Sunday Styles: Museum Visit


If you’re looking for casual style that’s perfect for a weekend museum visit, still sharp and forward-looking enough for a business meeting, look no further than Styleforum favorite Stephan Schneider. This basketweave jacket pairs beautifully with relaxed trousers and loafers to keep your feet as comfortable as the rest of you.


1. Stephan Schneider “Thinner” jacket from Suspension Point

2. Native Youth “Meteor” Trouser from Need Supply Co.

3. Solovier Pantome Slipper from Other-Shop

4. Wings + Horns Henley from Uncle Otis

5. Linjer Portfolio


Sunday Styles: Urban Explorer


Functional clothing never felt so good. The combination of a sharp utility jacket, heavy chinos, and fine cashmere means that everywhere you go this fall you’ll be prepared – and comfortable. Comfortable suede derbies round out the walkability of this look, and rugged luggage from Master-Piece will keep your prized positions safe from autumn weather.

1. Engineered Garments “Bedford” from Portland Dry Goods

2. John Laing Cashmere Rollneck from Hang Project

3. Canvas “Rivet” Chino from Epaulet NY

4. Chatham Windsor Derby from A Fine Pair of Shoes

5. Master-Piece Backpack from No Man Walks Alone

The Myth of Clothing as Self-Expression

This article was originally published at on September 8.

When I was younger I used to think that displaying one’s tastes externally was cool, despite knowing that deep down inside I risked being uncool by wanting to be cool. However the compulsion was strong. I wore my Tool shirt with much pride, paired with the skinniest of jeans and the most hardcore of Harley Davidson boots. Ideally they should destroy someone’s naked toes if I step on them. While my outlook remained the same, my interest gradually switched to fashion. I made sure people know of my hobby, which in itself is probably not a bad thing because every human craves for validation. But I was also secretly judging people for being unadventurous with their clothing choices. Instead of letting people be who they want to be, or wear whatever pleases them, I’d instinctively be tut-tutting their choice of clothing silently (she’s wearing t-shirt and shorts with her birkin?!). I was an awful, despicable snob.

I was reminded of my old self because recently someone I spoke to complained of a girl who chided his preference for J. Crew. Her exact word was ‘GROSS’, before going off on a rant about how clothing is a way to express one’s personality. To choose nondescript clothing labels to wear was a sign of a lack of it.

Her words echo this popular notion that fashion is a form a self-expression, that it is a genuine way of showcasing our inner self. I say it’s utter nonsense.

Dress is an important dimension in the articulation of personal identity, but not in the sense of voluntarism, whereby one’s choice of dress is freely-willed, expressive and creative. On the contrary, this ‘personal identity’ is managed through dress in rather boring ways because societal pressures encourage us to stay within the bounds of what is defined as a ‘normal’ body and ‘appropriate’ dress. Too much attention has been given to self-expression and individuality, while ignoring the implicit constraints that we face every day (Enwistle, 2001, available here and here). In fact, we often make sartorial decisions based on practicality, whom to impress, whom not to offend, which fashion tribe to align to, what our heroes are wearing, and how we want the world to perceive us. There’s also budgetary, class and social constraints that we have to adhere to. If fashion was truly a form of carefree self-expression, many of us would choose to be naked, and men would not feel insecure about their fragile masculinity when confronted with feminine clothing. The external pressure to dress a certain way is most evident in the realm of fashion blogging and street style, whereby the need to be recognized or conform to certain aesthetics (Southern prep anyone? Or the cool kids of Vêtements?) often trumps other hidden desires. Even yours truly still falls prey to that. I know I love the clothes that I wear, but I’m also aware of the external influences of the zeitgeist, which is why my favorite shoes currently are my Rafdidas.

There are several reasons for one to feel the need to express their identity and these mainly revolve around issues of social status, economic class, gender, sexual orientation, age, race, ethnicity, religious condition, recreation and individualism. With the creative use of fashion, individuals are able to either confirm or subvert several of these facets about their identities, consequently transmitting culturally coded, visual messages about themselves. This personal identity that is often tied into fashion is a created self that has to be crafted through social interactions. While one can argue that we internalise these influences to make them a part of our existence, there are still plenty of other external forces that play a strong role in our decision-making processes, as mentioned above.

So why then are we so hung up on the idea that fashion is an authentic form of self-expression and personal identity? It’s a romantic idea that is as clichéd and unhealthy as the line ‘You complete me.’. Do we really believe that Justin Beiber is a big fan of Metallica when he wore their t-shirts? Should we care? Why do many of the most creative people in the world choose to wear black t-shirts all the time?

At the end of the day, we have to stop swallowing this myth because it turns us into judgmental creatures. It shouldn’t matter whether a person dresses normal, lavish, outrageous, subtle, boring, so long as they’re appropriate within the context of the situation (again, bowing down to external forces). We do our darndest to not judge a book by its cover, and we should do the same for fellow human beings.

the myth of clothing as self-expressionthe myth of clothing as self-expression

the myth of clothing as self-expression

How to Pair White Pants and a Jacket

Since we all know it’s just fine to wear white after Labor Day, let’s take a moment to discuss how to pair white pants and a jacket. White is an excellent choice for late summer and early fall, and is a solid staple for both daytime and casual evening looks, particularly when white trousers are paired with a jacket.

It’s a forgiving base for any combination, and if you can keep them clean they’ll be as versatile as your favorite grey trousers without any business connotations. I myself favor a no-break or even slightly cropped (not highwater) trouser hem, particularly for a lightweight pant. White or off-white trousers in heavier fabrics such as flannels (yes, you can wear white into winter) take well to a range of autumnal colors, so you can keep wearing them through the winter – just avoid slushy days.

For casual summer looks, it’s easiest to pair a lightweight or unstructured jacket, as a relaxed shape adds to the breeziness. However, that doesn’t mean that strong tailoring looks out of place with white – on the contrary, a sharp jacket – particularly a double-breasted jacket – can work equally well.

Keep in mind that a white shirt likely won’t be the best choice when wearing white pants and a jacket. I favor blues and greens, as these colors don’t immediately connote golf courses the way brighter colors – such as a pink – might.  In particular, I find that a washed chambray – or even a midnight navy for an evening outfit – looks good with a wide range of jacket connotations and offers enough versatility that you don’t look as though you’re permanently stuck at a barbecue.

There are a few pitfalls to watch out for. First is to make sure you’re not wearing skin-tight pants, which is less of an issue with trousers than it is with jeans or chinos. White leggings aren’t flattering on anyone. Second, if you’re wearing linen or other lightweight trousers, do an underwear check – some fabrics tend towards translucency. And third, keep them clean. While colored trousers – and white jeans – can take some abuse and look no worse (or even better!) for it, white trousers tend to take on all the charm of a used napkin when they get dirty.

Otherwise, think of white as a blank canvas and trust your own tastes – and be sure to share your results on Styleforum’s What Are You Wearing Today thread.

If you’re in search of a starting place for your white-trousered looks, here are two suggestions to give you a push:

how to pair white pants and a jacket

1. Jacket: Ring Jacket from The Armoury

2. Shirt: G. Inglese from No Man Walks Alone

3. Pants: Luigi Borrelli from Shop the Finest

4. Shoes: Dundee boots from Allen Edmonds

5. Square: Monsieur Fox from Exquisite Trimmings

6. Belt: Walnut leather from Proper Cloth


how to pair white pants and a jacket


1. Jacket: DB Jacket by Epaulet

2. Shirt: White linen by Proper Cloth

3. Tie: Sky blue grenadine by Kent Wang

4. Pants: Off-white “Jort” by SuitSupply

5. Belt: Black leather by Miler Menswear

6. Shoes: Carls Santos swan-neck oxford from A Fine Pair of Shoes

7. Square: Rubinacci from Skoaktiebolaget

Blue Blue Japan F/W 2016

I’ve been sitting on the photos from the Blue Blue Japan F/W 2016 presentation since back in January, when we saw the collection in Paris. It is, in short, beautiful; showcasing the same brilliant tones of indigo we’ve come to expect, but introducing some new fabrics and silhouettes. Happily, we’re finally allowed to share what’s new.

We saw Blue Blue Japan at the Marziano Bello showroom, alongside brands such as Camo and Simon Miller (itself doing some very nice things with indigo and sashiko fabrics this fall). We were their first appointment, which meant that everyone was barely awake – especially me, but including Sunjin, the bubbly woman who was our contact and the self-described “Korean Hostess” of the showroom, with whom I am 100% in love.

Although there are familiar items – quilted vests, sashiko chore coats and jackets, thick cotton knits – there are also some new shapes that are a bit more elegant than the workwear that tends to make it to domestic stockists. Knit blazers and quilted vests verge into the realm of what is offered by modern workwear brands such as ts(s), but retain the playfulness and ease-of-wear that defines Blue Blue Japan. Shirts continue to be excellent, and act as showcases for the masterful dye variations the company can achieve.

My favorite offering from the showroom is a new, softer-weight sashiko fabric, which Sunjin showed off in the form of a shawl-collared robe/coat hybrid. Weight-wise, it falls between the heavy work fabric used for BBJ’s chore coats and the very light fabric used in the women’s quilted pieces. As opposed to the stiff, hard wearing sashiko we’re used to in the men’s jackets, this fabric is thick but supple, and the robe doesn’t feature a heavy canvas backing. She told us the fabric was chosen specifically with women’s pieces in mind, but I hope that the robe-coat makes an appearance in a size big enough for me to wear.

Blue Blue Japan is interesting in that it offers such a wide range of clothing, which I assume comes from Seilin Co.’s manufacturing reach. The flagship store in Tokyo, Okura (which I’ve written about before), shows the full range of products, but hidden within the azure racks on display in Paris were the occasional pieces made from duck canvas; hunting-style jackets and some other shirts and pants. Admittedly, much of the clothing is overpowered by the indigo theme of the collection, especially when you’re not looking at it with the intent to stock a store. It’s hard to get excited about beige when the indigo is so exceptional. Nevertheless, there is variation in both color and tone, and the collection is, as usual, very wearable from head to toe even if just about everything is bright blue.

Blue Blue Japan F/W 2016

Lovely depth of color on the new sashiko fabric, which Sunjin models below.

Blue Blue Japan F/W 2016

The soft sashiko robe, my favorite piece from the collection. Behind Sunjin you can see the stunning range of blues, quilts, and sashiko fabrics on display for F/W 2016.

Blue Blue Japan F/W 2016

Here, Sunjin shows off a plaid coat featuring faded indigo overstitching, which is how the embroidered blazer on the table will eventually appear. The cotton threads fade at a different rate to the rest of the fabric, resulting in contrasting shades of blue.


Blue Blue Japan F/W 2016


Blue Blue Japan F/W 2016 Blue Blue Japan F/W 2016 Blue Blue Japan F/W 2016

A men’s sashiko coat, made of a slightly stiffer – but still soft – fabric than the women’s shawl-collar version I loved so much.



Blue Blue Japan F/W 2016

Denim has long been a standby of the Seilin brands

Blue Blue Japan F/W 2016

Definitely want this piece – a heavy sashiko hunting jacket.

Blue Blue Japan F/W 2016

While the collection is comprised of many well-done earth tones, it’s the indigo pieces that steal the show.


Blue Blue Japan F/W 2016

Shades of blue – shirts, sweatshirts, and a jacket.


Blue Blue Japan F/W 2016

Shirts and sweaters on display alongside the outerwear. 

The Charcoal Suit is Still a Wardrobe Essential

“The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit”, released in 1956, follows the life of veteran Tom Rath (Gregory Peck) in post war America as he attempts to make it in the corporate world while dealing with a variety of personal issues.  It touches, as most great films do, on many themes – among them PTSD and the conflict between family and corporate life.  In the movie, the ubiquitous grey flannel suit of the post WWII workplace serves as a symbol of the demands of the corporate workplace.  A man becomes subsumed by his corporate role when he puts on his corporate suit.  The movie, like the book it was based on (published just a year earlier), was hailed by an audience standing on the precipice between postwar America and Rock and Roll.  Sixty years hence, while the word “suit” still carries with it many negative connotations associated with corporate drudgery, most workplaces no longer demand a suit for every day wear, and a suit has become for many a special event item.  A suit is, for many, a contemporary form of regalia.  A man who puts on a gray suit is more likely to stand out than to recede into the background – the suit says “This guy is about to do something special”.

charcoal suit styleforum wardrobe essential

Styleforum member “Pingson” does the dark grey suit justice.

A few years ago, a Styleforum member named “@Manton,” started a thread called “If you don’t own the following items, you are not well dressed”.  It’s a good list, if any one is building a classic business wardrobe.  We saw arguments about what belonged and did not belong in the list.  The dark grey (or charcoal) suit was, and is, one of the very few items that remains inarguably necessary in a man’s wardrobe.  If your job is one of the rare ones that requires that you put on a suit and tie every day, charcoal suits are a staple.  It says that you are a sober man, a serious man, which is usually the effect you want to affect in those rare professions where suits are still the norm.  If you are not a habitual suit wearing man, if you only need a suit once every so often, the dark grey suit in classic proportions is the suit you need if you are a guest at a wedding, a mourner at a funeral, or a victim at a job interview.

This is not a tutorial on what to look for in a suit, nor an infographic on how to wear one, but here are a few points to start you off:

  • The suit should “cut” your body into approximately two equal parts. The jacket should cover your bottom, but not go much below that.
  • Always make sure that the suit fits across the shoulders. Most other things can be adjusted.  This is a hard facet to alter.
  • In the same vein, make sure that the angle of the arm matches that of your “natural” stance.

And more about styling your suit:

  • A “normal” lapel width is less likely to date your look than a very narrow or very wide lapel. A “normal” lapel width ranges between 3” and 3.5” at the widest point, with the exact width depending on the style as well as the size of the suit.
  • There are three common button configurations for suit jackets: a two button jacket, a three button jacket, and a “two-roll-three” jacket – a three button jacket that is designed so that the top button is on the roll of the lapel, and not to be used for any reason.
  • If you are at a loss on what to wear with a charcoal suit, go with a plain white shirt with a semi-spread collar, a burgundy or navy grenadine tie (or a knit tie for more casual occasions, or a wool tie for winter), and a plain white pocket square.

I’d argue that a white oxford cloth shirt and a few solid or small pattern ties are other “should have” basics, and we’ll discuss those in the future. For now, if you’re starting out on a business-appropriate sartorial journey, or looking to pare down your wardrobe, keep in mind that a dark grey suit is an eternally appropriate choice in clothing. It’s worth having one in your closet, and making sure that it fits you properly – you’ll certainly find continued use for it.

New York City Map


Welcome to Styleforum’s City Maps! Remember that these lists are not definitive. They have been chosen by our editorial staff to reflect what we believe our community will appreciate. We are open to suggestions, and are aware that shops close and re-open regularly. If you have a store suggestion or a comment to share, let us know in the comment section