Land's End

7

Ties for Fall

The first photo above has haunted me ever since I first saw it at 13th and Wolf. It’s what I would consider the perfect fall tie. The colors are warm, the pattern is simple but interesting, and the wool fabric gives the tie a nice, soft appearance. Together, these characteristics make it the perfect expression of fall. 

While we may never own a tie so ideal, there are some great ties to take advantage of this season. Here are seven types that you should consider:

  • Most of your seasonal ties for fall should be made (at least in part) out wool. These can come in many forms - wool challis, wool flannel, tweed, etc. Challis is a plain weave that feels supple and lightweight; flannel will have a soft, brushed nap; and tweed will be a bit rougher. Like with silk ties, a solid color can work well if the fabric has a bit of texture to it (eg brushed flannel). For something slightly more interesting, you can also get a plain colored tie, but one with a slightly mottled weave or herringbone pattern. My favorites, however, are wool ties with small geometric patterns, stripes, or checks such as windowpanes. A number of tweed ties also come speckled, which can be interesting. 
  • Like wool ties, cashmere ties also make for excellent fall staples. Since the material is more luxurious, they will typically cost a bit more than wool, however. Since they’re softer, they also don’t typically wear as well.
  • Another traditional fall tie is the ancient madder. Ancient madder ties are distinguished by their muted hues, traditional patterns (often with paisleys) and their soft, matte finish. You’ll find beautifully deep, soft, matte colorings, such as mustard yellow, jade green, and indigo blue. They’re produced on a special “gum” silk, and when handled, they have a hefty, chalky hand similar to fine suede. They can come in paisley or any number of small, geometric designs.
  • I had a phase once where I went a little tartan crazy. Now I find that with the exception of black watch, it’s hard to wear tartan ties. However, one thing they go excellently with is a tweed jacket. It makes sense given how popular the two are in Scotland. If you own a tweed jacket, I don’t recommend you go out and buy ten tartan ties like I did, but maybe buy one. 
  • Your regular run of woven silk ties can still feel seasonal. Just keep your colors autumnal - burgundy, chocolate, hunter green, and pale gold are all good colors to stand by. 

So where to buy some of these ties? My favorite shops are Drake’s (pictured above), Sam Hober, Paul Stuart, Ralph Lauren, and J Press. Additionally, some excellent options are available at Howard Yount, Mountain and Sackett, and Ovadia and Sons. For those looking for something more affordable, Land’s End also has a couple of handsome wools for between $50 and $60.

Finally, note that seasonal ties aren’t a necessity. You can still obviously wear your regular rotation of silk ties - grenadines and knits are still great ties to wear regardless of the season. It’s just that having a seasonal touch here and there can be fun, and the above are good options to consider.  

5

The Under-Appreciated Brown Suit

Since most traditional men’s clothing comes from England, so do most of its rules. A commonly cited one is, “no brown in town.” Back when there were still such things as dress codes, men choose clothes according to geography. Business attire was worn in the city (e.g. navy suits with oxfords), while sporting clothes were reserved for the country (e.g. brown tweeds with heavier shoes). Never did the two mix. 

Today, dress codes have largely relaxed, if not altogether disappeared, and suits are mostly worn for the serious business of weddings, job interviews, and menswear meet-ups. Since men only wear suits on formal occasions, you rarely see casual colors such as brown anymore – whether you’re in the city or not.

Which is a shame because I think brown suits look great in the warmer months. I myself have two: one in cigar linen and another in tobacco fresco. The rule of not wearing “brown in town” should probably still be adhered to in 2015, but nowadays, that means keeping them out of busy financial districts, rather than cities in general. They work well in more relaxed environments, when you want something more casual than a navy suit, but dressier than a sport coat (think: lunch at a swanky hotel restaurant). 

If you’re thinking about getting a brown suit, consider what seasons you’ll wear it most. Linen works well in the summer months; cotton in the fall; and gabardine in the spring and fall. Eidos also has something in an open-weave raw silk, which would be good on a cool summer day. You can pair these with causal ties, such as black knits, and either black or brown shoes. The combination of formal black shoes with a casual brown suit might sound strange, but they work if the suit is dark enough. Besides, Hardy Aimes is supposedly buried in his favorite brown suit and black oxfords, and the guy knew a thing or two about style.

(photos via Christopher Fenimore and The Sartorialist)

Rabbits Unearth Ancient Treasures at English Landmark

A trove of ancient artifacts dating back 5,000 years has been unearthed at one of England’s top tourist attractions. The find wasn’t discovered by sleuthing archaeologists, however, but a family of burrowing rabbits.

Every year, hordes of tourists journey to Land’s End, the westernmost point of Great Britain where the azure waters of the Celtic Sea lash the weathered rocks strewn at the base of Cornwall’s imposing cliffs. Visitors to one of England’s iconic landmarks soak in spectacular views from atop the rugged tip of Land’s End’s fingered peninsula, which points directly across the Atlantic Ocean to the United States, more than 3,000 miles away.

Based on newly discovered archaeological evidence dating back to the Bronze Age, the stunning natural scenery that has made Land’s End one of England’s top tourist attractions in recent years has been drawing people for millennia. Read more.

2

Where To Look First for a Suit (Part One)

Far and away, the most common question I get in my inbox is: “Where should I go to buy a suit, given my budget is X?” I usually try to stay away from such questions, as too much depends on the person’s specific needs. Where are you planning to wear the suit? What kind of styles do you like? What kind of climate do you live in? All these make it difficult to recommend something over email.

However, I’ve always thought it’d be helpful to have a list of recommendations for a broader audience. Something that’s painted with big, broad brushes. So, I reached out to some friends to see what they’d suggest, given different budgets, and added a few ideas myself. Of course, you might go to these stores and find nothing works for you, but at least you have a list of where you might want to look first.

For a budget of ~$500 and under

  • Suit Supply: A pretty good first stop. They have a wide range of styles to fit different tastes and body types. Jackets will typically be half-canvassed, and be made from fabrics sourced from respectable mills. Their lookbook styling is a bit fashion forward, but once you actually check out their stuff in person, you can usually find some reasonably classic designs.
  • Land’s End: Not the greatest in terms of construction, but impressive in terms of price. Check out their “tailored fit” and wait for one of their many sales.   

For a budget between ~$500 and ~$1,000

  • Brooks Brothers: Brooks Brothers has 25% off sales pretty regularly, and sometimes you can knock an additional 15% off by opening up a Brooks Brothers credit card (some sales associates won’t let you stack these discounts, but most will). That should bring the price down to under $1,000. Their newest cut, the Milano, is perhaps too trendy to recommend, but they have three good “classic” models. From slimmest to fullest, they go: Fitzgerald, Regent, and Madison. Note, you can sometimes also catch their premium Golden Fleece line on Rue La La for just under $500.
  • J. Crew: Their Ludlow series can be a good starting point for many men. Just watch out for the models with razor-thin lapels, which might look dated in a few years. 
  • Howard Yount: Very respectable half-canvassed suits that are, again, made from nice fabrics. They’re also styled fairly well.
  • Proper Suit: Made-to-measure suits for prices starting at $750. You can see our friend The Silentist review them here. If you go, bring along your best fitting jacket and trousers, so you can say what you like and don’t like.
  • Southwick: Classic American styled suits that start at $1,000 or so. You can find them at O’Connell’s or any number of classic American clothiers. They also have made-to-measure for around $1,200, give or take, depending on the fabric. A good option for someone with truly classic tastes.
  • Lardini: Terrible name, but nice Italian suits. Full retail price is north of $1,000, but you can easily find them on sale. Just check places like Yoox (and ignore Yoox’s terrible styling).
  • Benjamin: Great fabric, full-canvas construction, and nice detailing (e.g. discrete pick stitching). Their cuts are slightly fashion forward, but still office appropriate. Our friend This Fits owns their Classico and Napoli models and likes them a lot.

Come back tomorrow, when we’ll cover suits in the four-digit range.

(Special thanks to La Casuarina, A Bit of Color, This Fits, Ivory Tower Style, Réginald-Jérôme de Mans, and Breathnaigh for their help with this article. Also, credit to Suit Supply and Brooks Brothers for the two images above.)