve lengths and quickly found that, as with most things in life, less is more. A sliver of shirt peeking out from under a sleeve effectively succeeds in the points above, but does so in a way that does not detract from the whole look (in the way that 1/2”-1” of shirt cuff might). Discovering my own reasons for following this rule has help solidify my preferences and made me more confident in what I look for.
Following the rules can be good, but do so for your own reasons. Question everything.
The coat hits all the #menswear sweet spots: trim cut, ticket pocket, dual vent. Can you go wrong?
Oh, and readers of his blog get 20% off if they mention it in their comments on ‘Make an Offer.’ Finally, he’s selling stuff in order to fund the costs of adoption, so it’s a worthy endeavour.
"We all get ideas and cues from other people to build our own personal styles. For some it may be a work in progress and others may be content with whatever their own looks may be. Some may resemble well-known memes or seem too overtly camera-friendly, but I for one am not willing to pass negative judgment on someone for that without knowing their intentions or daily routines."
Distilling part of the argument I made in my post Progress & Preservation.