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Overcoat

The overcoat is an essential part of a man’s wardrobe, not just for the protection it provides against the elements but because it is the primary statement of sartorial style that he shows to the world. These days, the prevailing taste is for elegant simplicity when choosing the overcoat to wear over a suit or sports jacket – nothing too long or too bulky, slimming slightly at the waist perhaps and without the overly padded shoulders of the past.

Overshoes (galoshes)

Overshoes, or galoshes, are protective rubber slippers worn over shoes in wet or snowy weather. Galoshes do offer the advantage of keeping the soles dry and are designed not to slip in icy conditions.

Oxfords

Thirty years ago, a man knew what was meant by the term “dress shoes.” They were the lace-up shoes he wore with a suit – sturdy, plain and designed not to stand out. Oxfords were always “closed laced” – in other words, the two parts of the upper that are drawn together by the laces were sewn under the front part of the shoe. Classic Oxfords still follow that pattern, made with an undecorated vamp, stitched welts and leather soles. They may or may not have a toe cap.

Palladium Plating

Palladium plating is used to add a hard and scratch-resistant coating to many types of jewellery. Palladium is a member of the platinum family, and as such is very shiny and white in colour. Palladium is also used in making white gold, and appears in many men’s accessories such as belt buckles, rings, cufflinks and tie bars.

Parka

The parka, or anorak, is almost certainly the Inuit’s most important gift to menswear. They made theirs from caribou or seal hides liberally waterproofed with fish oil – hooded, pullover garments baggy enough that a woman could keep an infant safe and warm inside while she was wearing it. Any parka’s raison d’être is warmth and protection. The quest for versions that are more lightweight and less bulky has been greatly assisted by continuing research into high-tech, high-performance fabrics.

Patent Leather

Thirty years ago, a man knew what was meant by the term “dress shoes.” They were the lace-up shoes he wore with a suit – sturdy, plain and designed not to stand out. Oxfords were always “closed laced” – in other words, the two parts of the upper that are drawn together by the laces were sewn under the front part of the shoe. Classic Oxfords still follow that pattern, made with an undecorated vamp, stitched welts and leather soles. They may or may not have a toe cap.

Peacoat

The peacoat gets its name from pijjekker, the Dutch word for the rugged, warm, blue woollen fabric traditionally used for these short-cut, double-breasted jackets. First worn by European sailors in the 18th century, it offered maximum warmth to the body without encumbering the legs, a most practical design that has ensured its continued popularity.

Piping

Piping refers to a band of colour or fabric used to provide contrast or outline a specific feature of a garment. Pocket flaps, lapel edges, collars and suit linings are all popular places where contrast piping occurs. The addition of subtle piping leads to some of the most iconic styles in fashion. Polo shirts with piping have a British flair while sports jackets with piping look luxurious.

Piqué

The piqué fabric is created by a unique weaving process and generally made of cotton. The fabric is famous for being the material of choice for polo shirts and the formal white-tie dress shirt. Microscopic holes in the fabric keep the wearer cool and wick away moisture, which is why polo shirts exclusively use piqué fabric.

Placket

The placket is the term for the reinforced layers of fabric around the button-down front of a dress shirt. The fabric is reinforced to reduce the stress on the shirt and the buttons caused by daily wear. There are several types of plackets including the most popular double row placket, the clean, plain French placket, and the fly front, which hides the buttons of the dress shirt.

Plaid

Plaid comes from the Gaelic word plaide and was originally the name for a sort of tartan blanket that Scottish slept in at night and carried with them during the day, gathered and fastened over one shoulder. Today, it is used in North America as a synonym for tartan – or for a pattern that looks like a tartan, with horizontal and vertical stripes of various widths and colours. Some plaids are bold, others more discreet, even verging on plain check.

Pocket Square

The pocket square, whether made of silk, cotton or linen, plain white or richly coloured and patterned, provides a refreshing splash of colour against a suit or sports jacket. The way it is folded (or not folded) offers an opportunity for self-expression, as does the way it is coordinated with the shirt and tie. There is only one actual rule of coordination to remember: that the square should not be an identical match to the tie (it looks too contrived).

Polo Shirt

The polo shirt caused a tremendous stir on its first appearance, sported by French tennis star René Lacoste at the 1926 U.S. Open. Lacoste started marketing them commercially in 1933, emblazoning them with an embroidered alligator in memory of his nickname on the court, "Le Crocodile" – the first ever designer logo. Soon, English tennis maestro Fred Perry followed suit with his own line (and his own laurel wreath logo). It was match over: the polo was here to stay.

Polyester

Polyester fabrics are a popular choice outside of the traditional cotton and wool natural fabrics. An easy-to-create man-made fabric, polyesters rose to popularity during the 1970s due to their washability, durability, wrinkle resistance and ability to take any colour of dye. Polyester is a popular outerwear fabric as it is lightweight and waterproof. Combined with cotton or wool it provides wrinkle resistance and stretch.

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