One Good Suit: Indochino

Indochino 1 a One Good Suit: Indochino
Indochino has been one of the single most important influences in the business of made-to-measure suiting.  The company was a first mover when it created the first truly viable online customized clothing model, a market that continues to expand everyday.

While ubiquitous today, when Indochino launched in 2007 the idea of actually spending real money for a custom suit bought over the internet and manufactured somewhere in China was at best, iffy.  But Indochino focused on a core message of customization at a fair price, speed, and the potential ease of reorders, allowing a customer to expand his custom clothing wardrobe.  A website that acts design and retail home base backed up by their innovative Traveling Tailor pop-up shops has kept Indichino at the front of the online custom suit pack.

Indochino Labels One Good Suit: IndochinoThis suit was actually selected during a 2013 Traveling Tailor event in Washington, D.C.  It is the Premium Gray Three-Piece Suit in Reda fabric, which was a special run and not always available.  The super 140 weight is just right for a three-season suit and the classic cut and color is appropriate for almost any situation.  We opted for two-button, notch lapel, side vents, working sleeve buttons, ticket pocket, and no cuffs on the trousers.

The quality of construction and design as quit impressive and frankly better than expected, given the business model.  As with all Indochino products, it arrived in purpose-designed packing, slickly branded, and ready to wear.  Except that it wasn’t.  Even though measurements were taken in person by an Indochino staffer, the suit coat and vest were both too tight.  To their credit, the company unquestioningly held to their satisfaction guarantee, fixed the issue, and quickly replaced both pieces, updating the online profile as well.

While certainly frustrating, such a situation is also to be expected with this kind of business model.  It’s part of the price when removing ongoing personal attention from a very personal craft.  In the end, mattered was how the problem was resolved, in this case very well.

The goal for this suit was to be the one go-to suit that works for most situations.  We feel the effort was a success; it’s a great suit of cloths that fits well, has comfortably slim cut that works dressed up with a tie or toned down with an open collar.  The trouser break is slight, so depending on the shoes chosen the look can be ankle flash mod or meeting-ready sober.

While having a big suit wardrobe may work for CEOs, lawyers, and other boardroom dwellers, the fact is that most men do not need more than two or three.

Wanting more is another thing, and a desire that Indochino is more than happy to satisfy.

Indochino 2 a One Good Suit: Indochino

Indochino 3 a One Good Suit: Indochino

Suit: Indochino
Shirt: Thomas Pink
Tie: Andrew’s Ties
Pochet: Alan Flusser
Shoes: Paul Evans

 

Ignatious Joseph’s 2014

Portrait 42 1 1024x682 Ignatious Josephs 2014

Ignatious Joseph, while the consummate gentleman, is not at all a subtle man.  The designer, known for his colorful, elegant, and distinctive style of dress, particularly his ubiquitous red shoes, makes some of the finest dress shirts available.  As we enter 2014, he is also poised to introduce an expanded line of custom clothing founded on his own signature style.

His shirting, based on those from the 1930s, when the soft collar first swept through the menswear world, is coveted by bankers and traders from London to New York, Milan to Brussels.  Up until now, shirts, and only shirts, were what he made; that signature soft collar and vibrant color schemes being brand’s calling cards.

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Now, his look, truly unique and elegant in its individuality, can be yours.  You can contact him directly to learn more, but the expanding Ignatious Joseph collection now includes suiting, ties, cufflinks, and even grooming products.

And, unlike other designers whose products are of exceptional quality yet are nonetheless somewhat interchangeable, these garments and furnishings bear the characteristic hallmarks of Mr. Joseph’s personality.  Jackets with broad lapel, roped shoulder, and single button closure and sharply tapered trousers with no break and a deep, emphatic cuff.

Cufflinks 8 1 300x200 Ignatious Josephs 2014His idiosyncratic cufflinks are beautifully crafted and the ties are handmade seven-fold and constructed from a single piece of flawless silk.

And, of course, there are the shirts.  The philosophy behind his shirts is simple: they are luxury shirts for everyday wear; or to put it another way, a modern sense of spirit derived from traditional craftsmanship. Ignatious Joseph shirts are what might be called semi-handmade and there is a reason for that.  The bodies are constructed to an obsessive level of detail using modern sewing machinery – efficient and replicable perfection.  However, the collars are constructed each by hand entirely as no machine is capable of the detail and complexity.

The decision of what to do by hand and what to do by machine must be taken with a view to the product as a whole, and based on the skill and experience of the master shirt maker.  It’s a blend of economics and craft.

IngJoseph Sartorialist 682x1024 Ignatious Josephs 2014If Ignatious seems somehow familiar to you, it is likely because his distinctive countenance is often captured among the world’s leading style makers.

In fact, this photograph, taken by Scott Schumann, a.k.a. “The Sartorialist,” was included in Schumann’s first book.  Resplendent in a bowler hat, elegantly bundled scarf, tailored overcoat and those famous red shoes from his Viennese shoemaker, Mr. Joseph is in his natural element.

On the subject of those famous red shoes he says, “I like red shoes and have many pair, and after a while they became my calling card – it’s how people remember me. ‘Oh, you are the gentleman with the red shoes!’”

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Smart Style: Shoe Recrafting

AE Recraft Sole 2 Smart Style: Shoe Recrafting

One of the true hallmarks of that storied East Coast Ivy League lifestyle known as “preppy” is its practitioners’ predilection for thrift.

The longevity of a shirt, sweater, favorite pair of khakis, or treasured sport coat is in many ways more prized than anything else.  While those committed to mere preppy fashion may stuff their closets with the latest branded version of vintage inspired wares and overly nuanced brick-a-brac, salt of the earth preps focus on value.  They invest in well made stuff that lasts.  They are busy letting out their dad’s old J. Press blazer (which in fact, this author just did) or figuring how best to reclaim some well-worn but totally functional pair of Allen Edmonds cap toes.

AE Recrafting OLD 1024x682 Smart Style: Shoe Recrafting This last point is actually easier to accomplish than you might think.  Where a new pair of AE’s oxfords may run you $350 or so, your already loved, if world-weary pair, can be fully recrafted (including new shoe trees and felt bags) for the relatively bargain basement price of $150.

Not only does that save you money, another pastime of most old-school preps, it also helps to preserve for another decade some great shoes filled with honest-to-goodness history and hard earned character.

In Allen Edmonds’ case, the process of breathing new life into well-worn footwear begins with setting the shoes on their original last and completely removing the old sole and cork bed. The existing welting is then cut free and an entirely new sole is assembled and stitched onto the shoe.  The old wax is stripped off and a new coat is hand applied.  The shoes are then polished, buffed and ready to head home.

The whole process is an excellent example of living the life with savings to spare. Recrafting your Allen Edmonds shoes is not only a smart way to extend your investment in a great pair of shoes, it also contributes to your own sense of timeless style.

Want to master some real Ivy League ethos, the kind that can’t be purchased or affected? Choose to live by the mantra, “wear it ’till it falls apart.” You will be following in the well-trod footsteps of leather elbow-patched college professor types other guys merely emulate.

More importantly, you’ll also able to better appreciate the stuff you do have, make smarter choices about what you add to your wardrobe, and focus on the stuff you truly love and actually need.

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2013 09 05 07.12.03 Smart Style: Shoe Recrafting

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Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Cadillac Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Cadillac Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles.

Cadillac Pre Owned Logo Smart Style: Shoe Recrafting

 

Alan Michael Drake 1024x685 Owning Your Style: According to Alan Flusser

If there is one name in the world of menswear that genuinely deserves the overwrought moniker of legend, it’s Alan Flusser.

Alan is not just a menswear designer, not just an author, not just an innovator, and not just the guy who invented Gordon Gekko’s signature look for the movie Wall Street. He is also one of the most well-versed and well-read menswear experts alive today. Flusser’s close friend Ralph Lauren even asked him to write his biography, a very personal project on which he is currently working.

He also happens to be a very nice guy.

Alan Flusser literally wrote the book on dressing well; more accurately, he wrote the books. When people ask me what they should read to help them learn about dressing well, I typically start off with, “anything by Flusser.”

So, when I first met Alan, it was my equivalent of a young baseball fan meeting, say, Babe Ruth. Flusser exudes a passion for clothing and possesses an unwavering assertion that dressing well, and carefully choosing clothing that fits your coloration and frame, comfort and personal style, matter even more today.

Having more or less created what is often referred to as the “New York” or “Wall Street” look, he is the embodiment of owning your style. Flusser’s rules are logical and designed to help guide a customer or reader to clothing that works well for them, that matches their body type and personal attributes, and best expresses their personality.

Over the intervening years, Alan Flusser has been a mentor and guide. Among other things, we have discussed the continuing lack of real guidance for many young men who are looking for role models when it comes to dressing well. Too often, magazines and celebrities, “style experts,” and self-professed consultants focus on ephemera like of-the-moment trends and looks that, frankly, don’t look very good. That’s not dressing; it’s dressing up like someone else.

Mount Gay Logo 100x100 300x300 Owning Your Style: According to Alan FlusserAs an educator at heart, Alan is relentless in his focus on the why and how of dressing well and creating personal style. Grounded in classic English fashion and infused with 1930s American glamour, he has an attitude and persona that are forward-looking and intellectually aggressive but not rude. There is the Flusser way to dress and that’s what you need to buy into when you ask Alan and his team for help with your wardrobe. It’s elegant and casual, formal but witty.

If I have learned anything from this remarkable gentleman, it’s that owning your style is an active pursuit. Owning your style means that you take a participatory role in developing a sense of self and a sense of your own fashion. You take the time to learn about what makes you look your best and what flatters you the most. You know those guys who always seem to look sharp and put together no matter what, the ones who make it look so effortless and cool? Chances are, they work at it.

Alan Flusser taught, and continues to teach me, that the act of developing and owning your personal style is something that ultimately affects every part of your life – and that’s a good thing.

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Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Mount Gay Distilleries via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Mount Gay Distilleries.

 

Best Travel Shoes: Austen Heller

Austen Heller Loafers Best Travel Shoes: Austen Heller

When we went looking for the perfect travel shoe, there were a few key criteria that had to be met.  First, we wanted a slip-in style shoe; something easy to get in and out of at airport security checkpoints.  Second, they had to be comfortable without feeling too much like slippers.  And last but not least, they needed to work in casual and dressy situations.

Austen Heller loafers check all the boxes.  They successfully bridge the gap between dressy and casual, while also proving to be sturdy and sharp-looking. Austen Hellers have a unique look that is part American boat shoe, part European driving moccasin.  And, for OTC readers, they have a special deal.  Get an extra $50 off your next pair of Austen Heller shoes when you use the checkout code “OTC50.”

Started by a guy who simply could not find the kind of shoes he wanted, Austen Heller combines old world craftsmanship with distinctive style.  The shoes are handmade in Europe using premium leathers, with a simple design that focuses on style, comfort, and quality.

Each pair even comes with their own set of shoe trees.  And, with a price tag of $195, picking up some practical footwear flair won’t knock you off your feet.  Lastly, keep an eye on this brand because some exciting changes are coming in the coming months.