Well Suited

A few days ago on my FB feed, my gentleman acquaintances were discussing this article.  Do you agree or disagree with its many pronouncements?  Heaven knows that today would be a great day for a tweed suit with a vest.   As would many of the days this past month.

The more-formal approach: Double button, notched lapel. And saddlestitching!


Not that it’s surprising that this image of a formally-, but also dashingly-dressed man happens to be Matt Bomer, in his role as Neil Caffrey (a con man gone with the Law) on the TV show “White Collar”.



Huffington Post’s version of the Do’s & Don’ts begins with the 15 things our reporter keeps seeing but would prefer not to.

Huffington Post feels this guy is wearing too much blingy "style over substance" here...
Huffington Post feels this guy is wearing too much blingy “style over substance” here…


Which is ironic, since this kind of bling is a cultural subversion of the conservative stereotypes of suit-wearers (who are frequently white and conservative) in the trash.  Bet that writer is over 40 and white!



And then this huge, hopefully comprehensive guide…


suits_elegance_2_4_evssIt makes perfect sense that a menswear magazine like Details should include this kind of how to.  It’s the most helpful of the lot, I think, including as it does the arrows with individual descriptions:

Rule #2
Some think button-down collars are for casual wear only, but they can work great with dressier looks as well.

Rule #3
Polka dots are a great way to bring energy to a suit. Make sure they’re big enough to be recognizable, but not so large that they’re goofy.

Rule #4
A tried-and-true pattern like herringbone or glen plaid in a muted shade makes an impression without crossing into the realm of garishness.

And even the sales pitch, so that you, the newly-educated young-man-on-the-rise can dress this well.  Some year:
Above: Suit ($3,595) by Isaia. Shirt ($550) by Kiton. Tie ($150) by Alfred Dunhill. Belt ($295) by Ermenegildo Zegna. Shoes ($660) by Church’s.

It’s especially nice that this article was actually written with the consultation of six bespoke tailors.

And I found at least 6 or 7 other articles, of which these are but a few…




What’s going on here?  Do men even still *wear* suits these days, other than ironically??  If so, why do they need so much advice on how to wear them?  Or is it that bloggers have the space to write and book contractors are giving money to menswear projects?  Are people reading these blogs and buying these books?   Here are a few recent publications we have at FIT library that seem fascinated with this “new” old form of elegance:

I am Dandy : the Return of the Elegant Gentleman

5th fl. Main Stacks GT6720 .A33 2013

dandy cover


While I love the diversity and colorful aspects of these men, I wonder how many of them function in America’s mainstream?  Or live west of the Delaware?  Or east of the San Andreas fault?  Or am I missing some important trend in American menswear (not being one, afterall).



Artist, Rebel, Dandy: Men of Fashion

5th fl. Main Stacks GT6720 .I78 2013


This book highlights many of the same gentlemen seen in the above book, but also includes carefully photographed pieces of clothing that have been worn by exquisite gentlemen of the past.  This is one of a pair of spats.





Vintage menswear : a collection from the Vintage Showroom

5th fl. Main Stacks GT1710 .G85 2012

This one is so gorgeously photographed that I wanted to become suddenly a WWII vet, so I could have aged leather bomber jackets.

Fuck Yeah Menswear : bespoke knowledge for the crispy gentleman

5th fl.  Main Stacks TT617 .F83 2012

This last appears to be a book form of some highlights from this quite outspoken blog (warning, it isn’t a polite place, even though it’s elegant):


Where is all of this interest in menswear coming from?  What is it a reaction to?  Have men gotten tired of the slouch of Abercrombie, or does that inform this?  Is it that men have embraced the DIY movement by finally doing their own shopping?  Or embracing the vintage looks parallel to those of their hipster girlfriends?  Or is this new dandyism a reflection of the joy of formalwear and the flowering of gay culture that has sprouted from the recent legalization of gay marriage in so many states?  I’m curious as to your takes on this.  And, as you’ve seen, gorgeous tailoring is a topic I return to over and over again.












3 responses to “Well Suited”

  1. Kandy Fling Avatar
    Kandy Fling

    There’s nothing like a man wearing a suit that is clearly comfortable in it. There’ also nothing like a man wearing a suit to whom it is a foreign experience (in the reverse, not so nice way). Of course, working in the legal field I see suits all the time — both ways. Yes, law firms generally are “business casual” (or at least “business less-formal”) but courts are not, client meetings generally are not, and usually depositions are not. On the other hand, I remember when “casual” meant not wearing the vest, which in the Philadelphia legal community (we’re talking er, a number of years ago), *might* happen in high summer.

  2. Melanie Avatar

    Interesting topic! I have wondered these same things, given how few younger men I see in suits these days.

  3. Rose White Avatar

    Suits are a thing! Sure, they aren’t required for *any* formal restaurants in SF, yet they are showing up on the street in the Mission and in other hipster ‘hoods. The NBA may also be leading this — NBA players are dandy as anything, and love flashy threads. One of my favorite things about games and postgames is getting to see what streetclothes the guys have chosen. The announcers and coaches all seem into this, too. With them, my (and my sweetie’s) speculation is that if you are large enough to need a custom suit, then why not have it be AWESOME.