Starting a Tie Wardrobe – Styleforum Picks

Starting a tie wardrobe in 2018 can be daunting; with the variety of options that are just one click away, it might be hard to determine whether a tie is going to get some use or will lie in a cedar box untouched for years.

This list was compiled following the directions of some Styleforum members who discussed pretty extensively the merits and versatility of the following ties on this thread.

A starting wardrobe of 12 ties might contain:

  • Two navy solid ties (a grenadine and a repp, for instance)
  • Two other solid ties (i.e. forest green grenadine, a chocolate brown repp)
  • One glen plaid, guncheck, or shepherd’s check tie in black and white or navy and white
  • One houndstooth tie
  • Two pindot ties
  • Two “neat” ties –  small, evenly spaced designs
  • Two repp stripe ties

See below for some great options that will help you complete your tie collection.


Navy solid ties

Yellow Hook $130      •       Kent Wang $75

Solid ties in other colors 

Vanda Fine Clothing $123       •      Yellow Hook $130

Glen plaid / Guncheck / Shepherd’s check ties

Vecchio Anseatico $95      •      Vanda Fine Clothing $123

Houndstooth ties

Drake’s micro houndstooth $195    •      Drake’s puppytooth $185

Pindot ties

Shibumi Firenze $126      •      Vanda Fine Clothing $123

Neat Ties

Spier & MacKay  $35      •      Shibumi Firenze $126

Repp stripe ties

Ralph Lauren  $125     •      Vecchio Anseatico $95

Fall 2018 Menswear Trends

I always get excited about fall clothes. Perhaps it’s the fact that the additional layers allow one to express oneself in subtle whispers that rival the boldest aloha shirt, but perhaps I’m romanticizing it just a bit. It helps that the coldest it ever gets in San Francisco is a laughable 40℉ (about 5℃), so I can enjoy the clothes without having to suffer too much discomfort. Yes, that’s an admission of guilt.

This season, designers seem to have pillaged from various styles of modern fashion. Of course, this is nothing new, but it seems especially apparent this time around. Therefore, each designer will have a throwback song or album that I feel encapsulates it.  A little reductive, yes; but think of it as your shopping soundtrack to get you in the mood and help you decide what look best fits your style.  Ready?  Here we go.

Classic Menswear

Collection: Drake’s 

Song: The Innocence Mission – That Was Another Country

 

Ah, 1995. I had just moved to upstate New York, and getting ready to experience my first deciduous autumn as a Southern California boy. As soon as the first chill happened, I was surrounded by new sights, and not just of the trees: khakis, cords, chunky sweaters, scarves, and big jackets. Suddenly the stifling temperatures of summer eased to allow the real fun to start, when you can play in a rugby shirt without dying of heat exhaustion, and as your sweat cooled in the dusky late afternoon air, you’d start the barbecue with crispy fallen leaves while sipping on a Red Hook; after dinner, you’d borrow someone’s roll neck (everybody had at least one) to watch the sun set over the fiery hills of the Adirondacks, and the Innocence Mission would play in the background, and everyone would be smiling.

Drake’s pulls from such happy, loose-fitting, carefree mid-90s nostalgia but makes it modern by keeping the pants moderately trim and jacket lapel gorge above the pectorals. Nothing is offensive, everything looks comfortable, and you’d feel completely fine if everyone in the world dressed more or less the same way (“Oh, you have a cable sweater in periwinkle? Mine is in moss. Let’s swap!”).

In less capable hands, such a decision can get old quick (sorry, J Crew), but the creative genius of Drake’s is taking classic themes and curating a selection that incorporates contemporary tweaks, unimpeachable fabrics, and flattering patterns that prevents it from sliding into stale insignificance. Their tweed raglan and corduroy belted overcoat are particular standouts, but basically, anything is a sure pick. Seriously, they could do this for the next 100 years, and it would still look great.

Shop for the new stuff here.

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Collection: Brooks Brothers

Song: The Dandy Warhols – Every Day Should Be A Holiday

When Brooks Brothers revealed its Fall 2018 show at Pitti last winter, everyone was a little bemused. Why was one of the longest-running outfitters of US presidents headlining opening night at one of the peacocky-est shows of the year for its 200th anniversary? No one really had a clear answer, except for the fact that now an Italian is running the show (Claudio del Vecchio is the current President and CEO), and instead of recalling the best of its storied history, many of the looks were uneven, with never-off-the-runway oddities like tucking in suit jackets into pants. Yes, you read that right. You can see a brief video overview of the show here.

Despite that, the best looks were actually distinct and non-chalant, like louche double-breasted suits worn open, three-button jackets worn with the collar up, and Chelsea boots. Much of the capsule drew from 60s British and American rock and roll archetypes, which made onlookers wonder if they were actually watching a Brooks Brothers or Burberry show. Who influenced who? Does it matter, as long as it’s done well?

Similarly, on The Dandy Warhols album Come Down, never has an American band sounded so British so well, especially on the seventh track, Every Day Should Be a Holiday.  It’s got groovy reverb, a sweet guitar hook, a touch of electro, and just the right amount of oohs and aahs that make it one of the best Britpop songs, even though it hails from Portland. Go figure.

Online picks: purple donegal crewneckpatchwork crewneck

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Collection: Corneliani 

Song: Cranberries sing the Carpenters who sing Richard Chamberlain who sing Burt Bacharach – Close to You

Corneliani is one of those brands that doesn’t get the love it deserves. The company has been around for decades, and besides producing for its own label, it has made clothing for Karl Lagerfeld, Krizia, and Trussardi, among others. Despite this, one thing you can count on for Corneliani is their unobjectionable, consonant stylishness. When they were making for Ralph Lauren from 1998 to 2016 there were no less than five Polo models at any given time (more than a dozen, if you count two- and three-button models, tuxedos, and double breasteds) but you always knew it was a Corneliani. If you liked how they fit, you could be fairly confident that you’d like their other stuff. This season shares the same DNA, and whereas nothing is revolutionary, they’re up-to-date pieces that anyone can wear and look great. My favorites are the belted raglan overcoat (taken from their archives) and their no-brainer combinations of gray, navy, and camel, in colors that complement practically everyone. Really, you can’t go wrong with anything they’ve made over the past 10 years.

I kind of think of Burt Bacharach as the Corneliani of the music world, and I mean that in the best way possible. In addition to writing songs for himself, he’s written for countless others: Perry Como, Dionne Warwick, Tom Jones, Rod Stewart, Elvis Costello, etc – not to mention all the songs he’s written for the screen. The thing about a Burt Bacharach song is no matter who sings it, or how, you know it’s a Burt Bacharach song, and even though it may not be particularly groundbreaking, it always – always – sounds great. For crying out loud, even the Library of Congress says there’s a thing called a “Bacharach sound”. Nowhere is this more apparent than when, in 1994, the Cranberries cover the Carpenters’ “Close To You” of 1970, which was itself a cover of the same song sung by Richard Chamberlain in 1963, which was written by Bacharach. Honestly, I can’t decide which one I like the best, and if someone were to redo it again today, I’d probably like that one too.

Click here to find a stockist

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Classic Menswear / Streetwear

Collection: Giorgio Armani

Song: Giorgio Moroder – Chase

I swear, one of these days, we’ll all be dressing in Armani, and wondering why we didn’t make the jump earlier. This season includes a few suits, mostly in an 8-to-6 (!) double-breasted configuration, which looks a little adolescent as a suit but positively virile as a velvet blazer. Most of his collection for Fall/Winter 2018 is filled with what the designer does best: soft drapey goodness, taking patterns that we already know, deconstructing them, and recreating them in fantastic fabrics that you’d want to lounge all day in.

Nothing in the runway would be confused for conservative business dress, but if your work environment allows it, you’d be hard pressed to find cooler threads. This collection, like many of his, has a retro-futuristic tenor, not unlike listening to Chase from Giorgio Moroder. The synthesizer he became so closely associated with is admittedly dated, yet sounds like it hails from a future of warp speed and molecular transport, like something we’d wear if the robot apocalypse happened and we all lived in climate-controlled spaceships, wore cashmere velvet suits, animal fur, and band collar shirts, which would be perfectly fine to me.

Stores around the world, but their online shop has quite a bit of selection as well.

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Collection: Margaret Howell

Song: Siouxsie & the Banshees – Slowdive

For someone who has been designing for almost half a century, Margaret Howell still manages to remain current.  Her secret?  “You never tire of good designs,” according to a GQ interview  Indeed, a quick perusal of her collections – over a hundred of them – and you’d think they’re indistinguishable. Upon closer inspection, however, you’ll notice subtle changes over the years, like an unhurried widening or narrowing of a trouser leg or a slight increase or decrease in trouser rise. In other words: different, but same.

Siouxsie Sioux has more or less been doing the same thing, for almost the same amount of time. The music is always dramatic and moody, her voice alluring and passionate. Even though her sound hasn’t changed in decades, every song is very uniquely her. This is not to say that she’s stuck in a rut, but rather reflects someone who is confident in their style. Just listen to Slowdive from Siouxsie & the Banshees.  Made all the way back in 1983, it inspired one of the best bands of all time (yes, that Slowdive) and perhaps predictably, was later covered by LCD Soundsystem.  Try and tell me those thumping beats and purring vocals come from a demure, equivocating artist.

Margaret Howell style hasn’t changed much either, and yet the little changes she does do are what continuously make her collections so compelling. In a world where bold statement pieces get all the love, keeping the same roster of old standbys seems like a sure path to irrelevance, but the Howell deftly modifies them just enough to keep them fresh. Unlike clothes that scream individuality with conspicuous, exaggerated designs, Howell’s clothes are for those who prefer subtly unique takes on classic clothes. Think of it as streetwear for those that like menswear.

Their online shop is based in the UK, but some items are at Mr Porter.

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Streetwear

Collection: 45R

Song: The Stone Roses – Fool’s Gold

45R (formerly RPM) never ceases to trigger the “buy now” muscle in my index finger when browsing, and fortunately, the ridiculous prices of most of the pieces keep me from clicking myself into debt.  For those of you unfamiliar with Japanese fashion, it can often be described as maximalist fashion – way over the top.  While for some reason it looks great on their models, it is admittedly not for everybody, nor everywhere, but when you’re in the mood, brands like Kapital delivers. For the rest of us, there’s 45R.

It’s not that it’s any less interesting, per se; much, if not all, of their collection is completely exclusive to them, including the fabric.  The talent of the company lies in taking something that you’d never wear and making it wearable. It helps that most of the items are in easy-to-wear shades of indigo, brown, and gray.  Take the stripe hoodie below as an example.   For crying out loud, that’s a rug fabric, and yet somehow it looks like something I can incorporate into my wardrobe without a second thought.  But the prices, oh the prices – this one will set you back a seizure-inducing $624.  My recommendation: save up and get one piece and pair it with all your other boring clothes.

You can purchase directly from their site, but if you’re lucky enough to live near the few stores they have in US, definitely drop by, as most of their items need to be seen and handled in person to fully appreciate them.

Scrolling through the lookbook, you can pick up a funky undercurrent; the clothes seem to boogie when worn. Even if it’s not your bag, the comfortable ease and eye-catching motifs from cultures around the world resonate with anyone with even half a pulse, which reminds me of the 1989 baggy Madchester anthem from the Stone Roses, Fool’s Gold. Starting from the first cymbal taps, this is one of those addictive, slow-burning jams that you never tire of, even after the end of its nine-plus minutes.  Boasting arguably the grooviest bass line and drum beat ever produced, its alternatively funky and psychedelic wah-wah guitar effects and hushed vocals boast more than enough feel-good vibes to make the most wooden wallflower jump on the dancefloor and commence the head bobbin’.

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Life After Eidos: Fully Canvassed Suits That Won’t Break the Bank

As the desire for quality, authenticity, and longevity in men’s clothing once again became more appreciated, Styleforum has been here for guys to share their knowledge on the questions that inevitably cropped up.

Who made these shoes?—Look at the nail patterns.” “Who made this private label suit?—Look at the manufacturer tag.” “Is this line of suiting full canvas or half canvas?—Here is the history of that maker’s quality for the past 25 years.

It is this last point—full canvassing in suits and sport coats—that remains a worthy benchmark for determining a garment’s quality and value. I’d say cut, fit and design are more important in deciding whether a suit or jacket “works” on someone, all other things being equal. But thanks to the resurgence of interest in tailored clothing in the last 10 years (however long it may yet last…), there are a lot of good options for full canvas tailoring.

One of the original value propositions of my favorite menswear brand, Eidos, was that it offered full canvas, made in Italy tailoring, at an almost unbelievable price point (I believe sport coats started at $895, suits at $995). Prices crept up over time, and with Simon Spurr’s first collection, suits will begin at $1395 (no word on sport coats). That is definitely an increase over the years, but it’s well within the norm for what you’ll find from other brands of similar quality (and limited handwork). No Man Walks Alone will continue to carry Eidos in their own signature cut from the brand at least through fall, so it’s business as usual at least through 2018 for customers of Greg’s.

As for the new aesthetic direction Mr. Spurr is taking the brand, I like to keep an open mind about things, and who knows – maybe it’ll be great. However, I’ve cultivated a list of other contenders for my tailoring wants if that doesn’t turn out to be the case. Here are five I’ve got my eye on.

 

Berg & Berg

Only two seasons into their tailoring offerings, this Scandinavian company has expanded from men’s accessories into a nearly complete collection. Their tailoring is made in southern Italy (Puglia, the region at the heel of Italy’s boot). The collection is small, with only four suits and four odd jackets this Spring (one being double breasted in each category) but it is exceptionally well priced. For those outside the EU, without VAT, the price for a jacket is as low as $656 and a suit $852. The cut hits all the notes you’d expect this day and age—soft shoulder, lightweight canvas for a soft structure—with some departures from the mainstream, namely a longer jacket length and slightly wider than average lapels.

Check out: Berg & Berg Dan II Single Breasted Fresco Suit


SuitSupply Jort collection

SuitSupply is pretty much the king of half-canvas, contemporary, European-centric tailoring. Being made in China and having a vertically integrated retail presence, their prices are very competitive. Their Jort line—named after the company’s “sartorial historian” Jort Kelder—is fully canvassed. Each season, they produce a tightly curated Jort collection, using better fabrics that feature a slightly more elevated design compared to the main line. It takes the same cues as the rest of the company’s tailoring—soft-shouldered with a bit of grinze, lightweight canvas, open patch pockets if the fabric and design calls for it—but adds some design flourishes that most Styleforum guys would appreciate: a lower buttoning point as well as a slightly lower breast pocket, both of which lean on the more classic side. Jackets start at around $600, and suits are priced at a solid $1,000.

Check out: Suit Supply Jort Brown Check


Proper Cloth

Even though they’re known best for their made to measure shirts, Proper Cloth has offered other clothing items for a long time—accessories, sweaters, outerwear and even tailored jackets. Recently, they upgraded their tailored offerings from simply off-the-rack to made-to-order. It isn’t quite to the same level of customization as their shirts, but with sizes ranging from 32 all the way to 64 (at single intervals), with short, regular, and long lengths, as well as three fits (classic, slim and extra slim), there’s a pretty good chance you can hit the mark in fit, or at least get pretty close before alterations. Their Hudson jackets and Mercer suits are fully canvassed, while the Allen suits and Bedford jackets are half-canvas, coming in at about 2/3 the price. The design details on them check all the standard boxes—soft shoulder, open patch hip pockets, unlined, etc.

Check out: Hudson Navy Performance Wool Hopsack Jacket


Anglo-Italian 

I quickly took notice of this new shop from Jake Grantham and Alex Pirounis (both formerly from The Armoury). Just like Berg & Berg or SuitSupply, they are a self-branded store, which means they don’t carry products under other labels. As the name clearly communicates, their product is meant to fuse the best of British and Italian menswear traditions: soft tailoring and design from Italy, and English fabrics. I stopped by the shop when I was in London last October, and really liked what I saw and felt. Their biggest focus is on made-to-measure, but they do stock a small collection of tailoring off the rack each season, as well as a full range of other products—ties, trousers, shirts, outerwear, etc.). Everything is made in southern Italy. For those outside the UK, a sportcoat runs about $1,350 (with the current exchange rate of about $1.41 per Pound Sterling). Trousers are about $350.

Check out: Anglo-Italian Sport Jacket Brown Broken Twill Wool


Sid Mashburn

Much has been written about Sid Mashburn. His personal charm is legendary, and his business has grown immensely since its opening, so he must be doing something right. At this point, there are enough cuts in the American-Italian spectrum to please most customers. His full-canvas sportcoats start at around $700 and suits start around $1,000.

Check out: Sid Mashburn Kincaid No. 3 Ticket Pocket Suit


Ring Jacket

Although it’s made in Japan, Ring Jacket designs along southern Italian lines—a curved barchetta pocket, open patch pockets, soft construction and soft shoulders. Part of this is because the company, which specialized in making suits and jackets for brands in Japan over the years, had a factory manager that studied tailoring in Naples, learning from them. He helped to recreate Ring Jacket so it features smaller armholes and larger sleeveheads. Their products were only available from only a couple retailers in North America for a long time, but despite their slow and deliberate expansion, it’s now a bit easier to find. They have their own e-commerce for some products, and a list of stockists you can find here: https://ringjacket.com/stockists

Check out: Ring Jacket New Balloon Wool 256 Double Breasted Sport Coat 

Casual Menswear Trends for Spring 2018

Spring is almost here, I can just taste it. Strangely enough, winter finally arrived in the Bay Area, and record lows in the 30s (I know, we’re wimps) meant I’ve been finally able to enjoy my Eidos+Vanson shearling grizzly, Stephen Schneider Merino Coat, and throw a belted overcoat over my suit.  It’s been novel, but I’m no sadist; moderate temperatures are where it’s at. Besides, current freezing temperatures notwithstanding, the longer, sunny days have been pushing tree blossoms out to greet the sky – a perfumed harbinger of warmer seasons to come.
About this time, designers and the stores that stock them start rolling out their looks for spring and summer, and there’s a lot – A LOT – to like.  From pale pastel solids, to printed camp shirts, and even beachwear, there’s something for everyone to look forward to, meaning you can actually wear runway looks (groundbreaking, I know). Here are a few standouts of Spring 2018 collections, beginning with more familiar silhouettes.
 

Drake’s London – Americana

Prep came and went a few years ago, but there are some things that are–by now–timeless. Drake’s obviously isn’t the first to try their hand at it, but for a British company who uses predominantly Italian makers for their shirts and suiting, they do seersucker and madras rather well. Gorges are a bit lower and wider compared to the resurgence of Ivy style in recent years, which makes the look seem new. Of course there are polo shirts, but there’s also a terry cloth polo shirt; this sounds like it would run hot, but I can tell you from experience after climbing out of the Mediterranean last summer that there is no better nor more stylish way to dry off. They’re not available yet, but when they are I’d jump on it, since they’re generally hard to find.
My favorite combination of the lookbook is a madras sport coat paired with a saturated blue linen popover shirt (the saturated color is the perfect complement to the red madras), jeans, and loafers. Not necessarily new, but with the lengths that some fanatics go for prep perfection, Drake’s London via Italy interpretation is a refreshing departure.

Junya Watanabe – Workwear

The spring collection from Junya Watanabe continues his workwear-inspired Carhartt collaboration, often tweaked just enough to wear comfortably on the street (although some pieces I would 100% wear on a job). I really like this plaid overshirt worn with white chinos. Wear them with a pair of Vans, Chucks, or Common Projects and you’ve got a great spring look. Carhartt even manages to dress up workwear, as we see in this black shop jacket worn with black pants and oxfords. That’s practically a dinner date outfit, something I thought I’d never see from Carhartt. For those who can’t get enough workwear, this season’s offerings from Junya could be worth looking into.

Corneliani – Tonalities

Some guys are perfectly comfortable in slim silhouettes, and men tend to keep their wardrobes for years, even decades.  If that’s you, then Corneliani’s lookbook this season will be right up your alley.  The proportions have changed only slightly, and the way the outfits are paired are fresh enough to give you ideas for this season and beyond.  For Spring, I really like dressing in light tones (sometimes referred to as palewave) but it can be hard for some.  Corneliani makes it look easy – and it is, if you start with white pants as an anchor.
From there, you can throw all sorts of shades from beige, gray, and tan, to light blues and greens.  Of course, you could play it safe with black, and Corneliani makes this easy, too. The textured leather jacket provides a touch of visual interest, the beige polo sweater is different but still classic, and the higher waisted pleated trousers are cut a bit roomy in the top but still razor sharp.

 Club Monaco – Modern American Classics

I noticed printed shirts are recurrent for Spring ’18, particularly those with club collars. Club Monaco seems destined to carry this trend, and sure enough, they do, in a slightly loose fit. However, instead of leaving their squared off hemline outside, they’re mostly tucked in, leaning dressy. The style harkens back to some of the 1950s silhouettes featuring camp collars but making the silhouettes a bit more modern.
It’s not groundbreaking, but for those wanting to try something new, it’s not bank account-breaking either. I particularly like their grey linen camp collar shirt – the underside of the placket is a soft white. I also really like their cream boucle rollneck. It’s a very subtle texture, giving a basic item loads of visual interest. It’s not on the website – yet – but a striped version is, and it’s on sale.

Armani – Wider Silhouettes

As a guy who wears suits at least twice a week, there’s nothing like the process and result of a bespoke suit that fits well. That said, for more casual wear, I like the look that some designers have been leaning towards the past few years – a looser, drapey look that fondly recalls the 80’s without the stuffy shoulders. Who other than Armani would better interpret the silhouettes of the decade that he became known for? For his newest collection, he puts together seersucker shorts with an interesting crepe de chine shirt that buttons a bit of to one side (making it an interesting v-neck) and tops it off with a boxy shawl cardigan to ward off the chill. I quite like what looks like a gray-and-black block striped bomber jacket in–wait for it–suede.  Paired with a t-shirt and loafers, it looks like something a chillwave DJ would wear to a cocktail party.

No Man Walks Alone – Curated Casual

Greg and his crew at NMWA have a keen eye that can spot interesting clothes that fit into almost everyone’s lifestyle, and this season is no different. My favorites are…pretty much everything from Sage de Cret, as they’ve chosen tops and bottoms that can easily go with each other. I’ve got my eye on the fixed collar popover shirt, though. The gauzy cotton and easy going fit add such a vacation vibe to it, and it’ll go with all the linen and seersucker shorts I’ve got in my closet. If you dig something a little less plain, they have you covered with Portuguese Flannel. Their new shirts for the season have tasteful prints that feature a slightly less Hawaiian and a bit more Mediterranean color palette.

Lemaire – Refined Slouchiness

Lemaire takes the loose-is-better mantra and adds a bit of louche sheen. In one look, he throws together a loose printed camp-collar shirt and baggy black lightweight trousers with a self-belt.
For those not into camp collars, he presents the same trousers in gray worn with an oversized shirt that has no collar at all, three-quarter sleeves, and is punctuated with lowered chest pockets. Nothing is crazy here, just a dash of late-era disco clubs under neon palm trees, which is exactly why it’s so compelling.

Engineered Garments – Technicolor

Spring and Summer usually mean beachwear will be on display, but I didn’t expect any from Engineered Garments. Up till now, their motif has been largely military-inspired tweaks of tried and true menswear in earthy colors, like khakis with a cargo pocket on the front, or M-65 jackets with buttons in strange places. Maybe that’s why they went all technicolor this season, and not just with beachwear –  everything is in saturated colors.
Not everyone will feel comfortable walking down the street with these pieces, but on the beach (or lake, depending on where you are) it feels right at home. And really, EG’s trademarks haven’t changed that much. The jackets still have interesting closures, belts, and toggles, and the shorts still feature that one odd pocket in front. It’s just a little brighter because you know, summer.

Jasper’s Best Cyber Monday Buys

The Black Friday / Cyber Monday sales are still going. I know, I know, it’s hardly believable, and I applaud you for staying conscious for so long. There are plenty of deals to be found by browsing our full list, and I hope that you haven’t buried yourself in debt. If you haven’t quite shopped yourself into a coma yet, here are some gems you may have missed.


 

1. Visvim 7-hole 73′ boots from Idol Brooklyn, $655

I mentioned recently that I had purchased a pair of these, and $665 is a great price (you’ll have to use the code “CYBERWEEKEND” to get that extra 15% off). They’re chunky to the max, they’re super comfortable, and I really like the mix of leather and nylon used for the shaft of the boot. Plus, let’s be honest: zippers are a must on any boot.

Visvim’s one of those brands that routinely sells out on everything despite the frankly absurd prices, and while Idol has a reasonable selection available, in my opinion these boots are the stand-out. I love my pair – in fact, I’m wearing them as I type this, with a heavy cowichan and some very-worn-in cargo pants (olive green, 9$ at Banana Republic two years ago). Two people in the last week have asked me if I’ve ever watched The Big Lebowski, which reminds me that I haven’t had a White Russian in about 10 years.

2. P. Johnson DB Tropical Wool Suit from Mr. Porter – Jacket, $875; Trousers, $265

If you’re going on a beach vacation this winter or spring, pack a suit like this. You’ll look awesome when you’re sipping sunset cocktails by the beach, which is totally a thing that people who aren’t obsessed with Instagram do in suits. Otherwise, it’s a pretty awesome pick-up for the spring and summer when the weather starts to warm up again. Perfect wedding gear, too.

 

3. James Grose Double Rider jacket from No Man Walks Alone – $829

You’ve heard the news, right? Well, at under a grand, SF affiliate NMWA’s selection of James Grose jackets are, like, doubly rewarding. They’re less leather-daddy than most American (and many English) makers, and they don’t have annoying branded tabs on them. I’m betting everyone will gravitate towards the JG ‘Manila’ models, but take a gander at the ‘Clubman‘ as well. There’s a sweet leather jacket for everydaddy in there, and you’re getting great quality for, frankly, an absurd price.

 

4. Viberg Plain Toe Service Boot from Blue Button Shop – $455

Once again, Canadian retailer Blue Button has come through huge on Viberg boots, with the code shoes30 netting you 30% off these Styleforum standbys. I like the plain-toe model, but the slippers are pretty cool too. Buy ’em fast – this is a low price to see for these. Damn.

Jasper’s Favorite Chunky Boots for Autumn

I’m a boot guy. The only laced shoes I wear outside of weddings are sneakers (and even then, I wore loafers to the only two weddings I attended this summer), and if I’m not in sneakers I’m in boots. Granted, it’s less pleasant for me to stick to my guns during the Colorado summers, which regularly crest 90 degrees for months on end, and getting to slip back into my favorites is one of many reasons I love dressing in autumn and winter. These days, my tastes are running to chunkier silhouettes, and I’ve largely phased out my collection of sleek side-zip models, and with that in mind I hope here’s a selection of some of the chunky boots I’ve both enjoyed wearing and looking at online, ready for adoption into your autumn wardrobe.


Combat boots

Most combat boots that high street brands release still tend towards the dainty, and while a sleek silhouette can be nice, I think it often comes at the expense of character. I’ve been very happy with the pair of Visvim 7-Hole ’73 combat boots I bought a couple of months ago. Despite the hefty shape, they’re very lightweight, and the addition of a side-zip appeases my lazy side (it also makes them just fine to wear in an airport). Visvim has done several iterations of this boot, and past releases have sported commando soles instead. It also comes in three colors: the black, shown below, brown and khaki, and black and olive. The price of a pair of these boots is fairly high (though you can, as I did, find ways to score a deal), and in combination with the somewhat distinctive styling they’re certainly not for everyone.

To me, that’s part of the charm. It’s easy to end up with a giant shoe wardrobe with no variation in it – for example, owning 5+ pairs of near-identical side-zip boots (guilty) allows you to swap out your pairs depending on your mood, but it’s not particularly interesting. These days, I much prefer to reach into my closet for something that’s more distinctive, as it lets me change up silhouettes more than the alternative. Take, for example, these admittedly absurd Feit combat boots – they’re something of a hybrid shoe that, despite their bulk, nonetheless seems possible to work into an outfit built around a tweed or flannel trouser. Nonnative’s recurring ‘Wanderer‘ boot offers similar styling to the Visvim model, but it’s a bit too 1:1 for my tastes. Of course, if you’re after something sleek that’s a surer bet for classic and classic-casual wardrobes, I’ve always thought that Carmina’s ‘Jumper‘ boots seemed attractive.

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Visvim boots shown with Monitaly x SF mountain parka and Niche patchwork jeans.

 


Chelsea boots

I’m not really a chelsea boot person, and that’s mostly because I’ve never loved the rocker/mod aesthetic, especially as it’s been presented in recent years. I’ve also never been certain of how I feel about an elastic gore which, despite my love of easy to put on shoes, I’ve always found a touch off-putting. Recently, this has changed somewhat, largely because I’ve taken the time to look at different silhouettes. Takes such as those offered by Common Projects and YSL have never held much appeal for me, but once again, expanding my world a bit has revealed some attractive options.

On the more affordable end of the spectrum, you’ll find boots such as the Clark’s Clarkdale Gobi. I purchased these on a whim about a month ago, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much I’ve worn them. They’re a good middle-ground in terms of silhouette, and crepe soles remain comfortable. The problem, of course, is that they don’t do great when the temperature plummets, and really aren’t wearable in the snow. Even so, the lower price makes them an easy pair to test out.

 

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Gobi boots shown with Kapital Century denim and a vintage chore jacket

If you’re looking for a longer-lasting, leather-soled model, you’ve probably already been sent in the direction of RM Williams boots. I’ve been keeping an eye on these for the better part of this last year, and there are two different models that have retained my interest: the very classic Comfort Craftsman and the Yearling, both of which are wholecuts, but which have very different silhouettes thanks in large part to the height of their respective heel. While the ‘Gardener’ model is a bit too blobby for my tastes, I appreciate the relative heftiness of the silhouettes on offer. If you, like me, are a fan of Western and Western-inspired footwear, there are a few models – such as the  – that, especially for an American, offer a wearable twist on Western wear. Sporting a pair of cowboy boots really takes some commitment (more on that later), and it’s a world I haven’t quite dived into yet, but RMW’s designs are perhaps a bit more forgiving than a full-on croc boot.

Another option that has caught my eye recently is Viberg’s chelsea boot. They’re not brand new this fall, but they offer – as does RMW – a heavier take on the chelsea. As is the case with most Viberg models, you can find it with a variety of leather and sole options, and if you want a workboot that you do’t have to lace yourself into, this is an attractive – and long-wearing – possibility.

 

 

 

 


Work Boots

By now, I’d be surprised if any forum member hasn’t heard of Viberg, and they’re still a go-to for heavy workboot styles. Every season, you can find a huge range of models at Viberg’s many retailers, but right now the makeup I have my eye on is this Scout Boot that Viberg is selling through its own webstore. Perhaps that’s because it’s fairly similar to the other boot I’ve had my eye on, which is Visvim’s now-venerable Virgil. Unfortunately, my feet don’t seem to play nicely with the Virgil’s last shape, and Viberg models lack the lightweight, sneakerboot feel of Visvim’s footwear, which is part of what makes the latter so appealing to me. New webstore Miloh Shop is also offering what I think is a pretty handsome ‘Triple Black‘ makeup that would work well with olive chinos, among other things.

If that’s not your style, you might prefer Alden’s classic moc- and plain-toe models, but I feel I hardly need to mention them here. One budget option is Timberland, a brand my cousin (a field researcher) swears by, so if you want something that might actually keep your feet dry and warm this winter they’re not a bad bet. This fall, both Nonnative and Sophnet have done a Gore-Tex and an all-black zipper-finished model, respectively, and I have to say – both look really good. Unfortunately, if you have large feet, you’re probably SOL.


 

Western boots

As mentioned earlier, I haven’t quite had the courage to dip my toes into a true Western (read: cowboy) boot – there’s a lot of cultural baggage for me there, and I am endlessly undecided as to whether I think I’d actually wear a pair. Even so, there are some boots out there I think are undeniably cool, and there are others that are likely a bit more accessible in terms of shape. If you’re interested in a true-blue cowboy boot, I think that Heritage Boot Co. is making some designs worth your while. They’re far more interesting than most designs you’ll find from big makers like Lucchese, and from what I’ve read they’re made to a much higher standard as well. My only experience with Lucchese resulted in two returns do to two separate QC issues, and plenty of boot people on the internet reckon that Heritage Boot is making some of the nicest boots on the market, especially considering what they’re asking for them. A few stand out to me in particular; their basic black ‘Apache,’ the French-toed ‘Ranch hand,’ and the exotic ‘Stingray.’ The first two options seem the like relatively low-risk and low-effort ways to give a boot like this a shot, while the stingray boot requires a step up in commitment. Some of the inlaid models are worth a look as well, although I imagine most people would find them a little harder to work into a regular rotation.

On the shallower end of the pool you can also find models such as the Lucchese Shane and Cannon, both of which are available via Huckberry. Both are roper-style boots with an un-embellished shaft and a rounded toe; obviously at home with denim, but potential options for textured trousers as well. At under 400$, the ‘Shane’ strikes me as a sensible entry-level attempt, especially given Huckberry’s easy return policy – I’ve seen the same model available through Amazon before as well, though you’ll have to check the shipping and return terms on your own. The Lucchese Jonah was also briefly popular on the streetwear side of the forum, and is a much, much easier boot to work into a variety of wardrobes. It’s a pricier zip roper, with a hefty sole and a slightly wider shaft that accommodates a straighter-leg jean or trouser. Unfortunately, I’m one of several people who, as mentioned, had some issues with QC, so if you’re interested in these boots make sure that you have the option to exchange or return.

 

 

 

What James Bond Would Buy on Mr. Porter

Mr. Porter has, apparently, worked with the costume designer and wardrobe supervisor of the ‘Kingsman’ movie franchise to put together one of those capsule collections we all love so much. Mr. P’s always been, in my mind, the go-to e-store for dudes who want to look like James Bond, so I guess I’m not surprised. Still, I say bollocks, because I frankly couldn’t believe the one trailer I saw for the upcoming Kingsman film wasn’t a joke. I guess there’s only room in my heart for one secret agent (hint: it’s Kim Possible).

Even so, you (and I, I guess) are in luck, because if you want to dress like Bond MP’s still got your back. There’s probably no better time to do so, especially since there’s supposedly going to be another film in 2019, even if we don’t know who’ll be in it. Hell, maybe I have a shot. If I had to guess, here’s what Bond would buy on Mr. Porter:


1. Nothing says Bond like a Dinner suit, and apparently Jeffrey Deaver (who writes books) dressed Jim in Canali in a recent novel. No complaints from me – that’s a nice tux. Black tie season is coming, and a real secret agent would be prepared in advance.

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Canali Tux, $1,975

 

2. Okay, so maybe the other garment that really screams BOND is a dressing gown, because it totally makes sense that a secret agent dude has time to wear one of those when hunting down baddies. Anyway, this one’s got a nice pattern on it, which is probably good for distracting people who barge in on you, guns drawn, while your tongue is halfway down a supermodel’s throat. It’s like dazzle camo, but for a gentleman.

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Derek Rose cotton-jacquard robe, $525

 

3. I’m pretty sure it’s written somewhere in the top secret James Bond contract that you must wear a turtleneck at some point. And, frankly, this one’s pretty badass. Heavy wool, a trim fit, and a solid rollneck make this a sweater for a rough ‘n ready Bond. Wear it the next time you get thrown into the ocean.

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Inis Meain merino/cashmere rollneck, $595

 

4. Similarly, the white cotton shirt is a Bond staple. Given film Bond’s predilection for Turnbull and Asser, it seems only fitting to suggest one of the London house’s staple staples: white cotton, and nothing else. Bring extras, because bloodstains.

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Turnbull & Asser white cotton shirt, $365

 

5. Every Bond worth his liquor needs a good ski vacation. That means you need a wardrobe worthy of après-ski celebrations (and libations), and that means you need ridiculous leather hiking boots like these ones.

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Ralph Lauren Purple Label Hiking Boots, $1,500

 

6. All joking aside, a black captoe oxford really is a wardrobe staple. You can even wear them with your tux if you’ve got nothing else. Smart shoes such as these showcase the best of Bond: quality, no-nonsense, generally ready to kick some ass, get drunk, or do both in the same afternoon.

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Church’s oxford shoes, $595

 

7. After you’ve been to the Alps, you may as well head to the beach for a well-deserved rest, along with a taste of local delights with a side of murder. Connery’s Bond has always been a good source of swimspiration (hashtag #swimspiration) [note: I just googled ‘swimspiration’ and apparently it’s a thing], and this Orlebar Brown terrycloth polo is the perfect option to showcase your chest hair.

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Orlebar Brown terrycloth polo, $165

 

8. On that note, short, light-blue swim trunks are definitely in order. Just make sure they’re tight, and that you haven’t been skipping leg day.

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Frescobol Carioca swim shorts, $250

 

9. Oh, and don’t even think about trying to vacation Bond-style without a camp-collar shirt. Sean Connery loved these, and lucky for you, they’re having a moment. Pick one with long sleeves so you can wear it as the days start to grow shorter. This one also gestures, idly, to Connery’s predilection for safari shirts.

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Camoshita striped camp-collar shirt, $430

 

10. Sometimes Bond (or, more accurately, Daniel Craig) does in fact wear jeans, and when he does, he usually wears chukkas. Not a bad choice – they’re comfy, and go with most things you’ll find in a tailored wardrobe. In fact, if you read Styleforum you probably have some, Bond fan or otherwise. Perhaps you’re James Bond already.

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Brunello Cucinelli chukka boots, $1,075

 

11. Bond. Grey flannel. The two go together like sex and guns, and we at Styleforum (read: Peter Zottolo) are huge fans of suits such as this. Even if you don’t want to be like Bond, you do want to be like Peter. Trust me on this one.

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Alexander McQueen POW suit, $2,855

 

12. At home with jeans, slacks, or full nudity, nothing says “I’m rugged, refined, and ready for anything as long as it doesn’t rain” like a suede blouson. Even if you’re tragically uncool and un-dashing, you can drape this over the back of a fancy chair and just look at it for a while if you want.

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Valstar Valstarino suede jacket, $995

 

The Best Ties For Summer

Even though most of us dread the unbearable humidity and heat that comes with summer, we still need to dress professionally. While we can likely endure wearing year-round or three-season suiting in air conditioned offices, the clothes that tend to bring us the most joy in summer – as in winter – are those made from fabrics specific to the season. Our garments for summer can be as particular, as interesting and as beautiful as those for winter, in that they have different characteristics in make, color, weave, and the like. However, in order to complete the outfit, you still need the right accessories; only then will you ensure that the ensemble is complete.

Fabrics for summer ties are similar to those for our garments. While there are ties that can work all year long, or for most seasons – grenadine, silk rep, printed silk all come to mind – you might want to add a little seasonal variation by adding an interesting element into an outfit. Just as is the case with an odd sport coat, crunchy or slubby textures, open weaves, or unstructured designs all help make a tie more summer-friendly. Playing with color, as you would with said odd jacket, also helps a tie to be more appropriate for warm weather – pastels or subdued neutrals work well for summer. Personally, I enjoy a six or seven-fold tie for less structure, especially when paired with a more open weave, such as grenadine in a light but muted blue or green. It gives it a sort of nonchalant look that works for most occasions, excepting the most formal or serious business meetings.

Shantung, or tussah silk, offers a slubby texture that helps bring an informal element to the tie. This is a wild silk that is obtained from silkworms that feed on leaves in an uncontrolled environment; because there is less control over the process, the silk worm hatches to break the filament length, creating shorter and more coarse fibers, which provides a more ‘matte’ look.

Ties made of linen or linen blends have the benefit of inherent slubbiness, but they wrinkle easily. They do retain that crisp nature that all linens share, which allows these fabrics to drape well especially when lined. Just keep in mind that they work best for less formal outfits, and work especially well when paired with linen or cotton suits.

Cotton and cotton-blend ties are similar to linen, serving as a more relaxed option. They tend to wrinkle – like linen – but do not have that crisp characteristic; this means that they exhibit less of an elegant drape. I recommend cotton ties for the most relaxed environments, and they would be at home more with an odd jacket or a cotton suit.

Here is a list of some examples for summer appropriate ties that we think are worth considering, and a few tips on how to pair them.


This tan shantung silk tie from Calabrese 1924 via No Man Walks Alone provides a classic stripe, but the subdued, neutral tan and the slubby fabric help to make it more of a summer affair. This self-tipped tie provides a structured neckpiece that could work in most occasions.


liverano summer tie

This Liverano&Liverano seven-fold silk tie is the epitome of a tie for the more conservative striped style. The colors scream Ivy League (if you ignore that the direction of the stripes are European instead of American), and it begs to be worn under the staple hopsack blazer in everyone’s closet. The orange almost evokes that quintessential go-to-hell attitude that you might not dare pull off with colored trousers.


drake's tie linen summer

This tie from Drakes features tussah silk in a natural color. Paired with an odd linen sport coat, the tie would wear well, seeing as it has hand rolled blades and less structure than a normal tie.


seersucker tie vanda fine clothing summer

How many times in your life have you seen a seersucker tie? This gorgeous muted green tie from Vanda Fine Clothing is extremely neutral, and would pair lovingly under blue, tan and brown jackets. The handrolled edges and light lining complete the nonchalant air.


vanda oatmeal tie summer

This tie made by hand from Vanda Fine Clothing out of Solbiati linen is a great warm weather accessory. The texture and wrinkles with the classic Glenplaid pattern and subdued neutral colors makes this an exceptional tie under a wool-fresco or linen jacket.

Airport Style for Vacation Comfort

It’s vacation time, which means it’s time to consider what you’ll be wearing to survive airports, airplanes, layovers, and transportation – all while not looking like a slob. Modern air travel is largely a miserable experience, and it’s hard to resist the urge to do what you can to make yourself as comfortable as possible. Most of the people you see on airplanes and in airports will probably be wearing sweat pants or workout pants of some variety, and frankly, considering the tiny seats, flight delays, violent flight attendants, and lost baggage, I can’t fault them for that.


Jacket

Pockets, pockets, pockets. Gum, chapstick, wallet, passport, boarding pass – all of these will have to go somewhere, and I absolutely hate carrying things in my hands through airports, because I’m certain I’ll drop something without noticing, or set something down and forget to pick it back up. Internal pockets are key, as is a cut comfortable enough to allow you to wear it all flight long or place luggage in the overhead bins.

 


Shirt

There’s something about airports that makes everyone look like a slob. Things spill. Things wrinkle. If you’re the kind of guy who usually wears a crisp white tee and feels good, you’ll probably end up looking like you just rolled out of bed after a cheeto binge. A collar, or at least a button placket, keeps this effect at bay. Oh, and white is not a great shirt color choice – nothing stays clean on an airplane.


Pants

Yes, pants. If you opt for shorts, you run the risk of finding yourself freezing when the aircraft air-con kicks into hyperdrive. Additionally, I haven’t worn denim on a plane in years, and can safely say that even slim jeans are terrible airline pants. Instead, opt for a breathable, woven trouser of some kind (or at least a loose-cut twill) that will keep you comfortable when you’re sitting on the tarmac and the AC’s not on, as well as when you’re in the air and it’s blasting. As long as the cut is comfortable, the fabric shouldn’t matter that much – as long as it allows at least some airflow.


Shoes

Slip-on, slip-off. You know this, don’t you? Loafers, slip-on sneakers, or slippers are all good choices – shoes that you can remove and put on while the seatbelt sign is on are worth their weight in gold. Anyone who’s ever experienced the horrible feeling of trying to stuff swollen feet back into laced shoes or boots after a long flight knows how truly hellish an experience that is, so keep in mind that after hours in the air, even the walk to baggage claim is going to make your feet feel as tired and uncomfortable as if you’d been walking all day.