Dapper Dan(ielle)'s Thread of Sartorial Delights

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Hey gang,

In a perhaps futile effort to try to give the music industry some sort of class, I've lately decided to step up my A-game in daily wear. I thought it'd be fun to have a thread where we can discuss some of the finer fashions of life. (read: You are going to talk about the best locations to get good deals on nice clothes and give up all your fashion advice, and I am going to steal them for myself.) Maybe we could even have a resource section in the OP, I dunno. I'll play it by ear.

My early Father's Day gift was a trio of hats from The Village Hat Shop: here (grey), here, and here. The Jaxon is put away until it's far colder, but the Stetson and the trilby have seen a lot of use already. Been getting a ton of comments particularly on the Stetson; I think the ladies love a good hat.

I also just ordered a bunch of pocket squares and a single test tie from The Tie Bar. No word yet on quality, but I'll let you know.

And finally, I found a local tailor who makes full bespoke clothing, and I've ordered my first bespoke shirt (well, more of a cross between bespoke and MTM, but you get the idea). I have never been able to find a nice dress shirt that fits in the neck but doesn't blouse enormously in the back of the waist. Some of those shirts, a strong wind would pick me up and take me away. Or, shirts that do fit pretty well use horrid fabric and construction, like those sewn pieces of sandpaper (that still somehow wrinkles like crazy) they call MX1 shirts at Express Men. Anyway, I'm excited to have a nice shirt in a fabric of my choosing, and getting to shake the hand of the man who will be putting it together.

How about you? What are you wearing today? Any comments, questions, feelings of hopelessness, regret, etc.?

Those are some pretty sweet hats. I've been looking into getting something on the fancier side like that, but I haven't really had the courage yet. I just don't know what would look good on my head.

I just placed an order at www.elitesuits.com for 3 bespoke/MTM shirts.

The pricing is actually better than off the shelf for reasonable quality business shirts so I thought I'd give it a go.

Since graduating from school I've been trying to step my game up. With a thread title such as this, how could I not subscribe?

Minarchist, how did you go about finding your tailor? I hate baggy dress shirts; even some "fitted" shirts aren't that tight.

Asterith wrote:
Those are some pretty sweet hats. I've been looking into getting something on the fancier side like that, but I haven't really had the courage yet. I just don't know what would look good on my head.

Honestly, it's more about confidence than anything else. You have to wear the hat, not the other way around. Most any person can get away with most any hat...mostly.

Bruce wrote:
I just placed an order at www.elitesuits.com for 3 bespoke/MTM shirts.

The pricing is actually better than off the shelf for reasonable quality business shirts so I thought I'd give it a go.


Nice. I've vaguely considered buying either Indochino or Suit Supply (site NSFW!!), but have hesitated as quite a few people on Style Forum and a couple other places have had very varied success. Indochino is nice, though, in that they will pay for up to $75 in alterations or, if you want more than that done, remake the suit for free. So if you have a lot of time (several months), you could conceivably get a perfect suit from them.

For shirts, I've mostly heard of people going to either Modern Tailor or Jantzen. The latter gets a bit pricey (though what MTM isn't?), and I've heard mixed reviews on the fabric of the former (too thin, especially the linen). Still, Modern Tailor has a $20 test shirt, so it's a good way to see if it's right for you. Let me know how your shirt works out, for sure.

Polliwog wrote:
Minarchist, how did you go about finding your tailor? I hate baggy dress shirts; even some "fitted" shirts aren't that tight.

Honestly, luck. I had gotten a recommendation for a good tailor to adjust some second-hand trousers I'd just purchased, and when I arrived I noticed they had probably 100 or more fabric books sitting off to one side. There's only one reason they'd have those...so I asked. Yep, they do a ton of MTM/bespoke business. They came highly recommended, so I'm trying them out for a simple pinpoint oxford (still putting me out $100, but you get what you pay for). I guess I would just find a couple alterations tailors in/near business districts, as opposed to commercial/shopping districts (as the latter will specialize mainly in prom dresses and the like).

Here's a shot rocking the Stetson. It was a casual dress for a friend's birthday party outing. Please excuse the crappy low-light cell phone photography in an as-of-yet unrenovated section of our fixer-upper house.

IMAGE(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ONjDtEoSpYE/TefKMHyH_vI/AAAAAAAAAgA/bNGPnKoBbiM/stetson.jpg)

Subscribing for dapperness.

Subscribing for wishing to having dapperness.

Subscribing despite complete and total lack of dapperness.

I do have a buddies uncle who I go to for tailoring. Get a pretty good friend discount.
Subscribed for dapper as well.

You gotta get a better belt, my friend.

necroyeti wrote:
You gotta get a dapperer belt, my friend.

Fixed.

necroyeti wrote:
You gotta get a better belt, my friend.

I know.

I have a better brown one, but couldn't find it that day. Somewhere packed in the menagerie of boxes, I guess. Renovating sucks.

I also need to get those pants tailored, but that's another issue.

I managed to win a pre-loved Ermenegildo Zegna Navy double-breasted suit on ebay last night, in addition to scoring a vintage Botany 500 mod sports jacket and an HS&M grey blazer (for $14!). Here's hoping they don't require much adjustment. I'm hoping the ebay thing can work out for me once I really get my measurements nailed down, as buying new is just too damned expensive and thrift stores are so very hit-or-miss.

Dressing Dapper is nice. Dressing Dapper on a budget is very, very hard.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
Dressing Dapper is nice. Dressing Dapper on a budget is very, very hard.

Well, yes and no. You have to be crafty, but it's very possible. The above Zegna suit I scored? Probably north of $2000 new. I got it for $50. The tie place I linked in the OP is $15 a tie, but if you get lucky in thrift stores you can sometimes buy ties by the pound. Local men's consignment store? Even better than thrift, though a bit more pricey. The one in my town has a bunch of really nice Oxxford, Zegna and Kiton suits and coats for probably <10% of their original price, and they're all pristine. Of course, most of it's cut for whales, since everyone in Nashville weighs 400 pounds. But, I did find two pairs of really nice trousers there for $20 each the other day.

Ebay is definitely the best resource, particularly if you're a smaller size, but you really have to have some knowledge before heading in or you'll get burned. But staying away from big "designer" names that make crappy fused suits (like CK, Nautica, etc.) is a pretty good start.

My biggest problem is that clothing is hard enough to find in my size (6'2", thin as a rail) that finding items that are my size and on sale is an epic quest filled with lots of grinding (of my teeth). It's all about priorities, and I could certainly have bought more clothing if I bought fewer video games, but it's still a constant source of frustration that I have to special order most of my clothes, anyway.

So what's your size, 36L or 38L? Yeah, that could probably be tough to shop for. Even then, though, ebay has a couple things in 36L that are still both nice and cheap. If you're 38L, it becomes significantly easier (and cheaper) to find things.

Tried much of European heritage? Aside from London clothing, it tends to be cut much closer to the skin (e.g. not sack suits and tent shirts).

I'll have to give eBay a closer look. Thanks!

Also, yes, I tend to stick to European heritage. It fits me much, much better.

What do you mean by European heritage? Clothing made by European companies? Any recommendations for brands or outlets would be appreciated!

Polliwog wrote:
What do you mean by European heritage? Clothing made by European companies? Any recommendations for brands or outlets would be appreciated!

So there's basically three fits [gross oversimplification alert]. There's the Savile Row (London) fit, which is what you think of when you think investment banker. Short but high shoulders, a lot of waist suppression, larger and very stiff canvassed chest, etc. There's the European or Continental fit, which basically means the Italian fit since they're the only people in Europe who make clothes that anyone else cares about. This is characterized by a few different styles of shoulder, some interesting sleeves, a very clean chest and silhouette. More "slim" for the most part, and the measurements back that up. Compare the actual chest, yoke and waist measurements on a Brioni versus an Oxxford or Brooks Brothers and be amazed! (Not that different clothiers having different sizes is new.) The third fit is the American or "sack" fit, which is basically a box of a suit. There are those who like this but I tend to think it looks pretty terrible. Combine the general shapelessness of the clothes and suits with the fact that most suit salesman try to put you into suits way too big (I once had a man try to sell me a 42R, when I'm a 36R-38S), well, you get the idea. The look is most typically personified by Brooks Brothers, though most of the warehouse-style stores carry the same thing (Joseph A Bank, Men's Warehouse, S&K).

As far as finding the continental stuff...if you're looking for higher-end clothes, try to find discounted Brioni, Zegna, Kiton, and other high-quality Italian names. On the (much, much) cheaper and lower-quality end, H&M is not so bad. Sometimes you can find something pretty close, like Brooks Brothers' "extra slim" fit, though if that's still a bit wide you may want to get the shirts darted, which is I believe free at any BB location. It also gives the shirt a nicer silhouette IMO.

ETA: Here's more about silhouettes than you will probably ever care to know.

Any hints on how to go about finding a decent tailor?

You're in Denver, should be easy.

Internet says check out Y&Y, or try Cherry Creek Tailoring (ask for Hamdi, apparently). Erol's also got a shout-out.

My thetiebar.com order came in — on a Saturday even, after placing the order Thursday afternoon! — and I have to say I'm most pleased. I picked up one 100% silk test tie, a tie bar, and 6-7 pocket squares. The tie, though on the thicker side, holds a knot well and looks very nice. It's no seven-fold tie, for sure, but I think at approximately 15% or less of what you'd pay for a "nice" tie, these are really hard to beat — especially considering the astonishing selection, including a mountain of skinny ties for your hipsters who are into that sort of thing. Lots of really nice knits, too. All for $15!

The pocket squares are also very nice. I didn't get any linens yet, only pure silk. The solids are very soft, and will probably only be good for a straight square or a "poof" (I did manage to squeeze a three-point fold out of one Sunday, but it took a lot of work). The patterns, being woven instead of screened, are thicker and much more fun to play around with for various knots. They don't poof so well, but they do everything else well. And again, we're talking a mere $5 for solids and $8 for patterns. These prices are pretty ridiculous.

The tie bar is nice. I mean, it's a tie bar, there's not much to say about it. For $15, again, it more than holds its own.

I have to admit, I was skeptical about this place at first, but given the poor state of our thrift stores around here I think I'll be hitting this site up quite often. Very impressed. For all you tall guys (or extremely thick-necked guys), they have a ton of extra-long ties, in addition to their 100% silks, cottons, skinny ties, bow ties (both pre-tied and "real"), and various accoutrements (skull cufflinks? Sure, why not). Highly recommend The Tie Bar.

Coldstream wrote:
Any hints on how to go about finding a decent tailor?

If you're looking to get custom made clothes, there're a few adequate places that take your measurements and produce the clothes at a distance. Jantzen is supposed to be good for shirts.

Bruce wrote:
I just placed an order at www.elitesuits.com for 3 bespoke/MTM shirts.

The pricing is actually better than off the shelf for reasonable quality business shirts so I thought I'd give it a go.

I'd be interested to know how that worked out.

I'm getting married this Fall and I think a bespoke Tux would be pretty awesome.

As someone who's wardrobe consists mostly of Columbia cargo pants and polo shirts, where should I should I start on my journey to dapperosity? Please use simple terms, I'm an engineer.

Kraint wrote:
As someone who's wardrobe consists mostly of Columbia cargo pants and polo shirts, where should I should I start on my journey to dapperosity? Please use simple terms, I'm an engineer.

Short version, I'd read http://www.askandyaboutclothes.com/ to get a better sense of the lay of the land for men's clothes.

Long version, it depends on how you're looking to go - full on Mad Men, or just an upgrade to slacks, dress shirts and vests?

Of course he wants full on Mad Men.

Tanglebones wrote:
Kraint wrote:
As someone who's wardrobe consists mostly of Columbia cargo pants and polo shirts, where should I should I start on my journey to dapperosity? Please use simple terms, I'm an engineer.

Short version, I'd read http://www.askandyaboutclothes.com/ to get a better sense of the lay of the land for men's clothes.

Long version, it depends on how you're looking to go - full on Mad Men, or just an upgrade to slacks, dress shirts and vests?


AAAC may be the most cordial place on the internet (even moreso than GWJ!), but follow their advice too much and you'll wind up looking just like an investment banker; they're very Savile Row. Style Forum, though significantly snarkier, is probably a bigger wealth of information and more geared toward a continental and fashion-forward look (also has a lot more college students asking how to start upgrading their wardrobe from threadless tees and sandals, so apropos in your case). Both are useful resources; they serve slightly different needs.

Since I'm sort of in the same place as you, Kraint, just a little farther along in the journey, I'll share what I've done so far:

1. Learn what fits. I mean what really fits and how it's supposed to, not what your typical Joseph A Bank salesman will say "fits" (I highly recommend trolling this, this and this thread). Then, find the sizes that actually fit your body. This will require learning a couple more measurements than just "suit size", like the yoke (back piece between shoulders), chest pit-to-pit, and actual waist size (not pants size). Once you kind of learn what numbers fit your body (this may require spending a lot of time in a department store somewhere), buy it and measure it. Better yet, get it tailored to an even more precise fit then have the tailor measure it. Then...ebay!

2. Learn what good quality actually means. Most famous brands like Calvin Klein or Banana Republic, even up to the ranks of Dolce & Gabbana, make absolutely horrible menswear. Use duct tape to keep your head from exploding with your newfound knowledge.

2. Find cheap resources, like The Tie Bar (mentioned above), ebay, thrift stores, outlet malls, etc.

3. Realize that Rome wasn't built in a day. Start with 1-2 staple suits (charcoal and navy), maybe a light gray sportcoat, a few standard shirts (white and light blue oxford, maybe a pink or purple stripe), a couple well-fitted pairs of slacks (maybe gray and light tan or brown), and a couple conservative ties. You'll see a lot of crazy and cool stuff in the above fit threads, but that's for people with a lot of time and money to go after that sort of thing. Bespoken suits from famous London tailors, >$500 Kiton shirts, etc. are not for us unwashed heathen — unless you get crazy lucky at Goodwill, of course. Under the same principle, I'm sort of gearing up my daily wear. Not going straight from polo-and-jeans to suit-and-tie every day, but working through slacks and shirt/tie, slacks and sportcoat/no tie, etc. Unless you just landed a job in finance, in which case, feel free to go 0-60.

I just found a beautiful super 120's wool Oxxford charcoal pinstripe suit for a whopping $175 at our local men's consignment store. It's a 40s when I'm more like a 37s, so it needs to be taken in fairly substantially everywhere (shoulders, chest, waist, sleeves, pant waist, and we're taking the pleats out of the pants), but my tailor swears she can do it. For reference, these may be the finest suits you can buy (Oxxford, that is), and they typically run $4k-$6k new. The thing feels amazing. It's going to be tough waiting ~two weeks to get it back from the tailor. This place just got in a ton of Oxxfords and Zegnas from some guy who is apparently cleaning out his closet, but most of them are in the $400-$500 range, so I'd have to wait 'til the rest of them got green-tagged before really being able to get around to them. But I'm a patient man...

I also snagged a somewhat meh Brooks Brothers navy chalkstripe for $80, so I guess that's good.

Minarchist wrote:
I just found a beautiful super 120's wool Oxxford charcoal pinstripe suit for a whopping $175 at our local men's consignment store. It's a 40s when I'm more like a 37s, so it needs to be taken in fairly substantially everywhere (shoulders, chest, waist, sleeves, pant waist, and we're taking the pleats out of the pants), but my tailor swears she can do it. For reference, these may be the finest suits you can buy (Oxxford, that is), and they typically run $4k-$6k new. The thing feels amazing. It's going to be tough waiting ~two weeks to get it back from the tailor. This place just got in a ton of Oxxfords and Zegnas from some guy who is apparently cleaning out his closet, but most of them are in the $400-$500 range, so I'd have to wait 'til the rest of them got green-tagged before really being able to get around to them. But I'm a patient man...

I also snagged a somewhat meh Brooks Brothers navy chalkstripe for $80, so I guess that's good. :)

See anything in a 40 long for a good price? Boogle be needing suitage.

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