Monthly Archives: September 2012

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Wishlist: September – Down Blazers

A few years ago, only a handful of labels manufactured down blazers. Now, it seems like everyone has their own version and they come in an assortment of fabrics and colors.  I am a huge fan of the goose downed filled down blazer.  Sometimes you do not want to wear a coat or outerwear in the winter as they are sometimes too bulky and cumbersome.  With a warm enough down blazer you can be streamlined and it is one of the easiest pieces to wear in the winter.  Here are some that blazers I may purchase this season.

Moncler Gamme Bleu Down Blazer Puppytooth Wishlist: September   Down Blazers
Moncler Gamme Bleu Puppytooth Puffer – Moncler has been at the forefront of this “movement” and they, arguably, make the best down blazer on the market. They fit nearly identical to Thom Browne jackets and are expectinonal in quality. Many labels do not provide a sufficient amount of down and they are not very warm in the winter. Moncler Gamme Bleu may use too much down (never a problem) and a sweater underneath the jacket is suffiecnt in keeping you warm. Moncler mainly uses wool instead of nylon and this offers even more warmth. There are always little details that make Moncler Gamme Bleu’s down blazer the best in the market. All of their blazers have four working sleeve buttons, a breast pocket and fit perfectly. You never need to alter them as they have so much down that all the imperfections are “buffed” out.  You would think that down can be very restricting in movement but, many of the newer versions have gussets making them extremely comfortable. Even though all of the woolens are treated with water repellents, Moncler has made their blazers even more waterproof by printing woolen fabrics on to nylon.  You get a completely waterproof down blazer which still looks like a wool or tweed blazer.  With the nylon and the gussets you can actually ski comfortably in these jackets (I cannot wait to do this).  If you want the best down blazer on the market get one from Moncler Gamme Bleu.

Loro Piana Baby Cashmere Down Blazer Wishlist: September   Down Blazers
Loro Piana Storm System Quilted Baby Cashmere Jacket - I have never been the biggest fan of Loro Piana due to their outrageous price-points and fragile fabrics. This is one of the only pieces I really like from them. The jacket is quilted and features baby cashmere lining making it extremely soft. The outer fabric is waterproof and you do not need to worry about getting soaked during those fall showers. This will fit most people of a heavier set but do not expect it to keep you warm in the colder months as it is extremely thin. (Here is the cheaper Loro Piana alternative, it comes in navy and does not have cashmere lining).

Epaulet Double Breasted Down Blazer Wishlist: September   Down Blazers
Epaulet Veneto Double-Breasted Quilted Technical Sportcoat – There are not that many double breasted down blazers on the market. I applaud Epaulet for making one and I wish more companies do the same. Everything about this jacket is perfect. It has diamond quilting, four working sleeve buttons, a breast pocket, interior pockets and seems to fit very well. I only wish that the quilting extended on to the lapels.

Brooks Brothers Black Fleece Down Blazer Wishlist: September   Down Blazers
Brooks Brothers Black Fleece Flannel Quilted Jacket – The Brooks Brothers Black Fleece Quilted Down Blazer is a very close alternative to the Moncler Gamme Bleu version. They fit is slightly bigger and being about half the price, you do not get the full “perks” of the Moncler Gamme Bleu down blazer. The Black Fleece version has less down, no sleeve buttons, a single vent and actual buttons instead of snap-closures. The one thing that I really like about the Black Fleece version is the fact it has a ticket pocket. I have not seen a Moncler down blazer with a ticket pocket and would love to see one in the future. All in all, this is a great piece and I highly recommend it.

Dunhill Ellis Lightweight Quilted Down Jacket Blazer1 Wishlist: September   Down Blazers
Dunhill Ellis Lightweight Quilted Jacket – I still cannot believe how many down blazers are on the market these days and there are just too many to choose from. Here is a Dunhill version which is quite standard. The shell is made out of a polyester and the wadding (stuffing/down) is made out of polyester. At $1,095 this is quite expensive for a bunch of poly. Regardless, it looks great and it has a breast pocket, a vent and a sleeve button.

Uniqlo Undercover Down Blazer Padded Jacket Wishlist: September   Down Blazers
Uniqlo Undercover Body Warm Lite Padded Jacket – The Uniqlo down blazer still exists! However this time, the jacket is a bit too busy for me and is too “Junya-esque” for me. This version is not from Uniqlo +J but Uniqlo Undercover, the new designer collection which replaced Jil Sander. I have always had some qualms about this line and the same feelings translate over to this piece. Many of the items in the collection have the “UU” logo and in general, I do not like outward branding. Overall, this is a great entry level piece and I am sure they will sell like hotcakes.

Aspesi Down Blazer Wishlist: September   Down Blazers
Aspesi Nylon Taffeta’ Bob Dry Blazer – I wish that the Uniqlo +J down blazer still existed as it was the best entry down blazers on the market. Unlike the Uniqlo Undercover blazer, it was simple and to the point. Now that it the +J version is gone, Aspesi’s down blazer is the best standard alternative. This piece has quite a low price point and makes a great entry down blazer. The shell is made out of 100% polymaide and will give you suitable protection against wet elements. These blazers have quite a bit down and will keep you warm in the winter. The two drawbacks are they do not have any vents or a breast pocket.

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Ask Me Vol. 11 – Eugene Tong’s Shawl cardigan, My Favorite Jeans and the Brooks Brothers Down Blazer

I was wondering if you had even the slightest idea where I could get a sweater like this or this.  They have to be less than $500. Thanks for your time. – Xiaoping
It is hard to find a similar sweater for less than $500. The only sweater that I can find is from PS by Paul Smith.  Many of the cheaper alternatives may look similar to the sweaters but have terrible fabric compositions of polyester or nylon.  These blends do not feel good on the body and tend to produce static with other woolens.

Eugene Tong Tommy Ton Ask Me Vol. 11   Eugene Tongs Shawl cardigan, My Favorite Jeans and the Brooks Brothers Down Blazer

I no ur Austin Wong but lyke wut is ur secret identity? Dont tell me u dont hav 1 cuz all super heroes do. – SAL
I guess this is a compliment. Thank you.

I was wondering, where could I get a cheap (cheap cheap kind of cheap) five buttoned sport coat and/or a tan trench coat I could use as a Halloween costume this year? – David
I would suggest you buying a doctor’s jacket from a uniform store and using a fabric dye to get the right color. You could also try your local salvation army store or thrift shop. I do not know of many people know make five buttoned jackets let alone ones of terrible quality.

Good afternoon. First, I would like to say that I very much enjoy your blog, and find myself checking it every day for a new update (I guess subscribing would be the easier way). Now, I´m planning to purchase a tailored suit, and was wondering if you had any experience, possibly some tips for doing that? Branded ones like Zegna/Corneliani (size 48-50) usually fit very nice, but this time I would like to choose the fabric/details myself. Any pointers? If not, I´d still like to thank you for a great blog! Thanks – Stefan R.
I am guessing that you are getting a suit made. The first suit you make will never be perfect. There will always be something you want to change or something just doesn’t feel right. If I were you I would choose a fabric you can wear all year round. You do not want to pick an over the top fabric for your first suit and I would recommend choosing a solid fabric. I would do a lot of research before choosing your tailor, getting suits made (bespoke or made to measure) is quite pricey.

I see you. Have a good time this week at NYFW. – E.
Ha, thanks. I had fun.

I am lost when it comes to shoes. Basically when it comes to how to wear them. There are so many types, wing tips, loafers, monk straps, oxfords, those with a shine and those without. Then all the colors that just makes it worse. Can you give me some insight. - John
One thing to keep in mind with shoes is that the more “stuff” (holes, lines toecaps, etc.) on the shoe, the more casual it is. For instance, an oxford is more formal than a brogue. Evaluate the setting you are in and wear your shoes accordingly.  In this day in age, leather shoes are pretty much all in the same category and people do not balk if you are wearing brogues or oxfords.  I would try and stick to brown (more casual) and black shoes. Forget about the colored ones for the time being, you should develop your basics first. Personally, I do not like the colored shoes all that much.

I’m travelling to Europe in November and I want to travel light (1 carry-on only) so I’ll only be able to bring one pair of shoes. What type of shoes do you think will be appropriate (and comfortable and sturdy enough) for walking around the streets the whole day yet still not look out of place paired with a blazer for dinner at a good restaurant? – Keneth
I recommend on getting a pair of brogues with a rubber sole of some sort. Brogues are one of the most casual leather shoes you can own. They generally look good with everything and can be very comfortable with rubber.

Mark Mcnairy Brogue Ask Me Vol. 11   Eugene Tongs Shawl cardigan, My Favorite Jeans and the Brooks Brothers Down BlazerWhat are your thoughts on the fit of Native son blazers ? I’ve also have a question i have a blazer thats a match to a suit but i didnt buy the trousers and there now sold out whats the best way to match them – Mr. Man
I vaguely remember trying on a Native Son jacket a few years ago and I have not thought much about the brand since. The jacket fit me quite well but the fabrics they use are too loud (even for me). Many of their pieces feel extremely gimicky and for their pricepoints, you can choose much better alternatives such as Brooks Brothers Black Fleece, Lardini or even L.B.M 1911. I have had that happen to me numerous times as sometimes stores allow you to buy the suit in separates. I usually just tend to use the jacket as a blazer or odd jacket. If you really want the pants you can search eBay or have the store try and find you a pair. If that does not work. You can hunt down the fabric the company used and have a tailor make you a pair of pants.

I’m on the hunt for a good navy suit, but I’m very particular on fit. I like for my jacket to hit about an inch or two above the hip (I’m 5’8″), and to have only the subtlest of shoulder pads. Finally, I like a streamlined look and want a suit that fits pretty tightly. Is there a brand or fit you could recommend? I know SuitSupply does small sizes, but I’m not crazy about their lapels – and I’m not feeling the fabric this season either. Help a guy out? – Mike
The only companies I can think of that makes a jacket that short would be either Thom Browne or Black Fleece.  I suggest you get a longer jacket, 2 inches above your hips is extremely short, even to Thom Browne standards.  You should take a look at Brooks Brothers Black Fleece.  They will be able to taper the jacket to your likness and trim the shoulder pads.

I was looking at some perfect shape cargo pants from Uniqlo. I noticed that it’s 75% cotton, 24% polyester, and 1% lycra. Any drawbacks with that much polyester? Thanks. – E
I have a pair of these cargo pants and like all of my clothes I have put them through hell. They are very comfortable and I am usually a fan of the lycra blends. They have a bit of stretch to them. The only drawback I can see from the polyester is that they may retain more heat than a 100% cotton pair of pants. These are fantastic pants for the low price of $30. I suggest buying them.

I remember hearing this general rule that your belt must correspond to your footwear. While this is all good when it comes to basic things (black leather belt w/ black oxfords) it starts to get trickier when you put things like woven belts and loafers into the equation. Do you have a formula for pairing your footwear with your belts, or is it personal preference? Keep fighting the good fight, the blog is amazing.. – Anonymous
I pretty much just match the browns and the blacks together. Black belts with black shoes and brown belts with brown shoes. I do not really take into the consideration on the shade of brown nor do I consider the texture or weave of the belt. As for colored shoes, I would reccomend just wearing a brown belt. Color shoes are usually more casual and I find that matching a colored pair of shoes with a belt can look very tacky. I usually do not like following rules, but if you are wearing a black pair of shoes, your belt should be black and when wearing brown shoes, your belt should be brown. It looks extremely weird when you are wearing both brown and black.

What are some of your favorite jeans. – ROS
I have not worn a pair of jeans in years. When I did wear jeans, I was a big fan of the Dior Homme 19cm Made in Japan jeans, mainly the selvedge versions. Since then, I have had one pair of APC New Standards and Imperial Dukes. It has been about 3 years since I have worn a pair of jeans. The one pair of jeans that has caught my eye are the biker jeans from Balmain.

Balmain Jeans Ask Me Vol. 11   Eugene Tongs Shawl cardigan, My Favorite Jeans and the Brooks Brothers Down Blazer

I want to know the basic wardrobe essential for men for falls/winter and spring/summer – Shamz
I am it going to lie, this is one of the vaguest questions I have ever received. It is essential to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Find clothing that does this.

Love your blog – i’m spending a week in Rome in December. Can you recommend any great places to shop mens style? I’m going to try make a day trip to DESIIVINTAGE in Florence, but i’d love to find something similar (i’m on a students budget) a bit closer to Rome. Cheers. – Harry
I have honestly never been to Rome, I have passed through their airport many times but I have not actually set a foot in the city. Some guys at StyleForum have compiled a group of images of storefronts in Florence and Rome. Check it out here.

I’m getting married in a few months. Where should I shop for a killer suit? And where should I send my groomsmen? They’re all going to wear different things, but along the same color scheme. Also, I’m from Texas. – Adam H
Congratulations, marriage is a big step.  I would recommend you getting married in a black tie ensemble and not a suit.  One of the best off the rack tuxedos I have seen on the market is from Ralph Lauren Black Label.  The single breasted tuxedo features, silk peak lapels, two buttons and a silk trim on the side of the pants.  You can send your grooms men to Ralph Lauren as well.  They have pretty top notch product.

What do you think of the new brooks brothers down blazer? -Scott
I have received many variations of this question. The Brooks Brothers down blazer is a pretty good buy at the price of only $228. Personally, I would never get one. There are too many things wrong with it. The jacket is very light and I would categorize it as a fall weight goose down. Brooks Brothers only made the sizes small through  XX-large and the small is still way too big for me. The biggest issue I have with the jacket is the button stance. It is considerably low and could only work with a few people. Even then, the proportions are way too off. Brooks Brothers also made a down peacoat season that is considerably better than the down blazer. The peacoat has a much heavier down and would be perfect in the winter. The website pictures do not do the two pieces justice and I would reccomend checking them out in person (all the models look like huge tools).

Brooks Brothers Down Blazer Ask Me Vol. 11   Eugene Tongs Shawl cardigan, My Favorite Jeans and the Brooks Brothers Down BlazerI am in my mid 40′s and am starting to worry about age appropriate dressing. My style has always been preppy with a great attraction to POLO Ralph Lauren’s more formal styles. I wonder though about wearing rugby shirts with all the logos. I love that style, but I’m thinking they might be better suited to someone in their 20′s. Another thing that has clued me into the age issue is that I can’t find my pant sizes anymore at my local Macy’s or Dillards–30 waist. I think it’s because the college kids buy them as soon as they come out–those are the only people I see shopping there. – Van
I do not believe that clothes have any age restrictions or age limit. You should wear whatever you like and feel good about it. The one thing you should ask yourself is what traits do you want to project in the way you dress? The reason you cannot find anymore size 30 pants is because Americans are generally getting bigger in size. Many big box department stores are buying less of the smaller sizes and more of the bigger ones. The adults are not the only ones getting bigger, Brooks Brothers has size 32 pants in the boys section.

I have a J. Crew engine turn belt. I love all the looks I can make with such a sharp belt, but the quality feels like it isn’t going to last me long and I am a bit taller so I was looking for a metal piece and belt that were a little wider. Who makes good engine turn placket belts? Am I even saying that right? – Beezy
I had to google “Engined Turn Belt” in order to figure out what you were talking about. I usually refer to these types of belts as plaque belts. I have a Brunello Cucinelli plague belt which I wear with almost everything. I suggest you buying one as it is substantially taller and bigger than most plague buckles.

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