A very British Double Breast
A mundane day in the Back Bay.
Le goût des livres…
Liverano Tie on Ascot Chang
I enjoy getting dressed in the morning, but I don’t like spending a lot of time fussing over it. Which is why most of the items in my wardrobe are white, blue, brown, cream, or grey. Colors outside of that tend to be no wilder than burgundy or dark green. This allows me to easily grab things out of my closet and be assured that the colors will complement each other.
I’ve also found that it’s easier to dress with just two patterns. Having no patterns can leave an outfit looking a bit flat and boring; having too many runs the risk of things clashing. There are exceptions to this, of course. Formalwear is the most obvious one, but things such as a navy suit with a crisp white shirt, folded linen handkerchief, and a solid navy tie will always look great. For everything else, I usually try to stick to just two patterns – enough to add visual interest, but not so many that I have to worry whether I’m creating a dizzying eyesore.
Above are three of my favorite style photos, and they demonstrate this in the most basic way – a patterned sport coat or suit paired with a patterned tie. Everything else is kept solid and basic. But there are other variations. For example, imagine wearing a navy sport coat with a solid brown tie. Instead of a plain blue shirt and white pocket square, you can use a blue Bengal striped shirt to give your tie a more interesting background, and then stuff a patterned hank into your pocket, so that the Bengal stripes don’t look too lonely.
Similarly, you can apply this principle to textures. Think of a green, waxed-cotton Barbour jacket worn over a blue oxford-cloth shirt and a thick, but plain, merino crewneck sweater. Below, there can be a pair of worsted flannel trousers. The flannel trousers are nice, but a thicker woolen with a more obvious nap would be nicer. Or better still, swap those out for a pair of brown corduroys, and change the plain merino crewneck for something more textured, such as a Shetland. The ribs of the corduroy and fuzziness of the Shetland will add some important visual interest to an otherwise very basic ensemble.
By sticking to two patterns or textures, you can ensure that there will be something interesting about your ensemble, but with minimal risk of things clashing. This will also allow you think more about what purchases you might need to make. If your collection of sport coats and ties are mostly solid, instead of plain blue and white shirts, you may want to buy some stripes and checks. This way, it’ll make dressing in the morning easy.
Cade and Co
This winter’s cold weather has reminded me that I’d really like to acquire a classic Ulster overcoat sometime this year. An Ulster is a long, double-breasted overcoat, usually made with a 6x3 or 8x4 button configuration. Those numbers refer to how the buttons are arranged on any double-breasted garment (not just Ulsters). A 6x3 double-breasted will have six buttons altogether, neatly arranged into two columns with three buttons each, while a 8x4 will have eight buttons arranged into two columns with four buttons each.
The Ulster has its origins in Ireland, where men would wear the overcoat casually in the wintertime out in the countryside. For this reason, it’s usually made out of a thick, heavy tweed, and will feature details such envelope patch pockets. It’s meant to fit somewhat roomy in order to accommodate any heavy sweaters or thick tweed sport coats worn underneath. To give it some shape, a half belted back is set in for a minimal level of waist suppression.
Its defining characteristic, however, is the collar. To most men, it looks something like what you might see on a peacoat. Broadly cut, it’s designed to button close about the neck and is commonly worn with the back popped up. Last year, when I had dinner with Neapolitan tailor Antonio Panico, he wore a deep navy Ulster overcoat over his burgundy scarf and chalkstriped navy flannel suit. The collar on his coat was flipped up, and it looked quite dashing.
I haven’t seen any new Ulster overcoats offered by any of the major menswear brands, so I assume I’ll have to scour the vintage market. On the upside, I suppose that means if I find one, it should be much more affordable than what a new coat would cost. Here’s to hoping I get one before the start of next winter.
(Pictures from: me, For a Discerning Few, and an old Eaton catalog from 1920)
A gentleman, and a meticulous and effortless one at that. (via ethandesu)
Alan in Taka’s coat. Possibly the most splendid, magnificent, amazing coat of all time, ever.