What Should I Ask My Groomsmen to Wear?

Your goals in choosing wedding attire should be to be comfortable, look wonderful, and continue to look wonderful in the pictures twenty and thirty years from now. Do not choose something because you think it looks cute or trendy or fashionable. Remember that you’ll be looking at these pictures for a long time, long after you realized that your coral-colored socks or teal bowtie weren’t as rad as you thought at the time. Naturally, this applies to the outfits of your groomsmen too.

An example of what you don’t want your wedding album to look like.

Start by reading this speech given by Manton: The London Lounge – Wedding Attire

groomsmen attire wedding matching ties suit outfit

You should now know everything you need about groomly attire. What about the groomsmen? Your wedding planner and/or fiancée may have the urge to make the groomsmen all match. Resist this urge. There are two reasons not to force groomsmen to match.

The first is that it means that they will either all have to rent suits, or all have to buy the same cheap suit. In either case, they will not be wearing a quality garment that fits them well.

Second, it looks ridiculous. It looks like the wedding party is two sets of 8-year old manytuplets dolled up for their family photo. Most of all, do not force them all to wear the same tie, which also matches the bridesmaid’s outfits.

Among the sins committed by the wedding planning industry, this may be the gravest. If your fiancée insists on the groomsmen matching, you’ll have to decide how much you care about this issue. But almost every one of the many threads started by grooms asking about attire for themselves and their groomsmen begins, “the bridesmaids are wearing this color, is it OK if my groomsmen or my groomsmen and I all wear this suit with this tie,” and is quickly followed by a number of SF members trying to convince the groom to avoid giving his groomsmen a uniform.

groomsmen attire wedding matching ties suit outfit

Instead, give your groomsmen some basic parameters within which they should all be able to operate and tell them to look their best. For instance, “mid-grey suit with a light blue shirt”, “navy suit with a white shirt”, or “charcoal suit with a white shirt.” Choose something solid that everyone should have. It’s fine to ask them all ahead of time if they all have grey or navy, and then go with whatever they all have already. No black suits. It’s a wedding, not a funeral.

If your wedding is less formal and in the daytime, you could choose a lighter, non-conservative-business-suit color, such as tan or light grey. However this is not something every man has in his closet, so you may have to inquire as to whether your groomsmen have such suits or would be willing to buy them for the occasion.

groomsmen attire wedding matching ties suit outfit

Black shoes are the risk-free option. Some people will tell you black shoes are the only option. But for any wedding that is informal enough not to be black tie or morning dress, it is unlikely anyone will point and laugh at tasteful dark brown or oxblood shoes. However, telling your groomsmen to wear brown shoes increases the risk that they will wear something not up to the formality of the occasion.

groomsmen attire wedding matching ties suit outfit

It is traditional for the groom to give neckties to his groomsmen. If you wish to do this, again, don’t get matching ties, but ties that all complement each other and are appropriate to the occasion. Choose any out of the following and it would be difficult for you to go wrong:

Kent Wang – Ties Glen Plaid
Kent Wang – Grenadine Steel Blue
Kent Wang – Grenadine Navy

Drake’s Navy & Silver Cross Grid Silk Jacquard
Drake’s – Navy Polka Dot Light Silk Jacquard
Drake’s – Silver Grenadine Garza Grossa

If you have enough time for bespoke ties to be made for you (email to be sure, but usually 4-6 weeks), visit samhober.com for a large selection of grenadine, Macclesfield and wedding ties, made to your specifications. Choosing all bowties isn’t totally ridiculous, but does look much more contrived than a selection of long ties. Sometimes even mixing bowties and long ties can work.

Browse more solids and wedding patterns on the “wedding ties” thread.


Following this simple strategy will ensure that everyone involved will look great on the big day and for years to come in the hundreds of photographs that will live on happily into eternity. As an added bonus, your groomsmen won’t resent you for forcing them to spend hundreds of dollars buying or renting clothing they don’t want and doesn’t fit them well.


This article is an edited and revamped version of an article published on Styleforum by Styleforum member Shawea.

Loungewear in Classic Menswear

In 1878, an unnamed New York Times correspondent was asked “How do you travel in the Eastern seas?” and decided to answer with his pen rather than his mouth, describing in great detail his sea voyages from San Francisco eastward across the Pacific.
Peppered among his experiences with steamers and train lines are his thoughts on the hot climate from Hong Kong all the way south to India, inescapable even in the evening, which he compares to “the temperature of the fiery furnace built by Nebuchadnezzar for the occupation of those who fell under his displeasure.”
Due to the intense heat, the nightshirt, commonplace in Western cultures then – and still today – was nowhere to be seen on steamships in the East. Instead, the “traveler may be found, almost invariably, in pajamasThese are nothing more nor less than a coat and drawers, both of them loose and of light material. The latter are gathered at the waist by a string; the former buttons down the front to its termination at the hips. The suit may be of muslin, jeans, light flannel, or pongee silk.”  
This may not have been the first time pajamas were introduced to the American public, but soon they took over by storm.  In 1885, another article from the Times removed the italics and related that Kaskel & Kaskel’s haberdashery in New York had “nightshirts prepared with beautifully embroidered fronts, though pajamas are decidedly the robes de nuit at the present day.” By 1900, the Times lamented that “since the Spanish War everybody is wearing pajamas. The nightrobe seems to have gone completely out of existence.
Over a century has passed since, but the desire for comfortable clothes to kick back in around the house still exists.  Most, though, balk at the idea of proper loungewear. Why spend money on clothes no one will see you in?- the reasoning goes. And that is the reason for $10 sweats from the sale bin. Others believe that it’s too hot to wear anything to bed, but they’re missing the point: pajamas, like all loungewear, were meant to be worn around the house, not in bed. The original intention was to show a little decency to our surprise guests, neighbors, and our own children, and if you can do so with style, why not?
One of the more popular modern figures who donned loungewear was the fictitious Sherlock Holmes. Twenty years ago Jaymie of Berkeley lent me a tome containing the entire canon written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which I voraciously devoured. Among the many descriptions of Holmes was him in his dressing gown, which is not so odd per se, only in the way he wore it. Doyle describes the usual process:

He took off his coat and waistcoat, put on a large blue dressing-gown, and then wandered about the room collecting pillows from his bed, and cushions from the sofa and armchairs. With these, he constructed a sort of Eastern divan, upon which he perched himself cross-legged, with an ounce of shag tobacco and a box of matches laid out in front of him.

Still in shirt and tie, Holmes typically would slip into a robe at home to unwind, ponder over the day’s clues, and hopefully solve the mystery. More than a dozen times the robe is mentioned in the original stories: the detective could be found “lounging upon the sofa in a purple dressing-gown”, “lounging about his sitting-room in his dressing-gown,” and so on. When Watson or other characters would arrive at his flat, the fully-clothed yet comfortably relaxed Holmes could see to their needs without suffering embarrassment.

While Doyle only described the robe in color and Paget’s sketches of it were relatively featureless, it was American actor William Gillette who really brought it to life. Over the course of the over 1,300 times he portrayed Holmes on stage in both the U.S. and England, Gillette could be seen in a lavishly elegant robe of heavy silk brocade with a quilted shawl collar. If Gillette’s dressing gown is your bag, Baturina Homewear in Hamburg, Germany makes these in sumptuous quilted velvet, silk, or a combination of the two. Prices aren’t cheap, but they look well-made, are fully customizable, and if reviews on Etsy are any indication, they fit the bill.

 

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Whereas coat and tie revolve around fit and streetwear often portrays a mood, loungewear is all about comfort. That said, while style is a distant second, a little bit of it wouldn’t hurt, and there are plenty of ways to lounge with more refinement than sweats. I like how Erik (EFV) of Stockholm comes home from work and changes into a comfy cardigan and house slippers, or dresses up the slippers with a short silk damask robe for entertaining guests. For the cold mornings, he has a longer wool plaid dressing gown with silk piping, with which he pairs his velvet slippers from Larusmiani–chosen, he says, “for their sleek appearance. I love slippers, but like to look as good as possible for my wife.” 
loungewear menswear larusmiani slippers leather
For traditional loungewear that won’t make you look terribly precious, it’s hard to beat the classic PJs-and-robe combo.  Bay Area bud Derek Guy has an enviable combo from Ascot Chang which he finds helps to fend off the morning chill. Gerry Nelson of Melbourne only recently purchased his PJ-and-robe combo and can’t be happier. “All these years, I’d been wearing a t-shirt and sweatpants to bed,” he explains. “That was OK but I’d been wanting something a little more appropriate, and when I found this woolen robe from Derek Rose on eBay, I bit the bullet and got it. I wear it with pajamas and slippers and suddenly, I’m Cary Grant or Spencer Tracy. Not only is it comfortable, it looks great. I actually feel properly dressed all the time now.”
My own loungewear was driven by several factors:  1) we have a no-shoe policy in our house, 2) people drop by all the time, and 3) I needed something to wear when we stayed at friends’ homes while traveling. Traditional western pajamas and robes didn’t appeal to me at all, even though I think they look great on other people. Plus, I tend to run hot, and everything seemed too heavy. After all, options in loungewear are rather limited, so I resigned myself to wearing fleece shorts and t-shirts. And then came Antonio Ciongoli.

In 2013, Antonio co-founded Eidos and was its creative director for five years. One of my favorite pieces he made was a long, loose, shawl-collared cardigan with a medallion motif. Only 10 were ever made.  In the Eidos thread, Antonio explains:

“The knit jacquard pattern is based on traditional Rajasthani indigo textiles that are block printed by hand in the Ajrak style. We spun together four different colors of cotton yarn (navy with black and cream with ecru) to give the pattern a subtle depth of texture.  You really need to see it up close to appreciate how beautiful it is. The garment is knit full but light and layers easily over a tee shirt or pajamas around the house.”

 

antonio ciongoli jaquard pajamas loungewear luxury menswear

He wasn’t kidding – the fabric has an understated richness and is easily one of the softest pieces of clothing I own. I love cardigans for general comfort, but Antonio’s pattern gives the garment a bit of sophisticated élan. Similar to the fancy brocade of William Gillette’s dressing gown which distinguishes it from a simple bathrobe, the jacquard pattern elevates an ordinary cardigan to something special. You go ahead and drop cash on expensive PJs, but for my money, it might as well be something I actually wouldn’t mind being seen in.

After I posted a picture on Instagram of the Ajrak cardigan with linen pants, Antonio commented, “you need some Agy pants.”  According to what he posted in the Eidos thread at the time of their release, “…it’s my personal favorite silhouette from the season. While on a two-week inspiration and development trip I took to Rajasthan, India…Agyesh was wearing traditional Patiala pajama pants basically every day and…I loved how they looked. I was determined to make them work for the collection, so when I got back to Italy, I sat down with our knitwear supplier to reimagine them as lounge pants…the end result is the most comfortable sweats you’ve ever worn in your life.”

Similar to the Times correspondent, I was intrigued by these pajama pants, “loose and of light material,” so I took Antonio at his word and purchased a pair from Mohawk General Store in a slub loopback terry sweatshirting that was turned inside out for optimum texture. After wearing them at home for almost a month straight, I can say with little hesitation that they are the most surprising purchase I’ve made in a long time. The drawstring pulls the 40” of waist material to create flattering diagonal pleats that give these pajamas a refined shape while being airy, comfortable, and cool.  
Slippers were probably the hardest thing to find since many are either far too warm or far too fancy for my blood. I used to have a pair of wool slippers from J. Crew that were so dense they made my feet sweat, and ended up never wearing them. I liked the look of velvet slippers but all the ones I saw had leather soles, which seemed incongruous with loungewear, at least for me. Then I remembered that Gerry had a pair from Eidos that Antonio designed with Christian Kimber of Australia, the La Casetta House Slipper. They ticked all the boxes I was looking for: slim profile, casual tweed material, and rubber sole. After much searching, I finally found some stock at Coachman Clothiers of Knoxville, Tennessee. The material is breathable and the rubber sole provides just the right amount of warmth and cushion for Bay Area wood floors. For those interested, Antonio says he plans to produce pajamas as Creative Director for 18 East.

Loungewear is a funny thing. I’ve read that it increases productivity for those who work from home, and though I’m not convinced (neither is this guy), I’d be lying if I said they have no effect at all, at least for me. Like all clothes, loungewear can serve multiple purposes, not just practical. Sweats are comfortable, but so is a toga. If you care to be presentable as well, consider upping your loungewear game, and if you’re looking for an excuse, throw a pajama party. 
Of course, you may not care at all; anyone can wear whatever they want around the house. When asked what she wore to bed, Marilyn Monroe famously answered, “Chanel No. 5.”  Rawr.  

Then again, she died alone, so there’s that.

 

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loungewear menswear luxury tailored pajamas nightrobe

Style Icons: Bryceland’s Ethan Newton and Kenji Cheung

Vintage style is something you never really see anymore. It makes sense that people have an aversion to it, as it can come off as a costume or kitsch. As a vintage enthusiast myself, I was confident that all it needed was an example of someone doing it right. Enter in Ethan Newton and Kenji Cheung, the owners of Bryceland’s, the latest menswear haberdashery in Japan and HK. I think they make a strong case for incorporating vintage style in the modern world, though theirs is very subtle.

Unlike a lot of the other “menswear ateliers” that have opened up in recent memory, Bryceland’s stands out because of its old-school -almost rugged- vibe. They might work with contemporary tailors like Dalcuore, W.W Chan, and Ambrosi Napoli, but they also stock rayon sports shirts from Groovin High, 1947 reproduction denim, and have even held trunk shows with vintage pickers. All of this results in a unique look; you can spot Ethan in a sawtooth denim shirt worn under a suit or Kenji in a Dalcuore DB with wide-legged military chinos. The look may not be for everyone, but we can’t deny that it’s certainly different from the regular menswear uniform we see from other stores.

Now you might say that vintage style is easy to pull off in casual/workwear attire; after all, it’s not hard to look good in a leather jacket, breezy rayon shirt, and selvedge denim. But what if I told you that the owners of Bryceland’s had a vintage look present in their sartorial style as well? It’s a little more subdued compared to their overtly old-school casual/workwear style, but it’s still there. Honestly, that’s what I prefer when looking for inspiration: great ways of making vintage look contemporary. I’m not really about looking period accurate when I step out the door, rather I focus on capturing a look that evokes timelessness while suiting modern situations.

One of the easier ways they incorporate a vintage look is by wearing striped shirts with printed ties. While it’s not exactly uncommon in our circles of vintage clothes aficionados, it’s an anomaly compared to the rest of the menswear world; most guys prefer to keep things rather plain. Ethan and Kenji offer a unique selection of patterned ties: instead of the tight geometric patterns that can be found on the WAYWT threads, you’ll find that their Sevenfold collaborations are a little more eclectic, with their prints being a little bit more abstract and spread out compared to the regular options. Even their striped ties stand out among the reps and regimental ties frequented by Ivy enthusiasts. As a whole, their ties have a vintage look to them, even if they were made recently.

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They combine this eccentricity with their love of unique collars. Made in collaboration with bespoke shirtmaker Ascot Chang, Ethan and Kenji have developed a couple of different collar styles. One great example is their tab, club collar shirt. Unlike most collars today, the points are a little bit longer, with the tab giving a vintage feel to the shirt. When worn with a 3PC as they do, it simultaneously gives off a late 20s or even 1960s vibe. It might be a bit rakish for some, but it’s not costume-like in the slightest. Kenji and Ethan have also developed a button down collar that definitely seems to have been inspired by the classic Ivy style OCBD. Again, there are some slight vintage connotations, but it isn’t anything anachronistic.

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Now let’s take a look at the tailoring itself. In general, they don’t really pick anything overly bold, which is usually done by “vintage” enthusiasts. You might see a Prince of Wales suit or a plaid tweed every once in a while, but they largely stick to subdued, plain colors like navy, brown, or even cream. These choices definitely help “ground in” the vintage style, which separates them from the more dandy vintage dressers.

Obviously, there are trends in classic tailoring, as high rise, pleats, and wide lapels no longer seem to be “old school” but are actually the trend. However, tweak some these details further, and it can result in an even more vintage look, even to seasoned bespoke enthusiasts. If we look at the Bryceland’s house model from Dalcuore, you’ll notice that they opt for a lowered gorge, which was the style back in the 1930s-1940s compared to the tailoring of today, which usually features the notch placed high on the chest – almost at the shoulder.

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This attention to detail is continued in how they cut and style their DBs. Whether it’s from Dalcuore or W.W Chan, both Ethan and Kenji opt for straight horizontal lapels, again with a lowered gorge. Like the SB lapels, this goes against the grain from the rest of the menswear world, where most prefer a little bit of a belly to their peak lapels. For those who don’t know, horizontal peaks are characteristic of Golden Era Tailoring. In terms of trousers, they definitely like to have their pieces pleated and cut nice and full with just a little bit of taper. It’s most apparent on Ethan Newton, who has a larger frame, but you can still see that Kenji wears them as well. One great outfit that puts this all together is worn by Kenji on a wide, horizontal peak DB that features a fishtail trouser. It’s completely modern with an old-school charm.

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One last thing that I’d like to point out is that they also accessorize their outfits well. We’ve heard that the white pocket square is the ultimate go-to, but it certainly hasn’t seen a lot of wear lately as most go for muted prints and designs. The plain white is classic and when done with a bit of nonchalance, definitely has a 1930s actor vibe to it, which is why they seem to wear it almost all the time. I’m also sure that the white pocket square is necessary when your tie choice is just a tad more adventurous than what others pick. White socks are also seen as what is presumably an Ivy throwback, though you can sometimes see it worn with dress trousers and suits instead of just chinos. Ethan and Kenji also add collar pins and tie bars for extra measure. While the former can sometimes be seen among more rakish dressers, the latter is certainly not: most gentlemen today either tuck their tie or let their blades run wild.

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Looking back, a lot of what makes “vintage style” is doing things that no one does anymore. This doesn’t mean just wearing something old, but rather taking elements of a bygone era and incorporating them into the contemporary world. I think that Ethan Newton and Kenji Cheung do this exceptionally well. All of their stuff is still made today but with a tweak of the design, like a lapel shape or a tie with an interesting print, it gives you a Golden Era look.

They don’t opt for anything too bold either other than the occasional plaid or pinstripe, choosing for their suits the more muted tones of browns, blues, and greys, keeping things rather classic and versatile. Overall, I think they make the case that 1930s-1940s era styling can still be done. This idea helped me improve my own style, as I’ve moved beyond period authenticity, to making something a bit more contemporary with a few nods toward the Golden Era. Perhaps we can all take some inspiration of them and bring that vintage style in the modern day.

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The Basics of Wedding Attire for Men: American and English Weddings

In America, the most common wedding attire for a groom is either a lounge suit or a tuxedo.

The Jacket
If you decide to get married in a tuxedo, the most flattering and traditional choice is to select a 1 button jacket with a peak lapel. The facings (lapels) should be in silk, but in most cases, satin will also be suitable.
Tuxes can come in 2, 3 or even 4 button form, but on the whole, they look far too much like suits. The same can be said about notch-lapels; if you are going to wear a tux, then do it right. Peak lapels are the ones that point upwards, like the peaks of mountains.

The Trousers
Trouser for a tuxedo should be in a fabric that matches the jacket. When you see people in a green jacket and black trousers, they are actually wearing a smoking jacket, not a tux. Trousers should have a stripe of material down the outside of each leg made from the same stuff that your lapel is made from –be it silk or satin.

Accessories
The Tie should always be a bow-tie. Although many Hollywood stars like to wear neckties or cravats, they should be largely ignored. Unless you are arriving in a helicopter and have a few superstars in attendance, just keep it simple. A black bowtie made from satin or barathea (a matte type of silk) that is self-tie. Resist the clip on! Taking that extra minute or so to tie a bowtie by hand makes all the difference and helps retains some personality in the knot.

The Pocket Square
It should be simple white to match the shirt. Straight line fold, triangles, and multiple points are all acceptable. Think James Bond.

Cufflinks and Studs
Gold, Black, Silver, Onyx. Anything you like, just make sure that they match each other and your watch. Mixing metals can be tricky and is generally best avoided. Having said that, don’t think that you can’t wear your grandfather’s gold war-watch because your wedding band is in platinum. When it comes to weddings, items of sentimental value trump the rules every time.

Shoes
Shoes should be black patent lace-ups or if you want a pair you can use every day afterward then pick up a wholecut or cap-toe in black from a decent maker. Remember to wear them a few times before the big day, nothing is worse than walking around with blisters!

wedding attire wedding tuxedo tux styleforum example

SF member Newcomer via the Official Wedding Attire thread.

There are two ways in which you can approach choosing a suit for your wedding: pick a cloth that is very different from something you wear at the office, so that you don’t feel like you’re going to work, OR pick a suit that you can wear many hundreds of times after you get married, in order to be financially prudent.
Only you can make that kind of decision, but on the whole, there are some guidelines:
Pick sensible colors. While you may love the look of the brown suit today, how will it look when you show the kids your wedding photos? Greys, Navy, and Charcoals are going to stand the test of time better than that sky-blue velvet number you had your heart on.
Two button suits are most proportionate on gentlemen under 6 foot in height. Once you hit the 6ft mark, you can use the 2 button suit to make you appear slimmer and taller, or a 3 button to bring you back into proportion. Generally, a big, tall man in a 3 button suit, looks similar to a normal man in a 2 button suit.
Shoes can be black or brown, but make sure that they are highly polished and worn a few times before the big day. I cannot overstate the importance of breaking in your shoes before you want them used.

wedding attire guests appropriate styleforum

SF member and contributor Mossrockss via the Official Wedding Attire thread.

Rule one is always wear a suit. While some guests may turn up in a polo shirt and khakis, you can always ditch your tie for a bit of James Bond flair. Any outfit can be made more casual, but you can’t magic up a tie when you’re the one who’s underdressed.
Blue, Grey, and Brown are all acceptable. Two-button without a waistcoat is more modern, but stepping up to a three-piece can be a nice way to formalize the affair.
Never wear a black suit. Black is a funeral color and most definitely not welcome at weddings.
Ties and pocket squares should complement each other and also complement your date’s outfit, or if you would rather pick out a color of the wedding theme this is permitted as well. Shirts should be light blue, pink or white. Firstly this makes everyone look a little happier by using high-key colors, but also because weddings often mean standing around in the sun or in hot rooms. Sweat patches don’t show of light colors but spread heavily on dark.
Shoes should be black unless you are wearing a very light color of suit, in which case tan may be acceptable.

When it comes to wedding attire, English grooms have the choice of wearing a morning suit (most formal) or a lounge suit.

The morning suit is the most formal attire in use for weddings in the UK and Europe, and even now only represents a very small minority of cases. If Your invitation states “Morning Dress” or some variation thereof then you should consider a suit to a last resort.

The Coat
Morning coats are scarce in the UK so you are limited to Bespoke or a few OTR stores. The coat should be charcoal and made from wool where ever possible. If you are renting then this may not be possible, but do your best.

The Trousers
The trousers of a morning suit should be black with charcoal or chalk stripes known as “cashmere stripes”. This is one of the rare occasions on which matching the trousers to the cloth of the coat is considered wrong. There should be a distinct difference. The cut can be slightly fuller than your normal “slim” trousers; there has never been such a thing as a slim-fit morning suit.

Accessories
The tie should be a satin in pastel colors; pink blue and peach are popular choices. Handkerchiefs can co-ordinate or consider a white linen version if you prefer a more classic look.
Shirts should be white. I would choose a poplin, although still is nicer to touch, it is also thicker and therefore warmer. A morning coat stays closed at all times so you might get a little warm.

Cufflinks and Studs
Gold, Black, Silver, Onyx. Anything you like, just make sure that they match each other and your watch. Mixing metals can be tricky and is generally best avoided. Having said that, don’t think that you can’t wear your grandfather’s gold war-watch because your wedding band is in platinum. When it comes to weddings, items of sentimental value trump the rules every time.

Shoes
They should always be black and as plain as you can find. Do I need to say it again? Wear them at least three times before the big day, blisters aren’t cool.

**Note**  This is section is the same as the American version. Reading it twice will be boring.

There are two ways in which you can approach choosing a suit for your wedding: pick a cloth that is very different from something you wear at the office, so that you don’t feel like you’re going to work, OR pick a suit that you can wear many hundreds of times after you get married, in order to be financially prudent.
Only you can make that kind of decision, but on the whole, there are some guidelines:
Pick sensible colors. While you may love the look of the brown suit today, how will it look when you show the kids your wedding photos? Greys, Navy, and Charcoals are going to stand the test of time better than that sky-blue velvet number you had your heart on.
Two-button suits are most proportionate on gentlemen under 6 foot in height. Once you hit the 6ft mark, you can use the 2 button suit to make you appear slimmer and taller, or a 3 button to bring you back into proportion. Generally, a big, tall man in a 3 button suit, looks similar to a normal man in a 2 button suit.
Shoes can be black or brown, but make sure that they are highly polished and worn a few times before the big day. I cannot overstate the importance of breaking in your shoes before you want them used.


If you’d like to discuss the state of black tie, join the conversation on this thread on Styleforum.

If you’d like suggestions and tips regarding your wedding outfit, you can visit the Official Wedding Attire thread.


This article is an edited and revamped version of an article originally published on September 16, 2011, on Styleforum.net by the user Blackhood. 

Menswear Thrifting: a Smart, Ethical Way to Shop

My menswear journey is much more recent than most people. I caught on to the #menswear pretty late and soon realized my tiny wardrobe was not going to leave me satisfied.

There’s nothing wrong with being a minimalist (in fact, I am jealous of those who are able to keep essentials only), but I knew that it wasn’t for me. Instead of buying fast fashion for the easy way out, I decided to build my wardrobe by buying through eBay and thrift stores. A lot of menswear guys don’t like the idea of buying old or second hand, but I still think it’s one of the best ways to fill out a wardrobe. Whether you’re a newbie who wants to dip his toes into high rise or a seasoned guy looking for something new, the thrift store always delivers.

IT’S EASIER TO FIND GOOD QUALITY ITEMS AT A THRIFT STORE THAN AT THE MALL

Firstly, there’s the aspect of vintage. I briefly talked about it on in my brief guide on thrifting, but the fact remains that a large part of clothing made in the 1960s and earlier were made with much more quality than most stuff made today.  Jackets (unless they were completely unstructured) contained canvassing and fabrics were almost always made of natural fibers like wool and cotton. Obviously, there are some designs that are more “dated” than others, but I’m certain that many posters on Styleforum will be able to judge a classic garment from one that looks too vintage. Stuff like ivy style sack-jackets from the 1960s-1970s are extremely versatile in classic menswear no matter the style and can be found pretty easily in thrift stores or eBay. Trousers are probably the best bet, as most stuff pre-1990 will have a high rise and/or pleats. Just make sure your finds don’t contain synthetics!

While it can be possible to thrift contemporary pieces from big name brands, it’s also important to remember that there were also small tailors that made some great garments. For example, not all of my sack jackets are old Brooks Brothers; it appears that local California haberdasheries caught on to the ivy trend and made their own suits and sportcoats. This even extends on to the early iterations of modern designers, as I’ve seen old J. Crew, Banana Republic, and GAP pieces that had pretty classic designs, made of decent fabrics. This doesn’t’ just apply to suiting and jackets; long collar OCBDs and even classic foulard ties can be found at Goodwill, all lacking that desired brand name. In any case, I always think it’s worth it to actually try on any garment that has a great design rather than just hunt for a label.

THRIFTING AS A WAY TO EXPERIMENT WITH YOUR STYLE

One other aspect of thrifting that I’ve really enjoyed is that it lets you experiment with different styles in an affordable way. I distinctly remember coming across pleated trousers from Ambrosi and B&Tailor online and wishing that I could try my hand at incorporating them into my wardrobe. At the time, all I had was skinny, flat front J. Crew pants, and I wasn’t about to spend hundreds on something I wasn’t sure about. Instead, I looked through my local thrift stores and used my honed skills to find quality pleated trousers for a cheap price. I brought them to my trusted tailor, where he was able to slim them down enough to make for a classic look. My latest experiment took the form of pleated brown cords. I’ve never worn cords before, but now that I’ve had the opportunity to try, it opens myself up to experiment further.

This use of thrifting for experimentation even applies to jackets!  As Simon Crompton said, wider lapels and a 3-roll-2 stance have been “a trend” for classic menswear. While it may be easy to get these details on something from a brand like Ring Jacket or customizing them on MTM, it’s still a little aspirational for younger guys. Thankfully, most classic menswear trends aren’t anything new, and you can find these details on garments found in thrift stores or online. Like with the trousers, the money you save on the purchase price can be used to alter the garment to fit you!

Thrifting also allows you to find statement pieces for a great price.  Obviously, while everyone should have a navy blazer and grey flannels (which are pretty easy to find), I think it’s important to have a few garments that are interesting and one-of-a-kind to spice up your attire. Most old garments have fabrics and patterns that you simply can’t find anymore, especially not at the mall. It’s much easier to try out a colorful checked tweed from Goodwill rather than go straight to bespoke for something you may not wear often.

THRIFTING IS A SUSTAINABLE AND ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY CHOICE

Lastly, I think it’s important to keep the cycle going. As I move forward in my journey and career, I’ve been able to afford quality items in a “slow fashion” rather than having an exclusively thrifted wardrobe. Instead of throwing away my old clothes, I end up giving them to my friends and acquaintances who were also getting into classic menswear. The only difference is that these thrifted pieces have now been cleaned and altered from their found state so that they can be added confidently into someone’s closet. I’ve already given some of my old thrifted suits to my friends as I graduate onto different pieces, and they accept them knowing that they will one day pass them on as well.

I know that classic menswear is “slow” when compared to other sects of fashion, but we aren’t immune to the impact on the environment. Countless suits, shirts, and trousers, flood thrift stores and eBay, waiting for their new owners to save them from the landfills. You should pass on things that are damaged or really dated (1980s fashion suits, yuck) but it’s always worth looking at your local thrift store, whether you want to build your wardrobe economically or experiment with something new. Although Classic Menswear has that odd stigma against buying things that are old or pre-worn, I hope more people will start considering thrifting an acceptable avenue to take in their menswear journey.

 

How To Mirror Shine Shoes in Less Than an Hour – By Kirby Allison

The peak of traditional fashion for men might just well be a proper mirror shine on a fine pair of dress shoes. It sets you apart from other well-dressed individuals by demonstrating the dedication and effort you put into your daily appearance. It is no secret that a proper mirror shine can be, unfortunately, rather time-consuming. You may be looking at a day-long project between applying layer upon layer of polish while waiting for each one to dry.

Thankfully, a great mirror shine doesn’t have to be that exhaustive. With the right tips and know-how, you can achieve a stunning mirror shine on any pair of shoes in less than an hour. Here’s what you will need:

 

Water

Saphir Mirror Gloss Wax Polish

High Shine Chamois or old cotton dress shirt

Fan or blow dryer

Saphir Pate de Luxe Wax Polish

 

 

how to get mirror shine shoes quickly

Using a High-Shine Cotton Chamois, apply Saphir’s Mirror Gloss Polish to your toe caps. Make sure you avoid cracking in the future by not applying any waxes on parts of your shoes that bend or move. Saphir’s Mirror Gloss contains a higher concentration of hard waxes than regular polish, making it indispensable for quick mirror shines. The High Shine Chamois or cotton shirt smoothly applies the polish without any lint or loose threads getting in the way. The high count threading effortlessly glides across the surface of the leather, vastly reducing the amount of effort required to buff it later. Apply a very small amount of water to your chamois whenever you start to feel resistance.

 

how to mirror shine shoes leather

Set your blow-dryer to medium heat and use it on the toe caps of your shoes. This will serve two purposes: it will speed up the drying process and will slightly melt the waxes. Melting the waxes will help the clear up, bringing them closer to that glossy finish. Once your shoes are dry, use a clean portion of your High Shine Chamois or dress shirt to buff the waxes off. Once the waxes are buffed, you are ready for the Pate de Luxe Wax Polish.

 

how to achieve mirror shine shoes hour

Apply Saphir’s Pate de Luxe Wax Polish to your shoes’ toe caps. The Pate de Luxe contains solvents which help further soften the Mirror Gloss, elevating its shine. This will further reduce the number of times you need to apply wax and buff. After applying it, blow dry the toe caps and buff it off with your High Shine Chamois like you did with the mirror gloss.

 

how to mirror shine leather saphir

You are all done! In a short amount of time, with significantly less effort, your shoes will have a stunning shine that elevates your appearance.

 


 

You’re still in time to join the Styleforum + Hanger Project  GIVEAWAY! Click on the banner below for a chance to win a luxury garment and shoe care kit.

 

5 accessories that will make you look like a million bucks

Accessories can make or break an outfit. A perfect fit can be elevated simply by having one additional element of interest introduced by a well-chosen accessory. But on the other hand, accessories can ruin an otherwise fine fit by being overdone, ostentatious or in conflict with one another. “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” Keep that advice from Coco Chanel in mind as I share five accessories that will, in the right contexts and done tastefully, make you look like a million bucks.

Okay, it doesn’t necessarily have to be Swiss, but it should be tastefully designed, and small. Giant diameters ruin what might be otherwise great watches these days. And unless you have Chris Hemsworth’s arms, they don’t really look at home on your wrist (though if you’ve got Chris Hemsworth arms, by all means, wear something proportionally small on your wrist!). When you’re wearing coat and tie, and want to look refined—whether it’s for a wedding, evening out with your significant other, or even just at the office—a small watch looks far more elegant. My personal favorites are Omega’s from the 1960s. My brother generously bought me a 1966 DeVille for my 30th birthday last year, with an off-white face that comes in at 34.5mm across. It’s magnificent.

I realize calling a product meaningful sounds like the worst marketing language, but I only say that because the guys wearing bracelets well are those doing it for a reason and not just because it’s the cool thing to do. When done well, a bracelet communicates a sense of refinement that no other accessory does in exactly the same way (when done poorly, it usually communicates that the wearer is trying too hard).

The ideal bracelet can lend style to an outfit because it’s carefully chosen, and the wearer knows when to wear it. I don’t typically wear a bracelet, but my dad does—and he absolutely nails it. He owns a couple, though one is far and away my favorite; it’s a heavy, solid sterling silver piece with decorative Navajo carvings made by Darin Bill. My dad has loved New Mexico since he was a boy, and Navajo blankets, art, and jewelry have been mainstays for decades in my family. I’d borrow it from time to time, but my wrists are much smaller than his.

Years ago I got a fairly inexpensive belt in snuff suede from Meermin and it changed my life. It sounds like a hyperbole, but seriously, suede as a belt material was a revelation to me. I wear that belt 90% of the time to this day. It looks particularly great with white pants and denim, but I’ll wear it with wool trousers as well. It doesn’t have to be suede, but a belt in a subtly different texture can bring your outfit together in a way you might not immediately think of. Something like alligator leather can improve a dressier fit, while canvas looks great with madras in the summer.

Brooks BrothersGustav Von Aschenbach

Besides just the belt material itself, you can also look for a cool buckle. For instance, I’ve always liked machined flat plaque buckles on a narrow dress belt—they feel very mid-century, and they make me think of my grandpa. I have no meaningful memories of him because he died when I was young, but I know, from what my dad has told me, that he was a very skilled craftsman. He had a fine attention to detail as well as a penchant for design, which he put to use making all kinds of things, usually with a strong mid-century aesthetic. A narrow belt with a machined buckle feels like something he’d have worn—and possibly even made himself.

Sid Mashburn – Tiffany&Co.

This is a super basic pick, but it’s an impeccable choice that really does improve a navy or gray suit. As pocket squares have gone mainstream, many men have been led astray into thinking the more gaudy, loud, bright and matchy, the better. In response, stylish men and forum members have sworn off squares all together. But even those most grieved by the over-saturation of pocket square culture still wear the white TV fold. It’s because it’s a stylish detail that’s not ostentatious. Mine is from J.Crew; it was a gift, and it is monogrammed.

If you’re looking at ways to fold your pocket square perfectly, check out Peter’s guide to folding a pocket square.

J. CrewKent Wang

Not a visible accessory most of the time, but when it is, it ups your class factor by a zillion. The things most men carry around to house their cards and cash are abysmal, awful, ugly, and thick. Don’t be like that. When you pull your wallet out of your breast pocket, a slim card case (or I suppose, a breast pocket wallet if you use bills regularly) makes for a nice indication of your appreciation for elegance—even if it’s not seen by most. It is slim enough that it doesn’t show if your jacket is more fitted in the chest. And even if you don’t have a jacket on it won’t make too big a bulge in your front pants pocket.

La Portegna – Salvatore FerragamoWant Les Essentiel

What to Wear on a 24 Hour trip

The other day I found myself in a familiar stressful situation: I arrived home from work at 6:30 PM and had a plane to catch in less than two hours. And I hadn’t packed yet.  
Crazy, I know; packing procrastination does that to you.  For a dizzying moment, I felt overwhelmed, trying to visualize outfits with my closet content revolving in my mind like a tie organizer.  And then I thought: what if my choices were limited?
My trip wasn’t long – just a little over 24 hours from the time I board the plane to the moment I touch down from my return flight – and it wasn’t as I had to pack for a vacation. I just needed to be comfortable enough for the flight down, an all-day assembly the next day, and the return flight home.
Why waste time fretting over different outfits if I could make one outfit last 24 hours? 
Can one outfit last 24 hours?  

what to wear on 24 hour trip menswear sport coat tailored

Sport Coat: Spier & MacKay

Shirt: Finamore

Pants: Rubinacci

Shoes: Alden

Belt: W. Kleinberg

Pocket Square: Drake’s

Tie: Drake’s

Scarf: Drake’s


Here’s what I chose: 
For sheer flexibility, nothing beats good old gray flannel trousers – mid-grey to be precise. You could wear them from the boardroom to the bedroom and no one would bat an eye. They’re like dress sweats, with a crease and a fly. I grabbed an alligator belt to cinch them up.
A jacket, of course, is a no-brainer. You want to have easily-accessible pockets to stash your boarding pass & ID that you’ll be taking out a million times to show every TSA agent in the airport. Get yourself the right sport coat, one that you can dress up or down, and you can take it anywhere, from meetings to martinis. The all-purpose navy blazer is the obvious choice, but it’s not the only one. I really like this classic tan gunclub from Spier & MacKay. The houndstooth pattern is casual without being crazy, and being a shetland wool tweed, its looser weave makes it feel more like a cozy sweater than a rigid jacket. 
Instead of a blue oxford cloth button-down shirt, which is the fail-safe option, I chose its slightly more stylish cousin, the dark chambray spread collar shirt from Finamore. I like how the darker color and twill weave pair particularly well with tweed jackets. Plus, it’s a fantastic fabric. My wife says it’s denim, but I can’t say that I agree, because then I’d have to explain why I’m recommending a denim shirt to meetings. Just say “chambray” and you’ll stay above reproach.
Everyone always says loafers are a good choice for airports, and for good reason: you can easily slip them on and off at security and in the plane, and they go equally well with dressy or casual outfits. If you have a high instep though, the band on the vamp of traditional penny loafers may cause a bit of discomfort when worn for an extended period of time. That’s why I chose tassel loafers – they generally have no band.  And while I do have cordovan tassels, I grabbed my suede pair from Alden. For sheer shoe comfort, suede tassels are tough to beat, and I find they go well with flannel trousers and tweed jackets.
 
Leaving to catch the plane, 7 PM Friday evening
peter 24 hours same clothes
I wore this on the plane knowing I’d be wearing this not only on the flight down, but at the assembly as well, which meant I had to choose accessories. For ties, you’d be hard pressed to find a one more versatile than a dark solid silk knit. The crunchy, nubby, slightly shiny texture plays well with everything from plain worsted suits to busy sport coats. As I recently gave my navy one away (as a hint to a bro who painfully tries to mix patterns), I opted for a dark green one instead. That, as well as the matte silk/wool square with a large pattern I grabbed to complement it, are both from Drake’s.
 
At the assembly, noon Saturday
After the assembly, I would get rid of the tie and square and exchange them for a scarf. Of course, I could’ve just loosened the tie, but I’m not one of those guys that wear a tie just because. Ties signal a recognition of seriousness or solemnity; don’t dilute their meaning by just wearing them willy-nilly. When the situation calls for it, by all means, tie up and show respect. Otherwise, adorn your neck with a scarf.
For those of you with a penchant for crazy ties but know better, this is your opportunity to give in – a little –  to your ornamentation fixation. This one is from forum member X of Pentacles, and is the perfect pattern and color for a casual scarf; it stuffed easily in my briefcase, along with my tie, square, and an extra pair of unmentionables.  

 

Getting ready to fly home, Saturday evening

 

In retrospect, I think the experiment went well.  I was never uncomfortable in my clothes, and I had everything I needed to be presentable; that much I expected. However, what I didn’t expect was the weightlessness of it all.
All the familiar stresses of travel were gone. Having everything in my briefcase meant there was no luggage to lug around to the check-in counter; not even a carryon to heave and stow in the overhead bin. When I arrived, there was no need to wait by the baggage claim; I just left the terminal and got an Uber. The next morning there was no time spent deciding what to wear because I had packed only one choice. And after the assembly I didn’t need to organize my belongings; I simply picked up my briefcase and left for the airport. In the end, I realized that eliminating options wasn’t restricting – it was liberating. 
Maybe there is something to living a simple life after all.  I should think about that when I order my next suit.

Men’s Hats Throughout the Years

As much as people like to say that headwear is a functional accessory, the truth is that it was always a fashion piece first.  As a conscious choice, hats always seem to add a little extra punch to an outfit, even if they are a sort of anachronistic accessory.  Hats have been largely absent from menswear from the 1980s to the 2000s, but if you take a look at recent editions of Pitti Uomo, or even just at your local mall, you’ll see they’re coming back. The fact that they have seen a slight resurgence inspired this article, where I briefly talk about how hats have changed through classic menswear.

Back in the early 1900s, stylish clothing was a privilege reserved for the wealthy. The rich had not only different outfits for different occasions, but different hats as well. Top hats were reserved for white tie, while homburgs and bowlers rounded out the pieces appropriate for suits. In fact, the homburg and derby really reigned supreme until the 1910s. Most hats of this period went for an elegant aesthetic, being stiff and made of fur felt, silk ribbons, and leather sweatbands. Crown shape/height and brim width certainly varied throughout the years, but hats pre-1920s were typically moderate all around. The pinch-front felt hat with the curved, upturned brim was an especially popular model. The straw boater was also quite popular during this period and would remain relatively unchanged in shape until the 1950s, when brims were shortened. Wool caps were a “sporty” alternative, a quality that seems to have stuck with this type of hat ever since. Early caps were pretty utilitarian, made with pleats, belts, and flaps to keep the wearer comfortable, warm, and stylish.

1900s -1930s

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While these wool caps have stood the test of time (currently serving as the “vintage hat of choice” for many), no other hat is as iconic as the soft felt fedora. It was first introduced in the 1890s but didn’t catch on until the 1910s. Like suits, fedoras definitely went through changes with each era as tastes evolved. Early fedoras had a tall crown (mainly with a center crease) and either was upturned or downturned all around; again, varieties were always present. In general, the fedora was certainly a contrast to the narrow-brimmed, stiff homburg of preceding years.

The evolution of the fedora

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By the 1920s and 1930s, the fedora was the hat of choice for almost all men. Homburgs were only reserved for formal men, while the top hat was starting to fade from men’s wardrobes. It probably helped that fashion was finally getting into the hands of the everyday man, who wanted a hat that was stylish and functional at the same time. A high crown fedora was still in vogue for this period, with 2-inch brims and a semi-wide ribbon (narrow ribbons were reserved for casual or western themed hats). One of the main differences between these fedoras and the older ones was the fact that the brim “snapped down” in the front. While boaters were still worn, the panama hat was the smart piece of choice for the warm season, with the optimo model (featuring a center ridge) being the most popular.

Short rounded porkpie hats grew slightly in popularity in the late 1940s with creative types, and at the same time, fedoras got a bit wider. The newly lowered crowns started to have more of a teardrop top and prominent pinch, instead of the simple center crease; eventually, a fully circular top would become fashionable in the 1950s. Straw hats were increasingly popular in the post-war era, with colorful bandana-esque ribbons. Not all of them were designed like the optimo, with most being most similar to fedoras; the actual weave would vary from model to model.

During the ivy movement of the late 1950s and early 1960s, suits became more minimal. Lapels got smaller, darts were lost, and trousers became flat front. In order to match this “slim look”, fedoras went through some changes. Crowns became short and tapered and the brims were heavily reduced. You can see a lot of this style in early Bond films or period productions like Mad Men. Personally, I don’t think this shape is as flattering as the other decades before it.

1940s – 1960s

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Unfortunately, hats (and other formal pieces) were discarded moving forward into the 1960s. As a whole, men were dressing up less and the new ivy/continental look seldom incorporated hats. It didn’t help that cars were getting smaller, so men couldn’t drive while wearing a hat. Soon, headwear became just another fashion accessory that wasn’t needed in the world. By the late 1960s and early 1970s, men wore ball caps, bucket hats (from the recent war), and flat caps if the weather called for it. The fedora did make a brief comeback in the 1970s and the early 2000s, but those two models couldn’t be more different than each other. The disco era one was reminiscent of 1940s ones, though they were often made of wool (rather than felt) and had a wide brim; by contrast, the fedoras of the millennium were clearly modeled after the short, tapered 1960s ones except embroidered cotton was now the fabric of choice.

Today, hats seem to be coming back, worn by stylish men who want to add something extra to their sartorial style. It’s usually for vintage-inspired outfits, but I really do enjoy it. While floppy fedoras (sans ribbon) seem to be the most popular, you can still see western ones frequented by Americana-workwear enthusiasts, as well as beanies, berets, and caps in other circles.

1970s – Modern times

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Personally, as much as I like vintage style, I still can’t bring myself to wear hats too often. However, the fact that more guys seem to rock headwear with their tailoring might change my mind. Perhaps the stigma against the hat within classic menswear can finally go away!

Casual meets Classic – The Evolution of My Wardrobe Incorporating Casual Outerwear

Wearing casual outerwear with more tailored, classic menswear has quickly become one of my favorite styles. In this article, I want to give some insights into how I built my current outerwear collection, along with what styles I plan to add in the future. I’ll also touch on some of the basic principles I use when pulling outfits together, and finally, I will provide some guidance on what items I feel pair best when incorporating casual outerwear into your wardrobe.

Building My Casual Outerwear Collection

At the beginning of 2017, I owned only two pieces of outwear: a lightweight bomber jacket for spring, and a heavier jacket for winter. I made it my mission in 2017 to focus on adding quality, casual outerwear pieces to my wardrobe. I’d first like to review the process I used when choosing these items, in addition to how I pair them with work attire.

When it comes to choosing outerwear, versatility is the name of the game for me. I have a fairly tight clothing budget so I carefully consider how much use I am likely to get out of an item before deciding to pull the trigger. When starting my outerwear search, I turned to Instagram for inspiration, searching hashtags like #styleforum, #mnswr #ptoman, as well as a few of my favorite accounts such as @stylejournaldaily, @drakesdiary, and @sartorialviking. With my research in hand, I was able to narrow down a few styles I felt could be dressed up or down with relative ease. I found myself gravitating towards field jackets, chore coats, safari jackets, and classic waxed 2 pocket jackets like the Barbour Beaufort. I quickly realized that a combo of these casual styles in staple colors would be versatile enough to wear with a ton of looks – everything from trousers and a tie during the week to jeans and a tee on weekends.

I remember first trying to find field jackets and suede bomber jackets, the latter of which I have still yet to get in my hands. I searched relentlessly through the Styleforum buy & sell section looking for anything that may fit the build. There were pieces like the Eidos “Ragosta” and suede bombers from Valstar that were perfect but out of my budget. As my search continued, about a year ago I posted a wanted ad looking for any that might be sitting in people closets not being used. When that failed, I realized that it was probably for the best considering the price point; then, I turned to eBay to see what more affordable options I could find. After stalking Luxe Swap eBay listings for weeks on end I ended up bidding on and winning a couple amazing field jackets: a navy from Brunello Cucinelli and an unlined tan cotton by Aspesi. A short while later, I added a vintage Private White VC “Squaddie” waxed wool jacket (also from eBay) and a few used Epaulet field jackets off of Grailed.

The last style I wanted to add to my wardrobe was a classic chore coat, and this one took me a few tries to get right. After trying out a few brands and having to return or sell them due to fit issues, Epaulet released their updated chore coat design called the “Doyle”. I quickly snatched up one in olive duck canvas and it became one of my favorite pieces in my closet. I have since added two more “Doyle” jackets, one in an indigo dyed cotton sashiko fabric and another in banana yellow wool.

Future Acquisitions

Looking into 2018, I do have some additional outerwear items on my wish list. These items will be ones that can further bridge the gap between casual and classic menswear as I transition to more tailored items.

A field jacket like the Eidos “Ragosta” in a navy Donegal fabric is first on my list pending budget. I’d also like to pick up a slightly more tailored piece of outerwear like a raglan topcoat or belted coat but in a casual patterned cloth, such as a herringbone or houndstooth. I will be keeping a close eye on Styleforum affiliate Spier & Mackay as they hinted at adding some patterned topcoats to their line this fall. Epaulet also took to Instagram to preview plans for an updated version of their field jacket, which I am very excited to see finalized. Lastly, I am looking forward to what Private White VC does in 2018; they sold off a lot of their current 2017 inventory, which I can only hope means big things are coming.

Putting it all Together – How to Blend Casual Outerwear and Classic Menswear

The one challenge I have found with casual outwear is that you can never really get the pieces to work all that well with suits or full formal attire – unless the former is very casual in cut and fabric. With this, I like to stick to layering casual outerwear over unstructured sport coats and textured fabrics and accessories. These are the kinds of items I have found incorporate easily into an outfit with a casual jacket: oxford shirts, flannel or cotton trousers, denim, tweed or cotton sport coats, and knit or shantung ties.

When it comes to building an outfit that includes casual outerwear, I like to start from the ground up. I first choose my trousers as I have less variety to choose from at the moment and therefore need to build my outfits around them. I have a wide variety of shirts so I typically select this piece based on my plan for layering/outerwear that day. For example, if I am planning to wear a bold cardigan I may opt for a simple white or light blue shirt. However, without the sweater, I would likely choose a striped shirt to make more of a statement. Getting comfortable pairing items in my wardrobe took practice and experimentation while I got a feel for what I liked and what would work well with my personal style. After pairing outfits like this for many months it has become second nature, which is great because a couple years ago this process could be rather daunting at times!

Finishing Touches

When choosing a tie I’ll look at my chosen shirt and cardigan, or lack of a cardigan, for guidance. My current collection of ties is quite casual, including lots of soft fabrics, knits, slubby shantung, and grenadines. From there, I will select my footwear and outerwear last. I’d like to say I have some sort of method to my madness here, but in all honesty, both items get chosen almost exclusively based on the weather that day. I’ve built a strong base of versatile items in both categories and will likely go into much more detail on my footwear collection at another time. Like other areas of my wardrobe, my footwear collection falls on the casual end of the spectrum (i.e. I do not own any balmoral shoes or anything in black). When it comes to the weather, if it’s wet or raining outside I’ll typically grab a waxed jacket like my Private White VC “Squaddie” jacket and functional footwear with rubber soles. When it’s dry out, which is about 4 months of the year in Calgary, Alberta, anything goes in my eye! As mentioned above, with my outerwear pieces being quite versatile, the last factor I consider is what piece would contrast best with my chosen trousers. My favorite casual outerwear as of late is the olive duck canvas “Doyle” jacket from Epaulet.

Why Blend Casual & Classic Pieces?

Pairing casual outerwear with classic pieces gives you a chance to experiment with textures and more saturated colors. It’s also a great way to spice up your business casual attire. Don’t be afraid to pair up some less conservative color palettes and outerwear that you may have written off as exclusively casual. If you try something similar out and are on Instagram I’d love to see – tag me (@burzanblog) in your pictures so I can check out how you guys style your casual outfits.

For more inspiration, you can browse the What Are You Wearing Today – Classic Menswear, Casual Style thread on the forum.

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