You know that guy at a formal party who takes off his jacket the first chance he gets? Don’t be that guy."
Joseph Scherrer's insight:
Humorous article about "that guy" who takes off his Tuxedo jacket the first chance he gets at a black tie event.
Case in point here is the man in the photo who is the only one in a crowd of event goers at the North American auto show without his jacket on. He seems to be searching for someone...maybe it's that other guy sans jacket.
I recall going to many military balls during my time in the Air Force. We had specially made formal uniforms for the occasion that surpassed the Tuxedo in my view. The addition of braided rank, insignia, and medals made sure of that.
At any rate, there were always a group of officers who after the main program was complete and the band began to play would whip off those jackets. Unbeknownst to the crowd they had modified the backs of their formal shirts with some kind of wild fabrics. Most common were Hawaiian prints or the Texas flag (for those who were from that state).
These jacketless, wild-shirted men wanted to signal to everyone that underneath the formal exterior of the uniform that they were hard-partying rebels. Which was usually true.
In any event, if you get invited to a formal event, don't take off your Tuxedo jacket. One, it doesn't look good, and two, you're probably too old to be a hard-partying rebel.
This piece from Put This On describes the style and wardrobe of Jean-Michel Frank, a renowned French interior designer of the 20th century.
Frank specialized in minimalism based on simplicity. He was quoted as saying, "Throw out and keep throwing. Elegance means elimination."
When it came to his wardrobe, he certainly kept it simple: he had 40 of the exact same gray wool flannel suits.
The suits were double breasted with four on two buttoning and clean, straight lines. The cut complimented his slim physique and resulted in a simple elegance--which I'm sure was Frank's intent.
There is much to admire about such a simple approach. I'm not saying you should buy 40 of the exact same suit. But if you select that absolute best quality, in timeless styles, colors, fabrics, and patterns that are made by expert tailors to fit you, you don't need a massive wardrobe.
Less can indeed be more when it comes to classic style.
A visual tour of how one of the best tailoring companies in the world makes its wares.
Joseph Scherrer's insight:
This piece from Esquire takes you on a tour the workshop Cesare Attolini, a storied Neapolitan tailor.
Attolini has suit silhouettes I pine for. The lines are exquisitely refined and supremely elegant. The unsurpassed hand-crafted quality and aesthetic beauty represents the pinnacle of Neapolitan tailoring.
Read this from the Attolini web site to get an idea of what goes into making one suit:
"The executive expressiveness of chief Attolini is close to art: we need 25 to 30 hours to make a suit. Each tailor is dedicated to a single step. Cutting techniques are absolutely unique. Each sewing step is followed by a passage of ironing, followed in turn by specific periods of rest, which vary according to the characteristics of the fabric. Highly strict control of all stages, that begins with verification to receipt of textiles. Any imperfection, even microscopic, conditions the ever sought perfection. Each department manager is responsible for checking all main points of the jacket. We proceed with the intermediate testing and inspection after each phase of ironing. Then the garment stands still for several hours, for us to assess its reactions and to make any small changes. Only this thoroughness of execution and control of handmade production processes can ensure the absolute quality, which is unparalleled, and has always been a source of pride for those who produce and, even more, for those who wear garments labelled Cesare Attolini."
Enjoy the tour...if you start salivating by the time you reach the end of the slides, I won't blame you. :>)
This is the final installment of a three-part series from Men's Flair on trousers. The first two parts looked at leg width, rise, and cuffs. This last piece addresses pleats and pockets.
Much like cuffs, the subject of pleats is a partisan issue on men's style forums. Some like pleats, some don't. Some prefer reverse pleats, some forward pleats. Others like double pleats while some men swear by only one. There are even those that will have nothing but triple pleats.
And like cuffs, there is no right or wrong answer.
I will offer this about pleats though. When constructed properly, they are more comfortable to wear, especially when sitting down. The extra material around the waistline eliminates bunching of the fabric and constriction around the upper thighs.
That said, when done poorly, they can make you look overweight and dumpy.
I prefer single pleats. They're elegant and cut a good line because of the way they transition into the crease on the pants.
Forward pleats and reverse pleats create different effects. With forward pleats draping smoothly over the thighs and reverse pleats creating more of a boxy shape.
Pockets can be slanted, on the side-seam, jeans-style, or Jodhpur style. The more sophisticated is the side-seam pocket because it blends vertically with the line of the pants. Slanted pockets are perfectly fine as well. Jeans-style and Jodhpur pockets--horizontal pockets just below the waist are more casual looking. Jeans-style and Jodhpur pockets can't be put on pleated pants.
Here's are the major points of this series:
- Wear your pants with a higher rise
- Make sure the width of your trouser legs are properly fitted to the length and size of your legs
- As a general rule, pleats go with cuffs and plain front pants are better cuffless.
- Side seam pockets are the most discreet and elegant. However, slant, jeans-style, and Jodhpur pockets can also be good choices depending on the effect you want to achieve.
Just like buying a suit or sport coat, buying pants off-the-rack means all in likelihood you're sacrificing quality and fit for convenience.
Go to the store, check out the sales, buy them, throw them on, and you're good to go. If you're purchasing from the suit department in a store, you'll be able to get the cuffed and hemmed. Aside from getting the waist adjusted, that's as good as it gets as far as customization.
The other option is to get your pants custom made. In so doing, the fit, quality, longevity, and personalization will go up.
Initial cost may be slightly higher, but the over time the cost-per-wear will more than pay for itself because those department store pants will wear out faster because 1) they're machine made and 2) the cloth is not the best quality. Plus they won't look near as good.
In this second part of a 3-part series, Alexsandar Cvetkovic of Men's Flair lays out some of the finer points trouser customization. When done thoughtfully, they made all the difference in terms of fit, look, and comfort.
The first point he brings up is the rise of the pants. Nowadays, the pants rise is very low--at or below the hips. This is fine if you're young and slim, but as you fill out as the years go on, so does your waistline. In that case, a low rise simply won't do. The ideal position for your pants are right at or around your natural waist, close to your navel.
Aside from comfort, a higher rise also lends better to the aesthetics of your suit. When your jacket is buttoned, you'll get a nice transition between your jacket and pants. Instead of seeing your shirt, belt, and tie like you would with low rise pants.
The next point Alexsandar brings up is the silhouette of the trousers themselves. He makes the very valid point that most ready-made pants have way too much material in them. This extra material makes your lower torso look like a bag of donuts.
The exception is if you go for the skinny pants that are in vogue, but beware your physique and the capricious winds of fashion.
To get your silhouette correct, pay attention to the size and shape of your legs--and make sure your tailor does too. You want enough material for comfort, drape, and shape so that the pants legs falls seamlessly to your shoes.
Pants with the right silhouette will provide a nice shape to your lower torso, including your seat.
From sweatpants on airplanes to flip flops in the workplace: Have Americans taken casual dressing too far?
Joseph Scherrer's insight:
This series of short opinion pieces is must reading folks. Here's the premise for the discussion:
Have we as Americans taken casual dressing to the extreme?
When you read the short responses to the question from fashion designers, bloggers, and social observers, several themes emerge:
- Yes, we have taken it to the extreme
- Casual dressing won't go away
- It's important to pay attention to how you dress because it sends both conscious and unconscious messages about who you are
There's one response from a dot.com millenial who emphatically states that dressing too formally reinforces class distinctions and who recommends "blending in" to the situation.
I understand his egalitarian perspective.
But like it or not class and power are part of dressing and always will be.
If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you'll know that classic style means dressing in a way that enhances your individuality. You do that in a way that respects principles that have been handed down over centuries.You also adopt a style of dress that signals concretely to others something of who you are--whether you or they like it or not.
So you can stick with extreme casual and radical egalitarian dress.
Photo by Andy Julia – suits by Smalto Couture The term ”button stance” may sound complicated at first; but, in reality, vertical button stance simply describes where the waist button is positioned on a coat..."
Joseph Scherrer's insight:
This is a follow-up post the one I wrote on gorge. Parisian Gentleman covers the ins and outs of button stance pretty well.
As a I stated previously, when you combine the lapel width, gorge, and button stance of your jacket in proper proportions with your head and body, you're going to have a garment that really sings with you for a long, long time.
Per the PG article, button stance can affect two main things on a suit:
1. The shape of the V created by the lapels
2. The perceived position of your waistline
When you consider the shape of your body (there's a nice graphic depticting this in the PG piece), where you place the buttons can make your torso look shorter or longer.
Button stances can be high, natural, or low. The PG article has several excellent photos that depict the effect of button stance in lengthening or shortening the torso.
Did you ever ask youself when brown shoes for men are better than black ones & do you want to know how to wear brown shoes? Read this!
Joseph Scherrer's insight:
This one's a keep from Raphael Schneider of the ever more outstanding Gentleman's Gazette.
He covers everything you need to know about wearing brown shoes from soup to nuts. For instance:
- For over a century and change, black shoes were de rigueur for the well dressed gentleman. Primarily because that's what royalty wore.
- It's OK to wear brown shoes in town and after six (but not with formal wear).
- Today, if you're wearing a suit and a nice pair of dress shoes, you're probably going to be better dressed than most everyone around you.
- He provides a detailed wear guide for the types of shoes to use with business suits, casual suits, and sport coats/odd trousers. This section is especially informative for men who would like a reliable guide ot follow.
- If that weren't enough he discusses what kind of socks go best with various colors and types of suits and brown shoes. Lots of nice Apparel Arts illustrations provide nice supporting examples.
- He also discusses types of brown shoe leather including calf, buffalo, reindeer, alligator, lizard, ostrich, shark, and elephant hide. Each type of leather will develop a nice patina over time which lends excellent character to brown shoes.
I'm a big fan of brown shoes and really enjoy the process of matching the shade of texture of them to my suits.
I have to say though that I choose to adhere to the "no brown after six" guideline. I feel more comfortable wearing black after six because 1) it generally looks better and 2) black is a more formal color that matches better with evening events.
4 tips to select your tailor from Thomas Mahon, who himself is a bespoke tailor.
If you're going the custom route, don't underestimate this decision. Even if you decide to use a tailor who travels from city-to-city or an online company, each tailor has a particular way to approach the process of measuring, pattern making, cutting, sewing, and fitting. Some are better at it than others, but more importantly you need to figure out what's best for you.
Since you live in your clothes, make sure you trust the one who makes them for you.
Here are the four tips from Thomas Mahon:
1. Make sure if you are getting a bespoke garment, that it actually is.
2. Get to know the tailor's cutter. They have a tremendous impact on how the garments actually fit you.
3. Check to make sure that it's sewn by hand with minimal use of machines.
4. Don't be allured by brands or labels. Most custom clothing from these companies are made in factories little hand stitching.
"Discovering classic men’s style was a shock for me, and I’m pretty sure I’m not only speaking for myself here. A few simple notions and a little education on the matter is all it takes to do wonders for the image of oneself. This, in turn has, a tremendous impact on one’s self-confidence, and indeed, on one’s existence."
Joseph Scherrer's insight:
I really like the above quote from Hugo Jacomet, the suave owner of the Parisian Gentleman blog. It captures well the engaging process establishing a classic style interpretation of your own.
Through his blog, he's built up quite a following over the past few years by providing in-depth commentary, insight, and advice on dressing with classic style.
This article describes in detail--the decisions he made as he began his bespoke journey. He also includes a series of excellent photos of his suits. Jacomet is a client of Cifonelli, a prestigious bespoke altelier that's been in business since 1880.
A Cifonelli suit is characterized by distinctiveness in creativity and quality that results in the bepoke look with a personal flair.
Here is a list of the purchases he made, in order beginning in 2008 along with a bit of the logic he used to make his decisions.
1. The medium grey single-breasted suit (October 2008). "I went for medium grey, which remains in my opinion the most versatile color in existence."
2. The navy blue double-breasted suit (May 2009). "I went for a classic 6 on 2 version). This piece is rather formal, especially when compared to my first suit."
3. The houndstooth three-piece suit with a double-breasted vest (February 2010). "With this suit, I started making more sophisticated and personal stylistic choices. I decided to go for peak lapels as opposed to the more frequently seen notch lapels. My first truly personal suit."
4. The grey sport jacket with contrasted and braided lapels (May 2010). "I opted for a very stylized jacket that would be able to double as a formal jacket from time to time. With this jacket, I reached the stage where I'm in the position to refine my tastes and preferences."
5. The grey glen plaid double-breasted suit (February 2011). "Borne from a need to balance my wardrobe in terms of seasonal wear, I opted for a lighter suit, as much in terms of color as in terms of weight."
6. The blue herringbone three-piece suit with a double-breasted vest (February, 2012). "Having noticed the very positive impact that one-button coats have on my frame and silhouette, I settled on a one-button version of a three-piece suit with a double-breasted vest."
7. Light grey 6 on 1 double-breasted suit (June, 2013). "This seventh suit was a particularly personal one for me; it was the sum on my tastes and stylistic choices. With this suit, I finally have the impression that my wardrobe is at a level lofty enough to cover every possible situation in life to a satisfying degree."
8. Midnight blue formal double-breasted suit (December 2013). "I chose to reinterpret my latest double-breasted suit with a more formal twist."
This is an interesting read, especially as a way to take an inside look at how on man chose to put together his custom wardrobe.
Men increasingly wear separate jackets and trousers. It is an inevitable result of more casual office wear, and dressing down more generally."
Joseph Scherrer's insight:
This is a practical and informative piece from Simon Crompton of Permanent Style. It discusses what color pants to wear with a sport coat or blazer.
The British call contrasting jackets and pants "odd jackets" and "odd trousers." This terminology came about to distinguish from the suit. This quintessential ensemble was originally known as a "ditto suit" because the jacket and pants were made from the same fabric.
The ditto suit emerged in the latter part of the 19th century as a more casual alternative to the black frock coat and striped grey pants that professionals and businessman wore. As time went on, men began to adopt odd jackets and odd pants for casual wear as well.
Here's a summary of Crompton's piece followed by some rules of thumb to help guide your choice of odd trousers well.
- Cream: Versatile. Combines with most any jacket.
- Grey: A real staple. Grey is a neutral color that is also very flattering to most men. Also, I recommend several shades: pearl grey, light grey, mid grey, and dark grey. Reserve dark grey for Fall and Winter and pearl grey for Spring and Summer. Finally, remember that grey flannel pants are both timelessly classic and sharp looking.
- Brown: An underrated color that comes close to grey in its versatility. Like grey, you can get several shades: beige, tan, light brown, mid brown, chocolate brown, and dark brown. Works very well with navy and light grey jackets. Nice in flannel as well.
- Charcoal: Crompton likes charcoal, but it's not to my taste really. Not only is contrast reduced, but it's not as versatile in my view. Really a cold season trouser. That said, many swear by charcoal.
- Navy: Navy pants in wool as an odd trouser is surprisingly tough to pull off, although you see men wearing them all the time. Part of the reason it's tough to pull off as a separate is because the color is so dark--you need a light colored jacket to add enough contrast. The second reason is that it often looks as if you're wearing pants from your suit rather than a separate. That said, I really like navy pants with a light grey or mid grey jacket, perhaps with a light blue shirt and a spotted silk knit mid blue tie or a Repp tie.
- Green: Can be done, but really an outlier when it comes to odd pants. Green is a very country or rural color, but can be combined with grey, navy, and brown jackets with a bit of skill.
- Black: Way too dark. Black should be reserved for formal events and funerals and only in a tuxedo or suit.
Rules of Thumb:
- The key to wearing jacket and pants "separates" is to have appropriate contrast between them.
- Don't wear pants from your suits as odd trousers: Because you'll look like you're wearing your pants from your suit.
- Try to wear jackets and pants that are the same weight and thickness. This provides better balance to your look. For example: do wear heavy flannel pants with a tweed jacket, but don't wear summer weight tropical wool pants with a Donegal jacket.
- It's a good idea to mix fabric weaves. For instance, the above mentioned tweed and flannel provide a nice textural contrast and add a debonaire element to your presentation. If you combine the same weaves, it could look like you're combining the top and bottom of two of your suits.
- If your jacket is solid, it's OK for your pants to be patterned...such as a windowpane or plaid. Conversely, if your pants are solid, it's OK to wear a patterned jacket.
- Be careful about wearing jackets and pants that are both patterned. If you're going to go this route, make sure the patterns are subtle like a soft herringbone or twill. Corduroy is the exception here.
- Don't wear striped pants as odd trousers. I know that striped pants were in fashion for a while, but they look like orphaned suit pants.
- Be selective in combining different fabric types such as wool and cotton. The general rule is to wear jacket and pants fabrics of the same type such as wool/wool, cotton/cotton, and linen/linen. You'll never go wrong by doing this. However, it is possible to mix fabric types. For example, a cotton jacket with linen pants (or vice versa) can look great as can a light wool jacket with cotton chinos.
There are a lot of old chestnuts out there regarding men's clothing and one of the most egregious is "quality is remembered long after price is forgotten."
Or said another way, "if it costs more, it must be better quality and it will last longer."
As Réginald-Jérôme de Mans of A Suitable Wardrobe essentially points out, caveat emptor.
It's far better to actually know what you're buying rather than assuming the high priced fashion label is any better than something you get at your local mall.
To get some insight into the overall ruse that constitutes fashion, I urge you to read the books "Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Luster" by Dana Thomas and "The End of Fashion: How Marketing Changed the Clothing Business Forever" by Teri Agins.
The vast majority of clothing that's produced today is mass produced by machines. This includes high priced brands. Sometimes no-name and brand name clothing are produced in the same factory. Just the labels on them are different.
As de Mans states, "...price does not indicate quality...an off-the-peg shirt from Thomas Pink probably costs no more to make and is no better than a $40 or $50 shirt from Banana Republic or on permanent sale from Charles Tyrwhitt while a custom one at around the same price as Pink from Cego in New York or Courtot in Paris will blow it out of the water in every way."
In reality, "it is poor quality that is remembered long after price is forgotten."
Know what you're buying and know what constitutes quality. You'll both feel better and look better as a result.
Article about the tuxedos worn by stars at the Oscars 2014 and in the past explaining How to Wear & Not to Wear a tux.
Joseph Scherrer's insight:
Last night was the Oscars. I don't know if your personal favorite nominees won last night. But according to Sven Raphael Schneider of the ever-excellent Gentleman's Gazette, who lost were virtually all of the tuxedo clad stars who attended the ceremony.
On this point I am in full agreement.
I really didn't see anyone who really got the tux right. Except for maybe one tall, slim young man who was brought up on stage for recognition. The double breasted black jacket he wore was splendid.
The rest had jackets and pants that were ill-fitting, no cummerbunds or vests, improper shoes, pre-tied bow ties, jackets with notch lapels, and shirts without studs. I hesitate to even mention the colored shirts and "tuxedo shorts."
I understand that fashion designers use these events to build their brands and push boundaries. But what they fail to realize is that all the hard work has already been done.
The reason is that the elegant uniform that is the tuxedo has been refined to the point of near perfection over decades and thousands and thousands of events.
Black tie and white tie events are one of the few opportunities that men have to turn out wearing their very best. When a tuxedo is worn according to classic parameters nothing really looks better. Tom Ford may be the only designer out there that gets this very fundamental point. Check out some of the photos of him in a tuxedo, very classic and very stylish.
Sometimes turning out well means being true to the past--as in the case of the tuxedo--rather than pushing the boundaries of fashion sensibility.
This is the first of a two-part Men's Flair curation on men's dress pants. Men's Flair is run by Aleksandar Cvetkovic, a full time student at Oxford University. Aleksandar is a self-professed dandy who wants to build a career in the menswear industry after he graduates. With Oxford credentials, I don't think he'll have a problem doing that.
At any rate, Aleksander writes in this post about the "turn-up" or trouser cuffs.
If you've spent any amount of time on men's style sites, you'll see the subject of cuffs vs. no cuffs arises regularly.
So let me be clear straightaway: there is no "rule" for having pants cuffs or not.
For my part, I am not a huge fan of turn-ups. There are two reasons for this. First, going without cuffs has a more formal heritage and my personal style tends toward a more refined look. Second, I like more of a clean line that extends from my torso to my shoes. The horizontal line of a turn-up breaks that vertical line.Cuffless pants help keep that vertical line clean, plus it accentuates my height and build and thus contributes to the overall elegance I seek.
I don't have anything against turn-ups. I think they look just fine. However, they do have more of a country, sporting heritage. Some like cuffs because they believe the extra fold of cloth at the bottom of the pants serves to "finish" and ground the overall silhouette. I see their point, but nonetheless I choose a different approach.
In this piece, Alexsander gives a fine re-cap of the history of turn-ups. He also supplies several reasons for wearing them.
The first is because they are in fashion. Which of course is not a good reason at all to consider using them.
The second reason he provides is that turn-ups, when done well, add more shape to the trouser and help them drape better. True, but remember that your tailor can add additional fabric inside cuffless pants to help them drape. Also, the heavier the weight of the fabric the less you have to worry about drape.
The third reason is that for some body shapes, turn-ups serve to balance the proportions of the body. This is in keeping with one of our principles of classic style that goes back at least as far as Beau Brummel in the early 1800's: "aesthetic proportions." Wrapping yourself in a three-dimensional suit of clothes should enhance your proportions in a visually pleasing way.
The fourth reason is that turn-ups work better on pants that are fuller. This includes pants with pleats. Although as stated above, there is not set rule on wearing cuffs with pleats. My personal parameter is that pants with two-pleats should use cuffs, pants with one pleat you can go either way, and pants with no pleats should not have cuffs.
He goes on to give some guidelines on how the cuffs should be built.
- The cuffs should be constructed so that there is no break in the front of the pants. I disagree with this one. I always like just a slight break in the front of my pants.
- Match the height of the cuffs to the "chunkiness" of the jacket you're wearing. For instance, if it's a tweed suit, feel free to go higher with your cuffs, 2 inches or even more.
- If you're tall, higher cuffs will look better. If you're short, go with something closer to 1".
Remember that there is no right and wrong when it comes to cuffs. Keep in mind the personal style you are seeking to achieve, the proportions of your physique, and the type of fabric involved and you'll be just fine.
"This guide attempts to bridge the gap in knowledge about Sicilian tailoring by providing an introductory survey to contemporary tailors working in Sicily. It is the product of several visits in the summer of 2011, when I met about a dozen tailors in three different cities – Palermo, Catania and Messina. During the course of my visits, I ordered jackets, suits and trousers from five different tailors and at least one tailor in each of the cities covered in this guide."
Joseph Scherrer's insight:
I curated this page from Sleevehead's blog, not because I'm shilling for his e-book (I'm not), but because the narrative he wrote to accompany it is so very instructive to anyone seeking to embark on the bespoke tailoring journey.
In fact, he actually discourages people from purchasing the book, if they are not serious about what they're doing:
"My aim is to introduce the superb work of Sicilian tailors to the customer best equipped to take advantage of this special opportunity. The tailors I met are not suitable for everyone and it is critical to recognize this upfront. Otherwise, time and money will be wasted. If you happen to be an adaptable, frequent traveler and an experienced bespoke buyer, this guide may be for you."
His criteria for purchasing the book are:
- You must be a "sartorial explorer"
- You don't want to be "spoon fed" a bespoke experience
- You're a frequent traveler
- You comfortable communicating in a foreign culture
- You're adventurous
- You're not a slave to name brand fashion labels
- You have your own fabric
- You have previous bespoke experience
- You're advanced enough in your sartorial journey that you're willing to branch out an experiment with a more Neopolitan influenced style
This is a pretty stiff list of requirements that clearly is not means for a newbie. But nonetheless, I appreciate his both his candidness and the truth of what he says.
From a personal standpoint, I harbor a dream of going on a Sicilian sartorial adventure like the one Sleevehead describes. When it's time to fulfill that dream, I know just the book to buy.
There are as many varied opinions on style as there are men who wear clothes.
For some--perhaps the majority--style doesn't matter at all. For others, it's all about staying in sync with the latest fashions coming down the runway. For still others, style means what's on the rack at the department store or in the pages of GQ and Esquire.
But there is another segment of men for whom style means a certain timeless, grounded individuality.
- Where they wear the clothes and not the other way around.
- Where the clothes enhance, rather than detract from who they are and what they look like.
- Where the clothes play second fiddle to the one wearing them.
This is classic style.
I'd say Winston Chesterfield who runs the Men's Flair blog falls into this last category. In this article he writes, "If I am trendy, it is pure coincidence. I like some elements of fashion – and think it important to adopt some of the better things from contemporary clothiers wherever possible – but these choices are based on a neutral appreciation for cut and style, not worship of fashion."
He updates his style based on the best of contemporary fashion, but the cut and fit of his clothing remains pretty much the same.
That's a fundamental tenet of classic style: proper proportions subtly but surely enhance your face and physique. Once you get that right, then you can set about personalizing your look.
And that could mean adding an element of "what's in fashion now" like a pocket square, boutonniere, a tie pin, a collar bar, or a Fedora. Although the irony is that all of these elements are already part of the classic style portfolio.
You don't need to wait for fashion to "rediscover" them.
I think the two of the most misunderstood terms in suit tailoring are gorge and button stance. Oftentimes, they are thought to be one and the same, but they're not.
- The gorge is where the body of the jacket is stitched to the collar, right where the notch is in the the lapels. If the notch is closer to your collarbones, you have a high gorge which is a more fashion-forward look. Also, you'll normally see a higher gorge in suits of Italian provenance.
- Button stance is where the top lower part of the V formed by the lapels is fastened by the buttons. The higher the buttons fasten on the torso, the higher your button stance. The classic parameter for button stance is right at your natural waist just above your navel.
This article in Men's Flair provides one man's approach to gorge. He gives two examples, one suit with a high gorge and one with a low gorge.
The jacket with the higher gorge is typical of today's tightly fitted suits. A higher gorge, coupled with a slightly lower button stance can have slimming effect. Conversely, a lower gorge and a slightly higher button stance will make you look wider.
The jacket with the lower gorge is deliberately constructed with larger lapels to deliver a more dramatic effect for his "cocktail suit."
In the final analysis, if you want to look great without having to think about it, apply the classic style principle of proportion. Ensure the height of your gorge is constructed to complement the physical dimensions of your torso (long, medium, or short; wide, normal, or thin).
Match that to a properly proportioned lapel width and the height of your button stance and you will be good to go no matter which way the winds of fashion blow.
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