Favorite Menswear Quotes

Let’s hear what figures in history have to say about menswear.  Here are some of our favorite quotes.

“I’ve never wanted to be in fashion. Because if you’re in fashion, you’re going to be out of fashion.”
– Ralph Lauren

“The man who, as is often said, can get away with wearing a trench coat over his dinner jacket, or an old school tie for a belt, is the one who in fact understands best the rules of proper dress and can bend them to suit his own personality and requirements.”
– G. Bruce Boyer

“A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life.”
– Oscar Wilde

“Being perfectly well-dressed gives one a tranquility that no religion can bestow.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“To attain style in dress, you must look perfectly happy and relaxed in your clothes which must appear part of you rather than a wardrobe you have just donned.”
– Hardy Amies

“Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.”
– Henry David Thoreau

“I can go all over the world with just three outfits: a blue blazer and gray flannel pants, a gray flannel suit, and black tie.”
– Pierre Cardin

“Putting on a beautifully designed suit elevates my spirit, extols my sense of self, and helps define me as a man to whom details matter.”
– Gay Talese

“Style is when they’re running you out of town and you make it look like you’re leading the parade.”
– William Battie

“Looking good isn’t self-importance; it’s self-respect.”
– Charles Hix

“Clothes and manners do not make the man; but when he is made, they greatly improve his appearance.”
– Arthur Ashe

“Do the clothes suit you? Do the clothes suit the occasion? Do the clothes suit each other?”
– Richard Plourde

“The boor covers himself, the rich man or the fool adorns himself, and the elegant man gets dressed.”
– Honoré de Balzac

“To adapt a phrase from Le Corbusier, the suit is a machine for living in, close-fitting but comfortable armour, constantly revised and reinvented to be, literally, well suited for modern daily life.”
– Cally Blackman

“A man should look as if he had bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care, and then forgotten all about them.”
– Hardy Amies

“Menswear is about subtlety. It’s about good style and good taste.”
– Alexander McQueen

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Fashion Districts of the World

We all know the world’s fashion capitals are New York, London, Milan, Paris, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg, and Sydney.  But what about the world’s fashion districts?  Neighborhoods famed for the production and sale of high-end fashion?  They’re a dying breed, with most of the production moving all over the world, and most of the designers moving to the “fashion avenues” that can be found in many of the world’s largest cities, like Saville Row or Bond Street.  But a handful of these neighborhoods exist, and although they’re mostly of historical interest, they’re still full of points of fashion interest, and you’re guaranteed to find some amazing clothes in them.

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A Brief History of the Super Bowl

As huge football fans, we here at Joseph’s Custom Clothiers excitedly watched yesterday’s Super Bowl XLVII.  It turned out to be another great game, even with the half hour-long power outage!  Congratulations are, of course, due to the Baltimore Ravens on their stunning win!

And their epic confetti angels.

And their epic confetti angels.

This 47th iteration of the Super Bowl marks a special point for the NFL.  There has officially been a Super Bowl at the end of the majority of NFL seasons now.  For 46 years, there was an NFL with no Super Bowl, something that’s almost impossible to think of now!  After 47 years of the “Big Game,” it’s easy to take the over-the-top spectacle of the event for granted.  It feels like there’s always been a Super Bowl, and that they’ve always been these huge meta events.  Of course, that’s far from the truth.  Last year, we posted a blog entry about the history of Super Bowl halftime shows, and how they went from Up With People and college marching bands to Madonna and Black Eyed Peas and massive pyrotechnic displays.  But that’s just scratching the surface of the changes…

Going all the way back, the Super Bowl was created for a very specific reason: competition.  From the NFL’s founding in 1920 up until the 1960s, there simply wasn’t another football league that could compete with the NFL’s total dominance of the sport in North America.  Any league that tried was either shuttered, or absorbed into the NFL.  But then along came the American Football League, or AFL, in 1960, who, instead of just trying to be another football league, tried new and unique rule changes and quirks to make themselves a legitimate companion league to the NFL.  The NFL and the AFL clashed mightily for six years, before finally deciding that the endless battling for players and fans was just hurting both of their bottom lines, and that they would both be better served by merging.  Combining the 16-team NFL with the 10-team AFL would take some time, though, and so a special championship game was created, to be played between the champions of both leagues, in order to get the public familiar with the idea of the two sets of teams competing directly until the actual merger in 1970.

The first Super Bowl was played at the end of the 1966 Season, between the NFL champion Green Bay Packers, and the AFL champion Kansas City Chiefs.  It wasn’t known as the Super Bowl at first.  It was officially the “First AFL-NFL World Championship Game.”  That…  Doesn’t really roll off the tongue.

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Or lend itself to stunningly attractive logo design…

But in a letter to NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle, the Chiefs’ owner Lamar Hunt wrote, “I have kiddingly called it the ‘Super Bowl,’ which obviously can be improved upon.”  The media, for obvious reasons, liked this name a lot better, and by the third game at the end of the 1968 Season, it had become official.  Hilariously, Rozelle’s first choice for an official name was “The Big One.”

Over the years, the growth of the Super Bowl from a relatively minor, even ignored sports event to the multimedia juggernaut of today is truly staggering.

Super Bowls have gone from this…

blogSpanTo this!

020313_sbusa1Super Bowl halftime shows have gone from this…

Pictured: $4,000 worth of entertainment.

To this!

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Super Bowl cheerleaders have gone from this…

1971-cheerleaderTo this!

super-bowl-xxvi-cowboys-cheerleaderSuper Bowl rings have gone from this…

Super-Bowl-ITo this!

Super-Bowl-XLVSuper Bowl fans have gone from this…

jets-fans2To this!

130203194447-fans-op6p-26163-mid-single-image-cutAnd Super Bowl winners have gone from this…

09000d5d8184d551_gallery_600To this!

gty_ravens_won_kb_130203_wblogBigger!  Bolder!  Louder!  Everything about the game, from top to bottom, has grown in leaps and bounds over the years.  The first Super Bowl couldn’t even sell out the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, with $12 tickets.  Current tickets are usually well into the four-digit range for the nosebleeds, and are sold out far in advance.

In many ways, the Super Bowl’s gradual explosion in popularity can be attributed to two people.  One was Bill Walsh, who popularized the West Coast Offense with the 49ers in the ’80s, and turned what was before a slower, more defensive-minded game into a much more fast-paced and exciting sport, which appealed far more to the masses.  The other person was Joe Namath.

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This guy.

His famous “guarantee” that the Jets would defeat the overwhelmingly favored Colts in Super Bowl III brought enormous attention to the game on its own.  The fact that he and the Jets actually pulled it off was so shocking, it completely changed the way people thought about the AFL teams, which became the core of the new AFC, and the way people thought of the Super Bowl.  People started watching because of “Broadway” Joe.

Some quirks about the game that have coalesced over the years…

  • Super Bowl Sunday, practically a national holiday in its own right, is the second biggest grilling day of the year after Independence Day.
  • 1.23 billion chicken wings are consumed on Super Bowl Sunday.
  • 49.2 million cases of beer are drunk on Super Bowl Sunday.
  • Last year’s Super Bowl XLVI was not only the most watched Super Bowl of the 47, it was the most watched broadcast in US history, with approximately 111.3 million viewers.  What’s more, of the top 10 rated broadcasts in US history, nine of them are Super Bowls (the tenth was the last episode of “M*A*S*H”).
  • 30-second Super Bowl ads cost $3.8 million a piece this year.
  • The Pittsburgh Steelers have the most Super Bowl wins, with 6, and are tied with the Dallas Cowboys for most appearances in a Super Bowl, with 8 each.
  • The Pittsburgh Steelers versus the Dallas Cowboys is the most common Super Bowl matchup, having been the focus of three Super Bowls (X, XIII, XXX)
  • The Buffalo Bills have the ignominious honor of having both the most consecutive appearances in a Super Bowl, with 4 (XXV, XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII), as well as being tied for the most Super Bowl losses, namely those 4 games.  The Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots have also lost 4 Super Bowls, but not in a row!  The Bills also hold the record for committing the most turnovers in a Super Bowl, with 9 in Super Bowl XXVII.
  • Joe Montana was named Super Bowl MVP more than anyone else, 3 out of his 4 Super Bowl appearances (XVI, XIX, XXIV).
  • The Mercedes-Benz Superdome has hosted the Super Bowl more times than any other stadium, 7 times.
  • The oldest person to play in a Super Bowl was Colts kicker Matt Stover in Super Bowl XLIV, who was 42 years, 11 days old at the time.
  • The biggest blowout in super Bowl history was the 49ers’ 55-10 victory over the Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV.
  • The closest game in Super Bowl history was the Giants’ 20-19 victory over the Bills in Super Bowl XXV.
  • While teams have won back-to-back Super Bowls 8 times, no one has ever won 3-in-a-row.
  • Only 4 of the NFL’s 32 teams have never been in a Super Bowl, the Cleveland Browns, the Detroit Lions, the Houston Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
  • No team has ever come back from being down by more than 10 points in a Super Bowl and won the game.
  • The most points scored by in one Super Bowl was in Super Bowl XXIX, when the 49ers and Chargers scored 75 points combined.
  • The most attended Super Bowl was the 103,985 attendance of Super Bowl XIV, thanks to the massive capacity of the Rose Bowl.
  • There has never been a shutout in the Super Bowl.
  • There has never been a Super Bowl that went into overtime.
  • 14 of the league’s 32 teams have yet to win a Super Bowl.
  • The home team alternates year-to-year between the two Conferences, with the AFC team being the home team in odd-numbered Super Bowls, and vice versa for the NFC team.
  • No team has ever played the Super Bowl in its home stadium.
  • The NFC team won every single Super Bowl from Super Bowl XIX to Super Bowl XXXI.

Santa Style

It’s Christmas Eve, and we thought the best way to combine the joy of the season with our love of all things menswear was to take a quick look back at the sartorial history of the veritable man of the hour himself, Santa Claus!  His fashion sense has changed quite a bit over the years, along with his waistline, and we guarantee you wouldn’t recognize the guy from a few centuries ago as the big, jolly fellow we know and love today.  Red wasn’t even always his favorite color.  We know, shocking.  On with the show!

Shoes: From Ugly to Outstanding

The earliest shoe designs started as more of a simple affair, often mere “foot bags” of leather to protect the feet from rocks, debris and cold.  By today, it has evolved so much, both in style and in production, and remains a very important part of any culture, even literature.  Our dear Cinderella can testify how a shoe can most definitely change one’s life.

The oldest known leather shoe, about 5,500 years old, found in Armenia. And its great (x1,000,000) grandson, Fratelli Rosseti two-tone wing tips, available today.

Shoes have had many uses, from more utilitarian reasons like keeping the feet warm, to insuring faithfulness (yes, you read it right).  For example, the Chinese custom of binding women’s feet to keep them small is many centuries old.  Originally, the practice owed little to aesthetics.  Bound feet were thought to insure faithfulness, since with such deformed feet the wife would supposedly find it difficult to travel very far on her own.  The Venetians did something similar, as well.

Most definitely, shoes, above all other reasons throughout time, secure one a very cool spot in the  highest ranks of society.  And don’t even think our society, with as many choices of shoe types, is oh so cool and clever.  Not one of the footwear styles you see today are less than 400 years old.

It may have started with just humans wearing animal skins or furs wrapped around their feet stuffed with straw.  From the sandal, the oldest crafted shoe covering known to us, to today’s marvels of engineering, the shoe is an example of evolution in progress, as we always find new materials.

Over one hundred operations go into the construction of a shoe.  Even with the help of machinery, and, not to mention, the long process of converting putrescible animal rawhide and skin into the beautiful leather we like.  Here is a video we much appreciate about the craftsmanship of one of our favorite accessories.  And below that are some interesting notes about shoes throughout history.

-Until around 1800, shoes were made without differentiation for the left or right foot.  Nice and comfortable!

-Tanned leather has been a favored material for footwear since the Arabs introduced fine leatherwork in Spain in the Eighth Century.  The leather making trade of the Spanish Arabs was centered around the city of Cordova, to which we owe the origin of the cordovan, a soft, fine-grained leather shoe.

Not to be confused with the Chrysler Cordoba, filled with “rich, Corinthian Leather.”

-Beginning in the Twelfth Century, the sabot, a shoe cut roughly from a single piece of wood, was the predominant footwear of the European peasant, becoming so pervasive for the next several hundred years, that it managed to inspire a new word: “sabotage.”  Fifteenth Century Dutch workers flung their sabot into the wooden gears of textile looms to break them, fearing their livelihoods were threatened by the machines.

Believe it or not, this was a plot point in Star Trek VI. The one with Vulcan Samantha.

-Pointed shoes originated in France, reportedly the invention of a Count of Anjou who wished to hide his deformed hooves.

-King Henry VIII initiated the vogue for wide-tied shoes in England, presumably to hide his gout-swollen feet.

You know, the Henry that created an entire new branch of Christianity so he could get a divorce? …Then beheaded the woman he remarried? …Then his third wife died in childbirth? …Then he divorced the fourth wife? …And beheaded the fifth? And died before anything bad happened to number six? That guy.

-The custom among men wearing high-heeled shoes at the court of Louis XIV grew out of the King’s desire to mask his diminutive stature.

REAL little men don’t hide their smallness, they make it look GOOD.

-Back in 1324, King Edward II decreed that there should be a standard measure for shoes.  He obviously had trouble in shoe shops finding the correct fit!  He came up with a simple method.  On the basis that a baby’s foot must be the smallest size, this would be the starting point, and equal to size 0.  He determined that an inch was equal to three barley corns.  The corns had to be round, and dry, and taken from the middle of the plant.  Each size then went up 3 barley corns each until it reached 13.  Instead of continuing upwards, he decided to go back to the start, and so 13 plus 3 barley corns equaled 1 again (confused yet?)!

Pictured: the famous barley corn baby measuring tool.

-Today, units for shoe sizes vary widely around the world.  European sizes are measured in Paris Points, which are worth two-thirds of a centimeter.  The UK and American units are approximately one-quarter of an inch, starting at 8¼ inches.  Shoes size is often measured using a Brannock Device, which can determine both the width and length of the foot, making it the most accurate measurement.

Bet you never knew that’s what this thing was called.

-Due to the appearance of new man-made materials, shoes have become increasingly less biodegradable.  Currently, mass-produced shoes generally require 1,000 years to degrade, and/or may not degrade at all.

-Even adult feet can change size due to muscles and tendons altering, getting either smaller or larger.  It is a good idea to have your feet measured every 5 to 10 years.

Failure to check feet regularly may result in Shaqification.

Our New Second Hometown

Since Joseph’s Custom Clothiers opened a new location in Naples, Florida, we thought it well past time for us to introduce all of our readers to beautiful Southwest Florida!

In 2009, Naples was ranked as one of 10 pricey cities that was worth its high cost by US News and World Report (along with our other hometown, New York).  It’s easy to see why!  Nestled between the Gulf of Mexico and the Everglades, Naples combines breathtaking natural beauty with relaxed, sophisticated living in one of the world’s most desirable tropical locations.  There are sandy beaches, world-class golf courses and exciting eco-adventures.  And when you are done soaking up the sun, a vast array of businesses and services, including world-class shopping and restaurants, satisfy every need and desire.  A vibrant arts and entertainment scene, together with an extraordinary assortment of community and charity events, brings a cosmopolitan flair to the Naples way of life.

How did it all get started?

When Florida gained its statehood in 1821, most people thought of Southwest Florida as an area of wilderness and swampland.  It was Walter N. Halderman, owner-publisher of the Louisville Courier Journal, and General John S. Williams, a prominent Kentucky politician, who “discovered” Naples in 1885 and promoted the area as a refuge for northerners who would like to escape the bitter cold winters of the Northeast United States.  It is believed the first sunset they saw reminded the two gentlemen of similar sunsets in Naples, Italy, hence the name, “Naples,” came into being.

Many years passed before any major development in what is today prosperous Naples.  Records show that there were only ten families living near Everglades City, and that there were ten businesses in the area.  The first construction in Naples, in 1889, was the building of a 16-room hotel and the 600-foot-long Naples Municipal Pier.  The pier enabled large boats to dock at the end, and it later became a popular spot for fishing and watching the sunset.

Halderman’s family ran the hotel until 1914, when E. W. Crayton purchased the business, setting the foundation for the beautiful and well-planned city we know today.  In the following year, the Naples Hotel was expanded, becoming the center stage for social life.  A single-lane shell road was built between Naples and Ft. Myers, allowing the city to slowly start to grow.  Also around that time, the first golf course was built, and replaced around 1932 with what is still today the Naples Golf and Beach Club.

But it wasn’t until a visionary advertising magnate named Baron Gift Collier came into town that the city finally got the funding to finish the uncompleted Tamiami Trail, which would provide a much-needed link to the east coast of the Florida Peninsula.  Collier’s plan also included the purchase of Useppa Island in his first trip, and many more acres of land within the next years, allowing him to eventually own over a million acres across Southwest Florida.

Collier also presented a plan during a session of the Florida Legislature convened in 1923 for better drainage and transportation, without which Naples was destined to remain a small town.  Many great developments followed, including an airport, streets, homes, beach restorations and mosquito control programs.  The generosity of many families contributed time and money to provide recreational areas such as Cambier Park, Caribbean Gardens, Delnor State Park, Lowdermilk Park and Fleischman Park.  The city opened a fully equipped and accredited hospital.  The elegant Third Street South shopping area was built.

The building activities of this era attracted new businesses, such as banks, restaurants, real estate and retail businesses.  Specialty shops closed from May 15th to October 15th, with the proprietors leaving the area.  The population doubled during the winter months, providing an active social life in the few established private country clubs and private homes, with cocktail parties, dinner parties and fund-raising benefits.  All of this added up to a great foundation for what Naples has become today:

  • Beaches.  Naples’ white sand beaches are some of the best in the world.  The Travel Channel rated Naples’ beaches #1 in 2005, and they consistently get on top ten lists of the best beaches in the world.
  • Low to No Crime.  Crime is so low, people often move to Naples sight unseen after they Google the Naples crime rate.
  • Noncommercial.  Naples homes are not surrounded by tall, buildings that block the sun and skyline.  The local government has strong restrictions on signs, billboards and building height in the city of Naples.
  • Dining.  Naples has some of the best dining in the United States, on par with major metropolises like New York, Chicago and San Francisco.
  • Pristine.  The word “pristine” comes up often when explaining Naples to an outsider.  It best describes the litterless streets, low crime, small signs, clean beaches, expertly shaped landscaping and conscious efforts of residents to keep it that way.  Neapolitans respect their piece of paradise and work hard to ensure its continued beauty.
  • Boating, Fishing, Golf.  Naples has some of the best waterfront in the world.  Fishing and golf are not hobbies here, they are ways of life.
  • Sunsets.  Sunsets in Naples are very special, to say the least.  Around the time of the setting sun, if you venture down any of the Olde Naples avenues that end at the Gulf, you are bound to be shoulder-to-shoulder with several others looking west.  When the sun hits the horizon, put your cocktail down and join the clapping, for you have just witnessed one of the most sacred moments on the Gulf: sunset.  And, if you’re lucky, one day, if you don’t blink, you will see the elusive “green flash” at the moment the sun vanishes below the horizon.

All of this and more are the reasons there are no questions to ask about why we are so proud to announce the Grand Opening of our new Showroom down in Naples!  If you’re in the area, visit us at:

The Shops at Naples Bay Resort
1500 5th. Ave. South
Suite A2-102
Naples, FL 34102
(239) 530-0070
Fax: (239)530-0072

The 125th Anniversary of the Tuxedo, or Is It?

How many people, do you think, know that the Fall of 2011 marked the 125th anniversary of the tuxedo? Furthermore, how many people know that part of the history of the tuxedo is linked back to an area only 40 miles outside of Manhattan?  We think it’s safe to say this would be news to many readers across the world, but it’s true.  However, there’s more to the story than meets the eye, and unfortunately, even after 125 years, the exact origins of the tuxedo remain unconfirmed.  The story behind it all is quite intriguing.  Here are tidbits and facts that help account for the origin and first appearance of this avant-garde dress coat.  We’ll let you be the judge as to who should be the one credited for this amazing and timeless addition to men’s formalwear.

-It is said that in 1886, a “tailless dress coat” was first introduced into American society.  However, a pattern for this coat is found in the archives of the family run bespoke business, Henry Poole & Co, located in London, England.  The relic precedes the American appearance of the tuxedo, dating back to 1865.

-The tuxedo seems to implicitly be a combination of the long-tailed dress coat and shorter lounge jackets popular in the period, probably to allow for dressing for formal occasions while retaining the greater comfort of the shorter jacket.

-Prince Edward VII, future King Edward VII of the United Kingdom, is believed to be the first to have ordered this glorified formal jacket from Henry Poole & Co. in 1865.  The Prince, in turn, encouraged an American, Mr. James Brown Potter, to order one himself upon visiting him in Wales in 1886.  Potter did just that, and began to regularly wear the jacket to events at a new, exclusive country club in the then remote Orange County of New York.  The country club’s name?  Tuxedo Park.

-The tuxedo’s true coming out party occurred not long after, when Potter and his Tuxedo Park friends wore them one evening to a bachelor’s dinner at the famed Delmonico’s restaurant in Lower Manhattan, the only public dining restaurant in New York at the time.  The other patrons paid attention, and a legend was born, taking the name of the country club where it first found popularity.

-According to some advertisements dated back to the early 1900s, a tuxedo jacket AND a coordinating vest was a whopping $22.50!  What a steal!

-Traditional formalwear for men in the 19th century was a black tailcoat, paired with a white dress shirt and bow tie.  When the tailless tuxedo jacket made its debut, it was considered taboo and frowned upon for wearing to formal events.  The tux did not gain true acceptance among bluebloods until it was adopted in the 1920s by the dashing, young Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VIII.

-The colloquial phrase “black tie” actually comes from the summer versions of the tux that became popular in the 1930s, which caused the distinguishing of the tux from the more traditional long coat more obvious.  Long coats are worn with white bow ties, while tuxes were always worn with black.

-The tuxedo made its way out of the upper echelons and into the middle class in the 1950s.  Since then, it’s become a common sight at everything from dinners for foreign Heads of State at the White House to high school proms in rural Alabama and everything in-between.

Whether it’s 165 years or 125 years, we think it’s safe to say that the addition of the tuxedo into Western menswear is one of the greatest occurrences in fashion history.  The little details and overall style of the jacket have evolved over time, but it can still be said today that every man should have one hanging in his closet for the right time.

Here are a few of our own personal favorites.  We’re probably a little biased!