Matthew aperry

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Friday, May 31, 2013

Understanding Hues, Tints, Shades and Tones

We started this week off with A Man’s Introduction to Color.  That article has the basics of color in menswear.
Then we talked a little bit about combining specific colors in A Man’s Guide to Combining Colors.
Now we’re going to get a little more specific about what each color in your wardrobe really is.  The odds are that most of the colors you wear are some form of shade, tint, or tone. That’s because the basic colors from the visual spectrum are bright to our eyes — good on a Hawaiian shirt, but not so great on a suit.
Shading, tinting, and toning are three different ways of altering colors to make them more muted.  That often makes them easier to wear in multiple outfits.
Think of the difference between a bright red shirt worn with a bright green tie and a deep burgundy shirt worn with a forest green tie.  The first is basically a novelty outfit for a Christmas party while the second is respectable year-round, even though both use the same contrast of complementing red and green.  That’s because of the muting effect of shading.
So let’s revisit the color wheel from A Man’s Introduction to Color for just a minute here.  The names around the outside describe the hues — the base colors themselves.  You can see those in the central of the three rings:
The inner and outer rings represent shades and tints of the basic hues.  Each of these can be used differently in menswear, so it’s important to understand the effect that each one can have individually.

The central hues are the visible color spectrum in their most basic form.  They read very brightly to our eyes.
You won’t often see these colors in the base pieces of men’s wardrobes (the “canvas” clothes we talked about in A Man’s Guide to Combining Colors).  They’re too bright and eye-catching for most situations.  Where you will see them is in the accent pieces of a man who wants to stand out without being ostentatious about it.  A vivid red pocket square or boutonniere on a muted gray suit is a classic way to use a splash of bright hue.

Tinting is accomplished by adding white to any of the central hues.  This produces a paler, more washed-out color.  All the pastels in your wardrobe are tints.
Tints are most common in men’s dress shirts.  The colors are still a little too vibrant to make a whole suit out of, setting aside the occasional single-purpose piece like a baby blue wedding suit.  But by toning down the central hues, tinting makes the full spectrum of the color wheel restrained enough to be good base colors as well as accent colors.  Any of the colors on the “TINT” wheel directly above would make a perfectly respectable dress shirt, as a pattern color or a solid.  They read as gentle and soothing, so tints are a good choice for an outfit that you want to seem relaxed and welcoming.

Shading is the opposite of tinting:  it adds black to the base hues instead of white.  The resulting colors are deep and rich:
Shades have more visual authority than tints.  Wear them when you want to make a strong impression without seeming too garish.  They also do very well as dress shirt colors.  A good dresser will often mix and match, wearing a deep shade dress shirt for his base and accenting with lighter tints.  A rich purple shirt (shade) under a charcoal gray suit (neutral) with a pale lavender pocket square (tint) is a good example of how to work the different colors together.

The last variation on color doesn’t appear on the basic color wheel at the top of this article.  That’s because it’s the odd in-between cousin of shading and tinting:  toning.  Toning means adding both black and white to “gray out” a color.
Tones are complex colors.  They don’t have the richness of shades (just black added) or the softness of tints (just white added).  They’re mostly used when the effect of the original hue is wanted but the hue on its own would have been too bright.  Silk accents like ties and pocket squares often make use of tones to create a complex, lustrous effect without being overwhelmingly bright.

Putting it All Together
So what does all that mean for menswear?  Mostly it means that you can always create the color combinations you want.  If you favor a color scheme that would be too bright in its basic hues — blue and orange, red and green, and so forth — you can modify one or more of the colors by selecting tints, shades, or tones that mute the overall effect.
Our Man’s Introduction to Color outlined three basic color schemes that work well in menswear:  associated colors, complementary colors, and triad colors.  Consider an example of each one and how tints, shades, and tones are necessary to achieve a good look:
Associated Outfit Example
A man is invited to stand up at a wedding and is told the groom’s party is wearing blue.  He chooses a good navy blue suit (shade) and a light blue undershirt (tint).  A blue silk tie (hue) falls neatly between the two so that there’s contrast between all the pieces of his outfit.  He adds a light blue boutonniere (tint) for a splash of colorful contrast on his dark suit.
Complementary Outfit Example
A man attends a large outdoor brunch event in the summer.  A lightweight khaki suit (tint) offers comfort and a touch of dressiness.  He opts for a pale lavender shirt (tint) to contrast with the yellow-based khaki and adds a rich purple bow tie (shade).  A bright purple pocket square (hue) rounds out the ensemble:  summery, festive and original.
Triad Outfit Example
For a basic business ensemble a man chooses his trust navy blue suit (shade).  A white-and-yellow striped shirt (tint) gives a nice light base.  He puts on a basic red tie (hue), adds a rusty-red pocket square (tone), and the outfit is ready to go:  complicated, eye-catching without being flashy, and neatly balanced on the color wheel.
None of these outfits would be possible without using the different kinds of colors — hues, tints, shades and tones — in combination.  The better you understand what each one looks like in your wardrobe, the easier putting your outfits together will be.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Cotton Fabric’s Impact on the Environment

Green Considerations – Cotton Fabric’s Impact on the Environment
Negative Impacts of Cotton
Mainstream cotton farms use chemical pesticides and bio-engineering to get the highest quality and yield per acre. I won’t elaborate on the damage here, as the unintended consequences of chemical runoff and the creation of more resistant pest insects are well documented.
Another environmental problem with cotton is how water and mineral intensive it is; improper growing can lead to heavy soil mineral depletion and erosion.
Positives of Cotton
Cotton is a renewable resource that has successfully clothed man for centuries. In part to the Green movement, Organic Cotton has risen in importance and economic viability. Organic cotton uses no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, and therefore leaves a smaller footprint on the environment. However it has a lower yield per acre and a lack of economies of scale in the industry – the cost to get organic cotton to the consumer often doubles the price of this fiber.
Over the last 20 years we have also seen the re-emergence of naturally colored cottons. Cultivated for thousands of years, although now just receiving more attention from fashion houses, naturally colored cotton fiber can be grown in red, brown, beige, and green. Other naturally grown colors are in development.
cotton blue stripe on white
Conclusion – Cotton Fabric is here to stay in Menswear 
Cotton fabric’s properties have made it a staple in menswear for thousands of years. Despite it having drawbacks and losing ground to less expensive synthetic fibers, cotton will continue to be a large part of a man’s wardrobe.
Cotton fabric is here to stay in menswear – make sure you understand this fabric as proper care will ensure a longer life for your cotton clothing.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Custom Tailored Retro Style Suits

Our completely custom line of suits–which are individually handmade to order right here in our studio in Denver, Colorado–often have a vintage flair to them.Wool Peak Lapel Suit
Philosophically, our suits hark back to what we consider to be the most interesting period for men’s dress—the period between 1907 and 1921–when many of the distinctive looks of modern dress had been established, but before everything became entirely normalized by the advent of mass production in menswear.
At this point, suits were still meant to convey individuality and to express tastes, habits, and activities.
Although pocket styles have always been as much about conveying to others what one might put in such pockets as they are about functionality, one could, as it were, express more things which such details than one can today.
Our latest generation of suits strives to be distinctively contemporary in its look and functionality, while, at the same time, drawing upon the richest period of our history.
We also incorporate a vocabulary of vintage handwork into these pieces.  The corners of pockets are tacked with crowsfoot and D-tacks.
one button  suitVintage style handwork buttonholes appear on the lapels.
Hand pick-stitching and lapel treatments add an aura of the handmade to the pieces.
Cuffs can be functional or highly decorative.

Our signature cutaway style is perfect for those times when you need to roll up your sleeves because of the heat or because a piece of machinery is in need of repair.
In this posting, I have put up pictures of many of our favorite recent suits.
The army green suit with brown vest is the outfit that I made for my own wedding this summer.
The fabric is a wool sateen with tons of sheen, and the details are drawn from a host of amazing vintage pieces.
This suit (like the navy suit with 3 buttons and the bold plaid cotton summer suit) are “One Button Suits”.
Although each of these suits has 3 buttons on the front, only the top button functions.  The other 2 buttons are left undone so that the vest shows below the cutaway shape.
“One Button” suits are by far the slimmest, most elongating silhouette around, but are impossible to find in shops.
The navy 2 button suit (made from basketweave tweed) pictures illustrate our signature shoulder style.
Here the shoulder seam is pushed back to form a distinctive look with more visual interest in the back panels.  The fronts have hacking flaps with crowsfoot tacks and a handmade lapel buttonhole.
The pictures of the white suit show a distinctive turn of the 20th century take on the summer suit, with narrow cuffs, patch pockets and peak lapels.
The light grey plaid suit shows a look with hacking flaps and our cutaway style in a two button look.  This suit also featured contrast coral collar melton.
Also note the wide contour waistbands on many of these suits.  This detail allows us to shape the waist as much as necessary for comfort and a perfect fit.
We can currently make fewer than 50 of our completely custom “1909 Bespoke” suits per year (although we can make many more pants and vests).
2 Button 3 PC SuitSo if you are thinking of ordering a suit for a wedding or time-sensitive event, let us know as soon as possible.
We muslin fit each of these suits.  For non-local customers, this means that we will mail you a cotton mock-up of the suit to try on.
You send us pictures of yourself wearing it, and we will alter the pattern to fit you.
Contact for more info, and so that we can get started working on a custom design for you.
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Monday, May 20, 2013

Buy A Necktie That Is The Proper Width

We’ll start with the easy part:  getting the right size.
This will serve you well whether you’re buying handmade Italian imports or off-the-rack at Sears.
Fashion has widened and narrowed ties back and forth over the years.  Don’t bother keeping track.
A good necktie is right in the comfortable middle.  3 1/4″ is ideal for most men (the width is measured at the widest point, before the tapered tip if there is one).
If you happen to be built particularly broad you may want a little extra width to keep things proportional, on up to 3 3/4″ or so.
Similarly, very slender men can go down to about 2 3/4″ without looking like they’re wearing a “skinny tie.”
Ties without any taper (a somewhat old-fashioned style these days) should be a touch skinnier, around the 2 3/4″ range as well.
From left to right we can see 3 different tie widths revealed using the dollar test. The middle tie is perfect for most men - about 3.25 inches wide.
To quickly judge width in a store I use the dollar test – since the USD is approximately 6 inches long, fold it in half and you have a 3 inch ruler.  Then you can quickly see approximately what width tie you’re about to buy.  My sweet spot for my body build/style requirements is 3.25 inches.  Yours may be bigger or smaller depending on taste.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Dressing Well Within Your Limits

Black Satin Tie

Another thing that I consider when dressing well is my physical limitations. If I buy clothes without recognizing them I’m just wasting money on something I can’t use.
I don’t have full movement of my arms and upper body. This makes putting on and taking off suit jackets and blazers a daunting task. I also have a harder time moving my arms when I am wearing a suit jacket. Whenever it’s appropriate I substitute either a sweater-vest or a dress vest (like you might find as part of a three-piece suit) for a jacket. That keeps me nice and business-like without the struggle to put a jacket on and the difficulty moving in one.
One of the most asked questions in men’s style is “how do I tie my necktie?”
There are hundreds of videos on YouTube. You can do one search and find out 10 different ways to tie your necktie in less than a minute — but most of them aren’t very helpful if you can’t move your fingers well enough to tie knots.
My solution to this problem is simple, I just buy neck ties that are already tied.
Most snappy dressers will swear that you can’t get a pre-tied tie that looks as good as one tied by hand, of course, but I’ve never had anyone complain about mine and they’re a great solution if you have trouble with knots. My favorite type is a zipper tie (not to be confused with “zip-ties,” those little plastic bindings), which come pre-tied with a zipper hidden inside the knot. They don’t have the obvious buckle-bulge you get with a cheap clip-on and I don’t have to spend half an hour fighting with a knot to go out looking good.
Pocket Square PrefoldedPocket Squares
A pocket square really adds a special touch to an outfit. It tells everyone that you pay attention to details and care about personalizing your looks.
Unfortunately, just like the tie, I don’t have the dexterity to fold a pocket square the way I’d like. Instead I’ve developed my own little trick: I have one person help me fold the square once the way I like it, and then I sew or staple a small piece of cardboard inside the bottom of the fold.
When I want to wear a square I just slip the pocket square in, cardboard first, hiding the stitching/staples and leaving the nice fold displayed. You’ll see rental places using the same trick. Done right (and not all rental places do get it right, but I make sure I do) no one will ever know the difference. It limits the types of fold I can use a bit, but it saves a lot of time and makes putting a pocket square in an easy, solo operation.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Jeans Cut

Boot Cut – Notice the flair at the bottom of the jeans?
Any of those words is a clue that you’re talking about the legs of the trousers, not the seat, drop, or waist. “Taper” jeans are also sometimes called “skinny” — not to be confused with “slim fit,” which we just discussed above!
Complicated, right? But in basic terms, these describe how the width of the trouser legs change over time:
- Taper or skinny jeans do just what the name says: they taper from the opening at the thigh to the opening at the cuff. Ankle openings in the 14″-16″ range generally get called “skinny” jeans, unless they’re paired with unusually small waist/seat sizes.

- Straight or regular legs are roughly the same size from the thigh to the ankle. They’re basically a tube of fabric (well, two tubes of fabric, joined together). It’s the most classic look for jeans, largely because it was the easiest to make when people were doing everything by hand.

- Boot-cut or wide-leg jeans are, as the name implies, designed to be worn over boots. The assumption is that several inches near the bottom will be resting against a boot, rather than against naked ankle/calf. They’re made several inches wider at the bottom than the top. Worn with low shoes or sandals, they look dangerously close to “flares,” which is not a style any man should aspire to.
The shape of your body and the shoes you like to wear affects the kind of leg you want. Men with a lot of taper to their legs — like the “footballer” build we discussed above — may want a relaxed fit in the seat but a skinny leg, to fit the taper of their legs. Bulkier men with thick ankles and thighs will feel more comfortable in a regular seat and straight legs. And workmen who wear boots, obviously, will want wide-leg jeans to accommodate them.

Other Terms
Most jeans will be described by a combination of one “fit” term (slim/regular/relaxed or something similar) and one “leg” term (skinny/straight/boot-cut or similar).
From time to time, however, you get outliers. Most are just marketing words with limited actual meaning, or else are synonyms for the existing fit/leg terminology. Here are a few we’ve seen and what they usually mean:
  • High-rise refers to jeans with an extra-long rise. These are designed to sit high on the waist (which may mean a smaller waist size than you’re used to buying, if you’d previously been wearing jeans nearer to your hips). A lot of relaxed-fit jeans are already high-rise, or close to it, but anything with the phrase in the description is going to be particularly long in the rise. They’re comfortable, and can help conceal weight around the belly, but they’re considered fairly unstylish.
  • Low-rise are the obvious opposite to high-rise jeans, and are generally reserved for women’s jeans. Some brands make skinny and regular fit that sit pretty low on the hips, but they aren’t usually marketed as low-rise. Anything that is marketed as low-rise is going to have some pretty noticeable sag — usually more than you want unless you’re a rapper.
  • Loose sometimes gets used interchangeably with “relaxed,” but in some brands it refers instead to a bowed waistband that hangs lower on the body than a straight one. You don’t run into them too often, but if you’re buying anything called “loose” jeans, make sure you like the fit in the waist.
You can usually use common sense with marketing terminology — nine times out of ten, it’s just a company looking for an edgier way of saying something basic like “slim fit” or “boot cut.”

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Tie Clip History

The tie clip (also called the tie bar & tie slide) is a piece of men’s jewelry that dates back to around the turn of the 20th century.
Prior to then, men’s ties were folded constructions, varying in complexity from the fairly straightforward to the downright architectural.
Some styles needed to be held in place with straight pins, which jewelers decorated the ends of, creating the first piece of men’s necktie jewelry — the “tie pin.”
When fashion straightened men’s ties out into the straight up-and-down shape we’re familiar with today, the long, vertical tie pins became less useful. Around the same time trends started leaning toward very finely-woven silks and similar materials, the fragile weaves of which would start to unravel if you stuck them with a pin too many times.
The tie bar or tie clip was a straightforward design solution. Instead of a pin that slid in and back out of the fabric, a flat piece of metal was bent into a tight “U” shape and slid directly around the tie on both sides.
This could be done to just hold the two tails of the tie together, but men immediately started using it to clip the tie to their shirtfront as well, preventing it from swinging away from the body.
That’s still how we use tie clips today. They’re a simple, practical piece for anyone who doesn’t want his necktie swaying too far away from his chest. That could be a safety precaution — say, for a traveling sales rep who occasionally finds himself on factory floors or other heavy machinery areas — or simply a safety precaution for the diner who’s dipped his tie in his sauce one time too many.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Keys to a Good Cardigan

Whether you’re buying your first cardigan or your twentieth you want to be focusing on three things:  fit, construction, and flexibility.
Fit should be comfortably loose but not saggy. 
The shoulder seams should end on top of your shoulder — if they’re coming down your bicep at all the sweater’s too big.  The bottom hem should cover your waistline but not your trouser pockets.  It should button tight enough that you don’t get a big sag in front of your body any time you bend forward.
If you want a little looser of a look go for an oversized shawl collar rather than a looser fit — it’ll give you all the blanket-like spare cloth you could ever want in a sweater and still look good.
Construction is something to check in all garments.
Give the wool a feel and think about how much you’re going to enjoy wearing it.  Anything that’s too scratchy will be impossible to wear without a collared, long-sleeve shirt.  Which is fine when layering but a scratchy wool reduces the cardigan’s versatility.
Looseness at the seams or any “pilling” (little round balls of wool that form when you rub the jacket surface) are also indications of a poorly-made sweater.
Flexibility is all about how it’ll work with your wardrobe. 
You don’t want to buy something that’s identical to clothing you already own, and you don’t want to buy something that doesn’t go with anything at all.  Dark grays and blues and earth tones are the most flexible but also the most generic; brighter colors are more eye-catching but less flexible.
Think about what your wardrobe needs more — reliable core pieces to build off of or bright accent pieces to go with the staples you already own.
Cardigans Sweaters in Conclusion
As we head into fall and winter a couple of good cardigans are going to be some of the best pieces you could add to your wardrobe.  Be thinking about it if you haven’t, and if you have congratulations — you’ve already got some key wardrobe pieces for being a well-dressed man!

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Monday, May 13, 2013

How to Manage the Striped Custom Tailored Suits

tailored made suit

The striped suit always has timeless fashion, however, how to put on outgoing charm or pay attention to. Here to talk about how men like to hold live striped suits.
A set of three-piece suits, is full of majesty "very formal dress.
To add to their cool and chic, you can choose the brick-red checkered shirt to serious break this.
Of course, wearing a three-piece suit, but also according to the age of choice.
Older, you can choose plain and pinstripe suit, if you have not entered the ranks of the "uncle". Plain and exaggerated pattern suit may be more suitable for you.
The same time, dig deep collar than shallow open neckline, more young vigor and temperament.
So this moderate tone gray suit and the same color similar styles separate, the cut of the suit itself.
Tightening of the waist, and a small lapel, as well as standard fitting shape, stylish and dignified.
Strip can also watch with a striped suit. If you are a navy blue suit, consider beige dial; If you are a gray suit, you might consider a black dial.
A variety of color, in order to let the color of your body is not limited by the suit. Or elegant, or trip, it is necessary to look at your options.

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Effects Of Clothing On Cognitive Process

mne suits
If you wear a white coat that you believe belongs to a doctor, your ability to pay attention increases sharply. But if you wear the same white coat believing it belongs to a painter, you will show no such improvement. So scientists report after studying a phenomenon they call enclothed cognition: the effects of clothing on cognitive processes.
It is not enough to see a doctor’s coat hanging in your doorway, said Adam D. Galinsky, a professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, who led the study. The effect occurs only if you actually wear the coat and know its symbolic meaning — that physicians tend to be careful, rigorous and good at paying attention.
The findings, on the Web site of The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, are a twist on a growing scientific field called embodied cognition. We think not just with our brains but with our bodies, Dr. Galinsky said, and our thought processes are based on physical experiences that set off associated abstract concepts. Now it appears that those experiences include the clothes we wear.
“I love the idea of trying to figure out why, when we put on certain clothes, we might more readily take on a role and how that might affect our basic abilities,” said Joshua I. Davis, an assistant professor of psychology at Barnard College and expert on embodied cognition who was not involved with the study. This study does not fully explain how this comes about, he said, but it does suggest that it will be worth exploring various ideas.
There is a huge body of work on embodied cognition, Dr. Galinsky said. The experience of washing your hands is associated with moral purity and ethical judgments. People rate others personally warmer if they hold a hot drink in their hand, and colder if they hold an iced drink. If you carry a heavy clipboard, you will feel more important.
It has long been known that “clothing affects how other people perceive us as well as how we think about ourselves,” Dr. Galinsky said. Other experiments have shown that women who dress in a masculine fashion during a job interview are more likely to be hired, and a teaching assistant who wears formal clothes is perceived as more intelligent than one who dresses more casually.
But the deeper question, the researchers said, is whether the clothing you wear affects your psychological processes. Does your outfit alter how you approach and interact with the world? So Dr. Galinsky and his colleague Hajo Adam conducted three experiments in which the clothes did not vary but their symbolic meaning was manipulated.
In the first, 58 undergraduates were randomly assigned to wear a white lab coat or street clothes. Then they were given a test for selective attention based on their ability to notice incongruities, as when the word “red” appears in the color green. Those who wore the white lab coats made about half as many errors on incongruent trials as those who wore regular clothes.
In the second experiment, 74 students were randomly assigned to one of three options: wearing a doctor’s coat, wearing a painter’s coat or seeing a doctor’s coat. Then they were given a test for sustained attention. They had to look at two very similar pictures side by side on a screen and spot four minor differences, writing them down as quickly as possible.
Those who wore the doctor’s coat, which was identical to the painter’s coat, found more differences. They had acquired heightened attention. Those who wore the painter’s coat or were primed with merely seeing the doctor’s coat found fewer differences between the images.
The third experiment explored this priming effect more thoroughly. Does simply seeing a physical item, like the coat, affect behavior? Students either wore a doctor’s coat or a painter’s coat, or were told to notice a doctor’s lab coat displayed on the desk in front of them for a long period of time. All three groups wrote essays about their thoughts on the coats. Then they were tested for sustained attention.
Again, the group that wore the doctor’s coat showed the greatest improvement in attention. You have to wear the coat, see it on your body and feel it on your skin for it to influence your psychological processes, Dr. Galinsky said.
Clothes invade the body and brain, putting the wearer into a different psychological state, he said. He described his own experience from last Halloween (or maybe it should be called National Enclothed Cognition Day).
He had decided to dress as a pimp, with a fedora, long coat and cane. “When I entered the room, I glided in,” he said. “I felt a very different presence.”
But what happens, he mused, if you wear pimp clothes every day? Or a priest’s robes? Or a police officer’s uniform? Do you become habituated so that cognitive changes do not occur? Do the effects wear off?
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