Happy Father’s Day

If you have “sartorialness” in your blood, you can probably thank your dad, grandpa, your favorite uncle and all those important men in your life. After all, we all know, eventually what we follow are the actions of our father, not his advice! This Father’s Day, remember to thank dad for always leaving the house looking like the respectable man you now are.

You could start by thanking dads everywhere this way…

For those of you with a dad of impeccable taste, the gift of custom clothes is always the perfect choice! To magnify the experience, think of something that can make it even more memorable, like a jacket with the colors of his favorite football team, or get sappy and add a know to a custom shirt that reads “so that I’m always close to your heart” (this last one will earn you major points if you have been playing black sheep for a while).

Now, we know we all have different dads, so here are some gift ideas for some of the most difficult-to-buy-for of them! Happy Father’s Day!

The Cooking Dad.

Maverick Ready-Check Remote Cooking Thermometer & Timer

Dinner’s ready! Know when your meats are perfectly cooked with this remote-controlled thermometer. Its wireless transmitter works from up to 100 feet away, so he can mingle and enjoy the cookout, too!

http://www.maverickhousewares.com/et72.htm

While you’re at it, help him brand his masterpiece…

BBQ Branding Iron

This stainless steel branding iron is the perfect finishing touch for a steak “well done.” Just place the face of the iron on hot coals and brand a steak minutes before serving. The iron is personalized with any three initials.

http://gifts.personalcreations.com/productdetail.aspx?cobrand=PCR&pid=30028970&ssid=4&REF=PCRFeedGiftscom&mr:referralID=c75d803a-b64c-11e1-ac63-001b2166c2c0

The Adventurous Dad

Adventure Gifts

Cloud 9 Living offers 1,700+ adventure gifts. With experiences ranging from rock climbing, whitewater rafting and mountain biking to stock car racing, hang gliding and scenic helicopter and plane tours.

http://www.cloud9living.com/action-and-adventure?utm_source=gifts.com_geo_feed&utm_medium=cpc&utm_content=National&utm_campaign=Adventure_Packages

Mr. Dad

Trunk-it Golf Gear Case

What a mess, 500 tees everywhere. Good to see my four-dozen Pro V1s rolling around! Whoops, there’s only one shoe back here… And where is my sunblock?! Ever roll into the parking lot with this scene unfolding? This beauty can easily organize this messy situation.

The Geek Dad

X Cooper Wireless Game Rocker Chair

Sit comfortably for hours playing your favorite video games on the X Cooper Wireless Game Chair. The chair’s design lets you tilt and swivel as you play, and because it’s wireless, you can move it into a position for optimal viewing. This durable vinyl chair features armrests that fold up for convenience, and speakers inside the chair to give you the full sensory experience.

http://www.hayneedle.com/sale/xcooperwirelessgamechair2.cfm?source=gifts_hayneedle&mr:referralID=6faeb6de-b650-11e1-8e16-001b2166becc

The Sports Fan Dad

Microbrew of the Month Club

Gift recipients receive 12 bottles of premium microbrews (4 different kinds) every month from award-winning breweries nationwide. Did someone say “game day”?

http://www.amazingbeerclub.com/product3.cfm?utm_source=GIFTSCOM&utm_medium=CPC&utm_campaign=AC-BEER&utm_content=PRODUCTAD&utm_term=BEER-

The Dad Who Has it All

No worries, add to his collection, then!

The Rolex Sky-Dweller Watch should do the trick. This unique timepiece features an inner ring that keeps track of the time at home, with traditional hour, minute, and second hands for local time, an advanced date function that knows the difference between 30 and 31-day months, and a ring command bezel that lets you quickly and easily choose.

Dress to Impress at the Derby

Oh, Mr.  Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr…  Your 1872 trip to England introduced us to a fantastic sport that is as fashionable as it is grand.  The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports, as they refer to it these days, as if you ever dreamed it to one day be this big.  Sir, thank you!

Everything is grand on this famous first Saturday of May.  The hats.  The tickets (if you haven’t inherited a Derby box from grandpa, it can be a very expensive pleasure, with tickets ranging from $655 at the Grand Stand Section to $11,592 at the Clubhouse Box near the finish line).  The Thoroughbred industry is a large agribusiness, generating around $34 billion in revenue annually in the U.S.  Even the prominent blanket of red roses is grand (all 554 of them).

An event of this magnitude comes with a fantastic and celebrated dress code.  You know we love this type of gathering.  So read on, this is your guide for Kentucky Derby Fashion and Southern style that is traditional, which means pretty preppy!

The Derby is one of the few times that gentlemen can dress up and stand out more than the ladies.  Classic styles of seersucker and linen are nothing to miss, but this year, men have the chance to really turn some heads thanks to the fantastic color pants trend that is the staple of this spring season.  Pair them with a gorgeous plaid jacket and gorgeous accessories and it should land you in the winners circle!

Here is what you must have…

Seersucker suit

White Crisp Shirt, off the press, preferably.

Some of our favorite white shirtings, priced upon request.

Tie/Bow tie.  Remember, this is one of the very few times you will be actually encouraged to wear something festive, so go for it.  Just keep it on the preppy side, not the crazy side.  And if you really want to get into the spirit, go for a needlepoint belt.

Shoes. Wing-tipped two-tones are a must.  We really love these Fratelli Rosetti ones!

Fratelli Rosetti two-tone leather in brown and white creates a classic Oxford style shoe for a sleek country club look, accentuated by a brogued wingtip design at the toe.

Now that you are all suited up, you can enjoy the “alpha” of horse races in the U.S.  The excitement of this event is palpable, believe us.  We can’t quite decide if we want to grab a mint julep with “El Padrino” before joining “My Adonis” for burgoo dinner first, or to make the most “Optimizer” time management move ever, so that we have time to meet the “Gemologist” and discuss that big sparkle before we are “Done Talking.”  “I’ll Grab Another” Mint Julep, party all night and celebrate the unofficial beginning of the ever so preppy Seersucker season!  Confused?  You won’t be after a day at the races!

FYI…

“Interestingly, most publications focus on the hats that women are wearing to multi-million dollar horse races, but there is an exception.  This year, at the Dubai World Cup, their Style Stakes contests included a category for ‘Best Dressed Man’.”

Music to our ears, my fellow sartorialist, we are taking over the world, again!  To that, another mint julep!  Cheers!

Spring Portfolio

A sartorial guy could never be happier.  Men’s fashion is at its peak, but with so many choices it can be at bit overwhelming.  Unless you are a Hollywood actor, a jet setter or a royal with his own stylist, read on!

Jealous yet?

The forecast is bright and bold with scattered sensitivity (dusty pastel colors) with extra style (accessorize, accessorize; we spotted even day cravats and velvet Prince Alberts).  So, for now, put your fedoras, too-tight jeans and picked pocket squares away, and forever put away designer logo belts, leather car coats, and, most definitely, square-toe shoes, hallelujah!

The fellow on the right may have taken it a BIT too far...

To start, you know spring brings beautiful, almost perfect weather, and lots of blooming, which requires lots of showers.  Dress amazingly even under wet conditions.  Our pick?  The perfect spring jacket is water-resistant.  Pick one in a bright shade for an A+ grade!

Suede shoes in grey! Pair with bright colors or revamp your old black suit, but they will most definitely be BFF with your dusty pastels.

Gather all your swag! Bright color jeans are huge this season!

The boat shoe! In its latest edition, think breaking country club rules in bright colors/patterns.

Dress shoes with too much attitude: the last element of your power suit, for sure!

Fantastic pocket squares? A+ (in a puff fold, obviously)

And last but never the least, yes, dear Mr. Sun, we are Ready. Tortoise shell sunglasses!

Once Upon a Time….

Atlantic City, January 1920…  The Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibited the manufacturing, sale and consumption of alcohol and, in the process, gave rise to a new wave of organized crime led by “gentlemen” wearing luxurious, impeccably accessorized wardrobes…  The Roaring Twenties, improbably, a platform of men’s fashion today!

For those with a flair for fashion and not really amazed by most popular TV shows nowadays, following the life of a historical sartorialist is pure eye candy.  Add sex, gangsters, dandies, revelers, moonshine runners, gunplay and racketeering, and you have an exceptional show: “Boardwalk Empire.”

As you can tell by now, we are obsessed with clothing…  Custom clothing, to be exact.  And immediately after watching the first show, we knew Sir Thompson was one of us.  Praise is due to John Dunn, custom designer of the show’s suits, for transporting us back in time.  A time that experienced probably the most changes in everyday life, especially fashion, that, with help of technological development, facilitated the introduction of new fabrics and closures.  Natural fabrics like cotton and wool were the most predominant of the era, with silk still being highly desirable and still yet highly unattainable.  What was not unattainable was the impeccably tailored gangster look.  These gentlemen did not hold anything back (if you watch the show, you know what “anything” means) as far as fashion.  We were blown away by colors, patterns and accessories of the highly fashionable time.

We are sure the real life Enoch Johnson (whom “Nucky” Thompson is based on), knew one should never compromise their style, and that a very well-suited man can literally reach for the stars.  His TV proxy, Mr. Thompson, being the central character of the show, is a vivid example of what power means in terms of fashion…  The power suit, completely mastered!

We cannot fail to recognize the construction of the suit, which is extraordinary.  Leaving the long jacket on morning suits and tail coats behind and adapting a shorter, higher-waisted and smaller lapelled suit.  The pants were also more tailored, although not tapered, and also shortened, providing some socks picking and began to be cuffed at the bottom.  A sumptuous three-piece suit was a gentleman’s must.

Accessorizing was also a must, and the gentlemen of the ’20s were masters in this department.  Handkerchiefs, cufflinks, platinum watch chains, shirts with collar pins, top hats/homburg (obviously only for the upper class gents), two toned wingtips and pattern combinations that will leave many of us allured.

In short, the sartorial gentleman of the 1920s, which “Boardwalk Empire” almost worships, was a gentleman who was fearless in his dress, displaying some of the most fantastical combination of colors and style possible while laying the groundwork for all of the beautiful colors and fashions we wear today.

A White Canvas

These are classic pieces.  Completely trend-free, definitely part of your sartorial foundation.  But why are they so frowned upon?  We are talking about whites, beiges and that entire neutral spectrum on the lighter side.

So, the next time you think of these lighter shades of neutrals as plain and boring or too complicated, think again.  You might be just experiencing a lot of creativity.  Neutrals are to a sartorial guy what a white canvas is for a painter.  Are they complicated?  No way, neutrals are the easiest way, not just to put together, but to acquire that super chic look all year-round.  If you’re still not convinced, think of those bright colors and hard-to-do accessories, which is exactly what neutrals are for.

Can you think of a style icon that is known for wearing loads of color?  If you were told to go to your closet and assemble your coolest outfit, would it be colorful?  Is “effortless” the reason why we love it?  Dress in shades of neutrals.  It may not be a dynamic look, but it is sophisticated.

Start by mixing your neutrals: for example, the darker ones with the lighter ones and then move up to different shades of one color, then, finally, add texture to that mix.  Hopefully by summer, you’ll be ready for that super stylish white suit.

Don’t be afraid, here are some good tips on wearing neutrals.

Keep your whites spotless and in good condition (skip the trip to the dry cleaners when possible, this just adds to the yellowish look and obviously shortens the life of your garment).  We prefer hand washing.

If you’re wearing more than one item that’s the same color, make sure they are either exactly the same color, or clearly different shades of the same color.  Nearly the same but not quite is not a good look, as it looks like you’ve tried to match exactly and failed.

Since neutrals are soft and easy on the eyes, all-neutral ensembles can read a bit bland.  A great way to spice ‘em up is to add a variety of textures: leather, wool, tweed, rough linen, smooth cotton.  Pieces with pick-stitching and other 3D detailing also add textural interest.

And finally, it can be messy out there.  This is magical and worth keeping in your bag at all times: a Tide pen!

Sartorial Sanctuary or Ultimate Closet

After our last blog gave you a foundation, we hope your closet is starting to look pretty good. If you are not quite there yet, no worries! The wardrobe that we are talking about might take you a while to complete. It is quite a process indeed, but the most exhilarating part of when we are working on something is clearly knowing the steps ahead.

Let’s now imagine, for those who are not there yet, that your sartorial foundation is there, and that better yet, it is a solid, strong foundation. Remember, we told you all about the clearly important step of having the right items in your closet, but we also said that placing and maintaining those clothes are just as important. In this blog, we will give you some great tips to keep your sartorial Mecca running as smoothly as possible.

The very first step is to place your clothes appropriately. For this, you will need the right tools and the proper space (if you don’t have that, get working on it). There are plenty of great custom closet companies in major cities, and they all work with similar materials, although the price varies slightly. Connecting with your designer is what really makes the difference here, so be very specific as to what you want (maximize space, organizing, et cetera). Also, request to have more than one option (a sketch or picture of what the final job will look like would be optimal).

If you happen to take this on as your own personal project instead, because you’re feeling crafty and creative, needless to say, make some good use of those new tools you got from Santa. Adding shelves and drawers and extra racks will be a good idea to start with, and if you already have everything you need and just need to organize (and please keep it that way, we are not in college anymore!), then here is what you need to do.

Suits and overcoats.

Hang them in one side of the closet about 3 inches apart from each other, as this will minimize crushing. Keep the most expensive garments in a garment bag when it’s not being worn.

Primary shirts and trousers.

Hang at the other end of your closet 2 inches apart to reduce creasing. Pants, preferably, should be hung by the hem on trouser hangers.

If you are building/remodeling your closet, in the middle of your closet there should be a space with shelves and drawers. Please arrange for the bottom drawer to be a deeper one. Now we will tell you what goes in each.

Extra shirts.

Those that you do not wear as often should be neatly folded and placed on the top shelf. Do not hang everything you own, this just congests your space.

Sweaters.

Fold in piles and place on the shelves, as this will prevent stretching out the shape and will make them last much longer.

Socks, underwear and t-shirts.

Fold neatly and place in smaller drawers.

Thick knits and sweatshirts.

Remember that deeper drawer? Place those in here.

On the side where your shirts and trousers are hanging, there should be plenty of room to build at least two longer, shallow drawers. In there, place:

Ties.

The best way to store them is by folding them in half and then rolling them. Use this drawer to place pocket squares and other accessories.

Athletic clothes.

All in one place, and that remaining drawer is that place.

Below those shallow, longer drawers, there is still room for sloping shelves, and here you will place:

Shoes.

Keep them on shoe trees to help keep their shape. This will triple their life span. Cedar shoe trees are a great choice, as they absorb moisture and leave a fresh scent (remember to give shoes a day off and to polish them at least every third wear).

Extra Pointers.

  • Proper hangers: general purpose, sports coat only, trousers only and suits.
  • Wooden hangers will add a very elegant and appealing look to your closet.
  • Remove dry cleaned items from bags and hang them on proper hangers as soon as you get home. Keep a lint roller and a cloth brush with your suits. They will become your suits’ best friends!
  • Keep a closet or designated space to storage off-season items. Moths off!
  • Use garment bags to store off-season suits, as this keeps them away from dust, insects and fading.
  • Please, please dry clean or wash all-wool items before storing them away for the off-season. Space bags/other tight-sealing containers are perfect for that.
  • Emptying and airing the contents of your wardrobe regularly is a great habit.
  • Vacuum your closet regularly.
  • Add some cedar blocks or chips to keep your sartorial sanctuary smelling fresh.

Voila!

One more thing… We hope there is plenty of room left over to keep adding great pieces to your amazing wardrobe!

Your Sartorial Foundation

“Dear Santa, thanks for the fabulous presents.  Cashmere sweaters, shirts, ties and accessories…  You sure know how to make me happy!”

But before you put those new clothes…  Well, wherever there is room, we’d like to do something super-important for a sartorial guy like you.

Your closet, my friend, should be as sartorial as you.  This means it should always be impeccable, and when we say impeccable, we don’t mean just nice and tidy.  We mean clothes in it are properly hung and folded neatly, properly placed as to be more productive when it comes time to pick an outfit.  There’s nothing worse than needing to get out the door but instead finding yourself buried in your closet looking for clothes.

Why should you deal with this right now?  Well,because now is the perfect time!  You already got goodies from Santa, and this means you’ll be adding and replacing things in your closet anyway.  Which makes it a perfect time for inventory control.  Not to mention, it is the last week of the year, and it should always be in your New Year’s resolutions to be, at all times, dressed for success.  That starts in how you organize your wardrobe.  After all, you never know who you will meet or who you will run into in a given day.  You should always look your best!

Your closet should be a reflection of who you are and what you do.  For instance, if you have meetings during the day and then take clients out for drinks and to dinner, your wardrobe should make this transition with as much ease as you do.  We hope your wardrobe is where it needs to be so you will only need to reorganize it to make it functional and appealing, so that when you look at it, you feel like shopping from it, not just grabbing whatever clothes fall into your hands first.  Most definitely, you will always find the right outfit this way.  Remember, not finding one in a closet full of clothes is a huge red flag in terms of you having the right garments.  If you spend five minutes in there and see nothing you like, something is amiss!

So, on that note, we figured we’d make a list of what your wardrobe must have.  Obviously, some of us have more of a certain item than others (we’re slightly biased when it comes to accessories, we’re sure you can’t tell, *cough*), but there will always be staple sartorial foundation pieces like the navy blue suit, white dress shirt and black Oxford lace-ups.  We are not born with flawless sartorial sense, so feel free to get inspired by your best dressed contemporaries.  You probably think a wardrobe of this caliber will be very extensive, and this probably intimidates you.  Again, remember, we want you to think of the very basics.  A solid wardrobe with pieces that serve you well from the boardroom to the after hours bar.  Seamless from dressy to casual, in which every piece coordinates successfully with most of the others . A trendy but mismatched closet does not serve anyone well.

The foundation of your wardrobe:

-Suits.  7 full suits should be considered the minimum (remember, you should never wear the same suit two days in a row).

  • Black, for formal occasions.
  • Navy, the most versatile.
  • Medium grey, a versatile suit that can be worn throughout the year and paired with most colors.
  • A mix of herringbones, pinstripes, shadow stripes and solids to add versatility through the month.
  • A tan or brown suit should make its way into everyone’s closet.  A very flattering color on most men.
  • Throw a flannel or tweed suit in the mix for those cold winter months.

-Sports coats: a minimum of 4 should be in your closet at any given time, ready to go.  They can be a variety of dress-up styles for business or more casual to turn heads in a social scene (just add a pocket square).  Every man should have at least one navy sport coat, and a variety of plaids, tweeds and solids.

-Trousers.  Fill your closet with as many as you can, to make you look lush and successful.  15 is probably a good number for the well-dressed man in addition to pants that are part of a suit.  Your mix here is basic wools, flannels, and cotton.

-Jeans.  At least 2 pairs of dark jeans, and make sure they are crisp and able to be worn with a t-shirt, button down or with one of your sport coats.  Or go a step further and pair with a jacket from your suits.

-Dress shirts.  3 dozen is by far the most appropriate number.  It will give you a good rotation.  Remember that at any given time, there will be an X amount of dirty shirts and X amount of shirts at the cleaners.  No need to be running to the cleaners to get a shirt.  Build your wardrobe to have about 12 ready to wear at all times.  At least 5 whites, about 4 in the blue family (lights, mediums and darks), ivories/pale yellows, pinks, lavenders and grays.  Always have in your collection some patterned shirts: striped, checkered and plaids should have you looking sharp and switch you up from the typical solids.

-Ties.  Select them with care so that they complement your suits and shirts.  Pick fabrics and patterns that are versatile and stylish.  There are classics: plain navy, regimental stripes, subdued paisley or pattern.  10-25 is a good amount.

-Shoes.  Here you should have a great variety as well (shoes need a day off, too).  But these are some basics.  One pair of black Oxford lace-ups in calfskin are a great pick to transition from day to night.  A pair of chestnut-brown wing-tips goes well with pretty much anything.  Also, throw a camel-colored monk strap or slip-on in the mix.  This color can add flavor to any suit, especially those navies in your closet.  And don’t forget a pair of loafers and a pair of boots.  Bonus style points if you add a pair of suede bucks!  Also, don’t forget a good camel colored shoe.  An amazing touch to any suit, especially navies.  Don’t forget to coordinate a matching belt!  And to state the obvious, coordinating belts for each pair.

-Tuxedo and accoutrements.  Here is where you should get the best quality you can afford.  This, my friend, is a life investment, because one should know…  You always get what you pay for.

-Tuxedo shirts. Please have at least 2 different styles to add variety.  Always be prepared for formal occasions.

-Knitwear.  Cashmere and merino wool are great additions.  A mix of crew necks, v-necks, vests and cardigans should help you look tres chic even on weekends.

-Casual shirts. At least 5 (think of Friday nights!).

-Over coat.  At least one, and invest in a fine one.  Navy or camel colored wool, cashmere, camel hair, or a blend of these.

-White, gray and black t-shirts.  Great for a timeless casual look paired with jeans, or to wear under shirts, sweaters or even a jacket.

As to how to place these items?  This is as important as how to properly maintain them so that they always look crisp and ready to be worn.  We’ll have another blog just on that very soon.

We hope this was helpful.  Always remember, classic, simple and understated equals timeless, long-lasting and recession-proof.  Whatever the item, it should be made of fine-quality fabrics and materials with superior manufacturing construction and techniques.  And, most importantly, it should fit you as perfectly as possible (we will tell you this a million times more).  No amount of fine cloths or material will make up for an ill-fitted garment, advice that every man should live by.  Last, but not least, being the stylish man you are, you shouldn’t be afraid to add occasional zing to your closet (à la Italian, Sprezzatura).  With a sensible wardrobe like this as a base, adding to it is not rocket science.