"It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle."
Ernest Hemingwayemail me if google hasn't got the answer..
So, understand the CONTEXT
Recently a few messages about why my change in style & this post from 2011 touched on it.
Simply put, I no longer work in a “suit & tie” environment - even the #1 of my company doesn’t wear a ”suit & tie”.
Which brings an interesting point - there was a time when a well tailored suit was akin to an armour to project power & status, when in todays world I see the reverse. Especially when the young or the uncomfortable are trying to assimilate #GrownManStyle when the experienced can see through their lack of gravitas.
I now see a reverse balance of power in professional settings, when the suits actually lose their composure.
My Mother & Sister are perfect examples, they dress with confidence in their own style.
Recently my Sister made a very relevant comment about the other “school mums” when she goes to pick up her daughter/son.. Why do “school mums” feel it necessary to always be in gym wear when it’s obvious they have not been or going to a gym. Consequently she receives a different attention.
So, understand the CONTEXT
Dress your age or your role in life - understand the CONTEXT
May I suggest you enjoy making mistakes & dress like a Young Man.
With the sudden change in seasons come rain & messages about appropriate footwear. Let’s be concise here, NO WELLIES in the CITY! & yes it’s OK to wear suede in the wet, just not consecutive days & make sure you allow them to dry out naturally.
Brought to you from the archives - this was circa 2011 but still very relevant
RAIN.. Then BUCKETS!
Notes: Suit & shirt - P Johnson, Tie - Loro Piana, PS - Herringbone, Boots - RM Williams, Umbrella - Fox
Suede in the rain.
Getting messages regarding the different should treatments I have for my Patrick Johnson suits - see below from the archives
Something for everyone
With the change of season’s comes the change in wear - this should answer recent questions about how to wear a military inspired jacket without going camo (which I have no issue as long as it is not “ironic”).
Most important is “FIT & BALANCE” - some have had great luck at army surplus stores, not me but that doesn’t mean one has to spend a lot. For example this M65 inspired jacket is from MUJI from about 3 years ago & we all know MUJI is not expensive.
FYI - the below was Winter 2012
Saturday Sports Day..
* As much as I’d like him to play rugby (Union not League), My nephew does me proud playing soccer (FootBall)..
Details | M65 jacket & scarf - MUJI | Knit (not visible) - RLPL grey crew | Pantaloons - Rapha x Paul Smith | Boots - Tod’s a la Gianni Agnelli
** Last 2 pics shot at dusk, hence the colour shift
Still getting emails & messages about fit “basics” - see below from the archives circa 2011
COVER YOUR ASS
There is a common misconception that one should have the length of their jackets as short as possible to give the perception of hight via longer leg balance to shorter body. Unless you are a ‘hipster’ & going for that certain look that will make you cringe next season, don’t read on.
The same goes for the misconception of shorter men must avoid cuffs with pants.
There is no actual quantum science or emperical measure as we are all blessed with different body proportions as shapes.
But in my opinion it is best to understand your body proportions & shape then adhere to some certain guidelines not rules to make you look your best:
As mentioned in an earlier post, Patrick Johnson (tailor) & I changed a few minor measurements with this suit to keep it as ‘classic’ as possible compared to my other suits.
What do we see?
Other than the grey suit looking more English & the navy chalk looking more Italian - see the difference.
Where the (sleeve) ends
“My method” as no tailor I know uses this but agree it works for me
Now have a look at the full body shots & see the consistency & the effects this gives me.
Is there a natural flow from shoulder to arm to wrist point & where the jacket finishes.
Finally - if your jacket body is too short (as in not covering your ass), your sleeves will look too long & hence throw the whole visual proportions out & the above will make no impact.
FWIW I am:
The most important message - find a GOOD tailor that you connect with & TRUST him or her.
Details | Suit - P Johnson for GW | Shirt - Ascot Chang for GW | PS - Facconable | Tie - 15 YEAR OLD Channel (sheesh I have an old passport picture of me wearing this same tie) | Hoofs - John Lobb “Phillip II” on 7000 last for Leather Soul
I’m still getting messages/emails about “navy” vs “airforce blue” - so read on.
FYI - Originally posted early 2011 & I never got around doing a post comparing John Lobb to Crockett & Jones, unfortunately I won’t be.
Navy or Airforce?
There are times when navy (French or English) is too formal - especially days when you still need to suit up. This is when airforce blue shines - literally in the case of this particular cloth from Loro Piana as there is mohair mixed in with the wool. For those that are not familiar, mohair has a slight sheen that lights up when natural light hits it. Other times it will have a slight lustre or as I say DISCO..
Because of this lustre, I choose to downplay with more sombre items such as black shoes, mini butcher striped shirt & a rep tie. It’s all in the balance & the delivery.
Although we are in the last month of winter in Sydney, the weather is sunny with the air crisp & dry that just begs for drinking at the end of the day. The mornings & evening are still cool, whilst the middle of the day challenges ones choice of suiting.
Suddenly wearing flannels or heavy worsted cloths are a challenge as we live in a world of controlled environments.
This is when wool mixed with other fibres come to play as well as high performance wools
So, are you in the Navy or Airforce today?
Details | Suit & shirt - P Johnson for GW | Tie & PS - Drakes for The Armoury | Shoes - John Lobb “Phillip II” for Leather Soul
* & yes I will do a write up on shoes, in particular the difference between the “Philip II” by John Lobb versus the “Belgrave” by Crocket & Jones. Even though they are at different price scales, the style is very similar.. Or should it be on how I tie a double four in hand (though that may require a video)..
More from winter 2011
The Clash.. Italy calling..
Notes: Suit - P Johnson for GW, Shirt - Ascot Chan for GW, Tie & PS - Herringbone, Shoes - Crocket & Jones “Belgrave”, Grin - family shenanigans..
Monet or Picasso? It’s in the eye of the beholder …
* Note that this is all second nature to me. It has taken many sartorial blunders & over 20 years of snarks to now where I actually don’t over-think this when I dress in the morning, or even the night before. My barometer is in how I feel when I wake up, the weather, and the context for the day. This is the only regard in which I think about it.
The cooler climes are approaching us in the Antipodes, so it’s timely that a follower has uncovered this from my archives.
FYI - this was originally posted about June 2011.
Is it going to be too warm for flannel? & there will always be ripples..
Notes: Suit - P Johnson for GW, Shirt - Ascot Chan for GW, PS - Herringbone, Tie - E. G. Capelli, Shoes - Anthony Cleverley “Bodie” for Leather Soul
With Friday approaching, this was a good resurrection from a follower. Circa 2011.
Another Friday, another day for Business Casual
Even though it is the second day of spring - the air is still cool, hence the sweater.
When I find myself wearing a lot of similar tones, highlighting with the opposite tone in smaller dosages is the best way to balance the look. Such as the red toned silk pocket square & brown suede shoes.
Details | Knit - Loro Piana | Jacket (part of suit) - P johnson in Loro Piana wool/cashmere “gun check” for GW | PS - Tom Fucking Ford | Shirt - Ascot Chang in vintage Drakes private reserve shirting for GW (helps to know peeps) | Pantaloons - P Johnson in Loro Piana cotton fine pin cord for GW | DubMunks - Edward Green “Westminster” in Mole suede, 888 last in Dainite for Leather Soul | WatchClock - Panerai Radiomir #210
*I posted this a few years ago (2011), & still I get messages about what I do.
29 Ways to Stay Creative..
Every other day I get messages/emails about what I do & what industry I am I as there is mixed messages
because I wear a suit & suits are boring?
Well I’m not in a creative industry. I am in
one of the many sub-segments within the IT industry. To be specific I work for an organisation that prides itself on “thinking different” their impartiality when it comes to helping clients make a decision via various projects & most importantly via people that are passionate about what they do. Sure there are days when I feel like head butting the wall, but that is life.
But what I do is “industry” transferable - in fact that would be my goal as I would suffocate otherwise.
So what is my skill set? I manage relationships & more importantly expectations both internally & externally. I may not be right all the time, but I act on what I have available at any given time.
How did I get here - there is no one way as we all come from different demographics. What I can say is that to manage relationships & expectations one needs to be “aware of the context & the implications”.
Awareness is something I talk about quite frequently in real life as this is where society is in my opinion falling apart.
People no longer have “role models”.
People today have too much information at hand - which has their positives, but the negatives are highly “educated” people with no first hand experience.
A lot of people are afraid of making mistakes - this is an issue. As it is only through making mistake do we learn & push ourselves to be better.
So do I dream or want to be in some form of creative role? Yes I do, but then I think how would things be different?
Would I be a better person?
Would I think different if I was in another industry?
In summary, my best answer is it is up to the individual to make what of there current situation & not lose sight of asking questions & finding an outlet to express their creativity.
For me, I would be lost in the creative industry as my mind is actually quite structured & my approach also is quite process driven.
For now, I need to have the safety net of my current role to have the flexibility to express my creativity through different mediums such as the bRog which is an extension of what is in my mind & how I see the world.
Also, nothing is yours until you change it.
& you don’t have to be in a “creative” industry to be CREATIVE..
I hope this answers most..
I actually have very bad shoulders (sloped). So bad that some of the better known tailors in HKG would not take my $$$.
What I have learn’t over the last 12 months is to make sure that you are realistic in what will work for you & this takes time - what we see in magazines & TV is not real, truth be told there is more pinning behind the scenes that designers would let you believe.
What I have also learn’t is that tailors are trades people & not designers or stylists & vice a versa.
I mentioned a few months back an analogy between an architect, interior designer, structural engineer & builder. They all need to respect each others specialty.
So in my case, I had to accept that not all styles suit my sloped shoulder & to be very precise & patient with my tailor. It did not happen over night. In fact there were at least 5 jackets before we the tailor & I started to understand what worked for me.
A little known fact about tailors in Asia, they make clothing in 2D not 3D. They have good technique but no practical experience. To be fair though, over the last 20 or so years they get customers that see value in a suit made in 24 hours & hence get lazy. Also the customers tend to be not that experienced in tailored clothing so do not push.
Here is a good example of fit & cut that even the best designers & labels neglect - movement. Walk into any shop & try the jacket. Looks good right?
The sales associate would have made you feel good, waxed on about the cloth & the designer etc..
Then try lifting your arms - what happens.. Restriction? The shoulders do not sit flat? The upper body moves against the direction?
So what do they say? That’s the design or try a larger size.
Here is my favourite test: sit down in the jacket & see what happens.
Hint, there will be bunching across the shoulder, tightness at the biceps & the collar will not sit flat.
Chances are they would not even have noticed this.
Chances are they wear bad shoes - let’s leave this for another day LOL.
So the long answer as there is no short answer, if you don’t have access to a good tailor then take your time & try another brand. If anything, stay away from designer labels as they are the worst.
Sheesh - are you still awake?
* From archives & should answer some recent messages
Peacocks & Turkeys
So apparently I ruffled some tough “anon” turkeys the other day regarding my 30 sec critique of indochino.com..
My 30 sec critique captured what would have been an all day shoot by “professionals”. Let’s take this another step. If you were selling a product, would you not make sure that it is represented in the best light?
Have a look at Ralph Lauren or J Crew for example, their campaigns capture a story & highlight their products in positive light. Surprisingly one can look at an older Ralph Lauren print media & still be swept away.
Actually, I challenge you to click on the WWIW tag & see if you find collar gaps etc. Also factor in that I do not have a team of stylists & “professionals” or a “fluffer”. It’s just me, a trash can as a tripod & 10 sec timer. Also I am not a model size.
Admittedly I am not as eloquent as Jesse, but that’s just me.
Here is a link to Jesses, post in softer lighting
So back to the above pic - here’s me after a long day in the saddle so to speak. In theory I have very difficult shoulders to fit & in practice should be exhibiting “collar gap” as my shoulders are sloped not square.
But as Patrick (P Johnson Tailors) & Ethan (ex PJ & now at The Armoury) have MostExerent “critical eye” & patience, they have ensured my jackets fit.
So there.. Anything else from the “anon” tough club as it appears they are the majority of the nay sayers & thank you to the other positive messages.
I will try & provide my assessment over time targeting mainly at industry folk as they SHOULD know better.
Please don’t send me pics for assessments as it is best to just sit back & lurk more.
Notes: SC & Shirt - P Johnson, Tie - vintage Hermes, PS - Kiton, Pantaloons - RL, Shoes - Carmina x The Armoury “Penny Loafers”
* please excuse the low par photography as I was bored & only had my iPhone4 at hand
** a new follower has re-blogged this from my archives (July 2011) & since then have made the rounds
When to go ROUGH!
Silk or linen pocket square? The opposite in texture to your tie is a good guide but not necessarily the gospel as the total balance is the deciding factor.
Today I chose to wear a cashmere tie with burnt ochre & mid blue flecks on a light blue base. The texture of the tie is borderline fine tweed so a red on ecru gingham silk pocket square was an unexpected choice.
Usually one would wear calf shoes with a classic suiting as this wool/cashmere chalk stripe - but as the great Prince Edward & Gianni Agnelli has shown, brown suede is a great combination.
Again, all this is built on a white poplin shirt for foundation.
Details | Shade | RayBan “round metal” | Suit - P Johnson in Ariston wool/cashmere flannel silver chalk stripe on denim base | Shirt - Ascot Chang Thomas Mason “Silver Line” white poplin for GW | Tie - Drakes cashmere 7cm | PS - Facconable red on ecru base gingham silk | Wheels - John Lobb “City II” in Pewtere suede on 7000 last for Leather Soul
* From the archives as uncovered by a new follower