With fall officially here, you might hear sentimentalists bemoaning summer’s end. The barbecues, the concerts, the bikinis—all on hold ’til next year. For our part, we welcome this brisk and soggy new situation. Attacking your closet with wit and creativity each morning is so much easier when you don’t have to worry about sweating through your shirt.
With that spirit of sartorial enthusiasm in mind, we invite you to peruse the hardy fabrics, heritage patterns and rich details that compose our 10 Fall Essentials guide.
Keep reading for tips and picks regarding the first five items you should ensure are in your arsenal for the season ahead—from tweed coats to textured ties.
With summer temperatures climbing—and your blazer, bomber or denim jacket increasingly likely to come off mid-workday—it’s more important than ever to have an arsenal of solid dress shirts at your disposal. Keep reading for five new styles to try (plus the ties to match) if you’re ready to transcend standard stripes and solids.
If accentuating the talented Adam’s apples of men like Michael Fassbender, Bryan Cranston, Paul Rudd and Jake Gyllenhaal on the cover of GQ is any indication of success in the neckwear industry, Chicago brand The Tie Bar (and its stylish neckties, tie clips and pocket squares, which start at a whopping $15) isn’t doing half bad.
Keep reading for 5 shirt-and-tie combos compiled by Jaime Fernandez, our Men’s Furnishings Buyer.
Dressing for the Season, 101: Cold mornings call for warm clothes—and that goes for everything from your socks to your tie.
On a pristinely fogged-in dawn here at our Seattle HQ, these Yves Saint Laurent ties caught our eye immediately, for several reasons: 1. They’re sturdy. Cut from substantial wool blends, they’ll balance your boots and offset your scarf. 2. They’re sophisticated. Crafted in France and displaying classic patterns like houndstooth and herringbone, you’ll never feel like you’re wearing a bulky flannel shirt around your neck. 3. They’re timeless. Ranging from 2.5 to 3 inches across, they’re the ideal width—not too skinny, not too wide, perfect with anything from a three-piece suit to a slim shirt and dark jeans.
Pro Tip: As always, we recommend tying these on with a basic four-in-hand knot. The fabric is thick enough on its own; keep the slim lines of the rest of your kit consistent with an understated knot.
Last week, Men’s Shop Daily had the distinct pleasure of catching up with Marcus Wainwright (left) and David Neville, co-founders of Rag & Bone, at their in-store appearance at Nordstrom Bellevue Square, near our Seattle headquarters.
Below, the two British designers—who met in boarding school in England, before starting Rag & Bone more than ten years ago in New York—discuss their fashion baptism in rural Kentucky, smashing guitars, and style advice that every man should swear by.
MEN’S SHOP DAILY: Welcome to Seattle. Have you been out here before?
DAVID NEVILLE OF RAG & BONE: “We’ve been a few times, but only ever to see the people at Nordstrom. It’s worth the trip. It’s an amazing company.”
MSD: That’s great to hear—what makes you say that?
NEVILLE: “I think that when you look at the history, and the legacy of how it was started, and what it is now…I’ve actually read [Bruce Nordstrom’s] book, Leave It Better than You Found It. The fact that it’s still run by the family, and the approach to customer service, and differentiating themselves as a store…The success that’s bred is kind of amazing. It’s 130 stores in America. I should be like a spokesperson.” [Laughs.]
MSD: You’ve noted the photography of August Sander as an inspiration for your Fall ’13 men’s collection. What drew you to his work, and are there any favorite photographs that stick in your minds?
MARCUS WAINWRIGHT OF RAG & BONE: “I’ve got a lot of his photography. I like photography—I collect [it] and like taking pictures myself. Part of it is just the subject matter—apart from the photographs themselves, the clothes are really cool, and very relevant to Rag & Bone. We do a lot of workwear, we do a lot of tailoring, and the August Sander pictures capture a lot of people working—and he captures them in a period where people were working in suits. If you look at the early pictures of rag-and-bone men, after the Second World War, they’re working day-to-day in tailored clothing. There’s no T-shirts, there’s no just shirt-and-jeans. And there’s a sort of beauty in that handmade clothing that’s been disheveled and rumpled and rained on and worked in.
“So the subject matter of the pictures is amazing. There’s a German aspect to it, which is pretty cool—it’s quite sort of different from the English stuff; it’s less sort of ‘dandy.’ There’s an amazing picture of a baker…and one in particular of a guy in a street in the most beautiful coat, which we made a sort of version of, which closed the show. It’s just great photography.”
MSD: Does Michael Pitt [the actor in Rag & Bone’s fall campaign] have the best hair in Hollywood?
NEVILLE: “We were actually a little bit worried about his hair in a couple of the pictures—it just looks a little bit too sort of retro, kind of Johnny Cash, which wasn’t really the reference, you know. But he’s a cool dude.”
WAINWRIGHT: “He does have good hair.”
NEVILLE: “We had fun. He was awesome. He came to the shoot really sort of enthused, and there’s an amazing moment where he smashes his guitar in the middle of 6th Avenue. That was his idea, and it was fairly impromptu—it wasn’t staged or anything. It was cool content to just be able to create.”
[Seattle band Campfire OK played a killer set at our in-store event—decked out in Rag & Bone, of course.]
MSD: When the two of you first decided to start a clothing company, you visited a legendary denim factory in Kentucky. What was that experience like, and what did you learn there?
WAINWRIGHT: “It was the birth of Rag & Bone in many ways. It was a very old denim factory in Tompkinsville, Kentucky. It had been a massive factory at one point, but everything had shifted—been bought or invested in by a Mexican company, and a lot of denim [production] had moved to Mexico. So it basically shut down most of it, and it was just sort of 60 people, as a sample room for the Mexican production—but it was the best sewers and pant-makers that they had.
“It was an amazing place with 50 years of knowledge about how to make proper jeans. It was an incredible place to go to, when you had no experience in fashion at all, and never really been to a factory to speak of, and you were sort of baptized into the fashion and sewing world by these women who were in their 60s, sewing jeans all day, proper salt-of-the-earth ladies from Kentucky—in a dry county, so there’s no booze. It’s rural Kentucky, and they take great pride in their work, and they’re just lovely people. They taught us the meaning of quality and authenticity and the value of that history of craftsmanship—and the value of that experience, and how easy it is for that to disappear.
“They were the last of 3,000. They shut down within two or three years of us working with them. The ladies who’d been sewing their whole lives went to work in the local outboard motor factory, or Walmart, or waiting tables. Never to sew again. The American-invented and American-owned skill of sewing jeans just disappeared from that factory forever, and it’s happened across this country. And that’s sad. So I think our company has a lot to thank that experience—to thank them—for what they taught us about the importance of maintaining that, and not just shipping everything to a factory that’s chosen based purely on price.”
MSD: If you could give male readers one style tip for Fall 2013, what would it be?
NEVILLE: “Don’t try too hard. Do what feels right; what you feel comfortable in. Menswear should never really feel like you’re trying to make a fashion statement. I think that can go desperately wrong. You should just be wearing what you feel comfortable in—and what your wife tells you you should be wearing is maybe a good tip.” [Laughs.]
WAINWRIGHT: “Guys should take pride in their appearance. I think when guys go wrong it’s when they try too hard or they don’t try hard enough. And you get a guy who just doesn’t think about it, and buys a pair of ill-fitting, cheap jeans and a cheap shirt. There’s a lot of inherent beauty in clothes, and clothes can make you feel great, and I think clothes are worth investing in. It’s worth buying the perfect leather jacket, for example, because it’s something that will be with you forever. It may seem like a lot of money, but it’s worth it, and it makes you feel good. And I think it’s important that you take pride in your appearance.”
MSD: What’s changed, since you founded Rag & Bone in 2002, in your approach to designing menswear?
WAINWRIGHT: “Not a lot. Menswear doesn’t change much anyway. We’ve been through periods of being more or less adventurous with men’s design, and we learned a lesson as men’s designers, quite quickly, that if you go too far out of the box, guys don’t get it. Girls are way braver—and way more willing to take a risk. You couldn’t get a guy into a white, leopard-print jacket, for example. But that looks cool on you [nodding to our female video producer in the room]. You’ve got to reference things that a guy is familiar with, whether he’s conscious of it, or subconsciously, something he’s seen in a movie, or seen his dad wear, or seen in photographs. That’s what menswear is really about: beautiful fabric, and detail, and making clothes that guys are familiar with—but at the same time, pushing it gently forward in terms of design, and the fashion part of it.”
MSD: After growing up in England, you’ve both lived and worked in New York for more than ten years. What do you appreciate about each place you’ve called home?
NEVILLE: “New York City is an amazing place. The energy of the city is intoxicating, and it’s very different to London in that regard. We thank New York for really giving us the platform to start our company—not just from a practical standpoint, but also from an entrepreneurial sort of enthusiasm, which I don’t think you find in many places in the world. We’ve been in New York a long time, and we feel sort of like adopted New Yorkers now, so that’s great. We miss London, miss our friends, miss the pubs…but I think both of us are very happy where we are, and don’t really have any intention of moving back.”
MSD: Do you visit London often?
NEVILLE: “We have a store in London now, which is exciting—and I think made our parents quite proud.”
— — —
In Their Own Words. Here’s a short clip of Rag & Bone founders Marcus Wainwright and David Neville, filmed before their personal appearance at Bellevue Square Nordstrom last week:
After a short hiatus, we’re back with a new GQ Spring Trend Reports post. Today, Jim Moore and Michael Hainey of GQ expound on the merits of a Patterned Tie in summer-friendly lightweight cotton—a fabrication that can go casual with a jean jacket as easily as it dresses up with a cotton suit:
We pulled a few favorites below. Don’t be afraid to mix these ties with patterned shirts; just follow the can’t-fail rule of thumb, and vary the scale of the patterns. The best part? The lion’s share of the ties shown here are in the $20 to $40 range. Browse additional options here: MORE PATTERNED TIES
Taking a cue from Mr. Moore’s thoughts on dressy cottons that bring cotton suits out of weekend-wedding territory and into the office, we pulled four suited-up looks that can span from boardroom to casual Friday this summer. Check out our tips below, and browse additional options here: MORE COTTON SUITS
2. Quirky Khaki. You’re probably familiar with the trick of wearing your jean jacket with chinos, to avoid going double-denim. The same concept applies with your khaki suit, which benefits from the contrast of a workwear-inspired (but still dressy) shirt. [Paul Smith London Suit | Gitman Tie | Eton Dress Shirt]
3. Room with a View. This crisp combo is boardroom-ready—and, whether it’s true or not, implies to your client that you’ll be on a boat this weekend. We like underpinning the preppy, regatta-motif tie with businesslike stripes. (Think of purple as the new navy.) [Hugo Boss Suit | Hugo Boss Tie | Nordstrom Dress Shirt]
Corny ties have been a dad-gift cliché since the dawn of time. (Recent archaeological evidence shows ugly, fossilized ties pushed to the back of cavemen’s closets.) With the advent of microchip technology came futuristic new ways to cheese-up Dad’s holiday attire—if you’re anything like us, your old man has more than one tie in his arsenal that plays Christmas tunes at the touch of a button.
See that 1 through 15 countdown on that tail end of the tie above? That signifies, and is in fact created during, the meticulous 15-stage silk-screening process Zegna’s master craftsmen endure to create each swatch of fabric used in these supremely luxurious ties. Examine the fine details below—and imagine trying to painstakingly align each layer of color as it goes on. Not a job for the faint of heart (or retina), but it makes for one fine-looking tie. One which even the most particular gift aficionado will be blown away by.
Shop the collection—and be sure to click through all the eye-captivating color options, as most of the tie designs have several.
Seattle gets a bad rap, style-wise. Maybe certain Seattleites re-purpose their outdoor gear too liberally—but it’s a different story within the several-block radius that contains our corporate headquarters and flagship store here in Downtown Seattle.
To prove our point, we’re going to start snapping well-dressed guys we spot around the office. First up is Danny, an online merchandising specialist who’s responsible, among about a million other things, for coordinating GQ Selects each month.
We had to bug Danny for a few photos yesterday due to his keen ability to nail multiple trends at a time and make it look like no big deal. Check him out: shawl-collar sweater, rugged boots, cargo pants, touch of camo. Take a closer look at the details, and shop similar items using the links below:
Tie-Tuck. Gives your office gear a subtle military touch—and keeps your tie out of your lunch.
Streamlined Cargo. Chinos with utilitarian pockets are officially back— but they’re far from the crazy-baggy ones you remember from ’98.
Serious Socks. Rugged boots require them. Pulling them over your pant cuff (a favorite fall trick among stylists lately) is entirely optional.
If you’re like us, you’d prefer to reserve all brain power for after you’ve made it to the office—which means picking out clothes in the clouded stupor of morning, that not only get the job done but also make a confident statement, can be kind of a drag.
That’s precisely why we created a category of ready-made shirt and tie combinations. We’ve thought it all out so you don’t have to: Paisley on stripes? Of course. Dots on checks? Simple. Keep a copy of this photo taped next to your closet, and you can concentrate on more important things each morning: Like breakfast.