Twice a month, we like to give our sponsors a special shoutout. Doing so allows us to recognize them for their support and update readers on our sponsors’ special happenings. As fall is starting to roll in, our sponsors have a lot of things going on.
Over at Proper Cloth, they just stocked a bunch of new things for the colder season. Included are some soft flannel shirts in muted plaids, chunky cable knit sweaters, Southwestern-styled overshirts, and unstructured topcoats.
A topcoat like the one you see above is your cheat code for dressing well in the colder seasons. This is something you can wear with light-washed jeans, five-pocket cords, or tailored trousers in dressier materials such as flannel or whipcord. You can pair it with leather boots or sneakers and, depending on the cut of the two items, possibly even layer it over a sport coat. If you wear it on its own, consider layering it over a chunky sweater—cable knits, Shetlands, or marled knits. Topcoats like this benefit from having the visual heft of something “heavy” underneath. Since they take up so much real estate on your body, they effectively function as the whole outfit. You can throw this over anything on a cold day and feel assured that you look good.
We’re welcoming an old sponsor back to this site. Gustin was one of our first sponsors and a pioneer in the menswear space, as they were one of the first companies to use Kickstarter to allow customers to pre-order clothes at a cheaper price. Most other menswear companies work like this: they develop an idea, create some samples, and then pitch those samples to retailers. Those companies then order stock based on those samples, and being that they’re now taking on the risk of unsold inventory, they typically mark things up about 2.5x from wholesale.
Gustin’s pre-order model allows you to order directly from the brand, and since there is no unsold inventory in the end, they can work on smaller margins. “Cut out the middleman” nowadays is an overused cliche, but it’s true in the case of Gustin because they literally went from a wholesale model to selling directly to customers at a lower price. The company has built its reputation on being able to provide customers with things such as selvedge raw denim jeans for as little as $89.
On their site now, you can find things such as heavyweight sweatshirts made from a uniquely speckled fabric ($90), rugged 12oz work shirts ($129), tooled Horween leather belts ($59), and plaid flannel shirts made from burly yarns ($109). These are the sorts of things you’d typically find for twice the price, if not more, at specialty workwear boutiques. But if you’re willing to put in a “pre-order” and wait about a month for shipping, you can get them at wholesale prices.
Fifteen years ago, during the “heritage menswear” movement, brands touted their made-in-USA credentials. Many have either since closed down or moved on, shifting their production overseas in search of cheaper labor so they can compete with imports. But Dapper Classics has stayed true to its identity. They still produce socks at a third-generation, family-owned mill in North Carolina—each pair is finely knitted from high-end yarns and then hand-linked at the toes for superior comfort. And when they expanded their range to shirts and belts, they stayed with American production. The only time they’ve ventured abroad was when they wanted to get high-end neckties and pocket squares, which they have produced in Italy.
The result is that you can get top-end products made ethically in the United States for less than what you’d spend at European brands such as Bresciani or Marcoliani. Since Dapper Classics doesn’t pay for international shipping and import duties, they can offer over-the-calf socks for $25 and full-grain leather belts for $95.
At the moment, you can find a select number of items also discounted in their sale section. There are Italian-made pocket squares for $49, dress shirts for $140, and socks starting as low as $19. Want something for the coming holiday season? Try blue snowflake-decorated socks, which you can wear with Shetland knits and five-pocket cords. There are also some leafy socks that will add a tasteful autumnal touch to any cold-weather outfit.
Spier & Mackay has developed a cult following since they debuted on StyleForum in 2014. Before them, it was difficult to get quality, affordable tailoring in the styles and silhouettes that online menswear guys obsessed over—soft shoulder, trim but not tight chest, and a classic length that covers your rear. Above them are dearly expensive Italian clothes that start at four figures; below them are fast fashion brands that sell awful tailoring. Spier & Mackay’s tailoring begins at around $300, but the coats are half-canvassed and fit many guys well.
This season, they have tweed and needlecord sport coats, Ulster overcoats, and tailored trousers in staple materials such as grey flannel. They also have a wide range of classically styled casualwear, such as chunky turtlenecks and shawl collar cardigans, five-pocket cords, and tweed bomber jackets. If you’re looking for an easy holiday outfit, consider these Fair Isle sweaters paired with an oxford cloth button-down and some five-pocket cords, finished with suede loafers or chukka boots. You can also wear a chunky shawl collar cardigan with jeans when hosting holiday parties. The cardigan works in lieu of a sport coat and the long, drapey collar does the job of framing the face better than a t-shirt. Cardigans like this typically aren’t cheap—commonly costing about $400—but Spier & Mackay has them for about half the price.
Over the last thirty years, suspenders have gone much in the way of hats. Once common in men’s wardrobes, they’ve become something of a relic of the past. But why might you want to wear suspenders? For one, they’re more comfortable than organ-squeezing tourniquets. Since your waist expands when you sit, and returns to its smaller circumference when you stand, belts are only comfortable in one of these positions. Suspenders, on the other hand, allow you to have a little extra room at the waistband to accommodate these changes. Plus, they’re better at holding up your pants. Belted trousers tend to slip down throughout the day, which requires you to adjust them continually. You can set the desired length with suspenders, put them on, and never bother with them again.
Chipp Neckwear has the most affordable ones around, at least if you’re looking for something well-made and produced in the USA. The price is $45.50, which is lower than their competitors — much like the price of their grenadine ties. They offer 20 solid colors and three stripes, the choice of black or brown leather kips, as well as gold or silver-colored adjusters.
Thirty years ago, if you wanted to clear out your closet, your options were mostly limited to donating things to Goodwill or seeing what you could get at a local consignment shop, which would typically pay you pennies on the dollar. These days, there are many more options, including resale sites such as eBay, Etsy, and Grailed. Unfortunately, listing things can be a pain, which is why our friends LuxeSwap have been able to build such a good business. They do all the hard work of helping people clear out their closets and earn some cash in the process. They take professional photos and measurements of your items, create the listings, answer questions from buyers, and fulfill the orders. In return, they take 40% of the profits. And since spring closet cleans are in full swing, you can expect better-than-usual listings.
On the auction block now are some marled Trunk sweaters, linen Rubato sport shirts, some Drake’s pocket squares, RRL workwear styled chinos, Ralph Lauren boots, and Fedeli mac raincoat. As ever, you can find the best of their stock by doing a search for #1 Menswear. New ten-day auctions go up every Thursday and end on a Sunday.