R. Pattinson in Gucci
It’s been a while since I’ve written about men’s fashion. This week, I got an eyeful of RPatz, or Robert Pattinson the vampire extraordinaire from the Twilight Series, as he stepped-out as a newly single guy for his “Cosmopolis” premiere in NYC. What I loved about his look for the premiere is that he turned up the heat by wearing something very simple: a well-tailored suit. In my opinion, a great suit is a staple in every man’s closet. I work with several male clients who claim to have “no need for a suit.” They work at start-ups where they can wear jeans and flip flops or at an office where it’s just business casual. To this, I say the following: Every man should have a great pair of shoes and a well-tailored suit. If own own nothing else, you must own these two things. A great suit is more than the three-piece suit your dad wore to business meetings. The suit is a versatile staple in your wardrobe and can easily go from a business meeting, to a wedding, to a night on the town to a holiday party to just about any event.
Now, not all of us can afford the fine Gucci thread, but I have found fantastic suits and amazing brands at bargain shops like Marshalls, Nordstrom Rack and TJ Maxx. These places are great if you know FOR SURE that you are a 44R. If you THINK you are a 44R, you need to go to the men’s department at either Nordstrom or Lord & Taylor. The guys at these shops can look you up and down and tell you that you are actually a 46R and you’ll notice the difference when you put on the jacket. Now, it doesn’t have to be Gucci. It just has to fit…perfectly. I take this part of it seriously. How many times to do you see this:
- The undertaker: A suit cut way too big and swimming on the poor guy.
- The stuffed sausage: A suit that probably once fit, but, well, life happens.
- The dry-cleaner did it: Suit pants that were once a proper break and are now floods.
- The incredible hulk: A suit jacket that is bursting at the seams. You won’t like me when I’m mad.
I could go on. I notice these things. Other people notice these things, and let’s face it, that’s the world we live in. So, let’s say a) your suit falls into one of the above categories or b) you don’t own a suit at all (the horror!)…let’s figure out how to get you in a suit that fits and makes you look red-carpet worthy. Or at least worthy of your fabulous arm candy to your friend’s wedding or your birthday celebration dinner.
Step #1: SIZE MATTERS
As with most things, when buying a suit, size matters. You need to know if you’re a 44 or a 46. A short, regular or long. You have to start here first and having a suit-fitting pro help you makes a big difference here. When buying a suit, you don’t want to cheap out. A cheap suit looks…cheap. I’m not suggesting you have to make an appointment at Armani, but go to a shop that has a good variety of brands and prices and, most importantly, has the suit fitting master who can help you find the perfect suit. As you know, I am a huge bargain shopper and love to get a deal but beware of cheap fabric that will pill and fray and look worn in no-time. Many shops have suit sales and offer discounts on great brands – those events are a great time to buy.
Carey Grant - Sharp Dressed Man
Step #2: CUT, FABRIC & COLOR
Next comes the cut of the suit and the fabric. A big trend right now is the European-cut suit, which typically has very fitted, straight leg pants (no pleats), a very tailored jacket and often a double vent (or the slit) in the back, which is pretty sharp but not for all backsides, so be sure to check the ventage (aka, you don’t want two flaps flapping in the wind behind you:). This cut of suit doesn’t work for everyone. That’s why they make average-cut and athletic-cut and slim-cut and husky-cut. As for fabric, most suits are made of some % of wool and blended with another fabric. If you’re going to buy one suit, you’ll want to look for an “all-seasons” suit, which is made of a lighter fabric. It means you’ll still sweat your b**ls off sitting at your friend’s wedding at that church next summer but you’ll look damn dapper. As for color, again if you’re going to get one suit, I recommend either a charcoal grey or black. These colors are really easy to mix and match and work in all seasons. So, now you have found a few suits in a few different cuts and fabrics. Now what?
Step 3: TRY IT ON
Finding a suit is not as easy as knowing you’re a 34 waist and a 30 inseam. It doesn’t work that way. The jacket determines the size of the suit. Let’s say you’re a 44R (the most common size.) You try the jacket and it buttons nicely without gaping. The sleeves are too long? No worries, the tailor will hem them up. The sleeves are too short? You might need to try a different jacket or potentially a long. As for the pants, they typically come unhemmed so that the tailor (many shops offer free tailoring) can do a perfect hem based on your inseam. So…you have to try them on. What you’ll want to do in order to figure out the best cut and fit for you, is take a number of suits into the fitting room. And see what feels comfortable. If the pants are too tight, but the jacket fits, often times the tailor can let the pants out. I typically don’t recommend going up a suit size unless you need it in the jacket (or you’ll look like the undertaker, no one wants that.)
Step #4: TAILOR MADE
Once you’ve found the suit that makes you look like a million bucks and feels great on, you’ll want to get it tailored. A great tailor is key. They know how to take up the pants so they have a perfect break. They know when to take in the pants and when to let them out. They know how to hem the sleeves so they are perfectly sized to your thumb bone. All the details will be covered. Again, worth investing in a shop where there’s an on-site tailor to make this super-easy.
Step #5: WEAR IT WELL
The great news about most suits these days is that suit pants can double as dress pants for the night. Look for a classic flat-front trouser and you can wear them with a great button-down shirt for night or even for day. The jacket gets tricky to pair without the pants. If you’re a fan of the “jacket and jeans look,” be sure to get sports coats vs suit jackets – it makes a big difference. A great suit can be worn with or without a tie, dressed up or down and, with a classic cut, fabric and color, last you a good 3-5 years.
Let’s face it. Every girl’s crazy about a sharp dressed man (maybe sans the giant beards, just sayin’.) Need some help suiting up? You know where to find me.
Go forth and be stylish.
I was reading the November edition of InStyle and came across a great article called Color Crash Course – Hot Pink. I was hooked. Funny, when I read the article, I realized that I have several hot pink pieces in my wardrobe. Some cute tops, tees, a sweater, a dress or two with a mix of grey or black and hot pink. Not to mention some super-hot stilettos I bought in the Spring.
H&M Ladies Homepage
The misnomer about hot pink is that it doesn’t work for everyone. I hear that all the time and it makes me bananas! Hot pink can work on everyone – even you redheads out there. It’s all about the shade and the amount of pink versus blue or purple. Blondes and darker-skinned lovelies can really wear just about any shade of hot pink. Brunettes, red-heads and fair-skinned ladies should look for a deeper and darker undertone to balance hair and skin. You might need to try on several shades before you get it right. I love hot pink because it makes a statement while being ultra feminine and as the article says…”done right, it’s cool, not cute.”
Otherwise known as fuschia, this gorgeous color is a great way to really add a hot pop of color to your closet. My clients are always looking for ways to add color to their wardrobes and I love helping them experiment with bold colors like hot pink.
As for how to wear it, today – for inspiration – I paired a gorgeous silk ruffled blouse in hot pink with a slim black skirt and black patent-leather belt. Wolford tights (of course) and my Tory Burch leopard print wedges (my fave purchase from last season). The color makes me feel alive and is perfect for a Monday when staying in bed when the alarm rang at 5:30am was a much better option:) And I just happened to check out the H&M site today and there it was on the homepage…great timing and H&M is always on the trend.
So, my fashionistas…have you experimented with the power of hot pink? Do tell.
There is nothing like a sharp dressed man. You might be thinking ZZ Top’s 80′s hit. I’m talking well-tailored suit, eye-catching shirt, well-planned tie, properly-polished shoes, precisely-folded pocket square…the whole nine yards.
Suiting up a client is something I love. And, I love it even more when it’s for a great cause.
My client, Jeff, was selected to participate in the Project Smile 5th Annual Charity Date Auction. What a great concept. A bunch of hot single guys and girls who are bid on. The highest bidder enjoys dinner and a fun night out and a potential love connection with a devilishly handsome guy like my client or one of the lovely ladies up for auction. The best part is that all the proceeds from the evening go to Project Smile, a non-profit that donates stuffed animals, coloring books/crayons, small toys and children’s reading books to police and fire departments for police officers, fire fighters and paramedics to give to children involved in traumatic situations. As a mom to two kids, I love that this charity is focused on children and helping them through tough times.
So, the first order of business for Jeff was to plan his outfit. The invitation for the event said “business/cocktail attire.” This is where most people have the “holy crap, what does that mean?! moment.” Do I wear a suit? Do I wear a ball gown? Do I wear jeans and a blazer? The problem with telling someone what to wear is that, unless it says “wear a suit” or “wear a tux,” everything else is up to interpretation.
Jeff and I brainstormed on what he was most comfortable in. He works in sales and is used to being dressed for work – shirt and slacks. We decided that a full suit and tie felt too dressed and instead we would work with what he had and go from there. The starting point was a great shirt. A great shirt is a staple and an amazing outfit can stem from this simple piece. I’m not talking a white button down or a pinstripe shirt. I’m talking about a statement shirt. You’ve seen them – bolder patterns, color, interesting details like fabric-lined collars and reversible-patterned cuffs. Robert Graham is the master of such shirts and it so happens that I had already helped Jeff pick out a beauty. They’re not cheap, but again, it’s a wardrobe staple that goes with jeans to a bar, dress pants to a club, a suit to a wedding or event and with just about anything to dress it up and take the hip factor to another level.
I decided that I wanted Jeff in a classic black suit. It would be a perfect way to showcase the shirt and show-off Jeff’s fun and adventurous side while helping him invest in another staple for his wardrobe – the black suit. We set a budget and I knew exactly what I wanted. Simple lines, no stripes or checks, straight leg, European-cut jacket, flat-front pants. Stylish. Classic. You’ll have it and wear it forever. We set a budget and set off for the Men’s Shop at Lord & Taylor on Boylston St in Boston. L&T has an amazing Men’s store – great selection and prices, along with serious sales and coupons that can save lots of $$, which I love.
The first order of business was getting the right fit. The shoulders should fall perfectly. Sleeves hit perfectly at the top of the thumb, not too roomy in the jacket. Then, the fabric. All season is key here in Boston and is the most versatile. I chose a European-cut Calvin Klein suit for him to try, along with a DKNY suit. Both similar but I knew they would fit differently. A guy might be a 44R but each designer is cut in a unique way so one designer’s 44 is another designer’s 46. Gotta try the jacket with a shirt and the pants.
To the dressing room we go. He came out in the Calvin Klein and…wow! It looked amazing! The pants needed a hem but the jacket fit perfectly and with the shirt, it was stunning! He looked like a million bucks…and felt like a million bucks. Iliana came and took up the hem, promised them in two days (love that) and off we went to the register. No joke – 45mins tops from selection to try on to hem. The retail price for the suit was over $500. The sale price was over $300 and with the coupon I printed out for Jeff, he got an amazing suit including alterations for about $200.
I cannot wait to see the pictures from the event and hear the final bid. Knock ‘em dead, Jeff…you look amazing!!
UPDATE: I am happy to report that my client brought in the highest bid for the evening raising a boatload of cash for charity and walking out with one hot dame for a date. Jeff said he was the best dressed guy on the stage…aw (blushing:).
It’s that time of year. The nights get longer, the mornings get cooler, the leaves start falling from the trees. Most people go apple picking or pumpkin patching. I on the other hand go closet cleansing. For me, the change of seasons is a perfect time to get my wardrobe organized. You see, I live in the City and that means one rather small closet to fit my entire wardrobe. Blazers, handbags, pants, jeans, shoes, boots, tops, tees, tanks, dresses and sweaters all packed in to one small space.
The challenge for me is that I don’t have the luxury of keeping more than two seasons of clothes in my closet. Some might say it’s the evidence of a larger problem, I say it’s just the way it is. In any case, I can only keep Spring/Summer or Fall/Winter. That’s the reality. So, as I say good-bye to sandals and sundresses, I unpack the bins of last season’s Fall and Winter goodies. As I conduct this ritual at least twice a year, there are some tips I thought I’d share to help you as you organize and turn-over your closet each season.
1. Before you start buying new stuff, be sure you know what you’ve got. For those of you who, like me, love boot-season, you know it’s so easy to start gobbling up the latest boot styles in September. But, before you start adding to your wardrobe, get your closet organized and know what you have and what you need. You’ll often find that last year’s purchases transition perfectly and you can update them quickly and cheaply with a few trendy accessories.
2. Take everything out. I mean everything. Just shoving things into hidden corners will do you no favors when it comes time for finding those items next season. I literally work from corner to corner in my closet. I start with handbags, work down to dresses and hanging items. Then folded items and I save shoes for last, but not least.
3. If you haven’t worn it in at least two turn-overs of your closet, I am sorry dear friend, but it is time to LET IT GO. I try to think about it like this. If I don’t wear it, haven’t worn it, maybe someone else can? Whether you pack these items up and bring them to your local donation center or sell them on eBay, it frees you from the clutter of stuff you don’t wear and someone else will thank you.
4. Decide how you get dressed and think about how your closet can be organized to make that as fast and easy as possible. Do you wear jeans and tees every day? Put them close to each other so you can easily coordinate your outfit for the day. Wear suits or dress casual? Think about how you can mix and match your blouses, tops, suits and blazers to create new outfits every day.
5. Put as much as possible in plain-view. If your closet is like mine, there’s alot of things to squeeze into a small space. Add or adjust shelving to make it easy for you to quickly scan your closet and see everything you have. Most of the time, those items hidden in the back shelves never see the light of day. If you can’t put everything up-front, rotate the stuff in the back every few weeks.
And last but not least, admire your work and identify your 5 must-haves for the season. This is the part I love best. Maybe your favorite black pants have seen better days and should be replaced, or you could update your jeans and tees with a fun pair of cowboy boots. Whatever it is, create your list and carry it with you. Then, as your shopping, you know what you need and you can focus your time and money. Well, I’m off to do some shopping with my new list. Look for my next post on Fall must-haves and, until then, here’s to closet organization and the joys of Fall fashion.