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A Complete Guide to Men's Winter Coats

Posted by Rishi Chullani on

Kathryn Fassett

Depending on the climate you live in, a winter coat might be a vital part of your wardrobe for five months out of the year, or it might only make an appearance for a chilly week or two. Men’s coats have been a central part of men’s fashion since civilization began. Some of the styles still extremely popular today have long social histories, even coming to be associated with groups of political thought.

Winter coats are expensive. It can be tempting to buy discount coats, but buyer beware. The reason that coats are so expensive is that a great deal of heavy material goes into making them. 

For the best investment, buy a coat in an easy-to-coordinate color such as navy, black, or gray. These options will give you the best range of ensembles to wear under it, helping you get the most use that you can. With that said, here is our complete guide to men's winter coats!

Duffel

Duffel coats take their name from the town in Belgium where the coarse wool material that they are made from was first made. Duffel coats are easy to spot, with large hoods and wooden toggles fastened to leather loops. These coats date back to the early 19th century and are still popular today, although modern styles are made with a softer material. 

Duffel Coat

Courtesy of Pinterest

Warm Rating

Made from wool and with generous hoods, duffel coats are will keep you warm on chilly days. The versatility of the duffel coat makes it easy to pair it with casual wear or more formal attire.

Wet Rating

Wool is not a great fabric to keep you dry. In fact, wool is fairly absorbent, so don’t expect a duffel coat to offer much protection from the elements.

Trench Coat

Like many other styles of men’s coats, the trench coat was originally designed to for military purposes. The trench coat was designed to help keep soldiers dry in the wet trenches. Trench coats are designed to be good cover for winter wear, to repel water, and to stay lightweight and allow movement. 

Trench Coat

Courtesy of Pinterest

Warm Rating

Trench coats were not designed for warmth, but rather to be worn underneath something heavier in the more cold months. Their lightweight feel make them ideal for spring wear as well.

Wet Rating

Trench coats are great for the rain because the pressed material repels water and help you stay dry underneath.

Overcoat

Overcoats were once the most formal sort of coat a man could wear. Overtime, the overcoat evolved to something more basic that can be paired with formal wear and informal wear alike. Although the overcoat is constantly being “reinvented,” the classic look of an overcoat doesn’t really change from season to season.

Men's Overcoat

Courtesy of Pinterest

Warm Rating

With so many different takes on the overcoat from designer to designer, it’s likely that you can find overcoats made from a wide variety of materials. However, the traditional overcoat is made from fine wool.

Wet Rating

The fine wool of a well-made overcoat will keep you dry in persistent rain. Check individual overcoat styles to make sure they are constructed from high quality wool.

Parka

A parka is a thick coat stuffed with down, usually with an attached, fur-lined hood. Parkas are long and provide a great deal of protection in cold climates. This style of coat comes from the Inuit living in the Arctic, who created them from warm animal furs and skins. The Inuits used to coat their parkas, called anoraks, with fish oil to help protect the wearer from rain and mud.

Parka

Courtesy of Pinterest

Warm Rating

Parkas are very warm, due to the many layers of down or other stuffing inside. A parka will be sufficient by itself for most weather, and too heavy for mild days.

Wet Rating

Parkas work well to repel water, even though you won’t have to rub it down with fish oil every week. Today’s parkas are simply made from a water resistant material.

Pea Coat

The pea coat has nautical origins, designed to protect the wearer from the wind and sea spray aboard a naval vessel. Pea coats are versatile enough to wear to a formal occasion, or under a pair of jeans and a sweater to something more casual. Every man should have a pea coat made from heavy duty wool as a staple of their closet.  

Pea Coat

Courtesy of Pinterest

Warm Rating

Pea coats are made from heavy duty wool, so they are very warm. However, they can easily accommodate a suit jacket underneath, so in the coldest weather simply add another garment.

Wet Rating

Dense wool makes a pea coat resistant to water. If you need to trust some one on which garment will keep you dry, a sailor seems like a good choice of authority.

Below is an incredibly helpful infographic pertaining to coats by Real Men Real Style.

Men's Coat Infographic

And that's a wrap for this one! I hope that you have enjoyed reading this article as much as I did writing it!

 

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Elevate Your Style: 10 Style Tips For Men

Posted by Rishi Chullani on

So you’ve embarked on the holy pilgrimage more casually referred to as ‘upgrading your wardrobe.’ You’ve made a conscious effort to go all in and really take all matters sartorially related by the horns. All bravado. Out go your badly fitted light denim jeans, your t-shirts and your ill fitted suits that seemed like the best thing since sliced bread when you were interviewing.

And yes, you’ve decided to not just buy well fitted clothes this time, but actually learn about how they go together – or in grown man’s parlance, complement one another. This is a serious journey gents.

Yet you have no idea where to begin. Like any other skill that we master over time, reading from a variety of sources that have studied said topic is always considered a wise move. So without further talk, here are our 10 Style Tips that will elevate your wardrobe game this year, and have you looking, feeling and acting more stylish. That’s Style + Confidence. Now, who doesn’t want that?

1. Essential Suits – Charcoal Grey Suit & Navy Suit

If you are hoping to get the most out of your wardrobe or simply build the foundation for your formalwear attire, the above two suits are an absolute necessity. Versatile and classics, both colors will provide you with plenty of options, and essentially a canvas, to paint the rest of your ensemble on. Darker colored suits will always serve you well year round, whereas lighter colored suits can generally only be worn during the spring & summer months without raising eyebrows.

Both the Navy and Charcoal Suit can be worn across a range of functions and occasions, from daily work wear, to more social settings, to wedding receptions. Barring a black tie event or the most formal of settings, these suits will set your formal wear tone for the year.

Navy Suit

Courtesy of www.esquire.com

Opt for two or three button single breasted suits to keep it simple, with notch lapels when you are starting off. As you become more sartorially inclined and are comfortable adjusting proportions and cuts based on your body type, you can start to venture off into bolder territory by paying attention to details such as peaked lapels, double breasted suits and pocket types, amongst other specifics.

2. Essential Shirts – White and Blue Cotton Shirts

These wardrobe staples will serve as the backbone of your formal wear attire. The essential shirts for any man’s wardrobe are the pale blue and white dress shirts that are easily the most common in the workplace. Ideally, you will want to stay away from busier patterns such as striped, checkered and other shirt patterns until you have become more comfortable with matching ties to your suits and shirts. The art of complementing accessories with your attire is a learned skill (more discussed below), and so it is best that you start off with a solid white and pale blue shirt. Furthermore, these go to items will always come in hand, even as you have become a seasoned veteran with respect to pattern and color matching!

While white and blue dress shirts have traditionally been considered conservative and befitting of a certain ilk, they have also been considered the easiest canvas upon which to pair ties and other accessories with.

Blue Solid Shirt

Courtesy of www.tailoredandstyled.com

As you become more comfortable with your wardrobe and look to add flair and intrigue, adding bolder colors and patterns will undoubtedly add to the visual variety that your attire presents.

3.Own a Pair of Dark, Fitted Jeans

Few things attest to your successful rite of passage crossing as a pair well fitted, dark jeans do. Loosely fitted, lighter colored jeans are virtually synonymous with college wear, and graduating both literally and metaphorically to your next step in life often comes with a pair of dark fitted jeans – an article of clothing that will single handedly help you exhibit more serious demeanor and a mature, grown up attitude.

Want to dress down a bit with your fitted jeans? Sure, rock them with a solid colored polo shirt. Want to dress them up a bit? A buttoned up checkered / plaid shirt will do the trick and will have you looking and playing the part almost instantly!

Dark Denim Jeans

Courtesy of www.pinterest.com

4. Invest in High Quality Black & Brown Dress Shoes

Shawshank Redemptions ‘Seriously, how often do you look at a man’s shoes’, while essential to the plot line as the ending of the script unfolds, couldn’t be further from the truth when a first impression is made. As much as we should focus on ourselves, society makes a snap judgement based on how we dress. And your shoes are almost the first thing to be subconsciously critiqued.

If that isn’t convincing enough, the notion that lower quality shoes often have their soles easily worn out, in addition to providing you with future back pain (a symptom of middle age and up!), should see you sprinting in the same vein as Usain Bolt towards the next pair of formal shoes that you have your eyes set on.

Whether you are searching for Oxford Cap-Toes, Brogues or other formalwear kicks, investing in one pair of Black (preferably Oxfords) and one pair of Brown (preferably Brogues), will leave you with variety with respect to your footwear and provide you with plenty of options irrespective of the color of your suit and /or pants!

To read more about Essential Shoes for men, please click here.

Brown Leather Brogues

Courtesy of www.pinterest.com

5. Own a Pair of Chinos – or Two

When it comes to Wardrobe Staples, Chinos should be high on your list. Providing you with an ability to dress up or dress down, these stylistic slacks should definitely warrant strong consideration. Chinos refer to the popular style of trousers popularized by American military origin. Chinos are the product of what used to be predominantly cotton based uniform for soldiers. Less formal than dress pants and more formal than jeans, chinos will quickly turn into one of your go to wardrobe staples.

The key to pulling of chinos, just as with any other article that the aspiring dapper gent considers, is fit. Fitted chinos will always work like a charm, elongating your aesthetic and helping strengthen vertical perceived lines. They work particularly well with lighter weight button down shirts.

Khaki Chinos

Courtesy of www.pinterest.com

For a dapper yet casual look during the Spring & Summer months, pair your chinos with a tucked in linen or chambray shirt. For a dressier take, pair your chinos with a blazer in contrasting colors to create the most pop. Accessorize with a Pocket Square or Knitted Tie, and you are well on your way to Dapper Ville!

6. Upgrade Your Style With A Sports Jacket

Few things attest to a style upgrade like a sports jacket. While a suit jacket comes with matching trousers, and a blazer is typically navy colored and with more of a structured fit, a sports jacket can serve as a versatile year round piece, depending on the weight of fabric that you opt for.

The sports jacket was originally attire worn by the sporting man. Hence, the sports jackets original function is reflected in its fit – loose enough to allow for layering underneath. This looser fit typically allows one to wear a sweater underneath, making it far more flexible than a suit.

Sports Jacket

Courtesy of www.atailoredsuit.com

Intended to look  more rugged than the suit and blazer, a sports jacket is typically made from sturdier fabrics such as houndstooth or heavier wools. For sports jacket that can be worn year round, opting for a cotton / wool blend will provide you with an ideal level of flexibility.

Here are a few things to consider when buying your next Sports Jacket:

  • It all Starts with Fit – Just as with your suits, fit is of paramount importance. It all starts with the shoulders, and having the lines of the jacket follow you do to your waist. A well fitted sports jacket will fit similar to a well tailored suit jacket, with more breathing room and flexibility (lower armholes, wider chest measurement), so as to allow for functional movement! Similar to a suit, your sleeve length should be long enough to hit where your wrist meets your hands, while simultaneously allowing for about ¼ inch of shirt sleeve to show!
  • What are you wearing it for? – Try and think about the occasions that you will wear your sports jacket to. If you will be wearing it for multiple events throughout the year, a more neutral color such as a blue or brown will work perfectly. If you have just one or two events with a dedicated dress code in mind, a louder color with a pattern, such as coral striped or olive green plaid could work!
  • How will you complement it? – Try and gauge what items of clothing you will wear with your sports jacket. For example, if you have burgundy or olive green chinos at home, you know that a navy sports jacket will do the trick! Similarly, navy chinos could lead to a louder, sports jacket that can be worn as a statement piece, such as a mustard yellow.

Regardless of your personal style, a sports jacket should always remain an option throughout the year. For gents who prefer a casual dapper vibe, a sports jacket will allow you to dress up without feeling overtly stuffy. And for those of you dressed to the nines throughout the week, a sports jacket will allow you to loosen up a tad bit while still maintaining your aura of dapperness.

7. Own a Range of Ties

Yes, ties – that masculine piece of cloth that adds intrigue to both your suiting and often less formal ensembles. A man should have several ties in his wardrobe, that can cover everything from daily work, to an important presentation, to ties for weddings and the odd whimisical tie that are just flat out great conversation starters (and let’s face it, simply fun to wear!).

Regimental Striped Tie – Often thought of as the ‘collegiate tie’, this tie is the perfect segueway into more sophisticated attire! Pair this tie with a solid, narrowly striped or microcheckered shirt (virtually any type of shirt!), and you will be good to go. A regimental striped tie is perfect for nearly any situation, whether it is daily work, being dressed for date night, an evening out with friends, or to your next wedding!

To view The Dark Knot’s range of exquisite Striped Silk Ties, please click here.

Regimental Striped Tie Navy w/ Red

The Dark Knot's Canterbury Regimental Navy w/ Red Silk Tie

Solid Tie – While patterned ties will always remain a mainstay of a dapper gent’s wardrobe, solid ties attest to timelessness and a resulting sense of elegance. Moreover, these understated but highly sleek neck pieces can be paired with any suit and shirt combination, and worn to virtually any occasion, making them highly versatile and useful for years to come! Investing in a few solid ties will ensure that you always have a reliable piece, irrespective of the occasion you are dressing up for.

To view The Dark Knot’s range of stunning silk ties, please click here.

Blue Solid Silk Tie

The Dark Knot's Waterbury Blue Solid Silk Tie

Foulard / Abstract Ties – These ties consist of a seamless repeating pattern that often results in a vibrant and exceptionally striking neck piece! These ties pair best with a solid white, light blue or light pink shirt, and will have you looking dapper at the next event you are attending. Whether you are looking for a tie for daily work wear, an important presentation, an evening out or for the next wedding that you are attending, a foulard tie will ensure that you have your lifestyle needs met!

To view The Dark Knot’s range of elegant foulard silk ties, please click here.

Grey w/ Red Foulard Silk Tie

The Dark Knot's Berkshire Abstract Grey / Red Silk Tie

 

Polka Dot Ties – Looking at bucking neckwear convention? Cue the Polka Dot Tie. A fun alternative to your standard solid, striped and foulard ties, the polka dot tie will elevate your style game and display a newfound sense of confidence. What’s even better is that these silk ties can be worn with virtually any patterned shirt, from solid, to striped and checkered. The pattern spacing on polka dot ties typically means that they are well spaced apart, pairing well with shirt patterns that are generally more closely knit together.

Polka Dot ties can be worn for daily work or your next wedding reception. Either way, you’ll be making a statement.

To view The Dark Knot’s highly versatile Polka Dot Silk Ties, please click here.

Burgundy Polka Dot Silk Tie

The Dark Knot's Newport Dots Burgundy Silk Tie

Paisley Ties – Looking to spice things up from even the polka dot tie? Welcome to the Paisley Tie. With a recent resurgence, the paisley tie is (and should have always been) a fashion statement that every sartorially inclined gentleman should consider. With unique patterns that you will most likely not find on your suits and shirts, these ties will add design variation that will truly make your ensembles stand out.

Moreover, the larger pattern spacing of these designs makes them compatible with solid, striped or checkered shirts, resulting in a largely versatile tie that can be worn across a range of occasions. Whether it’s for daily work, your next date or a cocktail reception that you are attending, your paisley ties are bound to make an impression and be the cause of (fairly hyped) fanfare and whiplash. Yes, I said it. People will do a double take. It almost goes without saying.

To view The Dark Knot’s range of intriguing Paisley Silk Ties, please click here.

Paisley Silk Ties

Animal Print Ties – In case you missed the trend with this list, we have been getting progressively more bold. Which brings us to the final type of tie that every dapper gent must possess. The Animal Print Tie. While typically appearing as just a splash of vibrant colors from afar, these unique designs up close offer intrigue and a launching pad for interesting conversation!

These unique, almost novelty like printed silk ties comprise of a seamless repeating pattern typically related to a theme, lifestyle or sport. Examples include: Oceanic (repeating fish prints, crab prints), Land Animals (Turkeys, Goat, Horses, Elephants), Lifestyle (Palm Trees, Martinis) or Sports (Tennis Racquets, Lacrosse, Golf Clubs). It is this very unique characteristic of animal print ties that make them ideal conversation starters, as they often help reveal something about yourself and your own lifestyle preferences!

Animal Print Ties, popularized by European brands, have become fun, quirky neckties that can surprisingly be worn across a range of functions. Whether you are looking for a tie for daily work, your next date night or an evening out with friends, Animal Print Ties will ensure that you are wearing something that not only provides visual intrigue, but offers a great starting point for stimulating conversation!

To view The Dark Knot’s unique Animal Print Tie Collection, please click here.

Yellow Printed Silk Tie

The Dark Knot's Falmouth Birds Yellow w/ Blue Printed Silk Tie

8. Take Care of Your Clothing

While upgrading your wardrobe will certainly help your style game, taking care of your clothing is of critical importance! If you have forked out cash for a few pieces of high quality clothing , it will be worth a few more bucks to keep the clothes in good shape.

Examples of this include good hangers for your suits and shoe trees for your shoes. Garments spend more time on your hangers than they do being worn, and so adequate care is of critical importance.  Wooden hangers with adequate shoulder support will provide the right support for your tailoring. Additionally, felted trouser bars will help prevent creasing across the legs typically caused by locking bar hangers.

Wooden Hangers

Courtesy of www.hangerproject.com

For those of you that have invested in a high quality pair of leather shoes as part of your wardrobe upgrade, an investment in shoe trees will most definitely pay off. Shoe trees help maintain the shape and condition of your leather shoes by providing a form to keep the leather from retaining larger creases between wears. Additionally, if not more importantly, shoe trees help to absorb some of the moisture that accumulates during wear, helping to prevent mold from building up. Both of these benefits help to extend the life of your shoes.

Shoe Trees

Courtesy of www.businessinsider.com

9. Embrace the Pocket Square 

Have you been looking for that accessory that is effortless in it’s execution, yet provides an instant addition of flair and vitality to your ensembles? Look no further. The Pocket Square is your item of choice. Whether you are strutting a fully fledged suit, a sports jacket with chinos, or even more casually, a sports jacket with jeans – a pocket square will provide an instant upgrade to your ensembles and have looking more dapper than all your contemporaries.

What makes Pocket Squares so unique and versatile is that they are offered in a range of patterns, colors and textures. Moreover, these fine pieces can be worn in a range of different folds.

Linen & Silk Pocket Squares

The Dark Knot's Pocket Squares

Knowing when to wear a pocket square constitutes half the ‘battle’ of wearing one! The best rule to follow, and as mentioned above, is that you will most likely be able to strut a pocket square anytime that you wear a blazer or sports jacket along with a button up shirt. The semi casual pocket square, when worn with just a sports jacket, can provide instant elevation to your ensemble. However, pairing a pocket square with a tie while trying to keep it casual (unless it’s a skinny or knitted tie), will be hard to accomplish given the formality typically associated with wearing both accessories together.

When matching a pocket square to your tie, one of the first rules to adhere to is to ensure that it doesn’t exactly match your tie. Your pocket square, if worn with a tie, can either complement your tie or shirt. A great and effective way of complementing  your tie is to have the background color of your tie as the predominant color of your pocket square. Alternatively, one can use  color wheel to pick either contrasting or complementary colors for your pocket squares.

When not wearing a full suit with a tie, matching a pocket square becomes an even easier task, as you could match them with the color of your shirt, jacket or socks!

The following types of pocket squares will allow you to improve your style game:

Silk Pocket Squares – The silk pocket square, like its necktie counterpart, offers a level of sheen and panache that is unrivaled. This sheen, whether it is with the woven or printed silk variant, makes the silk pocket square your perfect accessory for a formal occasion. The downside to the silk pocket square is that it’s edges are not stiff – making it harder to construct more intricate folds. As such, the silk pocket square is best worn with a puff fold – where the pocket square’s aesthetic is exposed when pinched upward from the middle and inserted into the suit jacket’s breast pocket.

To view The Dark Knot’s range of stunning silk pocket squares with contrasting hand rolled edges, please click here.

Black Silk Pocket Square

The Dark Knot's Mamaroneck Black w/ Grey Paisley Silk Pocket Square

Cotton Pocket Squares – The Cotton Square will introduce textural variation to your wardrobe, while providing that dapper addition to your ensembles! Furthermore, the more rigid edges of cotton pocket squares make them ideal for more intricate folds, such as the two, three and four point folds.

Linen Pocket Squares – Falling somewhere in between silk and cotton pocket squares, linen pocket squares will also add textural variation to your ensemble. Versus cotton squares, their edges are slightly less rigid, allowing a linen pocket square to be worn with either a puff fold or a more intricate, pointed fold. This unique property makes linen pocket squares some of the most versatile squares in the market!

To view The Dark Knot’s range of exquisite hand made linen pocket squares with hand rolled contrasting edges, please click here.

 Grey Linen Pocket Square

The Dark Knot's Baldwin Abstract Grey w / White Linen Pocket Square

10. Elevate your Style Game with Bracelets!

Rounding off our list of top ten style tips for men are bracelets. In case you’re wondering – the bracelet has made a strong resurgence in men’s fashion. Let’s be honest with ourselves – wearing a bracelet can feel effeminate. The following bracelets will allow you to elevate your style game and add intrigue to your ensembles:

Leather Bracelets – These bracelets represent a balance between being well dressed and remaining down to earth. For this reason, leather bracelets work well in the office or at work.

To view The Dark Knot’s full range of exquisite leather bracelets, please click here.

Black Leather Silver & Gold Bracelet

The Dark Knot's Fullerton Black Leather Silver & Gold Bracelet

Beaded Bracelets – These pieces make more of a statement. If you are looking for an accessory that will up your game around your friends, the beaded bracelet is your answer. However, a beaded bracelet may appear frivolous and almost antithetical to a formal occasion. A general rule of thumb when wearing beaded bracelets is to match the colors of your bracelet to something in your attire.

To view The Dark Knot’s range of beautiful beaded bracelets, please click here.

Beaded Bracelets

Courtesy of www.pinterest.com

And that's a wrap for this one! I hope that you have found this article informative and had as much fun reading it as I did writing it!

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Tips for Buying A Suit Off The Rack and Nailing The Fit

Posted by Rishi Chullani on

Khoi Nguyen

Let me first say that an off-the-rack (OTR) suit will never beat a well-tailored or custom, made-to-measure suit. In terms of fit, fabric, function, and customization options—custom is the way to go. But that doesn't mean buying OTR is all that bad. If you're lucky, you can find a suit that fits like a dream at a fraction of the cost of buying custom.

But for many of us, the struggle is real, because OTR suits are made with generic body types in mind. More than likely, you do not fit the exact specifications that the clothing industry deems an "average" build. The last thing you want to do is hit up your local H&M or Express, haphazardly try on a suit that you think is your size, and be on your merry way.

Like most, you'll probably end up with a jacket and trousers several sizes too large and think it actually fits well. You don't want that. With a little bit of awareness of what to look for when shopping for a new blazer or complete suit, you'll increase your chances of striking gold with your next OTR purchase. The following article will explore: I. The fit of an OTR suit II. Color and fabric options III. Suit features to be aware of

I. First Focus on the Fit

The first and most important thing you want to take note of is the suit's fit. It is the first rule of menswear after all. Specifically, there are 5 key areas to pay attention to when trying on that jacket in the fitting room. Off The Rack Suit Fit

1. Shoulder fit:

If there's one aspect of an OTR suit that you want to fit flawlessly, it's the shoulders. The jacket should lay flat across your shoulders. The jacket's shoulder seam should end where your shoulder naturally ends. If it's too large, you'll look like you're a kid playing dress up. Too small, and you'll be struggling to move your arms.

One other thing you'll want to be on lookout for is something called a shoulder divot. Though not the worst thing in the world, it's unmistakable. Many modern suit jackets are cut to fit more snug with higher armholes. And since everybody's body type is different, if the arm holes and sleeve are not cut in proportion to your body and arms, then it will likely result in a shoulder divot.

The bottom line: While standing in your natural position, avoid any jackets with ill-fitting shoulders or visible shoulder divots. To learn more about shoulder divots, please click here.

2. Collar fit:

The collar, like the shoulder is another area that should fit well from the get-go. There's one thing that's all too common when it comes to suit collars, it's the unsightly "collar gap" that you can never un-see. Many celebrities and very well dressed men have fallen victim. From tv show hosts to sports analysts, the collar gap doesn't discriminate. It's particularly noticeable on men with athletic builds and wide upper bodies. This can be caused by a variety of things like a flawed fit in the chest or shoulders or a jacket cut that's too short for your neck size.

Another cause can be due to incorrect posture. If you tend to slouch in your natural position, then wearing a jacket meant for someone with a straight posture can reveal the gap. Another common issue with collars is when a ball of fabric bunches up behind the neck, particularly when sitting down. This phenomenon is a bit complicated, but the causes and solutions are explained extremely well in an article by The Parisian Gentleman. View the article here. Though not impossible, it's difficult (and expensive) for a tailor to alter this area. If it doesn't fit well, move on to the next one.

The bottom line: Standing with your arms at your sides, the jacket collar should lay flat against your shirt collar, just as your shirt collar lays flat against the back of your neck. There should be no visible gaps or bunching behind the collar.

3. Sleeve length:

Get your shirt sleeve length right first. Because a wrong shirt sleeve length can throw off your suit sleeve length. This is an area that opinions vary. Some say the shirt should hit at the base of your wrist while others say it should hit on the wrist bone at the base of your pinky.

I think the latter is a bit short, especially when you raise your arms up or answer the phone, causing the shirt to ride up. A good length is for the shirt sleeve to hit between the knuckle of the thumb and the wrist bone just above the start of your palm. This will allow for a proper sleeve length while buttoned, but also allow for you to move freely without the sleeves riding too high up your arm.

Now that you've got a proper shirt sleeve length, you'll want the suit sleeves to fall about a quarter to half-inch short of your shirt sleeve. Don't worry if the jacket sleeve is a bit long. It's an inexpensive alteration for a tailor to make. But do keep in mind that the sleeve buttons have to be non-functional for an easy alteration. Functional button holes, though not impossible to shorten the sleeves make it very difficult and expensive to alter.

The bottom line: Get your shirt sleeve length right first. You want your shirt sleeve to fall between the wrist bone and the knuckle of your thumb. Make sure a quarter to a half-inch of shirt cuff is shown below the suit sleeve.

4. Jacket length:

As a rule of thumb, you'll want the jacket to fully cover your bottom. In recent years it's become trendy to wear a jacket with a higher crop than normal.

We can thank the likes of GQ for this. Trends are cool, but you may want to go with a jacket that falls to a proper, more classic length.

A good way to test this is you'll want to be able to curl your fingers up under the jacket without creasing the jacket. Another good indicator of the right length is that the jacket should hit around your thumb's knuckle. If it's too short, there's no way for a tailor to lengthen it as there's no fabric to do so. And if it's too long, the best a tailor can do is shorten it about an inch. Any more, it will throw off the proportions of the jacket.

The bottom line: CYA. Whether you like to wear your jacket longer or cropped higher, it should always cover your back side.

5. Jacket closure:

You'll want this area to be able to close with just the right amount of waist suppression. The last thing you want is the dreaded 'X'. How do you know? You'll see creasing in the fabric around the buttons in the form of a huge X.

When you're standing straight, there should not be a significant 'X' visible. Keep in mind as you move around, an 'X' may become more pronounced, which is okay. You just don't want the jacket closure to be so tight that you literally struggle to breathe.

The opposite problem is a jacket waist that's too large. A tailor can remedy this fairly easily. Keep in mind once the tailor takes this area in, there's no way to let it out, so make sure you have an experienced tailor that knows the right amount to take in.

The bottom line: When you button your jacket, it shouldn’t feel constricting, but you also don’t want to find yourself swimming in your jacket either.

The Pants:

When it comes to pants fit, there are a handful of things you'll want to be aware of.
Courtesy of Nordstrom

1. The waist:

The pants waistband should fit comfortably around your waist without a belt. Not too loose, not too tight. There should be enough room for a shirt to be neatly tucked in.

2. The Seat:

This area shouldn't be too baggy like you are wearing a diaper, yet not so tight like you're wearing butt huggers. Well maybe you workout and want to show it off, but whatever the case, make sure it fits comfortably without excess fabric.

3. The rise:

A pant's rise is the distance from the waistband down to the crotch area. Some men prefer a more classic rise closer to the navel, while others prefer a more modern, low rise down on the waist. For a while now, it's been trendy to wear low rise jeans, especially from designer brands like Lucky or Diesel. Go with what you feel more comfortable with. I recommend a higher-waisted pant for a suit because it looks more polished and well put together.

4. The taper:

The example above shows a generous taper from the thighs down through the legs. A more classic look is less tapered whereas a more modern look is tapered like the example above. Go with whatever suits you best.

5. The length:

You'll have options here. Option 1 is a full break, option 2 is a half break, and option three is a quarter or no break. The example above is no break, as the pants are not touching the shoes. This is the more modern and trendy look that even shows off a little sock swag if you've got it. As with taper, the pants length is personal preference. You can't really go wrong with a minimal break. Brian over at He Spoke Style put together a nice guide to pants break if you're interested in seeing the differences.

II. Color and Fabric

There are endless options when it comes to suit colors. Whatever you do, don't make it black. Unless you're James Bond or regularly attend formal events and funerals; a black suit is rarely the most appropriate. A mantra I've adopted since getting into menswear: Navy and Gray all day. OTR you'll find plenty of navy and gray options. You can't go wrong with these two, as they are the most versatile colors in menswear. If you already own a navy and a gray suit, then feel free to experiment with trendier colors.

Spring/Summer fabrics: Go for something that's lightweight and breathable.

Summer Fabrics

• Linen

• Hopsack

• Cotton

• Seersucker

• Chambray

• Mohair

Fall/Winter fabrics: Go for a heavier weight fabric with a bit of texture

Winter Suit Fabrics

• Worsted wool

• Flannel

• Tweed

• Cashmere

• Herringbone

Though the four-season suit is a bit of a myth, if you want something that can potentially be worn year round, go for a heather gray or navy, wool suit with a mid-weight fabric. But more than likely, you'll want to wear your suits according to season.

III. Suit Features

Okay, so you won't get the options to customize an OTR suit, but you will be able to choose from a single or double vented jacket, a narrow or wider lapel, and so on. These are the features to look for in an OTR suit: To simplify, we're going to talk about the single breasted suit as it's more common than its double breasted counterpart.

1. Fit type:

Courtesy of Black Lapel

Many years ago it was trendy to wear suits with a much looser cut. Just look back to the shiny suit era in hip-hop and you'll see baggy suits galore. Thank goodness the trend has become much more close-cut, tailored suits. "Slim fit" has invaded the lexicon of men who are looking to dress more stylishly, and for good reason. Slim-fitting, tailored suits are flattering to many men's natural V shape. Look for an appropriate fit for your body type, whether that's a looser standard fit, or a slim fit.

2. Vent:

Courtesy of Indochino

Take a look at the back bottom of the suit jacket. Two of the most common are the single vent (center vent) and double vent (side vent). Single vents are typically seen on cheaper OTR blazers because it requires less fabric than the double vent. If you want a more classic, streamlined look, then go for the double vent. There's also an option for ventless jackets which are less common, but offer the most streamlined look of all.

3. Buttons:

Courtesy of Indochino

You'll generally have the option of a one or two button suit jacket. One is for a more contemporary vibe. Two is classic and more appropriate for everyday settings. Make sure you only ever close the top button, never the bottom. And if there are three buttons, the rule is Sometimes, Always, Never—as in you sometimes button the top, always button the middle and never button the bottom.

4. Lapels:

Courtesy of Indochino

The most common is the notch lapel. More than likely if you already own a suit, it's probably notched. It's also the most appropriate for any type of setting. The peak lapel (peaks upwards) adds a bit more flair to your suit. A slim notch lapel is more streamlined and trendy. It looks great on a well-tailored, close-cut suit. The slim peak lapel on the other had is the most fashion forward of all. Choose the lapel that suits your personality, but if you're looking for something you can wear most often, go for the standard notch lapel.

5. Pockets:

Courtesy of Indochino

Straight flapped pockets are probably what you're most used to seeing. It's the most traditional of the bunch. Slanted flapped pockets are a bit trendier and can also be a sign of a custom suit. The non-flap, piped pocket is primarily reserved for tuxedos, but can be seen on normal blazers as well. It's also a sign of a custom suit as most OTR suits will be flapped. Another OTR option is the patch pocket which is the most casual of them all. Finally, the pants are pretty basic. You're not going to see much variety here, in terms of features. One thing worth noting though, if the pant has a flat front then I'd recommend no cuffs. And if the pants are pleated then it will look good paired with cuffs.

One Last Thing Before We Go

Don't forget that all pockets are and should be functional. Seems like a no brainer, but I've had friends tell me they had no idea.
Before rocking that brand new suit, make sure you carefully cut all of the sewn pockets, including the breast pocket. And don't forget to cut the little 'x' that's sewn on vents as well. It's surprising how many men carelessly leave the vents sewn shut, making them look like a total amateur. Don't be that guy! There you go. I hope you are now equipped with the knowledge and awareness so that you knock your next OTR suit purchase out of the park. Go get it!

Thank you for having read this article! I hope that you have enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it!

This article has been written by Khoi Nguyen with Gentleman Within.

Khoi is a Temple University graduate working as a creative the in advertising industry. He created Gentleman Within as a way to share his passions with the world. He believes that style is worth caring about. And that through style, men can become their best selves. Connect with him on Instagram and Twitter.

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A Guide To Wallets And Money Clips For The Modern Man

Posted by Rishi Chullani on

Kathryn Fassett

Carrying a wallet is one of the great rites of passage into manhood.  By the time a boy has grown to be a man, he has a pretty good idea of how the wallet should look and feel while he’s carrying it. The way that we carry our money and identification says a lot about who we are and what sort of lives we live. There’s a security in knowing where your wallet is at all times and the habit of how you carry it helps avoid losing track of it because you automatically put it away.

Your wallet or money clip is the most important accessory you wear. That means that you have a lot of choices for incorporating your personal style into the wallets and money clips that you choose to wear. It’s a good idea to have at least three options in your accessory arsenal, but with a variety of options and designs, this guide can help you sort out which type might be right for you and when.

Slim Wallet

Courtesy of www.pinterest.com

Genuine Leather

Leather signifies craftsmanship and an appreciation for natural fibers. When it comes to wallets, some of the most finely-made wallets are made of genuine leather. The way to tell quality leather is by the look and feel of it. The surface should be supple and you should be able to see the pores of the leather. Bending the leather will make it easier to tell if it has been painted, or f the material has been dyed.

A good leather wallet will last a long time and will develop a patina after prolonged use, which is one of the reasons that leather makes such a great luxury material. There aren’t many materials that actually improve in the way they look after using it a while, but leather does. It’s strength makes it long lasting, so a sleek, minimalist leather wallet will make a great investment in your wardrobe. 

Slim Leather Wallet

Courtesy of www.pinterest.com

Like Leather

A real leather wallet costs a little bit more but lasts for a very long time if you take good care of it. “Like” leather wallets have the look of leather from a distance, but are actually made from artificial faux leather such as pleather. For a fraction of the cost of the real stuff, these wallets can look elegant for a short period of time. They quickly fall apart and look bad with some use.

Just because a faux leather wallet isn’t going to last very long doesn’t mean that you can’t carry one. Sometimes it makes sense not to carry your money and identification in your regular, more expensive wallet and need a less expensive option. In these cases, faux leather gives you a more natural and polished look than choices such as canvas.

Other Fabrics

Wallets can be made from canvas and other fabrics as well, but this is more rare. That’s because like pleather, other types of fabrics are not as strong and durable as leather and metal are. This means that with prolonged use they will fall apart or look shabby. However, a canvas wallet is perfect for when you are doing an activity that isn’t appropriate for your fine leather wallet, such as physical work or water activities.

Canvas Wallet

Courtesy of www.pinterest.com

How to Wear Wallets and Money Clips

When it comes to choosing an everyday wallet, focus on something sophisticated but durable and minimalist. Those qualities will lead you to a wallet that goes with everything, isn’t bulky or oddly-shaped, and lasts a long time.

Money Clip

Money clips have the advantage of being very small, which means that you can hide them seamlessly inside your clothes even in a thin suit pocket. The obvious disadvantage is that you can’t carry very many items with you. If you can pack light, a lightweight money clip can be a no-fuss solution to stylishly keeping your money and identification sorted.

Stainless Steel Money Clip

The Dark Knot's Panther Money Clip

Slim Wallet

A slim wallet folds once and can hold a flattened out dollar bill. Other slim options require you to fold the money before putting it into the wallet. These options work well with fabrics that are very thin and enables you to keep a few more items in your pocket than the money clip allows.

Slim Wallet

Courtesy of www.pinterest.com

Bifold

With a bi fold wallet, you can carry more items with you. But a bulky wallet is heavy, looks sloppy and wears on the material your clothes are made of, whether you carry your wallet in your pants pocket or your suit jacket. Minimalist styles will help you avoid the bulky wallet look.

And that's a wrap for this one! I hope that you have enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it.

Please feel free to view The Dark Knot's Exquisite Black Stainless Steel Money Clip here.

 

 

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How to Dress For Your Skin Tone

Posted by Rishi Chullani on

Kathryn Fassett

We all have wardrobe colors that we reach for again and again, especially when it comes to formal wear. Unless you are the type of man who goes to the opera every week, you probably have a few key formal wear pieces that are staples in your wardrobe. When it comes to choosing new pieces, color fads come and go. Learning to choose colors that will complement your skin tone will make it so you never look like you’re wearing last season’s “it” color.

Wearing the right color for your skin tone can make you look naturally radiant. It’s a subtle fashion trick that can be difficult to master, but it’s especially critical when buying pieces that you’ll want to enjoy for a long time, like formal wear. Follow this guide to learn how to identify your skin tone, pick stand-out colors, and work those colors into a coordinated ensemble.

Understanding Your Skin Tone

Without the help of a professional makeup artist, determining your skin tone can be an arbitrary thing. Skin tone has three main distinctions: warm, cool, or neutral. Determining which one you are means looking for the undertones of your skin. Is your skin more pinkish? Golden? Bluish? This is the main determining factor of what skin tone you have.

People with warm skin tones have a greenish or yellowish golden undertone to their skin. A person with an olive complexion also has a warm skin tone. Generally, people with warm skin tones have darker shades of hair color, from dark blonde to dark brown. People with cool skin tones have a bluish undertone to their skin, with hair coloring ranging the full spectrum from blue black to pale blonde. Neutral colored skin tones work hand in hand with hazel, color-changing eyes and naturally streaky hair.

If you’re still stumped over what skin tone you have, try holding up a plain white sheet of paper to your face and compare the two colors. Sometimes seeing your skin next to something pure white can help you decide what color undertones you’re seeing.

Skin Tone and Color Selection

Now that you have determined what skin tone you have, it’s time to learn about colors. For each tone, certain colors will pop and make you look amazing.

For someone with a warmer skin tone, deeper colors and golden tones like yellow, honey gold, orange red, or rust look extra good. Olive, turquoise, moss and other deeper greens and blues can also look great.  But when someone with a warmer skin tone tries to wear jewel tones like sapphire or ruby, the tones don’t work so well together.

For someone with a cooler skin tone, bright blues, jewel tones, deep purples and lavenders can really accentuate their natural tones. When it comes to neutral colors, navy is exceptional, as well as gray. Cool-toned individuals look a little off when they try to wear oranges and yellows.

You might guess that people with neutral skin tones can get away with any color at all, and you’d be right! Lucky neutral toned individuals can pull of a wide range of colors, but they look particularly good in colors that fall in the middle of the spectrum. For example, light pink or jade green. The danger with a neutral skin tone is wearing something with too vibrant of a color which can overwhelm or wash out your skin tone.

Dressing according to your Skin Tone

Courtesy of www.effortlessgent.com

Still feeling stuck? Here are some more suggestions for distinct skin tones:

  • Skin on the fair side with grayish or green undertones can look amazing in lavender or grape
  • Darker olive complexions can work well with wine tones.
  • Golden skin tones almost glow under peach and coral.
  • Very dark and cool skin tones look the best in jewel tones like amethyst and sapphire

Where to add Color

Now that you have a better idea of what colors will be complementary to your skin tone, it’s time to add color into your ensemble. Adding color to formal wear doesn’t have to be scary or intimidating. In fact, it should be fun!

The first step is to decide where you want to add color. Sometimes, this is going to be determined by the type of event you’re dressing for. A brightly colored suit jacket might not be appropriate in all situations, for example. Even a solid black suit can benefit from a colored or patterned tie and pocket square. If the event calls for a more subdued neutral colored suit, use the color wheel notes below to match your accessories. At a less formal event you have more options for adding color, such as a colored jacket or pants in addition to your accessories.

 Blue Linen Pocket Square w / Blue Tie

Your formal wear doesn’t have to be exploding with color in order to be flattering to your skin tone. Remember, even shades of white have underlying tones, sometimes blue, sometimes yellow, sometimes pink, etc. Even the shade of white dress shirt you pick can be affected by skin tone.

Color Wheel Refresher

We’ve already covered which colors are best for which skin tones, so by now you know at least one color that is going to complement your coloring. It’s time to take it to the color wheel.

Color Wheel

Courtesy of www.webdesignref.com

As a basic reminder, there are a couple of different color strategies you can employ: using similar colors, using complementary colors, using contrasting colors, using neutral colors, or using a monochromatic color scheme. Similar colors use colors that are near each other on the color wheel, such as pairing blue with a blue-violet. Complementary colors use colors that are straight across from each other on the color wheel, such as pairing blue and orange. Triadic colors are colors that form “thirds” of the color wheel, such as blue, red and yellow. Neutral colors use black, grey, white, and browns. Monochromatic means using all one color, such as a blue suit with a light blue shirt underneath.

If you’ve established that blue is an ideal shirt color for your skin tone, a burgundy tie would provide you with a triadic color scheme, allowing for the perfect amount of contrast. A navy tie, on the other hand, would provide you with a monochromatic color scheme. 

Blue Shirt with Burgundy Tie

And that's a wrap for this one. I hope that you have enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it!

To view The Dark Knot's range of extensive men's accessories, including Ties, Pocket Squares, Lapel Flowers, Leather & Beaded Bracelets, Cufflinks, Tie Bars & Money Clips, please click here.

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