Sunday, July 31, 2011

Noose or Loose? Fitting the neck of your dress shirts.

Oh, Ryan Reynolds.  How I hate to use you as an example of bad fit.  But really, I don't understand how this happens on the red carpet. These guys have so many professionals dressing them and the funds to buy anything they need, that its baffling to me. The only excuse I can think of is that Ryan is one of those guys who hates to be in a shirt and tie because he feels like he's "choking." (Yes, I've heard this plenty often from clients.) First of all, if your dress shirt fits, it shouldn't feel that way. If you are not used to having something right against your neck, frankly, suck it up. You'll get used to it. But wearing a shirt one size too big is just not the answer. If you really feel constricted spend the $2.95 for a button extender, which has an elastic strap that allows the collar to flex a bit.
Andreas Rentz/Getty/   Ryan Reynolds
See the large space around his neck?  Your dress shirt, if fitted properly, should LOOK close to your neck, but you should be able to slide a finger between the front of your collar and your throat.

If you are getting your shirts custom made (which I highly recommend), your tailor will add about a 1/4" to your actual "skin measurement" to allow for some movement.

Wearing a shirt that doesn't fit properly looks unprofessional and thrifty. If you are not going to have your shirts made, go to a tailor and ask if you can compensate them to give you your measurements so that you know your off-the-rack shirt is the appropriate size. Bottom line is, if the shirt fits, and only if it fits, wear it.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Own Gray Jeans

I avoided the witty title for this post in the attempt to seriously drive this point home. I consider this a must have in any one's closet, whether you are male, female, 20 or 65.

First of all, colored denim is a huge trend right now, and for those of you who aren't likely to don a pair of purple jeans, muted tones such as grays and tans allow you to be subtly current.  Moreover, gray is not a color--its on the black to white spectrum, so you can't clash with it.  So they are far more versatile than a truly colored jean, but allow you to divert from classic blue.

But this goes way beyond a trend, this is a timeless staple. Chances are you already wear jeans all the time. If you don't, you are an anomaly. Mix it up a little. Don't you get tired of the same old thing? They look great with tees or sport coats. You can find them in distressed faded versions or classy, clean and dark. It will add a slight twist to your weekend look.

AND they contribute to the Sandy Neutrals trend I wrote about last week! Throw on an ivory tee and an ecru jacket and you will be wearing two trends at once!

Here are some great options in a variety of price ranges:

Affordable Find: Express $88.00
Click HERE to go straight to these jeans at Express!

Middle of the Road: Naked and Famous $140.00
Click HERE to go straight to these jeans at Nordstrom!

Luxury Buy: Maison Martin Margiela $485.00
Click HERE to go straight to these jeans at!

Tell me about your favorite pair of gray jeans and what you like to pair them with!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

How to Pull Off a Tux Jacket with Jeans.

I know he's Domenico Dolce (of Dolce & Gabbana), so maybe lightning will strike me, but this doesn't work:
Merry Brownfield/WWD
He looks like he was running errands in jeans and a tee shirt before his event and only remembered to change half his clothes.  However, there are ways to pull off a fantastic mix of formal and casual. His problem is that he took each of these elements to the extreme. Not just jeans, but holey slouchy jeans. Not just a tux jacket, but a buttoned tux jacket with a tux shirt and bow tie.  He has extreme left wing on the bottom with Tea Party on top. So they clash. By combining more bi-partisan pieces, he could have made a happy marriage of the two.

Let me show you what I mean.

Justin Timberlake nailed this look by taking his tux jacket with a classy black dress shirt that is left unbuttoned at the collar, and paired them with clean dark denim jeans. See? The jeans are on the dressier side, the shirt is worn a little more casually, and everything happily works together.
Now check out Kanye West.  He's gone the opposite direction, by wearing his unbuttoned white tux jacket with an un-tucked tee and casual baggy jeans. He's not even wearing socks. Not a look for everyone, but it does work.
My apologies, I could not find a source for this photo.
So the key for you is, just decided if you're shooting for a dressy or casual look. Then make sure all the pieces you bring together--and how you wear them, are reaching for the same goal. Throw your tux jacket on top and you're done! Would you ever wear this look? If so, would you go dressy or casual?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Get the Skinny

Skinny ties came back. Back in black.  It seems to me that most grown men--by that I mean professional working adults,  are under the opinion that this trend is for the 22 year old hipster only. Certainly if you are going to pair it with jeans, a plaid shirt, some Converse sneakers and a fedora, that would be correct! But a solid black silk skinny tie worn with a white dress shirt and black suit, can look quite elegant. In fact, I found so many pictures of men in their 30's through 60's wearing this trend that I couldn't possibly post them all. Just keep it clean, elegant and simple and you can wear this trend without looking like you can't quite let go of your college days. Pictures to prove it:

What's your vote?   Better left for Mad Men, or rock it again in 2011? (We still don't recommend the chain smoking and drinking scotch in your office at 10:30am though.)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I've Got the Power!

When someone says, "wear your power tie," what do you think of? I'm guessing red. And you're right! A bold solid red tie, or one with a fairly subtle pattern, is known as the power tie for the power suit!  But in the many years I sold Men's clothing, I always directed my clients toward a second option--yellow. This suggestion surprises a lot of people. But its bold bright color does not allow you to blend in, and exudes a level of confidence. Kings have long used this color in royal dress to show authority and symbolize their power, but I don't see a lot of executives using this option.  I took a snapshot of a video on CNN this morning showing Roger Clemens' lawyer.

Of course, he's wearing it with a light brown suit to appear more approachable and friendly. But match this up with your black or navy suit and you've got your go-to Boardroom look!

Nordstrom has some great options ranging from $49.40-$79.90. Click here to see their full selection of yellow ties.

So try something different. See how you feel and how people respond to you in this bold color!
In what context do you wear a yellow tie?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Man Jewelry...Depp or Bieber?

Ok, ok, give me a chance. I know, you already saw the words "Man" and "Bieber" in the same title and decided I've lost my marbles. Please, for me, read on....

Casual jewelry for men is nothing new.  Its generally toughened up with leather, thick chain, and maybe a dog tag made out of a razor blade.  These pieces can work well all on their own, but most often are seen layered together on some form of exposed chest. So, you know, it looks manly. 

Johnny Depp is notorious for donning this look everywhere he goes; on movie sets as a pirate, with a tux on the red carpet, etc.  As eccentric as Johnny Depp's style is, this look really isn't all that hard to pull off. My husband layers leather bracelets every time we go out and he's far from being a style maven (sorry honey).

But this.  This 18 year old kid is wearing something different. A single long strand of beads. Most of us would think of that as falling into the Women's jewelry category. And I want to know, do you think it works? Now, don't worry, I'm not going to start condoning trucker hats, bright colored puffy sneakers, or the Bieber haircut.  But the guy is a multi-millionaire with a whole team of stylists working around the clock to make sure he looks "cool."  So once in a while they're going to put something on him that we should pay attention to. I'm not saying its going to become a major trend, and I'm not expecting every guy reading this to run out and buy a strand of beads.  But the picture caught my attention. He makes a subtle unique statement with his accessory that looks to be his own. And that's what style is all about. So in this case, I say kudos to Bieber. It worked in my opinion. What do you think?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sandy Neutrals

Sandy neutrals emerged as a prime trend a couple seasons ago and hasn't gone away yet.  As you see in the pictures, it works in both dressy and casual situations. Brad Pitt chose to go casually monochromatic, but feel free to mix it up. Any combination of light tans, putty, ivory, and other pale earth tones come together to create a breezy summer palette. A group of men walking through Pitti show how to take it to the next level with jackets and trousers.

The nice thing about this trend is that it shouldn't break your pocket book.  Most likely you already have a pair of light khakis at home. Pick yourself up a nice light gray sweater (which you can layer under a black sport coat with jeans during winter months) or a neutral linen jacket. These are staple pieces that will transcend trends, so don't be afraid to invest in quality. Ton

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Color Me Blocked

One of the hottest trends in both men's and women's fashion right now is color blocking. This means that you have several pieces of clothing in solid contrasting or complimentary colors combined into one outfit. There are some people who are willing and able to pull off this look in its bold runway style using bright primary or secondary colors. Yesterday's post introduced you to the high fashion of Pitti, where several people were seen wearing this trend.  However, most of you are not going to feel comfortable dressing this conspicuous, and will therefore abandon the trend all together. I'm going to show you how to pull out elements of this trend to make it wearable. Let's start at the top though, and show you a few pictures of color blocking in its "true form."

Ok, now. Let's discuss two ways we can make this trend accessible to you. Your first option is to find a great bright shirt or sweater and pair it with a neutral pant. This gentleman chose white, which looks fresh for summer. You may also have a pair of tan or black jeans that could get you the same effect. He still went pretty bold with his sweater color. If this feels outrageous to you, go with a color more common in your closet, such as blue, green, or red.
Your second option is to utilize your MUST HAVE unstructured blue blazer. (Hmmm, I feel a blog post topic coming on...) Unstructured blazers have little to no canvas or shoulder pad and can be found in more casual fabrics than your regular sport coat, such as washed cottons or linen. They are often unlined as well. Think of this jacket as functioning like denim.  Jeans are most often blue, right? But we don't even think of them as a color. They go with everything and are neutral. Your blue blazer works the same way. So find a great pair of colored jeans or trousers--maybe bright, or toned down in a pastel, throw on a nice white button down or tee shirt and your blue blazer, and voila! Consider yourself color blocked!

All of these photos are by street photographer Tommy Ton, and you can see the full slide show featured on by clicking here.

Please comment below! I'd love to hear your opinions on this trend and how you might wear it, or why you wouldn't!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

What a Pitti

So, for those of you who don't know, Pitti Uomo is THE menswear show to be at. Globally! Italy in general is a site to see for fashion lovers everywhere. Somehow every person walking down the street seems effortlessly yet impeccably dressed.  Then you mix in a condensed week of men from all over the world who make a profession out of dressing, and you get some pretty great imagery.  Famed street photographer, Tommy Ton, captured a plethora of amazing shots from people hanging around outside the show. You can see the full slide show on by clicking here. My next few posts will feature current and coming trends captured in these photographs.

Today's choice is a fresh option for your seersucker suit! Seersucker is perfect for all the weddings and outdoor parties you'll be attending this summer.  I think the go-to shirt option for most men has always been a solid. But look at this guy.  Stripes on stripes! This is an easy and stylish look for anyone to pull off. Here's why it works: 
  1. He kept the stripes in both pieces the same color. The patterns give enough for your eye to look at without incorporating multiple colors.
  2. He made sure the stripes in the shirt were a different width than the stripes in the suit. If they were all the same thin pin, you would start looking like a walking optical illusion. The wider stripes in the shirt ground the pattern combination.
 Do you own a seersucker suit?  What do you pair it with?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Long and the Short of It

I chose this picture for one reason only. It happened to perfectly capture his arm at his side--showing the length of his jacket compared to where his hands fall.

I cannot even tell you how many men I find are still "testing" the length of their jacket by seeing if the coat tail grazes their finger tips.  Now granted, this jacket is short! Looks great, but will only be on trend for a few seasons more. If your budget allows for you to switch out your suit collection every 3 years or so, then by all means, go for it! If you are looking for a longer term investment,  add an inch or so. (Maybe the bottom of your thumb?)

Another idea for gaining more mileage from your "trendy" suit jacket lengths--pair them with jeans!  As the trend starts to head toward longer (which it will my dears, the 90's will be back before we know it) split up your suit and take the shorter jacket with a more casual look.  You can easily pull off a short jacket with jeans and look totally au courant! The whole jacket and jeans trend isn't going away any time soon.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I'm Baaaaack!

Hello readers! I've missed you in the 6 months since I left the wonderful Michael Allen's! On an almost daily basis I notice style tips and trends that I miss sharing with you.  So, I decided to reconnect with you on my own and I'm very excited about it. Please don't hesitate to write to me with ideas and topics, as I am always open to what my readers want to know!

I look forward to bringing you ideas and advice to help you look and feel your best!