Why Buying a Custom Suit Makes the Most Sense

Wall Street: Welcome to Summer! Now that the weather is warming up, street fashion is becoming alive with pops of color.  I had lunch with menswear designer David Hart the other day on historical Stone Street, and we spent a couple hours people watching and talking about new trends in menswear.  In particular, there is a huge trend in going custom.  What was once a service reserved for the very wealthy, is now officially mainstream.  Long past are the days of boxy, oversized suits and shirts.  Now everything is very fitted and streamlined.  There is no room for error, making buying a custom suit the most economical option.  Rather than pay thousands of dollars for a suit off the rack, and then having to take it to a tailor anyway, you can get a suit made exactly to your measurements for less than half the price.  On top of that, you can choose EVERYTHING about it – from the fabric, to the cut, to the lapels, to the buttons, to the vents, to the color of  lining and stitching…………and even customize pockets depending on your needs.  With all of these customizable options, AND a perfect fit, there is absolutely no reason to buy off the rack (unless your lack of planning has you in a pinch and you need a suit for an event this week).  Short of that, go custom.

CHOOSING A TAILOR FOR YOUR CUSTOM SUIT

Now that you see the HUGE value proposition of taking the step of getting a custom suit made, let me walk you through some of the things to think about before you start diving into the details.  For starters, there are a  million tailors and online sites offering custom suits, so much so that even deciding where to go can be a bit overwhelming.  Choosing the right tailor is incredibly important.  I DO NOT recommend taking your own measurements and just ordering a custom suit online, although there are plenty of companies offering this as an option.  If you are going to get a custom suit made, you want it done right.  Not to say that these places aren’t good (most of them are probably still better than off the rack), but you will most certainly be compromising in quality and fit.  A tailor will not only be able to take your measurements, but also assess the nuances of your body and posture, which is incredibly important.  Anybody can take measurements, but the true art is in the translation of the measurements.  Also, unless you are a designer or mens fashion guru, you will definitely benefit from having the opinion of a professional to guide you through the process.  Finding a tailor that has a bit of fashion sense is very important, as you want to walk out with a custom, modern, fashion forward suit, not a suit that looks like it belongs in the 80’s.  For example, a British tailored suit is VERY different than an Italian tailored suit (British (Saville Row) is much more tailored and fitted, whereas Italian tends to be a bit more relaxed).  There is no right or wrong, they are just different, and it comes down to a matter of preference.  Find a tailor that fits your style sensibilities, has good customer service, and has good ratings and customer feedback.  A good tailor will be a perfectionist, and will place the utmost of importance on you being 100% satisfied.

THERE ARE A MILLION CUSTOMIZABLE OPTIONS: WHERE TO BEGIN

Now that you have selected your tailor, and they have taken your measurements, it’s time to dive into the design of your custom suit.  First, you will want to begin with fabric selection.  Most tailors will have several price tiers of fabric, with the finer fabrics usually being the most expensive.  As a general rule, if you are looking for a sturdy everyday suit, stay away from the fine fabrics.  These fabrics will not only wear out faster, they will also wrinkle more.  These are more for special occasions.  Once you have selected your fabric, you will select the lapel type and width, jacket style (one, two, three button, double breasted), middle or side vents, pockets, buttons, and button holes.  I never recommend the 3 button style, as in my opinion it is outdated and stuffy. My advice to you is to not go crazy.  You want to add a bit of style, but not have it be so trendy that you won’t be able to wear it next season.  I absolutely LOVE adding a contrast color button hole to 1 or 2 of the sleeve buttons, as well as a contrast under collar.  This is enough to add style and say that it is custom, without being ostentatious.  Next you will select your lining fabric (I LOVE contrast linings), as well as pockets.  With a good tailor, the sky is the limit when it comes to interior pockets.  You will also be able to select a monogram to put into the lining of your jacket, which is a nice added touch.

Once you have selected all of the options for your jacket, you will have a few decisions to make regarding the pants.  The waistband can have side tab or standard belt loops, and you will be able to select pocket types for both the side pockets and the back pockets.  You will also be able to select different types of fit and pleats (I’m NOT a fan of pleats), as well as whether you want a standard or cuffed hem (go standard for a more modern look).

COST

OK, the hard work is done!  You’ve selected your tailor, had your measurements taken, and selected all of the options for your perfectly tailored custom suit.  Now, let’s talk about how much all of this should cost.  Your fabric choice will determine your base cost, but  most of the options come at no additional charge.  Some of the options that MIGHT be an additional charge (depending on your tailor), will be things like elbow patches, special buttons, adding a different fabric lapel, and adding special interior pockets (other than the styles offered).  A good custom suit will cost you between $590-$2,000.  Most of my clients have AMAZING custom suits made for between $590-$750, with the experience of having a tailor AND a fashion stylist accompany them through this process (sometimes even in the convenience of their home or office).  For that price, and for that service, it is a no brainer that having a custom suit made is the way to go.  If you are in the NYC area, myself and my tailor will be happy to walk you through this process.

 

 

 

 

Ties: 18 Ways to Tie a Necktie and Achieve the Perfect Knot

It’s a fact: when wearing a tie most men wear the same knot over and over again, forgetting that there are several different ways to tie a tie and add a little variation to their wardrobes.  A short while ago while searching for a diagram to send to one of my clients, I came across this infographic from our friends over at “Real Men Real Style”  titled “18 Ways to Tie a Necktie.”  Previously I had scoured the internet and found various videos and diagrams in different places on how to tie different knots, but to find it all in one place, and have it be sooooo self explanatory – amazing!  The guys at “Real Men Real Style” have broken down 18 different types of knots all in one infographic.  I know when looking at this it might seem overwhelming, so start simple.  I believe the “staple knots” are the “four in hand,” the “half windor,” and the “full windor.”  My favorite knot, by far, is the full windsor as it is a large, even knot, and exudes a certain status and confidence.   Once you master these 3 knots, I suggest trying to master a more fashionable knot such as the “Cafe Knot,” “Eldredge Tie Knot,” or the “Trinity Knot.”   The 3 knots are a bit more complex, and determining which to use will really depend on the pattern of your tie as you want the knot creases to be more interesting and sophisticated rather than “busy.”

 

18-Ways-To-Tie-A-Necktie-POSTERv1r1

Men’s Wall Street Shopping Guide: A Walking Tour

MEN’S WALL STREET SHOPPING GUIDE

Although the Financial District is not necessarily touted as a big shopping destination, it is a hidden gem for those of us “in the know.”  Here you can find impeccable men’s suiting and luxury stores, as well as NY’s famous Century 21.  For any business man or lover of luxury fashion, this is an incredible destination on your NY shopping journey.  Here we have outlined a consolidated list of Wall Street shopping at stores that we feel will complete your look from head to toe.   This is also a perfect list for the business man that needs to pick up any last minute items on their lunch break.  The list begins at Century 21 and Brooks Brothers, then is listed as if you were walking down Wall St. west to east, ending at the South St. Seaport.

 

Financial District

 

Century 21 Dept Stores

22 Cortlandt St, New York, NY Tel: (212) 227.9092

Century 21 Department Stores, also known as “New Yorks Best Kept Secret”, has more than fifteen departments of sensational quality and designer merchandise at 25%-75% off retail prices. Choose from the finest selection of European and American Designers.
Century 21 features four floors of designer goods at deep discounts. You may have to weave through crowds and sift through racks to find the hidden wardrobe treasure, but when you score a slick Versace, Armani, Hugo Boss, or Dolce and Gabbana suit, an Hermes, Ted Baker, or Versace tie, a pair of Cavalli jeans, or Mezlan shoes at 75% off, it’s totally worth it.

  Century 21 is guaranteed to excite any saavy shopper, as the possibilities are endless. Just like any department store, Century 21 has departments for men, women, children, accessories, home, luggage, and fragrances/cosmetics.

C21store C21

 

 

 

Exit out the Cortlandt St. side of Century 21 and turn right  to cross the street to Brooks Brothers, which will be near the back entrance of the bldg.

Brooks Brothers

1 Church Street Tel: (212) 267-2400

Brooks Brothers is the oldest mens clothier chain in the United States, founded in 1818.  The store features classically tailored mens suits, shirts,sportcoats, and formalwear,  as well as timeless sportswear such as polos, t-shirts, sweaters, casual pants, and of course shoes and accessories.

BB Brooks Brothers

Upon leaving Brooks Brothers, head back towards Broadway, turn right, then take a left onto Wall St.  Once you see the New York Stock Exchange take a right onto Broad St..  This is all a pedestrian walkway (no cars), so you will have plenty of opportunities to take pictures and take in the sites of the historical buildings on your way to the next few stores.

 

Hermes

15 Broad Street New York, NY 10005 Tel: (212)785-3030

Hermes is known for luxury silk ties, pocket squares, scarves, cuff links, watches, belts, shoes, and luggage.
The iconic Hermes silk scarves and ties are colorful without being loud, and are available in scores of different shades and designs. Scarves range in price from a three figures (for a hand-rolled silk neck scarf) to four figures plus for a generous cashmere shawl.   Hermes also features beautifully crafted and timeless corporate gifts.

 

imageHermestie

Hermes Ties

Canali

25 Broad St. New York, NY 10004 Tel: (212) 842.8700

On Broad Street is the American flagship of Italian luxury menswear line Canali.  Rows of sleek, stately suits greet customers to the elegant stateside flagship of this Italian menswear line. From the blockish, low-lying furniture to the purple-paisley silk ties, the shop effortlessly blends the classic and contemporary. The timeless black-and-gray suits, the mainstay of the collection, are stitched in Milan and can be altered on-site in as little as ten minutes. But some prefer the blue or khaki glen-plaid affairs offset by bright-colored neckties—accessorized with an elegant pair of stirrup- or tassel-topped loafers. For made-to-order suits, the staff takes measurements and sends the specs to Milan for tailoring; after-hours appointments are available for clients who can’t break away from the workplace. Canali also goes beyond the boardroom, with a Hamptons-worthy selection of weekend wear such as crisp linen suits, jeans, polos, and driving moccasins.

Canali

 

Sarar

50 Broad St.  New York, NY 10005 212-425-2525

Sarar is a Turkish design house that molds modern cut tailored menswear with a classically tailored design.   They feature suits, shirts, jackets, formalwear, outerwear, pants, shoes, ties, and accessories.

image_4 SararBroadSt

 

 

 

Now head back up Broad St. towards Wall St. and hang a right.

 

Tiffany & Co

37 Wall Street New York, NY 10005 Tel: (212) 514-8015

Tiffany & Co.’s Lower Manhattan location, housed in a 1907 building on Wall Street, features stunning restorations and contemporary additions, like a 75-foot-long metal-mesh-and-crystal floating sculpture. While Tiffany necklaces, watches, jewelry, pens, luxury goods, and tableware offer plenty to see and shop, the store’s architecture alone is worth a visit.

image_1 (2)

 

Pink

63 Wall Street New York, NY 10005 Tel: (212) 514.7683

Ideal for the buttoned up man with an eye for ties, Thomas Pink’s British sensibilities will liven u p any cosmopolitan businessman’s wardrobe.
Thomas Pink started as a specialist shirt company. Men’s formal shirts come in Classic, Slim Fit, and Super Slim Fit. More relaxed styling is found in the Casual and Informal collections and in a collection of Polo shirts.  They also sell a wide array of colorful ties and socks.

Pink

 

Tumi

67 Wall Street Tel: (212) 742.8020

A leading seller of luxury travel and business accessories, Tumi has a wide array of luggage, bags, wallets, attache cases, and travel accessories.

 

tumi

If after all of this shopping you are in the mood for some sightseeing, you can continue down Wall St., turn left onto Water St., and then take a right at the Seaport for some more shopping, restaurants, cafes, and activities.  There is plenty of seating, hidden parks, and restaurants along the water as well.   You can also head south to Stone St. and enjoy an array of indoor and outdoor restaurants and pubs on a quaint cobblestone street in a beautiful historical setting.  If you prefer a drink and meal with a beautiful water view, I suggest checking out the FDR Bar, which is right on the water.

 

FDR Bar

FDR Bar, South Street Seaport

NYC South Street Seaport

NYC South Street Seaport

South Street Seaport

 

Stone Street

Stone Street

Stone Street

 

 

 

 

Colored Dress Socks – Dare to be BOLD

Colored Dress Socks: The perfect way to add some fashionable spice to your business attire

coloredsocksfashionpsocks

One of my favorite ways to add a little spice to your business suit is via a pair of colored dress socks.  This is a way to add a little modern flair, and accentuate with a pop of color just as you would via a tie or pocket square.  Most mens designers now offer a line of fashionable dress socks in a wide array of colors.  Some of my favorite “go-to” companies  for fashionable socks are Ted Baker, Paul Smith, Bugatchi, Thomas Pink, and Robert Graham.  Not only do they offer a wide selection, but they also tend to pair bright colors with more subdued hues to create contrast and depth without being too loud and obnoxious.  Of all of the patterns on the market, my favorites are the tried and true stripes.   With these you can be as bold or as subtle as you want.  If you are new to this concept (meaning you feel like you are “breaking the rules” by not wearing plain black or brown dress socks), perhaps you should ease into the idea by trying a subdued or monochromatic stripe.  As your confidence grows (and it will by the compliments you receive), you can venture into bolder territory.  Below I have included some images of socks that would go beautifully with navy, grey, or tan suits (your office standards).

 

 

 

Pocket Squares: A Gentleman’s Must Have Accessory

Everybody has an opinion about pocket squares, and here at “Wall Street Stylist” we hold pretty firm on the stance that without a pocket square your suit jacket looks quite naked.  It’s an added touch that separates the men from the boys, and creates a polished elegance that exudes style and confidence.   In fact, almost all of our clients receive an attache case of 5-10 pocket squares selected just for them to complement their wardrobe.   Although there are a million different ways to fold a pocket square, for the most polished and modern look we recommend keeping it simple.  Below we have outlined a few different ways to achieve the perfect fold.

Now that we’ve simplified the fold for you, let’s talk about how to coordinate your pocket square to your shirt/tie combo, and what fabric pocket square is appropriate.  Here are the rules:

 

Rule #1: Wear One.

Wearing a pocket square adds the finishing touch and a bit of panache to what would otherwise be a “naked suit.”  Rule #1 is simply to never leave home without a pocket square in your suit coat or blazer.

 

Rule #2: Coordinating

Although there are very few hard and fast rules to coordinating your pocket square (besides the obvious color faux-pas), you do want to choose your pocket square based on what will complement your shirt, tie, and suit.  There is a big different between “complimenting” and “matching,” as you do not want your pocket square to match your shirt or tie exactly, as this not only defeats the purpose, but also looks very contrived.  On that note, NEVER buy those matching tie/pocket square sets, and if you do, remember to never wear them together.  In case you are confused as to the subtlety between matching and complementing, let me break it down for you.  Matching is when you have 2 or more items with the same exact fabric, color, or pattern (ex: a blue and white striped tie with a blue/white striped pocket square, or a solid blue pocket square the same exact shade as the blue stripe), and complementing would be taking that same blue and white striped tie and pairing it with a blue polka dot pocket square, or perhaps a lighter blue floral or solid colored pocket square.  Complimenting is where you can add your own style into the  mix, and make it as subtle or as bold as you want.  The easiest thing to do is to select colors that are in the same color family, but perhaps of a lighter or darker shade, or add a monochromatic print.  You can also select colors that are right next to eachother on the color wheel.  For instance, if you have a blue tie, try adding a blue and red, or a purple pocket square.  Once you feel confident you can then venture into the more colorful patterns.

 

Rule #3: Fabric

As a general rule, you want to closely complement the fabrics of your tie and pocket square.  If you are wearing a silk tie, you should wear a silk pocket square.  The one exception to this is white cotton, which can be worn with anything.   If you are not wearing a tie, and want to keep things a bit more casual it is best to pair your sport coat with a cotton or linen pocket square.  In the summer months when wearing a tie might be a little hot and restrictive, a pocket square can definitely stand in and give your suit the added panache.

 

Pocket Square Folding Techniques

There are several ways to fold a pocket square, and like everything else described here, there aren’t any hard and fast rules.  In general, you want to master the basics, then venture off as you gain more confidence to find your own personal style.  Although there are several different folds, most men will decide upon 2 or 3 that they feel complement their style and the image they want to exude.

The Straight Fold (aka the “Straight Edge” or the “Bond Fold”)

This is one of the most basic of folds, and my personal favorite.  This fold provides a modern, clean, sophisticated look, and is incredibly easy to achieve. Depending on the pocket square and your desired look you can choose to either have the folded edge or the non-folded edge visible.

  1. Lay your pocket square flat.
  2. Bring the left side to right side
  3. Bring the bottom towards the top, but don’t fold it all the way.
  4. Fold the fabric in thirds horizontally so that it will fit your suit pocket.

 

The One-Point Fold

This is also a pretty basic fold, and like the Straight Fold, adds a nice geometric pop of color.

1. Fold your pocket square in half diagonally

2. Fold one corner about 1/3 across pocket square

3. Fold the other corner over the center

4. Flip the folded pocket square over and insert into jacket (depending on the width of your pocket you might need to tweak it a little)

one-tip-up-pocket-square-fold

 

The Puff Fold

This is a very easy fold, and one that allows for a little artistic license.

1. Lay the pocket square flat with the right side of the fabric facing up.

2. Pinch the middle of the fabric, allowing the folds to come in naturally.

3. With one hand firmly holding the pocket square, use your other hand to gently gather it together.

4. Now gracefully gather up the bottom of the pocket square and fold it up towards the top.

5. Place it in your suit. Tweak it until you get the desired puffiness.

Pocket Square

 

The Pointed Puff Fold

1. Lay your pocket square down right side up

2. Pinch the middle of the fabric with the thumb and forefinger of your right hand, allowing the folds to come in naturally

3. Lift the pocket square up from where you are grasping it and allow the bottom to drape down

4. Lightly wrap your left hand around the draped fabric

5.  Move your left hand down while gently squeezing the material until you have reached the bottom of the pocket square (this is called ‘fluting’).

6. Tighten your left hand enough to hold the pocket square

7. Let go with your right hand. The handkerchief should now be sticking out of your left hand.

8. Fold the pocket square over your left thumb with your right hand.

9. Grab the folded pocket square with your right hand, being sure to keep its folded flute intact, and remover your left hand.

10. Rotate the pocket square so the fold is now toward the bottom.

11. Insert into your jacket pocket.

 

Must-Have Pocket Squares