Friday, January 29, 2010

Wearing a suit, in charcoal


Charcoal wool MTM, two button, single vent suit. Cotton shirt, Canali. Silk tie, Canali. Tie bar, Pierre Cardin. Belt, Coach.

About menswear, only one thing matters - the ability to be discrete. A gentleman is discrete with all things, wardrobe included. No need to flash shiny, oversized jewelry, watches. No need to strut and prance with garish colours or exaggerated cuts. A man of taste doesn't need these things - he just is.

I try to follow these principles. Am I a gentleman? I'd like to be, someday. I try to be. And being a gentleman starts with so much more than clothes. But you can't photograph morals and values, wit and intelligence. So I'll try, in the meantime,with this.

Suits are anything but a uniform. They are opportunities to send a message, no matter the setting or context in which they are worn. Material and cut, above all. I like my suits cut sharply, as I'm fairly lean. Shoulders have to fit, just so. Sleeves ending about 1 3/4 inch above the wrist - I like to see a lot of shirt cuff. Adds a touch of colour, and tightens the proportions. Too many men walk around with sleeves hanging around the middle of the palm...the jacket begins to look borrowed. Of course, 2 buttons to show more shirt, and elongate the torso. Vents for comfort.

In terms of colour, I keep it simple. Sharp contrasts, but everything has to be subtle. Light pink shirt, offset by a deep navy tie with just tiny dots to bring out the blue. Brown belt to bring out the charcoal colour of the suit. Brown shoes to match. Pressed, white linen handkerchief. I rarely, rarely, use a silk handkerchief. Gives too much of a peacock effect. White linen is sharp, clean, understated. It means that you mean business.

Did I mention being discrete? The little tie bar to keep everything in place. That's as much jewelry as you'll ever see on me. Also, pick one or the other - tie bar or lapel pin - never both.

Adjust the appropriate snarl, and you're all set.


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