Monthly Archives: May 2010

Hot Summer, Cool Vests

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My cousin who works in A&R in the music industry sent me the above picture of his stylish self in the audience of the American Idol finale a few nights ago (it’s a family quirk, taking pictures of the tv). He’s rocking a sharp-looking Michael Andrews Bespoke vest, an old off-the-rack shirt that he had tailored to fit, and Persol shades as neckwear. The vest is made of lightweight wool and cost about $300. Check out how perfectly it fits him and the spirited lining in the images below.

Bespoke refers to clothing made to a person’s exact specifications and involves the creation of a unique pattern for each customer, which why is the fit is so dead-on.

“No one can see it. It’s like I’m carrying around a little secret.”

Cousin or no, I love the look of a guy in a vest, particularly when it’s worn with confidence. They’re actually very slimming the way they pull the midsection in when fitted correctly. As the Sartorialist says, guys might wear vests more often if they calculated how many extra beers they could drink without looking fuller in the waistline, by just pulling in their guts with a vest. And just because temperatures are rising, you don’t have to abandon this smart look. For hot weather, it’s all about fabric and light colors. A white cotton long sleeve shirt will always be cooler than one that’s black, rayon and short-sleeved. Natural fibers like cotton, linen and wool (tropical weight for summer) draw heat away from the body, keeping your temperature down, and light colors don’t attract heat. And if you’re ditching your blazer in favor of a vest…well, more points for the vest when trying to beat the heat.

With that in mind, I selected a couple lightweight vest options that work for summertime and fit within other price ranges. The nailhead vest from Billy Reid below is made of 100% cotton, has whalebone buttons and runs $245.

The shrimper boat lining is a cool down-home touch.

And here it is styled with the Orleans shirt ($165).

For those seeking lower price points, J. Crew has an Irish linen vest ($88) that will keep you cool as a cucumber on summery days. Try the british khaki if your coloring is warm.

Or the grey if you’re cool.

So this Memorial Day weekend, go on, crack open a cold one, and vest it up for summer.

A Winning Combination: Blue Stripe Shirt & Purple Tie

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I have always appreciated Brian Williams’ style, and this shirt and tie combo is no exception. What works in particular for me is the use of an analogous color scheme – i.e., colors that appear adjacent to each other on a color wheel, in this case blue and violet. (A color wheel is a circular diagram of the spectrum used to show the relationships between the colors, as seen below.)

Analogous color schemes are often found in nature and are harmonious because the colors involved are closely related. Beyond that, this combination strikes me as pleasing because the base color is blue, which conveys peace and order — a feeling I rarely get watching the news these days (so thank you for that, Brian Williams!). The Bengal stripes lend a casual air to the look, but the dark suit and solid tie ground it with a bit of formality. In addition, this pairing is fresh and eye-catching because, while it is harmonious, the violet-light blue shirt and tie pairing is somewhat unexpected.

For those looking to recreate this look, I found some similar options. For shirts:

from Canali ($200), Hickey Freeman ($117) and Nordstrom ($59.50) in descending order of wallet-busting. And for ties I like the violet chevron-textured one from Michael Kors ($85) atop the pile below,

Sam Hober’s Purple Oxford Silk ($80 but sadly out of stock at the moment),

or, for something with texture, try Sam Hober’s silk grenadine ($80).

Side note: in researching Brian Williams’ style for this post, I stumbled across a blog entitled “The Brian Williams Tie Report Archives,” dedicated to nothing other than painstakingly archiving the neck wear worn by America’s most trusted voice in evening news. This blog isn’t the strangest thing I’ve ever seen on the internet, but it’s close enough for rock n’ roll. In spite of that, I gotta say it’s a relief knowing I’m not the only one who watches the news mostly just to scope out what the anchors are wearing.

Rathie Spies: Façonnable Leather Jacket Sale Alert

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I ducked into Façonnable out of yesterday’s rainstorm and was greeted by the chocolate brown gaze of this devastatingly handsome goatskin leather jacket.

Yes, at $1295 (30% off $1800), it’s a long-term investment, but this jacket is the kind of timeless piece that will improve with age and last a lifetime. I like the patch pockets and matte finish gold snaps, but the best part about it is the buttery soft leather.

When buying a leather jacket like this one, the most important part is fit. You can’t alter leather without paying an arm and a leg, which you’re probably not going to be in the mood for after spending your Friday paycheck on something like this. So make sure it fits trim to the body, particularly in the shoulders and under the arms, and that the sleeves hit right at the base of your wrists and no lower.

Jacket can be found at Façonnable, 636 5th Ave at 51st street, NYC, 212.319.0111.

How to Wear Plaid for Summer If You’re Not a Lumberjack

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Designers have plaid flannel-ed us silly over the past few seasons, and the trend doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. Plaid itself is a timeless pattern, although it’s understandable for one to call me biased given the tartan background of my website. If you’re not engaged in the chopping down of trees but are wondering how to wear this style in a subtle, non-grunge trend way, I suggest trying a plaid silk necktie in a traditional width, 3 to 3.5 inches. The sheen of the silk feels fresh in contrast to the near ubiquitous plaid in duller fabrics like flannel and cotton. If you wear it in this way, you’ll be referencing the style ever so slightly, but because you aren’t diving head first into it, or combining it with other trends like skinny tie width, these pieces will still feel current for years to come. Above are a few of my favorite choices for Summer. From left to right: Drakes $135, Fairfax $130, Etro $155, Fairfax $130, Drakes $135. All from Barneys New York.

Ready, Aim, Fire: Gieves & Hawkes Buckshot Oxfords on Ebay

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Spotted on eBay are these rare, handsome cap toes from Gieves & Hawkes. The randomly scattered perforations are the calculated answer to what happens when you fire rock salt at your shoes from a side-by-side Purdey game gun. A spirited choice, these killer kicks will bring some life to a calm outfit. This pair is a size 13 US and a rich, dark brown leather. Bidding starts at $279 and ends May 9, at 9:35 AM PST. They retail for $435.

Thank You Ramen & Friends!

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Many thanks to the lovely Yoshie over at Ramen & Friends for my q&a session.  If you’d like to learn a little more about me, Rath & Co., and what to wear on a hot date, check it out