There very few things like a perfectly-fitting pair of jeans on a man (the above British GQ spread of Matthew McConaughey-hey-hey is pretty good proof). And the way you have them tailored — or not — can make or break them. I recently did a jean overhaul with a client, and as we were having them tailored, I realized that even though I’ve already written about how to find a great-fitting pair of jeans, it’s also important to talk about the tailoring.
1. When shortening jeans that have any kind of distressing or detailing along the hemline, ask the tailor to re-use the original hem. That means he or she will remove the hem that’s already there, cut the jeans shorter, and then reattach the hem higher up. And you get to avoid that my-mom-hemmed-my-jeans look that distressed jeans get when they’re just folded under and hemmed normally. If your tailor doesn’t know how to do this, find another tailor.
2. Check the waist — if it gaps when you put a belt on but fits well through the seat and thighs, the waist needs to be taken in. Ideally, though, your jeans should fit well everywhere, so I’d only suggest this for jeans you already own or that are on super sale.
3. During tailoring, wear the shoes you plan on wearing most often with the jeans. That way, you and the tailor can choose the length based on that. Keep in mind that once you’ve chosen a length based on heel height, you’ll be limited to shoes with the same or similar heel height. If you have a broad range of shoe types (which hopefully you do — if not, here’s my post on the 6 essential shoes every guy should have in his closet), then not every pair of jeans is going to work with every shoe — i.e, you’ll have some that will work with flip flops and flat loafers but not with your dress shoes. So it makes sense to think ahead when having your jeans hemmed as to which shoes you’ll be wearing them most frequently with. And once you’ve decided, make sure you actually bring those shoes to the tailor when you go.
4. Taper jeans that are excessively wide-legged. Elephant leg, as we’ve discussed, is not a good look. It can make your legs look short and stumpy — not recommended! This often happens unintentionally when jeans get shortened — the tailor brings them up without realizing that the new bottom of the jeans is unflatteringly wide. So take a good look at the width of the jeans around the new hemline to see if it needs tapering. Some jeans only need a slight taper to just above the ankles, and others need it almost as high as the knee.
Do you have any tips or tricks for how you get your jeans tailored perfectly? Please share in the comments!
New Year’s resolutions are so cliché, I almost can’t stand writing about them. But the truth is, when a new year rolls around, it’s nice to take stock and see what you could start doing differently. The usual suspects here are diet and exercise, and often such resolutions are overzealous and set us up or failure. So this year I’m here to help boost you up with some totally doable style-related resolutions that will require very little of your time.
Read on for this year’s top 10 style resolutions.
1) Try one new thing with your wardrobe. It can be easy to find one thing that you’re comfortable in and that feels easy to you. But it can also be really boring! Give 2015 a fighting chance and add some sort of new element to your look — maybe it’s starting to wear more color, or swapping out your logo’d/free event t-shirts for something nicer (here’s my guide for how your t-shirt should fit).
2) Don’t shop without a plan (or on an empty stomach). The last thing you want to do when shopping is make mistake purchases. And shopping without knowing what you’re looking for — or when you’re hungry — will put you on the fast track to a shopping fail.
3) Donate anything with holes or stains that won’t come out. This one really doesn’t need explaining. I’ll just say that when you wear torn-up, crappy clothes, the message you send is that you feel torn-up and crappy about yourself. This then becomes an unfortunate vicious cycle which causes you actually to start feeling that way. (Confirm with whatever charity you’re donating to what condition they will take clothing in.)
4) Take your oversized clothes to the tailor. This is an instant, low-cost (at least compared to buying new things) option for upgrading your wardrobe. Stay tuned for an upcoming post about how to know what’s worth tailoring.
5) Think before you stink (a.k.a. avoid strong aftershaves). This one was on last year’s list, but I had to include it again. I did a lot of traveling in 2014, and one of the biggest conclusions I drew is that there’s an Old Spice epidemic in the US. Nearly every morning flight I took, I felt as if I might become asphyxiated by the scent of the man sitting next to me. Trust me, just because you can’t smell it doesn’t mean others can’t either. Ask one or two lady friends with good taste to tell you honestly if any of the product smells you’re wearing are offensive. And if the initials for any of said products are O.S., drop it like it’s hot.
6) Wear a watch. I get it, watches are no longer necessary since we all use our phones these days. But if you’re not wearing a watch, you’re missing out on an excellent opportunity to distinguish your look. Above is a serious arm party courtesy of one of my clients. You don’t need to break the bank when adding a watch to your look, however. There are plenty of good choices under $200 (including this one for $185 from Miansai). Choose something that resonates with you personally and that you’d feel good wearing — not what others would expect you to wear.
7) Make sure you have one suit that fits you like armor. Chances are, sometime in 2015 there will be a wedding, funeral, or job interview you’ll need to attend. And you’ll need a great-fitting suit for those situations — one you don’t have to think twice about. Often such events spring up out of nowhere, so it’s to your benefit to have a suit ready and waiting in your closet. And if you think you can get by with that old boxy one from ten years ago, think again. There are few things less flattering on a man than an ill-fitting suit, and there’s definitely no way to disguise a poor fit.
8) Buy flattering jeans. Most new clients I meet are in need of a jeans refresh. Even if you have a pair that was flattering when you bought them two years ago, chances are at this point they’ve stretched and faded, and it’s time to replace them. If you’ve never had a pair of jeans you feel great in, it’s time to add that to your wardrobe. Here’s my guide for how to find flattering jeans.
9) Lose the square-toed shoes. These were cool in the 90’s. But the 90’s is not now. Do yourself a favor and get them out of your closet so you aren’t tempted to wear them.
10) Take your dress shoes to the shoe guy for a cleanup and to be resoled. This is another low-cost way to refresh things, and in fact a good cobbler can make your shoes look almost new. If you don’t already have someone you use, look on Yelp or other user-review sites in your area for one with high ratings, or ask any well-dressed guys you encounter where they take theirs.
How many of the tips on this list are you able to implement? I guarantee that even if you do just 3 of them, you’ll be in great shape, and you’ll feel that much better about yourself.
Wishing you a very stylish 2015!
Just because you’re not a cowboy, doesn’t mean you should ignore the denim shirt. Sure, you can wear a denim shirt on the ranch, but you can also wear it to the office, on a date, out for dinner – just about anywhere. How rugged vs. fine the material is dictates how dressy you can take it. Also, dark rinses read fancier than light ones.
Here are 4 ways to wear a denim shirt in order from casual to dressy:
1) Weathered with pockets. Wear a different shade of denim on bottom for the optimal Canadian tuxedo. If you need help with the “downstairs” portion of the look, here’s my primer on how to find flattering jeans.
4) Dark rinse with suit and tie. For continuity, your tie should be textured, like a knit, cotton, wool or cashmere (a dressy silk won’t look right on denim). The dark buttons on this shirt make it dressier than the previous three.
Pulling off the denim shirt can be tricky, and you may not have felt confident going there in the past. But hopefully these outfit ideas inspire you to give it a shot. Denim shirts are an excellent way to add versatility to your wardrobe, and it’s a shame not to do it just because you don’t know how to pull it off. Try it, and let me know how you do!
Having good jeans is not hereditary or otherwise beyond your control. But it does take know-how and patience. The wrong jeans can send the wrong message entirely. So this is one you want to get right. Read on for the definitive Rath & Co. guide to shopping for denim.
Just about everyone looks good in a pair of inky blue, straight-leg jeans. This is the first basic pair that I recommend everyone should have. It’s timeless.
What does the perfect pair of jeans look like? Well, that depends on your physical proportions.
Note: Aside from cuts, there’s a huge variety of pocket styles among different types of denim. This is an important factor because you want to make sure that the rear pockets are not too long for your seat. For example, I’ve found that with clients 5’ 8” and under, the pockets on the 7 Standard Classic jeans are too long and end up making the client look misproportioned.
Once you’ve got the dressier dark blue rinse, you’ll want to get a more casual rinse that’s a little lighter in color (see above). These are for weekend afternoons and low-key trips to your favorite watering hole.
Another easy way to add versatility to your denim wardrobe is to introduce colors aside from blue. I’m a big fan of grey, white, off-white (the latter two especially good for warm weather; see above) and other interesting shades like red. If this appeals to you, check out Rag & Bone for an array of unique washes which change each season. Last Fall, I styled a client in a pair of burgundy AG’s and orange suede Louis Vuitton driving loafers. It was a very cool look! Note that if you go with white (a bold, confident choice), make sure you keep them spotless.
Side note: if you like the look of cuffed jeans (see “Washes and Colors” above), you can skip the hemming and roll 1.5″ cuffs.
Not to be dramatic, but please don’t be caught dead in any of the following jean-related offenses: heavily contrasting stitching, (No), obnoxiously-patterned pockets (Double No), very pronounced whiskering or distressing (feels artificial and is not slimming), boot cuts (save it for the cowboys), or black jeans (this worked for the “November Rain” video but little else).
Wash your jeans inside out to maintain the color.
In general, you get what you pay for with jeans – up to a certain point. A $50 pair of jeans from Uniqlo is a good option if you’re watching your budget, but know that they won’t last as long as a pair of Citizens, for example, that cost $175. Do the math: in some instances, it makes more sense to invest in quality up front rather than have to replace inexpensive jeans every year. All of that said, I have a client who had been talked into buying several pairs of $1K plus Louis Vuitton denim by an overzealous salesperson before he started shopping with me. Perhaps you cannot put a price on that which makes your butt look good, but really, it’s not necessary to spend more than $250-$275 to get a solid pair of jeans. Once I started shopping for that client, I found him a whole slew of denim that cost less than ¼ of what he had spent previously – and he liked them better than the super-pricey ones.
Ever wonder if you’re cool enough to rock the jean-on-jean look? Well, you are! You just need to know how to do it. The key to wearing jeans on bottom with jeans on top is to make sure each item is a distinctly different wash from the other. A fail-safe way to do this is to combine a light rinse denim top with a dark, selvedge jean. A light rinse denim top also looks clean and crispy with white jeans.
I know all of this may sound complicated, but trust me, putting a little effort into your jean shopping will go a long way. If you’d like tailored help with achieving denim excellence, contact me.
In our search for dashing rehearsal dinner options for grooms, Brian Leahy (founder of The Groom Says blog) and I start the day at Kmart and end up at Michael Andrews Bespoke. Part I of the interview (at Kmart) can be read on Brian’s blog here, and Part II (at MAB) here.
Special thanks to our gorgeous models, Alex and Adam, and to Michael Andrews Bespoke.
Images courtesy of Joanna Wilson Photography.
A lot will dictate how well you pull off your Valentine’s date look. Success depends on aligning your selection with what you’ll be doing, where and with whom. That said, here are a few ideas that will hopefully inspire you to create your own looks for whatever your Valentine’s Day plans hold. Keep in mind that the best choice for you is determined by your coloring, body type and personality, so these are meant to be broad suggestions.
Casual dinner at your neighborhood joint…
Navy blazer + thin grey cardigan (skip the top and bottom buttons) + white v-neck t-shirt + colorful pocket square + dark straight leg jeans + laceup boots
I love the addition of a thin cashmere cardigan beneath a blazer. It adds both warmth and visual interest. The colorful pocket square shows her that despite your decidedly casual look, you recognize the day’s significance.
Fancy night out…
Navy suit + lavender dress shirt + grey pocket square + brown cap-toes
This year Valentine’s Day is on a Monday, which means most likely you’re meeting her straight from work. This is the perfect excuse to wear one of your most versatile pieces: the navy suit. Pair it with a lavender shirt (points for thinking outside the white and blue shirt box), and as you leave the office lose the tie and unbutton your top two shirt buttons.
Somewhere in between…
White jeans + grey blazer + black and white plaid dress shirt + penny loafers
Contrary to what you might have been told, white jeans can (and should) be worn year-round. They’re a refreshing and sharp-looking surprise in the dead of winter, and they look terrific with black and grey. Try them without a belt for a leaner look.
And all looks are, of course, + flowers.
Brooks Brothers is offering a sweet 25% off all purchases starting tomorrow 9.23 and ending 9.27. Consider it a chance to beef up your Fall wardrobe. Below are my top picks.
BB-Levis collaboration. Opt for the darker wash in either 501 original straight leg or the 514 slim fit ($148), which runs a little narrower. Pass on the 505 regular fit. Their high rise will take you into dad jean territory — a land best left unchartered.
The Merino Zip-Front Vest ($89.50) might not exactly be a sock-knocker, but I assure you that you’ll get tons of wear out of it this season. It’s the perfect layering piece to toss on beneath a blazer on brisk days, and this shade of gray is universally flattering.
Speaking of sweaters, if you felt like upping the ante, you could check out this Black Fleece Polo Sweater ($350). I love its unexpected details: grosgrain trim on the placket, button-down collar and five buttons down the front (two more than you’d normally see). It’s all very Royal Tenenbaums.
For cold weather, you can’t go wrong with a wool necktie. Those in plaid or tweed above ($125) each are a great option. They’re seasonally appropriate, and they’ll also keep your neck warm. If you’re a pocket square lover, pair textured neckwear like this with a silk square. The contrast of textures will make the combo visually appealing.
A link to the F&F invite is below.
I dropped into the imaginative, spooky-meets-elegant menswear shop Hollander and Lexer on Atlantic Ave in Brooklyn this week just as new Fall items were being unpacked and put onto racks among a number of summer sale pieces. If you’re fighting a losing battle with the heat even at this point in the summer, I’d suggest checking the place out: they’ve got a great selection of linen, much of which is seriously marked down.
Below are a few of my favorite pieces along with a couple of looks I put together mixing and matching from Summer and Fall.
Hollander and Lexer lightweight cotton checked jacket (originally $240, now $120) with Schiesser’s supersoft henley ($140). The wide shawl collar and print on this jacket give it a really unique vibe, and the buttons on the henley lend some visual interest — as opposed to just a plain t-shirt but also without overpowering the blazer the way a graphic shirt often can.
I don’t often make it to the outer boroughs, but this trip was worth it!