Monday, November 23, 2009

Consider This...

Once when I was a teenager I was in men's clothing boutique looking at suits. The owner imparted a bit of wisdom on that occasion that has stuck with me and served me well ever since. While the prices at the shop weren't exorbitant, being a high school student they were a bit out of my range at the time and I commented about being able to get 2 suits somewhere else for the price of the one he was showing me. I don't remember the exact phrasing he used, but the message was clear: one great suit is better than 2 average suits any day. 1 great suit gets you noticed, 2 cheap suits get you nothing.

An average suit makes you look... average. Your attire leaves no lasting impression and fails to set you apart. You think that because the suits are cheap, you can get a few and have variety. The downside is that now you have not one but several suits that don't do you any favors. You see yourself in the mirror and it doesn't inspire confidence. You go about your day looking and feeling average.

A great suit gets you noticed every time you wear it. You feel confident and successful. You look and feel sharp; different from all the other guys who look and feel lackluster. Even if you're only able to add one great suit to your wardrobe at a time, you've made the right decision.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Proper Suit Fit

For those of you that haven't heard, baggy suits are out and fitted suits are in. Contrast this ill-fitting suit ...

... with these nicely fitted suits ...

Gently reflecting today's more modest sensibilities, it's at once boldly austere and beautifully refined. But with narrower lapels, a trimmer waist, and a closer-cut silhouette, it's a style that has a power all its own - a cool simplicity that is self-assured yet refreshingly unpretentious.

Now is a great time to consider throwing out your old suits and buying new suits that fit your body and today's style.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Fit is the most important component of how your clothing looks on you. The other elements--color and style--should be afterthoughts to how it fits. A great looking suit on my dad, for example, would be a bad choice for me because our sizes are different and the fit would be poor. A fairly obvious observation, but the point is that the nicest of suits will look bad if the fit is wrong. This is true with suits, and it's also true of shirts. A shirt, like a suit, should fit properly. Too large and it looks billowy, sloppy, unkempt, unattractive. Too small and it pulls at the buttons, is short on the arms, and is generally unflattering. All this regardless of whether it is a good color or pattern.

From November's GQ

The majority of off-the-rack shirts are made to very general specifications, and are designed to fit as many people as possible. The result is that even if you are a 15 neck and neither skinny nor large, the waist and chest will always be several inches too big, and the arms will usually be too wide. You can tuck it in as best you can, but the folds and ballooning effect of all the extra material only gets worse as you go about your business. There is a better way, however. You can find fitted and semi-fitted options with many retailers. Stores like Banana Republic and Express gear most of their shirts toward a more fitted look.

The point is to find a fit that works for your body type. If you're a bit larger, a regular cut could be a good choice because you won't end up with lots of extra material in the arms and torso. For guys that have normal or skinny frames, get a shirt that doesn't look like it was meant for someone 40 pounds heavier. The neck should not be loose yet unrestrictive. Cuffs should go down to the ends of your wrists where your thumb meets the wrist.

Like suits, the best option with shirts is to get it tailor-made for you. Not only do you get the right fit in the torso and arms, as well as your preferred length in the sleeves and tails, you also get a bunch of other options. You choose your fabric, collar and cuff, and even the smaller details like pocket, yoke, placket, pleats, and button options. And you can have it monogrammed if you like. Sound expensive? You can get a custom shirt for the same price as an off-the-rack shirt at Nordstrom or Banana Republic.