Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Watch and Learn

Sir Paul Smith said: "You can find inspiration in everything; and if you can't, look again". Look at the picture below and be inspired.

Photo by Mr. Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist.

Why this is such an excellent look:

1) THE FIT - This gentleman is not exactly a skinny guy. He's not obese, but he's definitely not Jil Sander slim. The jacket is slightly nipped-in at the waist, so that it shows a gentle curving silhouette. It appears to have sufficient room for him to move about comfortably.

Jacket sleeve length is spot on perfect. Notice that when he bends his left arm, the jacket and shirt sleeves ride up his wrist, exposing his watch. A lot of folks are very concerned about this effect. They'd very much rather cut the sleeves significantly longer, so that it shows less of their wrists when they bend their arms (a similar philosophy in my socks post). Of course, this is a case of personal preference. Personally, I don't spend a lot of time with my arms bent at an angle all day long, so I'd rather the sleeves be cut exactly on my wrist. Overly long sleeves look extremely sloppy, especially if it's with french-cuffs.

Trousers length is inch-perfect as well, with an ever gentle break. Slightly tapered hem, but not seams-bursting skinny. Great 1.75" width on the turn-cuffs.

2) COLORS - The overall palette is neutral and pleasant; very spring/summer. Beautiful shade of creamy-khaki on the suit, with a pop of blue-check shirt (that guy who told you checkered shirts make you look fat is lying - delete him off Facebook), anchored down with a dark solid tie. Sky blue watch compliments the shirt.

3) DETAILS - And by 'details' I don't mean triple-button collars or floral-lined cuffs. More so along the lines of pocket squares, watches, shoes, socks and how you pull the entire outfit together.

Great extra-wide spread on the shirt collar, a rather distinct European touch. You don't wear a 4" wide peak lapel double-breasted by accident - this man clearly knows what he's doing, and a confident man exudes charm. Unbuttoned shirt cuffs as a personal quirk. The pocket flaps on his jacket seem to be turned-in, suggesting that he actually puts stuff in the pockets - solid prove that style and function can co-exist peacefully. A white pocket square shows some consideration, and gorgeous monk-strap shoes provide an excellent finish.

Oh, and not forgetting the orange lollipop. Style points +2.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Help Us To Help You

"For my shirt, I want it slim, but not too slim. For my trousers, I don't want it to be very long, but please don't make it too short."

That pretty much sums up every tailor's worst nightmare.

How slim is too slim? How long is too long? Yohji Yamamoto's interpretation of the word "slim" is vastly different from Hedi Slimane's (in fact, I don't think the word even exists in the former's vocabulary). In Thom Browne's mind, a good length for a pair of trousers is nowhere near that of, well... everyone else's.

This is the reason why it's extremely helpful to bring along a shirt/pair of trousers closest to your desired fit when you visit a tailor for the first time. It might not fit exactly the way you want it (that's why you're going to a tailor), but it serves as a good reference. Having a sample allows for effective visualization.

How does an 18" shoulder feel like? Is a 13.5" hem opening too small for me? Will a 40" out-seam length bunch up on my shoes? You probably won't have a clue. After all, it's all just numbers. Of course, we can make a fairly accurate estimation based on the overall outlook of the customer's profile. But why leave it to chance when you can nail it the first time?

So, help us to help you in achieving your ideal fit. Resist wearing your baggy drop-crotch jeans, that sleeveless gym tank top and rubber Havianas when you go for the initial measurements.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Wool Trousers 1 : 0 Denim Jeans (Full Time)

England and Italy - undisputed leaders in textile manufacturing.

Suiting cloths manufactured by mills in the UK or Italy are synonymous with quality, luxury and heritage. Though both areas use top-grade wool, amongst a host of other precious fibers, and utilize high-tech machineries to produce their cloths, some differences exist between Italian and British fabrics.

Generally, Italian fabrics tend to be very soft and lithe, almost feathery if you will. A pair of trousers cut from premium Super 150's or higher pure spring/summer wool will feel incredibly light. You do not even need to incorporate a layer of lining on the thighs - it's insanely comfortable against the skin. This is excellent for our warm climate. And because pure wool is 100% natural, it has superior breathability. Despite its lightness and soft hand, it still retains good structure - such is the wonder of wool. You have to feel it to believe how heavenly it feels. No kidding.

Italian cloths are very popular among the gentlemen living in tropical climates.

English fabrics, or from the surrounding regions of the UK, tend to feel a bit more substantial. This is partly due to the fact that English weather is almost always cold and wet. Heavier cloths usually have better drape and it hangs beautifully. However, being heavier doesn't necessarily mean it's going to feel like a oven. Breathability is one of the major factors in dispelling heat.

Holding up a pure wool sample against the light and you'll see the fine weaving that provides great breathability.

So, which is better - Italian or the UK? Well, it depends on each individual. Some prefer Italian cloths because it feels like you're wearing nothing at all. Others prefer a little more weight and heft - they'll feel naked if they can't feel their pants.

Either way, it's time to throw that old notion "Oh, wool is a warm fabric and it's unsuitable for our weather" into the bin - it's utter rubbish. I highly doubt the person who tells you that has ever worn a pair cut in Guabello Super 150's. As mentioned in my previous post - if you can wear raw selvedge jeans in our climate, you can wear pure wool. Unless, of course, if you're allergic to wool fiber. In that case, that's just really sad :(

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Brighter Days Ahead

We are now gradually shifting into spring/summer - the weather is getting warmer and we're seeing more of the sun. Some people will say that there are no seasons here in Singapore. That's rubbish; it's a proven fact that we've got two seasons here at home - the hot/wet season, and the shopping season. Everybody knows this.

Here Comes the Sun (part II): Prepare yourself for brighter days ahead.

These cloths took a 15-hour long haul flight to reach our sunny shores.

Anyway, in conjunction with the arrival of Mr. Solar, we've brought in a whole new range of high-quality, pure cotton suiting cloths from Harrisons of Edinburgh 1863, UK. Available in over 20 delightful shades, from the extroverted electric blue to conservative sand-tones, there's something for everyone. This bunch of fabrics are of the perfect weight (ok, for you number-crunchers: around 330g/m, 11oz) for a pair of trim, tailored chinos. Great smooth hand, with an ever-subtle sheen and wonderfully soft, yet not overly light or filmsy.

From now until 31st March 2011, receive a 10% discount on all Harrisons of Edinburgh cotton chinos.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Sea of Change

Two major happenings in the world of high-fashion recently - one is bad news, the other great news.

BAD :( John Galliano's suspension from Dior was pretty shocking, following allegations of his anti-semitic rant in a Parisian café, which also reminds me of Jean Touitou's controversial interview. Main difference here being Galliano's drunk, while Touitou's completely sober. Regardless, both crossed the line of what's acceptable and what's not.

I don't know, but I do have a slight sympthy for Galliano. As a well-known designer, he gives the impression that everything's glamorous and beautiful. But behind the scene, nobody can possibly fathom the immense pressure he faces. Especially for someone as iconic as himself; having the pressure to top himself season after season. Greatness is expected and anything less will be unacceptable.

GOOD :) Kim Jones got hired at Louis Vuitton as style director for menswear! I absolutely loved the work Jones did at Dunhill for the past couple seasons. Can't wait to see what kind of magic he'll conjure up next at LV.