Fall 2018 Menswear Trends

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

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

Classic Menswear

Collection: Drake’s 

Song: The Innocence Mission – That Was Another Country

 

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

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

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

Shop for the new stuff here.

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Collection: Brooks Brothers

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

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

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

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

Online picks: purple donegal crewneckpatchwork crewneck

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Collection: Corneliani 

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

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

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

Click here to find a stockist

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Classic Menswear / Streetwear

Collection: Giorgio Armani

Song: Giorgio Moroder – Chase

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

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

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

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Collection: Margaret Howell

Song: Siouxsie & the Banshees – Slowdive

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

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

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

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

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Streetwear

Collection: 45R

Song: The Stone Roses – Fool’s Gold

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

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

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

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

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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.

Casual Menswear Trends for Spring 2018

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

Drake’s London – Americana

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

Junya Watanabe – Workwear

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

Corneliani – Tonalities

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

 Club Monaco – Modern American Classics

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

Armani – Wider Silhouettes

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

No Man Walks Alone – Curated Casual

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

Lemaire – Refined Slouchiness

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

Engineered Garments – Technicolor

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

An Overview of Ties by Decade

We’ve already talked about how suits and sportcoats can be differentiated by era and how you can pull them off.  Ties can also be categorized similarly, as I believe that vintage ties are a great source of quality pieces which still have a place today. In general, most ties pre-1960 had thin interlining, forming a great four-in-hand knot, and untipped edges that will not look out of place even in modern outfits. But if you pay close attention to their shape and designs, you’ll also be able to recreate a vintage look, if that suits your fancy.

This is an overview of ties by decade, considering the patterns, shapes, and constructions that were peculiar of each generation. Keep in mind, however, that the same patterns and designs were sometimes sold for lengths of time, overlapping each other, so by no means is this guide definitive.

1910s

While the modern tie as we know it has been around since the 1860s or so, ties at the turn of the century through the 1910s were different than those you see today today. Like the oddly shaped suits of the era, there really wasn’t any “standardized” shape or length. Some models were short and exceptionally wide while others were slim and angular; in general, there were a lot of variations similar to the the different suit cuts and designs popular during this era. Woven brocade silk was the name of the game, but prints were still widely available, with florals and stripes being the most popular. I don’t own many myself, but I find that these designs are sometimes a little too dandy to be worn with contemporary tailoring.

1920s

Ties of the 1920s got closer to the shape we know today, thanks to the growing popularity of turndown collars, which allowed for the four-in-hand cravats and bowties to be worn. The novelty shapes seen in previous decades continued to be worn, but went out of style in favor of more standard styles by the mid-late ’20s. Woven silks and shiny brocade/jacquards dominated this era, with many designs directly influenced by the art deco movement. Style as a passion for collegiate youth began to take off in the late 1920s, and more men began buying neckties to show off their style. Some of the most beautiful ties I’ve ever seen come from this era, with some being wonderful interpretations of the classic patterns and prints we see today, just with a little bit more creative freedom.

1930s and 1940s

Of all the eras, my favorite ties come from the ’30s and ’40s, although they were definitely less “artsy” than the decade that preceded it. Most young men preferred simple stripes and foulards.  Geometric prints, two-tone plaids, and university stripe reps dominated the fashion illustrations of Laurence Fellows, who was one of the most prolific menswear artists of the time. Ties of this era were characterized by being 3-4” wide, but tapered through the body, widening out again to the back blade. The length was short, but perfect for high rise trousers. While silk was the mainstay of tie fabrics at this time, wool and rayon began to be popular choices as brands tried to one-up each other for the market. One fabric that is popular among collectors today is Palm Beach, made by the suit company that patented its own unique blend of wool and mohair (later cotton too); these ties are hard to find and often fetch a lot of money on eBay.

1950s

The bold look of the late 1940s to mid 1950s had a big effect on ties.  The four-in-hand was cast out in favor of the wider Windsor knot. Tie patterns also got crazier, with large scale abstract designs being favored in place of the classic patterns. Novelty prints came in full force, with some ties featuring pin-up models, animals, and scenery. These ties were often painted by hand.

As tailoring began to become wider and elongated, ties designs also followed suit (pun intended), with ties from the early 1950s featuring long, vertical patterns.  However, this fad was soon cast out during the ultra-conservatism of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Thanks to Mad Men, the ties of this next era will be familiar to most. As men began to wear their trousers lower, the ties became longer, as well as slimmer-seldom going beyond 2.75” in width.  Foulards and vertical designs were still made, but most men preferred stripes and solids to go with their sack cut business suits. This conformity was in reaction to the bold era that preceded it.

1960s – 1970s

This theme of rebellion continued in the late 60s and early 1970s, as crazy designs soon took hold.  A return to fashion in the minds of consumers helped bring back abstract designs, featuring crazy paisley prints, wide stripes, and a multitude of colors.  In general, it looked almost like the 1930s-40s with one main exception: polyester was the new fabric.  These synthetic ties were wide and thick, creating huge knots that went perfectly with wide disco collars. Ties like these can often found in thrift stores.


Just like tailoring, ties have changed quite a bit over the years. Like most of menswear, the manufacturing quality of ties decline after the 1960s as the best ties today are found by more artisanal makers like Kenji Kaga and Drake’s, who have not only preserved the untipped folded methods but have even brought back the vintage-inspired prints and patterns.

Personally, I’ll always prefer foulards and stripes from the 1960s and earlier, as they provide a vintage avenue for classic menswear that is often more affordable for younger guys like me. These vintage ties can be quite similar to high end ties today, making them easy to wear as well as making for an interesting conversation piece to those who notice it!


Post the pictures of your ties on the Neckties Thread on Styleforum.

You can read more about why I prefer vintage ties on my blog Street x Sprezza.

The Best Ties For Summer

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


liverano summer tie

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


drake's tie linen summer

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


seersucker tie vanda fine clothing summer

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


vanda oatmeal tie summer

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

Spring Style: Printed Blazer with White Jeans

blazer with white jeans and blazer styleforum printed blazer

I’ve long been a fan of printed blazers, and Post-Imperial, started by Styleforum member @Tirailleur1, brings a beautiful and unique perspective to tailored clothing. The garments are adire-dyed in Nigeria, the founder’s home country, before they’re constructed in New York. It offers a nice counterpoint to the European take on the flaneur, and is cosmopolitan and bohemian in a way that few brands manage to be. If you don’t believe me, believe Yasuto Kamoshita, who is often photographed wearing the ties.

Since it’s getting warmer out, a linen shirt is in order, and a popover is perfect for wearing tieless. Drake’s keeps releasing hit after hit, and their spring lookbook is fantastic – this wide-striped shirt will look equally nice under the jacket or alone, with the sleeves rolled up. It also comes in a spread collar variation, so you’re welcome to choose whichever style better suits your life.

Now, let’s take a moment to discuss white pants. White pants can be, in the right cut and setting, incredibly elegant and well-styled. The problem that I see most often is the propensity to wear them far, far too tight, which is really not something you want to do when wearing white pants, no matter the material. Jeans with a wider thigh – such as these bog-standard 501’s – will be more comfortable in the heat, and look better as well. If you’re really wanting to embrace the artiste vibe, hem the jeans to your ankle and leave them frayed and raw, just as the jacket sleeves are.

To finish it off, add a pair of woven loafers and a printed square. I like these from Barbanera, which are a little sleeker than your usual woven shoe without being too casual. The square is from Kiriko Made, and offers a nice complement to the tonal linen belt.

Finally, you may remember milliner Ana Lamata from our “Best of Pitti” series, and her gorgeous, sculptural, handmade straw hats are perfect for spring and summer. Keep in mind that she is also offers a fully bespoke service, should you decide that you want to work with her directly. The amount of work that goes into each hand-made piece is astonishing, and the results are beautiful.


How to Wear a Light Colored Suit This Spring

classic hollywood colors for spring style hollywood style styleforum how to wear a light colored suit

 


When the weather’s spitting, most men turn to dark colors – navy, black, and charcoal – out of a fear of raindrops, mud, and cars driving through puddles. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it does mean that it’s sometimes just as easy to get locked into a spring wardrobe the same way as can happen during winter. With that in mind, we propose a light colored suit for springtime.

First, it’s a nice way to break up the monotony of winter. Second, khaki, beige, or ivory has a touch of old Hollywood about it, which – and this is important – makes it fun in a way other things aren’t.  In this case, we’ve chosen a beige, easy-wearing patch-pocket model from Camoshita, which certainly skews toward the casual. That gives you the option to lose the tie, which we all know is important in springtime, because who wants to wear a tie when the tulips are coming up?

Of course, to fully embrace the monochromatic look, we suggest giving a nod to unpredictable weather by wearing a classic Mackintosh. With a belt and a collar that can be turned up against the elements, you won’t be making any stylistic concessions the next time it rains – by which we mean: please stop wearing your gore-tex jacket over a suit. Thank you.

Finally, after you’ve picked your pocket square, a light scent such as Frédéric Malle’s Geranium Pour Monsieur is a nice finishing touch to match your light color palette. This one smells about as fresh as a spring shower, and opens with a pleasant blend of geranium, mint, and star anise, that later gives way to a suggestion of musk and sandalwood. Like the clothing we’ve picked, it’s a welcome burst of brightness after a long winter.

The next time you find yourself pining for some uplifting clothing, try a light colored suit and a tonal ensemble. It’s a great way to embrace springtime, and if you’re anything like us, you’ll find yourself clicking your heels as you hop over puddles.


1. Camoshita beige blazer – $880 at Mr. Porter 

2. Camoshita beige trousers (matching) – $340 at Mr Porter

3. Kamakura “Tokyo Slim” striped shirt – $89 at Kamakura

4. Mackintosh belted cotton coat – 725 GBP at Trunk Clothiers

5. Alden chukka in snuff suede – $528 at Lawrence Covell

6. Drake’s pocket square – $90 at Supply and Advise

7. Frédéric Malle, “Geranium Pour Monsieur” – $270 at Barneys

Outfit Inspiration from Gerry Nelson

how to dress like gerry nelson styleforum

It’s no secret that Gerry Nelson posts some of the better-liked outfits on Styleforum. He dresses in a very approachable mix of tailored and casual clothing, and has a great eye for colors. In particular, he often pairs an indigo, work-style jacket with either jeans or trousers, which, though simple, is a fantastically good look if you get the fit and shade of your clothing right. With that in mind, here’s an example of an outfit that at touches on some of Gerry’s sensibilities.

First, our outerwear is casual but neither sloppy nor boring. A deep indigo, such as you’ll find on this Blue Blue Japan gown coat, goes with just about anything, including the Eidos pullover we’ve chosen. A Drake’s shirt with a button-down collar is a good casual accompaniment, and will look just as good on its own with the medium-wash Orslow jeans. Finally, a pair of tassel loafers in a rich brown suede means you can easily wear this outfit into springtime, and the addition of a giant robot on your pocket square is the kind of detail that keeps your wardrobe from boring you to tears.

Now, I’ve never had the opportunity to smell Gerry Nelson in person, but I am a fan of Tom Ford’s Plum Japonais, which is a pleasantly soft and alluring blend of plum, oud, and incense. It seems a perfect fit for the deep colors shown above, and is sensual without being overbearing.

Altogether, this outfit is the very definition of comfortable, just likemost of Gerry’s looks. It’s the kind of combination of sharp and relaxed that’s perfect for most of today’s offices, as well as for most of the weekend. Gerry may have perfected his own particular style, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experiment with similar ideas, and embrace a palette of deep, rich colors this spring.


Cheers, Brexit: Save on Fine British Accessories

With the British pound at a historic low against the dollar, American shoppers can finally indulge in guilt-free purchases of fine British accessories by treating themselves to some exquisite items from the land of Her Majesty.  It’s even sweeter if you think that a recent change in tariff regulations now allows buyers to spend up to $800 each day without paying duty on products shipped from abroad.

In case you’re short of inspiration, here’s a shortlist of some of the best and finest British goods that will instantly make you look like a distant, distinguished, cousin of the Prince of Wales.

ettinger-billfold-wallet-red-lining

Available at https://www.ettinger.co.uk/

#1 An Ettinger Billfold Wallet

Instantly up your style with one of Ettinger’s classic billfolds. Lined in contrasting leather, you can choose to have 3, 6, or 12 credit card slots, a coin purse, and even opt for silver or gold corners to protect your precious pocketbook from wear and tear. Pretend to not notice all the glances of admiration as you pull it out to pay for your next coffee with the money you saved from the weakened pound.


Available at http://www.purdey.com/

Available at http://www.purdey.com/

#2 A Classic Outerwear Piece from Purdey

If a Burberry trenchcoat seems way too clichè nowadays, you can class up your wardrobe with one of Purdey’s stunning outerwear pieces. The highlight of the collection is a luxurious leather quilted paddock coat (a type of traditional hunting or sporting coat used in the UK) that is both lightweight and warm.


Available at http://www.swaineadeneybrigg.com/

Available at http://www.swaineadeneybrigg.com/

#3 Briefcase & Umbrella by Swaine Adeney Brigg

It would be a shame to buy one without the other. Brigg’s handmade umbrellas are famous worldwide, and it’s not uncommon to see their signature polished chestnut handles hanging on royal arms.

Swaine Adeney briefcases are a monument to British craftsmansip. If you feel like being a touch more adventurous, choose their Attache case: originally commissioned as a Diplomat’s case in the 1800s, this model has been made since then using the same, ancient process that involves hand stitching with natural linen thread.


Available at http://turnbullandasser.com/

Available at http://turnbullandasser.com/

#4 A classic shirt from Turnbull and Asser

There will never be a better time to stock up on elegant white shirts, perhaps the one item that everyone can agree is a classic and timeless staple of a man’s wardrobe. Like a blank canvas, a white shirt is the starting point of any outfit. Each T&A shirt is made in Gloucester using hand-operated sewing machines from 33 individual pieces of high-quality cotton, making it a covetable piece for any classic menswear obsessives and fashion aficionados alike. Make sure to splurge on some Sea Island Cotton if you only want the best of the best.


Available at http://www.equusleather.co.uk/

Available at http://www.equusleather.co.uk/

#5 A bridle leather belt from Equus

Equus has been a longtime forum favorite, and since you no longer have to tighten the belt on your finances when shopping – thanks to the current state of sterling – you can proudly tighten a new, handmade leather belt on your waist instead. Equus specializes in bridle leather belts using leather from venerable English tanneries Sedgewick and Bakers of Coylton, but recently have been producing belts using leather from European tanneries like France’s Tannerie Haas. They also use buckles specially commissioned from French silver and goldsmiths and Japanese master blacksmiths.


Available at https://www.drakes.com/

Available at https://www.drakes.com/

#6 Anything from Drake’s

Drake’s website is a cornucopia of goods that would tempt anyone who’s into classic clothing. Styleforum members have a soft spot for Drake’s accessories, and swear by their handmade ties and archival-printed pocket squares. We have it on good authority that our editor Jasper has a thing for the unicorns.  Load up on Christmas presents and upgrade to high class stocking-stuffers.

Sunday Styles: Knit ‘n Easy

outfit-grid-9b

Speaking of knit ties, let’s take a look at an easy way to embrace some color and texture for fall. Tweed sport coats pair wonderfully with knit neckwear, and a simple oxford stripe shirt with easy-wearing trousers and shoes is a simple way to look great. In this case, the green of the knit tie is subdued without being boring, and picks up the texture of the jacket.

1. Grey Tweed Sport Coat, Kent Wang

2. Drake’s Knit Tie, Gentlemen’s Footwear

3. Oxford Stripe Shirt, Epaulet

4. Rota Trousers, No Man Walks Alone

5. Warwick Single Monk, Allen Edmonds

6. Robert Jensen Pocket Square, Khaki’s of Carmel