Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Holiday Party Attire

Oh, the holidays. So many parties--so many nights to dress up! Whether its your company holiday party or a formal New Year's Eve, this is the year to wear something unexpected. We did a blog post back in September on fall's biggest trends featuring textured sport coats.  Well, I hope you got one, because its time for that baby to shine! This holiday season, gauge the formality of your party and start with the jacket. We'll build the rest of the ensemble from there.

Obviously if you are going to a black tie event you will need to don the tux jacket. But if you are headed to an event where you don't need to be THAT formal, but should wear a jacket, go for a little drama. Texture, color, shine, you name it. Let's take a look at several examples in a myriad of price ranges.

Trina Turk has a boat load of fun blazers this season, most for around $400. I've shown two here, but be sure to browse the site. You wouldn't want to miss the black shiny crocodile blazer, would you?

Feeling a little bit of bling is necessary? Try this shiny velveteen blazer from Guess for a reasonable $168.00.

Oh, you want some color and pattern, don't you? I can tell. This great jacket by Moschino hearkens to the good old smoking jacket days, without actually wearing a smoking jacket (and thus avoiding looking like a Hugh Hef costume). She'll cost you a whopping $1395 on, but you'll be unforgettable!  This jacket could easily be worn with your tux pants to a black tie affair.

Combine a tuxedo jacket with a casual blazer with this fun velvet version by Robert Graham available on Last Call by Neiman Marcus.

Ok. So you have your fun jacket. Now what? The shirt. So, first of all, which one is taking center stage? If you chose a colored or patterned jacket, allow that to be the focus. Unless you are going for a classic tuxedo look, try a solid black dress shirt in place of your standard white. If you are wearing a solid black jacket, opt for a shirt with some pizazz like this one from Robert Graham, available on Zappos.

Now you've got the basis for your outfit. Add a sleek pair of tuxedo pants or solid trouser, a killer pair of shoes and fun accessories to complete the look. Don't forget a pocket square! They always dial things up a notch.

What parties are you headed to this season and will you be wearing?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Suits and Sweaters

Its winter. Its cold. We all want warmth and comfort. But we still have to go to work, parties, meetings, etc. and look professional. Layering a sweater with your suit is a great way to bring a little bit of that warmth and comfort into your professional style. There are two key characteristics your sweaters need in order to pull this off. One- it needs to be a fairly thin sweater. This both avoids bulk and keeps you from being uncomfortably hot. Two- it needs to be a trim fit. Otherwise it will look sloppy under your suit.

There are a few great ways to work this look. One is to replace a suit vest with a V neck cardigan as in this picture for Thom Browne. Its a little unexpected. This look is more common with trousers and a sport coat, so wearing it with a suit makes for a unique pairing.
Leaving the bottom two buttons undone gives it a slight "devil may care" attitude while still appearing very polished. In this photo a tie and pocket square keep it fairly dressy, but this look could work equally as well with an open collar.

For a simpler take, wear your basic crew or V neck sweater under your jacket. Its an easy no-brainer ensemble that works well in a nice business casual environment. You can even add a quality white tee under the sweater for a more layered look (and added warmth) as John Hamm shows here.

Work in a collar and tie environment? Joseph Guardiola shows just how dapper this look can be!

And, if you read our September series featuring the hottest trends of the season, then you already know that a turtleneck sweater will be THE way to wear this look right now!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sweat Pants You're Allowed to Wear in Public

Who doesn't want to look great and be utterly comfortable simultaneously? I mean, women now get to wear leggings anywhere and everywhere--and they're considered very fashionable. So what do men get? Well, there are several designers now coming out with pants that are cut and styled like a trouser or jean, but made of jersey or fleece! These drawers come in a wide range of prices.  Try not to think of them as sweats. You're investing in trousers that just happen to be made out of a really comfy fabric.

There is a great Men's blog called The Style Blogger that recently featured a great pair of fleece trousers by Woolrich. Yes, these are sweats.

Then I was checking out the newest photos on Men's Club and found this guy wearing fleece cargos!

Both of these men have clearly gone to great lengths to look nice, fashionable, and well pulled together even though they're wearing sweats! I decided I better find some options out there for my readers! Where can you get these fantastic pants? Well here you go. (And what a great thing to wear for Thanksgiving! They'll expand with your turkey filled self!)

First up is a luxury pair of jersey trousers by Lanvin available on Mr. Porter for $995. Throw on a tee and blazer and you're done! Note the flexible waist band in back. the jacket will cover this, but if you aren't wearing one, make sure you pair these with a pullover sweater to hide the back.

Can't drop a grand on sweats? Get this great pair for $69 at Yoox! Cut and styled to look like a jean with a twist--a subtle sweat band at the bottom!

Y-3 Yohji Yamamoto partnered with Adidas to create these fun colorful trousers. An athletic cotton/poly blend with a reverse seam down the front and back that give the effect of a pressed pant! Available at Bluefly for $153.

And I've saved the best for last! Leave it to Alexander McQueen to create the coolest, most funky pair of jersey trousers out there! Mr. Porter offers them up for $715.

There are a couple features to these pants that make them work. They aren't baggy and there is no drawstring (they button or zip up just like the rest of your pants). A trim fit keeps them looking polished. Time for you to step out in comfort. And style.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Do Me a Solid

There is a big trend emerging for spring but it works so well for fall/winter that I think it is worth mentioning right now; a dark solid dress shirt with a solid tie in a contrasting color. I pulled this picture off of the fashion industry website This picture features numerous designers including Van Heusen, Perry Ellis, Kenneth Cole, DKNY, Nautica and Thomas Pink. Note the similarities: trim shirt, fairly skinny tie, fairly small collar and dark hues. (Tie bar and motorcycle gloves not required.)
As long as it works this season, why not be ahead of the game, right?

No need to break the bank on this trend. Express Men has solid thin ties in a plethora of colors for only $39.90! Their "Eastern Red" is shown below.
Express Men Solid Tie $39.90

Calvin Klein and Kenneth Cole both have some great deals available right now.  **Shopping tip- Choose your shirt first and then find the contrasting tie to match!**
Calvin Klein Mens Body Dress Shirt

Kenneth Cole Reaction Men's Spread Collar Tonal Solid Woven Shirt

Do you already have these items in your closet? Will you wear them for fall? Tell us your thoughts on this hot trend!

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Brace Yourself

I've always loved the look of a man in braces.  Its possible that as I say that you are conjuring up images of Larry King or Steve Urkel. But braces can be both classy and sexy, and should not be limited to your utmost of formal wear--the tux. Think Michael Douglas in Wall Street.

I've used Ed Westwick on the set of Gossip Girls as inspiration several times on this blog. The stylist for that show does an amazing job. Here's a great shot of Ed on set donning classic, red braces and looking totally fantastic. (p.s. Note the glimpse of red sock tying the accessories together!)

If you wear them right, braces can look hot with a tee and trousers--or even jeans. The Viridi-anne shows us how its done.

Braces were originally intended to be under your jacket. There's an instant feel that you've relaxed a bit...taken off a layer, yet you're totally clothed. Its as if you're seeing a hint of one's undergarment. Even when under your jacket--you reach in to get something out of your pocket and your jacket pulls back a bit to reveal an extra touch that no one knew was there a minute ago. They make a very attractive statement.

Many trousers come with no belt loops, and instead contain buttons for fastening braces. However, if yours didn't and you'd like to make the switch, this is an easy and inexpensive change for your tailor to make that can give your wardrobe a new feel. Just don't have both; that's a fashion no-no. There's another benefit to using braces rather than a belt. You don't have to match them to your shoes! Although, if the base of the braces are made of leather, you will still want to coordinate.

John Varvatos and Marc Jacobs both have casual pants out this season that come with a set of braces ready to go!
Marc Jacobs at

John Varvatos at Bloomingdales
 If you're going for something a little more dressy, either to pair with your suit or tux, you have two choices. Go classic, like the picture of Ed Westwick above, or add some of your own personality! There are some very fun braces out there! Brooks Brothers offers the always classic option:
Classic Braces from Brooks Brothers

Trafalgar helps you show some personality:

So hold up your pants with class! Brace yourself!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Rethink Your Cargos

In an ideal closet, you've carefully chosen pieces that will work with almost everything else. This allows you to find the mix master within, and create unexpected combinations that will make it seem like you have a huge wardrobe.  This also allows you to buy better quality instead of higher quantity. Sometimes we need inspiration from others to get ideas on how to re-purpose some of our basics. There has been a new trend of this popping up everywhere from the runway to the street--dressing up cargo pants with a sport coat! Its a fun and unique look. The cargos keep it casual while the jacket helps you look pulled together. Here are four examples to get you thinking about how you will wear your cargos this week!

Nick Wooster

Ralph Lauren

Land's End

Men's Club

Sunday, November 6, 2011

MANimal Prints

Can men wear leopard?
Kanye West
......if they're not a rock star?
Brad Goreski in Givenchy
Ok, he IS a stylist, but check out this picture below from the Haversack Fall 2011 Look book. They chose a middle aged average Joe model and put him in a leopard cardigan.

Right now it is a trend-of-the-moment in both the Women's and the Men's style scene; and not just as tight pants on Steven Tyler. The great thing about leopard is that in spite of the busy print, its a neutral. Tan and black go with everything. EVERYTHING. Pair it with any color or other prints. A little splash in an accessory shows just a hint of edge--even in a business setting. Here are some not-too-rock-and-roll options for mixing this trend into your wardrobe. Some are subtle. Some aren't.

Dress shoe by Rachel Comey.  Click Here

Coat by MSGM. Click Here

Leopard pocket square from Topman. Click Here

Burgundy leopard sweater from Marc by Marc Jacobs. Click Here
So? Can you find the MANimal inside and rock (just a little) a leopard print?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Give Your Pants a Break--or not.

Let's get down to the bottom of this. Your pants, that is. All the way down to where your pants hit your shoe. What is a break? How do you know how much of a break to have in your pants? All your questions will soon be answered, my friends. Read on!

First, let's define a break. The break of your pant is determined completely by the length at which your pants are hemmed. It is the horizontal crease that forms at the bottom of your pant right above your shoe.

Does this sound like a picky little detail? It actually has an enormous effect on the look of your trouser. You have three options: No break, medium break, or full break.  This is one of the only aspects of fit that is totally up to you! Your tailor will hem your pants to whatever break you like. Your decision should be based on a few things:
  1. Your personal taste and style.
  2. Where you will wear them (to a formal east coast law office, or an art opening in LA).
  3. Your height.
No Break
The no break option is modern, hip, and works well with a trim pant. The front line of the pant will go straight down from your waist to your shoe. Make sure your shoes are in good condition and you are wearing nice socks, because they will show! Keep in mind when approving the length that once you sit or walk, more of your ankle will show than while you are standing in front of the mirror getting marked. Not necessarily a bad thing! Just remember it. I do not recommend this look for very tall men, as it can give off the feel that your pants were just barely long enough to pull off. This look is most commonly worn without a cuff, however the picture below shows that a cuff can work as well.

Medium Break
The medium break is both classic and timeless. THIS is what you wear to the east coast law firm. It is also what you should choose if you are investing in garments long term, as it will always look appropriate at any occasion. Just because its classic, doesn't mean it has to be conservative. That's all about your personal style. Mix it with a bold fabric as shown below, and you have a very fashion forward look with a classic break. The medium break works equally as well with and without a cuff.
Full Break
The full break can look just as modern as no break even though it is the exact opposite. In this case your trousers have been hemmed long. As with the tall men and no break, shorter men should not wear the full break. It will make the pant seem too long for your legs. The full break is most often seen with a cuff and is fun with a wide leg trouser. If you are going to wear a full break, take care to make sure that the rest of your get up is polished, otherwise it can appear sloppy. But with a dapper top half, this can really give you a unique look.

What kind of break do you take?