The Dandy as Visual Subject: A Look at We Are Dandy (2017) with Photographer Rose Callahan

There are coffee table books, and then there are good coffee table books. We Are Dandy (2017), written by Nathaniel Adams with photography by Rose Callahan, is an excellent one. The book features an interesting lifestyle focused approach exploring the wardrobes and lives of Dandies from around the world, following on the success of their first book, I Am Dandy (2013).

I had the pleasure of meeting Rose Callahan at the Dapper Day Expo in Anaheim, CA, this spring, and found the book absolutely enticing. Both Rose and her husband, Kelly Bray, were engaging and were fun to talk to about the book, as well as some of the characters within it. We ended up talking a bit about some of the Japanese Dandies, with their unique syncretic aesthetic that blend classic Americana with traditional Japanese clothing, some of which was reminiscent of Meiji period style. And–of course–Western style bars in Japan.

Looking through both of the books, it was clear to me that Rose had created a marvelous work that captures the ethos of the subjects, conveying what it means to be a dandy in the modern day, and showcasing the personalities and lifestyles of many of the subjects. As such, we agreed to arrange for an interview to discuss the book further, since it seemed it would be of interest for many Styleforum classic menswear aficionados, dandy or not.

By Rose Callahan and Nathaniel Adams from “We Are Dandy” copyright Gestalten 2018

The Dandy books came out of a series of works that Rose created, starting in 2008. This began as a personal project, the portraits being subjects that came to her through kismet-more or less. Having shot only a few portraits with Dandies in the first couple of years, the project was slow at first, and finally took off in 2010, when she collaborated with the Fine and Dandy Shop, working with a fair number of their customers. The Dandy Portrait blog was a result of a suggestion from Matt and Enrique of Fine and Dandy Shop.

From the blog, Rose came into contact with Nathaniel Adams, a writer who had been researching Dandies as a contemporary movement in addition to historical research. Gestalten commissioned a book from the works, and following the success of I Am Dandy, which focused on Dandies in New York, Toronto, they commissioned a second book, in which they could explore Dandies worldwide.

Rose remarks: “We had a little more money, with less time to create it,” so they sought through connections contact with various subjects, who would put them in contact with other potential subjects, and in turn arranged meet-ups with various subjects. While their goal was to create a book that captured the Dandy’s personality and lifestyle by capturing photos in environments dear to them, in some cases because of the limited time, they had to arrange to have subjects meet them in spaces that they would already be at (Henrik Hjerl, “The Butler”, is one such example, meeting up with them during Pitti Uomo).

On a whirlwind tour through Europe–Italy, Germany, Belgium, England, France–with stints down to South Africa and Japan, and the occasional Dandy in North America (New York, Los Angeles, Toronto), Rose captured many subjects, not all of which managed to make it into the book’s 50+ Dandies on account of constraints.

Photo of Gian Maurizio Fercioni by Rose Callahan and Nathaniel Adams from “We Are Dandy” copyright Gestalten 2018

In contrast to the first book, Rose remarks: “In the transition from the first book to the second book, we asked ourselves [Natty and I]–okay, what are we going for [stylewise], and we decided to not really focus on businesses or people involved in the fashion industry, but more to go after people who had really strong personalities, stories, and style.” As such, legendary menswear individuals like Edward Sexton, Lino Ieluzzi, Yasuto Kamoshita appear in We Are Dandy, alongside others that are relatively unknown but fascinating none-the-less. But in the case of each of these subjects, they each had interesting styles and were more rounded as individuals. “Because we made decisions to visit people at their homes as much as possible, there are a lot more homes and environments involved in the second book. The characters that were interesting were not those necessarily involved in just selling stuff, or for lack of a better of a better word, #menswear.” Their goal in creating the book was to include those people who embodied the spirit of their style, or were “the people who do things whether someone is looking or not.”

Early on in the book, writer Nathaniel Adams writes and categorizes four styles of Dandy as possible frameworks in which to understand them and their behavior. Rose, looking back in retrospect, believes that what made for a really engaging subject was that they “crossed boundaries,” or that they were not easily defined in one category or another. They were “bons vivants,” with hidden stories and lively personalities. One example of this is Gian Maurizio Fercioni, a Milanese Dandy who, walking down the street might appear to be an elegant Italian gentleman, but he is the father of tattoos in Italy, creating the first tattoo shop, and is covered with tattoos under his clothes.

Photo of Takanori Nakamura by Rose Callahan and Nathaniel Adams from “We Are Dandy” copyright Gestalten 2018

As such, the point of this project was to focus on individuals and their unique style, revealing the hidden behind their lifestyles, personalities and aesthetic. Some of the individuals, especially those in Japan, showcased their style as a sort of hybridity between Eastern and Western aesthetics, simultaneously drawing on ideas of iki or sprezzatura or chic. Takanori Nakamura, a Tokyo based dandy and journalist, has a wardrobe of both traditional Japanese haori, double-breasted suits lined in prints of paintings by Ito Jakuchu, breaking boundaries with aesthetic choices (such as using colors divergent from tradition) that are both Western and Eastern. In his life, he practices kendo, loves the way of the tea (chadō), but also is a trained sommelier and aficionado of cigars. These portraits of the lives of these dandies, especially mixing the various cultural elements, is what really makes this book shine.

Another example of those breaking boundaries were the subjects located in South Africa. They oftentimes mixed their cultural heritage and memories of their past with more contemporary and western clothing. While other dandies in Europe or Tokyo would sometimes dress in vintage clothes, the crossing of the boundaries of time and cultural memory was represented in their lives and personal pasts. They wanted to capture their looks in spaces that were representative of the communities in which they grew up–areas that were quite literally, unadorned buildings with dirt floors.

Rose remarks: “The guys in South Africa, to me, from how I experienced it, they felt it was very important to be a part of a group, to feel that they were all together, a rather African sensibility, this sense of community identity. They wanted to be together as a crew, saying they wanted to do this because we can show other young people that they can do it too.” In her thoughts, this inclusiveness, and desire to share their experiences in sartorialism, is quite different than the Europeans, who were more concerned with themselves as individuals.

“To me, this was amazing, because people in London and New York, they don’t talk about it [being dandies]. They are not inclined to help the next generation [of men]. I was impressed because being young men themselves, they felt a desire to help out the next generation. They thought that if they can rise up then they can help others to rise as well.”

One of the Johannesburg dandies, Loux, said, “you can sleep in a shack, you can sleep under a bridge–but you can still look smart.”

By Rose Callahan and Nathaniel Adams from “We Are Dandy” copyright Gestalten 2018

Many people think that being a dandy or being stylish requires a lot of money, but that isn’t the case as Rose discovers visiting the African dandies. Rose remarks that “everyone looks like they have to be rich to do this, but I don’t believe that, because there are so many ways to have style–without money. It either takes money or the time and the desire. For those without the economic means, this is a matter of collecting clothing over the years–it is a matter of time and energy–digging through flea markets and thrift stores and places like that. With the guys in South Africa, they show this and hit the point home.”

I decided to ask Rose if she had any advice for those aspiring Dandies out there, or for those #menswear personalities that have their social media personalities. Her best advice to create visually engaging content is to “be yourself”:

Be an interesting person. Live an interesting life. Whatever or whoever you are, be that one hundred percent. It is really important even if you might be experimenting with style. Some of the dandies in the book are in their 60s and 70s, and they still look amazing. There is a lifetime for refining your style, finding what is interesting, being curious visually. Your style can evolve over time with your personality.

“You have to keep on, always think about what is interesting to you, what is enjoyable to you, and move towards that because then your personality comes out. It is our personality that is unique. Be yourself despite all the other voices out there, be true to yourself. It is often hard for young people because they often feel weird about it.”

You can see some of Rose’s latest works showcased in the Dandy Lion Project, a traveling curated exhibition that focuses on Black Dandies created by Shantrelle P. Lewis. The exhibit has helped to demonstrate the sartorial decisions of Black men around the world prior to colonialism, formulating new understandings of narratives of Black masculinity through historical and contemporary portraiture of Black sartorialism.

Additionally, you can see on social media such as Instagram more of the sartorial and dandy styles of African dandies through #afrodandy, created by some of the South African dandies featured in We Are Dandy.


From Gestalten

ABOUT THE BOOK

Around the world, dandies embrace style while respecting their local cultural traditions. Dandyism transcends fashion —it is a committed way of life. An international survey of the global dandy community from the creators of I am Dandy.

From America to Africa to Asia, dandyism is a way of life. It is fashion in the best sense, self-esteem through style. And, in every country, it takes a unique form as dandies draw on the local context and fashion culture to shape their looks. We are Dandy throws open the doors of the wardrobe and explores the dandy as a global phenomenon.

With texts as witty as the subjects are stylish, the book pokes between the folds to let us know these exceptional individuals. For them, their dandy fashion is more than a trend or a phase, it is who they are, the outer expression of their inner selves. Photographs and profiles paired with clever histories reveal what it takes to look your best around the world. We are Dandy unfolds with a foreword by the illustrious Dita Von Teese, that conveys the authenticity of these aesthetes, their passions, and their bravely curated philosophies.

Nathaniel “Natty” Adams has been involved with the historical and contemporary Dandy phenomenon for many years —it even informs his own wardrobe. A research grant aided the studied journalist in traveling around the world and into the eclectic homes of various Dandies.

New York is more than the current home of filmmaker and photographer, Rose Callahan; the city is also the site and start of her involvement with the Dandy. In 2008, she created the blog The Dandy Portraits, where she documents the many facets of the modern gentleman. Shortly afterwards, she met Natty Adams and the idea for I am Dandy was born.


We Are Dandy is available on the Gestalten website as well as on Amazon.

MEMORIAL DAY 2018 MENSWEAR SALES LIST

Please note that coupon codes may change throughout the weekend and that we’ll do our best to keep updating them and adding new ones. If you’d like to share a sale that’s not on the list, you may do so in the comment section or on the Official Sales Thread on the forum.

Thank you and happy shopping!


Acrimony: Save 40% off discounted items. Use code: FAREWELL.

Allen Edmonds: up to 40% off on shoes, plus 30% off Woodlore.

Alternative Apparel – 40% off plus 20% off “brands we love” with code URFAMILY

American Trench: 20% off everything with code cookout.

Antonioli: Sales now on up to 50% off. More brands added: Calvin Klein, Off-White & more.

ASOS: 30% off occasionwear.

Baby & Co.: sale on now up to 40% off.

Backcountry: 30% off full price Arc’teryx.

Barneys: up to 40% off designer sale.

Barney’s Warehouse: Up to 85% Off Savings with an extra 50% off designer styles.

Beckett Simonon: any two pairs of shoes for $299 with code MEMORIAL.

Ben Sherman: 30% off with code HONOR.

Bergdorf Goodman: up to 40% off designer sale.

Bloomingdale’s: 20-40% off on regular price items and 40-50% off discounted items labeled “big brown sale”. Loyallists earn $50 every $200 spent.

Bluefly: up to 85% off, plus an additional 20% off on selected items.

Blue & Cream: Flash sale 20% EXTRA OFF sale with code EXTRA20.

Blue In Green: 25% off throughout the weekend.

Braun Hamburg: cashmere sale – 50% off.

Bodega: Use code EXTRA20 at checkout to save an additional 20% on sale items.

Bodileys: 30%off Mayfair and London collection with code BOD30.

Braun-Hamburg: CASHMERE SALE starts now! Summer cashmere reduced up to 50%.

Brooks BrothersMen’s Non-Iron Shirts Mix & Match 4 for $199 (or up to $120 each); Ties 50% off 2 or more.

Burberry: mid-season sale happening now.

Cali Roots: 25% OFF SITEWIDE CALIROOTS 14th ANNIVERSARY DEAL use code BDAY.

Canoe Club: 25% off with MEMORIALDAY25.

Carmina: 20% off a selection with code 20OFFCARMINA and 10% everything with code MEMORIALDAY2018

Club Monaco:25% off any purchase with code WARMWELCOME.

Cobbler Union: drivers and loafers 15% off with code REMEMBER.

Cruvoir: $35 off for $250+ purchase with code CVMAY35; $100 off for $500+ purchase with code CVMAY100; $250 off for $1000+ purchase with code CVMAY250; $550 off for $2000+ purchase with code CVMAY550.

Cultizm: 20% off + free shipping with code 20now.

Dapper Classics: 20% off your entire order with code MW18.

Domestic Domestic: 30% off everything with the code MOON.

Dope Factory: up to 50% off spring collection.

East Dane: Up to 40% off just-added items.

eBay: 15% off orders of $50 or more via coupon code PMEMDAY

Epaulet: Save 30% to 60% for Memorial Day.

Ernest Alexander: 30% off sale items with code MEMORIALDAY.

Farfetch: sale of up to 50% off.

Flannels: Up To 70% Off | The Outlet.

Forward: up to 50% off.

Frances May: Memorial Day sale now on 30% off a selection.

Gant: 20% off everything (automatic) or 30% off full-price at GANT w/code GNT30.

Gilt: 25% menswear and men’s accessories with code 25MAY.

Gitman: 20% off with code SUMMER18.

Golden Fox Footwear: Up to 70% off selected boots, no code required. Ends 05/29.

Great Divide: 20% off with code BANKHOLIDAY.

Franklin & Poe: 20% of everything with the code PARADE18.

Haven shop: Free shipping with code FLSHSHIP.

The Hill Side: 25% Off Everything with code MEMDAY.

Hotoveli: up to 50% off.

Huckberry: sale up to 70% off.

Hudson Sutler:  20% off on The Heritage Commuter Duffel with code DAD20.

Hunting Ensemble:

30% OFF Norse Projects, APC, Astorflex,Our Legacy, New Balance, Nanamica, The North Face and more (excl. sale) with code: VIPPRESALE.

Idol Brooklyn: Use code PRESALE30 at checkout for 30% off SS18 collections.

Independence: 50% off FW ’17 + Free shipping over $100.

Indocino: up to 60% off.

Jachs New York: MEMORIAL DAY SALE 50% OFF WITH CODE MDAY50.

J. Crew:  40% off your purchase including new collection with code GETAWAY.

John Elliott: S/S 18 Sale | Now Live.

Jonathon + Olivia: up to 50% off

Julian Fashion: Sale Season is started: Up to 40% Off.

Kith: sales on shoes and clothing.

Lanvin: Enjoy 50% off the Summer 2018 Collection and free shipping.

Last Call: up to 75% off everything.

LC King: 30% off with code Memorial18.

Levis: Memorial Day sale ongoing – use code MAY30 for 30% off.

L’Inde Le Palais: 50% off on SS18 collections.

LNN-CC: sale up to 40% off.

LOIT:  Sale Starts Now – 30% Off with code LOITMD18

LSG Denim: Sale – selvedge denim for 96.99 usd/125 cad with free shipping to US/Canada till June 9th.

Luisa Via Roma: up to 30% off SS18.

Luxeswap: 40% off shirts (min. 3) with code HOLYSHIRT; 75% off pants (min. 3) with code PANTPARTY; 35% off Ring Jackets with code RINGAROUNDTHEROSY; 50% off waistcoats with code WAISTNOTWANTNOT; 35% off Drake’s ties(min. 2) with code TIEONEON.

MAAS & Stacks: Enjoy a 25% discount on selected items after entering code: MEMORIAL18

Maison Margiela: up to 40% off* the SS18 Collection on the Maison Margiela online store.

Malford of London: 60% off everything plus extra 25% off with code SALE60.

Matches: sale on now for up to 50% off.

Miloh Shop: 20% Off All Denim with promo code “DENIM20“.

Mohawk: BEST OF SALE | 15% off for Memorial Day with code MEMORIAL15OFF.

Need Supply:  Sale! New markdowns up to 40% off.

Neiman Marcus: Up to 40% off designer sale.

Ne.Sense: SS18 Sale 20% Off.

Nitty Gritty: 25% Off on Selected Footwear | A.P.C. Resort Fall Collection.

No Man Walks Alone: 80% off Private Archive Sale.

Nordstrom:  Save up to 40% during Half-Yearly Sale

Nordstrom Rack: extra 25% off clearance items.

Notre-Shop: Additional Markdowns Up to 70% Off.

Nowell’s: 25% off with code MEM25.

Oak Street Bootmakers: $50 off all footwear.

Opening Ceremony: Take an Extra 20% Off All Sale Styles with code OCEXTRA20.

Other Shop: Use code ROYAL25 to take 25% off your order.

Pact Underwear: 20% off $100, 30% off $200, 40% off $300 use code MYSAVINGS.

Popov Leather: 30% off a selection + free shipping with code FATHERSDAY.

Rag & Bone: New Markdowns: Up to 60% Off.

Ralph Lauren30% off select styles with code MEMDAY.

The Real Real: 20% off with code REAL + up to 70% off.

Todd Snyder: 30% off new styles + up to 70% off sale.

Renarts: 40% off all regularly priced apparel, 30% off all regularly priced footwear, up to 80% off clearance, additional 10% sale section with code MDW10.

Roden Gray: Take up to 40% off selected apparel accessories and footwear.

Rooney Shop: Memorial Day sale now ongoing up to 30% off.

Saks 5th Ave.: up to 40% off DESIGNER SALE.

Sartoriale: Memorial Day Storewide SALE – Up to 90% OFF MSRP – Spend More, Save More

Shoes.com: Memorial Day sale 30-75% off + take 25% off with code SPRING 25.

ShopStyle: up to 70% off.

SSense: sale up to 50% off.

StyleBop: extra 20% off all styles applied at checkout.

Tessabit: Up to 50% off sale.

Todd Snyder: 30% off new styles + up to 70% off sale.

Totokaelo: 40% off Maison Margiela, Rick Owens, Comme des Garçons, and more.

Tres Bien: up to 70% off.

Uncle Otis: 20% OFF NEW ARRIVALS with code FLASH20.

Unis: sale on Common Projects.

Union: 30% and 40% off a selection.

Unionmade: take 20% off everything with the code MEMORIAL20.

Uniqlo: Free shipping no minimum order + items added to sale.

Urban Outfitters: sale up to 50% off.

Vince: extra 25% off of sale with code MDAY25.

X of Pentacles: all pocket squares on sale + Styleforum users get 10% off with code SF10.

Yoox:  up to an extra 60% off.

Wrong Weather: SS18 sale up to 30% off

ZFACTORIE: 30-50% off some styles for Memorial Day.

An Interview with the designer who turned John Travolta into a mob boss for the film “Gotti”

Matteo Perin is an Italian designer and stylist; he’s been working with John Travolta for over 4 years, curating his red carpet looks, and he recently worked with the actor to bring to life the wardrobe of mobster John Gotti in the movie Gotti, which premiered at the Cannes Movie Festival last week.

We had a chat, translated here from Italian, with Matteo to understand his work in designing the movie costumes.

Styleforum: Matteo, tell us about John Gotti’s style; what did you find out during your research for the movie costumes?

Matteo Perin: I tried to gather as much material about John Gotti as possible from the archives: photographs, video clips, newspapers, etc. Like most people, his style evolved throughout the years; he started off a little “unrefined” in terms of taste and the fit of his clothes was not perfect (for instance, his jackets looked to be a touch big). Later on, his style evolved to be more tasteful and peculiar in relation to his persona, as his wealth and position allowed him to approach better quality garments and understand their fit. Think of your first taste of Burger King when you were a kid; it probably tasted delicious to your unrefined palate, but today, as an adult who has tried different types of food, you realize how limited your views were.

However, it was immediately clear to me that John Gotti was a man of style who was ahead of time in terms of trends and taste in clothes. His style looks rather modern even today: he used to wear shorter jackets than what was the norm in the 80s, and he had a flair for turtlenecks worn under jackets, something that is not unusual to see today.

gotti movie suits costumes designer travolta

SF: Is there anything peculiar about John Gotti’s style?

MP: Definitely his attitude: he looked impeccable without trying too hard, if that makes sense. He was the cool dude that didn’t have to do much to look cool, because he wore everything with nonchalance and confidence. In Italian, we call it sprezzatura. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the term.

SF: Most of our readers are familiar with the term.

MP: He didn’t have to think too much about his outfits, and if he did, you wouldn’t notice. He looked at ease in his clothes and pulled off every flair, every extravagant accessory. His ability to look effortless even in clothes that stood out for the time is probably the most evident trait when talking about his style.

SF: Speaking of accessories, we noticed quite a few extravagant ones in the movie; for instance, some of Gotti’s ties feature rather unique patterns.

MP: Gotti had Southern Italian roots, where wealth and social position were reflected in one’s choice of accessories. Gotti’s Italian roots show in his choice of ostentatious accessories, such as unusual ties and big and flashy rings. Additionally, his style is reflective of a flamboyant personality.

SF: Did you create the pattern for his ties in the film?

MP: We were lucky enough to have access to some of Gotti’s personal accessories, as the family loaned them to us for the movie; the ties, as well as the big ring, were among them.

john gotti style ties suits designer matteo perin

SF: What about the suits? Who is the tailor that created them for John Travolta?

MP: I have been using a tailor from Veneto, my birth region, for many years. He created all the suits for the movie Gotti.

SF: Tell us about the fabrics: are they Italian as well?

MP: For the movie Gotti I chose exclusively Italian fabrics. However, for the suits I design for John outside of the set, I pick fabrics from the best mills in the world, depending on what we need. Many English fabrics are exceptional.

SF: Did John Travolta pull off Gotti’s style?

MP: He absolutely did. John did an excellent job impersonating Gotti, and I think the clothes helped him tap into his character. He wanted me to work on the film costumes because he needed the clothes to be on point in order to complete the portrait of the mobster: John Gotti is known as the Dapper Don, and his style plays a crucial part in depicting his personality.

SF: What does John Travolta’s style look like outside of the set?

MP: John came to me because he wanted to work with a designer and not just a stylist; a stylist is limited in the choice of clothing, because he or she usually works with what designers and PR firms pass to them. John wanted to develop a personal, well-curated style that was his own and no-one else’s. We discuss each outfit and take inspiration from different things, even though we don’t do much planning about what he’s going to wear where. For instance, last week in Cannes, he wore the suit that we originally created for Gotti’s American premiere in NYC, on June 14th. It was a last minute decision, and like I said, we don’t really have a schedule for what he wears on social occasions. 

john travolta red carpet cannes gotti

Actor John Travolta poses for photographers during a photo call for the film ‘Gotti’ at the 71st international film festival, Cannes, southern France.
Photo: AP

SF: One last question about the costumes: what’s your personal favorite look from the movie Gotti?

MP: Ah, that’s a tough one. You know, I can’t really pick one. Can I tell you my two favorite outfits?

SF: Sure.

MP: One has certainly gotta be the grey double-breasted pinstripe suit; John wears it in the scene in court, and the resemblance with the original suit worn by Gotti is striking. I chose a slightly different pinstripe for John Travolta’s suit, since I found it more flattering on him, but if you look at the two pictures next to each other, it is really impressive how similar the two look.

john travolta gotti movie

SF: And the second look?

MP: It’s from the scene when Gotti is acquitted in court; he’s wearing a pair of dark brown pants, a grey turtleneck, and a blue jacket from the 70s. I just love the combination of colors – in fact, I really love blue and brown paired together, I think it’s a very aesthetically pleasing combination.

SF: What’s next on your and John Travolta’s schedule?

MP: I’m headed to LA next, then NYC to attend the premiere (on June 14th) and then we have a few events related to another movie that’s coming out soon, for which I also curated the costumes.

SF: Then we might speak again soon. Thank you and in bocca al lupo (break a leg) for the premiere!

MP: Grazie, ciao!


Gotti will be in theaters in the United States on June 15th. 

Matteo Perin’s official website: https://www.matteoperin.com/

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The Gentleman Must Die: Menswear and The Imagined Past of Masculinity

Tailored menswear is a loaded category if you ask me. It seems to carry rather a lot of baggage whether it’s discussed in forums, on YouTube or on blogs. You find the usual “how-to” talks that attempt to educate men who have never had any role model teach them about tailored clothing. Seemingly implied in this didactic education about classic menswear is the conception that, while wearing these clothes, you ought to act like a gentleman. Go to YouTube.com and scroll through the Gentleman’s Gazette, Sartorial Talks or any number of excellent video blogs and you’ll end up seeing multiple episodes detailing how and what it means to be a gentleman, including what kind of table manners you should use, how to address royalty (as if any of us will ever need that), et cetera.

So long as you were not raised in a markedly different social context from your peers you would already be equipped with an understanding of the customs and etiquette of whichever milieu you happen to be a part. Few men are skyrocketing from obscurity into polite society through daring or fortune; the numbers don’t requisite this many videos on manners and gentlemanly conduct. But–of course–wearing a style of clothing so steeped in tradition will help change some aspects of your lifestyle. If you want to get the big promotion or desire to be taken more seriously at work, a nice suit might be a small part of how to achieve it… possibly.

But lusting for success or the good life is only a fraction of the story reemphasizing gentlemanly behavior. The renaissance of tailored menswear in the last two decades speaks to several important realities of our world. That is, the re-definition of manhood in the wake of the Civil Rights movement and the emergence of feminism and the reclamation of a sense of masculine tradition by men after the 1990s.

When I was a boy in the middle 1990s, I remember feeling a strong sense that being a man in our time was undergoing a fundamental reconsideration. As a result of the strong sense of pluralism and tolerance that emerged after the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, which included the maturation of feminism as a social force, and following the yuppie-power decade of the 1980s, the 90s emerged as a moment in which a new male identity was being created. The 90s man was kinder, gentler, more in touch with his feelings, and particularly sensitive to the needs of women. As early as 1991 the Chicago Tribune was touting the 90s man as someone who “[sees] himself as more in tune with women’s needs; more mindful of leisure time; more willing to do chores around the house; and, when a father, more willing to be involved with the children.” Boys like me were growing up in a world where old masculine norms were being torn down and where men were expected to embrace gender equality with open arms.

This isn’t an anti-woman piece. I believe that emphasizing gender equality is not only the right thing to do in our age; it has also personally benefited me as my spouse has taken advantage of new opportunities to let her talents shine, which has brought us both increased prosperity. Hopefully, this note will serve as sufficient disclaimer.

But yet, something peculiar was happening around me in the 90s. My sense is that, in an effort to increase gender equality, the roles and abilities of girls were being emphasized at the expense of boys, and not in insignificant ways. The same forces that were at work constructing exciting new ways of looking at how men and women interact were simultaneously attempting to de-construct old notions of manhood. Who were these forces? Feminists, sure. But even non-feminists were taking gender equality and running with it, re-interpreting it in their own way. Television shows like Party of Five and Dawson’s Creek, not exactly militant in their feminism, embodied the weepy male persona of that era. They seemed to say “Listen up, boys. You don’t always need to win. Spend some time exploring your feelings instead and don’t be so competitive!” At the same time, girls were being told they could do anything.

Out of this world the boys of my era, now men, seemed to emerge from the 20th century lost. Unsure of what their manhood was or what it should be in the 21st century. The traditional markings of masculinity seemed ripe for scorn. “Wear a suit? Why? I’m not some Republican or something.” Remember Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties? He was so out of place and so scorned for his absurdly exaggerated and distasteful “masculinity.”  Even the daily act of shaving was so maligned that men tried to nearly eliminate it altogether with electric razors and plastic disposable junk that would see a 5 o’clock shadow emerge after lunch. For these contraptions, we have an earlier generation to “thank.” Then again, why should we shave at all? Nothing goes with a video game themed t-shirt and cargo shorts better than a scruffy beard.

These new masculine behaviors couldn’t last forever. We know instinctively that there is value in the manliness our grandfathers knew. The men raised to empower women while letting themselves disappear can only take their deference so far. Therefore it may serve as no surprise that the revival of all things masculine began during the mid 2000s. Men, locked away from the mysterious secrets of manhood and in the midst of a long war, yearned to be connected to a society that valued them; this continues to this day. Nothing expresses this sentiment in clearer terms than the 2015 film The Intern, starring Robert De Niro. The film’s secondary male characters are sloppy man-children stumbling through a woman’s world masking their lack of self-worth with video games and an “I don’t care” attitude about their appearance.  That is, until De Niro’s character Ben shows up like a phantom from another time. He dresses well, carries himself with confidence, and both embraces his masculinity and is respectful toward women.

But that search for masculinity has not gone uncontested. If #TheFutureIsFemale the implication is that it is not male. Thus, men still engross themselves in various visions of manhood, searching for a lost world among the yellowed pages of the past. It’s partly an imagined past. The way we envision this past certainly says more about us today than it says about history. And because it’s partly an imagined past there will always be a sense of disconnect. You simply can’t have a real connection to something that never existed.

That yearning for an imagined past is, I think, largely what motivates the guides and discussions on how to be a gentleman. The bespoke clothes, the handcrafted leather goods, the 20 year old whiskey, all speaks to the vacuum created with the destruction of the old masculinity. But here’s the rub; you can’t learn to be a gentleman from the old masculinity. No one can. You can learn manners and etiquette and all the trappings of the upper-middle class but so far as the old-guard is concerned–by old-guard I mean the kind of man your great-grandfather would have tipped his hat to, the kind of man whose family tree probably began, for all intents, with the Mayflower Compact–you are either born a gentleman or you aren’t. Like in the appearance of a Jay Gatsby, the privileged men of power, the ones who really can afford the good cigars and the custom cars, would know you didn’t belong before you knew it yourself. You’re wearing a pink suit. And so we re-imagine the past yet again, creating a world in which the title of gentleman can be acquired through training. A world in which being a gentleman is democratic. The implications of imagining a masculine past among wood paneled halls and crystal chandeliers rather than in the coal mines or steel factories is meaningful in itself, but should serve as an exploration for another time.

What is so wrong with this vision of gentlemanliness anyway? Are not manners good? If we re-imagine the gentleman as one who is respected and respects others, isn’t that something to aspire to regardless of the historical problems? If this means that it is good to be good to others then yes. Putting duty before the self, being charitable and kind, being unafraid to love and be loved, all those things are the things that make life in this moment something to be cherished. But you don’t need an education to do that. You don’t need a video blog or a how-to guide to tell you how to be a good person. Such media couldn’t accomplish the task even if you did require it. Become a gentleman in five minutes on YouTube? Not likely. My wife has a term for it. She calls it “putting on airs,” a rather common phrase in the Northeast U.S.

If you too are frustrated by all the emphasis on table manners and the proper way to introduce your spouse to the Contessa of Asti, take heart. More than trying to embody the gentleman of the past, embody the goodness that you can achieve. You won’t always succeed. Sometimes you will make a self conscious decision to ignore your own goodness. But it’s still there. Waiting to be paid some attention. Perhaps this is the masculinity that got thrown out with the old-guard’s bath water. Perhaps by de-constructing the things we honestly see as harmful about the world of our ancestors, we, purposefully or not, de-constructed the good with it. That is, the compulsion to be genuine and thoughtful. To be referential, not to the self, but to the greater society. To be strong enough to feel but to be moderate in your expression of those feelings. We can collect all the pretty things we like. All the mahogany furniture, the leather bound books, and the bespoke clothing, the manners. None of it makes you a gentleman. Sometimes I lose sight of this, too. I get caught up in wanting the good things in life. But the good life only comes when you live a life that is good. Otherwise they are only the trappings of an illusory world.

You are already a man. You have been your whole life. And just like you don’t need admonishments to be weepy or sensitive, you don’t need anyone to tell you how to act among your peers. Just make sure you’ve got a sufficient collar roll.

 

 

 

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

Seam Allowances: a Guide to Alterations in Tailoring

Words and Illustrations by Jeffery Diduch

Alterations are a fact of life when buying tailored clothing. No two bodies are alike and seam allowances are necessary and provided so that a garment can be altered to fit better. Likewise, bespoke garments will also have seam allowances built in to allow for changes in weight over the life of a garment. The types of seam allowances, or inlays, will vary whether the garment was ready-made or tailor-made and so the types of possible alterations will also vary.

We will look in-depth at the allowances given for garment alterations. The illustrations show typical seam and inlay allowances – where bespoke differs from RTW; the extra is shown shaded in grey. Exact amounts vary from cutter to cutter so no detail has been given. Keep in mind that the minimum seam allowance recommended is ¼” so when looking at an allowance of 1”, for example, you have ¾” left to let out. Also, keep in mind that were are discussing one half of the garment so allowances should be doubled in most cases. For instance, if we can let the waist out 1/2” at a certain place, it gives a total circumference of 1” to let out.

coat back seam allowances tailor measurements let out bring in how much

Manufacturers vary slightly on the allowances on the neck, center back and side seam.

Neck
there may be only 3/8”, but better makers will have 5/8” allowing the collar to be raised up to 3/8”.

Shoulder
There is no allowance for changes to the shoulder width: it can be narrowed but not widened. Bespoke garments will generally have an allowance for widening here. The shoulder can be sloped or squared (squaring will shorten the garment slightly).

Center back
Between 5/8” and 7/8” is typical – bespoke cutters may leave more here.
Total to let out – ¾” to 1 ¼”

Side seam
Between 5/8” and 7/8” (bespoke may have less here).
Total to let out here – ¾” to 1 ¼”.

Hem
Generally 1 1/8” to 1 ¼”. Bespoke garments may have more. We will see that in most cases this does not allow the garment to be lengthened, but does give us some wiggle room for passing up the back for a stooped figure.

seam allowances tailoring suit pants trousers allowance tailor measurements let out bring in how much side body Armhole
RTW has only a small allowance for changes at the side seam. Bespoke generally has a generous allowance to either increase or decrease the width of the armhole. The armhole CAN NOT be raised without altering the length of the jacket and the position of the gorge and the pockets. While not strictly impossible, raising the armhole should not be attempted on a finished garment.

Side seam
Between 5/8” and 7/8”. Bespoke will have considerably more.
Total to let out here – ¾” to 1 ¼”

Front seam
Generally 5/16” or 3/8”- no room to let out here. The pocket will intersect this seam so in most cases it must be dismantled and remade in order to take in this seam here; this is difficult and costly.

Hem
Generally 1 1/8” to 1 ¼”. Bespoke may have more.

seam allowances tailoring trousers suit blazer sport coat

front jacket allowance tailor measurements let out bring in how muchNeck
There may be only 3/8”, but better makers will have 5/8” allowing the collar to be raised up to 3/8”.

Shoulder
There is no allowance for altering the shoulder in RTW garments, other than to narrow it, slope it, and, to a small extent, to square it. Bespoke generally has an allowance to drop the front (for a longer front balance) and to widen the shoulder. Crookening and straightening the shoulder (to a small extent) is also possible in bespoke garments.

Side seam
Generally 5/16” or 3/8” – no room to let out here. The pocket will intersect this seam so in most cases it must be dismantled and remade in order to take in this seam here; this is difficult and costly.

Hem
Generally 1 1/8” to 1 ¼”. Notice how the front edge is cut off where the curved edge meets the hem- this prevents lengthening the garment in a consistent, back-to-front manner, impossible.

Lapel and front edge
It is sometimes possible, though costly, to narrow the lapel – the buttonhole creates certain restrictions. It is not possible to widen it. In some cases, a peak can be converted to a notch, though never the reverse. The lower part of the front edge can be cut away more beneath the lowest buttonhole.

seam allowances tailoring trousers suit blazer sport coat

top sleeve jacket allowance tailor measurements let out bring in how muchHem
Generally 2” to 2 ¼” given to lengthen the sleeve from the cuff – no allowance is given to lengthen from the top, but the sleeve can be shortened from the top.

Inseam, elbow seam
The sleeve can be narrowed (should really be done at the elbow seam) but no allowance is given to widen the top sleeve: extra width would be necessary to correct most sleeve “divot” problems so it is best not to attempt to have those altered.

Vent
Some RTW garments have a narrow vent, others have a wider vent. Making functional buttonholes on a narrow vent is impossible without either narrowing the sleeve or piecing in more cloth.

seam allowances tailoring trousers suit blazer sport coat styleforum

undersleeve jacket allowance tailor measurements let out bring in how muchHem
Generally 2” to 2 ¼” given to lengthen the sleeve from the cuff. No allowance is given to lengthen from the top, but the sleeve can be shortened from the top.

Inseam
No allowance for changes given here.

Elbow seam
No allowance is given in RTW (Oxxford is the only manufacturer that I am aware of who do give an allowance here) but bespoke will generally have seam allowances for widening or narrowing the armhole, as well as widening the bicep and elbow. The cuff can be narrowed.

seam allowances tailoring trousers suit blazer sport coat

trousers pants allowance tailor measurements let out bring in how muchNo allowances for enlarging the trouser front are given in RTW; bespoke often has seam allowances to lengthen the rise from the waist.

The leg can be narrowed easily; narrowing at the hip requires recrafting the pocket.

seam allowances tailoring trousers suit blazer sport coattrousers pants back allowance tailor measurements let out bring in how much Waist
Generally, 1 ½” given to let out the waist.
Total to be let out 2 ½”.

Outseam
RTW trousers have no allowance to let out the outseam, most bespoke trousers do.

Inseam
Generally 1 1/8” to let out the back thigh, bespoke may have more. In most cases, this allowance is tapered to nothing at the knee, though some manufacturers extend it all the way down to the hem.

seam allowances tailoring trousers suit blazer sport coat


If you’re thinking about altering a garment and need some advice, check out the Tailor’s Thread: Fit Feedback and Alterations on Styleforum.

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. 

Looking Beyond Blues and Greys: Green in Menswear

Last year, green was quite popular as a color pathway for menswear, and I must admit I think I’ve picked up more green items in the last year than I have ever purchased before. In the past, I had purchased a green accessory here or there, such as a a pocket square or a tie, or a pair of green socks (Vert Academie of course!) but green clothing was fewer and far in between; a waxed Barbour jacket, a pair of cotton trousers, and a sport coat in a linen silk blend were the only green items present in my closet.

Despite the lack of green clothing, seeing all the outfits posted on Styleforum and Instagram, I came to a realization that green is not an enemy; green garments are quite useful in most people’s wardrobes, providing lots of diverse shades and hues for each season. Even if it seems that green is not year-round as an option, I have come to believe that green is one of the perfect colors to use in your wardrobe as a unifying color pathway, but with different ranges for each season, providing ample selections that are appropriate strictly for either Fall/Winter or Spring/Summer.

One problem is that most people–myself included–fail to understand just how diverse green can be: when you think green, oftentimes one or two shades pop up in your mind. However, you have to break that conception and look beyond your a priori imagination of an outfit. For instance, green includes the various tones that form other colors that you might have in your wardrobe already. These include olive, dark khaki, moss, in addition to the more common or true greens like bottle green, hunter, forest, and the like. With plenty of different shades and hues to choose from, the color suits many different occasions.

I find it easiest to think about the overall wardrobe by categories, organized by functionality and type. By dividing your wardrobe into garment types, we can categorize them in the following ways which will allow you to then better understand what colors serve which roles in each category: outerwear, tailoring, trousers (bottoms), tops, shoes and accessories. If your wardrobe is already established-following internet suggestions, most likely you have a lot of a few staple colors–either blues, grays or browns. However, green can go well with most of these colors and has a place in each wardrobe segment. As I noted above, the green shade/hue varies depending on the time of year and the garment type. As a general rule of thumb, the less vibrant a green is–like most colors–the more appropriate it is for winter or fall garments.

As follows is a brief analysis of each category:

green menswear classic style

Tops obviously include all the garments you wear at base layers above the waist. For green, I believe that in many cases, a sweater or cardigan is more likely a better garment to invest in than a shirt (honestly, how many green classical shirtings can you think of?). That isn’t to say that a shirt in your wardrobe in green would not look nice, it is just to say that it is less likely you are going to find a staple piece you are going to love; plus, a sweater or cardigan can serve as a layering piece, meaning basic blue and white shirts would be appropriate underneath it. The only exception here is that polo shirts may be a cheaper and easier to find options for a forest green top.

Sweaters, especially with forest green or sage green tones, work wonderfully for fall/winter staples, seeing as how they go with all the earthy tones that you would have access to, without adding something too contrasting in an outfit. The goal in selecting a green sweater would be to add visual interest to the top half of the outfit; instead of using go to hell pants and lending visual interest at the bottom, green sweaters work as a color block for the upper body when the sweater is the final layer. If it is under a coat or jacket, it can serve as a mid-contrast layer to bridge the color of a coat and the shirt or pants. On the opposite spectrum, you might choose to wear a warmer sweater to provide contrast, blocking your lower body with green-toned trousers (think moss or dark khaki).

For shirts, you can likely imagine more vibrant colors working best without additional layers (no one wants you to wear a lime green shirt let alone with a sweater over it). In fact, I would go out on a limb and say that saturated colors, being more summery, require fewer layers to achieve that light visual aesthetic. As such, pastel or mid-toned greens work well as a shirt or top when paired with a more neutral cream or light colored pant.

 

green tailored suit menswear

You see plenty of pants that have green tones in them. While go to hell colors work for summer or spring (bright mint or ivy green pants), you are better off investing in forest, olive, moss, and in general earth-toned green shades, seeing as how they are easily used as replacements for pants that you would normally wear (khaki, tan, brown, navy). In addition, because the green adds visual interest to the bottom part of the outfit (color blocking the bottom in place of the top) solid green trousers can make patterns look less busy on the top: for instance, a tweed jacket with a windowpane check will look milder when paired with green trousers than a similar jacket worn with brown or a more similar tonal pant. The darker nature of most green trouser options helps balance out the top half of an outfit. In this case, dark hunter green, pine green, forest green or the like are excellent color choices.

green sartorial outfit

The most expensive additions to your wardrobe should be your outerwear and tailoring. Outerwear is perhaps my favorite category in my wardrobe. And the beautiful thing about outerwear is that there are easy to find green options: old military jackets, field jackets, waxed cotton jackets, parkas and the like are all traditional or relatively easy items to locate which serve plenty of use. Many of these garments have a specific color that is characteristic of them: for instance, Barbour with it’s olive waxed cotton; or military jackets like the M-65 with its army green or the Vietnam-era jungle jackets; parkas with their green or dark khaki fabric. Because outerwear is oftentimes used only for three seasons, the colors for the garments lend themselves to darker, less saturated colors. Naturally, there are exceptions: If you don’t mind an eccentric touch, a coat in panno casentino in its traditional, saturated emerald color, is a great addition to a sartorial wardrobe.

green in menswear

If you are a Styleforum user, chances are tailoring gets you excited. Whether you are buying off the rack, made to measure, or bespoke, it isn’t as if green options do not exist. Regardless of wherever you source your green sport coat or suit, I would suggest erring towards the side of darker and muted green, as you don’t want to run the risk of being mistaken for a leprechaun. The best part of green in tailoring is that it can be found as an accent in a lot of different weeds; plaids or checks provide you the opportunity to feature some green in your outfit without looking over the top. It also works well in that sense for winter, seeing as how such fabrics are oftentimes heavier weight.

With that warning aside, personally, I do have a jacket that borders on Cyan/Green, which is appropriate for summer months, but seeing as how it is almost a mint cream, it works only with lighter colors that have no sort of warmth in them at all (optical whites or light blues or cool grays). That isn’t to say I can’t make a good looking outfit wearing that jacket–it is just that it is less versatile and in that sense, it becomes a more difficult piece to use–and therefore it is harder to justify its existence. Lighter colored greens in tailoring should probably only find their way into your wardrobe if you live in warm or perpetual summer locations, or you wish to exhibit a bit of a Riviera style while on vacation. They do not really look appropriate at anything other than a spring/summer party or a coastal getaway.

My other true-green garment is a mid/dark green hopsack sport coat that works well for winter and fall, mostly because the colors lend themselves to other shades, and it doesn’t look too festive or overwhelming.

green clothes tailored

The easiest way to up your green game is to use accessories. Most blues or browns will go well with some ties or pocket squares that contain a green element. They are the cheapest path for you to invest in using green as an accent, and you can identify which colors will go well with the green by just holding it up to a jacket or shirt that you are thinking of wearing it with. Silk printed squares help you identify what shades of green complement or contrast other colors, enabling you to better understand how that particular shade will work in your wardrobe with different colored articles. Because pocket squares are oftentimes some of the cheapest accessories (outside of socks, though not everyone attempts to show off their socks), investing in green accessories is the perfect way to change up your wardrobe if it is already firmly established with the essentials and you are not seeking any other major investments in tailoring or the like.

While shoes can be classified as their own category in your wardrobe, green leather is not that common, and I’ve only rarely seen a pair or two of green shoes (in suede!). As such, I would treat the shoes as an accessory here, and will only write that browns without warmth and red tones, meaning browns with greener tones, will pair nicely with greens in your wardrobe.


Obviously, certain shades of green invoke different sentiments or tropes, so paying attention to what you are wearing is still a necessity. It doesn’t make sense to dress completely in green unless you wanted to look foolish (or you’re an “influencer” visiting Pitti Uomo). However, the diversity in the color and the fact that many of us spend time outdoors now instead of just stuck in an office means that green has become an acceptable color pathway to utilize, and therefore should be treated as another major asset in our menswear toolbox, alongside blue, browns and grays.