Tagged: Daily Men’s Style Tip

On Finding the Right Wife

Hanging from the railing, swaying in the wind with the sun beating down, its pluses and minuses are all on display. After reaching out and having a feel, I can tell it is not the absolute best money can buy. Still, its level of quality and the attention to detail exceed much of the competition. The plaids along the seam on back match perfectly. Even the big and little houndstooth on the slip loop line up perfectly. The silk material has a heavy hand and none of that slipperiness or the excessively shiny finish. It’s not a seven-fold, with all the excessive fabric use that entails, this Hilditch and Key, Made in the UK, would be perfect for a wedding. It is a good product that costs around 100 dollars. Even more expensive, but often of inferior quality, are versions from Versace, Gucci, Ferragamo, and Hermes with patterns that tend to leave no doubt about their lofty brands. For one dollar, something can be had that looks nearly the same from a distance but is made of polyester and lacks the pattern matching. But most people would probably never notice the difference. A man with the right taste might spend one dollar and look stylish, while another buys a good product but still looks ugly. Luxury goods might have designs that most people deem unattractive. And yet the polyester version always announces itself as a bad product upon close examination. And so it is with most products and services. Someone had the odd idea to hang out all my ties for all to see on the railing of the balcony in our room. This prompted my somewhat melancholic series of reflections. A few of my ties were good products that looked ugly, while many were bad products that looked nice. There was always that temptation to buy an attractive, good-looking tie at a low price. The only real conclusion I came to after all that tie-gazing was that in the future I would have to only buy good ties that looked beautiful too. But there is always the risk of paying a lot for an unattractive tie. How could I trust my own taste? Finding a wife with good taste is critical – even if she is ugly.

In any case, please do send her over to check out our tie selection next time you are passing by Senli and Frye.

August Trouser Press

The August issue of The Beijinger is out. For this Olympics issue, my Trouser Press column makes recommendations for attire to be worn while attending events and parties. Since you can see the final version of Trouser Press in the magazine, I decided to put the first version I wrote here on Stylites. This earlier version contains several, admittedly puerile, political comments that were deemed unfit to appear in print at this time. So to see the finished version, please read The Beijinger.

Looking Good as a Spectator

The games are about competition, patriotism and respecting local culture. One cannot be overcautious in dressing, as every message will be scrutinized. Key times are games, parties, and brawls, sometimes all happening concurrently. The “to-die-for” piece is a lightweight chain mail vest, ostensibly celebrating the five rings, but really shielding those from countries that best the host in any event.

Main goals at all times remain safety and health. Toward these ends, clothing choices should offer protection from the heat and other spectators. For outdoor events, thin fabrics promote ventilation, while long sleeves stop sunburn. Denim is far too dense, while wearers of dark colors tend to bake in the sun. Though the air will be pristine, pure white should still be avoided as it is liable to be a victim of a neighbor’s Tsingtao. Sweat and catapulting saliva from other cheering enthusiasts are perennial perils for chic clothes at proletarian sporting events. Still, resist the temptation to wear tracksuits and team jerseys; you didn’t make the cut the first time.

Current indications are that much of the rabble will be exiled along with stray cats and lunatics, so it might be a cleaner affair than expected and a chance to dress-up. The average spectator won’t increase his medal count but he can trump other nationalities in elegance. Sartorial superiority is a refuge for those from countries with poor results; it won’t be hard to look better than citizens of the first, second or third ranking countries in the overall medal count.

Outfits geared toward parties make sense. For most sports fans, it will be night after night, raising glasses to celebrate or commiserate after hearing results. This is the time to wear a Stetson, straw hat, or a Panama. Spectators or suede bucks are perfect and linen, seersucker or even madras trousers will exhibit flare. An ascot is never wrong at a sporting event.

In the competitive climate of the bar or the stands, many might choose national dress or a look symbolizing support for their county’s team. A quirky approach is a patriotic tie. For example, citizens of the big stripy nation can opt for a star spangled banner tie from Vineyard Vines, available on their website (USD 75). Ties can also perform as nooses when things go badly for the homeland. Possibly more subtle approaches would be choosing national brands that design effective stylish sporty wear. This means Brits in Burberry, French in Lacoste, Americans in Ralph Lauren, Canadians in Dsquared, Japanese in Y3, and Italians in Dolce and Gabbana. Germans and Austrians can wear Lederhosen.

Dressing by color, it might be difficult to distinguish Americans, French, Russians, Brits, and others who could all safety go for blue trousers, a white shirt, and red shoes or hat. This would make them look marginally better than locals, struggling with red and yellow. Copying the style of a head of state is another way to back the national team. In this case, Moroccans and Afghans will be the dandies, North Koreans and Libyans the romancers, and Iranians will suffocate in the heat with their always-fastened collar button.

Daily Men’s Style Tip #9

Matching is for the middle class.

And for style experts, but for the average guy, the secret is contrast. It’s quite simple. Light colored shirt, bold tie (red or black/navy/dark) and dark suit for formal occasions and dark jeans and light polo or collared shirt for casual.

Daily Men’s Style Tip #7

Hesitate before buying a dark colored shirt.

I’m condemning not them, but it takes a certain shirt and a certain guy. Some guys still regard adding a black shirt to khakis or jeans as a quick road to style excellence. Too often, the desk man out for a night will take his regular navy or charcoal suit, add a dark stripey or solid black shirt, undue the two top buttons, and feel he’s ready to be suave and stylish into the early hours. Some suits and some styles of guy can make this work. I certainly would not be able to pull it off. Stick to a contrasting, lighter colored, shirt with your dark suit and for those stylish nights. With no suit, a subtle pattern or texture in a lighter shirt can be the way to go.

On the other hand, perhaps dark colored shirts are the best way to avoid obvious hot pot or red wine stains.

Daily Men’s Style Tip #6

Tuck it in.

Unless you have a inordinately long legs, leaving the shirt tails out will tend to elongate your torso. Of course, some shirts are designed to be worn outside, but make sure that they do not have that elongating effect on your torso. Also, the un-tucked shirt and blazer look is hard to make look good.

Daily Men’s Style Tip #5

Socks matter.

Go fun or go staid, but don’t go sporty unless you are an athlete. The safest course is socks that match the trousers. Please note that matching trousers is better than matching shoes, to offer continuity between the legs and ankle. Socks should be long enough to prevent hairs from peeking out.

Colorful and patterned socks are good too. This is now a standard expression of fettered revolt in the corporate gulag, where red is favored. Brand-wise, Paul Smith is king here, not mentioning various obscure brands, but you can get good ones at J. Crew and H&M. If you are in Beijing, check out Hotwind for fake Paul Smith.

Daily Men’s Style Tip #4

Avoid Squared-Toe Shoes

Maybe some styles don’t look so boxy, but in general these shoes say: “Hey man, we’re gonna’ go clubbing, slurp down some vodka redbulls, and score” or “dude, I make so much now. There are totally hot chics at that bar and they want me” or something. Sorry for sounding vulgar or misrepresenting the squared-toe shoe wearers. I avoid these people, but the following article expresses it eloquently:

I’m not going to be as harsh. If your feet really are shaped that way and you need the comfort, consider investing in wide-legged, 1940s style trousers to lessen the effect of the shoes.

Daily Men’s Style Tip #3

Show cuff.

Show .25 – to 1 inch of shirt cuff when you wear a suit or sport jacket, depending on what makes you comfortable. If you have long arms, too-long sleeves can make them seem even longer. Even if you have short arms, too-long sleeves can make you appear a bit swamped in your suit.
Ever problematic when I buy off the rack because of my ape-like arms, even when jackets are adjusted to make the sleeves longer, I end up showing too much of my custom-made shirts ‘ cuffs – but I would still say better too much than none at all.

Daily Men’s Style Tip #2

The best colors for dress shirts are white, light blue, and light pink.

These are the safest bets for most complexions. With at least one solid shirt in each of these colors, you should be able to match 95% of ties. Gray and navy suits in pinstripes, checks, and textures go with all three of these colors as do more complicated suit patterns.

Daily Men’s Style Tip #1

Just to stir up some controversy, I am going to begin offering a daily men’s style tip. The rules of men’s fashion are debated endlessly, so I expect there will be much disagreement with the advice I give. I invite readers to post all of that in the comments. The daily men’s style tips on stylites.net are just my opinion. Obviously, there are numerous exceptions and examples of people who look very stylish when they don’t take these tips. I don’t even follow all the advice I will be giving, but I wish I did. For most men, these are good ideas. Women’s style is extremely complicated, but I hope to invite some outside experts to post their opinions here. Eventually, we will offer a women’s style tip as well.
Men’s style tip #1: For odd wool slacks (those not part of a suit), go with browns and grays.
These colors are the easiest to match with odd sport coats and blazers, shoes, and dress shirts. If possible, to add interest to your outfit, find subtle textures in these colors like houndstooth, herringbone, checks, and birdseye weaves. Unless the stripes are highly unique, meaning they couldn’t possibly be part of a suit, avoid stripes. Don’t choose navy or black trousers. Navy looks like orphaned suit trousers and black is not as versatile or pleasant on the eye unless it is contrasted with white or paired with black – in these cases for fashion forward looks.