Tuesday, December 29, 2009


The cool weather is obviously having an effect on my clothing preferences of late. We are actually experiencing a bit of winter in our normally balmy Northern California, so my mind turns to warmer clothes.

And what could be warmer or more comforting than flannel?

Flannel comes in two basic varieties: wool and cotton.

Wool flannel is the stuff of your best dress suits, trousers and blazers. It is also what the best Pendleton™ shirts are made of. There is much to recommend wool flannel shirts – most notably, if a young gentleman spends a good deal of time out of doors in the cold months, wool will keep him warm when sodden wet. Additionally, good quality wool will keep its crisp appearance through much hard wear. No matter how well worn your wool flannel Pendleton gets, however, it will never be something that you want to rub your face against – it is not "comfort" clothing.

Cotton flannel is what I really want to discuss here. It comes in various weights from quite light, suitable for mild Californian autumns and springs, to thick "chamois cloth" weights, which make good layers in mid-winter. It is used to line jeans and khakis and to make shirts. These are not business shirts. No, these are shirts that warm the flesh and the soul. A well washed and thick cotton flannel shirt is like wearing the softest blanket from your bassinet. Like Linus, you will take your security blanket with you everywhere. The heaviest cotton flannels will never offer the same degree of insulation as wool flannels, but they are far more suitable for indoor wear and for layering over tee-shirts and turtlenecks. A well cut flannel shirt can go under a tweed or corduroy sport coat, it can go under any sort of parka, or it may be worn as a medium-weight outer layer on its own.

The best cut flannel shirts offer two breast pockets, often pleated, but not always. Knife pleats on each side of the back are best, but they may have no pleats at all – the additional volume afforded by pleats makes layering over heavy undergarments somewhat easier. Look for good long tails as they serve not only to keep the shirt tucked in whilst you are cutting wood or driving the sleigh, but they also offer welcome insulation to your bum.

Where to find them? The old stand-by, L. L. Bean still carries them, as does their west-coast counterpart, Eddie Bauer, but in recent years I have found the offerings at Cabela's to be of better quality. Also, Cabela's offers them in a wider selection of colors and they offer embroidery to personalize the shirts a bit.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Malone Pants

I am taking something of a departure here. The weather in our balmy Northern California climes has taken a turn for the cool. Tomorrow the weatherman is predicting sleet. Sleet! In Northern California!

This is one of the rare times when I wish I still had a pair of Malone Pants. Malone Pants are one of the less-than-basic alternatives that it  behooves a gentleman to own. The fabric is a tremendously thick woolen flannel. And it is not refined flannel. Think lumberjacks, jacking lumber in the forests of the Yukon. These pants are heavy. But, like so many articles of men's clothing that were developed in the nineteenth century, they are also dashing. Traditionally they are in a dark Oxford grey color with a faint red and green windowpane check. Because they are woolen, they will not only keep you warm after fording a river to get to grandmama's house, but they will continue to look dashing once they dry. And, if on the sleigh-ride home with Miss Fanny Bright you happen to get caught in a drifted bank, you will be able to loan the only blanket in the vehicle to her whilst you dig your way out in relative comfort.

In truth, Malone Pants, though we only wear them a few times a year in this region, are invaluable wardrobe additions. Woolrich makes a fine example, and L.L. Bean carries them under their own label too, but they call them Main Guide Wool Pants. With a Pendleton wool shirt, you are ready to go Christmas tree hunting in these babies, and throw on a blue blazer and you are ready for Midnight Mass. In the winter these are truly not replaceable by any other garment that I know of.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Denim Discussion

Denim. We had to talk about it eventually.

Invented in France as a rugged, utility material, died with cheap indigo dye, it was the stuff of working class trousers, hardy and coarse. As it happened, the exact combination that they hit on was a moment of ingenious synchronicity – the fabric, whilst coarse, washes wonderfully and, as it ages it becomes wonderfully soft. The indigo dye, starts as a harsh dark blue, but, as it washes it also softens, taking on its own character, eventually to an ever paling sky blue and, finally, it turns almost white. In the latter half of the twentieth century we found that denim and washing machines are made for one another. And, if you fold denim trousers right out of the dryer, you don't even have to iron them.

But denim is more than merely convenient: it is poetic. A soft, old pair of pale blue jeans are as at home in the Rocky Mountains as a pair of khakis on the Serengeti. They speak of broad, blue skies and poetry in the forest. They are romantic.

So why do so many old school pundits of gentlemen's wardrobe still disdain jeans as belonging to those who mow our lawns, but are certainly not gentlemen? It is because of denim's working-class roots. Unlike khakis, denim did not have the Ernest Hemingways and William Buckleys of the world acting as full-time spokesmodels. Denim was included in Hollywood's reinvention of the Wild West and was worn by the likes of Roy Rogers and John Wayne in their hundred year re-conquest of the open prairie. Denim was tough and working-class, but it was not elegant.

And then the eighties came along, rescuing us from the polyester decade of the seventies and introduced the denim shirt. I am not talking about the denim work shirt or the denim western shirt, but, rather, the finished denim button-down, and it became the blue blazer of the modern age. It could be worn with a tweed sport coat, corduroy trousers and a coarsely woven necktie, and it was at home in the Ivy League classroom or the elegant chophouse. With sleeves rolled and the collar open, it can easily pair with Bermuda shorts on the beach. It is truly an all-purpose shirt. Given its resilience and resistance to wrinkles, it is the perfect travel companion. And its softness next to your skin will lend you strength at the interview for the Big Job as well. The wait staff at Les Halles in New York City wears denim shirts with spread collars and French cuffs – I have coveted these ever since I first saw them, but have never been able to find one.

All of this makes us think that, perhaps, we should reevaluate the ever present blue jeans.

In my opinion, the blue jeans are a perfectly acceptable casual addition to the gentleman's wardrobe, certainly west of the Mississippi. You need to be aware of the characteristics of various denim trousers, however, and make your selections carefully.

First of all, for most of us, Wranglers are completely inappropriate. If you spend a good deal of time in the saddle of a horse, either for work or play, then Wranglers are the blue jeans of choice, and you should wear them. They are very tight in the buttocks and the thighs for the purpose of avoiding uncomfortable wrinkles between you and your saddle. For those of us who do not ride in jeans, however, they are just trampy. It is like a lovely, busty maid squeezing into a tube-top: It puts everything on display, but not to the beset advantage. And, to make things worse, every country-bar dwelling pretend cowpoke dons the Wranglers in order to give himself some cowboy cred. It doesn't work.

Most so-called designer brands are also wrong for men. They are means of advertising your net worth on your bum, and, as dad had it, if you have to tell me that you are rich, you are not. Some designer brands, Ralph Lauren and Façonnable to name two, are excellent in their design. They are also startlingly expensive. L.L. Bean still carries excellent house-brand jeans, and the website, MakeYourOwnJeans.com, offers designs that will suit every taste.

In selecting your blue jeans, remember the Aristotelian rule of thumb: Avoid extremes. You neither want your jeans to be too tight, nor too loose. Not too new, nor too old. On young girls, holes in the knees can be quite enticing, but never on gentlemen's jeans. Because I am cut a bit like a box, my blue jeans of choice are Levi's 505s. They are similar in cut to the classic 501s, but they have zippers in lieu of the button flies. I find that the button holes on the current breed of 501s are wearing out just about the time that the jeans are getting good, whereas the brass zippers of the 505s last a few lifetimes.

Once you have selected your jeans, wear them well, but not inappropriately. Wearing rugged jeans with a dinner jacket or a sport coat was creative and naughty in 1981, now it is back to being inappropriate. They pair well with sport shirts or tee shirts. With a crisp button-down they will take you to lunch at Ahwahnee, but break out the well pressed khakis and a blue blazer for dinner.

In short, every gentleman should have a dark denim dress shirt in his wardrobe. Blue jeans are less necessary, but they do make a nice alternative to khakis periodically. Just remember to be cognicent of the design and quality of your denim, and it will serve you well for years to come.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Shirts in Colors

For the bulk of the nineteenth century, a gentleman's dress shirt was white. Colors and patterns in shirts were the domain of the working man, something to brighten his life of browns and tans. The gay nineties changed many traditions of the Victorian era, and by the end of the century, gentlemen's dress shirts were available in stripes and patterns of tremendous variety. Innovation continued through the 1920s, and then, with the onslaught of the depression, as with so many things, innovation ceased.

But that is alright. The thirty-five years of shirt creativity left gentlemen with a wide variety of colors and patterns. There are any number of stripes and colors available to the modern gentleman that are perfectly acceptable.

For the most formal of wear, with the navy braided pinstripe or the Oxford grey chalk-stripe, you will want to stick with white shirts. White-on-white patterned shirts may be worn with the most formal suits, and they make subtle and elegant statements. Be aware of the pattern of your suiting and the necktie that you choose when opting for white-on-white patterns, as they can contribute to the busyness of the overall presentation.

Striped shirts of many hues are extremely handsome, but they are best worn with solid color suits, as opposed to striped suits. Striped shirts also play well with chinos and solid colored slacks excellently, as they do with blue blazers. They lend dash, style and elegance to your "intermediate" wardrobe – that which falls between an open collar and khakis and the formal suit.

Down the ladder of formality from the white-on-white and the striped shirts is a selection of pastel colored shirts. Most traditionally made of Oxford cloth and with button down collars, in pale blue, yellow and pink these are staples of the wardrobe. Again, they go excellently with khakis and blue blazers or solid blue suits. These can even be used to dress down a more formal suit. They work well with a variety of neckties. Beyond the most traditional colors, just about any pastel such as peach or apricot, pale greens and a variety of light blues work excellently. For the past twenty years a darker shade of blue, usually called French blue, has become fundamental – it is excellent and, like the white-on-white shirt, it tends to lend a bit of elegance to an otherwise more casual ensemble. Do not go darker in tone than the French blue – navy, burgundy and black shirt are great at the bowling alley, but not in the form of a dress shirt.

While colored shirts are most traditional in the U.S. with button down collars, they are perfectly appropriate with plain point or spread collars as well. Most traditionally they have plain barrel cuffs, though they are excellent with French cuffs as well when worn with non-button down collars.

In the spring and summer months, white collars and cuffs are acceptable on pastel and striped body shirts – especially with seersucker, poplin and pincord suits and, of course, with blue blazers.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The White Shirt

Fundamental to the gentleman's wardrobe is the white shirt. What I am discussing here is not the formal evening shirt, but the basic, everyday white dress shirt, which, incidentally, is perfectly acceptable as an evening shirt, but that discussion will be had later.

The most basic and least dressy of the white shirt wardrobe is the button down or polo collar shirt. Introduced by Brooks Brothers in 1896 as the polo collar, this shirt will take you anywhere. Starched and worn with a half-Windsor knotted necktie or a bowtie, this shirt is ready for the most formal of boardroom settings. Similarly it will take you with equal ease to any dinner that does not call for formal wear. On the other hand, in slightly rumpled condition with the sleeves rolled, the same button down will take you to the beach with your khakis or Bermuda shorts. Paired with a pair of clean jeans, and you are ready for a day in the country. Pressed with slacks it is ideal for business casual. Truly, if there is any single garment that will take you truly anywhere, it is the button down shirt.

Most traditionally, these shirts are made from a coarsely woven cotton fabric called Oxford cloth, and, as a result, they are often referred to as Oxford Cloth Shirts, or, more simply, as Oxfords. Ironically, and, in my view, rather sadly, true Oxford is getting harder and harder to come by. It seems to have been supplanted by the more modern and more refined Pinpoint Oxford fabric, which is a lovely fabric – my fondness of the coarser, older-style fabric is purely sentimental.

Collar discussions aside, the dress shirt has the following characteristics:

  • Long sleeves – No matter what the Macy's display tells you, there is no such thing as a short sleeved dress shirt.
  • Centered box pleat – This lends to the voluminous body of the shirt. Alternatively, if you have your shirts made, you may opt for two knife pleats on each side of the back. When you have a box pleat, look for a locker loop – it is more of a fashion statement than a useful accessory, but it looks very finished and traditional – kind of like a luggage rack on an MGA.
  • Breast pocket – Typically found on the wearer's left shirt front. This pocket may have rounded corners on the bottom or angled corners to match the choice on the cuff. Harder to find now, but very nice, is a flapped pocket. This look used to be the signature of L.L. Bean, back when Bean was cool. The total absence of a breast pocket lends to a clean and elegant look, but you lose the convenience of the pocket.
  • Cuffs – Plain, barrel cuffs with a single button closure, and a second button, called the gauntlet button, a couple of inches up the sleeve placket. This type of cuff is perfectly acceptable anywhere where you wear a dress shirt. More formally, French cuffs give the wearer an opportunity to wear cufflinks in a day to day environment, but because of the formality of the French cuffs, they are not considered appropriate with button down collars.
  • Monograms – Monograms are perfectly acceptable on dress shirts, but keep them understated and well hidden. Plain block initials, about ¼" on the left cuff or the pocket is very traditional. If you keep them in navy blue, they will go with anything you own. As long as the monogram is appropriately small, you can have your monograms in bright colors too. Unusual placement of the monogram is fine, as long as it is out of the way. Beneath the breast pocket is a great location, or centered on the breast pocket. I have seen them centered over the box pleat in back, but that seems a wee bit proud.
  • A voluminous cut – Unless you are very thin or exceptionally broad-shouldered with a small waist, you do not want trim cut shirts. The volume of the shirt is part of its luxury.

Collar Options

As mentioned earlier, a button down collar is among the most versatile of collar options on a gentleman's shirt. It is an American innovation, originally to keep the polo players' collars from flapping in their faces without wearing collar pins – this was back in the days when polo was played in jackets and ties! When you wear a button down collar, you should always keep the points buttoned, whether you are wearing a tie or not. In addition to the button down collar, there are several other collar options available which are equally appropriate:

  • Spread collar – The spread collar has many names and, short of a formal shirt, it is the most formal of dress shirt collars. It is the appropriate collar to wear with a large, well built full Windsor knot. Other names that you will find spread collars called are Windsor collars, Venetian collars, Eton collars, Varsity collars, etc. Some you will find are sculpted, some are straight cut, some are a wider spread, some less so, but a wide spread collar of whichever style you prefer is great for this niche.
  • Plain point collar – The spread collar is, in fact, a variant of the plain point collar. The plain point collar, again, you will find under a number of names, and it is as basic as the button down. If you do not like buttoning your collar points, you may opt for the plain point collar and be equally appropriate. The plain point collar is a tiny bit more formal than a button down, though it can be dressed down equally. It is not quite a sporty as the button down, but it is more traditionally a European choice.
  • Pin collars – These were the predecessors of the button down. They have small eyelets in the collar through which to place a collar pin. Avoid these – if you want to wear a collar pin, use the type that does not require that you have a hole in your collar.
  • Tab collars – Very elegant, though slightly dated, tab collars, fastened either with a button or a snap keeps your collar trim and in a more erect position. These are the best for wearing four-in-hand knots with.
  • Round points – These are available with or without collar pins and/or tabs. Again, they are a bit dated, but if you like to wear white flannels or seersucker suits, you may want one in your wardrobe.
  • Hidden button down – This is the newest innovation in the dress shirt scene. It gives you the advantages of a button down collar without looking like a button down collar. Personally, I have no use for this, though it is perfectly acceptable.
  • Banded collars – These have the plain collar band where you would attach an old-fashioned detachable collar, but no collar attached. These are fine for very casual wear, but they are not truly dress shirts.

Cuff Options

As mentioned before, the plain barrel cuff is the traditional cuff on a dress shirt. The barrel cuff may be made with rounded corners, square corners or mitered corners, generally made to match the cut of the pocket, if the shirt has a breast pocket. Similarly you will find that French, or turn-back, cuffs generally have the same options. A slightly old-fashioned look with French cuffs may also include some sculpting on the cuff. To my eye, the most formal look for French cuffs is the plain, square cut.

The Need for a Formal Shirt

Contrary to what the teenager at the tuxedo rental shop will try to tell you, a neatly pressed and well presented white dress shirt is perfectly appropriate for evening wear. Even when wearing a dinner suit, a tuxedo in American parlance, or a white dinner jacket. A dress shirt is not appropriate with full evening dress, or white tie, but it is perfect with anything short of that. A bowtie may be worn with most plain point collars, but not with the extreme spread collars. If you are wearing a dress shirt for evening wear, avoid wearing the button down – this is the one place where the button down is not at home. Button cuffs are fine here, but French cuffs are better. I will go into formal shirts in a later post, and the options available.

In Short

White dress shirts will take you through every activity of your life. They are your friends. If you get good ones, they will wash down and they will get better with age – they will pass from being your dressiest shirts to your workhorse shirts; then from your workhorse shirts to your beachcombing shirts. From there, they will become your Saturday morning lawn mowing shirts, and, when your wife tells you it is time for that shirt to the ragbag, you will be hard pressed to part with it! Choose your shirts well and do not be afraid to spend some money on the good ones – they will be with you longer than some friends.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Blue Suit

Like a blue blazer, the conservative navy blue suit serves as part of the backbone of a gentleman's wardrobe. With a white shirt and a conservative necktie, a plain navy suit can take you anywhere. You will be accepted at the best restaurants and clubs without even a twitch of an eyebrow. With a small wardrobe of ties, no one will even notice that you only own one suit at your first real job.

Stripes or no stripes?

Eventually, as your wardrobe grows, I highly encourage the inclusion of striped suits. Especially if you can get to England and get yourself a well tailored suit with a genuine braided pinstripe – there is truly nothing quite so aristocratic. If, however, you are starting your wardrobe, I highly recommend that you begin with a conservative, plain navy blue suit. It is a tiny bit more conservative than a striped suit, and, as a result, will be that much more versatile.

In the 21st century, a blue suit will take you to any event that is labeled "Black Tie". You are not pretending to have a tuxedo, you are simply opting to wear a blue suit – do so with aplomb and do not discuss the restrictions placed on the invitation. In the same vein, if you are heading to Stinson Beach for the weekend, your blue suit will take you to the best restaurant in town elegantly. And, yet, at the same time you will be ready for San Francisco the next day. Your blue suit will take you to the opera and the Carnelian Room or to City Lights and Pomodoro Pizza with equal ease and comfort. As a young gentleman especially, you will find that wearing a suit will get you a few more "yes, sirs" and "right this way, sirs", and a few fewer, "do you have an ID?"

Components of a suit.

Like your blue blazer, the best blue suit will have a fairly straight cut three button jacket. The notable difference between the suit jacket and the blazer is the presence of metal buttons on the blazer. The suit will, at the most basic level, have plastic buttons of the same color as the fabric of the suit. Higher class suits, like your Bond Street tailored model, may employ more expensive materials for the buttons, but they will always blend in with the color of the suit. The trousers should be plain front, cut much like your khakis, though they may be a bit more tailored. Your girlfriend may like pleats, but they are wrong on anything but your kilt. Trousers may be finished with or without cuffs, but a cuffed look seems to be a bit more opulently traditional.

If your budget requires that you choose between a blue blazer and a blue suit, I would go with a good, conservative blue suit. You can use the jacket like a blazer, and it has an austere look that pairs well with khakis.

Up next: Your Shirt Wardrobe!!

Friday, February 6, 2009


In the beastly month of February, a young man's mind turns to the impending spring. And with the spring comes the time for white trousers!

White trousers are ignored to a great extent today, but they can make a dashing statement, and, whilst not truly essential to a gentleman's wardrobe, they are a versatile addition to it.

Your whites should be cut along the same lines as your khakis, plain front and generous in the rise and the leg. Cuffs are a necessity on these.

Foremost among white trousers are the classic: white flannels. White flannel trousers may be a stark, hard white or they may be any number of shades of off-white to a genuine cream color. My favorite white flannels are, in fact, cream color with a dusty blue pencil stripe running through them. Quite sporty, yet they can be dressed up with a jacket and tie. That is the beauty of white flannel slacks – they can go from a sport shirt and an Optima cut Panama hat to a blue blazer and a bow-tie with ease, and they always make you look smart, just a tad dressier than those around you without being over-dressed. In the words of dear Emily Post, " If some semi-formal occasion comes up, such as a country tea, the time-worn conservative blue coat with white flannel trousers is perennially good."
The only shoe correct with white flannels is the white buck: a finely napped white suede, or "buckskin", shoe with a thick red crepe sole. You keep them brilliant with a chalk bag, normally included with the shoes. These are really the only white shoes for a gentleman. White patent loafers are right out, even if they have Gucci buckles on them. They are simply wrong.

Second to white flannels are white twills, made of a fabric similar to your khakis. Also in this category are the somewhat lighter weight white sailcloth trousers and, lightest of all, white poplin. For the summer, all are appropriate, but, bear in mind, white poplin trousers tend to be a wee bit translucent, so choose your undergarments appropriately. The red hearts may be cute as a button in the bedroom, but you don't want the boys at the club seeing them! The great thing about non-flannel whites is that you can get away with leather or canvas deck shoes or other casual shoes with them – you are not restricted to white bucks.

Contrary to popular myth, in this day and age, white is not restricted to the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Whites are appropriate more to climate than to date – if you are spending Thanksgiving in Kawai, then white flannels and a blue blazer are de rigueur. On the other hand, if you are summering in Aukland, then you may want to don your winter togs and leave the whites at home.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


World War II ended and the soldiers came home. With them they brought the military contract work trousers that had taken them through Germany, North Africa and Southeast Asia. They were tough as steel and, eventually, soft as flannel and remarkably dashing. The best part was that they looked good with a uniform shirt, but they made the transition to a sport-shirt easily.

Then, sometime in the 1980s, Levi, Strauss and Company got hold of them and made them into Dockers. The pants became more tailored, the fabric less resilient, and the construction became that of Chinese national slave labor. What had once been unabashedly American, became trash.

Fortunately for us, for a price, good khakis are still available. Bills Khakis of Reading, Pennsylvania produces real, honest-to-God World War II style khaki pants. And you pay for them. They cost around a hundred dollars a pair, but, given the devaluation of the dollar and the quality of these trousers, they are truly well worth it. These get better with washings and soon your oldest pair will be your favorite. Bills Model 1 is cut in the 1930s style, full in the seat and legs. Gentlemen don't need pleats, though Bills does offer them, should you so desire.

The best part is that Bills now offers this traditional off-the-rack cut of slacks in a variety of fabrics and colors including corduroys and woolens.

These pants are definitely not your Dockers – the cut is full, the waist is high, the pockets are deep and the fabric is engineered to take Guadalcanal. Your grandkids will be fighting over these babies.

Cuffs or no cuffs? Personally, I like the look of cuffs on my slacks, mainly because that's the way Dad did it. When they were elements of uniforms, of course, they were finished plain. Plain hems give a more streamlined look to your trousers, but Bills Model 1s are not streamlined pants – they are baggy high-waisted pants. I think that cuffs give a more opulent look to the trousers, and Bills deserve to be showcased richly, so cuffs it is.

You will need to have several pair of khakis – a pair of crisply pressed khakis and a pair of faded and worn khakis. These are the staple of your wardrobe. Well pressed with a dress shirt, a necktie and a blazer these will take you through most interviews and dinner at the club. A bit rumpled with a sport-shirt and a pair of Top-siders, they will take you to the cocktail party at the marina. Truly these are the most versatile trousers in a gentleman's wardrobe, so don't skimp on them.

If Bills are unavailable in your area, look for trousers made of pure cotton – polyester/cotton blends, while better than they were two decades ago, still look cheesy. Plain fronts are better than pleats. Look for a full cut to ease movement. Details like watch pockets and flapped rear pockets are nice. Quality of construction, as with every element of your wardrobe, is essential. If they have advertising or brand names on the bum, carefully remove it. Rule of thumb: With the single and notable exception of blue jeans, you do not want advertising on your clothing.

The Blue Blazer

The backbone of any gentleman's wardrobe is the navy blue blazer. The historical roots of the blazer are lost: some claim that it is based on a uniform favored by the captain of the HMS Blazer in the Victorian era, others claim that they were once brightly colored jackets worn by the crews of Oxford, producing a blaze of color. Whatever the historical precedent is, it is not so significant; today it is the quietly dashing foundation of the man's wardrobe.

Eventually you will have several blazers, but you will start with one. I recommend, for your first lone blazer, a decent quality worsted wool model with subdued brass buttons. The cut should be an un-tapered three-button, cut to have the middle button fastened normally and the top and bottom buttons left undone. Patch pockets at the hip level are traditional - this jacket is the heir to a working-class tradition, so the simpler construction fits. The reason for the lack of taper is twofold: 1) for comfort in a variety of situations, and 2) to facilitate layering over sweaters and heavy shirts.

Your blue blazer may be worn with khakis and a sport-shirt for a dashing casual look, or with our best dress shirt and dark gray flannel trousers as a substitute for your most formal suit. With a crisp dress shirt, a conservative silk necktie and a pair of good gray flannels, a blue blazer will take you to the most formal of affairs.

Once you have your wardrobe established, you may wish to expand your blue blazer collection. You should have a good quality heavy "doeskin" flannel single-breasted model as your most formal winter jacket, and a hopsack blazer for those summer picnics. If you like, you may include a double-breasted blazer, but not your most formal models - double-breasted jackets are best reserved for deck parties on the yacht or the cruise. Avoid the urge to don a skipper's cap.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Gentleman's Wardrobe

I have been reevaluating my wardrobe of late, and I have found that much of what a classic wardrobe is has been lost on modern sales staff. Even at places like Nordstrom, the help in Gentlemen's Suits have little idea of what a gentleman's wardrobe should have.

I am blogging here in order to discuss the basics of a man's wardrobe, and some talk of the extras that a gentleman does not need, but may enjoy.