Business Casual Men’s Attire & Dress Code Explained

Business casual is a dress code men are confronted with everywhere, but what does it really mean? In this Business Casual Guide for men, we answer this question in detail, share DO’s and DON’Ts and provide specific advice on what you can wear so you are dressed to the T.

Business Casual Video

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History of Business Casual

Until recently, the Business Casual attire dress code did not exist. There was simply daywear and evening wear. During the day, men would wear a stroller coat or a morning coat for business. In the evening they would change into a tailcoat for dinner and events. Once retiring for bed, pajamas would be donned as would a dressing gown, but the chance of anyone seeing them wear them (besides their spouse and perhaps a valet) was slim to none. The most casual attire a gentleman might wear would have perhaps been a tweed suit while shooting or for a walk in the park.

Around the turn of the century, black tie made its mark and the tuxedo overtook the white tie dress code in popularity. Business suits became the standard daywear for decades.

Solid options for casual Friday

Business Casual for Men Changes with the Office Environment and the Job

Aloha Friday Paved the Way for Business Casual

Then came 1966. Until then, casual wear was worn on the weekends at home, but if you worked in an office, you wore a suit and a tie. There was no debate about what was appropriate office attire. Then, a company that made Hawaiian shirts began to strategize how they could increase their profits and a brilliant ad agency in Hawaii came up with the idea of “Aloha Fridays”.

They began petitioning local businesses to allow their employees to wear the Hawaiian shirt on Fridays. Initially penned as a way of showing local pride, it ended up quickly becoming a trend and a popular way of avoiding the rat race of corporate America. The fad began to catch on and soon it hopped off the Islands and made its way to the mainland.

Vintage Hawaii Shirt by Penney's

Vintage Hawaii Shirt by Penney’s

Dockers Ad Campaign Brings Khakis To The Office

By the early 1990s, Levis began to notice the trend on the mainland and many of its customers in upper management began complaining that their employees were too casual, wearing shorts and t-shirts to work. The sale of jeans was in decline and so they took it as a chance to market their new brand called ‘Dockers’ to the corporate community.

They began to launch expensive ad campaigns for their khaki pants and it took off. Employers looked at it as a fair compromise between shorts and suits and the employees agreed. As this was occurring, television shows like Saved by the Bell and movies about wealthy country clubs began showing the Preppy, Ivy and Trad styles to those outside the Northeastern United States. Companies like Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren and J.Crew jumped on the opportunity to increase the sale of their casual wear. They began marketing polo shirts, sports jackets, shirts and chinos as perfect options that worked flawlessly or better than the Levi Dockers brand. It was a revolution of sorts.

How is Business Casual Defined Today for Men?

Business Casual Outfit by Hogtownrake - Single Breasted Blazer with popover shirt, cotton pocket square, khakis and brown tassel loafers

Business Casual Outfit by Hogtownrake – Single Breasted Blazer with popover shirt, cotton pocket square, khakis, and brown tassel loafers

Business Casual in a Nutshell = No Suit, But Also No Jeans

Obviously, that is just a general guideline but in order to nail the business casual look, you have to adapt to your specific company culture. Also, your age is important and the older you are, the more formal your business casual outfit should be.

Business Casual in Traditional White Collar Jobs: Law Firms, Banks, Accounting Firms

If business casual attire is allowed in this kind of work environment it is the most formal of all business casual dress codes and it consists of the following items:

1. Blazer or Sport Coat

The blazer is an essential part of a business casual wardrobe. Avoid gold buttons and stick with dark colors. Navy is the most classic color and your best bet. Single breasted is the standard while a double-breasted navy blazer can look more powerful.  To learn more about the blazer in general, check out our blazer guide.

If you wear a sports coat, opt for something subdued with a subtle pattern and avoid loud summery colors.

Oxford Cloth Shirt - A Business Casual Staple

Oxford Cloth Shirt Button-down shirt – A Business Casual Staple

2. Long Sleeved Dress Shirt

Wear a cotton dress shirt in light blue or pastel colors. An Oxford dress shirt is absolutely appropriate for business casual wear and can be worn in a relaxed state by keeping the top button undone or wearing a more casual knit tie with it. A simple white oxford shirt is the ideal shirt for business casual wear as it can be elevated to business attire for a last minute meeting with the addition of a tie kept in your desk drawer and a blazer thrown over the top.

Business Casual Outfit with silk knit tie for fall

Business Casual Outfit with silk knit tie for fall

3. Neckwear

Neckwear is optional but it certainly elevates your outfit. Ideal ties include grenadine ties or knit ties because they perfectly underline the business casual character. Bow ties certainly make a  statement, and when in doubt stick with the tie.

In case you decide against neckwear, make sure that your undershirt is not visible.

4. Trousers

Jeans should not be worn but the jacket and shirt are ideal

Jeans should not be worn but the jacket and shirt are ideal

5. Dress Pants

A pair of solid navy, grey or even charcoal dress pants pleated or flat front are the perfect choice for business casual wear. With a dress shirt neatly tucked into it, and a blazer or sports jacket you are good to go.

Small Houndstooth pattern ideal for Business Casual

Small Houndstooth pattern ideal for Business Casual

6. Chinos / Khakis

Chinos are appropriate in many casual work environments, but should ideally be paired with a contrasting blazer to elevate their casual heritage.

7. Corduroy Pants

Cords can also be worn in lieu of chinos during the colder months of the year. The same rules apply to corduroys as they do to chinos.

Business Casual Mens by hogtownrake - Cardigan Madder inspired tie that extends beyond the waistband with suspenders, and vintage watch

Business Casual Mens by hogtownrake – Cardigan Madder inspired tie that extends beyond the waistband with suspenders, and vintage watch

8. Sweaters

A sweater vest, cardigan or turtle neck works well during the colder days in addition to your sports coat or blazer. Simply worn over a collared shirt it is only appropriate for Casual Friday. In general, a knitted vest will always make a formal garment more casual.

9. Accessories

Accessories are a great way to distinguish yourself from the pack. Choosing a knit tie or pocket square for your blazer pocket will make you look very dapper. Depending on your environment, a boutonniere or a collar pin may work as well, but when in doubt, skip it.

You could also consider a more casual wristwatch with a more formal outfit or pairing a dress watch with a more casual outfit to add a touch of elegance.

Cufflinks are also a good way to enhance your outfit, just like tie bars.

Wrist bands are a bit too casual and when in doubt, skip them.

Full Brogue Oxford with a beautiful chestnut brown patina

Full Brogue Oxford with a beautiful chestnut brown patina

10. Shoes & Boots

This is where you can have a bit more fun. Rather than sticking with the classic oxfords and derbies, you can get creative with unique colors like oxblood or wearing more casual dress shoes and boots like monk straps, loafers or chukka boots, Chelsea boots or balmoral boots. For an in-depth rundown on business casual shoes, click here.

In terms of color, brown shoes are a great companion for Business Casual, and so are burgundy and Oxblood. Click here to learn how to wear and combine them. 

a-leather-bag-is-always-preferable-to-a-backpack

a-leather-bag-is-always-preferable-to-a-backpack

11. Bags

Sometimes you see grown men wearing backpacks with their business casual outfits. That’s a faux pas and it makes you look like a little school boy. Instead, go with a leather bag in brown or black that works for you. Whether it’s classic, functional or sleek, clean and modern you can find hundreds of leather bags in various price ranges.

Business Casual in the Service Industry

If you work in the service industry, in sales, trade positions or a job where you interact with the public, you should adapt the business casual standard above.

If you are just at the office and you don’t have customer contact, your employer will most likely have a more relaxed attitude when it comes to business casual.

Hogtownrake in combination of light sport coat with charcoal pants and brown wool knit tie, blue shirt and cream pocket square

Hogtownrake combines a light sports coat with charcoal pants and a brown wool knit tie, a blue shirt, and a cream pocket square

1. Jackets

It’s likely that wearing a jacket is optional. So if you don’t want to go with just a dress shirt and a blazer would be too much, consider wearing a vest or a cardigan instead.

2. Shirts

The button-down collar shirt is another classic shirt that is acceptable for business casual wear. Alternatively, a long-sleeved polo shirt is acceptable too, if others wear it in the office as well. You don’t want to be the only one wearing polos though.

In this scenario, business casual does not mean wearing t-shirts, casual sweaters without a collared shirt underneath, hoodies, pullovers or any other style of shirt.

Checked Shirt Fabric - Ideal for Business Casual

Checked Shirt Fabric – Ideal for Business Casual

3. Neckwear

Neckties and bow ties are completely optional, yet they look great with vests, jackets and cardigans.

4. Pants

While dress pants are ok, chinos, khakis, and corduroys are the best choice. Dark colors such as navy and grey are versatile, although lighter colors are preferable for the warmer months of the year.

Pants such as denim jeans, athletic wear, sweatpants, draw-string pants, shorts, and cargo pants should not be worn, nor should any pant with a camouflage print or large visible logo.

Navy pants, burgundy vest and tweed jacket - business casual in the fall

Navy pants, burgundy vest, and tweed jacket – business casual in the fall

5. Sweaters & Accessories

If you decide not to wear a jacket, sweaters and knit vests or cardigans become your best friends. Not only will they keep you warm, but they also look stylish all while adding that casual note to your outfit. Accessorize your outfit as you please but try not to add too many accents, otherwise, people don’t know where to look.

6. Shoes & Boots

Skip sneakers and tennis shoes but you can choose from a wide range of classic shoes in various materials such as leather, suede, and fabric.

7. Bags

Leather bags are best but if you want a canvas-leather or all canvas bag may work as well. You can be more daring with your color choice and go with green, yellow, blue or red if you want.

Chinos are acceptable making this a great business casual outfit

In young start-ups, this would be an appropriate business casual outfit

Business Casual in Startups

Startups are generally much more casual than traditional jobs. They will likely also not have a company dress code but the hierarchies are typically low and often people can wear whatever they want, especially in a tech related environment.

1. Jackets

In most places a jacket is probably too overdressed. Is your startup that place? You’ll figure it out pretty soon. At the same time, startups often have a very accepting culture so if you enjoy dressing up, wearing a jacket the way you like it is a good thing.

2. Shirts, Sweaters & Neckwear

While most startups would consider a t-shirt to be just fine, a nice trim cut polo shirt looks much smarter. Sweaters are perfectly acceptable and neckwear is definitely not the norm but again, if you like it, go for it.

Bold sport coats are too much for business casual

Bold sport coats are too much for traditional business casual but in start-ups they are fine

3. Pants & Shorts

While it’s totally fine to wear denim at most startups, and you can even find people wearing cargo shorts, you are probably better off wearing lightweight summer slacks such as seersucker because no matter what you do in life, people will at least subconsciously judge you based on what you look like. Being perceived as being well put together will never hurt you, but being a slob can. Consider wearing a sports coat with jeans for a polished casual look.

Appropriate business casual attire for young men

Appropriate business casual attire for young men in a start-up

4. Shoes & Boots

A nice pair of boots or shoes will always make you look more dapper than wearing sneakers. Instead of just going with brown, you can be more playful and wear stone, red, green or blue suede loafers, driving mocs or spectators. Of course, sneakers or stylish canvas shoes can be acceptable too, and even though some coworker may wear tennis shoes, you will look better without them.

5. Bags

A portfolio or a leather/canvas bag is your best bet. In terms of colors, anything goes, even though a bright pink bag with pokemon on it may not reflect positively on you. If you are into tech, bags with built-in chargers, cables and camera compartments will satisfy your needs but please, skip the backpack.

A great business casual outfit with outerwear and accessories

A great business casual outfit with button-up shirt outerwear and accessories

Business Casual Outerwear & Accessories

When your job means being on the move, it’s a great idea to ensure your outerwear matches your indoor attire because that active jacket you wear skiing or hiking does not go well with your sports coat.

Quilted Jackets

Lightweight, warm and classic the quilted jacket is slightly longer than your blazer and makes you look instantly well put together. At the same time, it is easy to care for, wrinkles easily and can be machine washed.

Trench Coat

During the fall and spring season, a trench coat will look very dapper. To learn all about this garment, check out our trench coat guide. For a more youthful look, with a trench coat, that is shorter than your knees.

Peacoat with double sided scarf, Jodhpur boots and Chinos - Business Casual

Peacoat with a double-sided scarf, Jodhpur boots, and Chinos – Business Casual

Peacoat

For the cold winters, a pea coat is the perfect business casual companion because it is less formal than a full-fledged overcoat yet still warm, stylish and functional due to its many pockets. To learn more about peacoats click here

Scarves & Gloves

A gorgeous paisley scarf or a nice pair of gloves will add the finishing touches to your business casual look.

This is too casual for business casual unless you work in a young tech company

Jeans & sports coat: This is too casual for business casual unless you work in a young startup office or tech environment

Business Casual DON’Ts: When in Doubt, Dress Up

Jeans should be avoided unless approved by management

Jeans should be avoided in a traditional office or service environment unless approved by management

If you are unsure of whether business casual is allowed in your workplace or not, it is best to err on the side of caution and to be overdressed rather than underdressed. Wear a suit and tie the first day. Then you can see how people dress around you and adapt. If you are still unsure about what is appropriate, ask your coworker or superior.

Business Casual DON’Ts to Avoid

Even for the most casual workplaces, there are times where business casual simply isn’t appropriate. Here are a few of the times you will want to wear a more conservative outfit such as a business suit:

  • When you have an important meeting with clients or customers outside your normal range of duties
  • When you have a meeting with a manager or executive in the organization
  • When you will be attending a board or committee meeting
  • During work-related events, conferences, and symposiums
  • When representing your company in the media or speaking at an event
  • When interviewing for a position or negotiating a raise with your employer
  • When you work for a firm with a policy that does not permit the regular wearing of business casual attire
  • Don’t wear business casual to a  job interview – to learn more about what to wear to an interview, check out this guide
Wonderful business casual outfit for fall with brown suede double monks and green turtleneck

Works for most offices. Wonderful business casual outfit for fall with brown suede double monks and green turtleneck

What about Casual Friday? It Depends

Some companies do not support business casual attire but they will allow it on Fridays, others even allow very casual clothing on Fridays. Talk to your coworkers and your boss to find out how your company handles Friday dress codes.

In case there is a more casual dress code for Fridays, but you notice that senior management doesn’t dress that way, you should consider following their lead. It’s more advantageous for you to dress for the job you want, rather than the job you have.

Conclusion

Business Casual for men is not easy to master because it means different things at different offices and events. Using our guidelines will give you a good place to start.

Finally, remember to use this rule of thumb: if you’re unsure whether it’s appropriate, chances are it’s not! Dress up a notch because it is always best to be slightly overdressed rather than slightly underdressed.


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She told her co-hosts that she will miss them as they happily present her with a gift for the baby girl that should be on her way any day now.

She showed off her pregnant figure in a gorgeous skin-tight black outfit, and now she’s flaunting her curves in a red one. Check out her pics below:

‘So In love❤ #BabyShowerDay #Fiance #BabyDaddy #PjsParents #MeetTheMckinleys’ Porsha captioned a photo with Dennis.

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Hi❤

A post shared by #PorshaWilliams (@porsha4real) on

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Anatomy of a Dress Shoe

Dress shoes, structurally, may be the most complex thing you wear every day. In this article, we’ll break down the component parts of a pair of shoes so you can shoe shop like an expert.

Recently on The Gentleman’s Gazette, we’ve discussed the stylistic features that make up a suit and a pair of pants. Continuing further from head to toe, we end up with shoes. When we buy them, we usually choose them first for the style and fit, but rarely for their individual construction.

It’s worth a look at the individual parts of a dress shoe so you can be a smart shopper.

Ace Marks - Basic 4 Shoes
Four basic dress shoe styles for men

The Anatomy of a Dress Shoe

Two Main Parts of a Shoe

In the broadest sense, a shoe is divided into two main parts, the upper, which is everything on top of your foot plus the lining, and the sole, which makes up the underside. Let’s start by taking a look at the upper, the more visible part of the shoe, moving from front to back.

Awaiting lasting
Shoe uppers awaiting lasts

The Toe

The upper is made by stretching leather over a last, a carved form usually made of wood, and leaving it there for some time so that it molds to its shape.

Bespoke lasts and a trial shoe
Bespoke lasts and a trial shoe

It is eventually secured to the sole with either glue or nails. At the very front of the upper, we have the toe, which can either be simple or embellished, perhaps with a medallion.

Beautiful patina and custom medallion and buckle on a bespoke monk strap shoe by Ugolini
Beautiful patina and custom medallion and buckle on a bespoke monk strap shoe by Ugolini

This is a pattern made up of perforations in the leather, which makes it somewhat more casual, an unadorned toe being more formal than one with ornamentation. Toe shape on a shoe can vary, and whether it is rounded, almond shaped, or chiseled, plays an important role in the appearance and visual impression of the shoe as well as how comfortably it fits.

The Vamp

Directly behind the toe is the vamp. This is the area that flexes when you walk and is thus subject to creasing. You never want to apply polish, especially wax polish, to the vamp, as it will dry there and crack when the shoe creases, creating a cloudy and caked appearance.

Though some creasing of the vamp is inevitable simply by virtue of the way your foot flexes, it can be minimized by buying shoes made of quality leather and then by storing them with shoe trees to keep the vamp stretched out.

The vamp is the area where the shoe creases most

The Quarters

After this come the quarters. The quarters include everything on the upper, including where the laces are up to where the leather wraps around the back of the heel; in essence, the quarters are the sides and back of the shoe. The nature of the quarters is what determines the difference between a derby and an oxford lace-up shoe.

An oxford and a derby, when compared, show the two different types of construction of the quarters

On the former, the quarters are stitched over the vamp, creating two flaps that are then tied together with laces; on the latter, you have the opposite, with the vamp stitched over the quarters. This makes for a cleaner, and therefore more formal,  look since there aren’t any top flaps of leather. When tying a derby, there will always be some gapping between the flaps, which is referred to as an open lacing system.

Light Brown Shoelaces Round Waxed Cotton - Made in Italy by Fort Belvedere closeup
An open lacing system featuring light brown shoelaces by Fort Belvedere

On the other hand, the gap on an oxford is minimal, which is why it is referred to as having a closed lacing system.

Close up Red Shoelaces Round Waxed Cotton - Made in Italy by Fort Belvedere
A closed lacing system featuring red shoelaces by Fort Belvedere

The laces themselves are threaded through eyelets, usually five pairs, sometimes four, which are punched through the area known as the facing of the shoe. Beneath the facing, you’ll find the tongue, a piece of leather that looks like its anatomical namesake. We don’t usually think of the tongue of having a specific purpose–it’s just “there”–but it’s actually designed to protect the top of your foot from the pressure of the laces.

Front Angle of Fort Belvedere Round Boot Laces in Dark Green, Royal Blue and Red - Made in Italy
The tongue is designed to give you a smooth feel under the lacing system, which is particularly important on boots

At the back of the shoe is the topline, which is the top edge of the hole into which you put your foot. At the heel, the topline is supported internally by additional leather reinforcement known as the heel counter.

Travel shoe horn with engraved Fort Belvedere Logo
A shoe horn is essential to protecting the integrity of the structure of your shoes

Protecting the heel counter is the reason why you should always use a shoehorn when putting on and taking off dress shoes: jamming your heel against the topline as you force your foot down into the shoe will cause the leather there to buckle and collapse. This can leave permanent wrinkles or deform the area, ruining the fit.

Shoepassion Workmanship
The topline on the back of a pair of Shoepassion shoes: below the leather of the heel is the heel counter to add structure

The Insole

Inside the shoe you have the insole, which in a dress shoe should be made of soft leather. The insole provides comfortable, smooth padding for your foot to rest upon.

Black Insole and Lining
Black Insole and Lining

This footbed contrasts the hard outsole–the lowest part of the shoe–which touches the ground. Between the insole and outsole is the midsole, which can be made up of cork, for cushioning.

Also under the instep of your foot, manufacturers may place a shank–a thin rectangular strip of metal, wood, or fiberglass–that helps to support the foot. The choice of shank material, and whether to use one at all, depends on the brand. For instance, according to a Reddit survey, Crockett & Jones uses wood, Meermin uses steel, and Allen Edmonds doesn’t use anything at all.

The Welt

Forming the transition between the upper and the outsole is the welt. This is a thin strip of leather that protrudes around the edge of the outsole to which the upper is secured.

Breaking in the leather sole of a good year welted chukka boot
A good year welted chukka boot

Connoisseurs of footwear will know that the two ways to do this are with a Goodyear welt or Blake stitching. Goodyear welted shoes, named for a machine originally manufactured by Goodyear, are more expensive because of the way the outsole is attached to the upper, which involves a more complex double-stitch approach. Because of this, they can be resoled fairly easily by a cobbler.

Goodyear Welt Construction
Goodyear Welt Construction

The Blake method, on the other hand, involves a simpler stitching method where the insole, upper and outsole are joined together with a single stitch that, while simple to create is difficult to repair.

Ace Marks - Blake Stitched Shoe with Hand Burnished Patina
A Blake Stitched Shoe with Hand Burnished Patina

Because it is made completely inside the structure of the shoe with a machine, resoling the shoe is difficult if your cobbler doesn’t possess said machine. And, even then, it is a more laborious and potentially more costly process. For this reason, and because the complexity of Goodyear welting is also matched with other higher quality features, a Goodyear welted shoe is usually worth the investment.

Blake Construction
Blake Construction

The Sole

The outsole is the lowermost part of the shoe and has to satisfy the double demands of supporting the full weight of the wearer and standing up to the friction of walking on the ground. In a dress shoe, the outsole is commonly made of leather, which is the most elegant, but Dainite (rubber) is also a popular option for those who want more grip and greater water resistance. The thickness of the leather can vary, with multiple layers of outsole appearing in chunkier country derby shoes like those made by Tricker’s or Church’s in the UK. These may be referred to as “double leather” soles.

Tricker's shoes
Tricker’s chunky Keswick shoe with a double leather sole

With an outsole made of leather there are more opportunities for various structural details that add to its elegance and craftsmanship. One example is a beveled or fiddleback waist.

G&G's characteristic sole with fiddleback waist
A Gaziano & Girling sole with beveled fiddleback waist

This used to be seen only on bespoke shoes, but newer technologies have made it accessible in ready-to-wear models. The waist is the narrowest part of the sole, located between the heel and the ball of the foot, directly below the arch of your foot, just as the waist is the narrowest part of the torso in an ideal physique. Beveling the waist shaves down the leather there and gives it a sharp chiseled appearance. The fiddlehead waist occurs when a beveled waist is extended into a V shape toward the direction of the toe.

EG shoes have distinctively nailed heels. These await finishing.
EG shoes have distinctively nailed heels. These await finishing.

Finally, we have the heel at the bottom rear of the shoe. Like the outsole, the heel can be built up with individual layers of leather or rubber, and sometimes a combination of both. Rubber is usually reserved for the back edge of the heel, as shown in the Gaziano & Girling image above to provide a measure of grip.

A high-quality dress shoe will usually join the rubber to the leather with a dovetailed joint. An additional touch that you may find on the heel is known as the gentleman’s notch or gentleman’s corner.

Gentleman's corner
Gentleman’s notch on the inside corner of the heel

This is a notch sliced from the inside front corner of the heel that was originally designed to keep the wearer’s trouser hem from catching on the heel in the course of raising and lowering his legs while walking. This would really only happen with very wide legged pant more common during the Golden Age of menswear, so it’s really a vestige of the past than something with an actual purpose now; however, it’s a nod to tradition and a sign of an attention to detail.

Conclusion

Shoes are described as being constructed, and true to that term, they are really built of many component parts that come together to make a coherent whole. Usually, we choose shoes based on how they look and how they fit, which are important considerations, rather than for the individual structural features. However, developing an eye for everything that goes into a shoe helps you assess the quality and workmanship.

What parts of the shoe are most important to you? Tell us in the comments.


Gentleman’s Gazette

MEN FASHION DEAL UPDATE:

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Cary Grant Style Secrets & How To Dress Like Him

A quintessential gentleman, a charismatic icon of timeless elegance and grace, Cary Grant will forever remain in our hearts and on our screens as one of the best-dressed men Hollywood has ever seen. Described as having a gracious manner, the debonair Grant always seemed to have everything in place. His hair was always coiffed, his cars shined and pristine and his attire could only be described as impeccably tailored and fit for a gentleman.

The History of Mr. Cary Grant

Cary Grant is one of those names that sticks with you. It’s a movie stars name, the name of the lead in a play or a character in a book. It has a ring to it, and that’s probably why Archibald “Archie” Leach chose it as his name in 1942.

Cary Grant = Archibald Alexander Leach

Born on January 18, 1904, Archibald Alexander Leach came into this world as the child of Elsie Maria Leach and Elias James Leach. His upbringing was anything but normal with his mother in and out of mental institutions for bouts of depression among other issues. He attended Bishop Road Primary School in Bristol, England where he grew up and on in the time his mother was sent away, his father Elias would tell him she was taking a long holiday. After a few bouts, Elias had her committed and told Grant she had died while traveling. It wasn’t until he was 31 years old that his father confessed she was mentally unstable and had not been on holiday, nor was she dead, but that he could find her alive in the sanitarium.

Abandoned As A Young Boy

By the time Leach was ten years old, his father had remarried and began a life with his new family that refused to include the young boy. To date, there is little known about how he was cared for, and by whom.

With his family troubles, Leach turned to mischief and was expelled from the Fairfield Grammar School in Bristol in 1918. He had always been very skilled in acrobatics and entertaining so he joined the Bob Pender Stage Troupe where he learned to walk on stilts. At the age of 16, he traveled with the vaudevillian troupe to United States on the RMS Olympic for a two year tour of the country. He, like many young men at that time was processed at Ellis Island on July 28, 1920.

Dietrich in sparkly tailcoat wtih Cary Grant wearing a single end bow tie with his white tie ensemble
Dietrich in sparkly tailcoat with Cary Grant wearing a single end bow tie with his white tie ensemble

America, The Land Of Grants Dreams

The young Leach was so enamored with the American dream and the lifestyle that he refused to return home at the end of the stay. Not having a father or mother who would miss him, he joined the American vaudeville acts and went on tour with Parker, Rand and Leach. For the first part of his career while on stage, he still performed under the name Archie Leach in shows such as Irene, Music in May, Rio Rita and the Street Singer. His experience with the acrobatic group gave him incredible strength, timing and grace and it wasn’t long before he would make the trip to Hollywood in the year 1931, playing on Broadway before hitting the big screen.

Archie Leach Becomes Cary Grant But He Was Almost Cary Lockwood

The name Archibald Leach would now be nothing but a distant memory filled with dread like a disease he had overcome.

Many have speculated where the name Cary Grant came from, but experts agree that according to witness testimony, Grant had originally proposed the name of Cary Lockwood, a character he enjoyed playing in the Broadway show Nikki. When he signed with Paramount Studios shortly before changing his name, he allegedly told producers and they found “Cary” acceptable but thought Lockwood was to similar to another actor’s last name. According to the history books, Paramount supplied the young man with a list of suitable names and he selected “Grant” because the initials “C.G.” had already proved very fortunate for men like Gary Cooper and Clark Gable.

Young Cary Grant in white tie, not the tiny bow tie knot and low profile rounded waistcoat tips
Young Cary Grant in white tie, not the tiny bow tie knot and low profile rounded waistcoat tips

Cary Grant Was An Instant Hit

From then on, Grant was an almost instant hit. With natural charm and a certain grace that few seemed to have, Cary Grant was a leading man who skyrocketed to fame as the star of Blonde Venus in 1932, followed by Mae West’s films She Done Him Wrong and I’m No Angel. A tremendous success at the box office, I’m No Angel was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture which saved Paramount at the time from declaring bankruptcy, but pushed Grant into a long series of unsuccessful film projects until 1936 when he signed with Columbia Pictures.

With his comedic timing from his years as an acrobat and stilt walker, he was picked to star in the 1937 comedy Topper which was distributed by MGM. Then The Awful Truth came out that same year which fully established Grant as a sophisticated leading man with a gentle comedic touch. It was rare in a time of masculine enforced male stars, but Grant used his gift of grace as a way to lighten things up and play various roles as opposed to being typecast simply as a good looking man.

Cary Grant with wide peak lapel tuxedo and butterfly bow tie and two shirt studs
Cary Grant with wide peak lapel tuxedo and butterfly bow tie and two shirt studs

“I pretended to be somebody I wanted to be and I finally became that person. Or he became me. Or we met at some point.”

Many argue that Grant was such a successful actor because of his upbringing. According to Grant, he was always pretending to be someone else. He once wrote “I pretended to be somebody I wanted to be and I finally became that person. Or he became me. Or we met at some point.”

Considering he had such a challenging upbringing, many attribute Grant’s style and manners as nothing short of miraculous, but Grant spent hours researching and watching men he admired in an effort to become more domesticated and less like the hooligan he once was, spouting off jazzy street talk instead of focusing on proper grammar. According to Grant of the pivotal moments for him in creating his “personality” was watching Leo McCarey, the director of The Awful Truth who had manners and a level of sophisticated grace like Grant had never seen before. His mannerisms and intonations resembled Grant’s, and he used McCarey as a learning tool to further his passion for savoir-vivre.

His performance in The Awful Truth was something The Atlantic called “the most spectacular run ever for an actor in American pictures” and for the next number of years, Grant went from hit to hit performing in romantic and screwball comedies.

A Casual Day for Cary Grant
A Casual Day for Cary Grant

His list of films became almost endless as he performed next to starlets such as Katharine Hepburn, Rosalind Russell, Rita Hayworth, Ingrid Bergman and Irene Dunne. It wasn’t long before every woman in America wanted him and every man wanted to be him. His style, his charm, his wit was unlike the world had seen. His sartorial flair for style was unprecedented and to top it off, he had the natural looks of a superstar. Many argue that men like Fred Astaire had similar traits, but Grant’s physical appearance was unmatched and he became a force in Hollywood.

Grant was liked. Both on and off screen he had a natural humbleness and graceful demeanor that made people swoon to him. Alfred Hitchcock once said Grant was “the only actor I ever loved in my whole life”.

British born actor Cary Grant (1904 - 1986) walking outdoors wearing a pinstripe jacket and a hat, 1940s.
British born actor Cary Grant (1904 – 1986) walking outdoors wearing a pinstripe jacket and a hat, 1940s.

By the mid 1950s, Grant opened up shop and started Granart Productions, which produced a number of films distributed by Universal including Operation Petticoat, That Touch of Mink with Doris Day, Indiscreet and Father Goose.

Then in 1963, my favorite day in movie history came when Cary Grant acted alongside my celebrity crush, Audrey Hepburn in Charade. Nothing truly noteworthy came of this and to be perfectly honest, there is no point in mentioning this in lieu of other movies he’s in. I just love Audrey Hepburn and since I’m writing this article, so long as my editor doesn’t delete this I can pretty much write whatever I want.

What is noteworthy however is what happened a year before. Cary Grant, in my opinion, is the perfect choice of every leading man ever to step foot in Hollywood to play James Bond. He never did though. Producers considered him for the role in 1962’s Dr. No, but decided against casting him since they were worried he wouldn’t stay tied down to just one picture. I know this is a first world problem but to me it’s devastating that he never played 007.

Cary Grant was a fan of pleats
Cary Grant was a fan of pleats

Throughout his career, Grant was nominated for two Academy Awards but lost both for Penny Serenade and None But The Lonely Heart. He retired still in demand at the age of 62 but received a special Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1970. Peter Stone, the co-writer of Father Goose said while receiving an Oscar, “My thanks to Cary Grant, who keeps winning these things for other people.” And according to the people closest to him, that’s just what Grant did. He was one of the rare few who always put people ahead of himself. It was rare for him to deny an interview, say no to a child wanting an autograph, or pose for a picture with a teary-eyed fan. Grant was about making others feel more comfortable, possibly because he was never comfortable himself.

The Style of a Legend

Inside Grant was a hurt man. Disposed of by his parents, lied to about his mother’s death until his thirties and tragically avoided by his father when he adopted a new family. No man could withstand that level of distress without masking it somehow. And that’s just what Grant did. If he wasn’t put together on the inside, he would try to always be confident on the outside. As a young chap, his father once told him when he was wearing a combination with loud socks – “remember, it is you walking down the street, not your socks.”

Interestingly, he had arrived in the U.S. in 1920 on the same ocean liner as Douglas Fairbanks Sr. Even though they didn’t travel in the same class, he was able to catch a glimpse here or their and the timeless, classic and elegant style of Fairbanks made a huge impression on him. Even years later he was able to tell Ralph Lauren all about the intricacies of Fairbanks’ clothes and accessories, including fabrics types, lapel widths and buttonholes. Interestingly, up to his style icons and tried to imitate them until he became like them.

Cary Grant Style = clothes of a well dressed, sophisticated chap

In his own words, he favored the “clothes of a well dress, sophisticated chap”.

A huge fan of military uniforms, Grant recognized them as being the apex of mens fashion. He realized that soldiers always looked sharp and even when they were disheveled in war, they still had a raw masculinity to them because of the uniform. Grant decided to adopt that in his wardrobe and treated his attire, not as clothing, but as his uniform. It wasn’t that his tuxedo was made of the feathers of an eagle or the hair of a unicorn, it was no different from any other man’s dinner jacket, except that Grant ensured his fit him flawlessly and was always perfectly cleaned, crisply ironed and not a strand was out of place. Whether it was a dinner jacket or a pair of  jeans, he knew that clothes make the man.

1935:  British born actor Cary Grant (1904 - 1986), who starred in a number of classic comedies between the 1930s and 1960s.
1935: British born actor Cary Grant (1904 – 1986), who starred in a number of classic comedies between the 1930s and 1960s.

Because of his slim figure he was able to buy clothes off the rack such as trench coats from Aquascutum and country clothing from Abercrombie & Fitch (at that time, AF wasn’t what it is today but instead it was popular with gentlemen interested in the outdoors). In his early days he would often wear collar pins and knit ties, later he would wear 3-fold ties more often. He understood that even the least expensive items from a retail store still needed a hem here, a cuff there. Just as the army required their soldiers to keep their boots shined and pleats straight, Grant would spend countless hours and hire countless help to ensure his clothes were always immaculate. His suits and shirts were often custom tailored at Cifonelli in Rome or Dunhill in London and sometimes copied in Hong Kong. The copiers were so meticulous that they once even replicated the little fray on the collar of one of Grant’s favorite shirts!

Cary Grant in white tie
Cary Grant in white tie

One thing Cary Grant hated wearing was hats. Perhaps as Eva Marie Saint said he had “such a nice face”. He was striking and looked good in almost everything, except hats. He looked terrible in hats. He had this strong, assertive, perfectly framed face so why wear a hat and cover it up. Many men in that day like Humphrey Bogart made use of hats to reveal character traits, but Grant didn’t need it. He didn’t need it worth a damn. He could give a look or make an expression in one way or another that would reveal everything he wanted us to know, and for generations since, actors have tirelessly pursued that level of perfected acting.

Hats Rarely Looked Good on Cary Grant
Hats Rarely Looked Good on Cary Grant
Cary Grant Rarely Wore Hats
Cary Grant Rarely Wore Hats

The thing is that he really wasn’t the best actor around. Audiences were just so spellbound by his good looks and sense of style his awkward acting came across as a masculine form of aloofness. In that day and age, men who practiced style the way Grant did were thought to be homosexuals, but somehow, for some reason, many people looked past that with Grant.

“He had such fun in performing. He was so full of joy. You could see it in his body. You could see it in his face. He just let it all out”, said Eve Marie Saint.

In that day and age, male stars didn’t have the luxury of large wardrobes and often had to wear their own clothes. That’s one of the reasons they kept casting Grant was because he was damn elegant. The fourteen-gauge, mid-gray, worsted wool suits he wore in North by Northwest were his own; ones he had personally purchased from tailors on Savile Row.

Marlene Dietrich in Blone Venus 1932 in special white tie - note Cary Grant
Marlene Dietrich in Blone Venus 1932 in special white tie – note Cary Grant

His dress was certainly popular with the ladies and he had a few to his name. He was married five times to Virginia Cherril, Barbara Hutton, Betsy Drake, Dyan Cannon and Barbara Harris with many partners in between. Rumors have circulated that perhaps Grant was gay or bisexual but many women argue he was absolutely not. Regardless of who Grant was on the inside, to everyone else he was a legend. A man of timeless elegance who retired when his daughter Jennifer was born, so that she would have stability and fatherly love in her upbringing. Something he never had himself.

On the morning of November 29, 1986, when his wife left for a pharmacy in search of aspirin, Cary Grant suffered a cerebral hemmorage. He died at 11:22 that evening in St. Luke’s Hospital at the age of 82. The vast majority of his estate was left to his fifth wife, Barbara Harris, and his daughter, the true love of his life, Jennifer Grant.

“Permit me to suggest that you dress neatly and cleanly. A young person who dresses well usually behaves well. Good manners and a pleasant personality, even without a college education, will take you far.” – Cary Grant

Book

If you would like to learn more about Cary Grant’s style, you should buy a copy of Cary Grant: A Celebration of Style.

Cary Grants Thoughts on Clothing

Much has been written about Cary Grant’s style but he only wrote one article about his thoughts on clothing in style, which was published in a 5 part series in THIS WEEK in 1962. 5 years later, GQ picked it up and republished it. Here it is again:

I’m often asked for advice or an opinion about clothes, and I always try to answer the best I can, but I’m not inclined to regard myself as an authority on the subject. Many times during my years in films, some well-meaning group has selected me as best-dressed man of the year, but I’ve never understood why. The odd distinction surprises me: first, because I don’t consider myself especially well dressed, and, secondly, I’ve never, as far as I can compare the efforts of others with my own, gone to any special trouble to acquire clothes that could be regarded as noticeably fashionable or up-to-date.

Cary Grant in North by Northwest

Some of my suits are ten to twenty years old, many of them ready-made and reasonably priced. Those that were custom-tailored were made by many different tailors in many different cities: London, Hong Kong, New York and Los Angeles. I believe that American ready-made clothes are the best ready-made clothes in the world: that the well-dressed American man makes a better appearance than the well-dressed man of any other country.

No, it isn’t only money that determines how well a man dresses—it’s personal taste. Because of the demands of my work, I’ve purchased dozens of suits over the years and they all have one attribute in common: they are in the middle of fashion. By that I mean they’re not self-consciously fashionable or far out, nor are they overly conservative or dated. In other words, the lapels are neither too wide nor too narrow, the trousers neither too tight nor too loose, the coats neither too short nor too long. I’ve worn clothes of extreme style, but only in order to dress appropriately for the type of character I played in particular films. Otherwise, simplicity, to me, has always been the essence of good taste.

I believe men’s clothes—like women’s—should attract attention to the best lines of a man’s figure and distract from the worst. In all cases, the most reliable style is in the middle of the road—a thoughtful sensible position in any human behavior. Except perhaps on the freeway—but, even then, the middle lane, providing of course, it’s on your side of the road, usually gets you where you’re going more easily, comfortably, and less disturbingly. And so it should be with clothes. They should be undisturbing, easy and comfortable.

There are many established stores or haberdasheries in each city, and probably in your neighborhood. Look at the suits in the windows. See how they compare with those worn by men whose taste you respect and admire. Think about the practical, functional and long-wearing qualities as they apply to your particular job or social activities. It’s better to consider carefully before buying than to regret your purchases for months afterwards. Study the cut, the price.

And here, by the way, is a tip. If the sleeves seem disproportionately wider than customary, it indicates a very deep armhole. Don’t contemplate buying if you are of average or slim size—you’ll get a well-fitting back but an extremely loose-fitting front and sleeves that tend to ride up if you lift your arms. A deep armhole is popular with many manufacturers because each coat fits a wider range of customers.

Film star Cary Grant with fourth wife Dyan Cannon
Film star Cary Grant with fourth wife Dyan Cannon

How much on should pay depends on how much one has to spend. I’m reminded of a piece of advice my father gave me regarding shoes: it has stood me in good stead whenever my own finances were low. He said it’s better to buy one good pair of shoes than four cheap ones. One pair made of fine leather could outlast four inferior pairs, and, if well cared for, would continue to proclaim your good judgment and taste no matter how old they become. The same applies to suits, so permit me to suggest you buy the best you can afford even though it means buying less. Rather like the stock market: it is usually more sensible to buy just one share of blue chip than 150 shares of a one-dollar stock.

What should one buy? Well, if a man’s budget restricts him to only one suit, then I would choose something unobtrusive. A dark blue, almost black, of lightweight cloth, serviceable for both day and evening wear. I suggest lightweight because nowadays most restaurants, offices, shops and theaters are well heated during fall and winter. I found that so even, surprisingly, in Moscow. With such modern indoor comfort, one need only be concerned with cold weather while out-of-doors.

Which brings us to overcoats. I’ve learned to wear overcoats that button up to the neck yet still appear neat when left open. It mystifies me that some men wear heavy single-breasted and even double-breasted, overcoats to protect themselves from cold, yet expose the most vulnerable part of their chests with V-neck openings. By wearing an overcoat that buttons to the neck, there is no need for a scarf.

The topcoat I use for traveling can be worn spring or fall. It’s black and therefore not only less apt to show dirt and travel stains, but usable for both day and formal wear. It’s made of a gabardine-type waterproof material, with slash side pockets that enable one to reach through easily for change, or to carry a book, or something similar, protected from the rain. There is also a detachable lining that buttons inside for very wintery days. An all-purpose coat.

What about a second suit? Well, I think a grey worsted or flannel would be most serviceable. Not too light in color, not too dark. And, this time, of medium weight but not more than what is known as ten-ounce cloth. It might be advantageous to purchase an extra pair of trousers for wearing separately with a sweater or a sport shirt. A grey flannel suit, with or without extra trousers, together with a sport coat could, at a pinch, be sufficient for a weekend in the country.

A sport coat ought to be easy-fitting, its pattern neither loud nor flashy. If you’re unsure which plaid or check to choose, then one of those dark blue, single-breasted blazers that have been worn by all classes in England for years, and have since become popular here, is acceptable for most casual wear.Blazers that have been worn by all classes in England for years, and have since become popular here, is acceptable for most casual wear.

Cary Grant wearing an ascot in To Catch A Thief
Cary Grant wearing an ascot in To Catch A Thief

Except, of course, on very hot days. During summer I’ve taken to wearing light beige, washable poplin suits. They’re inexpensive and, if kept crisp and clean, acceptable almost anywhere at any time, even in the evening. Also, the coat can be worn with grey flannels at the seashore or in the country, and the trousers used separately with a sport shirt and moccasins, or a pair of those heavy-soled white canvas shoes that are popular with young college men.

Poplin or seersucker suits are the mark of no special social class or income group, but are worn by all. And, providing he is well-mannered, a young man wearing such a suit can confidently approach the other fellow’s girl, secure in knowing that his way of dress is no deterrent.

A cardigan coat sweater of lightweight wool and conservative color is a useful investment. It can be worn without a coat on many occasions, and has the advantage of being easily slipped on without those arm-raising contortions and the need to re-comb your hair.

How do I feel about ties? If I had only one to choose, then I think a black foulard, not too wide nor too narrow, is best, as it’s acceptable with most clothes. An expensive tie is not a luxury—the wrinkles fall out quicker and the knot will hold better. Personally, I wear ties of small, conservative pattern and color.

Shoes? I’ve already mentioned that good shoes look better and last longer. If a man must limit himself to only one pair of shoes for city wear, then they should be black. If two, then a brown pair of darkest chocolate color are useful with almost all suits and, if he has no moccasins, even with grey flannels. The moccasin type of shoe is, to me, almost essential and especially convenient when traveling, since they can be easily slipped off in the airplane or car.

If your pocket handkerchief is monogrammed, don’t wear it carefully folded to show the monogram peeking above your breast-pocket. That’s somehow ostentatious.

If your pocket handkerchief is monogrammed, don’t wear it carefully folded to show the monogram peeking above your breast-pocket. That’s somehow ostentatious.

Shirts should usually be white for the evening, but, in the city’s grime, it’s practical and permissible to wear a light blue or conservatively striped shirt during the day. The type of collar should suit the contours of the neck and face. As a younger man, I tried wearing a flared, too-high collar that, although modish amongst those I regarded as the sophisticates of that day, looked ridiculous on my 17 1/2- inch neck. Luckily, after the embarrassment of viewing myself from almost every angle on screen, that mistake was soon rectified. Button-cuffed shirts are simplest to manage, but if you wear cuff links, as I do, don’t, I beg you, wear those huge examples of badly designed, cheap modern jewelry. They, too, are not only ostentatious, but heavy and a menace to the enamel on your car and your girl friend’s eye.

Relaxed Cary Grant
Relaxed Cary Grant

Learn to dispense with accessories that don’t perform a necessary function. I use belts, for example, only with blue jeans, which I wear when riding, and content myself with side loops, that can be tightened at the waistband, on business suits.

A tip about trousers. Trouser cuffs seem to me unnecessary, and are apt to catch lint and dust. However, whether you prefer cuffs or not, ask the tailor to sew a strip of cloth of the same material, or a tape of similar color, on the inside at the bottom of the trouser leg where it rubs the heel of the shoe. It will keep your trouser-bottoms from fraying.

Do I have any special do’s and don’t’s about clothes? I can’t think of and rules about clothes, since there really aren’t any, but I suggest you buy trees to conform to the shape of your shoes, and keep your coats on curved hangers.

Take care of your clothes, keep them clean and in good repair. I suggest you avoid using heavily scented cologne or soaps. When I meet a man I like him to smell like a man, or not to smell at all; certainly he shouldn’t smell like a woman. Do see that your socks stay up. Nothing can spoil an otherwise well-groomed effect like sagging socks. Don’t stuff your pockets with heavy articles and bulging wallets filled with seldom-used cards. They ruin not only the neatness of your appearance but the actual tailoring of your suit.

Don’t be a snob about the way you dress. Snobbery is only a point in time. Be tolerant and helpful to the other fellow—he is yourself yesterday.

Don’t overbuy. When you contemplate an article, judge whether or not it harmonizes with items you already own. Again, avoid exaggeration of current fashions. It’s best to be inconspicuous. But inconspicuous does not mean dull. Extreme dullness can be conspicuous in itself. Just do the best you can.

Come to think of it, who knows how anything becomes bad or good taste? Who decides a standard of esthetics? If it’s the majority, then how is it the minority are the ones considered well dressed? Everything is only exactly what it is. If a man wears the kind of clothes that please him, then, providing they’re clean and don’t shock society, morals, and little children, what is the difference as long as that man is happy?

Yes. Somewhere I read that Harvard’s Professor Archibald MacLeish was asked by a student about to graduate into our highly competitive world what advice he could give him. Professor MacLeish’s answer was, “Wear your Sunday suit every day.” The inference, of course, being that the suit would give the young man such confidence in seeking positions that he would eventually own many Sunday suits, for any and all days.

Splendid advice even by itself, but it’s probable that the professor meant not only his Sunday or best suit, but also his Sunday or best smile, disposition, and behavior—knowing that each begets the other. So wear, not only your clothes, but yourself, well, with confidence. Confidence, too, is in the middle of the road, being neither aggressiveness nor timidity. Pride of new knowledge—including knowledge of clothes—continually adds to self-confidence.’


Gentleman’s Gazette

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How to Find the Elusive Sweater Dress

Dresses are generally hard to fit, and sweater dresses can be the hardest of all. Too short, tight, itchy, lightweight, shapeless, or just all-round unflattering. That said, when you find a sweater dress that works, it’s the best Winter dress because it’s warm, cosy and versatile. Dress it up or down, layer it with hosiery and toppers, and combine it with any style of boots. 

Sweater dresses come in many variations. Short, long, body-con, fluid, A-line, solid, patterned, casual, dressy, sporty, retro, chunky, fine gauge, and belted. Take your pick.

In 2008 I wrote a post on how to find a flattering sweater dress and the guidelines are just as relevant ten years later. I’ve changed my preference for my perfect length though. A decade ago, I liked my sweater dresses just above the knee, and now I like them just below the knee.

I’ve had many sweater dresses over the years and loved them all. They became instant workhorses because you can throw them on with fun hosiery, boots, a topper, scarf, bag, and not feel cold in the dead of Winter. They are a fabulous change to jeans and pants. If only it weren’t so hard to find a perfect fit. I currently have one midi sweater dress from last season and I am constantly on the lookout for more. My challenges are insufficient length, a fit that’s too body-con, a neckline that’s too wide, bad quality, or flimsy fabric. Or I find a fabulous fit and great quality but it’s in a colour I don’t like, or at a price I don’t want to pay.

These sweater dress guidelines aren’t flop proof, but they might help get you on your way.

1. Embrace a Fluid or Oversized Fit

Surrender the waist with a very straight cut, or avant-garde and arty silhouette that drapes over lumps, bumps and extra bits in an architectural way if body-con fits are not your thing. This type of gently fluid or very voluminous cut can work on any body type when there is just enough structure in the outfit. My olive sweater turtleneck sweater dress is fluid and straight through the body, hugs my hips and bottom a little, and tapers at the hem for structure.

2. Consider an Empire Cut

The baby doll style is an extra roomy option on the bottom, making it a forgiving A-line silhouette. Good for apple shapes, pear shapes, and even straighter figures who crave ample movement. A larger bust needs a lower neckline in this style, and the empire cut should not cut across the bust.

3. Find a Fit & Flare

If you’re curvy or very curvy and prefer to define the waist, silhouettes that are belted or fitted on the torso create that type of structure. The flared bottom creates movement and camouflages hip and thigh extra bits you don’t feel comfortable showcasing. You can also add a wide belt to a fluid fit dress to define the waist.

4. Choose Heavier Knits

This does not necessarily mean “chunky knit” because fine gauge knits can be substantial (like the knit of my olive sweater dress). Knits with weight smooth over the contour of the body instead of grabbing onto curves in an unflattering way. Chunky knit sweater dresses with a fluid fit can also be a lot more flattering than you think.

5. Get the Length Right

Sweater dresses can’t be hemmed, which means that the length has to be perfect upon purchase. I like them just below the knees these days, or a little longer. But many of my clients prefer them on the knee, or just above the knee if the fits are voluminous and the knit is chunky. Some will wear them a whole lot shorter with very tall boots and opaques.

6. Complete the Outfit

Make sure you try a potential sweater dress with the right support act before you say no thank you. The right shoes and hosiery can make the difference. And remember that shapewear is a lot more comfortable than it used to be.

7. Block the Dress Back to Size

Sweater dresses can lose their perfect shape and fit after laundering. This is usually an easy fix with the steam iron that presses out wrinkles, and blocks the areas back to the right shape.

And last, you can wear a knee-length sweater dress over cropped flares, cropped straights, culottes, bootcuts, leggings and skinnies if you like. I LOVE this outfit, although I’d wear flat white booties and a white bag. For this look, I would get a knee-length sweater dress instead of a knee-covering one.

DURO OLOWU Polka-dot Jacquard Wool Sweater Dress

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Cocktail Attire For Men – Dress Code Guide For Weddings, Parties & Events

When you receive an invitation nowadays, it may add a dress code such as Cocktail Attire, Black Tie Optional, Semi-Formal Attire or Formal Attire, but what exactly does that mean? 

Back in the day, things were simpler: the dress code was either Black Tie for less formal evening occasions or White Tie for more formal ones. Women’s dresses were chosen accordingly. Today, for many men the tuxedo is the most formal garment they will ever wear, and it is often rented. In the following, I want to explain what Cocktail Attire For Men is all about and what options you have for weddings, parties or events when you receive an invitation that asks for it.

Video – Cocktail Attire For Men

Want to look the part at the next cocktail party? Get our cocktail attire pocket guide for men here.

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The Basics of the Cocktail Attire Dress Code

Dress Codes Formality Scale
Dress Codes Formality Scale

How Formal is Cocktail Attire and When Should You Wear It?

On the scale of dress codes, cocktail attire is the middle, a step up from business casual but less formal than black tie. It is considered on par with business attire, so it is easy to use an outfit you would wear to your office or an interview to create a great cocktail attire ensemble. This dress code is most commonly found on invitations for parties, weddings, and professional events, which are formal events.

Dark Flannel Suit with Silk Tie & TV Fold Pocket Square
A Dark Flannel Suit with Silk Tie & TV Fold Pocket Square is perfect for Cocktail Attire

Even though times have changed and style is becoming ever more casual, if a dress code is called for, you should do your best to stick with it because dressing appropriately is a sign of respect for the host and the event. Cocktail attire is likely to be one of the more frequent dress codes most men encounter because it falls in the middle of casual and formal, but it is also one of the most convenient because it is made up of garments and accessories that most men likely already own. 

Sven Raphael Schneider wearing a DB flannel suit
Sven Raphael Schneider wearing a DB flannel suit that would work for cocktail attire

Cocktail attire is also versatile in that when in a pinch, you can wear a cocktail attire with a dark suit instead of a tuxedo when black tie is called for as the dress code. It’s also appropriate for funerals and other solemn occasions when formality is required. In this case, a solid dark navy or charcoal suit can be worn if you don’t own a black one, and your accessories should be muted, such as a black grenadine tie, black leather oxford dress shoes, and a solid white shirt. Even if you wear smart casual or jeans on a day to day basis, it pays to have at least one cocktail attire outfit ready in your closet for short notice events. 

What is Semi Formal and Formal Attire for Men?

Colin Firth in Kingsman wearing a classic British suit with padded shoulders that works for cocktail attire

If your invitation states a semi-formal or formal attire, these are vague and challenging dress codes to deal with today because they mean different things to different people. In the past, formal attire was a tuxedo, while semi-formal would be like cocktail attire. These days the ambiguity of these dress codes can make them frustrating for guests.

If the Invitation Asks for Cocktail Attire, Men Should Wear:

  1. A dark to mid-gray suit
  2. A button-down dress shirt in white or another muted color
  3. A necktie or bow tie in subtle patterns or plains
  4. A simple pocket square
  5. Black dress shoes with a leather sole, such as oxfords
  6. Over the calf socks that either match your trousers or pick up something in your outfit such as a color in your tie or bow tie
  7. Of course, make sure you are clean shaven and you have a recent haircut
Opt for a dark suit for a black tie optional event
Opt for a dark suit for a cocktail attire event

Cocktail Attire Don’ts: 

  • DON’T wear your tuxedo or white tie, as that would be too formal for this dress code 
  • DON’T wear a black suit – these should be reserved only for funerals
  • DON’T wear your pinstripe suit, bright colored ties, a bold paisley shirt, or flashy accessories at home to a wedding – the couple should be the center of attention, not you
  • DON’T wear casual clothes such as khakis, chinos, jeans, polo shirts, or a sports jacket; if it would work well for business casual, don’t wear it!
  • DON’T wear casual shoes such as loafers (or any shoes without laces)
  • DON’T go sockless – this may be a trend now but it is inappropriate for cocktail attire
  • DON’T forget to wear a tie or a bow tie- it’s too casual without one

Cocktail Attire For Men at a Wedding

Navy suit with burgundy grenadine tie
Navy suit with burgundy grenadine tie

Even though the above guidelines for cocktail attire may seem a bit subdued, they will be appropriate for the majority of weddings. The result of the cocktail attire dress code is that you will be elegantly and respectfully attired for the occasion without being flashy or otherwise drawing attention away from the focus of the day – the bride and groom. Unless you have information suggesting otherwise, such as a beach or barn location, you can’t go wrong with traditional cocktail attire at a wedding. 

 If the bridegroom is a flamboyant artist or someone who wears shorts and t-shirt, no matter what, try to adjust your outfit so you will not be completely out of place: For an artist wedding, go with more colorful accessories and for a completely informal wedding, skip the tie and just wear a combination with a dark jacket and lighter colored slacks – again, it is their day so you should try not to catch much attention with your outfit.

What Should Men Wear to a Cocktail Party?

Single-breasted suit
Single-breasted suit with a bold shirt is a good choice for a cocktail party

Interestingly, most women understand the attire required for such an event due to the aptly named cocktail dress (often black), whereas it is not as clear for men what attire they should wear to a cocktail party. Unfortuntanely, the cocktail party and cocktail attire do not go hand in hand, and you will need to make a judgement about the nature of the event before you decide what to wear. 

If the event suggests a dress code, then go with it.  If not, consider that cocktail parties are supposed to be relaxed occasions, and although not wrong per se, a classic dark suit such as navy or charcoal is probably a tad too formal. During the winter, you can wear flannel, with patterns, and maybe a bow tie. Be more daring than with your business wardrobe and pay attention to accessories such as cuff links, tie bars, pocket squares, boutonnieres… but don’t overdo it and only use two accents at the most.

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Sven Raphael Schneider wearing a DB flannel suit

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Madder Silk Bow Tie in Purple with Paisley

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Cornflower Boutonniere

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White Linen Pocket Square

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Sunglasses are a must for an event outside. Click to find out what shape suits you best.

During the warmer months of the year, you can go with lighter colors, such as the light blue linen sport coat below.

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Pink Two Tone Knit Tie Fort Belvedere

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A knit tie in a two tone color is perfect because it is casual yet unusual.

Click to learn more about this tie.

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A lapel flower boutonniere makes your outfit special & fun.

For a selection of boutonnieres, click here.

Traditional Cocktail Attire in the 1930s

Cocktail Party Suits
 Cocktail Party Suits

Fashion illustrations are a window into a bygone era when every man seemed to be dressed to the nines. The following fashion illustration is from 1936, the golden age of men’s classic style,  and shows us a nice mix of cocktail attire for men that would still work today. This illustration clearly shows the evolution of women’s dress since the 30’s, since these women are wearing hats and suits that were then considered everyday attire rather than business wear. If the party is during the day or in the afternoon, you can add more color and patterns to your outfit, although the basics mentioned in the list above apply here as well. In the evening, you can wear darker suits, fewer patterns, and more muted colors. 

The Stroller With Striped Trousers for Formal Day Event

Let’s start on the very left with the gentleman in the stroller. He leans by the fireplace, talking to the lady in red. Of course, this is an illustration, but note how neatly his coat fits around the collar, shoulders  and cuffs. There are neither gaps nor excess shirt cuff fabric to be seen. His stroller jacket is the typical single-breasted, peaked lapel style with two buttons and jetted pockets in a charcoal gray (this jacket is also found in black). Instead of a pocket square, he opted for a red carnation that goes well with his buff waistcoat, white shirt, and light blue tie. His trousers are striped but instead of the more common cashmere stripe, a special stripe for morning wear that does not really have anything to do with cashmere, he chose a wide stripe in black and white. Even though his shoes aren’t visible, they are probably black oxfords to match the colors in his outfit and the formality of this look. This cocktail outfit used to be particularly popular for wear on Sunday afternoons and was often seen at the smartest cocktail bars. Today, the stroller is definitely the most formal of all the cocktail suits yet different than another flannel blazer combination or a navy suit.

Windowpane Overplaid Sharkskin Suit – Great For Most Cocktail Parties

One of the highlights in this illustration is certainly the suit in the middle, featuring a large rust brown subdued windowpane overplaid on a grey sharkskin suit. Worn as a 3-piece suit with an ivory colored shirt and navy-red club tie,  the proportions of this suit are very moderate. It has a normal lapel width and gorge, round quarters and a fairly long jacket. In my opinion, windowpane suits are one of the most underrated outfits in menswear and hence, they are an ideal chance for you to differentiate yourself without being overly loud. As a general rule, you should keep in mind that the more patterns and colors (other than navy and grey) you have in your outfit, the less formal it will be. All of the suits shown here would be appropriate attire for 95% of cocktail parties.

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Silk Boutonnieres that look like real flowers - they just never wilt & travel well

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Blue Cornflower Boutonniere Buttonhole Flower Silk Fort Belvedere

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Orange Golden Fritillaria Silk Boutonniere Buttonhole Flower Fort Belvedere

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Edelweiss Boutonniere Buttonhole Flower Fort Belvedere

Wide Stripe Worsted Flannel Suit – An Option for Evening Events

On the very right, we have a gentleman in a suit with yet another large pattern: the wide-spaced colored stripe. The red stripes inspired the rest of his dress, choosing a red boutonniere and Bordeaux tie. This three-piece flannel suit with stripes benefits from the peaked lapels, which provide a little more formality. If the lady in blue were to step aside, you would see that the trousers of this suit are without cuffs, which raises the formality bar by another notch.

Striped Worsted Flannel
 Striped Worsted Flannel

In combination with a white crisp shirt collar, this outfit would be almost bank appropriate, expect for the wide colored stripes.

Nevertheless, I think it is a fantastic stripe and hence I wanted to provide you with a picture of an authentic cloth sample. As you can see, the stripe is more subdued than in the illustration, which makes it even more appropriate for a cocktail suit that is different yet elegant.

Conclusion

When cocktail attire is called for as the dress code at your next event, now you know what you need to wear to look and feel great. At a wedding, try to be properly dressed without being too flashy and always keep the bride and groom in mind. For cocktail parties and receptions, leave your business navies and grays in the closet and add a splash of color. If you have a vest – even a contrasting one – wear it if it pairs well with the suit. I hope I provided you with some food for thought for cocktail attire for your next reception – have fun and enjoy company and drinks!


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Outfit Formula: Casual Holiday Dress

Holiday parties are a lot more relaxed than they used to be, which brings me to the casual holiday dress. It is comfortable, sleeved and insulating. No form-fitting silhouettes that need shapewear. No need to find the right topper because it’s sleeveless. No worries that your outfit looks best with a jacket, because the dress does all the talking. And you can wear comfortable and practical footwear.

A shout-out to Artful Home where they sell eclectic and arty holiday attire from an XS to XXL (size US2/4 to US18/20). Silhouettes are fluid, a little architectural, and provide ample coverage. I found this site through the wonderful Brenda Kinsel, who wears their items with panache.

Here are some neutral and understated renditions to get you started, but feel free to add more colour and pattern. You might also like the combinations for settings other than casual holiday parties.

1. Arty Tartan

A sleeved A-line dress in a pattern made of substantial fabric WITH pockets and a versatile neckline ticks off all the boxes. It’s warm, comfortable, interesting, festive, forgiving and elegant. Throw it on over leggings or hosiery with a pair of flat or heeled shoes, and Bob’s your uncle. Add bling, a clutch, lippie, and possibly fingernail polish. Brenda Kinsel wears this dress with grace and panache. I love her dressier additions of fishnet hosiery, matching specs, low-heeled ankle strap pumps, and sparkly expressions. You can also keep the look more casual with leggings, skinnies, flats or casual boots.

Artful Home Ainslie Dress

2. Magical Movement

This type of drapey dress works on most body types. It’s just structured enough through the sleeves and upper torso, and lets the volume and colour-blocking below the bust create movement and interest. Wear it over leggings, skinnies or hosiery, and add anything from ballet flats, booties, and shooties, to oxfords, Docs, pumps and ankle strap looks as footwear. Add festive bling to dress up or dress down this look as much as you like.

Artful Home Kelsey Dress

3. Cosy Cardi Layers

An A-line shift dress in a jersey or silky fabric looks surprisingly good with a tailored maxi cardigan worn loose like a casual jacket. A fine gauge knit cardigan is dressier than a chunky knit, and can be longer than the dress. Finish off the look with hosiery, boots or pumps, flats or oxfords, and some bling.

Expresso Pebbles Jurk Zwart

4. Sweatered & Booted

A great sweater dress is a beautiful thing because it’s the warmest and most versatile option. The turtleneck midi here has been layered with a cardigan, but you can wear the dress on its own with hosiery and your choice of dressy or casual footwear. You can add a scarf instead of a necklace. Finish off the look with bling and bag that make you smile.

JOSEPH Sally Wool-blend Turtleneck Midi Dress

I wore formula #4 to a few casual events last year, but more frequently when I work with clients. It’s a workhorse olive sweater dress from Banana Republic that is my go-to Winter dress. It’s gorgeous quality and hasn’t pilled, stretched out of shape, or shrunk. I wish I had it in other colours. I dress it up with hosiery or boots, shooties, pumps or heeled oxfords, and pick from my large capsule of handbags and outerwear to change up the palette and the mood. I’m happy to pattern mix up to three patterns in an outfit. I’ve also dressed it down with cream hi-top Converse sneakers and a guitar-strap crossbody bag. I often wear it with a scarf for warmth, which I either drape around my neck indoors or take off. Here are the exact items from my wardrobe that I mix and match to create an assortment of outfits.

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Versace just revisited that iconic J Lo dress

We all remember THAT Jennifer Lopez Versace dress. A bit like the safety pin dress Liz Hurley (also by Versace) wore back when she was with Hugh Grant, it became an instant icon and you couldn’t think of it of one without the other.

As you recall, the singer wore the tropical print dress with a deep v neck to the 2000 Grammy Awards and obviously stole the show.

Now Donatella has decided to take us all down a trip down sartorial memory lane by re-issuing that very dress, with a 2018 twist.

At her pre-fall 2019 show in New York, the designer sent Amber Valetta down the runway in a plunging maxi made of silky fabric.

This season, it’s taken on a different theme though, with pretty metallic hearts adorning the dress, a nice nod to the 80s trend.

Don’t know about you, but I was into it then, and I’m even more into it now.

The post Versace just revisited that iconic J Lo dress appeared first on Marie Claire.

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It May Not Win You a Seat Upgrade, but You Should Still Dress Up to Fly

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Some fifty years after the golden age of flying, when travelers wore their Sunday best to fly PanAm and flight attendants’ uniforms were designed by the likes of Christian Dior, the idea of “dressing up” for the airport has broken down to “wearing a pair of pants without an elastic waistband.”

Are there perks to be reaped for intrepid passengers who dare to wear skinny jeans on their their red eye? An upgrade to first class, perhaps? Free WiFi? An extra shot of espresso?

Do flight attendants take a break from passing out pretzels or their choreographed ushering to notice that you graced their plane in the new H&M collaboration?

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Dress for Success Lines Up Bruno Magli, Altuzarra, Project Gravitas for Giving Tuesday Initiative

GIVING THANKS: For Giving Tuesday, the nonprofit Dress for Success has rounded up some designer and apparel companies like Bruno Magli, Altuzarra and Project Gravitas to promote its worldwide work.
Committed to helping women reach economic independence, the group has created the #DFSPowerPiece social media campaign and microsite to encourage donations. In addition to the aforementioned three brands, Christian Dior Makeup, Peruvian Connection, Rent the Runway, Sorel and Wander Beauty are involved in this year’s effort. Each is selling an item for the initiative where some of the proceeds will benefit Dress For Success. Magli’s selection is the Gala sued pump, Altuzarra’s pick is the Pencil Skirt and Christian Dior Makeup’s choice is the Ultra Rouge 999 Lipstick.
In years past, the group marked the annual post-Thanksgiving event as “Giving Shoesday,” where people were encouraged to donate shoes to the organization. Chied executive officer Joi Gordon said that this is the first time the group is working with multiple brands that will have dedicated items to help ring up sales for Dress For Success. Some of the participating brands are regular donors to DFS.
“This will obviously be driven by not only the brands, but also our database and social media. We’re excited

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Kate Middleton just wore another stunning dress by one of her favourite designers

Beautiful.

kate middleton
Credit: Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock

Kate Middleton appeared on The One Show this week to talk to young people about staying safe online.

The Duchess of Cambridge made an appearance alongside her husband, Prince William, to talk about their cyber bullying campaign as part of Anti-Bullying week. They hope to encourage children to spot signs of online bullying with the help of the Kids Online Wellbeing app, which aims to educate young people about how to stay safe on social media.

The couple spoke to hosts Matt Baker and Alex Jones about the work they are doing.

kate middleton prince william

Credit: REX/Shutterstock

Prince William said: ‘You are creating a practical, powerful tool to help children use their smartphones and social media with confidence and with safety. I am so proud that this has sprung out of the Cyberbullying Taskforce work.

‘It’s now important that our technology partners get right behind the app to make sure all children can benefit. We’re counting on all of you.’

The Duchess of Cambridge wore a stunning turquoise dress by one of her favourite designers – Emilia Wickstead – and teamed it with a pair of black heels.

kate middleton

Credit: Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock

Eagle-eyed fans noticed that it isn’t the first time that we’ve seen Kate in the dress. She is known for recycling her outfits, and she first wore it back in 2014 when she touched down in New Zealand as part of a royal tour.

The couple opened up about why they decided to get involved with the anti-cyber bullying initiative, with William revealing: ‘I saw that my friends and peers were seriously worried about the risks of the very powerful tools we were putting in our children’s hands.

‘For too many families, phones and social media shattered the sanctity and protection of the home.

Talking about his work with mental health charities, he added: ‘I met families who had suffered the ultimate loss.

‘For too many, social media and messaging was supercharging the age-old problem of bullying, leaving some children to take their own lives when they felt it was unescapable.’

The post Kate Middleton just wore another stunning dress by one of her favourite designers appeared first on Marie Claire.

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Ezra Miller’s Puffer Coat Dress Shows How Exciting Gender-Neutral Clothing Can Be

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast

From the moment Ezra Miller stepped onto the red carpet for the premiere of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald last week, the actor’s Moncler puffer jacket became a sartorial Rorschach test.

Some said Miller’s ribbed black cocoon turned him into a human sex toy. Dr. Who fans saw a dapper Dalek in Miller. A case could be made for Miller looking like robot actor at a fitting for a futuristic production of Henry VIII. Or even a slightly styled-up Handmaid.

One tweet perhaps summed it up best: “Ezra Miller dressed like a sassy sleeping bag last night & somehow managed to pull it off.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Holiday Party Sportcoats, UK Made Dress Shoes, & More – The Thurs. Men’s Sales Handful

Sales that deserve some attention heading into the weekend or a bit earlier. Might not be some massive once a year event, but still worth a look. Those are what make up these handfuls. Five of the better sales, one for each finger, are below, plus bonus sales if need be. Included are a few picks worth pointing out. 

 

J. Crew: 35% off select w/ READYTOPARTY

J. Crew

That 35% off code makes me think of this:

Or, this.

Anyway, I do believe this is the first time this season that J. Crew’s party-ready, velvet shawl collar sportcoats have gone on sale. And there’s time to get em’ in the door and tailored before the mistletoe gets hung. Nice to see their Oar Stripe collection getting the cut as well. Big thanks to Brandon D. for the tip!

 

Massdrop: Made in the UK Loake Cap Toes – $ 239.99 FINAL ($ 360)

Made in the UK Loake Cap Toes

Goodyear welted, Made in the UK, and your choice of either a smooth leather sole, or a studded dainite sole for grip. It IS UK sizing though. So, most are gonna wanna size down a full size. Just be careful with that. Estimated ship date is December 19th. Final sale of course since it’s Massdrop.

 

GAP: 40% off Everything no exclusions w/ GIFT

GAP

Exclusion free? That means even their excellent, do anything casual – smart casual belts are getting the cut (leather accessories are usually excluded).

 

Allen Edmonds: $ 100 off Nomad Chelseas

AE Nomad Chelseas

The pearl clutching over the “new” Allen Edmonds has really hit a fever pitch. Its become a tiresome sport now, by some, to rag on what Allen Edmonds has been up to. Yes, some of it isn’t good. But that doesn’t mean the whole company is aflame. Yet. And I’ve had good luck with the Nomad collection. Super comfortable and wearable. And no, the “featherwelt” construction isn’t a cemented construction. It’s 360 Goodyear. Look, I hate to be an Allen Edmonds apologist. I don’t like everything the new owners (Caleres) are doing. But there’s still plenty to really like about AE. To me. For now.

 

Club Monaco: Extra 30% off Sale Items

Club Monaco

There doesn’t seem to be a ton in the Club Monaco sale section right now? But an extra 30% off is always appreciated. Some tempting cold weather stuff too, like that plaid coat and that wide color selection for their simple snap wrist gloves. No code needed here. Extra 30% off happens at checkout.

 

BONUS  Brooks Brothers: 30% off Select Sportcoats, 2 1818 suits for $ 1499

Big fan of Brooks Brothers sportcoats. Regent fit is more of an athletic fit, while the Milano is a true slim. Lots of exclusions, but there are some great looking jackets in there.

 

Also worth a mention:


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EXCLUSIVE: Diane von Furstenberg Designs Minnie Mouse’s Wrap Dress for TV Special

Who wouldn’t doubt that Diane von Furstenberg and Minnie Mouse would become fast friends?
For the prime-time ABC special Nov. 4 in celebration of Mickey and Minnie Mouse’s 90th anniversary, von Furstenberg has designed a wrap dress for Minnie Mouse.
“They asked me if I’d like to do a dress for her 90th birthday, and I said ‘OK,’” said von Furstenberg. “Obviously she’s an icon and she had to have a wrap dress. I made a wrap that had lots of different cutouts so we could play with her dots and the colors of the dot and a lot of godets.”
Minnie Mouse’s dress was created by using a 100 percent silk faille fabric in white and black and hand-embroidering sequins to create the mix of polka-dot designs. The dress was sewn by hand in New York, taking 15 people nearly 35 hours to complete.
Long considered a fashion icon, Minnie has been a muse for designers, inspiring new collections and appearing in magazines and runway shows all over the world. Her classic polka-dot ensemble has been continually reimagined by the industry through the decades. Minnie Mouse, who has a reputation for being cute, playful and flirtatious, has often been portrayed as a dancer

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Meghan Markle Wore a Thing: Antonio Berardi Dress in Australia Edition

Ever since announcing her engagement to Prince Harry, the world’s eyes have been fixed on Meghan Markle — and her style. We’ll be following the Meghan Markle Effect™ with our column, “Meghan Markle Wore a Thing.”  In what was anything but a low-key Saturday date night, the Duke and Duchess of …

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Meghan Markle Wore a Thing: Martin Grant Dress in Tonga Edition

Ever since announcing her engagement to Prince Harry, the world’s eyes have been fixed on Meghan Markle — and her style. We’ll be following the Meghan Markle Effect™ with our column, “Meghan Markle Wore a Thing.” It’s already Friday morning in Tonga, where the Duke and Duchess of …

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Meghan Markle Wore a Thing: Bespoke Emilia Wickstead Dress in Australia Edition

Ever since announcing her engagement to Prince Harry, the world’s eyes have been fixed on Meghan Markle — and her style. We’ll be following the Meghan Markle Effect™ with our column, “Meghan Markle Wore a Thing.” The Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle and Duke Prince Harry of Sussex have had …

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Yandy’s Meghan Markle Halloween Costume Inspired By Royal Wedding Dress

In case you want to showcase your love of the royal family this Halloween in a very unusual way, Yandy created what appears to be a sexy Meghan Markle costume. It’s a Halloween costume inspired by the Givenchy wedding dress Meghan Markle wore to her wedding to Prince Harry, though quite a bit shorter.
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You May Be an Adult, but You Never Forget Your School Dress Codes

Paramount Pictures

Miryam is 23, but every morning before she leaves for work she may as well be 16. If she wears a dress or skirt, she pauses to make sure her dress passes “the fingertip rule”—meaning the hem falls below her arms, when placed at her side.

“When I try on a dress or skirt, I put my arms down to see if it’s short or not,” Miryam said. “It won’t stop me from buying it, but it will inform what sort of circumstances I wear it in. The other day at work, I wore a skirt that just made a cut for the rule, and I felt really weird about it.”

For women like Miryam, teenage dress codes influence outfits worn well after their first legal drink.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Dad Style, Shirts & Clothing – How To Dress Well With Children

Once you become a father, your interest in clothing and style doesn’t change, however the demands of parenting require some creative adaption regarding your wardrobe. If you’re a father of young children, your little one’s needs take priority over a new blazer, a pair of oxfords or a signet ring, but that doesn’t mean you have to switch to sweats until your kids are in junior high.

In today’s guide we show you how you can dress well as a dad and what items to incorporate into your wardrobe.

We all know that eBay is an excellent place to find great deals on clothing that would otherwise be ridiculously expensive for the average gentleman. Between eBay, Craigslist, flea markets and thrift stores, there is no shortage of apparel for the sartorially-savvy man. So what differentiates the average man on a low budget from a father? The short answer is boogers.

The average toddler gets around seven colds a year, and they last an average of three weeks. You do the math. That means that on any given day, a parent is dealing with the side effects of an illness in addition to mealtime messes, diaper duty, the occasional discovery of a jar of shaving cream.

There is no stylish way to carry a baby carrier - just suck it up and deal with it

There is no stylish way to carry a baby carrier – just suck it up and deal with it

So how can you maintain a wardrobe on a budget with kids and avoid ruining clothes that not even a dry cleaner will touch? From one father to another, here are some tips and tricks.

Baby covered in spaghetti

Baby covered in spaghetti

Budget Finds

By now, most of you know the key ways to find a wardrobe for less.  Where to buy clothes, how to find good deals and what to look for from a quality perspective. Instead, in this article, we’re going to focus on what items to buy, how to keep them clean and how to change a diaper in a bow tie.

Me playing with my daugther wearing a suit and bow tie

Me playing with my daugther wearing a suit and bow tie

The Essentials

In most cases, when we refer to essentials we’re talking the gray suit, the navy blazer, the black captoe oxfords. When it comes to the dad’s wardrobe, it’s more about the material than anything. A father is nothing short of a jungle gym. If you’re anything like me, you have clothes you wear in the house and ones you wear outside. The house clothes are just a down-sized version of the full outfit. Assuming you enjoy wearing business attire, here’s how you can keep your wardrobe intact and clean.

1. Be keenly aware of what can and cannot be easily cleaned in your wardrobe.

Let’s face it; you don’t have a lot of time to spend ironing and steaming your shirts or treat your cashmere sweaters the way they deserve it.

You also don’t want to spend your time at the dry cleaners. Hence chose items that are easily washable like cotton over wool or cashmere. Of course, you can still wear your wool suits and dress clothes, but expect to get drooled on. So maybe don’t wear your favorite items around the kids all the time.

You will get dirty with kids, guaranteed - choose clothes that you can easily machine wash at home

You will get dirty with kids, guaranteed – choose clothes that you can easily machine wash at home

2. Don’t wear clothes you’re not willing to get dirty around your kids & Get Cotton Cloths

The best way to avoid getting your clothes dirty is to change your work clothes as soon as you get home. Maybe you have a mudroom where you can do that or you have to get a little more creative, but a house wardrobe is your friend. Maybe you can enlist your partner’s help if need be or maybe it is possible for you to change at the office or the gym.

When you have little ones, it pays to have have a burp cloths handy so you can wipe noses and clean up quickly or prevent clothes from getting stained in the first place. In our opinion, cotton diaper cloths are best, as they are effective, inexpensive and easy to wash. Of course, they are also gentle and soft on your babies’ skin.  You can never have too many of them. In the beginning, I wondered we needed 20 of them, now I think 20 is the minimum.

You will get dirty with kids, guaranteed - choose clothes that you can easily machine wash at home

You will get dirty with kids, guaranteed – choose clothes that you can easily machine wash at home

3. Keep a Second Set of Clothes Handy

If you’ve seen the movie The Transporter, you probably remember the scene where he opens the trunk of his car and has a second identical suit in it. Copy that. At some point in your career as a parent, you will inevitably end up going out in public without realizing you’re wearing a special gift.

A second outfit in the car or at the office can be a lifesaver. Or both. Stick with staple outfits that can be used in various scenarios and paired with clean items you’re already wearing.

The navy blazer, a gray suit, a red tie, and a white dress shirt. It may be a little boring, but it’s clean.

4. Adjust your everyday wardrobe to better suit your family lifestyle

You never want to not play with your kids because your clothes are too precious. So, the best course of action is to add more easily washable clothes to your everyday rotation. 

That means

  • Cotton khakis and corduroys
  • Cotton Polo shirts
  • Cotton cardigans and sweaters and vests
Cotton Cardigans and sweaters are your friend when you have little ones

Cotton Cardigans and sweaters are your friend when you have little ones

Buy Multiples

Sweaters are easy to layer over a dress shirt and a tie. They make you still look put together but they also protect the layer underneath. If you like certain items, consider buying multiples of them, as they may get ruined. So, found a great pair of pants you love? Buy 2 or 3 pairs

Bow Ties Not Neck Ties

Keep in mind, bow ties are a lot more practical than neckties with kids as they are smaller and won’t get stained as easily. Of course, anything that hangs from your neck will get touched but bow ties have less surface area to get a hold off.

The classic Eton Red Ribbon shirt in white

The classic Eton Red Ribbon shirt in white

Wrinkle-Resistant Dress Shirts & Ironing

 

 

Personally, we have never been a fan of run-of-the-mill wrinkle-resistant or non-iron dress shirts. Why? Most are treated with formaldehyde which makes the shirt feel plasticky and it loses the wrinkle resistance after a few dozen washes. That aside it is not good for your skin.

 

The best one we have found comes from ETON. has a process that gives you an eco-friendly wrinkle-resistant shirt without formaldehyde or other toxins. Unfortunately, at close to $ 300 off the rack it is more expensive than most custom shirts. 

So at the end of the day, you may just opt for shirt fabrics that still look presentable even if they are not ironed. Typically, those are Super 80s or Super 60s yarns. Stay clear of superfine fabrics in the Super 180s or Super 240s as they wrinkle very easily. The higher the super number the easier it wrinkles. 

To minimize wrinkles, you can wash your shirts, shake out some wrinkles when it comes out of the laundry and when it is still wet. Then let them dry on a hanger and wear them without having to iron them. Of course, ironing is always better and to see how you can iron a shirt like a pro at home in our series here.

medium brown penny loafers

medium brown penny loafers

Stock Up On Slip-On Shoes

You won’t always have two hands to tie shoelaces with kids around, so loafers, boat shoes and slip-ons, in general, are your friend. In the winter Chelsea boots are a good option.

5. Become a master of home stain removal for washable garments

If you encounter a stain, it’s best to treat stains as soon as possible because the longer they sit the harder they are to remove.

Always start by blotting as much of the stain out of the fabric as possible. For fats and liquids, use a paper towel to draw out as much as you can then quickly research the stain online to find the best course of action or stay tuned for a series on clothes maintenance on our website.

In our experience, it pays to keep a shout wipe or tide stick in your wallet and a bigger stash in the diaper bag.

Kids may also ruin your hair but they will have a blast

Kids may also ruin your hair but they will have a blast

6. Find A Reliable Dry Cleaner With Pick-Up and Delivery Service

Dry cleaning is always an option that should be utilized as little as possible as it generally deteriorates your clothing due to the chemicals involved. Nevertheless, maintaining a close relationship with a good dry cleaner means special treatment when you need it the most. 

 

 

Tipping well and show your appreciation can mean staying open late or taking a second stab at a stain just for you. Some dry cleaners offer pickup and delivery for a marginal upcharge. That can be a huge plus as it saves a lot of time and hassle. So do your homework, not all dry cleaners are alike.

A chefs jacket keeps you clean during dinner and still looks good

A chefs jacket keeps you clean during dinner and still looks good

 

 

7. Cover Up at Meal Times

Anytime children eat, you will get dirty. It doesn’t matter what you serve. You can give them plain crackers and water, and somehow you’ll end up pulling caked soggy crackers out of their neck wrinkles. An apron is handy, but it just doesn’t cover enough surface area. Instead, hop online and buy yourself a chef’s jacket. They’re just as inexpensive as aprons, but they cover your entire upper body and arms. They also have a more masculine appeal, so you might even find yourself wearing it when dinner guests show up or when barbecuing for a crowd. The chef’s jacket will fit over your dress shirts and ties and prevent you from getting ketchup on the Charvet you just bought. It’s also white, so it can be bleached.

If you feel self-conscious buying yourself a chef’s jacket when you’re not a professional chef, get creative and suggest it as a father’s day present so you can shrug it off and tell people it was a gift from the kids. It’ll make you feel like super dad, and you look a lot cooler than you would in an apron.

Three little chefs enjoying in the kitchen making big mess. Litt

Three little chefs enjoying in the kitchen making big mess. Little girls making bread in the kitchen

8. Expect That Things Will Get Ruined

Last but not least, it is a wise idea to prepare yourself mentally that some clothes will inevitably get ruined. It is guaranteed to happen and the sooner you accept that, the better off you will be.

This isnt real. No family wears this much white. Its an advert

This isn’t real. No family wears this much white.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this primer on how to be a well-dressed dad gave you a little more insight and helped offer some unique suggestions. For many of us, it’s a matter of trial and error. The biggest thing is to maintain a barrier between your children and your clothing, but that doesn’t mean having to keep them at a distance. What are your parenting tips for dressing well?

This article was originally written by J.A. Shapira and Sven Raphael Schneider


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Princess Eugenie’s dress gave us major old Hollywood vibes and she painted an utterly romantic picture walking up the chapel’s staircase, with a dramatic train trailing behind her. Prince Andrew apparently gave away some key elements of the dress away prior to the big day as he revealed he was worried about stepping on the train of her gown.

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She accessorised with a pair of emerald and diamond earrings, which were matched beautifully to a tiara she borrowed from her grandmother Queen Elizabeth.

The post Princess Eugenie’s wedding dress is a total dream and we’re in love appeared first on Marie Claire.

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