The Smart Closet

I don’t own a lot of clothes. As a content inhabitant of a 450 square foot studio in Manhattan, I’m a big believer in exercising restraint in a culture (and a city) that celebrates unbridled overabundance. I come across many beautiful things I think I’d like to have, but under the comfortable constraints of my own design for living, “need” typically trumps “want.”

Consequently, my wardrobe is a carefully considered edit of few but well-made and versatile classics. My suits, jackets, shirts, jeans, ties, shoes, socks, skivvies… Everything I wear (and own) fits well within the confines of my humble atelier without any supplementary space in the basement or at Manhattan Mini Storage. Continue reading The Smart Closet

Sponsored: A Unique Dress Shirt Solution from ShirtCycle

No one is going to reinvent the way men dress on any real scale in our lifetime, especially with tailored clothing. Barring variations in color and pattern, the problem of what to wear has essentially already been solved. Where a new entry in the menswear game can shine is in the way that problem is solved. A company called ShirtCycle is a new startup that presents a solution with real possibilities. Continue reading Sponsored: A Unique Dress Shirt Solution from ShirtCycle

Sponsored: Affordable and Stylish Solutions from CombatGent

A reasonable and experienced person would look at a $150 price tag on a suit and see a huge red flag. The fabric must be cheap, the construction has to be horrible, the buttons and lining probably melt near an open flame, and the people actually making the suit are likely grinding out an 18 hour work day with a 10 minute lunch break in an un-airconditioned fire trap in eastern Asia.

I get bludgeoned with emails from startups in the over-saturated menswear world looking for free promotion in the blogosphere. At best, some of these brands might have fine ideas that are poorly executed. At worst, they’re amateur gimmick magicians who wouldn’t get past the first audition for Shark Tank, offering an ill-conceived fix for something that was never broken just to make a buck. Then there is the rare diamond in the ruff, compentently presenting an elegant solution that meets my four criteria, which dictates that the product or service be 1.) handsome, 2.) well-made, 3.) affordable and 4.) workable, i.e. have an actual application in one’s life. Combatant Gentlemen is one of those rare diamonds in the ruff. Continue reading Sponsored: Affordable and Stylish Solutions from CombatGent

The Topcoat

Though the terms are often incorrectly interchanged or confused, topcoats and overcoats basically serve the same purpose: to provide an elegant outer layer of warmth for the urbane gentleman when he’s wearing a suit or jacket (or not). The two coats are similar in many ways, especially from the waist up where they have a design and structure that resembles a jacket or blazer. Their shell is usually a fine wool, cashmere or a blend thereof. Where they differ mostly is in the length. Overcoats extend below the knee, and topcoats hit above the knee.

My preference has always been the topcoat. It’s an essential piece in my fall/winter rotation. While the overcoat technically provides more warmth since it literally covers more of the body, I find the topcoat to be lighter, less cumbersome and better for travel. It also manages to provide all the warmth where it really counts. And the shorter length has a slightly less formal or aristocratic look to me, which makes a topcoat a really versatile garment that can appropriately complement dressier suit and tie situations and nicely punch up a t-shirt and a pair of jeans. Continue reading The Topcoat

A New Pair of Affordable, Stylish and Grown-Up Shoes from Jack Erwin

The group of “New Disrupters” in the menswear game offering affordable solutions without the middleman is large. Once these brands establish their ability to deliver goods at a reasonable cost, what separates the men from the boys is a certain intangible and unquantifiable thing called taste. The new disrupters who actually have a level of refined taste that puts them on par with more established influential brands is a much smaller group. Ideally, the taste level filters through all levels of the brand experience, from the design and presentation of the actual merchandise to the logo and slogans to the execution of the website, which had better give first (not last) consideration to smartphone and tablet users. Jack Erwin is among this group. Continue reading A New Pair of Affordable, Stylish and Grown-Up Shoes from Jack Erwin