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On the side of Reda’s fabric mill in Biella, Italy there is a mural with the words Il Cambiamento E Inevitabile which translates as “change is inevitable”. When it comes to fashion, nothing is more certain.

Jacket lengths are a prime example of this slow, steady, cyclical change and today’s guide isn’t about telling what’s too short or long, it’s about helping you decide what’s right for your own personal style.

The Rule of Thumb
For a classic, elegant look the rule of thumb applies; your jacket should reach the tip of your thumb when your hand is relaxed, if you curl your fingers you’ll be able to cup the hem of your jacket in your hand.

This length suits a medium-wide collar and lapel and suits men who are taller with a larger frame.

Like I said at the start, change is inevitable, this length will become the fashion length again, it’s only a matter of time.

The Modernist
For a modern look that suits all styles of collar and lapel a good jacket length is in line with your knuckles. This is a length that is flattering for men of all shapes and sizes and has an enduring appeal. It’s neither too classic or too fashion-forward.

Short and Sharp
If you’ve checked out any men’s style blog on the internet in the last couple of years you’ll know that short is where fashion is at. It’s a great look, one that makes even the most classic navy blazer feel younger, cooler and more casual, but it really has to be slim to pull it off.

Colloquially known as a “bum freezer” this length works well with a very short trouser…but more on that soon.

The Essentials – Black Tie Event

Many men will go their entire lives without ever receiving a “black tie” invitation. For those who do, it will likely be the most formal event they ever attend and the most formally dressed they’ll ever need to be.

Therefore it is incredible to think that before World War I the standard of dress we know as black tie was considered too informal to be worn in “mixed company” - the standard evening dress before then was a tailcoat.

Between the two world wars black tie was the expected standard of dress at any event held after 6pm. It wasn’t until after World War II that it became reserved for special occasions rather than standard eveningwear.

Since then the rules surrounding black tie have continued to move with the times and nowadays there is more flexibility allowed than in the past. However, since it is always a good idea to aim to be the best dressed man in the room, here are a few key points to note if you ever find yourself in the situation where the invitation does indeed read “black tie”:

  • Traditionally the jacket has always been black or midnight blue although other colours, including brighter shades of blue, are now in fashion. Whatever the colour it should have black silk facings. A slim shawl collar (like the Bryan jacket shown above) perfectly balances tradition and modernity.

  • The trouser should always match the jacket and have a black silk braid down the side seam. Cuffs on the trousers are considered too casual, as are belts loops and a waistcoat or cummerbund should be worn to cover the top of the trouser.

  • The shirt must be white (this is one rule you really don’t want to break or you’ll risk looking like Austin Powers) with French cuffs and should have a pique or Marcella front. For a look that’s sophisticated, without being stuffy, we recommend you opt for a standard collar (as our Avalon shirt has) rather than the very classic wingtip.

  • Don’t be tempted to wear a slim black tie – this is one chance you have to wear a bow tie, so wear it well. Pair it with a white linen or tasteful silk patterned pocket square.

  • Ideally your shoes should be black patent leather with a grosgrain bow. But lets face it; you’d have to get a lot of black tie invitations to warrant buying a pair. Instead try and wear slip-ons or your best pair of black leather lace-ups. Whatever you chose, just make sure they’re polished to a high shine.
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Just Right

The sleeve of the jacket finishes right on the wrist, allowing about half an inch (1-1.5cm) of shirt cuff to show – it’s a rule of thumb that’s timeless.

Too Short

The sleeve stops well above the wrist and as a result there is a lot of shirt showing. People might think you’re wearing your little brother’s jacket.

Too Long

The sleeve of the jacket is too long and obscure the shirt sleeve entirely. Remember; sleeves are for arms, gloves are for hands.

2

New Zealand GP2 Racing Driver.

Aucklander, Mitch Evans, has achieved a lot in his 19 years - he was the youngest GP2 driver to stand on the podium at 18 years. We recently fitted Mitch in a couple of new Rembrandt suits, he looks fantastic and we thought we’d ask him to share a few words.

What’s the best thing about your job? Being able to drive some of the fastest cars in the world at their limit.

…and the worst? The politics involved in the sport.

What do you do when you’re not racing around the track? I’m at my base in England between each race, and preparing for my next race.

What do you wear when training? Nike or Adidas.

Does this differ to when you are competing? Yes, massively! I have to wear a fireproof suit and underwear, that we have to wear as well as a helmet, gloves and boots.

Describe your style: Casual/Urban.

How do you express this style? I don’t try too hard!

How old were you when you wore you first suit? I was15, wore a suit to the NZ Motorsport Awards.

You travel quite a bit as a racing car driver, any packing tips you can offer? Be organised! Only travel with things you actually need on your trip.

You’ve recently been in United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Do you notice the cultural differences when travelling to countries such as these, or are you to busy on the track to notice? Yeah you do, especially in the mornings and evenings when you’re not at the track. But when you’re at the track, you could be anywhere in the world.

Where else have you travelled in you racing career so far? Australia, England, Spain, Italy, Germany, Hungary, Belgium, France, Monaco, Singapore, Dubai, Malaysia.

What stood out for you in fashion during your travels? I think French and Italian designers are incredible! Australian and New Zealand fashion is still my favourite though, and is within my budget!

Tell us about the Rembrandt suits we made for you. I chose a formal black suit which will no doubt be put to good use for future events. And a blue suit that I’m in love with!

How do you feel when wearing your Rembrandt suit? Classy! As soon as I put the suits on, they both fitted like a glove.

There’s a saying that a suit is to women what lingerie is to men? What do you think about that? Ha! Well I’m definitely in a good position with my suits then!

Did you have any help selecting the suits? I selected them myself with a little help from David Lyford at Rembrandt.

What do your friends think about the shots that your sister, Laura Evans, took in your new suits? Pretty cool! Fortunately she made me look a lot better than what I really am. She’s amazing!

Do you have any style icons or references you look to for fashion advice? I just browse the internet and check out different brands around the world.

What do you wear for a night in on the couch? Trackies for sure! And a hoodie if it’s cold.

If we were to take a look in your wardrobe, what would be the most embarrassing item we’d find? Maybe my cycling lycra haha..

What’s your must have clothing item this season?  New shoes - gotta have a nice pair of fresh kicks.

And your style tip? Be yourself, and be confident – try new things

And driving tip? Keep distractions to a minimum, 100% focused on the road ahead.

Final words: I hate wearing uncomfortable shoes, I love wearing Rembrandt suits and I wouldn’t be caught dead in Speedos!

Just Right

The sleeve of the jacket finishes right on the wrist, allowing about half an inch (1-1.5cm) of shirt cuff to show – it’s a rule of thumb that’s timeless.

Too Short

The sleeve stops well above the wrist and as a result there is a lot of shirt showing. People might think you’re wearing your little brother’s jacket.

Too Long

The sleeve of the jacket is too long and obscure the shirt sleeve entirely. Remember; sleeves are for arms, gloves are for hands.

2

Our retail staff know our clothes better than anyone else, so we thought we would ask them for their tips on how to dress this season.
Here’s some advice from Tim:

Lives: Auckland

Role at Rembrandt: Sylvia Park Store Manager

Whats the best thing about your job? Rembrandt has been around for a long time, so it is really great to work for a company with such heritage and a style that retains its traditional character but isn’t afraid to embrace new movements in men’s fashion.

Describe your style: Contemporary with classic character.

How do you express this style at work? Contrast. Darker jackets with lighter shirts and trousers. Accessories are essential - pocket squares, ties and lapel pins.

And in the weekend? I like to be comfortable - jeans/chinos with a shirt and a jacket, maybe a pocket square and tie, depending on the occasion.

What’s your must have item for the season? A woollen pocket square.

How will you wear it? It says winter to me. I’ll have it in the breast pocket of my jacket for work or for leisure.

What else is on your wardrobe wish list for this season? A pair of English brogues.

And your final style tip? Winter is going to be cold so you are going to need layers. Wear a merino jersey under your jacket.

It’s easy to get the perfect fit when you know what to look for. Let’s start with shoulders…

Just right
The shoulder line is straight and extends just far enough that the sleeve skims past your bicep.
 
Too small
The shoulder line is pulled out of shape and the sleeve cuts in above your bicep.
 
Too big
There is excess fabric across the top of the shoulder and the top of the sleeve extends beyond your bicep.