Hello all. I am a 26 year-old graduate student in physics who has accumulated a couple of decent mid-range pieces amidst a wardrobe consisting mostly of well-fitting and carefully chosen consumer-grade items. I was lucky enough to inherit a couple of starter suits and ties from an older brother in my late teens. I don’t have a ton of money to spend (read: no retail-price for anything decent), but I do lust for fine shoes, custom suits, and delicious fabrics and leathers. I try to pick up whatever I can at discount stores (like the going-out-of-business Daffy’s), vintage shops, and thrift stores, but being careful naturally results in slim pickings few and far between. I do take care of whatever I have. On this site I am looking mostly for extra info on what is truly good out there, so I know what to look out for, what to look forward to, and how to take care of what I get when I do manage the occasional grasp of tasteful quality (necessarily at a bargain).
In general, this is how I describe my aesthetic sensibilities to people: Some people dress in a way that draws your attention, but not in a good way. You see them and at first you think, “Huh! Interesting…,” but upon further reflection and noticing the odd detail here and there it turns into a, “Huh. Oh. [shrug] Meh.” I hate when people try to be ‘different’ or ‘clever’ in a stock, trendy, or clumsy way that is too showy and ultimately lacks the goods. Instead, I prefer someone who dresses in a way that doesn’t draw your attention, but in a good way, or maybe does draw attention but only to the careful observer. You see them and at first you think, “Huh. [pause] Oh. Hm, interesting… ,” and upon further reflection and noticing the attention to coordinating (not matching!) details, “Ha! Nicely done!” That is what I aspire to.
I have darker / tanned skin with slightly olive undertones, dark straight hair cut to just above the eyebrow. 14.5/32.5 shirt, 36R almost perfectly, 10C/B shoe, 30/31 pant, though almost always requiring more space in the seat.
As much as I like greens, to go with my skin tone the shades have to be just right or brown enough to work. This also means pretty much no yellow or purple, for which I don’t have a particular affinity anyway. Lots and lots of blue, in any shade, and of course lots of white. Because I often do lots of solids (ties and slacks excluded) and to add some accent with my smaller frame, I have a strong affinity for french cuffs. I strongly dislike cutesy / flashy cufflinks, however, so I try to find interesting and subdued vintage ones whenever I can. I like oxford cloth (white especially) a lot for its structure, and to add a little more heft (again, I’m rather slim with a less-than-roguish look). For blues, an interesting duo-toned weave is the craziest I’ll go. Straight collar, occasionally a european spread. Polos are usually pique cotton in summer (for their structure & durability) or merino wool in winter (also will go with just a crew-neck sweater and slacks/khakis in fall/winter). Pima cotton and silk blends occasionally find their way in, too, during fall and spring.
For a dark suit, preferably navy, I definitely prefer a tailored Italian look, two-button (though my favorite suit happens to be 3). Double-breasted I like in gray, especially with 30’s styling and some wingtips. Medium-sized lapels all the way, though. As much as I would prefer to be able to only use 2 vents with the fitted jacket, those often ends up looking like I have a tail with fabric sticking out way too much from the waist down. Hence, I often have to be careful with single-vent varieties. I could probably go into more detail, but that makes me feel a little strange considering how what I like beyond this doesn’t necessarily correlate to what I own…
I definitely go for the pleated look, to allow a little more room and also to not make the rear appear to bulge too much compared to the volume in the front. I know it’s sacrilege, but for a suit I will even do a pleated-front without a cuff (since I much prefer the straight-leg look). Not so for khakis and trousers, though, of which I have many varieties in all shades of earth tones. Tan and khaki are prevalent everywhere in my closet, since they are lighter than my skin and bring out its richness nicely, so long as it’s not everywhere and washing me out.
If it’s square-toe, I prefer a plain toe. If it’s rounded, I prefer a cap toe. Overall I definitely prefer oxford lacing with a more subdued look, saving the wingtips for sport coats and blazers. Love blacks, and medium-lighter browns, but just don’t like darker browns with my skin tone unless they have the added ornamentation of a wingtip. The lasts from J&M seem to fit me very well, as I don’t do so well with very narrow toeboxes with an already narrow-sized last. I did, however, recently pick up my first pair of cordovan shells (#8), derby brogues from vintage Hanover. Now I can finally enjoy what I’ve always read about! Would like to be able to fully critique Alden’s, AE, Green’s, Church’s, but alas…
Linens all the way. Or if I feel the need to wear shorts (I prefer pleated, with a slight rise and ending just a little above the knee), I will do a nice leather flip flop (I personally feel I can pull this off, since I am still young) since I hate wearing shoes sockless, can’t stand no-show socks (comfort only), and won’t be caught dead wearing sneakers. If I do wear shorts I will try to do a lightweight long-sleeve shirt (linen or light cotton) or polo.
Lots of blues, in various interesting patterns (no prints!), so that I can add some textural combinations. I rarely will wear a solid tie, and if I do it’s with a very dark suit (I hate solid ties with charcoal suits…) and white shirt. I do love bowties, too, but never wear them except with black tie (I hate four-in-hand with black-tie…) or with sport coats. I stay away from plaids like the plague.
Plain-toe, rounded patent leather derby. Single-breasted, notched lapel, higher vest (not waistcoat). Bowtie, plain-front turndown collar with french cuffs. Gold & onyx jewelry, no watch (or pocket watch w/o chain). Customary black silk socks. I really like the classic shawl collar look w/ cummerbund & plainfront w/bowtie and single cuff, but I feel I don’t have the jaw / facial structure to have enough visual weight above the garment to balance it out. I do wear glasses, but wouldn’t wear thick plastic frames at all, let alone with black tie. Also, this is the one time I can stand a scarf (white of course), which I summarily hate otherwise.