The popularity of made-to-measure suit offerings has exploded, and while this is great news for leading more men down the rabbit hole of custom tailoring, there are simply too many confusing options that are riddled with misleading information. Made-to-measure isn’t ready-to-wear (RTW) and it isn’t bespoke; it sits somewhere in between, although I would argue closer on the spectrum to RTW.
The appeal is easy to see; for a slight price markup, the customer gets to choose from a vast selection of options including fabric, lining, pockets, lapels, buttons, stitching, trouser details, monograms and so on. For the suit maker, its offers a chance to leverage the existing supply chain and entice more customers with the allure of “personalization” to sell more suits slightly above full price – a win-win situation no doubt.
So in the interest of investing your tailoring money wisely, here are my top tips for going made-to-measure:
Anyone sensible should be cautious of a particular style when it becomes popularized, especially when celebrities jump on the band wagon. There are of course times when innovative ideas and approaches are catalysts for enriched culture and long lasting improvements – maybe even cementing themselves as milestones in fashion history. Consider the evolution of the Trench coat from its practical roots, or how a request for a shorter informal jacket by the Prince of Whales led the storied Savile Row tailor Henry Poole to invent the dinner jacket. Naturally the polar opposite of the spectrum would include perverse atrocities like parachute pants or the infamous “garbage bag” suit cut from the 90s; we can hang on to these for future photo album entertainment. One trend. This brings us to the point of this article, which is tonal dressing and what kind of trend it will turn out to be.
If the essence of Autumn style is dominated by subdued earthy tones and heavier textures, then shift into Spring and it’s all about brightening up your look with vibrant colours, striking patterns and lightweight fabrics. Chances are that by the time the sun comes out to shine, you’ll be itching to lighten things up.
I will be the first to admit that when I started seeing suits combined with sneakers I was a little slow to embrace the concept. Maybe the side of me that’s occasionally a bit over zealous when it comes to respecting the traditions of classic menswear raised alarms. But as we age, and hopefully become more in tune with how we express ourselves through clothing, I think we loosen up a bit and yearn for new ways to explore and individualize our style. Likewise, the last few years I’ve brushed aside some of those old stuffy pretenses and become a bit more easy going.
Everyone likes a good boot and with Spring on the horizon, now might be the right time to pick up a new pair with end of season sales. I think that it’s safe to suggest that boots occupy a special place in the hearts of those with a deep shoe obsession. Among the most dedicated shoe aficionados, developing a profound fondness for boots – or maybe addiction is a better word – is perfectly natural. As one becomes enlightened and learns to invest in attractive quality shoes, building a top notch boot collection will eventually become the foundation of your fall/winter wardrobe.
Scarves are one of those things that I wish I could convince more men to take advantage of, especially on this side of the pond. Not only can a scarf sharpen almost any ensemble, they are always reliable when it comes to locking in heat; I wouldn't dream of braving a snow storm without the embrace of some plush cashmere around my neck. Perhaps what turns men off of scarves is the popularity amongst women wearing them in so many settings, creating some illusion of femininity. Or maybe the fact that you don't see very many men rocking silk summer scarves is good evidence that we just don’t bother with things that aren’t completely necessary.
If sartorial history tells us anything it’s that dressing up a few hundred years ago must have been a lot easier. Not a lot of creativity was required when there were rules to dictate that a gentleman was to wear white tie to dinner, and so on. However, around the mid 17th century marked a major change when King Charles II actually imposed a subtler less conspicuous dress code for noblemen of the court, which started an evolution of men’s fashion toward a more common one size fits all uniform. This was the lounge suit, or the modern business suit as we know it today, which arrived in the late 1800s as the default casual garment for the upper class and formal attire for the lower class. It slowly replaced the casual but stuffy Victorian morning dress of tailcoats, which are still common today in British weddings.
Winter can be cruel. Take for example, those days when your plans for shoe game supremacy are thwarted when you wake up to a blanket of snow. But as we know, a well-prepared gent always has a plan B, which in this case means investing in the right pair of boots as a backup. When it comes to surviving the frosty months, and I mean survival of your shoes, salt is enemy number one. Everyone enjoys a well-brined holiday turkey but the stuff really does wreak havoc on leather – combined with water and it’s even worse. Choosing the right pair of boots will not only spare your finer shoes from the corrosive destructive power of salt, but can keep you looking stylish in the snow. So here is some advice on what to look for in picking the right boots to survive the winter, some boot care tips to get rid of salt, and my recommendations for buying options.
You got your fresh new haircut, confirmed the dinner reservation and maybe even picked up some flowers. Yep, you have a date with someone special, and hopefully didn’t neglect the most important detail: what to wear? Sure, lots of men will tell you, “Oh she doesn’t care how I dress”, but rest assured she does. Sticking with the same old jeans and collared shirt is an easy and lazy habit to fall victim to. Fortunately, I have three foolproof strategies below that are sure to ease the process and guarantee some special attention.
The swift resurgence of the outdoor vest in the last few years is a nice reminder of the many ways it can upgrade to your winter style arsenal. Bundling up the torso with lightweight warmth while still allowing for uninhibited arms is an easy sell – who needs sleeves after all? The vest has become one of my favorite cold weather staples not only because of its versatility, but they happen to pair surprisingly well with sport coats and suits making them a great layering option. Among its advantages is how the vest eliminates the fit issues in the upper arm/shoulder area when squeezing a coat over a suit.