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.
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.
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.”
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.”
Then again, she died alone, so there’s that.
As the desire for quality, authenticity, and longevity in men’s clothing once again became more appreciated, Styleforum has been here for guys to share their knowledge on the questions that inevitably cropped up.
“Who made these shoes?—Look at the nail patterns.” “Who made this private label suit?—Look at the manufacturer tag.” “Is this line of suiting full canvas or half canvas?—Here is the history of that maker’s quality for the past 25 years.”
It is this last point—full canvassing in suits and sport coats—that remains a worthy benchmark for determining a garment’s quality and value. I’d say cut, fit and design are more important in deciding whether a suit or jacket “works” on someone, all other things being equal. But thanks to the resurgence of interest in tailored clothing in the last 10 years (however long it may yet last…), there are a lot of good options for full canvas tailoring.
One of the original value propositions of my favorite menswear brand, Eidos, was that it offered full canvas, made in Italy tailoring, at an almost unbelievable price point (I believe sport coats started at $895, suits at $995). Prices crept up over time, and with Simon Spurr’s first collection, suits will begin at $1395 (no word on sport coats). That is definitely an increase over the years, but it’s well within the norm for what you’ll find from other brands of similar quality (and limited handwork). No Man Walks Alone will continue to carry Eidos in their own signature cut from the brand at least through fall, so it’s business as usual at least through 2018 for customers of Greg’s.
As for the new aesthetic direction Mr. Spurr is taking the brand, I like to keep an open mind about things, and who knows – maybe it’ll be great. However, I’ve cultivated a list of other contenders for my tailoring wants if that doesn’t turn out to be the case. Here are five I’ve got my eye on.
Only two seasons into their tailoring offerings, this Scandinavian company has expanded from men’s accessories into a nearly complete collection. Their tailoring is made in southern Italy (Puglia, the region at the heel of Italy’s boot). The collection is small, with only four suits and four odd jackets this Spring (one being double breasted in each category) but it is exceptionally well priced. For those outside the EU, without VAT, the price for a jacket is as low as $656 and a suit $852. The cut hits all the notes you’d expect this day and age—soft shoulder, lightweight canvas for a soft structure—with some departures from the mainstream, namely a longer jacket length and slightly wider than average lapels.
SuitSupply is pretty much the king of half-canvas, contemporary, European-centric tailoring. Being made in China and having a vertically integrated retail presence, their prices are very competitive. Their Jort line—named after the company’s “sartorial historian” Jort Kelder—is fully canvassed. Each season, they produce a tightly curated Jort collection, using better fabrics that feature a slightly more elevated design compared to the main line. It takes the same cues as the rest of the company’s tailoring—soft-shouldered with a bit of grinze, lightweight canvas, open patch pockets if the fabric and design calls for it—but adds some design flourishes that most Styleforum guys would appreciate: a lower buttoning point as well as a slightly lower breast pocket, both of which lean on the more classic side. Jackets start at around $600, and suits are priced at a solid $1,000.
Check out: Suit Supply Jort Brown Check
Even though they’re known best for their made to measure shirts, Proper Cloth has offered other clothing items for a long time—accessories, sweaters, outerwear and even tailored jackets. Recently, they upgraded their tailored offerings from simply off-the-rack to made-to-order. It isn’t quite to the same level of customization as their shirts, but with sizes ranging from 32 all the way to 64 (at single intervals), with short, regular, and long lengths, as well as three fits (classic, slim and extra slim), there’s a pretty good chance you can hit the mark in fit, or at least get pretty close before alterations. Their Hudson jackets and Mercer suits are fully canvassed, while the Allen suits and Bedford jackets are half-canvas, coming in at about 2/3 the price. The design details on them check all the standard boxes—soft shoulder, open patch hip pockets, unlined, etc.
Check out: Hudson Navy Performance Wool Hopsack Jacket
I quickly took notice of this new shop from Jake Grantham and Alex Pirounis (both formerly from The Armoury). Just like Berg & Berg or SuitSupply, they are a self-branded store, which means they don’t carry products under other labels. As the name clearly communicates, their product is meant to fuse the best of British and Italian menswear traditions: soft tailoring and design from Italy, and English fabrics. I stopped by the shop when I was in London last October, and really liked what I saw and felt. Their biggest focus is on made-to-measure, but they do stock a small collection of tailoring off the rack each season, as well as a full range of other products—ties, trousers, shirts, outerwear, etc.). Everything is made in southern Italy. For those outside the UK, a sportcoat runs about $1,350 (with the current exchange rate of about $1.41 per Pound Sterling). Trousers are about $350.
Much has been written about Sid Mashburn. His personal charm is legendary, and his business has grown immensely since its opening, so he must be doing something right. At this point, there are enough cuts in the American-Italian spectrum to please most customers. His full-canvas sportcoats start at around $700 and suits start around $1,000.
Although it’s made in Japan, Ring Jacket designs along southern Italian lines—a curved barchetta pocket, open patch pockets, soft construction and soft shoulders. Part of this is because the company, which specialized in making suits and jackets for brands in Japan over the years, had a factory manager that studied tailoring in Naples, learning from them. He helped to recreate Ring Jacket so it features smaller armholes and larger sleeveheads. Their products were only available from only a couple retailers in North America for a long time, but despite their slow and deliberate expansion, it’s now a bit easier to find. They have their own e-commerce for some products, and a list of stockists you can find here: https://ringjacket.com/stockists
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.
- Blue Blue Japan Shawl Collar Gown – $403 at Mevyn
- Eidos Bagru sweater – $350 at Unionmade
- Drake’s green ticking stripe shirt – $155 at Drake’s
- Orslow Ivy Fit One Wash Denim – $257 at Blue Button Shop
- Santoni Loafer – $620 at Mr. Porter
- Calamityware Giant Robot square – $45 at Kent Wang
- Tom Ford Plum Japonais – $225 at Sephora
We’re calling this “Autumn Travels,” but really we could call it “Styleforum’s favorite brands,” because this outfit grid showcases some fall styles from a few of the most popular brands on the forum. Eidos, RRL, Yuketen, Anderson’s, and Christian Kimber are all ever-present forum standbys, while Todd Snyder is a reliable source of tailored-casual clothing. We do try to hit both the tailored and casual spectrums when we put these suggestions together, but something about the weather turning just makes all of us want to cozy up in comfy layers and look at the leaves that are still whirling about on the ground.
Not all travels involve planes, trains, or automobiles. Sometimes you have to get outside and explore your own backyard before the ever-decreasing daylight traps you inside for three months, and this is the perfect outfit for letting your feet guide you. A navy jacket over a band-collar shirt is a great casual look, and chambray is a fabric that looks fantastic when worn wrinkled and comfy-like. When combined with olive trousers it’s very worldly – roll the hem (don’t cuff) of the pants up a few inches to show off Yuketen’s great moc-toed desert boots, turn up the collar of the jacket, stuff your hands in your pockets, and spend the day strolling around with hot cocoa in hand.
There’s a lot to be said for simple color combinations, and navy, green, and brown is about as simple as you can get. Add some texture with a woven belt, a pop of color with a lazily-stuffed pocket square, and you’ll look great no matter where your travels take you, whether you’re headed around the world or just down the street.
Styleforum has a lot of “favorite” brands. They wax and wane in popularity over the course of months or years, and because of the diversity of our members these brands range from the rigidly conservative to the breathtakingly avant garde. Although this isn’t a complete list, it does capture a snapshot of some up-and-comers alongside a number of old standbys. Let’s take a look at Styleforum’s favorite brands, and what they say about us – the people who love to wear them.
The Dream: You’re a globe-trotting gentleman-explorer, and your footwear reflects that. No matter the occasion, you’re always well put-together – but you never stick out. Several people have referred to you as “dashing.”
The Reality: You spend more time applying leather-care product to your massive collection of Alden shoes than you do wearing them.
The Dream: Your life is a perfect blend of work and play. You roll up your chinos and play tag football on the lawn. You are happy and content, your collar roll is always immaculate, and you spend your summers vacationing on the Vineyard. You know it’s gotten crowded but you just can’t imagine going anywhere else – you’ve made such meaningful connections.
The Reality: You have recently discovered that penny loafers don’t go with everything. You constantly talk about how “real men wear pink,” but you’re uncomfortable and fidgety every time you do. Recently, you have begun to fear that people find you boring.
The Dream: You curate a minimalist gallery in a European city. Or if not a gallery, you curate a hugely popular photo-slash-contemporary philosophy website with descriptions of each photo posted in all caps. You curate something. People admire your taste.
The Reality: Upwards of five people owned your “collection” before you. You rarely wear any of it, and when you do, you remember why you don’t. You think about selling all of it constantly, but worry that you won’t be able to make back what you paid. You wonder why you don’t just start curating sweatpants instead. You have begun to suspect that no one cares about your moody photography.
The Dream: You’re a free spirit, the kind of guy who spends weekends at destination flea markets looking for antiques to furnish the quirky studio apartment you keep in a neat, artsy neighborhood. You ride your skateboard to the coffee shop every morning; not to work, but to read several Very Interesting Books every week. Your signature touch is a giant scarf. You eat a lot of noodles.
The Reality: You’re an internet hobbyist who spends his days browsing web-stores.
The Dream: You are an Italian bon vivant who has excellent hair and rides a scooter through the hills of Tuscany.
The Reality: You got the suit 40% off at Bloomingdales. Sometimes, guys at work ask if you have an interview. Now you mostly wear it for your Instagram. You have 200 followers.
The Dream: You make a living as a travel correspondent, and spend your days fishing, surfing, and hiking with your group of friends and photogenic dogs. All of you carry vintage film cameras – even the dogs. You routinely get your fancy clothing very dirty, but you don’t care. Sometimes candid photos of you appear in Japanese style magazines, with captions like “How to live a care-free life.”
The Reality: Your apartment doesn’t allow dogs, and people wonder why you’re always wearing the same jacket and carrying a camera around.
The Dream: You are a carefree artistic type, a creative director at an independent magazine. You are well-read and your friends are regularly featured in iD magazine.
The Reality: On the street, people wonder if you are homeless. You tell your friends you got it all on sale so that they won’t ridicule you for the prices you paid. You secretly wish you lived in Japan and owned an Indigo dye-house.
The Dream: You spend your time drinking ironic beer on urban rooftops around the world with your friends, all of whom are models, photographers, and graphic designers. You just launched a fashion magazine that has disrupted the industry and brought you several publisher’s accolades.
The Reality: You have three bomber jackets in your closet. You never know what to wear with any of them.
The Dream: You are a successful young entrepreneur. You are stylish and always up-to-date on the latest New Yorker. You have respected opinions on everything from art to the economy to the state of the Great Barrier Reef.
The Reality: People wonder why your pants are so tight, and most women you meet find you just creepy enough to avoid. Your boss thinks you spend too much time looking in the mirror.
The Dream: You drive a vintage Defender, and all of your most precious belongings can fit into a single well-worn duffle bag. You live authentically. You eat interesting street food all over the world. You laugh constantly. Visvim is the only brand in your closet.
The Reality: You talk about hating John Mayer because he’s not authentic but deep down you burn with unbearable jealousy.