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Fresco Suit Battle: "Tobacco" Brown vs. "Wheat" Tan

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by jrd617, Feb 11, 2014.

Which color fresco do you prefer for a suit?

  1. Brown

    32 vote(s)
    56.1%
  2. Tan

    25 vote(s)
    43.9%
  1. mafoofan

    mafoofan Well-Known Member

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    And you think Vox is infallible? Believe it or not, he is not the first person in the world, or even on the forums, to speak of coherence. He was just the first with such a vast army of sycophants.* You would be making a huge mistake by finding specific examples where Vox, or anybody else, wore something, and assuming they are good simply because you credit him with authority on the subject of clothing. One word: Flusser.

    * A knock on the sycophants, not Vox. I like Vox and generally agree with the piece you link to.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  2. FlyingMonkey

    FlyingMonkey Well-Known Member

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    It wasn't supposed to be entirely serious - more in line of an obviously ludicrous overstatement. I do apologise if you felt insulted, but to be fair, it doesn't seem to take much for you to take umbrage at something, and I don't think that is everyone else's fault. But in this case, I can see that you can't tell when I have my tongue in my cheek. It's a British thing.

    As for the rest, I'm not going to replay what we've already said. As for the new elements you've introduced, I don't disagree, at least not enough that it's worth fighting over, and my general comments about brown were not directed at you at all (I think I was pretty clear about that, albeit, yes, once again in a humorous way).
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  3. emptym

    emptym Well-Known Member

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    If you don't mind my asking, Jrd, why do you want a brown/tan suit? Do you plan to wear the jacket and pants separately? How often do you think you'd wear it as a suit or as separates?

    I could be way off base here, but I'm guessing you're approaching this as a way to check off two boxes as once: Don't have a brown suit. Don't have a fresco suit. Would like both. Why not get a brown fresco suit?

    I make this guess because I've made decisions like that. As you may recall, I have a dk brown fresco blazersuit (3 patch swelled edges). I wanted a dark brown sport coat, and I got the pants thinking I might wear it as a suit. But if I could make that decision again, I'd just get it as a sport coat, which I wear often. Another regret is a light gray crispaire suit I bought. I wanted light gray pants, and I figured I might as well get the suit since I could use another lightweight sportcoat. (I did this despite the usual warnings against light gray sport coats.)

    Neither of these was exactly about checking two boxes. But both were compromises motivated by impatience and/or the false economy of saving 10% for a suit vs. sport coat and pants as separates. While I do wear both as suits, I rarely wear either, since I rarely wear suits in general. But also because when I do wear a suit, it's usually more appropriate to wear mid to dark gray or navy.

    So in the end, I agree w/ Foo. Only get a tan/brown fresco suit only if you have a bunch of blues and grays (as Vox does) and, I would add, only if you wear suits often, in many environments. Reagan wore that suit about 40 yrs ago, when suits were worn by more men in a larger variety of occasions and environments. Nowadays, men virtually never wear suits when and where a tan or brown suit would be ideal.

    If you wanted to check off two boxes, you might get mid-gray fresco suit with some nice heathering. That'll look like sharkskin, even though it won't have the usual weave. You could of course, wear a tan suit purely for fun on the weekend, as Holdfast mentioned. But I wouldn't and I doubt you would either, since you mentioned your concern about how most people would react. Maybe people would find it normal in England, but I can't imagine a time/place in the US where a tan suit would be thought of as normal. Actually, I can imagine one, perhaps: a summer wedding. But in that case a tan cotton, linen, or cotton-linen blend would be better. And a washable version (Haspel, Luxire, for example) would alleviate your concern about cleanliness.

    (Of course, being considered normal isn't the only value in life.)
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014
    4 people like this.
  4. jrd617

    jrd617 Well-Known Member

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    I've been fond of the tan suit look for awhile. I owned an RLBL wool once. Loved the color but disliked the shoulder, so I sold it. Some background here: http://www.styleforum.net/t/56404/unfunded-liabilities-a-k-a-the-cloth-thread/8500_50#post_6922874

    I intend to wear the tan fresco casually during the summer. Looks great with a blue, black or burgundy tie. It's probably difficult to wear the jacket separately, right?

    I think tan gets pretty positive reactions in the US. Khaki pants are popular. It's an accepted color. The J. Crew Ludlow suit in khaki suit has got to be one of the most popular sellers at that store. Also I think khaki is considered more a youthful color than brown.

    I suppose I went into this thread favoring the tan suit. The brown slewfoot picture was a look I've had filed away as a possibility. Wanted to see if I could be convinced otherwise.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014
  5. jrd617

    jrd617 Well-Known Member

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    I do have a couple summer weddings coming up too. I think a tan open weave wool suit is both a stylish and practical choice for that kind of an event.
     
  6. FlyingMonkey

    FlyingMonkey Well-Known Member

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    Nice post, @emptym . Just on this, it was already long past the heyday of brown suits by then. However, we keep saying on SF that we aren't interested in fashion but in style. This seems to me one of those times when it becomes clear that this is not exactly true and that a lot of the 'style' advice that gets given here is actually fashion advice, albeit fashion on a rather longer cycle than GQ's short attention span. We've got a set of basic style values that were basically set down between the late 1920s and early 1960s, but on these foundations, there is actually quite a lot of more superficial stuff that goes on, and the recent (last 20+ years) Anglo-American rejection of browns (and let's not forget the colours on either side of brown - the rusts and reds on one side, and the greens on the other) as a colour for wool suiting is just one such area. Personally, and I know this is apparently not a popular view here, I hope that this is coming to an end in favour of a rediscovery of a fuller range of colour possibilities (without disappearing off into the overly loud and unsubtle realm of primary colours). As far as I am concerned, brown wool has never been unstylish, it just became unfashionable (and has some admittedly unfortunate associations).
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014
  7. Coburn

    Coburn Well-Known Member

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    Apr 29, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle
    

    Indeed the occasions for suits continues to narrow in the USA. But, this forum is a push back against that trend.

    In essence, the topic of this thread (as so many others) is how to wear that classic clothing style on occasions where most (such as yourself) have given up and surrendered.

    Ironically, because classic clothing is worn is less frequently today, those that want to dress this way need to adhere more closely to ‘rules’.

    The ‘rules’ are guidelines that integrate style, texture and color in harmony. That harmony is what allows one to wear classic clothing in more casual settings without appearing ‘overdressed’
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. Claghorn

    Claghorn Well-Known Member

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    I'm really liking moss as a color. I don't really have the pants for it, but there is something wonderfully earthy about it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014
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  9. emptym

    emptym Well-Known Member

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    Jrd, ya, it's interesting that you mention J Crew. Their catalogue is what first comes to mind when I think of khaki suit. And J Crew usually places it in the context of a summer wedding. Seems pretty popular for wedding parties (I've been to three weddings w/ them), and I know one at least was inspired by the J Crew catalogue. They ended up renting tan suits though…

    Fwiw, I voted for tan. There's an old, pre-Armoury pic of Yfyf at wedding in a tan suit. Looked good. I also recall an Eastern European member posting shots of himself in a tan fresco suit. He once wore the jacket w/ jeans and it worked imho.

    But I still think you'll rarely use it and will wish you'd spent your money on something else.

    FlyingMonkey. Thanks a bunch. Ya, no style is timeless, really. I agree that even the 80's (I should have said 30 yrs ago, not 40) were past the suit's prime. But we've traveled a long way since then too, and I would think that Reagan's habits of dress would have been formed largely by earlier times.

    Coburn, I wouldn't say its "the" essence or topic of this thread, but it is "a" topic of the thread. And I certainly haven't given up. I wear a coat and tie every day whereas only about 20% of my colleagues do. I wish more did, but I also wouldn't say my primary goal in dressing is to revive old standards. I also can't see how following classic rules would make one seem less overdressed in a casual setting.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014
  10. FlyingMonkey

    FlyingMonkey Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely, and incidentally, it was no accident that I posted a picture of Jimmy Stewart after Ronnie - because he was formed as an actor in the generation that came after Stewart and Cagney and co., and certainly thought of himself as in their mould, although the late lamented Gil Scott-Heron's 'B-Movie' rather punctured that illusion...
     
  11. Blackhood

    Blackhood Well-Known Member

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    So much of this debate is about context; as I and others have pointed out in the UK this would not be an unusual choice. In academia brown suits, tweed suits and fun socks are almost part of the welcome pack when you get tenure.

    I imagine that Mafoofan, in New York has a much more corporate lens on his world-view camera where propriety makes a bigger difference. Likewise I'm sure that Tokyo, Seoul and the other cultures enforce a paradigm that colours their contributors opinions.

    I for one can't see the problem with fresco in brown. Cloth weave and weight is primarily aimed at the experience of wearing it, and the colours you chose are stylistic choices. I cannot think why one wouldn't want a summer suit in wool? Even from my conservative training I've made crazier garments.
     
    3 people like this.
  12. emptym

    emptym Well-Known Member

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    ^I have nothing against that. I'm not sure that anyone has argued categorically against brown or tan suits, including Foo. It's just that the conditions for which they would be appropriate are narrow. When I taught in DC, I had three tan suits, all of which I wore pretty frequently (tropical wool for summer, plain weave "year rounder," and herringbone tweed for the winter). In the context of that school it was appropriate as almost all profs wore coat and tie -- half suits, half sport coats.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2014
  13. Claghorn

    Claghorn Well-Known Member

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    Black. The color is black. Suits and shoes. Black.

    I was once told by my team manager that I should wear white shirts instead of light blue. He said that light blue stood out too much and that I already stood out enough. [​IMG]

    There would be no way a brown suit would have gone a day without raising many eyebrows.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  14. Stugotes

    Stugotes Well-Known Member

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    I watched Ieri, oggi, domani (1963) a few weeks ago and Mastroianni's tan suit in the last segement really caught my eye. If you have access to the movie, I recommend checking it out for inspiration.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. gdl203

    gdl203 Well-Known Member

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    I know that's off topic but I'd personally stick with blue and grey for fresco (including stripes if wanted). I like that shade of brown much better in linen, and I like that tan better in cotton or cotton/linen


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2014
    8 people like this.
  16. David Reeves

    David Reeves Well-Known Member

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    I agree, nicest suit I have seen on NYI
     
    2 people like this.
  17. cbbuff

    cbbuff Well-Known Member

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    Agreed. What ever happened to NYI?
     
  18. TRINI

    TRINI Well-Known Member

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    Amen.
     
  19. Monkeyface

    Monkeyface Well-Known Member

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    This is a little off topic, but it might help the brown wool/linen discussion. Here are a brown wool pinstripe suit and a brown linen DB suit I own. The brown pinstripe is not that versatile, but luckily I bought it for next to nothing. I much prefer brown linen, so I'd go for a brown or tan linen suit, and save the fresco for the more conventional blues/greys.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2014
  20. poorsod

    poorsod Well-Known Member

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    I think you have to decide between the balance of form and function. For example, I prefer my navy blue suits in tropical worsted rather than fresco because I like the more formal look of worsted. I have another blue mohair which is a gorgeous shade of blue, richer IMO than the fresco equivalent. I believe these two suits wear hotter than the equivalent fresco, but I am willing to put up with it for the look.

    The brown fresco is easier to maintain than linen. I don't mind if the brown linen might look a bit better.
     
    1 person likes this.

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