Albam and bespoke: Where trousers should sit

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The Albam chinos
The matter of just an inch can make the difference between trousers that function – are comfortable, stay up, retain shirting – and those that do not. Some casual-trouser manufacturers have got this right, but precious few. And with formal trousers, retaining a good fit can be achieved through a slightly different buckle position.

How to contrast textures

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Four rough-textured items, balanced with one smooth
A lot of the old school tailors operating in the west end of London wear cream silk handkerchiefs in their breast pocket. This is rather contra to the consensus that linen or cotton is best with a business suit, as the matte surface contrasts with the smooth texture of a silk necktie. I am part of that consensus in one respect: I don’t like cream silk handkerchiefs,...

6 Sports Dandies: the Most Foppish Athletes Ever

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Flying Fops
In the macho world of sports these preening princes of the sports courts and athletic fields stand out. Concerned as much about sartorial style as box scores, these "styletes" are just as likely to be primping in front of the mirror as hitting the practice field.

The problem with black

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Not exactly sophisticated
Apparently the French wear a lot of black suits; I’ve never been there long enough to verify it. Last week, someone commented to me on my blog that a black tie was an essential for every man’s wardrobe; he claimed it went with everything. It appears and the French are rather misguided when it comes to colour.

Consider Moleskin

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Snapshot 2010-08-06 16-27-48
For those concerned with the associations created by particular garments, casual jackets can be a nightmare. Corduroy is for professors, tweed for grandparents and leather for wannabe greaseballs. A Harrington jacket screams mod (or rebel lacking a cause), denim is the eighties and suede looks like it should have cowboy tassels. And even the most sartorially ignorant know...

The density of pattern

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A combination with similar densities that just about works, by varying the pattern
One of the first things a man needs to know to dress well in a suit, shirt and tie is how to combine patterns. Colour is more complicated, a little more instinctive and comes later. Guidelines like ‘match your socks to your suit trousers’ can be spelt out as simply as that. But pattern matching takes a little explanation.

These are a few of my favourite things

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And number six is my Globe-Trotter suitcase
Don’t worry, they’re not brown paper parcels tied up with string, but jackets and monks and ties and hanks. A friend asked me recently what were the items of clothing I most treasured, that had served me well and grown better with age. So here are a few. 1. Edward Green Oundles For those not that familiar with the Edward Green oeuvre (shame on you), the Oundle is a monk-strap shoe...

An experiment in grey flannel

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I'm not sure he would have worn this grey flannel suit
It’s easy to be theoretical with posts. Let’s take a practical example and I’ll explain what I think I got wrong and right with one particular suit commission.

A position on turn-ups

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Trouser turn-ups tweed
I’ve gradually warmed to turn-ups, or cuffs, on trousers over the past few years. As a guy growing up, they were an anachronism: an outdated fashion, a sign of second-hand clothes and yesterday’s generation. But my opinions changed recently for two reasons, one temporary and one permanent. You should obviously take more notice of the second.

Buckle rather than belt

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Aren't belts pretty? Such a shame. (Image couresy of Lodger)
In my last post on side buckles, side straps or whatever you want to call them, I made rather a presumption: that you would not be wearing your trousers with a belt. These are my reasons for that assumption.

The virtues of a side strap

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Trousers side strap
They have many names – I’ve yet to here one used consistently in any area of tailoring. But the side fastener, side strap, side tab, side buckle or strap and buckle, whichever name you use, creates an amazing sense of freedom once you have them on your trousers.

On summer trousers

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The cloth for my jacket, from the Sandringham bunch
I just realised that in my previous post this week, on summer jackets, I neglected to mention what I own and what I am having made. I assume they might be useful examples.

Junya Watanabe S/S 2011

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Junya W SS 2010 01-horz
If you can zip past the heavy mustaches in Junya Watanabe's spring/summer 2011 presentation, you'll find a refreshing collection of perfect pieces, complete with a light color palette and heavy representation of nautical stripes in black and white. Vaguely Parisian and awfully dapper, this is one seamless show that looks like it could be found in a Manet, preferably set in the park. [via fashion...

On summer jackets

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All of the Minnis Frescos can be seen on the Huddersfield Fine Worsteds site
It’s not easy wearing a jacket in the summer. Even if there’s air conditioning in your home/office/restaurant, it often feels too hot to wear anything as encompassing as a jacket outside and feels a little silly to only put the jacket on when you’re inside.

It's the little things

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At the wedding, with my two-year-old daughter
I went to a wedding last week. A cousin of mine was getting married at a big house out in Dorset, in the south of England. There was no dress code specified, except for the social understanding that everyone would be smart; and the presumption that only the wedding party, if anyone, would be wearing morning dress.

Narrow shorts should be short

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American Apparel advertising
I freely admit that casual clothes are not my speciality. There’s less to know, really, than about tailoring and formal dress, and it’s easier to do to a passable level. The areas that are saturated with insider knowledge, like denim and trainers, have never held that much appeal for me. Too far removed from tailoring. Too hard to combine well with a good blazer.

It's there in his socks

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Importantly, these Drake's socks are navy, not black
I’ve never lived in the US for long enough to know whether this rules applies there, or indeed anywhere else in the world, but in the City of London it is infallible: if you want to know whether a man gives a damn about his clothes, look at his socks.

Shoes’ sliding scale of formality

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My Oundles. Not exactly casual and chunky
  There are four main categories of shoe – Oxford, Derby, Monk and Slip-on – and that is usually the order in which they are considered to fall in terms of formality. A lace-up Oxford, usually cleaner and sleeker than a Derby, is the most formal of the bunch, while a casual Slip-on, which can be discarded at a moment’s notice, is the least. It’s not a bad general scheme to start...

How to make a jacket more casual

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The myriad of buttons at Duttons, York (UK)
One of the great blights of this age is the wearing of a suit jacket in the place of a sports coat. To those out there doing it, who feel they’ve got away with something clever and extended the life of that Paul Smith suit where the trousers wore through – you haven’t, it isn’t and everybody notices. It’s obviously a suit jacket. That is obvious and objective. It also looks terrible....

Let's all pray for the fourth Oxford

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Turnbull and Asser logo
Yes, the Oxford button-down. OBD to its friends. Of such iconic importance in the American style lexicon that I almost fear for expressing my opinions on the subject, such might be the rage they would invoke. But I jest. I love the Oxford. I just have some experience about the collar that I wish to pass on to anyone out there considering bespeaking one.