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Every summer brings the same challenge: how do you dress well when temperatures reach 90 degrees? Proper Cloth’s newly released summer style guide is full of suggestions. If you can manage to wear a layer this time of year, they have unlined, softly tailored sport coats made from open-weave tropical wools and moisture-wicking linen blends. Let’s face it: every outfit will look better with a jacket, so if you can manage to wear one, these will be more comfortable in the heat than your usual hopsacks or cotton. Proper Cloth even has a suggestion in their guide on how to wear a tailored jacket over a lightweight t-shirt, bringing a little more comfort to a tailored outfit.
If it’s genuinely too hot for layering, then try a sportier shirt, which will push the outfit away from business casual. Proper Cloth has two relevant looks: a short-sleeved, wide-striped seersucker made with a chest pocket and camp collar (designed to be worn untucked), and then a two-pocket sport shirt made in a style that was popular during the mid-20th century (pictured above). You’d be surprised at how versatile the second sort of shirt can be. You can use it to help dress down a sport coat or casual suit. When worn on its own with anything from tailored trousers to chinos to jeans, it will look a bit more distinctive than your average poplin button-up. Proper Cloth has one above in their oatmeal-colored Baird McNutt linen, but you can also use their cotton-Tencel blends for something soft and silky.
About ten years ago, when menswear was obsessed with all things heritage and authentic, guys turned to the internet to learn about classic clothing and quality construction so they could fill their closets with things that would genuinely last. That era seems like a lifetime ago, now that we’ve passed through so many phases—Hedi at SLP, the rise of streetwear, and now Demna’s weird ironic take on everything. Looking back, some ideas from ten years ago may have been too strict and narrow. Yet, there was also something special about the motto of buying things that last, particularly in that rapidly disappearing middle-tier of menswear that offered affordable goods.
Wolf vs. Goat started during that heritage menswear era. They were among the handful of micro-sized brands that sold things directly to consumers before DTC became an online buzzword. Their products were unusually well-priced ten years ago, and they’ve only become more so now that much of the fashion market has moved upstream. The key is to remember that they offer this unique Rewards Members program where you can get 50% off all full-priced items, so long as you pay an entry fee of $25. That brings the Italian-made oxford button-downs to $100, linen shorts to $80, and wool-silk polos to $200. In their sale section right now, you can also find organic cotton tees for $15, soft polos for $40, and slim-fit wool trousers for $50 (discount items are final sale and can’t be combined with the Rewards Members program). One of the reasons why they’re able to offer such low prices is because they keep their overhead low: no expensive storefronts, little marketing, and no fancy lookbooks. Most of their investment is poured into the products, which ensures you get a better bang for your buck.
Chipp is an old Ivy-era clothier who’s dressed the likes of JFK and Andy Warhol, and since they’ve been around the New York garment trade forever, they also have access to some of the city’s best tailors. If you’re in NYC, they can make you a custom garment, but for shoppers online, they also have both ready-made and custom-order accessories. Their standard ties, for example, measure 3.25″ x 58″, but they can also shorten, lengthen, widen, or narrow ties for just $10. To place an order, go to their site and order one of the 60″ or 62″ ties. Then in the comment section, specify exactly what you want (say, a 3″ x 60″ tie). Turnaround time for custom orders is two weeks. And like everything Chipp sells, these are fully made in NYC.
A few years ago, someone asked me where they could buy a quality belt. The problem with finding a good dress belt is that not everything is visible on the surface. There are some basics: the outer material should be made from full grain leather. This ensures the material will age well over time. If you’re planning to wear this with tailored trousers, I think the accompanying belt looks better if it has stitched edges, rather than the one-piece, smooth edge you typically see on bridle belts (those look better with semi-casual pants such as chinos).
You can inspect those things when the belt is in your hand, but there’s another element often overlooked: the interlining. Quality dress belts should be made with a real leather interlining. Cheaper belts can be lined with anything, including a mushed-up pulp-like substance like recycled cardboard. Those belts are fine for the first year or two, but they break down quickly. At which point, of course, you have to purchase a new one.
Dapper Classics is one of the few companies that lists all the ingredients to their dress belts online, so you know what you’re getting. The outer material is Italian calfskin; the inner is soft nubuck. Produced in Arizona, these belts are available in every imaginable shade of brown, as well as navy, olive, and black. They’re also $95—a bit cheaper than the typical $150 price point you see at other traditional clothiers, and much cheaper than designer belts, but better made.
No sale will ever beat second-hand, and few online sellers of second-hand clothing beat our sponsor LuxeSwap. They’re an online consignor of high-end menswear. Since company founder Matthew Ruiz is a long-time thrifter and member of StyleForum, he knows how to identify the good stuff. You’re not going to find licensed Yves Saint Laurent lines in his auctions—polyester ties with crappy interlinings or boatloads of fused jackets that don’t fit.
Among his auctions now, you can find things such as a belted robe coat from the Korean label Document, which pairs nicely with loose trousers, chunky sweaters, and heavy boots. He also has shaggy mohair cardigans from Monitaly, Sartoria Formosa tailoring, Ambrosi trousers, RM Williams Chelsea boots, and Private White VC outerwear. Normally, I would tell you to search for “#1 Menswear,” LuxeSwap’s tag to help customers find their top items. But this week, I would also use the term “A1P,” which will get you to stock sourced from a particularly discerning consignor.