Gearing Up For Fall

Labor Day has come and gone, and it seems that everyone can’t wait to exchange their beach togs for sweaters and tweed.  This summer was warmer than usual in San Francisco, and it’ll probably extend into October, but that doesn’t mean I’m not excited about the upcoming season.  Perhaps it’s the fact that the additional layers allow one to express oneself in subtle whispers that rival the boldest aloha shirt, but perhaps I’m romanticizing it just a bit.  It helps that the coldest it ever gets in San Francisco is a laughable 40℉ (about 5℃), so I can enjoy the clothes without having to suffer too much discomfort.  Yes, that’s an admission of guilt.

Go Tonal

This season, Ralph Lauren Purple Label is all about tones: creams, tans, and browns, and it’s magnificent.  Ostensibly it riffs on an equestrian theme, but I don’t see it.  What I do see are cozy silhouettes made up in luscious fabrics across a spectrum of texture: loose balmacaans in smooth camel hair, long cardigans in chunky knit cashmere, and big bombers in lofty piles of shearling, all paired with double-pleated trousers in flannel. 

Giorgio Armani offers a more modern take on this theme, but it’s still very wearable.  Frankly, none of this is breaking new ground, which is precisely why you may want to invest in it.  Wearing various shades and hues of the same color is relatively easy, captures interest, and — when in classic colors like bright camel or dark navy — always in season, year after year. 

Drake’s Pops of Color

It’s easy to get into a color rut of blues, grays, and browns when in coat in tie, and for good reason.  But if the situation doesn’t call for such sober hues, why limit yourself?  Drake’s has fun this season with a palette of pigments, such as avocado green, canary yellow, and fire-engine red.  For some, this is the excuse needed to go crazy; after all, in more and more environments, suits are a choice, not a requirement, and the classic rules can thus be bent.  If, however, either your environment or their personality limit your display of color, try incorporating a university-striped shirt and paisley tie or a vest that complements a jacket in corduroy, moleskin, or tweed.

No Man Walks Alone’s New Tailoring Line

For those of you looking for classic suiting and sport coats, take a look at the new fully-canvassed offerings from NMWA (an affiliate of the site).  After searching high and low for a workshop they could work with for both ready-to-wear and made-to-measure, they found success with Sartoria Carrara, with whom they co-brand the line.  The cut reflects the Tuscan region where the workshop is found, with soft canvassing, slightly extended shoulders, ample lapels, and roomy upper sleeves.  For the initial season, there are suits in navy and grey utilizing the perennial classic 9/10oz Minnis Fresco, as well as sport coats in tasteful checks and a slubby navy.

Forum member @sebastian mcfox stopped by the workshop a few months ago and was kind enough to write an in-depth overview and take pictures; it’s full of interesting details and worth a read.  Ready-to-wear sizes are available now on the site, but they also have a MTM option at HQ for an individual fit and a slew of fabric books.

Rubato – Sweaters For Classic Trousers

Earlier this week, Oliver Dannefalk and Carl Pers of Sweden launched Rubato, and I think I’ve found the perfect knitwear.  For close to three decades, the length of most sweaters has run far south of the natural waist.  While not a problem with low-slung jeans, with mid- to high-rise trousers the end result is a look that’s a bit out of proportion at best.  Rubato sweaters specifically address this by designing their sweaters similar to vintage models: shorter and boxier, tapering the body slightly to wide ribbing at the bottom, which flatters the upper body and elongates the legs. Crewneck collars are tighter, v-necks are lower, and turtlenecks roll high.  Instead of precious cashmere, minimally processed lambswool was chosen, which still has some of the lanolin oil, making it comparatively durable and easy to care for. 

The lookbook has a distinct Ivy feel, but you don’t have to wear white socks and loafers with them.  I picked up a grey turtleneck to wear with winter suits, and for a guy a few inches shorter than most Swedes, I’d say it’s a flexible length for most.  

Pictures from Drakes, Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, Rubato, NMWA, and Sebastian McFox

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Peter works in construction, but has an extensive collection of custom suits which he gets so that he can wear suits on the weekend. Even though he lives in San Francisco, he has never used the word "impact" as a verb. He writes about classic menswear and is one fedora away from being a complete dork.