Seersucker is a lightweight fabric with crinkled stripes created during the weaving process. The British discovered it in India, admired its light weight and breathability, and began to weave it out of cotton, using it for jackets and suits that felt welcomingly cool in the subcontinental climate. An unlined seersucker jacket is still one of the most comfortable things to wear on a summer’s day and has the further advantage of being washable.
The shearling coat, whether cut to three-quarter-length or hip-length, is many a man’s ideal coat for all but the coldest days. Lighter than fur, warmer than many down-filled coats and stronger than woollen cloth, a shearling is also surprisingly versatile. The natural leather and wool reacts to ambient humidity, wicking away moisture in warmer temperatures or retaining it when the thermometer drops, allowing you to stay comfortable through all sorts of weather.
Silk is one of the most luxurious fabrics in the world, obtained by weaving the cocoon threads of silkworms and other cocoon-producing insects. Silk was first developed in China as early as 3500 BC, and silk trading began in the Han Dynasty, c 200 BC. Today silk plays an important part in a man’s wardrobe in the form of ties, pocket squares and silk-wool blends for suits and sweaters.
Silk satin is a smooth and glossy fabric produced by using silk for the satin weaving technique. This luxurious fabric was imported to Europe from China in the Middle Ages and was reserved solely for royalty and nobility because of the expense. Nowadays it makes its appearance in a man’s wardrobe in the form of ties, pocket squares and sometimes undergarments.
These pants offer a contemporary look for your wardrobe, and can be in everything from denim to suit trousers. The skinny leg is fully tapered from hip to ankle, and is meant to fit snugly through the entire length of the pant. While the silhouette may have been deemed a fleeting trend nearly 10 years ago, it is now a style with staying power, and most brands are cutting the fat from their trousers to emulate the skinny look.
The trim silhouette is the latest style in suits and tailored clothing, hugging the body for a crisply tailored look, with a shaped waist, higher armholes and slim sleeves. The jacket is typically shorter than of old and features more narrow lapels, calling for a narrower tie. Trim suits put the focus on you instead of the yards of fabric you’re wearing.
Slim leg jeans are cut very close through the hip and thigh and tapered to the ankle. Usually made in a low-rise, hip-hugging style, they are very on-trend and suited to a night out.
Your socks need to be long enough to prevent you showing a glimpse of bare leg, even when sitting cross-legged on a low sofa. The colour rule has always been to match your sock to your trouser, not to your shoe, usually in a slightly darker shade. And yet rules are made to be broken. Dazzling colours, bold stripes… most of the time, only you will know about the wild chromatic party to which your feet have been invited. Until you sit down and cross your legs…
The sports jacket is the garment of our times -- from the most exquisitely tailored design to something soft, unstructured and casual. We wear it to work with dress pants, dress shirt and tie, confident of its propriety. When the weekend comes, we put on the same jacket over a knit and a pair of jeans and feel simultaneously casual and well turned-out. The one thing we don’t do in a sports jacket is sports – unless we’re staying at an old-fashioned English country house and choose to go riding or join the shooting party – which of course, was its origin.
Spread collars have a wide opening and can accommodate thick tie knots. They’re considered the most formal, popular and business-appropriate across the pond, and are also seeing a strong resurgence in popularity here. You can forget the old rules about matching your tie knot to the width of your collar, though. Wear your tie in your favourite knot to rock this look the modern way.
Silver is classified as sterling when it is an alloy of 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent copper or other metals. Pure silver is too soft to create functional objects, so this high-silver alloy is used to create fine silver products. It is often used to make money and tie clips, cufflinks and other accessories, and works well for men with cool complexions.
Storm System is a trademarked technology developed by the Italian designers and fabric experts Loro Piana. The process makes natural fibres such as wool and wool-cashmere blends thoroughly waterproof and wind-resistant. Part of the secret is a thin, extremely light and transparent micro-molecular membrane applied to the back of the fabric that protects the body while leaving it free to breathe.
Straight leg jeans are an alternative to the super-slim styles we’ve been seeing over the past few years. Cut to fall straight from the thigh, they’re the midpoint between relaxed and slim leg styles. In a dark wash, these jeans will take you from casual Friday morning to Sunday evening family dinners.
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.
The suit has changed remarkably little in its essentials since it was first developed in England at the turn of the 19th and 20th century. The reason for such longevity is simple: a well-made suit looks good on a man. It flatters his shape, is comfortable and lends him a certain authority in his own and others’ eyes. The suit and its accompanying shirt, tie and pocket square offer a man limitless subtle opportunities for self-expression.
Loosely tied or simply draped around the neck and over one shoulder, it looks great with a washed jacket and jeans, adding interest and colour and drawing attention to a man’s face.
A jacket has “surgeon’s cuffs” when the buttons and buttonholes at its cuffs actually work to secure the end of the sleeves. Recognised as a sign of superior tailoring, it is customary to leave one or two of the buttons unbuttoned. As the name suggests, surgeon’s cuffs originally allowed a doctor to roll up his sleeves and operate without removing his jacket.
The most popular type of cufflink, the T refers to the shape of the fastening, with the prongs on each side securing the cuff. These are also the easiest to wrangle by yourself.
The T-shirt, a collarless, buttonless, short-sleeved shirt made from cotton jersey, started life as an undergarment. It probably first saw the light of day on the backs of English sailors in the 19th century who would routinely remove their uniform tops when there was hot work to be done, though the American military also claims to have come up with this idea. The T-shirt’s great breakthrough, however, came in the 1950s when first Marlon Brando and then James Dean electrified movie audiences with their iconic outfits, both featuring a snow-white T.
The three-piece suit is a single-breasted suit with a single-breasted vest (also known as a waistcoat) cut from the same cloth as the jacket and trousers. The great advantage of the three-piece suit is that it gives added opportunities for a man to vary his look, wearing the suit without its vest or putting on the vest but removing the jacket – ideal for playing snooker. One rule that only the foolhardy would dare to break is that the bottom button of a waistcoat, like that of a jacket, must be left unbuttoned.
The tie is a complicated item. It can proclaim an allegiance to the most conservative institutions, or hint that the inner man is a flamboyant free spirit. The very emblem of formality, it also affords the businessman his greatest opportunity for self-expression. His tie is the first thing other people notice about the way he is dressed. It draws attention to his face and makes a statement about his taste. And a new tie can work wonders with the rest of a man’s wardrobe, giving new life and variety to a familiar suit.
In 1879, British manufacturer Thomas Burberry took out a patent for a gabardine cotton fabric that was waterproof and wind-resistant. British troops during the Boer War and First World War wore these coats in the trenches. The details we know so well today were practical then – epaulettes to secure equipment; a gun flap for protection on the right shoulder; heavily stitched belts with D rings for hanging other pieces of equipment. Today, menswear designers continue to find inspiration in its unmistakable lines.
The tuque, or watch cap, is one of the simplest pieces of headgear known to man – a knitted woolen cap that can be pulled down tightly onto the head (a style favoured by U2’s guitarist, The Edge) or worn more loosely on top (vide SCTV’s Bob and Doug MacKenzie). The tuque’s history is a long one, going back to the close-fitting cloth caps worn by men and women in the middle ages and resembling the Phrygian caps of French revolutionaries.
The tuxedo, or dinner jacket, is the most formal suit most men own. The tuxedo is easily spotted by the satin finishing on the lapels, buttons and piping down the trouser. Generally, a tuxedo has no belt loops and is worn with suspenders. The pant hem is never cuffed and the lapel can be shawl, notch or peak. The tuxedo was first worn in North America by Griswold Lorillard on October 10, 1886, at the Tuxedo Club in Tuxedo Park, New York. Mr. Lorillard had recently visited England where he had picked up the idea of a short dinner jacket. He was asked to go home by the astonished members, but the revolution slowly caught on.
Tweed is a rough, hard-wearing woollen fabric originally made in various areas of Scotland from the Cheviots to the Western Isles. Its weight and durability made it ideal for outdoor clothing while the many different colours woven into the fabric lent it a measure of camouflage that sportsmen found useful. The word tweed is derived from the word tweel, the Scottish word for twill. Tweed comes in a wide and merry range of patterns and colours, many of which have been borrowed by designers and used for much lighter fabrications. Though they may look tweedy, they aren’t truly tweed.
This cuff style features a two-button fastening and often has a double row of buttons to allow the wearer to adjust the fit. The barrel style features a straight hem all the way around the base of the cuff.
A mitred cuff is one that has a 45-degree notch at the corners where the buttons join. This style is often the mark of a made-to-measure shirt, but can also be found on many ready-to-wear styles. The style is mostly a matter of preference, but is a small detail that can set you apart from the crowd.