Sunday, May 23, 2010

Do Not Give Any Of Your Money

I'm not generally one to bust out the Haterade (well, not too much), but a friend of mine stumbled across the website, a site selling pre-folded, permanently sewn pocket squares. He asked me what I thought of it, so here goes.

I instantly equate the idea of a pre-folded pocket square to that of a clip-on tie. I feel that it's widely recognized that a man wearing a clip-on tie is amateurish and sartorially immature, even outside of the fashion and style industries. For example, I'm sure that a friend of ours, a well-paid lawyer at a medium-sized East Coast law firm, would be ridiculed by his peers if it were made public that he wore clip-on ties (which, for the record, he doesn't). It's fine for boys to wear clip-on ties; they don't know any better and the parents have no good reason to invest real money in something their son will just grow out of in a year or two. Grown men, however, have no excuse.

I feel this is even more true with's pre-folded and sewn pocket squares because although they should be, they're not considered a "necessary" part of the business or dress sartorial canon in America. When the average American man goes to work or an event that requires him to wear "a suit," that is generally taken to mean suit jacket, matching pants, dress shirt, dress socks and shoes with matching belt, and tie. A pocket square is unfortunately not an essential part of this uniform. Only the more stylish men of today are wearing them, and a pre-folded pocket square is thusly more unstylish than a clip-on tie precisely because it is a half-assed attempt at looking stylish. You didn't have to try, but you did. On top of this, you're completely oblivious to the fact that you failed miserably.

Also, like clip-on bow ties, these pocket squares are too perfect-looking. Part of looking great is looking natural, and it's not natural to have a pocket square folded into a fucking dandelion or the top of a chess rook. Just like imperfections like a mole can be considered a "beauty mark," small asymmetries and/or natural unevenness add character to an ensemble and allow the wearer to show off some panache (see the poorly-taken picture above). The pre-folded ones just make you look like a tacky mob boss.

Finally, the beauty of a pocket square is that, like a tie, it can be folded or puffed in a variety of ways. The decision as to how to wear his pocket square can, for the well-dressed man, be indicative of his mood or general demeanor and is just as important as coordinating it, color and pattern-wise, with the rest of the outfit. A pre-folded and sewn pocket square limits the mileage you can get on each one you own and robs a man of this freedom of sartorial creativity, his means of truly expressing who he is through his clothes and how he wears them. This self-expression is where dressing becomes a sort of visual art, and the dipshits at compromise this art. This self expression, however, when untainted by such a sartorial faux pas, is the true essence of style.

Long story short: sack up and fold your own pocket square.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Spring Ceremony

Weddings rock. In addition to dancing, eating, and getting completely sauced on someone else's dime, you get to see two people on what may be the happiest day of their new, shared life. I had the extreme pleasure of seeing two good friends of mine, Nick and Liz, tie the knot last weekend after dating for about forty or so years.*

As you can see from the photo, Liz was nothing less than a radiant bride. But hey, weddings are all about brides, right? Also, this is a men's style blog, so it's time to give my man Nick some credit. Since I had a hand in dressing him and his groomsmen for the big day, I'll shamelessly plug my own business (Modus Wardrobe Consulting) and take some credit too.

You've probably put two and two together by now and deduced that Nick is the guy in the above picture. Congratulations. I would also like you to note that he's a handsome son of a bitch, so making him look good in a suit wasn't all that difficult. His outfit is the perfect spring ensemble for men: khaki suit, white shirt, striped tie. Here's a breakdown of why it works (with particularly important points in bold):

  • The jacket is impeccably tailored. You can't tell from the photo, but take my word for it when I say that its body was perfectly hourglassed and extended down no further than his thumb's second knuckle. The sleeves ended at his wristbone and showed the perfect amount of shirt cuff. There wasn't one roll in his collar, and it showed off his shirt collar swimmingly.
  • The pants were baller. The waist fit perfectly, the break was minimal, and the pleats didn't exist.
  • The color of the suit coordinates incredibly well with Nick's hair color and is in the same color family as his brown eyes. When fit syncs with your body shape and colors sync with those you naturally possess, you have no choice but to look awesome.
  • You can't tell in the photo, but Nick was wearing a white, slim-fit French cuff shirt with blue silk knot cufflinks. This was the perfect way to dress up and formalize his khaki suit and inject a shot of color into the ensemble.
  • Simple, but interesting. The green and blue alternating stripes work well together on their own, but also play nicely with the neutral suit.
  • The blue stripe in the tie references the aforementioned blue cufflinks. This just went from looking "nice" to looking "smart."
  • Nick picked this out himself and deserves extra credit for doing so.
  • They were tan wingtip oxfords with a slightly tapered toe and a slim profile. Brown shoes are perfect with khaki suits, and this particular pair was boss as hell.
  • Earth-tone argyle jawns. Classic, but not plain.
  • He wore a white linen one. Always wear a pocket square with a suit jacket; it lends dapperness and an air of gentility to your look that you can't really get without one. They're not expensive either, so you have no excuse.
Follow these principles when dressing up in the warm weather and I guarantee you'll look good. And to my friends Nick and Liz, congratulations. I know I speak on behalf of your friends and loved ones when I wish that your years be many and joyous.

*Just kidding, it was only about nine years. Still though, people were starting to tap their watches.