Heading Casual
I’m inherently more of a casual guy. I’m more comfortable circling around this part of the formality spectrum. I still like jackets and ties and pocket squares. I even like wearing suits. But, I need them to still express me. I’m not a businessman and have zero desire to be one. So, I’d rather not emulate business attire. That said, #menswear evolved in close conjunction with the evolution of modern business, so to be informed by classic meanswear will necessarily invoke a ‘business’ look. It’s a matter of making it your own.
I find myself wearing this chino jacket from LEC more and more often. Partially, it’s because I don’t worry about beating it up a bit. It wasn’t expensive. It fits well - if toward the snug side of things. It’s quite neutral, so easy to accessorize. Yet, in 90% of the places I go, simply because I’m wearing a jacket, I’m more ‘formally’ dressed than 95% of the guys in there.
I’m wearing a green grenadine tie with a pink pocket square based on some explicit consultation with a colour wheel. Green and pink are opposites on the wheel.
The toque is a cashmere-cotton blend from Rugby. It’s perfect for Toronto weather. The shirt is the extra slim fit OCBD from Brooks Brothers. The jeans are PRL selvedge that I picked up on sale at Mr. Porter. The shoes are Allen Edmond moc toe chukkas (I can’t remember the actual name). 

Heading Casual

I’m inherently more of a casual guy. I’m more comfortable circling around this part of the formality spectrum. I still like jackets and ties and pocket squares. I even like wearing suits. But, I need them to still express me. I’m not a businessman and have zero desire to be one. So, I’d rather not emulate business attire. That said, #menswear evolved in close conjunction with the evolution of modern business, so to be informed by classic meanswear will necessarily invoke a ‘business’ look. It’s a matter of making it your own.

I find myself wearing this chino jacket from LEC more and more often. Partially, it’s because I don’t worry about beating it up a bit. It wasn’t expensive. It fits well - if toward the snug side of things. It’s quite neutral, so easy to accessorize. Yet, in 90% of the places I go, simply because I’m wearing a jacket, I’m more ‘formally’ dressed than 95% of the guys in there.

I’m wearing a green grenadine tie with a pink pocket square based on some explicit consultation with a colour wheel. Green and pink are opposites on the wheel.

The toque is a cashmere-cotton blend from Rugby. It’s perfect for Toronto weather. The shirt is the extra slim fit OCBD from Brooks Brothers. The jeans are PRL selvedge that I picked up on sale at Mr. Porter. The shoes are Allen Edmond moc toe chukkas (I can’t remember the actual name). 

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Can you tell the difference in formality among the three pics at the top? If not, then I cannot recommend enough a recent Style Forum thread titled ‘Practical Thoughts on Coherent Combinations for Beginners.’ (Discussion tread).

I’ve learned as much reading this post over the past couple of weeks as I did in the previous year of learning about #menswear. The primary posts are written by SF stalwart F. Corbera. As it currently stands, at more than 25 pages of posts, the thread is a bit of a slog and includes a fair share of SF in-jokes and sniping between various other members, among some valuable commentary and informative dissent. You’ll find links to each of the substantive posts at the end of my post. The series is not done, but I’m enjoying it so much, I had to share.

F. Corbera is the author of the voxsartoria tumblr and also posts on SF under that name. His style is immaculate, if not entirely to what I aspire, not least because it is greatly helped by very deep pockets. However, before you fear the series is just about replicating his particular style, it’s worth noting that an early post presents the incredibly flamboyant Label King [video] as a coherent dresser.

Despite many claims to the contrary there are “rules” to #menswear. Note the quotation marks. Obviously, these are not formal rules like those found in sport. You will not be given a suspension for pairing suede loafers with your navy worsted two piece. The rules of #menswear are more about tradition and coherence, both practical and aesthetic. They are something to be observed, if not slavishly obeyed.

If the rules were like those of sports, it would be relatively easy to learn them. You could sit down and read them in an afternoon and then readily consult them thereafter. Of course, the informal “rules” are much more ephemeral. What F. Corbera does is to solidify this ephemera, by drawing on the British tradition of city vs. country wear. He is under no illusions that the rigidity of this distinction has waned. Rather, it serves as a device to explain the relationship between coherence and tradition. He explains how various pieces relate to this tradition and why pairing city pieces with city pieces, or country pieces with country pieces produces a coherent look, that – assuming fit is in place – will almost certainly look good. Dissenters have noted other relevant traditions, and I don’t doubt they are correct. But, I think the presentation of F. Corbera ought to be considered more informative than definitive. Certainly coherence can be achieved through other traditions. But, if you’re a n00b like me, you should be trying to absorb as much clear and useable information as you can.

At the beginning, the posts are a bit broader, and set up F. Corbera’s theoretical approach to the matter. Then, he appears to be to be much too strident with the city-country spectrum. However, I urge you to carry on as he soon applies the theory in the construction of coherent outfits.

The informative posts from F. Corbera are sporadic among the slew of posts the thread has attracted. However, I’ve linked to each below.

0. Preliminary

a. Practical Thoughts on Coherent Combinations for Beginners

b. What is a beginner

c. Discordancy or HarmonyContinued Continued

1. Navigate all elements of each “fit” to one point in the path from country to city

a. Get your act in line

b. Forces undermining coherent city/formal/public combinations for beginners 

c. Examples of coherent city/formal/public combinations for beginners

d. Thinking about the casual suit 

e. A city look self-assessment

f. What is the casual suit

g. The two types of casual suits 

h. The odd jacket 

i. Odd jacket from city to country, from formal to informal

j. The city/formal odd jacket

k. The country/casual odd jacket

One of the better, thoughtful dissenting posts comes from Flying Monkey. I also appreciated the observation of inlandisland, who related the matter to systems theory.

I’d recommend reading the substantial posts and then, if you have the time and inclination, go back and read through. There are other useful observations.

Note: The pics are taken from those given as examples in the thread. I apologize for not directly crediting the photographers, subjects or original posters.

Note: The thread has been moved to compile all the substantive posts together. There was also a new post today (Feb. 14, 2012). I will continue to update this post as F. Corbera adds to the thread.

51 notes

The curse of knowledge?

How do you respond if someone asks you what you think of their outfit, and you don’t care for it?

Do you ever make unsolicited comments to friends or acquaintances, like say telling someone that their black shoes and brown belt don’t go together, or that they should not button their bottom button?

3 notes

I haven’t posted anything in a while and felt a need to post something.
I’m trying to focus this Tumblr to keep with the title, and document the evolutionary path of my style. However, those posts require a bit more work, so I’ve been procrastinating.
The PS was bought from The Silentist during his recent sell-off. It’s a bit out of focus, so you can’t tell that it’s red stars on a black, or dark blue background. It has quickly risen the ranks among my favourite pocket squares.

I haven’t posted anything in a while and felt a need to post something.

I’m trying to focus this Tumblr to keep with the title, and document the evolutionary path of my style. However, those posts require a bit more work, so I’ve been procrastinating.

The PS was bought from The Silentist during his recent sell-off. It’s a bit out of focus, so you can’t tell that it’s red stars on a black, or dark blue background. It has quickly risen the ranks among my favourite pocket squares.

Making Mistakes

When I first started getting interested in classically inspired #menswear, I immediately went out and hit the suit and jacket section at Value Village. I was gung-ho to change my style and getting some jackets seemed like a quick and easy way to do so.

This monstrosity is what I came back with. I knew I should get wool. I checked the tag and made sure it was wool. In fact, it’s actually really nice, soft wool. I put it on and thought it fit. I made the purchase. If I recall, it was $12.99.

I now realize that this is wrong in so many ways. First, is the three buttons. Three button jackets are certainly not out of the question. They are currently less fashionable, but they remain a viable option, worn either as a true three button, or pressed into a 3/2 roll. However, with a true three button jacket, one needs to be very careful with the proportions. If can If this were the only problem with the jacket, I’d maybe try to make it work. Of course, it is not the only problem.

The jacket is ventless. There is currently a debate on Style Forum as to status of ventless jackets. Although they are standard on tuxedos, a lack of vents is more controversial for other jackets. Some on SF insist that the style has been around a long time and remains a viable option, if used correctly. They point to the classic, and ventless, jacket worn by Carey Grant in North-by-Northwest as one of the most iconic suits in cinema.  Others insist ventless jackets were a horrible fashion mistake and a sure signal that the wearer does not know what they are doing. I think the rear shot shows why they are a bad idea. A lack of vents makes it extremely awkward to put your hand in your pocket. The entire jacket twists, which makes the jacket look bad, but also pulls and twists at your pants as well [1].

But, the biggest problem is the terrible fit. The shoulders are at least an inch and a half too wide. They are much wider than the shoulders on a jacket I posted earlier, and which I think might be too wide in the shoulders. Because it is too big, it is difficult to judge if this jacket could have worked as either a true three button or 3/2 roll. The first rule of thrifting jackets is to make sure they fit across the shoulders. Since that first trip to Value Village, I’ve put on hundreds of jackets, many that fit well and many the fit terribly. Now, when I’m thrifting, the moment I put my arm in one sleeve, I can tell if the shoulders are too wide. If I were pulling this jacket off the rack today, I wouldn’t even bother sliding it across my back and onto my other arm. 

I don’t regret getting the jacket. It was part of my learning process, and it was a relatively cheap mistake. The only reason you should be embarrassed when you make a mistake is if you keep repeating the same mistake. This jacket was a misstep in my style evolution, but one that will ultimately help me get nearer to my goal.

[1] Although, these pictures make me realize that these jeans are already getting too big in the waist and seat on me.

So, there is general agreement that the shoulders are at least a half inch wider than what is perhaps ideal. 
I’m most intrigued by Broke and Bespoke's response. It would indicate that there is up to 3/4 of an inch of leeway in the width of the shoulders. A Fistful of Style also suggests there is some acceptable leeway. Is this a consequence of both being major thrifters? Is this a necessary component of relying on thrifting to build one’s wardrobe?
I don’t have another jacket like this in my closet and I’m unlikely to come across anything similar any time soon. I really like the brown. The faint blue windowpane gives it a bit of pop. The material has a great texture. It’s double-vented, which I prefer (and which is currently trendy). Yet, because they were not what was trendy when the clothes currently being thrifted were purchased, they are the least common vents I come across. It is also beautifully constructed by Samuelsohn (a greatly underrated Canadian suit maker). 
But, perhaps I’m falling into the dangerous thrifter territory that The Silentist mentioned in his most recent Ramen Noodles Budget post and allowing too much crap to fill my closet.
I’m going to post soon on some of the mistakes I’ve made in the evolution of my style. I don’t consider this jacket to be one, although I think I have a more sober understanding of its limitations.

So, there is general agreement that the shoulders are at least a half inch wider than what is perhaps ideal. 

I’m most intrigued by Broke and Bespoke's response. It would indicate that there is up to 3/4 of an inch of leeway in the width of the shoulders. A Fistful of Style also suggests there is some acceptable leeway. Is this a consequence of both being major thrifters? Is this a necessary component of relying on thrifting to build one’s wardrobe?

I don’t have another jacket like this in my closet and I’m unlikely to come across anything similar any time soon. I really like the brown. The faint blue windowpane gives it a bit of pop. The material has a great texture. It’s double-vented, which I prefer (and which is currently trendy). Yet, because they were not what was trendy when the clothes currently being thrifted were purchased, they are the least common vents I come across. It is also beautifully constructed by Samuelsohn (a greatly underrated Canadian suit maker). 

But, perhaps I’m falling into the dangerous thrifter territory that The Silentist mentioned in his most recent Ramen Noodles Budget post and allowing too much crap to fill my closet.

I’m going to post soon on some of the mistakes I’ve made in the evolution of my style. I don’t consider this jacket to be one, although I think I have a more sober understanding of its limitations.

1 note

You Judge

I think I’ve been getting jackets with shoulders that are too wide for me. The shoulders on this jacket are about 18.75” while I think 18 or 18.25” would be better for me. Thoughts?

14 notes

Formal Friday (yes, I know a bright pink shirt is hardly formal)
I’ve posted about this tie before. I picked it up at a vintage place in London. I could not find any information about who I thought was the maker - Carloni Gaetano. Thanks to Derek over at Die, Workwear, I now know that the tie is made by Personality. A quick search shows you can actually pick up Personality knit ties at Park & Bond, at a serious discount right now; $26 down from $85. However, those ties are only 2” wide. The tie I’m wearing, is more than 3.5”. That means it holds up against the lapels of this Aquascutum suit. It also gives an amazing dimple and drapes beautifully.
I haven’t been wearing it because the stitching at the bottom had come loose. This meant the bottom of the tie, which is folded up inside when the tie is closed, would fall down, and look sloppy. I finally stitched it up myself, last night.
Now, about this suit…. What do people think? Is the pattern dated? The fit is great. When I bought it (second-hand) the pants were bordering on bell bottoms. I’ve since had them tapered to a more appropriate fit. I really like it, but have concerns that it screams 70s.

Formal Friday (yes, I know a bright pink shirt is hardly formal)

I’ve posted about this tie before. I picked it up at a vintage place in London. I could not find any information about who I thought was the maker - Carloni Gaetano. Thanks to Derek over at Die, Workwear, I now know that the tie is made by Personality. A quick search shows you can actually pick up Personality knit ties at Park & Bond, at a serious discount right now; $26 down from $85. However, those ties are only 2” wide. The tie I’m wearing, is more than 3.5”. That means it holds up against the lapels of this Aquascutum suit. It also gives an amazing dimple and drapes beautifully.

I haven’t been wearing it because the stitching at the bottom had come loose. This meant the bottom of the tie, which is folded up inside when the tie is closed, would fall down, and look sloppy. I finally stitched it up myself, last night.

Now, about this suit…. What do people think? Is the pattern dated? The fit is great. When I bought it (second-hand) the pants were bordering on bell bottoms. I’ve since had them tapered to a more appropriate fit. I really like it, but have concerns that it screams 70s.

Uniform?
This has many of the same basic components as Kiyoshi’s uniform. The jeans and blue blazer form the backbone. Also, on Kiyoshi’s recommendation, I jumped at the recent Brooks Brothers sale and acquired a couple of their blue OCBD.
I’ve gone with a tartan wool tie. The pocket square is silk, but the colours are a little too matchy-matchy. The shoes are AE Hancocks. I used to think they did not pair well with jeans, but I was wrong.
I’m also sporting my terrible, trashy, spotty “I don’t give a fuck (but really I do)” facial hair.
Does anyone notice something a little amiss about the blazer?

Uniform?

This has many of the same basic components as Kiyoshi’s uniform. The jeans and blue blazer form the backbone. Also, on Kiyoshi’s recommendation, I jumped at the recent Brooks Brothers sale and acquired a couple of their blue OCBD.

I’ve gone with a tartan wool tie. The pocket square is silk, but the colours are a little too matchy-matchy. The shoes are AE Hancocks. I used to think they did not pair well with jeans, but I was wrong.

I’m also sporting my terrible, trashy, spotty “I don’t give a fuck (but really I do)” facial hair.

Does anyone notice something a little amiss about the blazer?

29 notes

Professorial.
Shades of brown. A reminder of the usefulness of white shirts.
This is from Style Forum. The wearer is identified as Doc Holliday. I always feel a bit weird snagging things from Style Forum. But, I’m going on the fact that it’s a public forum and I’ve identified the source.
If this is you and you’d like me to remove this image, please contact me to let me know.

Professorial.

Shades of brown. A reminder of the usefulness of white shirts.

This is from Style Forum. The wearer is identified as Doc Holliday. I always feel a bit weird snagging things from Style Forum. But, I’m going on the fact that it’s a public forum and I’ve identified the source.

If this is you and you’d like me to remove this image, please contact me to let me know.

3 notes

Suggestion Saturday

Does Tumblr have a version of Twitter’s Follow Friday (ff)?

I’m not aware of one, so I’m going to do Suggestion Saturday. I’ll try to recommend at least one of my favourite #menswear Tumblrs each Saturday. #ff on Twitter has become next to useless and people just post lists of their friends with no explanation of why they deserve a follow. I’ll explain why my choice is worthy of a bit of real estate on your dash.

My first suggestion: Survival of the Fittest.

If you’re already following, then you know that Giroux (I’m assuming his name based on the URL; please correct me if I’m wrong) Trent [1] has one of the most informative #menswear Tumblrs out there. Just this past week he’s been offering his Meatball Tailoring tutorials on how to do your own alterations. I can guarantee that everyone who saw it felt inspired and is already thinking of a pair of pants or a shirt on which they can practice. 

Keep it up SotF!

[1] Corrected by the man himself. What’s Giroux McIsaak?

A humble request

Can people start tagging their posts with the name of their own Tumblr?

Although there is no way to search your dash for a specific Tumblr, you can search by tag. So, if I wanted to find a particular post by The Silentist, I currently have to scroll through the entire dash. But, if he tagged all his posts #thesilentist (or #the silentist), I could filter with this tag. That would make the task of finding a particular post much easier.

2 notes

Formal Friday

Formal Friday

13 notes

Henley with Tweed?
Yay or nay?

Henley with Tweed?

Yay or nay?

10 notes

#FormalFriday
I work from home, so there is no expectation or requirement that I wear a tie. I could stay in my pajama pants and t-shirt all day. But, I refuse to fall into that trap. As a personal kick in the pants, I decided that Friday will be ‘formal,’ which for me means full suit. Some of my suits would not pass muster in a formal work environment, but I like having an excuse to wear one.
Here, I’ve paired my gray flannel DB with a green PS and a paisley tie in blue, green, pink and orange. The tie is a new eBay acquisition after my partner indicated she likes it when I wear paisley. 
Behind me you can see a map of the world. I’m busy plotting my take-over…

#FormalFriday

I work from home, so there is no expectation or requirement that I wear a tie. I could stay in my pajama pants and t-shirt all day. But, I refuse to fall into that trap. As a personal kick in the pants, I decided that Friday will be ‘formal,’ which for me means full suit. Some of my suits would not pass muster in a formal work environment, but I like having an excuse to wear one.

Here, I’ve paired my gray flannel DB with a green PS and a paisley tie in blue, green, pink and orange. The tie is a new eBay acquisition after my partner indicated she likes it when I wear paisley. 

Behind me you can see a map of the world. I’m busy plotting my take-over…