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Stripes v. Glen Plaids

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Well, I've almost begun my bespoke experiment -- the suit will be ready when I start my new job in NYC. I am at the final stage of choosing the cloth. I was specifically looking for -- and was drawn to -- dark, subtle glen plaids with subtle color overpanes. My tailor picked his favorite and showed me why it would work better on my complexion and for my age than another fabric (he picked a dark steely blue, whereas I was looking at dark greys -- I liked his pick). I really like the pattern, and I like glen plaid suits generally. But I also like pinstripe suits in theory and only have two such suits -- a charcoal chalk-stripe from RLPL, and a navy with 1 inch spaced pinstripes from Aquascutum. If I went with a pinstripe for the bespoke suit, I'd go with something bolder than the Aquascutum (which I like a lot, despite the fact that it is undoubtedly a "boring" suit), but in a thinner stripe than the RLPL. The thing is, this type of stripe for some reason strikes me as (1) edging toward formal, and (2) has an aura of power that I fear might exacerbate my natural intellectually aggressive nature (in other words, would make me seem even more bold than I already am). So, I like this type of "boldish" pinstripe in theory and in pictures; but I like the glenplaid because it is more "easy going" but still unique and beautiful. Am I making sense here? Does anyone else have the same experience with patterns? And, as a tangential question, will this glen plaid suit (it isn't an obvious glen plaid -- you've gotta be within five or six feet to really pick it up -- and it's a dark suit) still acceptable to wear during the evening? In the weeks ahead, I'll ask for thoughts about particular styling details, but for now I'm asking about cloth choices. BTW, I would like to especially thank Mr. Grayson for taking the time to previously answer my cloth questions.
post #2 of 19
JN3, Certainly agree that a glen plaid suit is more relaxed than a striped suit. When I wear my striped suits, it's usually when I have to appear serious and businesslike (meetings with others who expect all of us to dress in a certain way). If it's up to me, I'll wear the less serious suits and feel more like myself. None of this can possibly impact your effectiveness. It seems from your post that this suit is what you want as opposed to conforming to a conventional third-party view of what you should want as a New York lawyer. I'd have no problem wearing a dark plaid suit to a restaurant or evening function and might prefer it to the more "day business" striped suit (which, if I recall correctly, Roetzel thought originated with accounting ledger lines in London). Hope this helps.
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
Interesting about the ledger lines. You hit the nail on the head -- I don't want to confirm that I'm the "New York lawyer" type with my dress. Because I'm not. I love Savile Row style, which is why I wear my RLPL chalk stripe with pride. But the glen plaid has that more approachable, but still creative and sophisticated, look. That's me exactly. And so it is decided. I will make sure I give detailed posts after each successive stage is completed. And of course, I will be throwing out some stylistic questions in the future as well.
post #4 of 19
Useful set of questions. I work as a consultant, where I am the guest of investment committees but not usually the star attraction. So I have a small repertoire of medium/dark grey suits from Savile Row that are infinitely reliable for meetings and ever so slightly self-effacing. (Pick & pick, nailhead, and the like). Blue stripe would be dressier, but not necessarily more appropriate to that sort of setting.
post #5 of 19
If you like the plaid, go for it. A muted plaid gives a good subtle interest without being too farmer. Although I admit it does have a little older-guy association with it (not that there's anything wrong with that). I would personally go for a herringbone or something if I wanted to avoid stripes. I have a related question: does anyone think pinstripes and chalkstripes are not really acceptable for nights out? I don't know where I got this idea in my head and I haven't really followed it as a rule, as one of my best suits is a chalkstripe, but I have started thinking that stripes might be inappropriate during non-business hours.
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
Some glen plaids do have that "old man" feel about them, but the one I picked certainly does not. The fabric is so dark is the reason. It's really a beautiful fabric. I have a nailhead and pick & pick, both in a little heavier weight suit. I didn't like the look of a nailhead on me for the 10 oz. suit I've going with. I think stripes are fine for evening wear, though a solid in a more luxe fabric will always be most appropriate for a formal event. By the way, remember the Baldessarini I was talking about (fit me perfect for $200, but I didn't get it because the pattern was a little too much when you actually tried it on) -- looks like someone is flipping it. Flip Hugo Boss
post #7 of 19
You have an enviable choice. Both sound like sophisticated patterns, especially the plaid, with which I'm familiar (I possibly even have it) My $.02 is that if you honed in on that first plaid cloth, out of the myriad available, that the striped cloth is in good taste, too, and won't raise any eyebrows, except in admiration. The only reason I'd tip the balance in favor of the striped cloth is a practical one: Because striped cloth, for the most part, is conventional, even unconventional striped cloth, you'd be able to get more use out of a striped suit, even if a bold striped pattern. You probably could wear the striped suit 3x a week, perhaps even 4x-5x a week, and most people will think, "Wow, that guy sure has a lot of great striped suits." (Emphasis on the plural). Most won't get wind it's one suit. On the other hand, the plaid suit, even if muted, is unique. I like it for that very reason---You won't see many other men, if any at all, wearing that pattern (Except, possibly, for me.). Consequently, people might take special notice of such a suit, and because of its uniqueness, were you to wear the suit several times a week, others might conclude you're wearing the same suit repeatedly. This might cause you to limit its use. Whichever cloth you ultimately choose first, you no doubt will be hooked and order a second suit made with the other choice of cloth. Grayson
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
Interesting your take on the stripes, Marc -- I find that I notice the exact opposite. I absolutely notice if someone has been wearing the same striped suit over and over. Maybe my brain works differently. I don't have to "think" to notice that someone is wearing pins -- with a more visually subtle pattern, I do have to think about it to notice it. And most people just don't think. My thinking: (1) Go with something that I find personally more beautiful = the plaid. (2) Go with something that really fits my personality = the plaid. (3) Go with something that is more subtle and therefore can be paired with a greater amount of shirts and ties = the plaid. I won't really have to worry about wearing the suit 3 times a week (even if I'd want to.), because once the fall rolls around I'll have at least eight or nine suits that I can rotate (during the summer I'll only be able to rotate about 5). What do you think of that Baldessarini suit, BTW? Was I right that it looks great on a hanger?
post #9 of 19
I have a dark blue glen plaid suit, with a mid-blue windowpane.  The overall effect is roughly like this: I like it a lot and think it is very versatile.  The pattern is subtle and fairly easy to match.  I do think it is a distinctive enough pattern where someone would spot it if worn more than once in a week, but I think that about most of my patterned suits. Oh, and my suit is . . . VBC 130s
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
That's about what my chosen pattern looks like, except it's a 10 oz. by H. Lesser with a hard finish.
post #11 of 19
That's the pattern I have, in the slightly weightier cloth, from Lesser, as well. I have a vest, too, which you might want to consider. I'm told vests are making a big comeback. Enjoy your suit, whatever the choice of cloth. Grayson
post #12 of 19
JN3, who is your tailor?
post #13 of 19
JN: I think the more "vivid" and distinct the stripe is, the more it has that "power" look you don't want. "Fuzzy" stripes don't have the same effect. I don't mean a true chalk-stripe flannel, necessarily. There are twill worsteds with a slight nap that have more subtle stripes. That might be a nice middle ground. I have one; it's not at all flashy. Also, I think spacing has a big effect. 1" is pretty wide. Bring it down a but, and the suit will be less attention-grabbing.
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
The 1" Aquascutum -- pins are so fine as to hardly be noticeable at all (they are very fine, light blue pins). The Aquascutum definitely isn't an attention grabber. That's why the 1" spacing works on it. I like the napped stripes the best, but wanted to go with a hard finish fabric for various utilitarian reasons. If I went with a stripe, I'd go with a bit of a napped fabric 1/2" apart (my RLPL is like that).
post #15 of 19
Quick argument in favor of the plaid cloth, again from the practical standpoint of getting maximum use of it: Due to the subtle design of the cloth, depending on the light and the angle at which one looks at it, the suit might appear to be blue, or the muted plaid it is, or a combination. Each time you were to wear that suit, different people might see different elements of the cloth and think it's a different suit each time. Enjoy. Grayson
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