Wear a Black Turtleneck Under Everything

Remember when I said that I almost never wear black? Well, I’m here to tell you about the one exception I make: the black turtleneck. Because in Denver, the weather has finally turned, which means that it’s the season when I wear a black turtleneck every other day.

We’ve discussed roll-necks in the past, but I’m specifically talking about the cotton, shirt-weight black turtleneck, which is the ultimate cheater’s garment. Let me explain: it is a t-shirt that looks fancier than a button-up. Well, not always. But a lot of the time, wearing one instantly takes you from “slob” to “suave” (zing) in perfect comfort. Besides, it fits every style out there, regardless of whether you pine for James Bond-ian masculinity or Creative Artsy Dude Vibes(tm).

Although you can find these anywhere, in a wide range of fabrics, my favorite black turtleneck comes from Uniqlo. It’s very unassuming – thick-ish cotton, relatively relaxed in fit, and it only cost me 15$. I like to wear it under my quilted ts(s) blazer, under an SNS Herning “Stark” cardigan, or alone under a piece of long outerwear or flight jacket. The point is that it looks really good with everything I can think of at the moment. It’s an especially great option for the dreaded company holiday party, when you don’t really know what to wear but you sure as hell don’t want to wear a tie.

The black turtleneck is the kind of shirt that you could stock up on, wear every day of the week, and look great. And as a plus, that whole myth about black being slimming isn’t entirely a myth, which – if you’re as predisposed to holiday overindulgence as I am – can come in pretty handy. The only downside to these cotton pieces is that they don’t insulate as well as wool. So, if you plan on sweating a lot, a good way to combat that is to wear an insulating undershirt beneath it and stay nice and toasty. Of course, Uniqlo also offers Heattech turtlenecks. I have no experience with those, but I’ve worn plenty of “athletic” undergarments under casual clothing, and the idea is sound.

It’s the ideal garment for days when you want to look good but can’t be bothered to try looking good: choose pants and shoes, put on black turtleneck, and outerwear goes on top of that. Done. That’s the kind of ease I can get behind.

Member Focus: Staying Classic with Andy57

Today, we say hello to another member known for keeping the “Classic” in Styleforum’s Classic Menswear community: Andy57. Whether wearing an odd jacket and trousers or a dinner suit, Andy always takes the time to get the details right. Here, he tells us what led him to men’s style – and what has kept him on Styleforum.

I’ve always been interested in style and fashion, both men’s and women’s. About four years ago, I had to make some changes in my diet and lifestyle to reverse a trend of increasing blood sugar. These changes had a side effect for me of losing around 30 pounds, and so I needed a new wardrobe. Over the years, I had accumulated a number of jackets, some of which now fit me better than they had in years. But even the jackets that fit me were rarely worn and I decided I wanted to change that. so I started to wear them, even though I was still wearing jeans and sneaker, for the most part. But over time, I realized I needed better trousers, which led to better shoes, which led to wearing a tie occasionally, which led to bow ties, and so on.

andy57 styleforum

Although he often shares suits, Andy57 is no stranger to the odd jacket.

Then I began to do some research. I began to learn about how clothes were suppose to fit. I realized that most of my clothes were too big, for example, and as I learned more and came into contact with more resources, from which I learned more, I began to understand.

andy57 styleforum

Suburban life with Andy57: always tasteful.

In addition, I had always harbored a desire to have a suit made for me by a Savile Row tailor. But I did not know which tailor to select and I was somewhat daunted at the prospect. But I heard of a tailoring firm called Steed Bespoke Tailors that is part of the Anderson & Sheppard diaspora and that visited San Francisco regularly and I decided to go with them. And it has been a good relationship.

andy57 styleforum

Here, Andy57 shows off a beautiful white DB suit.

I’ve learned a tremendous amount by being part of Styleforum. Clearly, menswear has standard texts by Boyer, Flusser, Manton, and others. But there’s no escaping that the internet is and continues to be a tremendous tool for learning and for obtaining items that, without it, one simply would not encounter.

andy57 styleforum

Andy57, enjoying the view.

To the extent that I have a style, it’s a combination of what I hope is a classic English style and then at times a fairly unrestrained exuberance bordering on dandyism. I love color and I love wearing things that few others would wear. For example, I bought some of the last few meters of an ivory flannel with a navy pindot windowpane from Fox and had it made up into a lovely double-breasted suit. I wear it on warm evenings, or sunny summer days and I love it. People notice it because you almost never see anyone wearing such a thing. But I have a gorgeous lovat green tweed jacket that is classic and conservative and occasionally people notice it because it is so classic and well cut. But, in the end, style is individual. Style is harmony. Style is beauty. Style is being comfortable in your own skin and having confidence in your appearance. I don’t think you can have style without confidence.

Accessorizing with Dogs: A How-To

There has long existed an association between tiny, handbag-friendly dogs and the fashion elite, but there is more to the art of accessorizing with dogs than a chihuahua in a purse.  For everyone who shares a home – even briefly – with a four-legged companion, the question has always been: how can I maximize my dog-outfit synergy?

The first consideration is, of course, the breed. Dogs such as border collies naturally pair well with workaday or outdoor clothing: consider Engineered Garments, Battenwear, or Nigel Cabourn, as all of these brands perform admirably even when covered with hair. A bulldog can complement both vaguely-sleezy 70’s inspired menswear as well as 3-piece suits of heavy tweed , whereas a Borzoi may lend itself best to a fan of the Antwerp Six. Devotees to the house of Marc Jacobs will, of course, love bull terriers, whereas advocates of quirky menswear will be quick to point to Menswear Dog  as an example of why Shiba Inus make the perfect stylistic companion. Some dogs are as versatile as a navy blazer – Welsh Corgis, for example, go with just about anything.

Don’t be too concerned, however, as any dog can be the perfect match for their wearer’s peculiar clothing choices, and mixes often show the most aesthetic versatility. Take, for example, my good friend @konorobu‘s predilection for combining Rick Owens and Carol Christian Poell with his small and adorable adopted friend. This, of course, is additionally powerful due to the inherent gap-moe of the combination; or the charm of contradictory habits or personality traits. If you’re a man in a power suit, consider a Pomeranian. If you’re wearing head-to-toe Acronym, a Lhasa Apso will provide a well-groomed counterpoint to your edgy, apocalypse-ready exterior. There is no reason to feel pigeonholed in your wardrobe choices when accessorizing with dogs – experiment with outfits to see what works best with your companion. I favor a pair of adopted Shiba Inus, as I find the coloration and temperament lends itself nicely to indigo-dyed streetwear and the occasional jacket and trousers.

The second consideration is fur type and coloration. When accessorizing with dogs, it’s important to take note of ideal color combinations. Keep in mind that black-and-white is not the be-all, end-all of a fashionable companion. High-fashion aficionados will find that the black-and-tan of a Bernese Mountain Dog will go nicely with a monochrome look, and the subtle tones of a Blue Heeler will bring out the best in any colorful outfit. Texture is a secondary aspect; brushed tweeds go equally well with shaggy or shiny coats, and light linens and cottons are a perfect match for both high-fuzz-factor dogs as well as adorably soft and tiny companions.

Ultimately, there is no end to the number of ways you can accessorize with dogs. The fashionable options are limitless, especially when the personality of the dog in question is taken into consideration. Beyond the purely aesthetic advantages that dogs confer, there are innumerable health benefits that come from living with them. Ten out of ten doctors now recognize that accessorizing with dogs results in lower blood pressure, more Instagram likes, a higher sex drive, and funnier jokes1. This should not be taken lightly – for any of you who are struggling with wardrobe direction or how to maximize your swag levels, a dog can provide the boost you need to hone in on your style.

There are now multiple apps that allow users to rent dogs. Dogs of all shapes and sizes, from the tiny and yappy to the huge and drooling. Some of these apps are geared towards people who want to test the waters before adopting their own new best friend; others are designed as social meet-up or even dating tools. And ever better, your local Humane Society will have all kinds of dogs for you to meet, love, and even take home with you. Just make sure that you’re doing your homework before you take the plunge, because there’s nothing more un-chic than being a bad dog owner. If you’re diligent in your search, I’m sure you’ll find a companion, and I’m sure you won’t regret it – because all along, the best accessory to a happy life and a happy wardrobe is a doggy friendship.

  1. This is completely fabricated.
  2. Cover photo credit: Arianna Reggio

Building a Wardrobe: The Brown Blazer

The brown blazer is one of the most simultaneously well-known and unknown wardrobe foundations. Well-known amongst those who know, and unknown amongst those who don’t. As you start putting together a tailored wardrobe, you’ll read thousands of articles and have hordes of people telling you that the one thing you must buy, the one thing without which no man’s life is complete, is a navy blazer. I disagree. Unless you are intent on cultivating an Ivy wardrobe, a navy blazer is no more a “necessity” than a pair of penny loafers. Allow me to suggest a brown blazer instead. Here’s why:

Although the above gallery illustrates my points for me, I will write them out here for the sake of completion. Fundamentally, while a navy blazer is undeniably a wardrobe staple, the brown blazer shines in all the same ways a navy blazer does, but has the edge in a few areas:

  1. A brown blazer can be worn with navy trousers. Seriously, this is so important. Navy is a fantastic color for trousers, and if you’re stuck with a closet full of navy blazers you might be straight SOL. But navy trousers open up a world of fantastic possibility, and in my opinion a navy trouser with a brown jacket on top looks far superior to a brown trouser with a navy jacket on top.
  2. A brown blazer often looks better with jeans than a navy blazer. While not always true, this is worth considering. Especially since, if you are really building a wardrobe, you probably want a jacket that you can wear with denim. After all, you already have a suit for interviews – right?
  3. A brown blazer looks better with grey trousers than a navy blazer. Well, that’s certainly subjective, and you’re free to disagree. However, I do think that a blue blazer and grey trousers can make the wearer look a bit like a security guard, and a brown blazer certainly doesn’t have this connotation. In any case, it will look just as good as a navy blazer.
  4. Finally, a brown blazer will make you look like you know what you’re doing. Any high schooler can put on a navy blazer for “special occasions,” but graduating to a brown variant suggests that you’ve put thought into your wardrobe choices – and putting thought into your wardrobe is the foundation of personal style, regardless of the direction you take. You’ll stand out, in a good way.

See where I’m going with this? A brown blazer fulfills all the necessary duties of its navy sibling, but does even more for the wearer. If I haven’t been able to convince you, take a look at this thread, or this one, both full of some of Styleforum’s best-dressed members, and count the number of brown blazers you see.

This is by no means to suggest that a navy blazer is a bad choice or poor investment – quite the contrary. However, if you are just starting out on your clothing journey, a brown blazer may well give you more versatility than a navy blazer. And if you’re a seasoned Classic Menswear veteran who’s looking to branch out – well, at the very least a brown blazer will keep you from winding up with a closet filled entirely with navy jackets.