Monday, October 22, 2012

Fall/Winter Checklist: Down Vest

For the days when you're dressed casually and a denim jacket or sport coat just wont keep you warm enough, I would advise employing a down vest to knock out the extra layer of chill. 

A down vest is usually made of nylon on the exterior. It gets its name from the down feathers that are stuffed on the inside. What are down feathers? Down is a fine layer of feathers found under the tougher outside feathers on birds. They can be obviously be used in clothing. And also you may recognise the term from your comforter and pillows. 

The work perfectly because they're a cinch to put on and take off since there are no sleeves. But add a surprising amount of warmth where it counts most. Your arms will be fine, they're only extremities, but keeping the chest warm is whats important. Ever seen Batman Begins (see 3:29)?

A few points on fit; down vests are normally cut a little larger because they're made to go over pieces of outerwear. However, I feel like in doing that, they allowed too much room and the result is a boxy silhouette. I recommend going a size down (get it?) to ensure a nice snug fit. The end seams on the shoulders should line up pretty close to what you're wearing underneath. And on the color, mid to deep blues and mid to deep greens go with everything. If you're feeling like an explorer then a canary yellow or safety orange would be a nice touch. And if your feeling festive then blow part of (or all) of your paycheck on a blackwatch number from Ovadia and Sons (see below).

Down Vest by Gap

$99 (on sale!)                                                                                                                                   $149
Tommy Hilfiger                                                                                                                             Patagonia

$349                                                                                                                                                          $965
Barbour                                                                                                                                                   Ovadia and Sons

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fall/Winter Checklist: Cable-Knit Shawl Collar Cardigan

One of the most versatile pieces on this checklist is the cable knit shawl collar cardigan. Cardigans in general were named after the 7th Earl of Cardigan, James Thomas Brudenell, a British military commander during the Crimean War of the mid-1800s. But they were actually popular long before then with the Frenchmen and the British Islanders. Back in the 17th century, the fisherman there needed something to wear that would keep them warm during those grueling days on the open water, but it also had to provide them with a wide range of motion so they could efficiently do their jobs. Because of their insulating warmth and unmatched flexibility, the sweater knitting industry hit a major boom during those times in the fishing communities.

Cardigan by Banana Republic
Fast-forwarding to today, there are so many different ways to wear it. You can be casual with jeans and an oxford shirt. Or smart casual with trousers, dress shirt, and tie. Or if you get one a size up, you can treat as an overcoat and wear it on top of your suit jacket.

Another big plus is that it walks that fine line as being elegant with the shawl collar, but also rugged and textured by being cable-knit. So it says you're a classy guy, but you don't take yourself too seriously.

So if you're looking for one that one piece of clothing that will keep you warm in the office (dress code permitting), the bar, or the open waters, a shawl collared cable-knit cardigan will put you where you want to be. Euro fisherman's license not required.

$88                                                                                                                                                                                  $170
Topman                                                                                                                                                                       JCrew
$315                                                                                                                                                                                         $1,150
Inveralan                                                                                                                                                                           Michael Bastian

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fall?Winter Checklist: Heavyweight Ties

Why is it we have napkins decorated with reindeers and snow capped trees on them during Christmas time? Do they clean our mouths better than plain white ones? Or maybe try telling me why we tend to wear darker colors during the colder months. Does charcoal gray keep you warmer than kelly green? Not really. Why do we make these seemingly unnecessary changes just because of what time of year it is? It's because there are just certain things that even though there is no real functional advantage to making these seasonal changes, we do them because it just seems like the right thing to do. 

That's why during these next six months you should try and give your silk and cotton ties a break. As an alternative, try stocking up on some beefier wool ties. Like I said before, there's no real functional purpose for this. They don't keep your neck any warmer than the ones you had. But it just seems right that if everything else you're wearing is heavy and textured, well then your tie should get with the program. 

Left~JCrew, Right~Express

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that you should exclusively wear heavyweight ties during this season, there are some silks in my rotation that I still plan to wear during the colder months. But they all share two things in common; they're dark-hued, and even though they're made of lighter materials they still have some sizable heft to them. 

As I've done over the last few posts, below are some very viable options for you to look into at every price range. You're welcome...

$20                                                                                                                                                                                          $70
Merona                                                                                                                                                                                 JCrew

$90                                                                                                                                                                           $125
Hill-Side                                                                                                                                                             Gant Rugger

$135                                                                                                                                                                                       $225
Bespoken                                                                                                                                                                        Brunello Cucinelli