Friday, December 25, 2009

The New Christmas Sweater

Christmas sweater parties are well known for green, red and white chunky wool tops, two sizes too small and ideal for funny photo opportunities. These days the Christmas sweater is staging a comeback of massive proportions with offerings from well known designers as well as the inclination to dive into the basement boxes that house your parents' from their younger years.

It's true, most things in fashion are cyclical and this is no exception. Wear one with jeans or corduroys and do your part in bringing back the spirit of the Christmas Sweater. The more reindeer, pine trees and snowflakes on your sweater, the better. Be bold, be festive and be confident! Happy Holidays.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


The mixing of pieces that are formal with pieces that are casual will forever be known as "form-asual" ....atleast in my mind anyway. Gone are the days when dressing had set rules that must be, the best dressed people know how to mix tuxedo trimmings (ie: patent leather shoes) with weekender relaxation (denim) and carry it off with effortless class.

Some of my favorite "formasual" recipes are french cuff shirts with sportcoats, white collar/cuff shirts without neckwear, chunky cable knit sweaters with a bow tie, patent leather and get the point. Incorporate items from both ends of your wardrobes for something different......

Oh, and if you're wondering if that velvet blazer that you have counts for mixing formal and casual....yes, it does. It is likely the most widespread formasual attire out there, but that means the masses have caught on to that one look and it also means that you are one of a million if you put the same outfit on as the mannequin in Barneys, Nordstroms Macys and Filenes Basement...... mix your own ideas and start having fun with don't want to look like a plastic person, you want to look like yourself.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Working in Harmony

Dressing with multiple accessories and coordinating (not matching) parts can be a difficult task, but when executed properly it virtually guarantees you compliments throughout the day....and who doesn't like that????

In this picture you can see that a basic gray herringbone blazer is worn with a little bit of flair. A light lavendar check shirt, with white collar adds a background of uniqueness, and the tie compliments the color of the shirt, amplifying its appearance. The 4th, and most difficult element of the outfit is the pocketsquare. Never match the square identically to the comes off as amateur. Instead, look for colors that work together, and if the pattern does as well, that's extra credit.

A brown suede belt and shoe adds the curiosity. Black would be the pedestrian choice but we aren't into that and you shouldn't be either.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Set the Bar

A tie bar is traditionally meant to keep your neckwear from flying away from your chest and into your soup, or whatever other liquids and messes that silk can find. These days it is more a matter of elemental dressing than function, but it's nice to have something holding you back on the odd chance that you can't handle that matter on your own.

Tie bars add an element of swagger when worn properly. They say to your on lookers that you took time to get dressed in the morning, and that you care about details enough to not just rush out of the house. They are in the same league as cufflinks, pocket squares and coordinated leather accessories.....and maybe even a cut above because of the infrequency with which they are donned by the general masses.

Put one on.....wear it on a little angle and have people wondering why.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Brutal Cold Not Brutal Taste

Just because the temperatures in a lot of the country have dipped below human comfort, it doesn't mean that the tastefulness of your attire should suffer as much as you are. In fact, the colder it gets, the better the chance you have to stand apart from the masses. Reason being: most people use the cold weather as an excuse to just pack on the layers without thinking about coordinating anything.

Use that as an opportunity to put some thought into your outerwear and accessories. A tasteful shearling jacket instead of a ski parka on the way to work. A cashmere scarf instead of a polar fleece. A traditional felt fedora instead of a stocking cap. Cashmere lined leather gloves instead of puffy obnoxious mutant covers. Rubber soled dress shoes instead of chunky rubber overshoes.... you get the point.

Wherever you fall short (in terms of cold weather clothing) consider changing your challenges into ahievements and feeling great about stepping outside when the weather has you craving the inside. You'll be glad you did the moment you get your first double take.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Lot Going On

I don't usually wear colored shirts, but today I was in the mood for some reason. The suit is a royal blue color with a 3 1/2" orange and rust colored windowpane......The shirt is an alternating orange and white bengal stripe (1/8" stripes) which looks like faint orange solid from a distance of about 15 feet. The tie coordinate with the suit because it is a similar royal blue, and the pattern on the tie compliments the shirt..... To always "get it right" with your tie selections, make sure the pattern of the tie has the color of the shirt....almost as if the shirt is peeking through the tie (if the patterns were holes instead)....kind of confusing, but you get the picture. For dressing 202, coordinate the tie color to the suit as well as the shirt. You'll need to increase your tie arsenal....but that pisn't a bad thing. Leather goods (ie: belts, shoes and watch straps) should coordinate as well, if possible.

Happy mixing! This is the season to try it because if all else fails....just keep your coat on and cover up.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Curiosity Explored

A good friend of mine has been pestering me (in only the nicest of ways) to include on my blog; images of what I wear on a day to day basis with the hopes of helping people understand how to best mix patterns, colors and pieces. While I don't yet have a camera that will allow for the clarity desired, I took this picture today with my Blackberry just to see what kind of feedback and readership it delivers.

Anytime you mix multiple pieces, colors and patterns I find it best to be able to keep the amount of color to a minimum (in this case only browns and blues) and make sure to be able to relate every article of clothing (or accessory) to at least one other element in the look. Pattern sizes must be noticeably different so they do not clash and compete for the eye.

In this picture: Light blue cashmere jacket with medium brown and light tan over check. The vest is a coffee brown cashmere (relates to the over check of the coat). Tie is a steel blue/gray wool (compliments jacket and trouser) with light and dark brown flowers (again compliments the overcheck). Shirt is light blue solid. Trousers (though not seen) are steel blue/gray solid.

If you think this was a good idea, you should visit the inspiration at ( .... without a doubt you will find more creative outlooks and posts from his content on anything from music to fashion and everything inbetween. Thanks Don!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Blazer Trail

Blazers don't have to be navy or black to be purchased.... in fact, it may be better if they aren't! A sure fire way to step out of the normal and into the unique is to have a blazer made in a textured (but solid) fabric in your favorite color.

This time of year lends itself better for these kinds of purchases because the weightier fabrics of winter tend to have textures built into the cloth already. Throw on patch pockets, suede elbows and perhaps leather covered buttons and you have a jacket that is ready to be worn hard, often and most important - confidently!

Consider a cabernet red, sea foam blue, mint green or even maize color and wear it with your jeans as often as your flannels.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Peaked Curiosity

A nice way to make a suit look a little different from your everyday boardroom or business suit is to have it made with peak lapels. Instead of the classic notch, the peak lapel angles upward toward the face giving the overall feel of the garment a little more class, sophistication, elegance and of course differentiation from your counterparts.

It's under the radar enough to not have you feeling uncomfortable but edgy enough to give you a leg up in the department of having taste.

For something just a little more special, try a suit or 2 with peak lapels. As always, start with the basics and build from there. Nothing is more timless than a solid navy or gray with a unique cut. If it was good enough for Gary Cooper, certainly it's good enough for us......