HOW TO TIE A TIE: July 2007

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Ties - What Does you Tie Say About You

Today President Bush appeared in a dark suit (appropriate for a funeral) and a yellow-golden tie.

Was this combination, especially the tie, just by chance? President Bush had just lost control of the House and Senate in the United States, rendered him relatively powerless.

The choice of a yellow-golden tie was not by chance. He was making a statement in non-linguistic communication, the language of the ties.

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The Message

Mr. Bush was saying to the entire world, "I may have lost the House and the Senate, but I am not surrendering! I am angry at what happened, and will stand my ground!"

The Language of the Ties

Watching the news on television one will see many world leaders, corporate presidents, and other important people wearing single color ties. They are speaking in the non-linguistic language of the ties.

A single color tie, worn on a white or light color shirt makes an instant statement.

The tie itself serves no purpose in dressing anyway, and is a fashion item imported from the 18th and 19th centuries.

However, as its worn today, it supports the neck and head visually, so you can use the tie to make a strong message to all who see you, just as Mr. Bush did.

Here are some basic colors worn, and the message they project:


I am a fighter. I will not give up or give in. Don't mess with me. I mean what I say and say what I mean. I am aggressive (as in energetic) and take the initiative. Watch out, I am ready for all!

Dark Red (Bordeaux).

I am a thinker. I will mull over all I hear, and make a decision later. Do not underestimate me. I have the time to do things right. I am no one's fool

Vivid Blue.

Let's work together. Let's cooperate. Let's work things out. I am ready to compromise if it will be constructive.

Sky Blue.

Follow me and my dream. I will lead you in the right direction. I have hope in the future and you will too, listen to my message.

Marine Blue.

I am not in the mood for foolishness. Be serious when you are around me. Do not waste my time.


I am angry. Do you really want to take me on? I am ready to fight.


I am not a quitter. I will finish what I started.

Purple (Mauve).

I am the teacher. You will listen to what I have to say. I know what you need to know and will impart that information to you.

Color Combinations Design of Ties

Not everyone is consciously sending you messages by wearing ties.

World leaders and movers and shakers who are filmed by the press and are in the news know they must make statements.

The guy next to you at work may not have the same idea.

The color combinations and tie designs however are chosen by people in an unconscious manner.

When they wear them however, they have made some choice.

If their color combinations are predominantly in any of the colors above, they are making the same statements, or appropriately so.

Consider the color of the guy's tie (predominant) and design. If they are confusing, he may be confused. If they are wild, you can guess his mood fairly well.

Take time and analyze the tie, and then interpret the message. There is a very strong message to make in the language of the ties.

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Men's Cardigans: a New Fashion Revolution

The cardigan has long been a staple item of clothing in the wardrobe of many a woman - but, while cardigans have always been a unisex staple of knitwear, the men's cardigan has recently experienced a fashion resurrection. In fact, the men's cardigan is one of this year's most essential male fashion items.

But this trend of male cardigans is nothing new. Famous male cardigan wearers throughout the twentieth century have included a range of personalities, from the American comedian Bill Crosby and the British comedian and TV presenter Simon Amstell, to the renowned children's writer Roald Dahl and even rock legend Kurt Cobain.

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In fact, the Cardigan was first named after James Thomas Brudnell, the 7th Earl of Cardigan, who was a British military commander during the Crimean War; since this time the cardigan has always been worn by both sexes. The male cardigan even made the headlines in the twentieth century, when the outspoken Bulgarian-born broadcaster and dissident, Georgi Markov, was involved in an attempted assassination - a poisonous pellet was saved from entering his skin too deeply because he was wearing a very thick woollen cardigan!

2007 sees a range of men's cardigans transform a range of men's fashion outlets - from the catwalk to designer boutiques and top high street fashion stores. Whether you're looking for a smart cardigan to adorn a formal outfit, or you're more interested in finding a stripy cardigan to complete an effortlessly casual look, 2007 is the year to enhance your wardrobe with cardigans!

This season's collections sees many top fashion retailers in the UK take their influences from the Beatnik era of the 1950s and 1960s, with strains of Parisian chic and jazz-soaked fashion penetrating the Spring/Summer 2007 look. Casual cardigans were a large part of the sophisticated image perpetrated by both well-known French philosophers, like Jean Paul Sartre, and legends of the American beat generation, Jack Kerouac and William Boroughs. If this is the look you're going for this season, then make sure you invest in some stripy cardigans or plain woollen cardigans for maximum effect.

And as the summer fast approaches, cardigans could also form an essential part of your festival fashion wardrobe. In fact, the men's cardigan is one of the most flexible and adaptable items of clothing a man could own. For instance, a cardigan can be worn loose during the day over a t-shirt for a chic but informal look; however, paired with a skinny tie, smart trousers and formal shoes for an effortlessly stylish evening look. So make sure you're not left out of this year's men's cardigan revolution and give yourself the freedom to adapt your look!

Death of the Metrosexual: Men's Fashion Goes Large

The revolution in men's fashion has been gaining pace for some years now. First, the rise of the world 'metrosexual' - used to refer to trendy men who took care to dress well and look good - brought the growing male awareness of style to the forefront. However, in the last couple of years, so many men have begun to take an interest in fashion and clothing that singling certain males out as 'metrosexual' seems to have little meaning: everyone's in on it.

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In large part, the rise in male fashion consciousness has to do with the emergence of popular style icons as household names. Trends in men's fashion have often been swayed by cultural figures: from the distinctive clothes of Mick Jagger and David Bowie to the original haircuts of anyone from The Beatles to Kevin Keegan. But with the meteoric success of David Beckham as a well-dressed celebrity in the limelight throughout the 1990s, it became 'stylish' to be stylish again - and men seemed to start taking acute care of their clothes, hair and general appearance.

While other famous sportsmen - like Amir Khan and Kevin Pietersen - have been making inroads into the fashion industry, it's musicians that are leading the new generation of male style icons today. Pete Doherty's relationship with Kate Moss, each chapter of which has been meticulously catalogued in the press, instantly projected him into the consciousness of style gurus the world over, making him an instant fashion idol of men keen to keep up with up-and-coming clothing trends.

Since then, the dandy-esque ways of a range of men in the public eye have become an inspiration to the fashion-conscious in Britain: from Russell Brand to David Tennant, men's fashion trends have been immortalised on TV, in film and photography. The result has been that investment in male retail stores has increased considerably, with leading British fashion retailer Topman having recently opened a new flagship store in Cardiff - the store's biggest premises outside of London.

Moreover, the recent upturn in the men's fashion stakes has had an equally influential effect on teenagers, as much so as on young professionals and the under-40s. Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe, for example, is often held up as an exemplary model of men's fashion, while young bands like the Arctic Monkeys, The Klaxons and The View are frequently lauded for their irreverent approach to clothing and hairstyles.

Older men needn't feel left out either - after all, the likes of Jagger and Bowie still hold sway in the fashion lottery. And while some older fashion fans might not be able to successfully sport the trendy offerings of Beckham and Doherty, there's still plenty of in-vogue inspiration coming from the likes of Jose Mourinho and George Clooney. After all, fashion is for life: not just for the twenty-somethings!'s-issues-articles/death-of-the-metrosexual-mens-fashion-goes-large-183734.html

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tips For Men's Clothing

So many guys have no idea how to dress, so kudos to you for taking the initiative! Being shy can be tough, but you can get yourself out of your shell a bit simply by dressing confidently.

You are 100% correct about everything fashionable not working for everyone. I don't think you should go down the "trendy" route per say. Go for classic cuts that flatter your body type. Some basics you should start with: a pair of dark-wash straight-leg jeans, a pair of black dress pants, tan dress pants, dark colored button-up shirts, a nice fitted sweater (NO, not the tight turtleneck ones--opt for a looser version), and some everyday shoes like brown dress boots.

When you walk into a store, look around before you do anything else. If you look at clothes and think: these aren't for me, then move on. American eagle is a great store for basics that are a little more casual. They have nice khaki pants and jeans, and a few fun buttons up shirts. Express Men's is another store I recommend. There, you will find dressier stuff, like black and tan dress pants, and some dressier tops.

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Don't be afraid to ask sales people for help--that's their job and you will probably save them the boredom of standing around with nothing to do. First, look around the entire store. If you find something you might like, try it on, or ask a sales person if they think it would work well for you, and what to wear with it. They will be glad to help, I promise.

And the most important rule is to try everything on! Make sure that it fits properly before you buy it (ask a trusted friend or a salesperson).

For basic everyday wear, I always love guys in nice fitting jeans (not too short or too tight and something with a dark wash). Steer clear of really light wash Levis. They are not flattering on anyone. For dressier pants, a nice khaki pant is always good. For these, it is worth it to spend a little money because you will get more wear out of them. So they should fit really well.

You can actually find nice ones at the gap or men's express. For casual-wear, t shirts are always good. I'm a fan of the ones that have a bit of a vintage feel. Just make sure that the shirt is fitted. Most guys buy shirts way too big and the end result is that they look sloppy. It shouldn't be ridiculously skin-tight, but it should lay against the skin a bit. For dressier shirts, I LOVE express for men. I promise they aren't paying me to tell you this, but that store is great for guys.

They have really nice button up shirts for $25 and they fit really well, because they have a bit of stretch in them. They have so many different colors. Do yourself a favor and stay away from pink and purple. Not many guys can pull it off and it's too tricky. Go for a blue shirt to match your eyes. Probably any darker color would go well with your hair...dark green, burgundy, etc. So those are all the basics. Get yourself a good pair of jeans, a nice pair of khakis, a few fitted t-shirts, and a couple button down shirts and you should be good to go.

Victor Epand is an expert fashion consultant at Visit us when you want the best prices, styles, fashions, and fits of all types of lingerie. We carry a super selection of everyday, as well as bridal and specialty items.

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Plus Size Men's Clothing - How To Look Great & Look Slimmer Instantly Part 1

If you choose carefully with men’s plus size clothing you can give the impression of knocking off half a stone instantly by simply being careful with the type of clothes you wear.

Men’s plus size clothing can look great, you just need to know how to dress correctly and here some tips to look great.

1. Horizontal Stripes Are A No!

Vertical stripes are a yes.


Because they draw the eyes downwards, making your silhouette longer and making you look slimmer.

Formally, Pinstripe suits are the perfect, especially paired with a crisp black dress

For casual wear, try to find dark corduroys with slim stripes are also a good option

If you are wearing vertical stripes its fine and if you are not, it’s no stripes at all with this fashion tip.

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2. Go Single Breasted

Single breasted jackets always look slimmer than double breasted that focus the eyes at the centre.

Also be careful about the vents at the back of your jacket on.

3. Stay away from blazers and jackets that are double-vented as this cut will draw attention to your bottom.

Stick to single-vented jackets or jackets without any vents and keep in mind your jacket should always cover your bottom.

4. Watch the Fit

Make sure your wear clothes that fit and you buy the size you are, rather than the size you would like to be.

Tight clothing will make you look ridiculous and show every bulge in more graphic detail.

On the other hand, many men believe baggy clothing will hide their bulges, if their to baggy they will simply make you look much bigger.

The secret to looking slimmer is to choose clothes that are not to tight not to baggy and allow you to feel comfortable and move properly.

5. Go Monochrome

A shirt and trousers in two contrasting colors will draw attention right to the centre where the join is which is your stomach!

Avoid this and go for two similar colors that don’t highlight your middle. For example Black trousers yellow top is a no Dark blue jumper and black trousers is a yes.

In plus size men’s clothing you do not want to draw attention to your middle. Finally, black is the ultimate color for slimming. If you decide to dress in black make sure you add a splash of color to break up your look

6. Don’t Wear High Neck Jumpers

In men’s plus size clothing high roll or turtle neck jumpers are a no at all costs it will simply make your neck look fatter and give the illusion of a shorter person

V-neck round necks and T-shirts are all good.

These draw the eyes down giving the impression of a sleeker silhouette also, it will give you the illusion of having a longer neck which if you have double chin or large neck will make you look slimmer.

7. Always Use A Belt

A belt will hold your waistline and make it appear slimmer and make sure your trousers hang correctly.

Conversely don’t tighten your belt to hard so you can’t breathe! Your belly will them overhang.

8. Don’t Follow Fashion Blindly

With men’s plus size clothing don’t try and follow fashions simply because you think you should, they wont always suit.

Instead develop your own personal style that makes you look good. The above are just a few tips for wearing men’s plus size clothing and we will discuss more in articles in this series.


For more info on fashion and more on mens plus size clothing visit our website for a huge resource of articles, features and downloads and at

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Saturday, July 14, 2007


A belt is a strap or girdle that is a part of casual or formal attire. Although leather belts were initially used with men’s pants, women are using a wide variety of belts presently with different attires. Belts are no longer a formal wear but rather make a fashion statement in today’s market.

Belts available in present market are made of a wide range of materials. Although leather belts are still considered the most formal, a few changes are being made in the design to make it more interesting to wear. Plastic, jute, fabric, wood, reptile skins, suede, straw are a few examples of varieties of materials being used to make belts in today’s market. Fancier belts designed using beads, sequins, or other jewels can also be used with women’s evening wear.

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Suede and leather belts are available in standard sizes and the holes punched according to the waist size. However, even these are available in three standard sizes for people of all ages. The minimum would be a 30 inches belt and a maximum of 44 inches. They are categorized under small, medium and large sizes. Women’s belts come as small as 22 inches in length and go till 32 inches. Women’s belts sometimes have the option of tie strings rather than punched belts. This makes the belt look fancier as well as being a one size fits all.

Belts that come along with the garment such as a dress are the exact size for that apparel. Such belts usually do not go well with other garments. Sashes are another form of belts that are made of thin materials such as lace or cloth. They look similar to a wide ribbon and suit almost every kind of dress.

Many belts come with a wide variety of buckles ranging in all sizes as per the customer’s interest. All though belt buckles are made of metal, wood or plastic, buckles having clasps made of Velcro and buttons are also available presently. Some belts have buckles that are covered so that it looks like part of the belt instead of being distinguishable.

Most of the belts are adjustable and are a one size fits all. However, there are also belts that are specifically made for a particular sized waist such as cinches, corsets or contours. These define the shape of the wearer so they are available in particular sizes to suit the body of a customer. Although belts are worn around the waist, a specific kind of belt called the bandolier is worn over the torso and shoulder.

Some belts such as the suspenders and cartridges have loops, braces and suspenders, usually used to carry ammunition. Many informal belts these days provide the option for a cell phone and other small items. A wide range of other kinds of belts is also available in the market to go with practically every kind of attire.

Belts provides detailed information about belts, custom belts, and more. Belts is affiliated with Sexy Bras.

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Belt Buckles

A belt buckle is an integral part of a belt. Buckles made of plastic, metal or wood are the most common kinds of buckles. Buckles on cowboy belts, cowgirl belts, Texas belt buckles, war belts, military belts etc are a few other different kinds of belt buckles seen in the market.

Belt buckles that are on fancier belts for evenings wear are studded with stones or embroidered, the most popular and expensive being the rhinestone ones. These belts are for show rather than for any real purpose. Latest kinds of belt buckles in the market are the digital ones, scrolling ones and the light up belt buckles. These are especially good for a night of dancing or fun and frolicking.

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People who can afford fancier belts can also get customized belt buckles that have some form of engraving or other message on them. Silver buckles can also be custom made on order. Gold belts and designer belts set with turquoise buckles can also be custom made for some exclusive kinds of belt buckles that would be noticeable. Some individuals also wish to own some uniquely designed belt buckles that are exclusively made on order.

For those who wish to make a statement, Harley Davidson belt buckles would be the best choice. Bigger the buckle the more noticeable would the belt be. Individuals with rebellious nature usually prefer these huge buckles that go with western belts or otherwise large belts like the rodeo belts. There are even available in the market a kind of belt buckles known as the rebel belt buckles and punk belt buckles.

Buckles with funny faces on them or those that are themselves shaped funny are also a craze with the younger population. Large sized buckles would especially go well with belts made of animal and reptile skins like kangaroo hide, alligator skin, brown snake skin, crocodile skin and black snake belts. Funny belt buckles like the star wars buckle, led display buckles, and spinner buckle are also popular with the kids.

Since a belt buckle can be changed on a belt in most of the cases, many prefer to keep a few buckles so they can be change the buckles whenever they fancy. Belt buckles are also available cheap and would be available in any shop selling belts.

Buckles for belts that hold guns like the military belts or the gun belts have a different kind of buckles that are stronger and can hold the extra weight on the belt. Firefighters, bikers, and gunmen etc wear different kinds of belts that have belt buckles different from the regular ones. Also available are belt buckles with religious symbols for all those pious individuals out there. Eagle shaped and dragon-shaped belt buckles are one the most common that might catch one’s eye in a belt buckles display in a belts shop.

One only needs to shop around for that perfect belt buckle to buy. Since a number of shops deal with belts and belt buckles, available in the market is a wide choice and an individual would only need sufficient time and energy to shop around.

Belts provides detailed information about belts, custom belts, and more. Belts is affiliated with Sexy Bras.

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How to Select New Running Shoes

As a runner the most important piece of equipment you can have are your shoes. This is the reason that runners spend a great deal of time checking out shoes, until they find the best running shoes for their feet, not only for the fit, but also for the kind of running, and training they will be doing.

Whatever you do, you must not pick a shoe because it looks good in the shop, so what are you to do to make sure you pick the right shoe, because be reassured there could be several shoes that will be right for your feet and your running requirements.

How do you find the right shoe, and why is that so important?

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The scope of this article is limited, so rather than try to make recommendations, which will probably be wrong, as I don’t know anything at all about your feet, or your requirements.

In other words, are you going to use them as track shoes or trail shoes. There is a huge difference between running on a flat track, and on a boulder strewn, wet, muddy trail!!

Add to this the fact that your feet will hit the ground hard over 1600 times every mile that you run. If your footwear is the wrong size or unsuited to your biomechanical needs, you are going to find it uncomfortable, probably annoying, and even worse it could lead to injury.

What is the right shoe for my feet?

A combination of a good fit and excellent biomechanics.
The fit is obvious, but what do I mean by biomechanics?
Put simply it is all about a word called pronation.

Pronation is the natural movement of your feet when they touch the ground. All feet roll inwards as the ball of the foot touches the ground. You can either check this out yourself by looking at the wear patterns on your old running shoes.

If you tend to wear out your shoes first on the outside, you probably tend to underpronate; if you wear out your shoes first significantly more to the inside, look for a shoe for over-pronators.

It isn’t complicated but you would do well to find someone with experience as a runner to watch you running from behind before you make a new purchase.

There are four categories based on the degree of pronation.

1. Neutral Pronation, require shoes with a good balance of stability and flexibility.
2. Under Pronation has not enough foot motion, and they require good cushioning and flexibility in their running shoes
3. Moderate Over Pronation require Stability Trainers
4. Severe Over Pronation requires Motion-control trainers.

You should by now have worked out your pronation factor, so your shoe selection must be governed by this.

The other consideration is shoe fit, and the easiest judgement, is does it feel good, and is there room between the end of your longest toe and the front of the shoe. The shoe needs to feel snug at the heel, and comfortable.

At the end of the day, if you have used and liked a particular make of running shoe, then stick with that brand, but make sure you are buying the correct shoe model bearing in mind your pronation factor.

Ian Smith is a former international sportsman who contributes articles to websites featuring sporting footwear. He recommends Adidas, and suggests to check out

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How To Buy Men's Designer Dress Shoes On A Budget

Dress shoes are designed for comfort and to compliment the type of clothing that is being worn, whether it is casual or formal. Think of your shoes as an extension of what you are wearing and choose a shoe color that fits accordingly. Socks, on the other hand, are much like ties in the way you can be creative with them in matching them with your dress style.

Unlike the ladies, men often do not feel the need to have shoes in all the colors of the rainbow. The most popular dress shoe color is black, followed by brown, burgundy, oxblood, chestnut and white.

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The best way to find a pair of designer men's shoes that fit your budget is to shop around. The thought of wandering around the streets looking for a pair of shoes will not appeal to most men. More likely, the thought will strike fear into the hearts of many men! I know I can't stand running all over town shopping, I have a mission to accomplish and the way to do it is to get it done as fast and efficiently as possible.

There are other alternatives to wandering the streets looking for a bargain. Shopping online for a reasonably priced pair of designer shoes is one. This is ideal because there is no need to even leave home to find what you are looking for. With the internet you can find everything you could want right from the comfort of home. This makes shopping palatable even to the most macho, male chauvinist, anti-shopping male!

While shopping, keep in mind what you will mainly be using the shoes for. If you are buying a pair of designer shoes for a special occasion, consider a style that you can wear for other occasions as well; something that can be worn with a suit as easily as with a pair of casual dress pants and a shirt. If you are buying on a budget, you will save money by buying only one pair of shoes rather than two or three for different pairs for different uses.

An important thing to keep in mind when searching for a pair of designer shoes on a budget is the pair of shoes you decide to buy should be discounted rather than being 'cheap'. Don't sacrifice quality and comfort to save a few dollars. You should always put quality first, not just because the shoes will last longer but because they are usually better for the health of your feet as well.

Gregg Hall is a consultant for online and offline businesses and lives in Navarre Florida. Get your brand name shoes at

Monday, July 9, 2007

How to Buy Mens Dress Shirts

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The average man spends about 12 hours every day in his shirt. That's a long time, especially if the shirt isn't comfortable or doesn't fit well. Remembering some basic rules will make your life a lot easier and allow you to breathe freely under that formal collar!

Men's dress shirts
The material you choose can make you hot or cold. Cotton provides the best material since it is natural, has a soft feel and allows your body to ‘breathe’. Cotton is also the best absorber of perspiration. You can find fine-combed cotton that is so delicately woven that it actually feels much like silk. Choose wrinkle-free cotton for best performance.

Know your size. This does not mean whether you are a small, medium or large fit! For a shirt to fit well, you need to know your collar size and the length of your arms or the sleeve size. The best way to do this is to go to a tailor and have them measure these for you. Choose a collar size that is comfortable and you will not suffer from an itching and red neck and your tie will fit correctly.

Choose the collar for the occasion. Straight collars go well for office use and other formal occasions. Curved collars and button down collars lend themselves to both formal and informal occasions. Wide curved collars, collars with tabs holding them together and collars that appear like a band (i.e., no collar, really) are best for informal events and family occasions like outings. Similarly for the cuffs, the basic options are with button-down cuffs with fixed buttons and cuffs with a slit for cuff links. Do not wear cuff links unless you are also wearing a jacket.
Check the finishing. See if the hem is even and neatly stitched. Look carefully at the joints of the collar with the torso, the arms with the torso and the button hemline and the cuff joints. The stitching should be straight and even, and the joints should meet neatly with no folds. Pull the sleeve out straight from the arm to see if any folds appear at the corners where the arm joins the torso of the shirt as these folds will not be apparent when the shirt sits flat. A shirt that appears tacky probably is so.

Men’s dress shirts are available off the hanger in stores, from catalogs and from tailors who make them to order. Stores and catalogs usually offer shirts in standard sizes and you will need to really experiment to determine the brand and size that fits you best, aside from the other factors mentioned above. A custom-made dress shirt is the best and also the most expensive option.

Men's Suits - 5 Steps to Buying a Mens Suit

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You want to buy a suit?! What are you, a glutton for punishment? It's not like suits are extra-comfortable or make some great individualistic fashion statement. They make statements like, "Hello, I'm willing to conform," "I belong to the status quo," or even "I want to make a lot of money, and I'm willing to wear this suit." We're talking about a garment that has remained essentially unchanged since the mid 19th century, when the lounge suit was popular with the working man, and the more formal frock coat with trousers would suit your dandy, idle rich, or "man about town." Take our advice: stick to jeans and T-shirts. Leave suits to lawyers (get it? "law suits"?... we'll wait...).

But now that we have returned from our La-la Land rant (and our bad puns), we can tell you that every man should own at least one nice suit. Whether you need one just for weddings and funerals or are working in an industry which still requires business attire, suits make people take you seriously. So read on, friend, and we will help you navigate this sartorial minefield with confidence and ease. One note: this SYW is both for people buying their first suit without Mommy's help and for those who already own a complete wardrobe, but we'll be focusing on the needs of the first-time purchaser.

When suit-makers make a suit, the first thing they start with is the fabric, so we'll do the same. It may seem to you when you walk into a men's wear store that all fabrics look alike, but you'd be wrong. Each fabric is different in terms of quality, durability, feel, and price. The main message we want to impart to you is this: you must buy wool. Only wool. 100% wool. But for the sake of greater knowledge, here is a full list of potential choices:
The non-wools
The wools
The non-wools

Linen – Okay, Panama Jack, you look at the linen, you think it's nice, it's lightweight, it'll be a bit different from everyone else… but don't be fooled. The style will be the same, because that's what suits are all about. But as a fabric goes, linen wrinkles quickly, stains like a bitch, does not travel well, and is not a classic look. Be warned that your dry cleaning bills will be quintupled. (That means five times more expensive.) It is not acceptable for a first suit. It is acceptable for a first tablecloth.

Polyester – The 70's are over, bub. Polyester had its time, and that time is over. It doesn't wrinkle, but it also doesn't breathe. And it's just not natural. It's made from chemicals and urthelene and polythene and whatnot. Polyester's okay in a blend with wool if you're trying to keep your costs down, but more on that later.

Microfiber – Just another word for polyester. It's not for you.

Teflon – Just another word for microfiber. Let's leave teflon to the frying pans, okay?

The wools

Now you're talking. Wool is the fabric of choice for a good suit. It's natural, it breathes well, it's durable, and it's also stylish as hell. There are four main kinds of wool out there, as follows:

Tweed – Tweed is a very heavy wool fabric, popular in places like Scotland, where it's cold as a witch's tit (no offense to the wicca religion or its ectothermic following). The average wearer of tweed is in his 50's, gray-bearded, and favors pipe-smoking by the hearth. He is most likely a professor, or a literary critic (possibly both). Stay away from tweed, especially if you're losing the battle of the bulge. Tweed is not the larger man's friend.

Flannel – The heaviest of the non-tweed, flannel is made corded wools. It's durable, very hard-wearing, and especially nice in a charcoal gray with classic pinstripes. However, most people wear flannel as pajamas or long underwear. For a suit, it might be a bit too hot in most office environments. While nice, it's not an ideal fabric for a first suit.

Tropical – This is usually a kind of wool crepe, which is a lightweight (usually light-colored) fabric. It's more of a summer weight, the sort favored by Don Johnson on Miami Vice. Being lighter, it is also more susceptible to wrinkles, and therefore more frequent dry-cleaning (see above re: bill quintupling). Also not an ideal fabric for a first suit.

Worsted – The worsted wools are your best bet for a first suit. These will be your gabardines or mid-weight corded wools. They are durable, hard-wearing, and usually fine for year-round wear. They can be a little lighter or heavier, depending on the weave, but consider them the mid-weights. Ask for them by name.

You might come across a suit that is advertised as a "high-twist," 100, or Super 110. These are not car races. This just means that the suit is made of a worsted wool yarn that has been twisted more often than the usual 60-80 twist fabrics. This makes it a finer cloth of a somewhat lighter weight. Such suits would be perfectly fine, therefore, for spring, summer, and fall, but might not carry you through the winter. In this case, we urge you to consider the local climate when making purchasing decisions.

The mid-weights are best overall, especially with the usual "air-conditioned-car-ride-into-the-air-conditioned-office" venture that most people have in summer. And if you will be visiting a lot of clients or doing hefty traveling, you will need this kind of durable fabric which will stand up to the extra wear, but not be too hot.

Suits come in many different styles. This stinks, because it means that you have to make… (*shudder*)… decisions. Generally, your first suit should:
be single-breasted (the jacket simply buttons instead of folding over itself in the front)
be navy or dark blue
be a solid (no pinstripes or wacky plaids)
have two or three buttons on the jacket
Your pants, you can wear however you like them (preferably on your legs). This is the classic, conservative style, and is your ideal first suit. It will work in any situation. But for more in depth advice, here are some notes each of the various parts of a suit.

The cut
The jacket
The pants
The shirt & tie
The cut

The "cut" of a suit refers to how the suit generally hangs off your body. There are three general cuts: (1) The American cut- the industry standard, middle of the road suit cut. This is basically the normal type of suit you see people wearing., and should be your choice of cut for your first suit. (2) The full cut- this kind of suit is not tapered at the waist, so it tends to hang straight down and allow more room at the waist. This cut is often preferred by fuller-figured men, complete with the two vents mentioned below (see jackets below). This is more the classic look which would be acceptable for a first suit. (3) The European cut- this one tapers at the waist, for a trim, fit look. Before buying a suit with a European cut, make sure you are trim and fit and not planning to gain weight.

The jacket

When buying a jacket, the tailor will pinch and poke you all over the place. The tailor generally will know what he's doing, but he will often ask you what different looks you prefer. In such a situation, use the information below:

Collar – should hug the back of the neck without buckling or pulling; a _ inch of your shirt collar should show at the back.

Shoulder Pads – they help the suit to hang properly, make you look more muscular than you probably are, and make for a more slender look overall.

Lapels – you need them, because Don Johnson you ain't and the 80's are over; high or low notch is okay as long as they lay flat on your chest, aren't too big, and don't buckle. Look for lots of stitches around the outside which are as close to invisible as possible.

Arms and sleeves – should end at the point where your hands meet your wrists and show a quarter inch of your shirt sleeve; make sure that you don't feel like you're wearing a straight jacket and that you have free movement of your arms. As a test, bring your arms out straight in front of you, and try sitting in a chair and pretending you're writing or eating. You should always be comfortable.

Buttons – two or three are okay, but always leave the bottom one undone. If you have an athletic build, a low button stance (lower down the suit front, below the lapels) is best, and if you're more of a portly fellow, the high button stance (above the beer belly, below the lapels) is best.

Vests – don't bother with one of these unless you're a CEO or really cold all the time. These are for advanced suit-wearers only.

Vents – these are in the flap of cloth below the waist at the back and should cover your ass; one, two, or none (slits or vents) are okay, but remember that the larger-assed among us should take two vents, and the flat or skinny-assed should choose no vents; either way, the jacket should still fit properly and not stretch out over this part of our anatomy — be honest with yourself about sizing.

The pants

Waist – a common fallacy is that if you make the waist as tight as possible, it'll squish your stomach in and make you look skinny. Wrong. It'll give you gas, keep you in constant pain, and make you look stupid when you unbutton your jacket. Just make sure that the waistline is comfortable and that you can always stick two fingers into the waist while you're wearing them. Also, don't hike your pants up too high. You're not Urkel.

Pleats – okay with or without. They are recommended, again, for those of a fuller abdomen, while discouraged for those who are extremely thin.

Cuffs – these help the pants to hang properly by providing a little weight at the bottom. They look better on someone with long legs, so the shorter man should definitely avoid them. Everyone else should stick to a maximum 1" cuff for best effect.

Accessories – Your belt must match your shoes, and leather is the preferred material. Your shoes should also be leather. As for color, you usually can't go wrong with black. Your socks should match your pants, and they must be dress socks. No thick black tube socks.

The shirt & tie

A shirt and tie? Yeah, they're part of a suit, Einstein. The bare chest thing is not a good look. We don't care what kind of hunk you think you are, only the wrong kind of employer would be interested in seeing that. So you're going to need a shirt and tie, and preferably several of each. But what kinds to buy?

You will want to have a selection of plain white and blue shirts. A button-down collar dresses you down, so you have to decide how formal your office is and buy accordingly. After you have a few plain shirts, you could mix it up with some shirts of the same colors, but now with some thin stripes or small, conservative checks. Beware the "striped shirt, striped tie, and pinstripes" look, however.

Ties should match, and that's all we can tell you. If you're not sure, this will be a place where a knowledgeable salesperson will be indispensable. Remember that many men are colorblind, and this is nothing to be ashamed of. You should have a selection of ties for rotation, some of which match more than one suit or jacket. This will help provide an assortment of different looks, and avoid messy gossip about where you're sleeping when you come in wearing the same exact outfit two days in a row.

The latest style in suits seems to be leaning towards a more slender pant leg with no cuffs, moving away from pleats, and having three buttons on the jacket. This is all fine, as long as the overall look of the suit is conservative, not trendy. Three button jackets, although recently "rediscovered" thanks to Frasier and his ilk, are a classic look, and will not necessarily be out of style in a year's time. They will endure.

You could just go to the mall and walk around, see what happens. Maybe you'll hit on the perfect salesperson, the right price, and the right suit, all on the first try. But most people aren't this lucky. To find a good store, ask for a referral from friends and co-workers who you think dress well. Maybe approach him and say "Wow, that's a great suit… where'd you get it?" Believe us, he'll be happy to tell you. You might even ask someone on the street who you think looks damn good. Do not ask your father — unless you want to dress like your father (see the section on "tweed" above).

But whether you end up at "Hugo Boss" or "That Suit Place" really depends on your budget. You don't have to spend a lot of money to get a good suit. You should be able to manage this for a couple hundred bucks and up. If you, because of your financial situation (loser), need to pay less than $200, you could consider a wool and polyester blend to keep your costs down. Or just go with the full-on polyester, flame-retardant, $99 special. But we consider a suit to be an investment, and suggest that you go with one that, while affordable, looks damn good. As a general rule, be prepared to spend a minimum of $300 on a suit.

There are certain grades of quality that will also, of necessity, factor into the price. These are mostly things you can look for, such as invisible stitching, fine or higher twist yarn, tailoring that just looks sharp, and lining in the pants, etc.

In any case, be prepared to invest your time as well as your money in your suit purchase. You should wear a dress shirt and shoes to the store so that you'll get an accurate idea of how it will look when worn properly. (A pair of AJ's and a Bulls t-shirt will not provide this effect.) Try on a very expensive suit first, just to get an idea of how a really good suit looks, how it hangs, and the feel of the fabric. Then break the news about your budget to the salesperson. He will cry. You will laugh.

Which brings up another good point: a friendly, knowledgeable salesperson will be a tremendous help in finding your ideal suit. This is why the referral is so critical. You're going to be spending quite a bit of time with him or her, and will probably end up relying on his or her opinion a great deal. And it's important that (s)he is able to retain a sense of humor when replacing the really expensive suit on the rack. Your salesperson should also have definite opinions (as opposed to simply telling you "whatever you like"), because if (s)he is knowledgeable about current fashion trends, (s)he will be able to steer you away from disasters.

Be honest with the salesperson when you don't like something or if it feels uncomfortable. If you're on the big or tall side, it might mean that you have to go to a "big and tall" store. Unfortunately, "big and tall" stores will also have bigger, taller prices… a sad but true fact.

Keep your eyes open for sales, and don't be afraid to try custom tailoring (when a suit is specifically made for you, as opposed to simply being tailored). This goes for you Joe Averages as well. There is nothing like the fit of a custom suit, because it was made to fit only you (duh). Phone around for quotes, and compare the price. It could probably be had for less than $500, including the material.

Some popular men's stores include Today's Man and The Men's Warehouse. But again, we advise that you ask a well-dressed friend.

Just because you're shopping "off the rack" doesn't mean that you shouldn't have a well-fitting suit. This is extremely important, because if your suit doesn't fit right, you'll look awful and all of your money will be completely wasted. You should expect your friendly salesperson to take all your measurements: neck, shoulders, sleeves, chest, waist, inseam, as well as calculating the mysterious "drop measure." (Don't ask.) Then they can start showing you a suit. Don't let them give you the old, "42 tall? What color you want?" Have them measure you FIRST, and show you suits SECOND.

Any part of the suit that doesn't fit exactly right, you should expect that they will alter it. This will probably cost you a few bucks, unless you're buying a really expensive suit, in which case it'll cost you a few bucks x 10. Be sure to ask who does their tailoring, and if they just farm it out to "Stitches ‘R Us" in the mall or a dry cleaner, take the suit with you and have it altered elsewhere. Again, get a recommendation from a friend, or a co-worker, or Pierce Brosnan, whoever you run into first. If the store has an in-house tailor, you should be okay, especially if the store was a recommendation in the first place.

Are you starting to get a feel for the importance of Step 3, now?

How many suits should you have? At least three is ideal. This allows you to have one at the cleaners and two remaining in the rotation. We've already mentioned that your first suit should be solid navy, single-breasted (or double breasted if you're large). Your second suit should be solid charcoal or "oxford" gray, also single-breasted. It's important to start off conservative but versatile, and these are the two best bets. These will be your perfect interview, important meeting, or confidence-required suits.
For a third suit, it's okay to be a little less conservative, with a mid-blue or gray, or even olive colored ensemble. You might also want to choose a pinstripe or "banker's stripe" (a little thicker) at this point, as well as a double-breasted jacket. You could also look at a heavier (Flannel) or lighter (Tropical) wool, as mentioned previously. All of these are acceptable options for a third or fourth suit. These will be your typical day at the office suits, part of your rotation, comfortable, and not so formal as the alpha and beta suits.

From there, you can pretty much do what you like. You've got the basics at this point, and can't go too far wrong. You can try things like bow ties or suspenders (not necessarily at the same time, Elmer Fudd) or even a pocket puff (pronounced "poofter" in Australia, or "hanky" in the US). These kinds of accessories should be tied together, color-wise, but do not have them match exactly. Think complementary, not anal-retentive to the last detail. Next thing you know, you'll be matching your shoelaces to your tie.

You can also go with a classic navy blazer (a staple of any man's wardrobe) as well as another sports jacket, and get three pairs of wool slacks that you could rotate with the two jackets. But you should never mix and match suit jackets and suit slacks. Suits are meant to be worn as a complete set, and you'll look like a dork. The above options and a number of versatile ties will give you a solid five-day rotation for the workweek.

Be sure to take good care of your clothes, and you will extend their life expectancy as well as keep them looking great. You should have wooden hangers and a clothes brush for home care, and dry clean on a regular basis, maybe every 3 months. This should answer all the requirements of your professional livery. At least until your new wardrobe starts winning you the salary you've been shooting for all along…

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

New Writers Needed

We’re looking for more new writers for our Blogging Network. If you love writing or blogging, I’d like to chat with you.

A couple notes:
• Please send me a writing sample.
• Experience blogging isn’t required, I will train you.
• Some positions are paid, and some aren’t. Please specify in your email whether or not you’ll work for free.

Send an email to .

Sunday, July 1, 2007

How To Tie A Tie Instructions

A true gentleman knows the difference between a half-Windsor and a Prince Albert knot. Our step-by-step illustrated guide highlights seven classic knot options on how to tie a tie. Learn which knots best complement different shirt collar styles, tie fabrics and occasions. Make a statement with your tie in a way only a Brooks Brothers gentleman can. Watch Demonstration on tying these knots.

Small Knot
Prince Albert
Cross Knot
Bow Tie

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