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Although they mainly operate as an online custom clothier, Proper Cloth shoots a lookbook every season to inspire customers on how to style clothes. This season’s lookbook was shot in Proper Cloth’s backyard—against the stone-colored backdrop of New York City. The photos show how you can combine things for a more sophisticated feel, such as teaming a dark grey wool-cashmere sport coat with a grey washed denim shirt, pair of black jeans, and black calfskin loafers (pictured above). The basketweave texture on their Hudson jacket keeps it from looking like an orphaned suit jacket, and the combination looks natural in downtown urban centers. For something equally modern, but less moody, try Proper Cloth’s brown glen plaid Waverly sport coat with a tucked-in white t-shirt (made from finer cotton) and white jeans.
Anyone who’s a fan of Proper Cloth’s cotton-Tencel knit piques will also want to check out the new arrivals section, as the company just posted some new color options. The term pique here doesn’t really describe the cloth well. When you hear the term, you may think of the stiff honeycomb-like cotton you find on polos at the mall. These cotton-Tencel knits wear more like soft merino sweaters and have a plush, almost kitten-like feel on the interior. Proper Cloth has the fabric now in autumnal colors such as brick and pine green, as well as a mottled white-and-blue version that looks like brushed flannel. If you get these as long-sleeve polos, consider going with the company’s Roma Cutaway collar. It’s been restored to its previous glory.
Ledbury was founded some years ago by two Americans, Paul Trible and Paul Watson, who met while working on London’s Jermyn Street, the world’s most famous quarter for custom shirtmaking. Jermyn Street is where you’ll find world-class shirtmakers such as Budd and Turnbull & Asser, who cut shirts with fine precision and distinctive British taste. The two Pauls took what they learned there, returned to the US, and started Ledbury in Richmond, Virginia. The company follows some of those old British traditions—more formal dress shirt collars must be long enough to reach under a suit jacket’s lapels—but also have some American innovations. Since the US is a much more casual country than its European counterparts, Ledbury’s shirts have a slightly lowered second button, so it looks more natural when you wear the shirt with an open collar.
On their site now, you can find business-ready fabrics such as Albini’s fine broadcloths and conservative oxford stripes. They also have weekend options, such as autumnal brushed flannel plaids in moss green and apricot orange, which can be teamed on their own with jeans or layered under a sport coat. Ledbury’s custom shirt program allows you to get shirts in three fits—extra slim, tailored, and classic—and nearly any size. At the moment, you can get up to 30% off any purchase, depending on how much you spend. That brings the price of their shirts down to about $69 (nice).
Wolf vs. Goat has always gone the extra mile when sourcing fabrics. Their polos are made from Italian linen-silk yarns rather than the more common merino; some t-shirts are colored with environmentally-friendly seaweed dyes. Recently, they introduced a new line of henleys and short-sleeved tees made from Fulvia, the heavyweight champion of Supima cotton. As many readers know, the process of making fabric starts with growing fibers (here being cotton), which are sorted, combed, and then spun into yarn. Longer fibers, called “long staple” in the industry, are more resilient to tearing and pilling. Supima is one of the world’s better brands of long-staple cotton (and it’s grown right here in the USA). It’s known for its strength, softness, and color retention, which is why it’s so prized.
They’re also getting a new shipment of bamboo-Sonora tees, which are popular among eco-conscious consumers because of these fibers’ low ecological impact. Dan over at A Fine Tooth Comb bought some about seven years ago and counted them as among his favorites. “It’s super soft, light, and breathes well,” he wrote. “I didn’t take as many pictures of it as its appearance at first isn’t anything to scream about, but it drapes and wears much better than its pictures would be able to convey.” A few years after writing that post, he updated it with: “This is still one of my favorite tees, easily comparing to higher-end retailers specializing in garments like these.”
Dapper Classics’ socks come in a range of solid colors, which by now, you probably already know how to marshall. When you’re wearing tailored trousers, the rule of thumb is to match the color of your socks to your trousers. So tan socks go with tan trousers, grey socks with grey trousers, and so forth. Otherwise, navy goes with everything. Once you have a rotation of solid-colored socks, consider getting some tasteful patterns. Herringbone, pin dots, birdseye, and grenadine all work well to add visual interest to a basic tailored outfit. If you’re wearing a solid-colored, navy sport coat with a light blue shirt and grey trousers, having a bit of visual interest around your leg opening isn’t a bad thing.
Ten years ago, I would have probably rolled my eyes at the idea of fun socks. But nowadays, I think it depends on the outfit, occasion, and pattern. If you’re wearing a conservative navy suit to a conservative business office, stick to conservative navy socks. But if you’re wearing a sport coat to a casual social occasion, unusually patterned socks can be kind of fun. As an animal lover, I unconditionally support anything with dogs on it. Foxes and pheasants can also be good underneath a pair of chestnut-colored cords. Personally, I think every American should have a pair of American flag socks to wear on the Fourth of July and during election cycles. The fact that Dapper Classics makes all of their socks at a third-generation, family-owned mill in North Carolina only makes these socks more patriotic.
Long-time readers know Chipp supplies the most affordable grenadine neckties. They source their silks from the same Italian mills as top-end brands, but their ties start at a much more affordable $45 (grenadines are $60 and, like everything, Chipp sells, made in New York City). Paul Winston, the shop’s owner, tells me he can’t imagine charging much more because he remembers what neckties used to cost fifty years ago, back when his family’s business dressed men such as President John F. Kennedy, Andy Warhol, and Joe DiMaggio.
If you’re looking for your first grenadine, consider three colors: black, some sort of dark blue, and silver. Black can look severe in certain contexts, which is why it’s often not recommended for suits or socks, but the color manages to be neutral for grenadines and knit ties. You can wear a black grenadine with navy suits, tobacco linen suits, and brown tweeds. Dark blue, either in a shade matching your navy suits or one shade lighter, is equally versatile (a dark blue tie can also be an excellent way to visually anchor a light-colored sport coat, which could otherwise float away from you). Lastly, silver grenadines are for guys who only wear ties on special occasions — weddings, fancy parties, and other formal gatherings. Silver ties look less like office-clothes than their dark blue counterparts, and the textured grenadine weave here keeps these from looking cheap and shiny.
We all have clothes hanging in the back of our closets that haven’t seen the light of day in years. And once new fall arrivals hit stores, there will invariably be that coat or sweater calling your name. If you want to kill two birds with one stone—clear out some closet space and help soften the financial fall of this season’s new purchases—consider sending some of your unwanted clothes to LuxeSwap. They’re an eBay consignor that can help convert your clothes into cash. And if you’re willing to take payment in the form of store credit at No Man Walks Alone or Epaulet, they will lower their fees, and those stores will top off your credit with something extra buying power.
Budget-conscious shoppers can also dig through LuxeSwap’s auction list every Thursday to find coveted brands selling for a fraction of their retail price. At the moment, they have high-end tailoring from BRIO, Stoffa jackets and pants, G. Inglese shirts, Lemaire turtlenecks, Barba leather jackets, Sugar Cane jeans, and a Drake’s x Aime Leon Dore Casentino quarter-zip pullover. Remember, new auctions go up every Thursday, last ten days, and end on Sunday.