Monday, August 16, 2010

The Ties That Bind

Q: I'm 35 and have been wearing a tie to work since I started working over 10 years ago. So, as you can expect, most of my ties are not the slim narrow ones I often see in men's magazines nowadays. Should I stop wearing my wider ties and trade them all in for the slim narrow ones? I don't want to throw my existing ties away because, well, I have a lot of them and they're not cheap.

-- Lester, via e-mail

A: As long as your ties are no more than 3-3.5 inches wide on the widest portion just before the pointed tip, they're still okay. It's the ultra wide (> 3 inches wide) ties that should be laid to rest. Slim ties are actually not new. They've just made a comeback. Believe it or not, our Dads used to wear slim ties in the 70's, together with their body-hugging nylon shirts.

Since you use ties very often anyway, it'd be good to have maybe 3 or 4 slim ties (not narrower than 2 inches on it's widest part) just to keep up with the trend and maybe look a little younger. They may go out of style in a couple of years or so, but you can bet that, like a Patek (assuming you buy a good quality one), you can pass them down to the next generation.

Wear your wider ties when you're meeting with older, more conservative people and use slimmer ties for dressy events or when pairing with jeans or chinos.

Oh and as for the pattern on your tie, stay away from flowers, cartoon characters and (for now) paisley.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Gingham City

If you're not sure about what type of checked shirt will fit you, the failsafe choice is a gingham shirt -- small checked cotton blend shirts. This type of shirt works for any body-type.

Don't be afraid to try out other colors. Blue is a staple, but shades of lavander and indigo are the current must-haves.

The other thing that works for ginghams is that it works for both business or casual.

Pair it with gray trousers and a slim black tie and you're ready for your next meeting. Ditch the tie, buckle on your military belt and trade your leathers for sneakers to welcome the weekend.

Should you fold your sleeves? It doesn't matter, but the weather will usually dictate this one.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Real World


First of all, your site is an invaluable resource for us men. I've learned things about dressing up that I've never quite understood before. I have a few questions since I'm about to enter the corporate world. My college days were spent mostly in shorts, jeans, sneakers, and t-shirts. I wasn't the typical stylish guy back then but I want to have an improved image now that I'm about to work. I find myself unsure of what to buy to at least have a closet with the "essentials". Can you recommend brands of long-sleeved shirts that you prefer? I'm looking specifically for those crisp, white dress shirts that I see on TV but I can't seem to find one. How about neckties? I'm seeing inexpensive brands in department stores but I was wondering if it would be better to invest on those nice silk ties. Finally, is it advisable for me to have my pants custom-made or just stick with off-the-rack items? I hope you can suggest brands that are within the range of a typical worker earning 20-25k. Thanks a lot.



Dressing up is not primarily about brands. It's about quality and fit. Of course, the generally accepted belief is that branded clothes tend to do well on quality. But, good fit is not always a function of the price tag.

If you're lucky to have a medium build with mannequinesque proportions, then retail is still the best and probably the more affordable option. Your mentioned income will be able to afford you classic shirts from Marks & Spencer and Zara.

However, if you have a tricky body build (vertically or horizontally challenged), then visit a good tailor with approximately 2. 5 yards of pure Japanese or Swiss cotton fabric. Be ready to spend somewhere from P 1,800 to P 2,500 for well-tailored shirts. But, I assure you, once you get the right tailor, you will be spoiled with the right-fitting shirts.

There are a lot of option for affordable ties -- those from Tie Line, Top Man and Zara are among those that won't break the bank.

On pants, I'm still for tailored, unpleated pants.

I've mentioned this before... clothes are an investment. Especially for someone who's just starting out, the first impressions you will create will have a big impact on how your career will progress (or not).

Enjoy the real world!