Tag Archives: chinos

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

Mix & Match with Indochino’s Spring and Summer 2013 Collections

Tonal Slate Wool and Linen Suit, Premium Cobalt Blue & Navy Gingham Shirt and a Slate Blue Silk Lapel Pin from Indochino.
Tonal Slate Wool and Linen Suit, Premium Cobalt Blue & Navy Gingham Shirt and a Slate Blue Silk Lapel Pin from Indochino.
I recently wrote a piece about the lean, no-nonsense monochromatic dress code for men of a certain stature, referring to the idea as “Garanimals for busy and powerful men.” Men like this need to be able to reach into their closets blindfolded and assemble something that works without thinking about it or getting it wrong, like Garanimals.

For those among us who like a broader palette, Indochino has launched both Spring and Summer collections for 2013 that offer a great range of colors, patterns, fabrics and textures. Any and all of the offerings are designed to go with everything else in the collections: any suit goes with any shirt and any tie, however you want to mix it up. Put any suit and pocket square from the Spring Collection together with any shirt and tie from the Summer Collection, or vice versa.

The Spring Collection includes a dozen new suits and several blazers and vests in lighter fabrics and blends of linens, cottons and lightweight wools, as well as cotton shirts in a mix of stripes and patterns. Spring accessories include ties, pocket squares, silk lapel pins and colored tie clips.

The Summer Collection introduces new suits, blazers and vests in seersucker, a perfect summer staple. Also making an appearance in the collection is the classic trench coat (with a removable zip hood) in five different colors, including timeless tan. There are also belts, pocket squares and chinos in an array of ten different colors.

One of the most noteworthy inclusions in the Summer Collection are shirts of 100% Egyptian cotton from Thomas Mason. Starting in England in 1796, Thomas Mason fabrics have been a premium standard in high-quality garments, particularly shirts. In the early 20th century, they became the exclusive supplier to Turnbull & Asser, who supplied shirts for English royalty (and for Sean Connery during his tenure as James Bond). Today, Thomas Mason mills are located in Italy, retaining their stature as the source for premium shirt fabrics.

J.Crew has been offering a handsome selection of Thomas Mason shirts for a while, ranging in price from $148 to $168. As much as I like J.Crew (and I do love J.Crew), the S/M/L/XL shirt sizing is a big limitation and a roll of the dice for most men who aren’t a perfect medium, for example. To get the shirt to fit perfectly, one would have to have it tailored, pushing the ultimate cost of a $168 shirt over $200. As with all garments at Indochino, the Thomas Mason for Indochino shirts are custom made for each customer. With their perfect fit promise, Indochino offers a $75 credit for local tailoring to make sure the garment fits perfectly. If the alterations are beyond the scope of a tailor, Indochino will remake the garment. In essence, a perfectly-fitting, custom-made Thomas Mason shirt from Indochino will cost no more than the initial price tag of $159. No contest.

For my own experience with the Spring/Summer 2013 gear, Indochino furnished me with a suit, shirt, tie and lapel pin of my choosing from the Spring Collection. Sticking to my favorite color, I went with a study in blue: the Tonal Slate Linen & Wool Suit, the Premium Cobalt Blue & Navy Gingham Shirt, a Navy Linen Tie and a Slate Blue Silk Lapel Pin.

My exact measurements well-established with my Indochino account, the fit of the custom suit and custom shirt were a slam dunk. Perfect. The linen and wool blend suit has a great hand and is light as air, without wrinkling as easily as 100% linen. The tonal slate is an incredibly versatile shade of blue that I can wear with almost any shirt, casual or dress, with a tie or without a tie. I can even wear the jacket as a blazer with jeans and a t-shirt. The custom shirt was a first for me, as I’ve been pretty happy with my standard 15.5″ x 35″ extra-slim fits. I must say that the fit of a well-made custom shirt is incredible. It has an uncanny way of hugging my form without feeling tight or constricting movement, especially in the armhole and sleeve.

My only reservation with my new duds was with the silk lapel pin. I think the lapel pins look great, but for this simple guy, a little too-too in the self-decoration department. As I’ve said many times, a watch and cufflinks are as blingy as it gets for me, and my wearing of a pocket square is inconsistent at best. If I’m going to decorate my lapel with a floral, I’m more likely to wear a real flower. But when I order suits from Indochino, I always opt for a functional boutonniere on the lapel, which includes a hidden thread loop behind the lapel to secure the flower’s stem.

Overall, the Spring and Summer Collections feature a fantastic, smart and versatile selection of warmer weather offerings that play together quite nicely. Whether someone likes to burst with color or, like me, keep it a little quieter, there is something here for everyone for the spring and summer months or in any month in warmer latitudes.

Thumbs up.

The Ultimate Spring Collection
The Ultimate Summer Collection

My Dog Run Wear

This is a basic. Dog runs are not hotbeds of cleanliness, which means wearing comfortable garb that I don’t mind getting dirty or wet. The dog run can also be a gateway to Frumpytown, characterized by ill-fitting clothes from the ugly bin. My ego won’t allow it. I believe that the “I don’t care what I look like” aesthetic in public places, wherever and however employed, can start to quietly bleed into other areas, bringing us to our current state of guerrilla casual.

I’m not a fan of wearing shorts in the city, so I keep it light in the summer with easy and wearable classics that are never wrong: canvas Chuck Taylors, an old, light pair of chinos or cargo pants, and an old t-shirt or polo. Simple.

Essentials: Chinos

Chinos are trousers made of chino cloth with origins in the British military in India from the mid to late nineteenth century. A staple of casual wear for decades, they are a man’s wardrobe essential.

Wearable with dress shirts or t-shirts, with or without a jacket, with brogues or Converse All-Stars, chinos are perhaps the most versatile casual trousers a man can wear. The preferred classic pair of chinos is made with 100% cotton (or some percentage of linen for a summer weight) with a flat front and a proper fit, i.e. not too baggy, but not too fitted or “skinny” either. While the most versatile color for chinos is khaki, they’ve also spun off with other colors like olive, gray, navy, pink and many more.

And like all clothes, they should be devoid of any outside designer label or brand identification on them, unless, of course, you got them for free or are being paid to wear them.

Flat Front Chinos from UNIQLO

Steve McQueen in chinos
Chinos* have been a men’s wardrobe staple for decades. They’re handsome, comfortable and versatile, going well with many shirts and shoes. You can wear them with certain boots, a shiny pair of oxfords, sneakers, sandals or flip-flops. They go with a crisp dress shirt or an old t-shirt. With a belt or not. As I said… a versatile wardrobe basic.

My favorite pair as of late is from UNIQLO. The “vintage chino flat front pants” come with a simple classic cut and in a variety of colors: black, dark tan, light tan, dark green and navy.

I will always love the slim-fit chinos from Banana Republic and The Gap, but UNIQLO’s can be had for a cool $39.90.

UNIQLO Vintage chino flat front

* A little clarity… Where I come from, people often call these trousers “khakis.” “Chino” is the proper name for a pair of these trousers. “Khaki,” on the other hand, is actually the name of a color.