Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Minor Dilemma

This question showed up in my inbox about a week ago:

I have sartorial a question for you. As uninspired and bland a dresser I am I enjoy wearing 3-piece suits. My question is with a 3-piece suit is a tie bar overkill? I like the idea of wearing one but I dont know if I should be wearing it.

This is a great question. Tie bars are a fantastic way to add some polish to your look (I never wear a tie without one), and I argue that a well-cut three-piece suit is the outfit in which a man looks his absolute best, like he's wearing an incredibly elegant suit of armor. The problem we run into here is that the vest of a three-piece suit fills the utilitarian role a tie clip would; it holds your tie in place, thus rendering the tie clip superfluous. What the hell are you supposed to do here?

Not all of menswear is utilitarian, however, and I suggest using some good judgement in terms of where and when to combine the two. Are you headed to a fall wedding? By all means, get your shine on and use a tie clip a little higher up than normal so you can see it above the vest. If you're attending a funeral, on the other hand, it's best to keep the bling to a minimum and skip the hardware. Even if you look fantastic, drawing attention to yourself when doing so would be uncouth will make you look disrespectful, ostentatious, or douchey.

For some inspiration on how to get started combining vests and tie clips, check out dude on the left in the picture above. Him and his buddy are dandy as all hell, but he wears a tie clip with a vest to great effect. Killer.

Style Profile: Marvin Gaye

Tomorrow is Memorial Day, a time Americans set aside to remember those servicemen and women who died in service to our country by taking advantage of retail sales and grilling at someone's beach house. I don't know about you, but I think this lacks some of the sobriety and thoughtfulness that remembering our country's fallen soldiers should induce.

With that, I humbly submit this video of one of my favorite artists ever, Marvin Gaye, singing the Star-Spangled Banner at the 1983 NBA All-Star Game. It's one of the most unorthodox versions of the song you'll ever hear (very 80's-sounding to be sure, but good nonetheless), and it's safe to say that this man could dress his ass off. Everything about what he's wearing reeks of timeless style and unparalleled swag. Note the following:

-A perfectly fitted double-breasted suit with peak lapels and side vents.
-A graceful arc in his perfectly knotted tie.
-A pocket square that doesn't match the tie AND is puffed out like crazy.
-One half of one inch of shirt cuff showing from underneath his jacket sleeve.
-Sunglasses so thoroughly boss that he doesn't even take them off while indoors.
-Women hooting and hollering at him.

Then listen to his gentle, soulful voice; it'll help you remember just why we take this time to chomp down burgers and hot dogs with friends and family. Be safe, and Happy Memorial Day.