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Finding the right holiday gift can be tricky, and the task can be complicated when you’re thinking about buying something for someone’s wardrobe. Fortunately, Proper Cloth can help take out some of the guesswork. Their online made-to-measure shirt program allows your gift recipient to get a custom shirt made to their measurements and according to their stylistic preferences. Want a shirt for the office? Consider getting a white spread-collar broadcloth shirt made with barrel cuffs and no chest pocket. Want something for the weekend? Proper Cloth has a wide range of brushed flannels that can be made with a more casual button-down collar. There are also in-between options in oxford cloth and dressy checks. By giving a gift certificate for a custom shirt, you ensure that your gift recipient will get something that actually fits and that they will wear. Proper Cloth also has ready-made items, such as textured scarves, lined leather gloves, and pure cashmere sweaters made from Todd & Duncan yarns (Todd & Duncan being one of the most well-regarded yarn suppliers in the world). All of these items are made in classic designs that will complement nearly any wardrobe.
There are two stories about how tweed got its name. The first is that it was originally a misreading of tweel—an old Scottish word for twill—which was supposedly written on an invoice somewhere. How that misreading eventually made it into the general vernacular, nobody knows, but it’s probably the pithiness of the story that counts. The other guess is that the word tweed refers to how the cloth was originally woven in the Valley of the River Tweed. To me, that seems like the more likely origin story. Many of the ancient names we have for fabrics derive from the places where the material was originally made: cashmere for Kashmir (India), muslin for Mosul (Iraq), worsted for Worstead (England), cambric for Cambrai (France), and the endlessly cited denim for de Nimes (also France). In many ways, the names we have for fabrics today tell a story about earlier waves of globalization.
The most important thing about tweed is that it’s the fabric of fall and winter. Prickly in texture and often earthy in color, tweed is a natural accompaniment to other rugged fabrics such as denim and corduroy. This week, Gustin is taking pre-orders on three variations of their popular five-pocket pants rendered in different Harris Tweeds. Harris is perhaps the most popular name for tweed, largely because it’s a protected class. Like champagne from a French province by the same name, Harris Tweed can only be called so if it comes from the Outer Hebrides. Many of these fabrics are handwoven on old, manually powered shuttle looms, which are often located in people’s homes or in shacks on their property. It’s one of the oldest surviving textile traditions.
Gustin’s tweed five-pocket pants are available in the company’s classic straight, slim, or skinny fits. Like all of their clothes, they’re made in the United States. What can you wear with tweed pants? Try workwear jackets in materials like waxed canvas or denim; puffy bomber jackets, or military surplus outerwear. Finish with a pair of rugged boots. They can be a nice way to switch up your denim routine during the colder months.
Did you know today is National Sock Day? To celebrate, Dapper Classics is offering a 25% discount on all sock orders. This includes wardrobe staples, such as their over-the-calf solid navy socks, rendered in fine wool and mercerized cotton, which can be worn with tailored trousers in any color short of black (which will require black socks). Over-the-calf socks stay up better than their mid-calf counterparts. Dapper Classics’s socks are finely knitted at a third-generation, family-owned mill in North Carolina and hand-linked at the toes for superior comfort. Get a few pairs in solid navy, and then supplement with colors that match your trousers (e.g., grey socks with grey trousers, tan socks with tan trousers, etc.).
Additionally, don’t forget to check out Dapper Classics’s new range of pocket squares. Made in Italy from pure silk and silk blends, these have rolled edges for a nicer finish. As more men ditch the necktie as a way to dress down their tailoring, the pocket square has become increasingly important. It helps add visual interest to an area of the body that would otherwise look a little too plain. Dapper Classics’s designs are especially thoughtful because they come in base colors that will complement almost any jacket—burgundy or navy for rustic tweeds, then celery green for those tan summer sport coats. At the same time, they have accents in blue, green, and brown. The mix of colors in each square allows you to twist the square in various ways to show off the colors that you want to highlight.
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.
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.
Although holiday sales are just a few weeks away, you’re unlikely to get a better deal than what you can through LuxeSwap. They’re an online consignor for high-end menswear, and they work with clients from around the world. Matt, the shop’s proprietor, is a lifelong menswear enthusiast and an inveterate thrifter who has been helping people clear out their closets for over a decade. He has an eye for quality and makes sure that he only takes in the best stuff. On their eBay page, you can find high-end clothing selling for a fraction of what these things would have cost at full retail.
On the auction block now is a WW Chan grey Donegal tweed sport coat, Private White VC Donegal bal coat, Aime Leon Dore cords, double-breasted Drake’s overcoat, Officine Generale Fair Isle, and Western shirts from Wythe and Aime Leon Dore. As ever, you can find the best of their stock by doing a search for #1 Menswear.