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You don’t usually think of custom tailoring companies doing lookbooks. But Proper Cloth has always sat at the intersection of custom tailoring and ready-to-wear, combining the best of both worlds to produce things such as custom-made snap-button denim Western shirts (made to fit your measurements but still featuring the special enzyme washes that give ready-made versions of this style the soft hand and puckered seams).
Last week, Proper Cloth debuted its new fall/ winter lookbook, which is full of ideas on how to dress for the colder season. Included are some examples of how to pair grey herringbone tweeds with white jeans (a dressier version of blue denim), black turtlenecks with grey suits and black tassel loafers (ideal for an evening out), and navy shawl collar cardigans with white dress shirts and charcoal trousers (for hosting holiday parties later this year). Their new Johnny collar polos can also be teamed with sport coats or be worn on their own with tailored trousers or jeans. The buttonless placket looks more sophisticated than the common polo styles you see everywhere else.
If you wear tailored clothing, you should have at least ten pairs of navy dress socks to carry you to laundry day. Navy over-the-calf dress socks can be worn with trousers in any color short of black. They go with grey flannel trousers, taupe whipcords, tan chinos, cream cavalry twills, brown moleskins, etc. But once you have some navy socks, it’s good to branch out and have some variety.
There are a few ways of doing this. First, you can match socks to your trousers (e.g., brown with brown, grey with grey, etc.). In this way, you elongate your leg line, creating the illusion of height. Second, you can wear socks in a non-matching but complementary seasonal color. Brown corduroy trousers can be matched with burnt orange socks, so long as the rest of the outfit is sufficiently autumnal. Third, you can throw caution into the wind and wear something fun (we recommend reserving this for casual settings, such as a holiday party, rather than the office).
Dapper Classics has a bunch of new options this season. There are coffee brown houndstooth and burnt orange socks that would look great with brown suits, bay blue quail socks to wear with olive quilted jackets, and martini socks for getting drinks. Fans of the company’s patriotic American flag socks will be happy to know they have a new version in a slightly lighter shade of blue. In my book, those go with anything and are particularly appropriate during election season (such as next year). Wear them when voting.
Spier & Mackay has built a reputation on supplying men with classic clothing found at upscale stores but at a fraction of the price. This season, they have sweaters in nearly every color and style starting at $58 (e.g., shaggy brushed Shetlands, black turtlenecks, taupe long-sleeve wool polos, grey crewnecks, and even some sweater vests). They also have a new run of fall/ winter trousers, such as grey wool-cashmere flannels, and seasonal outerwear options like stone twill mac raincoats, suede truckers, and waxed field jackets.
There’se also a lot of new seasonal tailoring. Spier & Mackay has brown gun club and grey herringbone tweeds, taupe needlecord sport coats, and suits in brown moleskin and grey Donegal (available as separates). If you’re starting to get into tailored clothing, you can’t do better than buying one of their navy hopsack sport coats. That’s the kind of thing you can wear with anything—tan chinos, blue jeans, grey flannel trousers, etc. It’s the sort of thing you can wear to most professional environments but also to look nice at holiday parties and date nights. Spier & Mackay’s tailored jackets are half-canvassed and start at just $398.
If you’re looking to spruce up a fall wardrobe, Chipp’s ancient madder ties can be worn with flannel suits, corduroy sport coats, and of course, tweed (nothing badder than tweed with madder). Paul Winston over at Chipp once told me the chalky, dusty hand of ancient madder reminds him of a horse’s wet nose. I’ve always thought it was a charming description.
The term madder refers to two things. The first is the rich-red, vegetable dye that’s derived from the Eurasian plant Rubia tinctoria. It was used to dye regal clothes in ancient times, which Bruce Boyer says is how we get the “ancient” part of ancient madder. Then we have “madder style,” which is an old printing method that involves using thickened mordants, drying, aging, dunging, and dyeing with alizarine (the coloring agent obtained from madder root). I’ve never known whether madder in silks refers to the first or the second, but for what it’s worth, not all madder ties contain red.
In any case, the nice thing about madder ties is that they sit in the middle in terms of formality – just as good with tweed and corduroy jackets as they are with worsted suits and pinstripes. Chipp’s are made in New York City from the same English silks used by top-tier neckwear producers, but theirs are just $75 (almost a third of what some of their competitors charge). Paisley is perhaps the most classic option, while the small geometric foulards are better with suits and than sport coats. Take the diamond motif if you want something a little updated.
Every Thursday, our friends at LuxeSwap list hundreds of new eBay auctions for high-quality men’s clothing and accessories, which they source from consignors around the world. These auctions run for ten days (which means auctions end on a Sunday), and if you’re alert, they can be one of the best ways to build a wardrobe.
For instance, on the auction block now are vintage Ralph Lauren polo coats, Cucinelli tailoring, Norwegian Rain raincoats, Visvim truckers, Drake’s dress shirts, Morjas loafers, and speckled Portuguese Flannel shirt jackets. All of these will end at a fraction of what they were at full retail. You can also find the best of LuxeSwap’s auctions by doing a search for “#1 Menswear.”
Matt at LuxeSwap tells us that he’s also planning to host an event at No Man Walks Alone’s showroom in NYC soon. If you’re in or around NYC, this can be an easy way to drop off some unwanted items from your closet. LuxeSwap will list the items for you on eBay, and you’ll collect your check either in the form of cash or store credit at No Man Walks Alone (the second garners a slightly higher return)