Wednesday, May 5, 2010


A "Wowtfit" is a Wow-Outfit...something that demands attention, respect and admiration. It's a combination of elemental dressing that is reserved for those with advanced clothing know how, those people who just know how to create a look with items you wouldn't dream of pairing together. However, once done, and put on the right person - it's a new recipe with a shelf life of 18 enjoyable hours that shouldn't be repeated. A wowtfit is not transferrable to another person, so don't een think about duplicating it.

Like the perfect signature, no two wowtfits should ever be the same. Predictable dressing is the downfall of any dapper gent, so instead of relying on something that he knows works - he incorporates an item of two from previous pairings and matches other miscellaneous pieces to create the newest look.
It isn't enough to just be willing to put stuff on your back- you need to know that it works for you with certainty and defend the inquisition when it presents itself. To the masses - you may be a mess, but to those in the know, you are one of the rare ones....and you are appreciated.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Waisted Cloth

1. Buckle your belt on the loop you normally use

2. Check your waist line to see if there is excess cloth.

3. If excess cloth - call your tailor immediately.

"Excess cloth" refers to the bunching or cinching of fabric at the waist - which is a result of having trousers a size or 3 too large for your frame. Rather than being lazy, call up your clothing Doc and have it fixed expeditiously.

At one point, you probably filled those trousers out, but the long work hours, your dedicated gym routine and the constant nagging from your MD to shed the pounds have resulted in you finally taking action.

Congratulations on your recent weight loss. Now it's time to lose some fabric and put a pair of your "skinny" pants back into the mix. Failure to do so will result in you looking like a rumpled mess......and that will get you more negative attention than simply being a few pounds full.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Not So Fast

Just because spring is here according to the calendar, it doesn't mean that low temperatures and cold weather clothing are out of the picture. Spring happens to be a time when items like flannel suits and lightweight scarves come in most handily.

The eager gent wants to put on his summer suits and wear the items that have been stored for months now. The patient and experienced man knows better. He is the one who will be properly attired in a flannel suit, sans any need for outerwear. Guess which will be more comfortable on his stroll throughout the city??

So even though the high for the day may be in the lower 60's, consider that you don't start your day at 2:00 p.m. when that temp hits. Rather, you are getting to work when the thermometer reads 42 degrees, and leaving the office when it's about the same. That, my friends, is not a number that demands lightweight wool.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Where's the Issue?

If your dry cleaners have ever pressed your collars or cuffs to the point of severe wrinkling, don't accept their excuse that the shirt is made poorly. The truth is, the issue is quite the opposite. Traditional quality shirt makers do not "fuse" (fancy word for glue) the inner linings to outer fabrics on the cuffs and collars, they sew them in along the perimiter to ensure a proper fit over the life of the shirt. The reason for the wrinkles is because when a corner dry cleaner quickly sends your shirts through the presses, they aren't paying attention to the collar detail and the hand finishing that should be done.

Instead, they are used to pressing fused shirts, where the collars are stiff as a board and there isn't any fabric to be wrinkled. A quick press job results in wrinkles that are often hard to iron out and a look that says elementary.

While fusing sounds like a quick fix - it does have it's downside because it tends to shrink with regularity. Now you know why your shirts get tight on the neck and short in the sleeves after 6 months or so.

The ideal solution is to find a quality dry cleaner who uses a hand press to finish the focal points of a shirt, and not settle for the closest place to your home. Your clothes are an investment, one worth an extra 5 minute drive if needed.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Too Tight = Too Bad

There isn't a more surefire way to look fat, than if you stuff yourself into ill fitting clothing. It is a misconception that putting on garments a size or 2 small will make you look leaner than you actually are. Regardless of what kind of shape you are in, the truth is, that clothing that resembles a sausage casing, is actually emphasizing what you are trying to hide and is making you uncomfortable in the process.

Do the right thing and buy clothing that fits the way it is supposed to - tailored and trim, without being tight and restrictive. Clothing is much more easily taken in, than it is to let out.

So, even though it feels good to buy things that are a size or 3 smaller than your frame, remember that you live in a world with other people...... people who have to look at you. The common courtesy here is to make the experience for them as pleasing as possible. Selflessness at it's finest :)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Perfection is Imperfection

In the ongoing quest to look your best, it's important to realize (and come to grips with the fact) that your clothing will never look exactly like it does in the pages of much admired fashion magazines.....

You ask yourself how those clothes look so perfect in those pages.... The quick answer is the clothing has pins in them, the models are mostly stationary, and there is a nice tool they use called PhotoShop. Figure out a way to incorporate those elements into your day to day, and you too can have the same.

My suggestion, however, is to understand that clothing must be mobile. Like our bodies which wear it, the garments are in constant motion and adapt to whatever it is that we are doing. Fit is important, but perfection is impossible. Embrace that thought and you will stop wondering if this or that is fit just right...

Think about it: When you get fitted for a suit or any other tailored piece - you stand still infront of a mirror. You look at every little detail to make sure everything lies smooth. No wrinkles. No stitch out of place. Now, think about the last time you stood that way throughout the day - - you probably cant remember a time, because it doesn't exist!!!!

Stop wasting energy and thought on perfection and realize that if the fit is right, there must be room for imperfection - unless of course you are willing to stand still all day.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Elevator Etiquette

4 people are standing in the lobby waiting to get into the same elevator....What do you do?

Most people file in line, and are anxious to step in as quickly as possible. Those with a touch of class do the right thing; step to the side, extend their arm to make sure the door closes and wait to allow everyone else to enter before themselves.

The small principle of selflessness will go a long way and make your fellow elevator riders smile and thank you. It's a nice gesture that you can use on a daily basis to help yourself feel good and also make a nice impression on total strangers.

While you're at bold and dare to even have a brief chat once inside the friendly confines. All of the other riders will stare at their feet or look stone faced at the small monitor mounted on the wall. You chose to be be friendly....and that will reward you later in the day.

And when it's time to exit the the last one out as well. Unless there are more than 5 people and it's packed tightly. Then it's everyone for themselves.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Jumping to Conclusions

With global warming, comes the inevitability of warmer than normal days....that doesn't mean you need to rush to the section of your closet that houses the lightweight fabrics and weightless selections reserved for the truly warm weather.

It's understandable that you are aching to wear the things that haven't seen daylight in months, however, do yourself a favor and save the seasonal wear for times when they are meant to be worn. I don't subscribe to "having to wait until Labor Day or Memorial Day to wear certain styles and colors - but doing so months in advance is a bit too eager.

Use this as a rule of thumb - if you go outside and see anyone else wearing a top coat or some other winter specific outerwear probabaly should refrain from the seersucker, the white pants, the poplin suit and the loafers sans socks.....

Applause for those who have the restraint to wait for the temperatures to be consistent..... In a world full of instant gratification - you have the ability to wait until the time is right.....and nothing says timeless more than that.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Conservative Appeal

Are you in a field that requires conservative attire, but your inner personality is aching for something that says you're different? They key here is to use color tones and contrast to ensure your impactful look is doing what you intend - making a subtle statement.

If you wear basic suits in navy, charcoal and black, always wear a very light colored shirt - preferrably in baby blue or white. Make sure that there is a significant amount of contrast between the tone of your shirt and the suit color....anything remotely dark is a dead giveaway that you are a clueless chap reaching in the wrong direction.

For the tie - tone it down. Times are now calling for simplistic looks that appeal to the eye because of their subtle nature and exceptional fit. The tie is the finishing touch to a suit and you no longer need to wear a bright pink tie with 11 different colors to stand out. Consider doing the exact opposite by going with conservative power and you will stand taller than ever before.

Suggestion: Navy suit. Baby Blue shirt with white collar and white cuff. Navy solid, textured tie.

The key: Fit is everything

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Be a Shark

Spring time means you start to see more tans and taupes on the scene. More people starting to want (for the 10th year in a row, without pulling the trigger) a tan poplin summer suit to wear on Fridays or for more casual work wear.

Instead of the typical earthtone attempt, step into a lite gray sharkskin suit. It isn't the most unique thing ever, but it's a wardrobe basic that will likely work better for your skin coloring than the browns you see in stores, and, since it's a solid - you won't have any trouble pairing it with patterns or mixing it with color.

For the best look though, have it tailored with a minimal break on a plain front trouser, trim on the fit with side vents and a shorter coat length.....throw it on over a crisp white shirt, a textured solid tie and warm up to the compliments you are about to receive.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cash Transport

There are sightly and unsightly ways to carry your money around. Avoid being the guy who hauls a lump of leather stuffed with 73 cards associated with debit, credit, gift, insurance, donor, business or ID. Instead, pick the ones you use on a regular basis and organize them in a slim card holder made of fine calfskin or alligator.

Not only will it save your back from sitting on what is essentailly a boulder, but it will have you more organized and polished for the times when you need to pay for something.

On the assumption that you have cash to carry as it the old school way and put a money clip to use. Keep them separate and when the time comes when you lose your wallet - atleast it's counterpart will still be in tow.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Color Pop

Sunshine makes me think of all things happy. It brings on the anticipation of spring and the resurrection of people actually smiling instead of moping with their faces buried in their scarves.

As it relates to clothing, sunshine makes you want to put on your brighter colors and add a dash of life to your otherwise conservative clothes. Even if you're a banker - or perhaps just someone who keeps things simple - consider investing in a core piece or two this spring that will help incorporate the unexpected.

A yellow belt, a teal tie......a pink pocket square or a green blazer.....

Just do something to start having fun. With the amount of compliments you will undoubtedly receive, it's only a matter of time before you start becoming known as a dandy. Which is exactly when you revert back to your conservative days to keep em' guessing

Monday, February 22, 2010

Black Tie- Part 3

Black tie is common.....but "Navy tie?" you're on to something.

If you see a man wearing a midnight navy tuxedo, you can rest assure he is "in the know" about how to make a subtle statement without screaming for attention. The good thing about navy is that it looks darker under artificial lighting, which is most common these days for evening affairs. Black cloths have a tendancy to look a little brownish or even greenish under the same lighting, causing your most formal pieces to look dated and dusty. Navy, however, takes on a depth most desired.

In a crowd full of similarly dressed men trying to look their best, one up them with a navy tuxedo; it will fit you in with the masses while allowing to make a statement that is all your own.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Black Tie - Part 2

The question was posed: "is a vest, cummerbund or suspenders necessary?"

The truth is, "necessary" is such an awkward word and is generally irrelevant when it comes to dressing. I think "suggested" would be more appropriate, especially for this post.

When wearing black tie attire, a vest, cummerbund or suspenders are things that finish the outfit off, and are items that show attention to detail. While they are not necessary, they certainly do make it all look a bit nicer.

Let's start with the cummerbund - Originally worn for formal Indian dress, it has since made it's way into our evening clothing with style as well as function. Wear the pleats facing up, and recognize that the intention of a cummerbund is to "finish the waist" and cover your white shirt from popping through, underneath your buttons when the jacket is closed. The cummerbund is able to hide that small piece of fabric should you not be wearing your trousers high enough. Never wear a vest with a cummerbund.

A vest is something that has been popular with formal dress for quite some time, though in my opinion, the cummerbund is making it's way back into popularity because of its throwback roots. If you wear a vest, wear suspenders.

Suspenders, or braces can also be (and should be) a finishing touch put on formalwear. With the dancing and moving that generally occur in times of celebration, having something like braces to hold your trousers up will come in handy an be a welcome comfort because you wont have a belt to do the same.....right?
Whichever road you take, just be sure to include atleast one of the above....Personally, my preference is a cummerbund with a bowtie.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Tuxedo Knowledge - Part 1

A reader had asked a question about some black tie related specifics that I want to address in 3 parts. Part 1 is related to the anchor of the outfit. A detail that, if overlooked, can ruin what started as a good thing.

What's important in dressing for black tie is the consistency of the outfit. Making sure that each part works with the next and makes sense to those looking at you...because they will. What holds an outfit down, figuratively and literally, is the footwear.
A very common question is "Do I have to wear patent leather?

Really what you're saying is "I don't want to spend anymore money, can't I get away with something that I already have? Most of the time it has nothing to do with having to wear patent or not. It's just you being cheap.
The truth is, you should have footwear that is used specifically for black tie affairs. End of story. There are all kinds of formal shoes now so they don't have to be 100% patent leather if you think that looks to "shiny" (nonsense). Often times they are made of silk and patent leather. You could even wear velvet slippers (below) for those willing to be more on the forward side.
Those of you who have worn regular black leather shoes , the kind you wear to work (unless they are 1 piece leathers with zero stitching (see above pic) should be embarrassed. You might as well throw your pleated tuxedo shirt on the next time you need to wear a white shirt to work...... The point is - sack up and buy a pair of shoes to be worn only for formal events. You will appreciate having them, guaranteed.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pleats, Flat Fronts, Cuffs and Plain Bottoms

The old rules said that if you wore a pleated pant, you should have cuffs on the bottom....Conversley, if you wore a plain front or flat front trouser you should have the bottoms finished plain, without a cuff. Those rules still apply to the general masses, and I think should be followed if wearing pleats.

However, now that flat fronts are as popular as ever, you should feel free to wear them however you desire. For a range of mixture, have cuffs put on the bottom and wear them proudly. Some may question your choice, but it's only because they don't have the confidence that you do. Defend your position and my bet is that they too, will soon have a cuff on a pair of their plain fronts.

***General Cuff size guidelines***

5 foot 5 and below: 1.25" cuff
5 foot 6 to 6 foot 1: 1.5" cuff
6 foot 2 and taller: 2" cuff (demands a small or minimal break to avoid bunching at ankle)
Fashion forward (and old school/traditional), regardless of height: 2" cuff

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sweater + Button Down = BORING

You wear it because you simply don't know what else to do. At the very least it looks put together, clean, sophisticated and planned. But it also looks like every other person around you.

If you, like many, are guilty of the "button down underneath a basic v neck or crew neck sweater" pretty much anytime you go somewhere - this blog's for you. It's OK to put that look together once in a while, but if you do it with regularity and if you think others would expect seeing you dressed like that, it's time to make a change and a little more of an effort.

If you want to continue with the layered look, that's great. Go for it. But do it in a way that shows a little more flair and depth. Wear a cardigan, instead of a v-neck. Add a tie. Perhaps a pattern to the sweater. Cableknit, Argyles, Elbow Patches, zip collars, button collars....anything that adds detail to the top layer will be a refreshing change of pace for those expecting to see you in a blue stripe button down and brown cashmere sweater.

If you have a significant other, you should know she's tired of seeing you in the same old look. Don't wait for her to make the change for you. Do her a favor and mix it up on your own. You'll reap the benefits of being her best accessory......a well dressed man.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Mean Business

I never thought that something as simple as a piece of paper could make such a difference in perception. Sometimes you receive a piece of stationary, maybe a business card, etc.... you read it, get the information that's vital, and then move on.

Other times, you get the card, look at it....feel it, and think - Wow....this is nice stuff. It instantly elevates the sender or giver in your mind. It makes you think for a moment about the details and why that person cares so much.

Like anything image related, it can sometimes pay to buy up. Think about the last time you splurged on something - I bet you love it every time you use it, and haven't thought about the cost since day 1. Consider making the investment with your paper will likely pay you back multiple times over.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Easy Street

You've seen the looks in magazines if you read any of the men's periodicals. Plaid is in. It's current. It's what you are supposed to be wearing for weekends, evenings, and yes....even with your suits.

For those who are fashion "current" instead of fashion "forward"..... (meaning you like what others are wearing now and don't want to be unique), this is for you.

It can be difficult to convince yourself to walk out the door with a plaid shirt on under a suit. The pattern is dominating and can be hard to pair with ties. An easy way to cure this is to have your plaids made with a white collar and white cuff. The contrast gives an edge of crispness to your look and dresses up the often casual plaid feeling.

Give it a try and inherit a look that was meant for the woods, with new significance in the boardroom.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Remove The Tags

Some things are meant to be broken. In the world of tailored clothing, nothing fits this mantra better than vent stitches and sleeve tags. Break them, and do so immediately!

Have you ever been walking down the street and see someone with a coat on, and notice that the vent in the back of the coat is still sewn shut? Even worse, that the vent is simply "tacked" closed at the bottom, causing it to pucker? Do that person a favor and kindly suggest to them that those vents are meant to be functional, and they should remove the baste stitch. They will thank you for it, I assure you.

Along those lines, but worse is the person who is still wearing the branding tag on the left sleeve of the suit coat, or outerwear piece. They want people to know they have on "Calvin Klein" or whoever it may be.... but what they don't know is that those tags are supposed to be removed when the sleeves are shortened, lengthened or just worn for the first time.

Oh, and when you "can't use your pockets" on nice pants or suit pockets - - It isn't that those pockets don't work, it's that there is a basting stitch in there. Just open the pocket and cut one of the stitches....Those pockets are meant to be used if you choose to do so.

People appreciate being educated, so the next time you see someone in need of a tip.... let them know how it's supposed to be worn. They will be embarrassed at first but thankful later on.... and will likely pass on your words of wisdom to someone else they see committing their old mistake.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Bold with Color - Not Pattern

Dressing boldly doesn't have to mean putting on an oversized pattern in a contrasting color....instead, try doing so with off-beat splashes like purple and green (as seen in pictures). The appeal of the outfit lies in the lack of pattern. Notice that the tie, shirt and jacket are all solid with an influence of texture. They contrast greatly, but the pocket square pulls them all together.... The trouser is solid navy, which anchors the outfit and keeps the lower half subtle and under the radar.

Solids don't always have to be boring, but your mind must be willing to come up with some creative options to make them memorable. Do it right and you will be walking taller all day long.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cover Your Ass

Ever encounter someone in an unrelated industry who thinks they know more about your field of expertise than you do? That is one of the things that bothers me to no end, and I was reminded of it when someone stressed to me the importance of having his jacket length be long enough so he could "cup it" with his fingers while arms at ease. What this guy failed to recognize is that his arms are abnormally long, and doing so would result in an overall look that resembled a grown man with 10 inch legs. Not ideal.

The most important (timeless) rule for jacket length is that it be long enough to cover the curve of your seat. Accomplish that and you will be a step closer to a proper fit. The fact is, most men wear their sleeves and jackets too long which puts them a step behind in the quest to looking good.

Keep the rules simple and you'll find the art of dressing only gets easier the more you stay the course. Start with covering the curve of your seat and address your inevitable sleeve issue next.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Who Are You?

In a time when everything old is now newer than ever, we should start to reconsider a small part of individuality that is often overlooked in today's menswear. It's simple, but impactful. Small in size but large in presence. It means different things to different people....but like it or not, the monogram is on the rise......again.

The up and comers in the corporate world (25-40 year olds) seem timid to put a monogram on their shirts for the fear that they will come off as high brow and egotistical. Understandable to a certain degree, until you take a step back and think about the logic behind them. The monogram that is.

They can be placed almost anywhere on the shirt. Your decision on where to put them will also say something about you. Left or right cuff for visibility. Lower waist area for humbleness. The font can say the most about you.....certain styles say that you're peculiar, you're stuffy, you're full of yourself, you're understated, etc....Just be sure to choose the one that most accurately suits you.

The point is: monograms add an element a notch above what's common. It doesn't mean they are stuffy, it just means you care about your appearance enough to invest in something unique...and for that, we appreciate you.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Warm Legs with Taste

Living in a city where being outside (even if for a minute) is part of the routine, thinking logically about how to dress is essential for comfort and sanity. Introduce the re-popularized wool flannel trouser: it connotes a level of taste higher than your peers who wear year round wool, but also will enable you to withstand the elements of sub zero days when thighs freeze in lesser cloth.

Start with a couple of basic colors in medium gray and navy blue and wear them with everything in your closet. You are likely telling yourself that you have enough trousers already, but you don't. Like most other purchases that you procrastinated on, these additions will be another one of those things you wear often, and wonder why it took you so long to pull the trigger. Act now, and thank me later.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Stash Your Cash Properly

Believe it or not, there is a right and a wrong way to carry your wallet or money clip. If you are one of the millions of people who carry their wallet in their back pocket while wearing a suit, you should make a resolution this year to start carrying it where it is supposed to be held - - - - on the interior breast of your suit coat (on either side).

The benefit is at least 2 fold: First, if properly constructed, the jacket should eliminate the bulk of the wallet because the pocketing is meant to hold items the size of a wallet. When you stash it in your back pocket, a bulge sticks out of your rear, and that isn't ideal :) Secondly, carrying it in your jacket eliminates the potential back problems that may arise from sitting awkwardly because of an imbalance created from your wallet. There are many other reasons, but those 2 should be good enough to have you reaching in your chest instead of your ass.