Selecting the Correct Undershirt

I don’t want to seem like a know it all but there are a few things that, once you learn them, just make sense. Today, I’m going to share one of those things with you, as well as provide reasoning behind why it makes sense.

First of all, let’s go over the practical purposes for wearing an undershirt. Undershirts:

  • provide a layer of cloth to soak up our sweat.
  • keep parts of our anatomy from being seen through thin shirts.
  • provide a level of protection for shirts against natural oils that our bodies secrete.
  • streamline our bodies, providing a slender and more toned look.

When wearing a collared shirt that is buttoned to the top button, you should have on a crew neck tee shirt underneath. A crew neck is better than a v-neck because, if the undershirt is white, its v-shape can be seen against your skin through a light colored dress shirt.

However, if you unbutton the top button of the shirt, a v-neck undershirt should be worn. I, personally, prefer a black v-neck with my white shirts because it provides a more seamless look but, white or black, as long as it’s cut low enough that it’s not seen (but not so low that it looks extra v-like), you’re good to go.

A-shirts are great undershirts for graphic tees or, if you must, v-neck sweaters. That’s about it. They provide little coverage and don’t prevent underarm sweat from staining shirts. Additionally, when worn under white/light dress shirts, they are unsightly, providing a U shape that can be seen through the shirt. All in all, they are the least functional undershirt.

Now, if you’ve been doing this wrong for years, it’s alright. For about two thirds of my life, I had it wrong too (like in the throwback cover photo for this post). The beautiful thing about tomorrow is that it’s a new day and, going forward, you can do better.

 

Make professional development a priority.

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Black & White

I just got a call to shoot this event for this company I do some freelance photography for.

The event is an all white affair.

Last time, I shot an event and I had to show up in all black.

As basic as these two colors may be, they’ll never really go out of style. All black and all white affairs will always find their ways into social settings.

All men should have a white shirt. All women should have a white blouse. Go out and find yourself a black shirt, black skirt, black dress, white dress, black slacks, and/or white slacks. Then get them tailored. The last thing you want to do is to rush out in hopes of finding an ill-fitting outfit for a prestigious event.

That’s just not cool.

 

Make being well-dressed a priority.

The men’s white button up…really necessary? (Response)

Yesterday, I ended up reading my brother Marcus Hawley’s, owner of Natty Neckware, blog post, “The men’s white button up…really necessary?”  I’m telling you, this guy hit the nail on the head.  Marcus’s specialty is neckwear but how often do you see a bow or necktie without a collared shirt?  (Don’t worry.  I’ll wait.)  Therefore, he not only needs to have an eye for designing ties, he also needs to know what they would be well-paired with, just in case he is ever asked by a customer “Hey, I have shirts in colors x, y, and z.  What ties do you have that would go well with 2 of 3?”

In the post, found on his blog Notably Natty, he briefly examines the origin of the white button up and moves into the contemporary uses of it, from formal to causal wear.  And, I must say, he is right.  Last weekend, I wore a white button up untucked with some Levis and Chucks.  This morning, I’m in another white with a navy suit with British Tan Cole Hanns and no tie.  Tomorrow, I could do a light sweater over a white button up, some chinos, and a pair of Clarks.  As Marcus so perfectly put in his introductory paragraph, “(t)he versatility of the white button up does something for an ensemble that most other colored shirts cannot do which is remain both timeless and always on trend.”

Take a minute to check out his blog, as well as his neckwear, and leave some feedback.  The brother put me in my best piece of neckwear, which I also paired with a white shirt, and, now, the combination sits as my headshot on LinkedIn.

Headshot

 

Make professional development a priority.

Finding the Right Fit — Shirts

The older I’ve gotten, the more my style has matured and, with that, I’ve fallen in love with tailored clothes.  I love it when my blothes feel like they were cut for my body and my body alone.  The problem is, I don’t have the money to have my clothes made for me.  So, over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting on to find the perfect fit on everything from office attire to workout clothes.

As a teen, I only bought classic/traditional cut shirts because, at the time, men’s clothing options were few and far between.  But, as men’s fashion has become more and more specialized, more options have been made available to us.  And, with more brands catering to men, I can say that almost everyone has an option that can fit their body and their budget.  There are are a few things you need to know first though before buying your shirts.

1 – Get sized.  Forget cut.  That’s secondary.  You will never look good in a dress shirt that is the wrong size.  Any menswear store that sells professional clothes ought to be able to properly measure your neck size and sleeve length (the two components that go into dress shirt sizing).  I am partial to Nordstrom because I worked there and I know that everyone who works in the mens suits and furnishings department is properly trained on sizing but, as I said, anywhere from Men’s Wearhouse to Macy’s should be able to do this for you at no cost to you.

2 – Find the right cut.  Looking at the picture above, figure out what cut would look best on you (while allowing you to be comfortable.  If you are a slim/athletic guy, what you don’t want is an extremely blousy shirt.  Sure, when you wear a suit jacket or blazer, no one will be able to tell but, what about the days you decide that slacks and a shirt are enough?

3 – Find the right brand.  Lacoste’s “Trim Fit” is not the same as Nordstrom’s.  And Hugo Boss has a cut called “Sharp Fit” (which I love but will not buy unless it’s on sale).  Every brand is not for everyone and it’s not always about budget.  I’ve seen folks who don’t need to buy a Sharp Fit put it on just because they want a $150 Boss shirt.  Don’t be that person.

4 – Look at reviews.  What you don’t want is a shirt that is going to fall apart on you or look like it was cheaply made.  I buy all of my clothes on sale because I like to make sure that I’m wearing brands that will hold up. When it comes to shirts, you can find some great prices on Nordstrom brand shirts (my brand of choice) of all cuts at Norstrom Rack.  And, if you don’t get the wear you think you should out of it, they stand behind their product and will replace it.

Whether walking into an interview or handing in your letter of resignation, your wardobe should leave a lasting impression and, being that a man’s shirt is the foundation of each professional outfit, it’s integrity should never be compromised.  So don’t compromise it.

 

Make professional development a priority.

Young Professional See, Young Professional Do

Do you know what I don’t understand?  So many professionals not knowing how to dress.  In 2015, there is no excuse for you to be 5’8″ in a 3 button suit with all three buttons buttoned.  Or to have your belt not matching your shoes when you have a full suit on.  I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but books get left on the shelf every day, B.

Suggestion: How about you find a book on being well-dressed or, if you can humble yourself, find someone who is a successful professional who looks like they have a sense of style and ask where they shop?  Or you could subscribe to a magazine like Forbes and imitate the top CEOs (if that’s the look you’re going for).  Better yet, hire me or someone else who has served as a wardrobe stylist for professionals at all levels of their career, from CEO to college intern to creative professional.  You only get one chance to make a first impression.  Do you want to look like you’re still in the 7th grade wearing your wino uncle’s sports coat or do you want to look like you went to see a tailor who knows how to make every inch of that Goodwill-bought suit look like it was made for you?

The choice is yours.

Make professional development a priority.

What Exactly Are You Wearing?

For the longest time, I knew very little about the fabrics I chose to cover my skin with. I’m still learning but, the more exposure I get to the fashion world, the more I am able to differentiate one fabric from another. I wanted to provide you all with a very helpful infographic that will help you up-and-coming fashionable professionals understand what exactly it is that you are putting on. It just may help you add some versatility to your wardrobe.

IMG_2073

Five Essential Items for Every Man’s Closet

When it comes to your clothes, it’s worth investing time and money in key pieces that will last a lifetime.

by Yale Breslin

ONCE UPON A TIME, men’s fashion was simple. A few pairs of jeans, a few good suits and you were set—not just for a season but for years. Talk about the good old days. Today, popping into the shop, or even browsing online (the preferred choice of the shopping cognoscenti), is no small task.

The meteoric expansion of men’s fashion over the past decade has brought a bounty of benefits—men are finally dressing their age and body type, understanding what shapes and silhouettes work best for them, and realizing that less is more—but it has also created one big dilemma: a paralyzing amount of choice. Each season, an ever-growing number of menswear designers add to the list of wardrobe “necessities.” After all, who doesn’t need a gold lamé tracksuit, a scarf the size of a picnic blanket or a hat that looks like something Smokey Bear would wear—and that only one of the world’s biggest rap stars could actually pull off?

This fall, it’s time to get back to basics, sticking to what you know best and are most comfortable in: the classics. Whether you follow every trend with the consuming passion of a teenage crush or still bum around in the same Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirt you wore at uni, when it comes to your wardrobe, it’s worth investing both time and money into a few key items that will, with proper care, last a lifetime.

THE CAMEL COAT

A common thread that wove its way through the men’s fall collections was the camel coat. Little wonder. This longtime closet staple is about as easy as they come. Sharp and simple, it looks good on just about everyone, from Prince Charles to Kanye West.

If you don’t already have a vintage coat you can resurrect or are simply looking for a quick way to update your look, you’re in luck. This season, almost every menswear designer out there put their own unique spin on this most classic of coats.

Marc Jacobs ’s classical interpretation comes in ultra-soft baby alpaca and wool (£1,310; marcjacobs.com ), while Marni’s slightly furrier version seems to reference “Where the Wild Things Are” (£1,170; +44 (0)245 9520). Perfect for the urban jungle. Ralph Lauren styled his like a trench, with a tonal belt (£1,195; ralphlauren.com ), while AMI’s Alexandre Mattiussi created a modern classic with his double-breasted version (€580; mrporter.com ) and Burberry updated its Chesterfield in a luxurious double cashmere blend (€3,095; burberry.com), for an easy transitional piece that will take you from the nip of autumn through the chill of winter.

THE CLASSIC BLAZER

The blazer isn’t just the most classic item a guy can own, it’s the most necessary. Season after season, it dominates the runways—not to mention the boardrooms. But it can also be the piece that’s least likely to succeed in your closet. One of the most common mistakes men make is wearing a blazer that doesn’t fit. You know the ones: The shoulders are too bold, the sleeves too short and the hemline goes way further than it ever should.

This fall, the blazer is shrinking and it’s time to get on board. Emporio Armani gives you exactly what you want—a black cashmere jacket that masters fit, proportion and comfort (€1,500; armani.com ). Playing with subtle texture, Fendi’s navy flecked-wool version is a keeper (€875; farfetch.com ), while Jil Sander shakes things up with a midnight-blue version in textured brocade (£1,050; jilsander.com ). But Scott Sternberg ’s cult label, Band of Outsiders, trumps them all with a youthful tuxedo blazer with sharp lapels ($2,200; bandofoutsiders.com ). Dress it up with a fitted chambray shirt and your favorite tie, or dress it down with your favorite jeans and Chelsea boots. You’ll look debonair regardless of your direction.

THE BLACK JEANS

It’s not the easiest thing, finding the perfect pair of slim-cut black jeans. Fit, as we all know by now, is key. Add to that the challenge of buying denim that can make the transition from day to night, while still maintaining that masculine feel, and it may feel hopeless.

But this season, designers have eliminated the excess—so say goodbye to zippers, extra pockets, patches, fades, rips and tears. Jeans are being streamlined, tailored to the idea of “what a guy really wants.”

Who did it best? Levi’s is a tried-and-true brand whose authenticity still reigns supreme in the denim marketplace. Try the 510 skinny fit (€99; levi.com ). For a more rock ’n’ roll edge, you won’t find a better way to channel Jagger than to put on a pair of Saint Laurent’s Hem jeans (€290; ysl.com ). J.Crew, meanwhile, under the design direction of Frank Muytjens, can be relied on for a solid pair that won’t break the bank (€113; jcrew.com ).

There’s also a new kid on the block that looks likely to dominate the denim space, and that’s Frame Denim. The London-based brand, which has already managed to get the girls’ attention with its hip-hugging styles, is tackling the guys’ market with its L’Homme Noir Slim-Fit, recently unveiled on Mr Porter (€228; mrporter.com ). Long and lean but with room to move—it’s as if they read your mind.

THE PERFECT TEE

White or gray. When it comes to a solid crew-neck T-shirt, these are the colors that should dominate your drawer. The classic, clean silhouettes seen in other sectors of fall fashion should also be applied to this wardrobe staple.

Yet for such a simple item, many get it wrong. The hemline should sit just below your waist, the shape should err on the fitted side and the sleeves should fall somewhere between the middle of your shoulder and the elbow. Easy in definition, difficult in practice.

Fruit of the Loom is a guaranteed success—who doesn’t love a three-pack (£11 for a three-pack; outdoorlook.co.uk )? The award for the most bang for your buck goes to Gap, whose white and gray essential tees stand the test of time without fading (€10; gap.eu ).

If you’re looking to go more upscale, T by Alexander Wang has a version in solid heather gray (€105; mrporter.com ), while ATM Anthony Thomas Melillo ’s sophisticated T-shirts are worth everyone’s investment (€63; eastdane.com ).

Roll the sleeves up slightly if you’re feeling playful. If James Dean did it, so can you. Just be sure to keep it subtle.

THE DRESS SHOES

When it comes to footwear this fall, be bold and buckle up! The most advanced of all dress shoes, the monk strap, is making a comeback. Gone are the days of pairing your “fancy” monk straps with a suit. Instead, treat them like the rest of your kicks—wear them every day. Try Bottega Veneta’s double-strap boot (€850; bottegaveneta.com ), or Dolce & Gabbana’s single-strap version with bold silver hardware (€475; dolcegabbana.com ). For the fashion-forward, Saint Laurent’s Hedi Slimane blurred the line between a creeper (another runway favorite) and a monk strap—creating a covetable mashup (from €695; ysl.com ). Or play it safe with Saint Laurent’s simple Université 30 (€595; ysl.com )

THE GUIDE // Three Style Icons

You’ve got role models to help guide you in life and business—why not in style? Start your sartorial lessons on the silver screen, where the likes of Eddie Redmayne, James Dean and Ryan Gosling provide fashion choices to match their acting skills and good looks. They’ve each taken risks, but always erring on the side of a classic sensibility.

Source: The Wall Street Journal