This page will serve as an updated resource of noteworthy links and information I have collected on the topic of menswear and principles of fashion, including wardrobe construction, pattern-matching and color theory.
Principles of menswear
In a perfectly curated wardrobe, all of the pieces (well, almost all) should make sense together and be interchangeable. For example, each of the ties should work with each of the shirts, and each of the shirts should work with each of the trousers. In theory, you could get dressed in the dark.
The article provides 20 items with classic appeal and high versatility allowing for recombination and higher wardrobe efficiency. It also argues that a menswear wardrobe should be built over time, selectively, rather than all-at-once, en masse.
It might take you a couple years to build a high-quality, well-edited wardrobe. That’s okay. Menswear is a marathon, not a sprint.
The article explores argues that building a wardrobe of fewer items of higher quality with higher interchangeability will cost less, last longer and take up less storage space than accumulating many inexpensive “one off” items. It provides a recommendation for surveying and filtering an existing wardrobe as well as a process for accumulating appropriate items over time.
The article offers 9 different outfits that can be created with 2-3 essential items from a man’s wardrobe, such as a pant, shirt and topwear item. The styles range from sporty to casual to semi-casual, and from warm climates to cool climates, demonstrating the versatility of a simple, essentials-based wardrobe.
This article offers a meaningful definition of versatility in fashion:
The definition of versatility is: “having many uses or applications.”
In the world of fashion, this means that an item can be worn in many different ways; or a lot of different looks can be created with an item. You can measure an item’s versatility by looking at how many other clothes can be worn with it.
It also offers a 4 standard grading system for judging the versatility of clothing items at a glance:
- Grade A, solid and neutral
- Grade B, solid and color
- Grade C, patterned and neutral
- Grade D, patterned and color
The article compares and contrasts three proprietary men’s underwear brands:
Metrics explored include structure and support, material type and feel, versatility and intended use, and style.
The article explores seven common men’s fashion patterns, explains how to distinguish them from one another and provides principles for deploying patterns in outfit construction.
You should include pattern in your everyday outfits. Pattern will add some dimension, texture, and visual interest to whatever you’re wearing.
The patterns are:
A recommended approach to creating a patterned outfit is:
- Let the shirt you choose be the base of your outfit
- If your shirt is a solid color, match the color to the “background” color of your tie
- If your shirt is patterned, wear a bold, large-scale pattern tie with a small-scale patterned shirt, or wear a small-scale pattern tie with a large-scale pattern shirt
- Start with small-scale patterns closest to your body and work your way up as you move out
The article also offers a helpful DO and DON’T list:
- mind pattern scale, especially when pairing with other patterns (remember: start small and work your way up in scale, color complexity, and intensity)
- wear solids (or small scale patterns) as a base for your bolder patterns
- mix small patterns with larger scale patterns
- start small when you first begin experimenting (i.e. a solid suit + patterned shirt, solid dark-colored chinos + dotted shirt, or small scale pattern shirt + bold patterned tie)
- balance bold patterns with more subtle patterns, and vice versa
- wear two similarly bold patterns of the same scale in one outfit, as the outfit becomes too busy
- wear two different patterns of the same boldness and scale; those two items will compete with each other visually
- wear different plaids in one outfit; stick to one plaid item, keep everything else solid (see Mr. Murray as an example of what not to do… unless you are Mr. Murray, then you can do whatever the hell you want)
- wear the same exact pattern as a top and bottom (unless it’s something like a stripe or check suit).
The article provides some pointers on how to make an intelligent purchase with regards to a custom-made suit from whole cloth, including helpful math for understanding the economics of the purchase:
A well made hand-tailored suit takes an average of 40 hours to complete. The average master tailor working in America doesn’t pick up his shears for less than $30-40 an hour…let’s call it an average of $35/hour. That’s $1,600 in labor alone.
Decent cloth from a respected mill, purchased at wholesale, runs roughly $50-$100 per yard…let’s call it an average of $75/yard. It takes about 3 yards of cloth to make a suit (2.5 for solids, 3 for pinstripes, 3.5-4 for check patterns). That comes out to an average of $225 for the cloth. Add roughly $25 for the buttons, trims, lining, etc. That’s $250 in cost of tangible inputs, making a rough total of $1,850 for overall cost of production.
Therefore, an American made suit (with a typical 65% profit markup) is going to retail for at least $3,050.
The article recommends building (and wearing) a suit wardrobe in the following order:
- Navy blue; the workhorse
- Light grey/charcoal grey; your back-up workhorse, can interchange jacket and trouser with navy blue
- Pinstripe (navy or grey); power suit
- Windowpane; suave flair
- Black; going-out and formal occasions
- Double-breasted (dark, solid and navy or grey); adds variety, can wear jacket as a blazer
- Light blue
- Khaki linen or cotton; comfortable in spring and summer
- Grey flannel; comfortable in winter
- Brown; opens up new possibilities in matching colors and patterns
The Tie Bar offers a variety of mid-priced neckwear options.
Thick As Thieves LA offers custom-tailored suits, “Thick as Thieves aren’t for men who need to wear a suit, but for men who want to wear a suit.”
The Matador Alcove offers a “men’s sanctuary dedicated to bespoke, grooming, leisure & vice.” Get a haircut, have a drink and enjoy male bonding. It sets a standard for the male grooming experience.