Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Navy Blazer - An Essential Piece in the Dandy's Wardrobe

Blue Cashmere Blazer by
Jack Victor
There is nothing more versatile in the dandy's wardrobe than his trusty blue blazer. Men have been wearing blazers for over a hundred years; although, some may dispute the origin of the jacket's beginning; however, the most likely story is that it was first worn in 1837 by the Lady Margaret Boating Club of Cambridge University. Yet, the color of the single-breasted jacket was not blue in the beginning, it was a vibrant red hue hence leading to it being called a blazer as in "scarlet blazer". Shortly, after Cambridge debuted their coat other schools took to wearing similar jackets, howbeit the colors they choose were not red. By the 1880's, the name blazer became synonymous with the jacket and the predominant color of choice for Ivy Leaguers was navy blue. One of the great things about the blazer is the many options you have with wearing it, you can dress it up as well as dress it down. View how MRPORTER's style director Dan May demonstrates in this video 5 ways you can wear a navy blazer to either work, school or play.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Quality Made Dress Shoes are Key to Gentlemen Style

Boyds Philadelphia
The shoes on a man’s feet say a lot about his since of style, hygiene, and attitude toward money.  According, to the celebrity author of “Never Trust a Man in Alligator loafers” Donna Sozio, “…the majority of men don't understand the power of shoes because they haven't tapped into it. They resist it by saying, "I just want to be comfortable." But they need to know that shoes are (their) ticket(s) to ride and get (them to) where they wants to go.” Although, comfort is important for the feet it doesn’t have to be the difference between wearing an inexpensive pair of shoes and well made footwear. Frankly, the more you are willing to spend on your shoes the greater the likelihood that you will buy a pair that are comfortable and made exclusively for your feet. A quality crafted pair of shoes should be made of (1) premium tanned leather; (2) on a wooden lasts; (3) and finished with a Goodyear welt. Tanning is the process of softening and dying an animal skin, shell cordovan is one of the highest qualities of animal skin you can buy because of its lasting durability. A lasts is a wooden foot form used by shoemakers to mold and form stitched pieces of leather in to a finished shoe. The final part of the process is putting on the shoe sole and one of the best ways of doing this Goodyear welt construction (named for the person that invented the process Charles Goodyear Jr.). The benefits of a Goodyear welt are it’s an attractive way of sowing together the insole and outer sole of a dress shoe and it allows the shoe to be easily refurbished with a new sole if necessary.
 Not everyone can afford shoes handmade in this process nor the quality of materials that go into the premium labeled shoes. However, a quality made pair of shoes is worth the investment, because of the construction and material that go into them they will last longer and endure severer use over time. Look at these gentlemen attending the Boyds Philadelphia's La Dolce Vita on April 11, 2013 wearing timeless classics such as Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Fratelli Rossetti, Prada, Alden, and DiBianco, brands that have a history of making fine animal hide shoes for over a hundred years.




Friday, April 5, 2013

The Madras Patchwork Blazer is This Season's Must Have

Courtesy of Tuckernuck at www.tnuck.com
One of this spring and summers' must have items is the madras patchwork blazer. According to Roadapparel.com, this bright colorful lightweight patchwork fabric has its origin in a southeast region of India known as Madras. The people of Madras first made the fabric from the fibers of the ancient Karvelema Patta tree; however, by the 12th century, they began spinning the fabric from significantly high quality of Madras cotton. When Europeans first came in contact with the lightweight cloth during the 18th century they instantly fell in love with it and began shipping it to Europe in large quantities, it was not long before the fabric became a highly-prized commodity.

By the end of the 18th century, madras weavers began patterning the fabric to emulate the tartan patterns of the Scottish military, resulting in what we call today madras plaid or check. Madras has become staple fabric among some of today’s men clothing designers, especially those that focus on American prep and American classic wears. The madras blazer is the "go-to" spring and summer jacket for casual nights out and garden parties, you could even wear it to a more formal event held outdoors as long as you pair with say white, blue or tan linen or light cotton pants. In addition to those basics you can try red, yellow or pink (not hot) colored pants as well; however, you will need a tremendous amount of courage and confidence to pull it off fashionably. Solid color short pants (just above the knee, think Bermuda shorts) is another appropriate option for this blazer, it is a great look for summer outdoor parties, socials and sporting activities in June or July. 

Besides blazers, you can find madras fabric ties, hats, vests, shirts, shorts and pants (by all means avoid wearing a madras suit, it looks amateurish, because it make you look as if someone wrapped you in a quilted blanket). Finally, with madras you really want to be careful when pairing it with other patterns, stay with solid patterns and colors because they balance out the bright mosaic of the fabric. Second, when buying a madras patchwork blazer, you want to make sure that the feeling of the jacket is overall light and that the stitching of the patches are slightly raised and that the jack sort of falls on your shoulders and pulls a little around your midsection when buttoned. The jacket will give some over time so avoid buying one that is bigger than your measured size; however, it shrinks some too so avoid buying one that is smaller than your measured size. Last, the other great quality of this jacket is that it is machine washable, therefore, you do not need to dry clean it (keep this in mind when you are considering the cost, on average the premium brands retail between $300 - $600, for a less expensive but just as good in quality version try Tuckernuck); nonetheless, it is a good buy because they have been around for decades and they have changed very little since originally being introduced to men’s fashion. It is a definite legacy piece, so buy one and be sure to pass it down to your stylish heir. 

Top five designers:

1. Polo Ralph Lauren

2. Brooks Brothers

3. J Press

4. J Crew

5. Land’s End

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Dandy Style for the Saturday Casual Look

Sometimes it is difficult for men to put together a dapper weekend casual look. Trying to pull it off requires an understanding of how to coordinate different fabrics, colors and textures to make the arrangement look unique and individually fashionable. A properly attired dandy cannot just wear jeans and a t-shirt or khakis and an oxford shirt and still consider himself fashionably dressed; no for a dandy these things are merely the foundations for which he will build his master piece rendering. Here are a few Saturday morning gents that got it right in the city of brotherly love.
Khaki Blue Crested Blazer, Madras Vest, Red Ascot - Polo Ralph Lauren
Wool Sports Coat, Purple Cashmere Cable Sweater, Red Pocket Square - Polo Ralph Lauren

Tailored Wool Blue Blazer, Tan Cardigan, Blue Denim Jeans and Black Slippers (not in picture) - Polo Ralph Lauren

Red Sweater, Yellow Tie, Engineered Denim, Shoe Boots - Brooks Brothers, Urban Outfitters and Stacy Adams
Wool Spots Coat, Denim Dress Shirt, Tie, Blue Pocket Square - Boyds Philadelphia

Blue Jacket and Jeans with Chocolate Brown Suede Boots   

Powder Blue Sport Coat, Blue Trousers - Boyds Philadelphia