Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's Hip to be Square

Huey Lewis was right, it is hip to be square. Everyday when getting ready for work I spend a few extra seconds finding the right pocket square to finish off my ensemble. What it says about me is that I actually took the time to think about how I look. An unexpected pop of color to personalize my style.
 I always choose something that is interesting with a pattern, for me never a solid unless it's white.

Pocket squares come in all colors, patterns and solids. They also come in all kinds of fabrics. I usually choose something in cotton or linen with a plaid or check pattern. I love to mix patterns and textures. To pull off a pocket square you want to pick one or a  few colors that are in your coat or tie and match or contrast them. NEVER, NEVER wear a pocket square that exactly matches your tie. That is definately a rookie mistake. The other day I wore a brown corduroy suit with a purple pattern shirt, brown pattern tie and a lime green and purple plaid pocket square. Why lime green you ask, cause it was perfection.

There are many ways to fold a square and the easiest is the "flat" fold (see below) When choosing a square you want it to look like you didn't have to think about it. You wear it with confidence and splendor.

The "Flat" Pocket Square Fold 

The flat fold is also by many called the "Presidential" fold. It is one of the most classic, and also one of the easiests folds for a pocket square. The clean-cut look of this type of fold is best suited for solid color pocket squares. It is also a more formal type of fold that is a perfect fit for black tie attire consisting of tuxedo and black bow tie.

  1. Lay the pocket square on a flat surface and straighten it with your hands
  2. Fold the pocket square in the middle
  3. Fold the pocket square in. How much you want to fold in depends on how deep your breast pocket is. The pocket square should stick about 1/4 to 1/2 inches out of the pocket.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

"... don't need to be coy roy..."

I was listening to the radio the other day and I heard a Paul Simon song. As a kid I remember the line being, "...don't need to be corduroy...", but that wasn't it. It was, "...don't need to be coy roy..." .That made me realize, like the lyrics to the song, that corduroy is misunderstood. Which started me thinking about fall and all the options we have with corduroy in our wardrobe such as suits, sport coats and pants.
Most people think of corduroy being paired with a flannel shirt and desert boots. I see it as an opportunity to dress up a wool patterned sport coat. It's very country and if you pair it with the right accessories you can look quite dapper. Like a wool check sport coat in olive and burgundy with a pair of slim cut olive cords, muted color tie, brown suede vest and brown suede lace ups. You cab also try an open collared shirt, wool vest with brown chuka boots. You see a lot of this in Ralph Lauren's country collection. I think it's a great English look especially in the early fall when there is a crispness in the air and you can layer with sweaters and scarves.
I would wear a brown corduroy sport coat using the same ideas but throw in a pair of charcoal flannel trousers to dress it up a bit.
There are a couple of different types of corduroy and they need not be daunting if you follow a few simple rules:
Pin Whale: The narrower the whale the dressier the corduroy.
Wide Whale: The wider the whale the more casual the look.
You can still wear the wider whale cords with the same pattered sport coat but I would dress it down with a sweater and no tie or maybe even a bow tie for a hipsters look.

Lastly, I love a corduroy suit and I own a brown pin whale that I had made. I could wear this twice a week in the fall and winter I love it so much. The corduroy is so soft that the nap is almost like velvet. I usually wear this with a pair of brown Cole Haan derby shoes and an ecru, tiny grey and brown windowpain shirt, silk knit or wool tie.

So, like the song I heard so many times as a kid and misunderstood the lyrics, don't misunderstand corduroy.
There are so many options, dressy and casual you are missing the boat if you don't have any, cause you should.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The art of the wardrobe

Where to start? Good question. And that was the question of a new client that was sent my way a few days ago. Upon meeting my client he asked me to go thru his closet and help guide him as to... "what goes with what?" :-) He wanted to know what goes with what he already had and how often he can wear certain pieces per week. He has never had anything custom made before so I wanted to see what he did have as to not duplicate anything that he can still wear and help him compliment the existing pieces with some new additions. So, what I always like to do is start with the basics. Most guys haven't properly built their wardrobe and don't have the essentials that are needed to start building a wardrobe. It's important to have the essentials because they are the backbone of dressing well.

Some of the essentials that every man should have to start building a wardrobe are:
Navy blue suit, solid or stripe, 2 button single breasted
Grey suit, solid or stripe
Navy blue blazer, 2 button single breasted
Grey trousers, plain or pleated
Tan trousers
Black or Cognac colored shoes
Yes cognac goes with blue and grey and looks very professional in the workplace. You won't look like every other bloke in the office either. You'll look like you spent some time getting dressed in the morning. Besides eveyone wears black and you should have 2 pairs of shoes, one of each and rotate daily.
White and blue non-button down shirt
Button down shirts are less formal and if you're building a wardrobe and have limited resources I would recommend a spread collar for more formal occasions. This can be paired with the blue or grey suit. You can always wear these shirts without a tie to achieve a more casual look.

One demographic of clients that inspired me to discuss the issue of building a wardrobe are my retired military clients leaving the military and entering the private sector of non camoufloged work attire. They need direction on building a wardrobe and what it means by business casual. I like to educate them and assist them in looking professional in the workplace. Helping them understand how they can mix pieces and extend their wardrobe so they have additional outfits. One example is pairing a pinstripe suit coat with a pair of jeans for a more casual look on Fridays or the weekends. I wouldn't do this with a Jos A. Bank suit coat as it is too conservative looking in it's appearance and construction. But a suit coat from Banana Rupublic or one from Eric Finn would work perfectly. It's softer in its construction and the fabrics lend itself to go both ways.

Building a wardrobe isn't that difficult, you only need a few key pieces and you don't have to break the bank to get started. You just have to purchase the essentials and then build around them.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Whole Foods/

So we've decided to start a blog and what inspired me to do this was a visit to my local Whole Foods. I was standing in line the other day, day dreaming and looking at the pretty girls when I noticed a man standing in the line next to me in an ill fitting suit. I thought to myself did he really care about how he looked? The coat looked like a sack and the pants looked like a parachute. I was just curious so I asked him nicely where he had purchased his suit. He said that he got it at a local retailer, one of the shops that advertises every week, buy one get one kinda place. I asked him why he chose them and he said, well, my father shopped there. Now I love my dad and he was a pretty good dresser in his day but I wouldn't shop where he shopped if it didn't fit my personality or personal style. I started thinking don't we owe it to ourselves to look good when we go to work or even go anywhere. Is it really that difficult to take some time to be well dressed. A suit is not a uniform and shouldn't be treated that way. It's an expression of your personality. If you want to wear a uniform everyday you should have entered the military. Well dressed doesn't mean you have to spend thousands of dollars on clothing. What it does mean is your clothes should fit you properly. And that takes me back to the guy in Whole Foods. I'm just curious how the guy/gal at the local retailer he bought his suit from was dressed? When I have shopped for myself or for clients I always look for someone who looks like he spent some time on his wardrobe getting dressed in the morning.

Now I sell custom made clothes and I'm judged on how I look and how my clothes fit, I would never want one of my clients to walk out in an ill fitting suit. I take pride in the way I dress and how my clients look in an Eric Finn suit as should everyone. I'm not saying you have to buy custom clothing to get a good fitting suit. Off the rack suits can fit properly with a little attention to detail and alterations.


Suit coat:
The coat should fit on the shoulder and not extend out over the arm. Sleeves should finish at the break of the wrist to show about a quarter inch of shirt cuff. The length of the coat should cover your seat and the sides of the suit should be a bit tapered to show your sillouette. A 2 button suit is a classic and usually looks good on most body types.

A suit pant is not a pair of jeans and are to be worn on your waist not your hips. They should be a tailored fit, not a parachute looking for the next gust of wind to bring you to a gentle landing. You can wear pleated or plain front but they should fit you properly. Not all men look good in pleats so try on a few before you decide what looks good. Some retailers offer seperates that have both styles.The seat should be altered to fit your bum and the length should have a slight break at the very least, no high waters, most of us aren't Thom Browne and we should keep it that way.

Now these are just some basics that should keep you from looking like the guy at the Whole Foods.

I don't want to use our blog to sell you on why you need custom clothing. I want it to be a place to find informative info on clothing, how to dress and what is going on in fashion. If you have questions about what to wear or how to wear it don't hesitate to contact us. There is never a dumb question.

If you are considering having something custom made feel free to contact us. Our web address is,