In the past year, the menswear community has really begun to feel the tides change from “slim is in” to “relaxed fit is right,” i.e. the classic “shape vs. drape” argument. I’m sure this will ultimately pass through the median “classic” point and head to the other side of the spectrum, as it always does. It is as if the menswear community is constantly trying to recover from the previous extreme, and in doing so enjoys a brief moment of classic proportions before heading into the opposite camp (or perhaps that is just my own personal experience). This pendulum behavior seems perfectly natural, and is quite nice in brief moments like these where both skinny and wide ties are passé, trouser legs are moderate in size, and the pleat/no pleat argument is a matter of taste, not some sort of ultimatum. However, it is in these instances that I feel most strongly that “classic” style can’t be unanimously described in inches of tie, lapel and trouser fabric. In my mind classic style is one part historical and one part what looks right on you. I’ve put together this look as my nod toward classic proportions, while acknowledging my own body type and personal preferences.
Some hard numbers: 3” jacket lapels, 3.25” tie, 8” trouser leg opening (slight break, classic rise, mild taper), classic-leaning (butt-covering) 29” jacket length. Nothing skinny here - except for me, of course.
Shirt - Proper Cloth | Tie - Vintage Polo RL (ebay) | Blazer - Part of a suit - Thick as Thieves | Flannel trousers - Howard Yount | Shoes: Sid Mashburn (ebay) | Pocket Square - The Tie Bar
Hank, No Tie
Hard-line traditionalists may wince, but I think a sport coat with no tie is a perfectly acceptable look. A nice one, even. In fact, when going out to a restaurant or bar, I’ll often wear a sport coat with woolen trousers and a nice shirt, but forgo the tie. This kind of ensemble is especially good in areas of the world where a necktie – no matter how casual – is still seen as somewhat of a formal statement (I’m looking at you, Bay Area).
If you decide to go tieless, I recommend at least wearing a pocket square. Not doing so can leave the look a bit unfinished. Something made out of a matte wool or linen will do better than a shiny, wet silk. The latter will have a sheen that may be too distracting when there’s no tie to counterbalance it. You might also want to tamp the square down a bit, so that it’s not sticking up too high into the air. I don’t think pocket squares should ever look too loud, but this may be even more important if you’re just wearing a square alone.
For your shirt, stick to solid light blues, or something like the soft pink that Alan Flusser is seen wearing above. Both are considered more casual than a solid white. For something even more causal still, consider shirts with stripes or checks (such as tattersalls, graph checks, or ginghams). Remember, the bolder the pattern, the more casual the shirt is considered. This kind of combination – a casual shirt and sport coat, worn with a hank, but no tie – will allow you to look sharp, but also well suited to certain casual environments.
Polo Fall 2012
Ease into the colder months with a unique mix of luxurious layers, rugged sportswear and perfectly tailored suits.
Grey Flannels, available at No.3 Clifford Street.