The 2016 Tuxedo Buyer’s Guide

If you’re attending a black-tie affair this winter and you’re already panicking about what to wear – we understand. It’s easy to get lost in a sea of shoddy tuxedos, conflicting advice, and too-good-to-be-true deals. You know what? We’ve got your back. And there’s still time to find yourself the perfect black tie rig. Because whatever you do, we really don’t want you to rent an ill-fitting tuxedo.

This tuxedo buyer’s guide will go over some of Styleforum’s top picks for the winter, detailing the pros and cons of each. We’ll cover a range of budgets and a range of styles so that you can be sure you’ll look downright incredible in your tuxedo, no matter the event. You’ve got plenty of time to pick out a tux before the party season is over, so don’t worry – plus, part of the beauty of the tuxedo is that you only need the one. And you know what that means? You’ll never need to rent a tux.

All of the below will require the traditional accoutrements: a proper shirt, shoes, and accessories (tie, studs and links, and a cummerbund or waistcoat).


Black Tie on a Budget

1. Suit Supply Black Tuxedo, $569

Modern, stylish, and very sleek. There’s a reason Suitsupply is so well-regarded on Styleforum: the value proposition is hard to beat. Plus, returns and try-ons are easy and shipping is fast, so you’ve got a good chance of nailing the fit. This is an easy fire-and-forget option.

Pros: Price, obviously. You’ll look good, you’ll have some money left over for the rest of the rig, and you’re going to spend all your time partying and enjoying yourself anyway.

Cons: The Suitsupply look is not to everyone’s taste. The lapels are loud, the cuts tend towards the slim and short, and the gorge can be quite high, so you’ll have to plan and adjust your size accordingly.

2. J. Crew Ludlow Shawl Collar Tuxedo, $525

Those who would like a slightly more staid offering than Suitsupply’s admittedly in-your face tuxedo may wish to consider J. Crew’s “Ludlow” option. We’ve picked this shawl collar variation because, unlike J.Crew’s other options, it has a single button closure. Combined with the shawl collar this does, at the least, distinguish it from a business suit – though why it has patch pockets is beyond us. You’ll have to tuck those in or remove them. Otherwise, this is the cheapest tuxedo on our list, and if you can get the sizing right and you have a decent tailor you’re likely to have a good time. Just note that J. Crew staff seem predisposed to forcing customers into jackets at least one size too small and far too short.

Pros: A true budget option. While it’s not the pinnacle of style or quality, you won’t look out of place if you nail the accessories.

Cons: Less elegant than the other options on this list due to its somewhat confused pedigree, and J.Crew patterns can be hit or miss depending on the wearer. You may have to try this on in person to find your ideal fit – or at the very least, take a handful of size options to a reputable tailor.


The Trad

J. Press Peak Lapel Tuxedo, $795

For the Ivy-inclined, J.Press’ classically American take on the Tuxedo may be the perfect option. However, we admit that this tuxedo did cause the Styleforum editorial team to come into conflict. While some forumites will argue that a single-vented tuxedo jacket is an acceptably and intentionally American take on a continental garment, others firmly believe that a single vent is far too casual for evening wear, rooted in sporting garments as it is. We’ve compromised and included this tuxedo to show the range of available options.

Pros: Firmly American in style, from an old guard of the East-Coast Trad. Easy to wear, easy to obtain.

Cons: Somewhat lacking in personality, and you’ll have to tuck or remove the flap pockets.

Note that J.Press also produces a notch lapel tuxedo. Notwithstanding the contemporary prevalence of this garment, we do not feel we can endorse such a garment. Although there is modern precedent (read: 1980’s) for a notch lapel tuxedo, when compared to contemporary business suiting we feel that details are firmly required to distinguish evening-wear from office-wear.


Affordable MTM

Kent Wang Tuxedo, $840

If you’d like to be sure you’re getting every aspect of your tuxedo correct, look no further than Styleforum affiliate Kent Wang. Their tuxedo is elegant without being precious or costumey, and for the price it’s quite the deal. You’ll be able to specify color and lapel style, but note that their tuxedos are only available through their MTM service, meaning that this isn’t the ideal last-minute option.

Pros: Fantastic value, guaranteed to nail every element.

Cons: You’ll have to have the time and inclination for MTM

Kent Wang is a Styleforum affiliate. You can join their conversation here.


The Standard

Ralph Lauren Polo Tuxedo, $1,395

At this price, a Ralph Lauren tuxedo is a very easy option, particularly if you don’t have the time or inclination to search, try, return, and generally occupy your mind with the ins and outs of tuxedo-buying.  A solid workhorse of a tuxedo, this is a good option if you’re looking for something simple but very elegant. The trousers sport side tab adjusters as well as loops for braces, so you can wear them as you wish. The jacket is canvassed, the pattern will fit a wide range of body types, and this tuxedo is certainly not going to fall apart on you. While a Polo tuxedo may lack some of the character of the other options on this list, it will provide solid, accessible results for most buyers.

Pros: There’s a 90% chance you’ll look great in it. Reasonable value for your money, and they’re easy to obtain.

Cons: Flapped pockets are a no-no. You’ll have to tuck or remove the pocket flaps, but once you’ve done so the vents are no issue.


The Monaco

Sartoria Formosa Tuxedo from No Man Walks Alone, $2,350

Look at those full lapels and bountiful quarters! This stunner from Sartoria Formosa certainly isn’t cheap, but it represents some real value from the well-regarded Neapolitan sartoria. The silhouette is fantastic, and we’re huge fans of the unapolagetic peak lapels. This tuxedo is tasteful and elegant, while giving you room for some personal touches.

Pros: It’s beautiful. And, at $2,350 it’s somewhere in the attainable mid-high range of tuxedo pricing. While that takes some splashing out, this is a tuxedo that is going to last you a long, long time.

Cons: With such a full body and bombastic lapels, this tuxedo may take some panache to pull off. Side vents in the jacket mean it will take more naturally to lounging with one hand in a pocket (and will be more forgiving if you have a muscular posterior), but it lacks the absolute rigidity of some of the more precise options. Of course, that could certainly be seen as a pro as well, depending on personal preference.

No Man Walks Alone is a Styleforum affiliate. You can join their conversation here.


The Red Carpet

Tom Ford “O’Connor” Midnight Blue Evening Suit, $5,470

If you’re up for splashing out to look like a contemporary movie star, this is the tuxedo for you. A low gorge, wide shawl lapel, and glam silhouette make this a mean contender if you’re less inclined towards the classic and more inclined to look like James Bond. This tuxedo begs for some non-traditional styling, and you could certainly pair it with a black turtleneck and embrace the full Tom Ford look.

Pros: You want sexy? You got sexy. This tuxedo hits all the right notes to be a show-stopper.

Cons: Well, it costs five thousand dollars, and it’s not exactly classic.


The Roman Holiday

Brioni Tuxedo, $5,750

Gregory Peck wasn’t the only Hollywood star to wear Brioni, but he certainly did his part in popularizing the Roman house’s tailored clothing – just as he and his cohorts are still doing their part to keep black tie alive. Brioni, decades later, remains a glittering, glamorous option for the well-to-do.

Pros: Hard to argue with what you’re seeing here, really. From the strong, structured Roman shoulder to the narrowed waist, this is an unabashedly masculine take on an already masculine garment.

Cons: At almost six grand for one of Brioni’s off-the-rack options, you may start asking yourself what you’re really paying for. And if that seems like a drop in the bucket to you, perhaps you’d get more joy from a fully bespoke experience.


A note on vintage tuxedos and accessories: while the vintage route can bear beautiful black tie fruit, it does take a real eye for details. Beyond the fact that you likely wont’ be able to return a vintage tuxedo, you’ll also have to contend with the previous owner’s alterations, you’ll have to divine the fabric composition, and you’ll have to find the damn thing in the first place. Remember, just because something is “vintage” doesn’t mean it’s good. A vintage polyester tuxedo is still unacceptable, and shoddy craftsmanship on a set of studs will mean that those “heirloom” accessories aren’t really heirlooms at all. While we fully support buying vintage or pre-owned clothing, make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.  

A note on white jackets: you may have dreams of telling your friends to “Play it again,” but the truth is that Humphrey Bogart’s white dinner jacket in Casablanca is an intentional nod both to Bogey’s personal style as well as to the warm climate of the locale featured in the film. Remember that black is always appropriate, and that during the winter season white will seem counterintuitive.

10 Best Watches for Every Budget

Guys love watches. Is it for status? Is it the mechanical prowess? It is for the utility? Who knows, and you know what, who cares? Here’s a great collection of the best watches to buy for yourself or convince someone to buy for you as the holidays approach.


1.  Swatch System Boreal YIS401G. MSRP: $215

A neat-looking watch with respectable mechanics and for as cheap as you can get without buying a watch meant for a 6th grader. 

Available at Swatch.com


2. Hamilton Khaki Field. MSRP: $445

One of Hamilton’s most popular offerings, the Khaki is a classic American watch. With a suede strap and beige numbers, the Field model is just a bit more fun than the run-of-the-mill model.

Available at Hamilton


3. Hamilton Khaki Pilot Auto. MSRP: $995

No list of best watches would be complete without a pilot’s watch. Hamilton nails it again with classic pilot styling, cool looks, and darn good price. 

Available at Hamilton


4. Nomos Tangente 38. MSRP: $2,330

No one, and I mean no one, does understated elegance like Nomos. The Tangente 38 is as pure as it gets and a bargain when it comes to bang for your buck. 

Available at Nomos


5. Longines Master Retrograde Seconds. MSRP: $3,325

Probably the best-priced complicated watch ever made. The Master Retrograde boasts 4 retrograde hands, day-date functions, and somehow manages to do it without looking looking like an awful cluttered mess. 

Available at Prestigetime


6. Bell & Ross BR01-92. MSRP: $4,800

If you want something really cool and off the beaten, look no further than B&R’s military spec, black carbon coated, square shaped, BR01 beast.

Available at Prestigetime


7. Tag Heuer Monaco. MSRP: $5,350

Is anyone cooler than Steve McQueen? No. Can you be Steve McQueen? Also no. But you can get pretty close with the iconic watch that he sported in the all time great film, Le Mans. Watch the movie, wear the watch.

Available at Prestigetime


8. Glashutte Original Senator Sixties. MSRP: $7,500

Vintage styling and top-notch mechanics join forces for Glashutte’s nod to the 60’s. Go for the gold indices for some extra pop. 

Available at Prestigetime


9. Rolex Datejust 116234. MSRP: $7,950.

You just can’t argue with the Rolex crown, and this about as classic Rolex as it gets. 

Available at Prestigetime


10. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15400. MSRP: $50,500 

 If you just won the lottery, or re-financed your house and took some cash out, this is what you buy. Just make sure you signed that pre-nup.

Available at Prestigetime

Gifts for the CM Wife or Girlfriend

5 gifts for the woman in your life gifts for the CM wife

If you’re a Classic Menswear dude with a female partner, chances are she’s a classy, educated woman who treats her clothes just like you do: a vehicle to express her impeccable taste in a manner that is neither extravagant nor – heaven forbid – fashionable.

(The exception to this is if you are my husband, who is the archetypical CM guy, but somehow ended up marrying a fashion blogger who collects Victorian mourning jewelry).

If you recognize your wife in the picture I just introduced, and Zara and H&M are cringe-inducing words to her, keep reading and find some ideas for your better half.

 


An Eileen Fisher top

Eileen Fisher is my husband’s obsession when it comes to womenswear. Every time we go shopping together, he secretly hopes that I will drop the eye-catching lace dresses and opt for an understated, elegant poncho made of a soft alpaca and cashmere blend.  In his wildest dreams, I’m wrapped in an Eileen Fisher hand-woven cardigan in a melange color with tailored pants featuring perfectly ironed pleats.

The thing is, I like Eileen Fisher a lot. Despite my preference for lace and more “statement” clothing, I even own the above-mentioned poncho (which I hardly ever wear here in SoCal). Almost any Eileen Fisher piece is an evergreen garment that will work with most women’s wardrobes – even those in which white lace is predominant. Eileen Fisher is the anti-Zara, and any woman who has an appreciation for quality over “trendy” will gladly welcome such gift.


Carmina boots

I personally discovered Carmina’s women shoe line at The Proper Kit this past November, and it took all of my strength and willpower not to break the bank over their boots. If you’re just a little familiar with women’s fashion, you know how hard it is to find pieces that equal menswear’s in terms of quality – at least through mainstream outlets. When I think of quality footwear for women, the first names that pop in my mind are Louboutin and Ferragamo, and even then, the construction is not on pair with a comparable menswear collection.  Carmina offers mind-blowing construction and materials as well as classic designs that will likely last for over a decade. Again, if you wish to give a gift that lasts, and if your partner has the sensibility to appreciate the great work and care that’s behind this type of product, you can’t go wrong with Carmina.


A bracelet stack by Astley Clarke

Jewelry is, obviously, a great classic when it comes to gifts. Some couples even have a tradition where they give at least one piece of jewelry a year, in order to slowly build up a collection that can be passed on to the next generations, or to simply remind them of the years that pass while they’re together.

The first and most important thing to remember when you shop for jewelry is to avoid Tiffany’s at any cost. It’s mainstream, banal, and overpriced, and you don’t really want to see a condescending smirk appearing of your wife’s face when you hand her that sickening “blue box.”

Once you bid farewell to overrated jewelry houses, you will find a world of glimmering collections. One of my favorite brands – and I have to thank my husband for introducing it to me – is the English maison Astley Clarke. The founder was even appointed by the Queen with one of those crazy titles the English appreciate. Dame of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, or something like that.

In any case, you can find something delightful on Astley Clarke’s website, and the best thing is that prices go from $50 to $50,000, so you really have a wide choice at every price range. I would personally choose one of their bracelet stacks, which follow the trend of layering jewelry with no risk of incurring in the Jersey Shore/Christmas tree effect.


A leather cardholder

Long are gone the days when a woman used to carry huge wallets and stuff them with anything ranging from pictures of her parents as toddlers to Target’s loyalty card. If there’s one good thing that smartphones did, it was ridding us from such superfluous paraphernalia.

Normally I dread patterns, but since a cardholder is such a small item, I feel that this could be a good time to be a little adventurous and choose a piece that would turn heads when making its appearance out of the purse. This beautiful Dolce&Gabbana cardholder features a typical Sicilian tile motif, and since it folds over, it actually has some space to carry some cash, which always comes in handy.

If you’d rather play safe and stick to a more traditional look, this Smythson card holder in powdery blue will do the trick.


A Silk Scarf

There is something incredibly sensual in a woman covering her neck with a scarf (and a man too, actually.)

Perhaps deep down I am a vampire, but I consider it quite intriguing when one of the most vulnerable parts of the human body is hidden under layers of precious cashmere or impalpable silk, perhaps sprayed with a sophisticated fragrance.

On this account, I believe that the gift of a scarf comes out as thoughtful and delicate, even protective. It’s a way of saying: “I’m here and I’m taking care of you.” There is more love in a man kissing goodbye to his wife on her way to work while wrapping a scarf around her neck than there is in any epic poem.

Cozy Essentials for a Winter Cabin Retreat

huckberry cozy winter cabin retreat getway styleforum gift guide

by Cody Ernst of Huckberry

Last weekend, three other members of the Huckberry crew and I had the pleasure of filling the Eagle’s Nest Tree House to capacity and hiking the surrounding forest while doing a couple of photoshoots. The catch was: colder, wintry temps were just starting to creep into the area. So, before we departed from our foggy (and relatively seasonless) hometown of San Francisco, we armed ourselves to the teeth with all the warmest gear we could fit into our duffels. Below is a list of clothes and gear that we, as a team, deemed coziest. They’re the absolute must-haves for prolonging your time out (or in by the fire) this winter.


huckberry cozy winter cabin retreat getway styleforum gift guide

Yosemite Shirt:

This is hands-down the thickest, softest brushed flannel shirt we’ve ever put on. And it’s no wonder why. The design geniuses at Taylor Stitch had these made in a Portuguese mill that’s specialized in one thing for over 80 years: flannel. Don’t worry about looking too lumber-jacky either. These’ll fly in a packed bar just as well as they will out on a hike thanks to a stylish, tailored cut with a higher armhole for a slimmer-looking silhouette.  


huckberry cozy winter cabin retreat getway styleforum gift guide

The Rover Jacket:

Also from Taylor Stitch, this heavy-duty California-made fieldcoat, exactly what you want to be wearing in case you get caught in an unexpected shower. It’s built like a tank, and lined with heavyweight, ridiculously soft moleskin. And its outer cotton shell is fully waxed, so water beads up on it and brushes right off. Like the Yosemite Shirt, it’s handsomely tailored for ease of movement. This jacket is really the best of all worlds. Its classic look, rugged construction, and spacious pockets nail the sweet spot between form and function.


huckberry cozy winter cabin retreat getway styleforum gift guide

Sleepy Jones Keith Lounge Pants:

One of the perks of being inside: you don’t have to dress like you’re outside. So when you’re settled into your cabin for the night; lounging, sampling whiskey, or up late getting some work done, throw on these USA-made lounge pants from Sleepy Jones. They’re tailored for comfort out of high-quality 100% cotton, and come in fun prints ideal for when you’re kickin’ back and being yourself.


huckberry cozy winter cabin retreat getway styleforum gift guide

Whiskey Glass Candles:

Here we have a one-two punch of cozy. Ranger Station not only makes some of the richest-smelling candles out there (this particular one smells like Amber + Clove), but all their candles come in super sturdy whiskey glasses, perfect for toast after toast in front of a roaring fire.


huckberry cozy winter cabin retreat getway styleforum gift guide

Glerups Wool Slipper Boots:

It makes sense that these 100% wool slipper boots come from the frigid wilds of Denmark, where they have their own word, hygge, that roughly translates to “cozy with friends.” Their wool construction will keep you toasty while wicking moisture away from your feet, which means they’re good to keep you feeling super-comfy all day. And don’t just take our word for it. Men’s Journal called these, “The coziest indoor shoes money can buy.”


huckberry cozy winter cabin retreat getway styleforum gift guide

Woolrich Sherpa Blanket:

There’s a reason Woolrich blankets have been around since 1830: they’re damn good at keeping you warm. This blanket in particular is super-cozy and lined with insulating sherpa fabric. And it’s made in Woolrich, PA with an iconic Woolrich plaid they’ve been using since the Civil War era.

Oh, and those leather boots? They’re lined with the same 100% USA-made wool used in every Woolrich blanket.  


huckberry cozy winter cabin retreat getway styleforum gift guide

Woolrich Fleece-Lined Suede Slippers:

While we’re on the topic of Woolrich, we couldn’t help but throw these into the mix — suede slippers with the same sherpa lining as the above blanket. Their tough suede construction and fleecy footbed make them the perfect slipper for throwin’ in your bag for a weekend trip. They pack all the legendary coziness Woolrich is known for into a pair of slippers, and are honestly one of the best values we’ve seen this holiday season.


huckberry cozy winter cabin retreat getway styleforum gift guide

LED Lantern:

Last, but certainly not least, this Barebones lantern offers the best of both worlds. It has a classic steel design and warm ambient light that harken back to your dad’s old-school camping gear. Yet its brightness is adjustable, and it packs a huge rechargeable battery that doubles as a USB charger for your phone or whatever other electronics you bring out with you into the wild.

To snag this winter gear and more in time for your own cabin retreat, Join Huckberry’s 1 million+ adventure community. We deliver the coolest gear and gifts at the best prices, inspirational stories, and a hell of a lot more to your inbox every week. Membership is free and takes seconds.

First Class Gifts for the Traveler

There is no place like home for the holidays.

Luckily, the other 360 days a year offer you a whole world to conquer, and we invite you to awaken your wanderlust with these travel treats. This gift guide features our favorite first class gifts: experiences, one of a kind vintage keepsakes, and affordable accessories to outfit you for your next journey. As for the lucky recipient? We think it should be you, the Styleforum reader. Remember, you are required to put on your own oxygen mask before you assist others.


Planes

Experience – Beginning your journey jostled by grumpy travelers is no way to unwind.  There is indisputably a better way to travel by becoming a fractional owner of a luxury fleet of planes. Allow your timetable to be the only one that matters as you skip the lines, sink into plush seats, and jet away to, well, anywhere you want. 

Fractional Jet ownership with Net Jets. Prices vary.

Keepsake – Fine china on an airline? We no longer expect to fly in such style. The halcyon days of flight your first class ticket came with impeccable dining…and drinking. Allow these 1960’s Pan Am glasses to spark conversations about distant destinations and days gone by.

Landing on your living room bar cart for just $120

Accessory – You may not be dodging birds in an open cockpit, but that doesn’t mean you should live your life without these aviator glasses. Equally at home on the sands of Caracas and the driver’s seat of a coupe, we give our nod to the origins of the aviator glasses by suggesting that you sport them for your next flight. 

Oliver Peoples, $425


Trains

planes trains and automobiles gifts to keep you moving styleforum holiday gift guide first class gifts

Experience – Murder and mayhem may have graced the pages of an Agatha Christie novel, but in real life the Orient Express offers pampering with panache. The train from Paris to Istanbul runs only once a year. You should be on it. Five days and two continents offer a once in a lifetime luxury rail trip.

Starts at $12,250

Keepsake – While we are on the subjects of icons, may we pitch the posh 19th C. French Steamer trunk? Ages ago it kept an entire wardrobe. Today it brings the romance of the rails into our everyday lives. Great for travel (provided you have porters), storage, or a one-of-a-kind coffee table. Or perhaps all three.

Available on 1stdibs, $5,625

Accessory – Exotic architecture, fine wine, and bartering with local vendors; it all may fly by like the blur of the countryside beyond your authentic 1920’s art deco cabin window. Jot down notes to jog your memory in a Field Notes journal dressed in a fine leather cover.

Handcrafted in Vermont by Queen City Dry Goods, $65


Automobiles

Experience – Racing School  There is a certain high-pitched whine that you welcome. Unlike your mother-in law, the sound of these super cars make you thrilled to give up a Sunday. Perfectly tuned for high performance these cars respond to your slightest cue as you let go of the world and grab onto the steering wheel. Choose your favorite super car – or more than one – and give in to G-forces on XRS’s Los Angeles track.

From $299 for 5 laps

Keepsake – Amidst a flurry of accolades, the 1974 Series III Jaguar E Type roadster convertible earned its highest praise from competitor Enzo Ferrari, who called it “The most beautiful car ever made.” This example in British racing green is unrestored, which offers you the gift of bringing an icon back to glory. 

For sale at auction on Jan. 6th, 2017. Be prepared to break into the seven digits.

Accessory – Unnecessary? Possibly. Undesirable? Never. The point of accessories is to enhance experiences. Anything that offers both comfort and control can cap off our holiday list. After all…it is called a glove box for a reason. Italian Leather Driving Gloves by Mark and Graham. May we suggest cognac leather?

Available for $125


Anna Rosenblum Palmer is a freelance writer based in Denver, CO.  She does a fair amount of navel gazing on her own blog at annarosenblumpalmer.com.

Holiday Parties With House of Kydos

Dear Friends,

With festivities already underway, have you decided yet on what to wear during the holiday events? Paris, the family’s voice behind necktie maker the House of ΚΥΔΟΣ (that’s “Kydos”), has prepared an outfit for each event using his personal wardrobe and selected ties and accessories from our AW’16 collection.

Styleforum members can use code sf2016 for a 15% discount on all items until the 18th of December.  Tax Free prices (that is 24% less) are always available for all non-EU shipments.


Family Dinner

Family dinner has always been our family’s highlight moment of the year. It is the time when we all gather together around the fireplace, relaxing and contemplating the events of the year, making plans and discussing dreams for the year to come. The men always wear casual jacket or a cardigan, so here is a combination that I am contemplating for this year’s dinner: a brown herringbone jacket with white shirt, a blue silk tweed tie, a blue silk pocket square with a traditional Greek pattern, and a lapel pin in colors which can be found both in the tie’s weave and in the pocket square’s design.

kydos styleforum holiday office party silk tweed tie

  

The KYDOS unlined, 8-fold necktie used has been created solely by hand sewing, using the same knowledge and skill our great grandfather used over a century ago. The silk – with a small quantity of wool, viscose and linen – has been spun at Como, and as per custom, only 33 ties of this design and color have been created.

In Greece there is a long tradition of embroidery, with designs varying among regions, local traditions and social or economic status. This specific pocket square has been designed in-house based on our family’s inherited embroidery. The design, which symbolizes fertility (hoopoe), the passage of life (ship) and youth (flowers), originates from the island of Skyros, where the ruling class’ families created such designs for adornment, but in secrecy both to avoid copying and to preserve them over the passage of time. Using silk spun at the Greek silk village of Soufli, we created two more color variations in burgundy and in green. Then, our seamstress hand-rolled their edges for an elegant finish.


Office Party

Office parties have already started, with lawyers and bankers leading the way.  A classic, deep blue single button suit looks proper to blend in with the crowd. A burgundy necktie is an ideal choice for a touch of elegance. A personalized, hand-embroidered white pocket square, folded in a “sails” shape, can add a playful note.

kydos styleforum holiday office party burgundy silk tie

 The burgundy tie is – as are all Kydos’ premium ties – totally unlined, 8-fold, and 100% hand sewn in house, in a process that can take up to 4 hours for each necktie to be completed. All edged have been hand rolled with an invincible seam so meticulous that the points of the blades are perfectly shaped, and with the aid of a silk monk’s stitch the tie’s layers join together creating perfectly balanced folds.

As you may have noticed, the white cotton pocket square is not simply hand rolled. Its edges have been hand embroidered by our seamstress for a very unique and elegant finis,h and in this case my monogram has been hand embroidered as well to make the pocket square even more personal.


New Year’s Eve

kydos styleforum holiday office party black velvet bow tie

New Year’s Eve is usually the most glamorous night of the three. Our plans though are different this year, as we will host a house party without a defined dress code, so the tuxedo will have to wait for now. Being the host, a navy jacket with some texture will be combined with a black silk velvet bow tie and a formally-folded white Egyptian cotton pocket square.

This pre-tied bow tie, which is also 100% hand sewn, has been created using the finest silk velvet and silk satin. The intention has been to create a visual effect by combining two different weaves, the velvet for the front bow and the satin for the back bow.

The white Egyptian cotton pocket square can be either hand rolled or can be hand embroidered and personalized. Here it has been hand embroidered using blue thread both for the edges and the monogram.

Wishing Happy Holidays to all of you and your families from sunny Greece!

 – Paris Anastopolous, House of ΚΥΔΟΣ

5 Gifts That Aren’t Clothing

Jasper's holiday wishlist accessories gifts that aren't clothing

Not all of our friends and family members are as obsessed with clothing as we are, and that’s okay. It’s also worth keeping in mind before you go out of you way to buy a pair of 20-ounce Ironhearts for your nephew, or a limited-edition pocket square for your wife (“Wear it as a…scarf?”), here are five gifts idea that anyone – no matte their age, gender, or relationship to you – is sure to enjoy.


La Portegna ” Jimena” Portfolio

My iPad died halfway through The Proper Kit, which means I have to get a new one if I want stay up too late watching YouTube videos in bed again. Since I have a La Portegna briefcase that I adore (disclosure: they sent me one free of charge, and I now use it every single day), I have a pretty good idea of what to expect from this. Namely, fantastic leather that actually gets better as it ages (for real – everyone claims this and it’s not always true), and a size perfect for those days when I don’t want to tote around a whole bag. Plus, you can monogram it for the intended recipient. Future iPad, meet your future new best friend.

La Portegna, 215GBP


Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen

No one writes anything by hand any more, and that is a filthy shame. I carry two small notebooks with me wherever I go: one for story ideas, one for absurd Deep Thoughts. And I write with pens exclusively – no graphite here. As a middle school science teacher once told me, never erase anything – put a line through it, because you might come back to it later and find some unexpected brilliance. Having a half-decent pen to write with (or a really nice pen to write with), as opposed to the disposable ones we all steal from hotels, makes the experience so much more pleasurable. I’ve never owned an unabashedly nice fountain pen, because I’m probably too scatterbrained to be trusted with anything fancy, but that’s what a wishlist is for. I am mildly obsessed with the design of the Lamy 2000, which is unassuming but (in my eyes) gorgeous; not the heavy gold-and-black cigars that still dominate the world of higher-end fountain pens, but sleek and futuristic. And it’s built for writing – which is, after all, the point.

Amazon, $120


L’Artisan Perfumeur “Al Oudh”

Jasper's holiday wishlist accessories gifts that aren't clothing

Al Oudh isn’t the fanciest perfume in the world, nor the most expensive, nor the most fully-packed with exotic ingredients. It is, however, an excellent scent, and for men or women who don’t want a collection in their cabinet there’s a good chance this could become an every day fragrance. It’s more accessible than fancier oud scents, less cloying, and a bit fresher and friendlier to more noses. I’ve been jealously hoarding my tester-sized sample of this fragrance for a while now, and I think it’s time to treat myself to a full bottle. Or rather, for someone else to treat me. ‘Tis the season.

L’Artisan Perfumeur, $145


Jaybird X3

Jasper's holiday wishlist accessories gifts that aren't clothing

I scored a pair of Jaybirds on Amazon over the summer, and they have changed my life. That sounds like exaggeration but it’s not – I’m not an audiophile, but I do listen to music 12 hours a day, whether I’m sitting at my desk or exercising. These are great for both – they’re comfortable enough to wear for long periods, the battery life is great, and when you do go for a run they actually stay in your ears. Plus, the sound quality is pretty darn good. So far, mine have been one of the best purchases I’ve made all year.

Best Buy, $130


Pyrrha Stag Ring

Jasper's holiday wishlist accessories gifts that aren't clothing

I am a sucker for all things symbolic, and doubly so for vaguely heraldic imagery. Pyrrha has been making wax-seal silver jewelry for over a decade now, and has inspired legions of other brands. They’re rough-hewn, cast from Victorian-era wax seals, and – I think – quite beautiful. I also have a thing for stags, generally; horned gods being both classic and timeless and beautifully foreboding.

For women, there are a host of beautiful necklaces, rings, and bracelets, which means that whoever you’re shopping for, you’re bound to find something that will speak to them. Pro tip: searching for “wax seal rings” on Etsy will show you plenty of other options, but since they go quickly and are variable in size, Pyrrha is a good stop for consistency.

Pyrrha, $380

Gifts for the Man Who Has Everything

This year has been all about unseasonably warm weather, the Cubbies, sensitive emails on private servers, mosquitoes, and a gorilla at the Cincinnati zoo. It’s been YUGE, folksAnd without Prince or Leonard Cohen to help us through, we all need some retail therapy this Holiday Season.  These goodies below will ensure we’ll make it through to 2017 put together, smelling good, and with all our gear properly stowed.


1.  The Bag: Shinola Flight Zip Tote

john clayton holiday gift guide

Made in the USA, the size and shape are perfect, the leather is durable, and the hardware is sturdy.  Known mainly for their watches, Shinola hired veterans Richard Lambertson and John Truex (yep, THAT Lambertson Truex) to design and launch a bag collection.  Comparing it to virtually any designer offering, I like the quality, pricepoint, and timeless design of the bag.  Black will probably be the go-to, but I prefer the “bourbon” brown.

Price: $1195


2.  The Scent: Tom Ford Oud Fleur

john clayton holiday gift guide

Oud is everywhere, from Avon to Yankee Candle.  Leave it to Tom Ford to do one of the best.  This one has the strong Oud note (a deep, dark, woody resin that has long been one of the pinnacles of perfumery), but balances it with a deep rose-based floral heart.  Worry not, however, it’s not at all feminine, but adds a touch of sweet to the famous Tom Ford sweat. This is a gift that your partner will want to steal.

Price: $225 for 50mls


3. The Pen: Pilot Custom 74 Fountain Pen

john clayton holiday gift guide styleforum

I recommend this one almost every year.  Like wines or watches, fountain pens can be daunting; you can spend a little or you can mortgage the house.  I find the Pilot Custom 74 to be one of the best all around fountain pens: excellent quality, good price point, and easy to clean, fix, and use.   And with the vast range of Pilot inks available, you can find a shade that expresses your own sense of style. I recommend getting one with a bottle of the “Iroshizuku” ink in Ajisai blue.

Price: $160 for the pen and around $25 for the ink bottle.


4. The Book: Joan Mitchell: Works on Paper 1956- 1992

john clayton gift guide styleforum joan mitchell

Accompanying a lovely exhibition at Cheim & Read going through the end of December, this is the sort of gift for somebody who has just about everything else.  As a couple they do wine tours in Napa; you don’t dare get them a bottle.  He gets bespoke suits; she frequents Goyard.  So what better than a gorgeous collection of Mitchell’s works on paper: understudied, often overlooked among more “famous” abstract expressionists (cough, Rothko; cough, Pollock), yet achingly beautiful. Guaranteed to up your aesthete value for less than half the cost of a demi of d’Yquem. 

Price: $100


5.  The Stocking Stuffer: Squareguard

And for a fun stocking stuffer, get a Squareguard.  Easy to use, functional, and lightweight, you weave your square through and it stays in place without the silk sagging, popping out of the pocket, or getting out of shape. I got one on a whim and have been using it ever since.  You don’t feel that it’s there, it’s invisible, and it fits almost all standard suit lapel pockets. 

Price: Single guard with square for $34.95 or a pack of three guards (without the square) for $24.95

5 Best Jeans for 2016 and Beyond

The streetwear and denim forum within Styleforum started in large part because I wrote a “10 Best Jeans” post years ago, in the days when “premium denim” was blowing up in LA and the North American Market was just starting to get imported jeans from Scandanavia and Japan.  In those days, the threads were named “5 Best jeans,” or “10 Best jeans,” but it’s really impossible to make a superlative list in such a varied category, so I always tried to make these representative of different styles and needs rather than pointing to one model and saying “Yeah, best jeans right there.”  I do think that the below is a representative list of “best in class” jeans.  Of course, it’s like the 100m dash (or at least, the 100m dash, pre-Usain Bolt).  There are many contenders for the #1 spot, and the winner is usually the first among peers.

This is the first such list that I am writing for the Styleforum Journal, so I’ve chosen the below 5 great jeans with a nod to the past and a eye on the future.


Best wearable art – Kapital Cisco Century Jeans, $375 at www.standardandstrange.com

Cisco - Century Denim No5 kapital styleforum best jeans for 2016

Kapital is perhaps the exemplar of the “mythological folklore by way of Japan” brands, and there are many.  It borrows liberally from Native American imagery, old military uniforms, American workwear, the clothing of some tribes that may or may not exist outside Kapital’s famous photoshoots, and mashes them up with Japanese textile traditions like boro patchwork and sashiko stitching.

Kapital’s cinchback “Cisco” jeans are made from Kapital’s “Century” denim that has been dyed using the kakishibu method, with fermented persimmon juice to produce a deep brick color, and then sashiko stitched using indigo thread.  They are a good (and not inexpensive) example of the combination of Japanese and American clothing and textile traditions and the brand’s general obsessiveness with their production process.  They were first introduced in 2012, but have been popular enough to be kept in the list of “best ofs” that seem to accompany each of Kapital’s collections (other best of Kapital pieces include their moleskin ring jacket and their Old Man and the Sea caps).


Most comfortable heavyweight jeans – The Ironheart 17 ounce straight tapered jeans, $295 at www.selfedge.com

ironheart self edge styleforum best jeans for 2016

I’ve owned and worn many jeans that range between “heavyweight”, usually defined as 16 ounces and above, and “monster weight”, which is my personal term for anything about 20 ounces (per square yard).  To put this into perspective, most military tents are made from 12-14 ounce canvas, and lighter weight stretch jeans are often about 9-10 ounces.  It’s rare that I’d call any heavyweight jeans the “best jeans,” but of all of these, Ironheart makes the most comfortable.

Kiya, who owns Self Edge – one of our oldest advertisers – once told me that this is because they use the longest staple yarns, even longer than do luxury brands, which gives the jeans a cool feeling, and because they use a cold water rinse, instead of the usual, hot, industrial rinse,  Back in the day, the consensus on Styleforum and other forums was that you had to (physically) suffer for the perfect fit, that the first few weeks of wearing jeans three sizes small was a trial by fire to be endured for excellent fades.  Luckily for us all, that insanity is behind us.  Also, I am way too old for that now.  I need my jeans to slip on and off effortlessly.  This is especially important in heavier weight jeans.


Best “Starter” jeans – The Japan Blue tapered model, $220 at www.blueowl.us

japan-blue-tapered-jeans styleforum best jeans for 2016

If you want a pair of jeans that fits well, is neither too slim not too loose, is neither too heavy nor too lightweight, neither very high rise, nor very low rise, and without features like a drop crotch that will date it easily, and will generally stand up to the test of time, Japan Blue’s “Tapered” model is a good choice.

The cut is mid rise, with a slowly tapering leg.  They come in a variety of denim weights and types, and I’ve seen them worn in “full workwear”, and as part of our editor in Chief’s indigo patchwork outfits, and I wear them as part of what was once called my “killer cowboy” style, but that I suspect might be considerably less romantic and cool.

While “versatility” of often code for “really boring”, Japan Blue rescues us by using very interesting denim on any otherwise fairly standard, well made, jeans that lack the bells and whistles of jeans by its sister brand, Momotaro, both produced by the Japan Blue Group.

My favorite are in indigo warp with a black weft, and tonal stitching, made in an unsanforized version of Japan Blue’s “Monster” denim, exclusively for Blue Owl (shown above).  They are heavier than most like their jeans, but don’t worry, there are many lighter weight jeans in the same cut.


Best skinny jeans – Saint Laurent Paris low rise slim fit black jeans, $290 at www.ysl.comstyleforum best jeans for 2016 saint laurent paris slp skinny

I heard a story about Jim Morrison once – that he was a skinny, awkward kid with a crew cut, and that over a summer in California, he grew out his famous mane and transformed into the Lizard King.

This is the revenge of skinny, awkward, teenagers everywhere on the world.  According to recent polls, 95% of all models, male or female, report having been “awkward and nerdy” as teenagers.  (the remaining 5% were jock douchebags – sometimes life remains the same).

If you still have the chops to look like a young Axel Rose (as opposed to the much less attractive 50-something middle-aged Axel Rose), you might want to go for Hedi Slimane’s (they are still his) Saint Laurent Paris jeans, that make his Dior Homme era jeans look baggy and overly comfortable.  How times and our perceptions have changed.


Best Discount Jean – Uniqlo slim fit selvedge denim jeans, $49.90 at www.uniqlo.com

styleforum best jeans for 2016

Over the years, on Styleforum, one of the most commonly asked questions, was “What is the best selvedge denim (jeans) for under $100?”  For a while, there was not much at that price range.  During the era of the $300 jean, you could either go to your local Sears for standard Levis, or you could shell out.  Or you could try to get your friend who was living in Japan to buy and send you a pair of Uniqlo selvedge denim jeans.

These days, particularly with the advent of the direct-to-consumer model, there are many more choices, but the under $100 beacon jean for all those years still remains also the standard bearer.  Of course, these days, there is no need to wheedle a favor out of a friend visiting Japan.  If you can’t get to a Uniqlo in person, it’s only a few clicks away.  At $49.90, the Uniqlo slim fit (these days with a bit of stretch) give a good fit and very passable construction.  If you want 100% cotton and a more relaxed fit, the “normal fit” is also available for the same price.  Both look good on, and age reasonably well.

Are they the best jeans for under 100$? They’re bare bones, to be sure, and all the bells and whistles of the higher end Japanese brands are not there, nor are you likely to develop one of the very distinctive fade patterns of hardcore denimheads, but at just under $5o, you can’t do better.

 

A Mountain-Friendly Outfit

outfit-grid-12

I spend a lot of time up in the mountains over the winter, in various ski towns. Some are glitzy, fur-covered; the kind where the wine list at your average restaurant is as long as the runs. Others are run-down, podunk spots – or literally gravel spots on the side of the road. I also live in a place where style tends to take a back-seat to comfort and utility, which means that I always keep one eye on versatility. Rubber soles are great to have, as are clothes that can go from walking the dogs to driving up to the mountains to going out to dinner when you get there – hence the denim and the handy scarf.

That’s where a mountain-friendly outfit such as this comes in – I don’t think an outfit in this vein would be out of place anywhere in the world, no matter where you’re skiing. And if you don’t ski, the combination of a comfortable knit with a quilted blazer means you’ll have some useful layers to fall back on as the weather turns. Chelsea boots are great for slipping on and off as you come in and out of the mudroom or car when you’re putting on your snowboots, and easy-wearing jeans are almost never out of place. Quilted blazers are their own beautiful thing, and although this example from Moncler is on the pricey side, some internet searching could very well land you with a new favorite jacket. So next time you’re planning a weekend getaway – or just a weekend outfit – give a do-anything ensemble such as this a shot. You’ll feel ready for all the fondue you can eat.

1. Moncler quilted blazer, from Mr. Porter

2. GRP roll-neck, from No Man Walks Alone

3. Shockoe Atelier “Standard Como” jean from Standard & Strange

4. Meermin Chelsea Boots

5. 19 Andreas’ 47 Chevron scarf, from Exquisite Trimmings