Alright so I asked a number of folks, and I'll be asking a few more, to select their five favorite fits from the Composite Thread by whatever criteria they want. I generally asked folks who I knew had a pretty solid sense of where they were stylistically (as opposed to folks still developing). I thought it would be interesting to see if there was anything about how they dressed that manifested in what they liked.
Since I asked a number of people, I'll be posting new sets every few days as the responses trickle in. Probably five at a time as any more might be information overload.
Okay, here we go. Claghorn asked me to provide some explanation too, and if you know me, you'll know it won't be brief! But for those who don't want to read it, I have left it until after the pictures. Rather than 5, with 6 fits (or depending on how you count it, 7) and in no particular order:
Malford of London
I felt I had to chose one odd jacket and grey trousers fit, simply because getting the uniform of SF right is in itself an achievement. Lots of people do it well, Claghorn in particular, and Stitchy too. Betelgeuse's jackets are superb, but I like this because of the combination of simple perfection in every aspect and the fact that the jacket is brown not blue and it works. Just that one small choice makes it just a bit special. MoL posted almost excatly the same fit with a standard navy jacket a few days later, and my first thought was 'Claghorn has done it better than this several times'...
Okay, like every fit from Braddock, this is one to savour. What isn't perfect about it? The suit fits everywhere (that's suprisingly uncommon for a start). The shirt is blue, but not your standard solid blue, it has a very subtle pattern, not showy but there. Where Braddock absolutely excels on this forum, and it probably isn't surprising given that he co-owns a company that makes the things, is his pairings of ties and squares. Every time. The interplay he creates is like a painting. And here is a masterclass. I could almost have picked any of his fits to show this, including his recent one with the awesome coat (with its own, different, square - clearly it must be given that the coat is a different colour...). But this one also has these shoes. Now, Spoo perhaps has the finest collection of perfectly kept shoes on this forum, but these are shoes that are beautiful because they are worn hard but cared for lovingly. Their life is visible. Just gorgeous.
I knew I had to choose something from Theo, being that he is probably my favourite long-time poster on these forums. He has this slouchy English style that makes suits look not like armour but like the most comfortable pajamas. The sense of comfort is also enhanced by the deep tones deployed here in the flannel suit, the aubergine tie and the dark blue PS. No white squares here. It's all deep and rich, like a glass of Ardbeg in the perfect Chesterfield sofa in your favourite bar. TTO's suits don't always fit perfectly, many of them are vintage and on occasions he even just rolls the sleeves slightly rather than have them altered. But that's part of why it works - many lesser mortals would be too insecure to get away with it. He has his own particular look from the shirts with collars like no-one else would even dream of requesting and which are at first confusing and then later you wonder why anyone wouldn't want them like that. Again, I could have chosen another one of his fits - TTO also does great hats - although if I have any criticism, it's that he occasionally over-accessorizes...
I'm going to cheat and give you two-for-one here. In some ways, Butler is the anti-TTO. I don't mean that he's his mortal enemy, but his stylistic heights are achieved through a clearly intimate relationship with his tailors and shirtmakers. As I discovered in a discussion the other days, Butler isn't as physically imposing as he seems in his pictures and as such he is a walking advertisement for the power of fine bespoke tailoring to make us look more than we are. I chose the first one inititally because it is both brilliant in terms of the fit and materials and daring in terms of the monochromaticism going on. A symphony in greys (although of course he's wise not to try the same with the shoes). I had to unspoiler and include the photo from behind, because this shows you just how good, good tailoring can be. That's what a coat back can and should look like. Look at the sleeve head. Later, however, I added the second fit because despite the bravado of the first, I think I prefer this one with the unusual green wool tie. Suede shoes again. BTW, I seem to remember that someone once proposed a fight between Butler and Victor, but while he may have the physique, judging by these pictures, Victor would be cowed into submission by the force of the gaze...
Well, I had to have something from Pingson, didn't I? The man with more 20+ fits than anyone else and the forum's new favourite poster. And justifiably so. However, looking through all these fits together, I have to say that Pingson can be too monochrome. I wish that more often he'd inject a little more colour (a la Braddock) into his tie and square combinations. I think I chose this one because in some ways it is unusual for him. I think it's one of those vintage suits he inherited and had recut (he can correct me if I am wrong), but there's something about the cut that is really satisfying and a little looser and more relaxed than some of his other suits. It's really nice to see a pinstripe worn well (and Cleav came a close second for me in this category). I like the stark simplicity of the claret tie and white PS. This is when a symmetrical, not FiH knot not is the right choice too. Nothing flashy in the socks and a good demonstration of exactly when to wear the always underrated black captoes. And as with Braddock's shoes above, I just love the fact that he's not showing off his new shoes which we will never see again, these are well worn, loved and ever-so-slightly battered shoes.
Apart from the fact that all these publicity shots are beautiful pictures, they also capture something of the essence of Tirailleur and why he's added something really special to SF. Quite simply, he makes classic menswear, and suits in particular, look really fucking cool. His hats are legendary. And he makes great ties that really aren't like anything else you can buy out there. This was also my favourites glen plaid fit (with TTO a close second). It just has an almost impossible combination of sharpness and relaxation. The blue suit right at the beginning of the thread was probably as good, but Braddock had already grabbed my blue suit vote.
Bonus for the best personal photo ever posted in CM (and one of the nicest tweed jackets), DerekS:
Okay, now here's the boring stuff...
Looking through all the fits on this thread so far, I'm struck by several things. One is that I am not as impressed with as many of the individual fits when grouped together like this as I was when I first saw them on their own. That's not to say that any are 'bad' although there are some fits and indeed some posters who mystify me in their popularity (but I will mention no names here) - and you could easily pull our a '20 great fits' from this thread - but it's just that one starts to recognise how few of our fits are truly 'outstanding' when it comes to selecting just 5. How does one even decide? Is a fit outstanding because it is particularly representative of something considered a goal by SF? Some posters continually hit this target: in different ways posters as varied as @Pliny, @in sitches, @SpooPoker, @Cleav and @timotune, for example. Is it outstanding because it is the best example of what a particular poster strives to do, again and again? I'm thinking a poster like @upr_crust here. His fits have a very particular MO, which you probably either like or you don't, and I have to admit that a lot of the time, I just scroll right by because it seems like I've seen this before, but when it's good, it's really, really good. @Pingson also does the same thing consistently, and consistently brilliantly, but his are a prime example of fits that I am less impressed with when I see them collectively than when I see them individually, which makes it very difficult to chose one - this, I recognise, is entirely my problem. Is something outstanding because it literally 'stands out', i.e. is untypical of the mass of SF posters and is a level above - like almost everything posted by @Butler, @TTO or @Tirailleur1, to give three very different examples, or just because they do things their own sweet way regardless, like @An Acute Style. Should I just chose the best pictures? @DerekS's head and shoulders shot could have come from the pages of some early 1960s gentleman's guide and Tirailleur - again - knows exactly how to use his environment to bring out the best in what he wears. Should I highlight a poster like @clarinetplayer who I think often does not get recognised for what he does - he'd be the new @oldog/oldtrix, if o/o wasn't still occasionally around doing his almost inimitable thing... they are both superb representatives of what Vox once called the American haberdashery tradition, a 'proper' way of dressing that is several states away from the whole Ivy thing. Should I be 'political' and favour posters who dress in a way that I think others should emulate? Should I be intellectual and analyse every fit according to some complex schema of my own devising? Or should I just follow my eye and my heart...
Well, in the end it was a bit of everything. I did give myself some personal rules: one of which was to have not more than one from any one poster (or my top 5 would probably be mostly Braddock at the moment. Seriously, I really think he's that good). And the other, was that each fit would represent something different, or I could have had just the top 5 blue suits - I think there were 5 blue suits in my long list of 25... But otherwise, I just picked my personal favourites. And apologies for anyone I haven't mentioned. It doesn't mean I don't like anything you've worn in this thread!
More and details (Click to show)
2) In some ways the exact opposite of (1), Henry just does everything right.
You look at how formulaic yet consistently good his outfits are and you think that it should be easy to be well dressed. But for some reason, very few people get there.
Everything fits well. Colors schemes are simple but there's always a bit of texture to add some interest.
It really is everything we all know (or should know) how to do but don't usually do.
3) Butler's steez lies right in the middle of the Tirailleur - Henry Carter axis.
It's all beautifully executed by his tailors but always just a little further than classic (or at least what's generally considered classic / canonical nowadays, given his fondness for stiff detachable collars and the like).
I picked this photo because the grey on grey on grey looks good. You probably shouldn't be able to pull that off but he manages to do it.
4) Sometimes it really is just as simple as going to a good bespoke tailor and letting him do his thing.
You don't see very many good looking DBs. But when you find one, it really can stand on its own.
5) I picked this photo of TTO because it's a great example of picking a tailoring style that suits your body. Hopefully Theo won't mind my mentioning that he isn't exactly David Gandy but the cleaner chest, stronger shoulder and nipped waist of the British military style really flatter his frame.
He also has an amazing sense for patterns. The example in the spoiler is great example of that and also solves the surprisingly difficult (at times) problem of how to dress for the three weeks of summer in England. Patterns (Click to show)
Pingson rocks the 3-piece hard.
I started the week with a three-piece, so why not end the week with another? Have a nice weekend........
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)