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Articles

Filtering by Tag: Brioni

The Burgundy Shoe

Kamau Hosten

Letter from a reader:

Good day sir,

First let me start by saying I'm a huge fan of your blog and style (that's putting it mildly, as I've learned so much from you)
I recently purchased a pair of burgundy wingtips and wanted your opinion. I noticed that not many gents wear the burgundy wingtip and wanted to know if this shoe is still viewed as a staple in every gents closet, such as the double monk and cap toe dress shoe. 
I have a beautiful linen suit that was given to me, and I'm afraid unlike my other suits, I have the slightest idea of how line should be tailored. Before I visit my tailor I wanted to be sure of what I wanted in regards to the fit. Linen is a bit different for me. I've owned linen pants but never a suit. That takes things to a whole new level of questions (what shoe, types of ties etc)
Again I appreciate and value your opinion highly.

Thank you for your time,

Gerald

Gerald, I like the idea of the burgundy wingtips. While true cordovan is much more difficult to come by, shoes in oxblood and burgundy have the same effect and are much easier on the wallet. For men of style, yes, it's certainly a staple. I love the richness of the dark reddish tones beneath a navy or medium grey suit.

Trousers by Suit Supply, Socks by Brioni, Shoes by Sergio Rossi

Trousers by Suit Supply, Socks by Brioni, Shoes by Sergio Rossi

It's a pleasant alternative to the black and dark brown shoes that most men likely stick to. While it should be a staple, it's best for it to be purchased after the basics, as it's less versatile.

For linen suits, I've had them tailored similarly to worsteds. Though not as tapered. I like the lack of structure and the summery feel of linen. It shouldn't feel too snug, much like any suit. I prefer the trouser slightly tapered with a cuff and linen tends to sway when I walk, and it just bothers the hell out of me. Though when your tailor sees you in it, he has the most trained eye and can give you the best suggestion.

As far as shoes, I like suede loafers; with or without tassels.

Additionally, lighter calf split toe lace ups or derbies continue the casual nature of a linen suit. What's also crucial about linen is to embrace the wrinkles. I've heard the argument against linen too many times: "It's gonna wrinkle too much." That's fine, let nature take its course. It looks better; more lived in.

The Winter Coat Guide: The Single Breasted Topcoat

Kamau Hosten

Following a heavy, double breasted coat, a single breasted top coat is an excellent second option for the milder days of winter. This coat won't look as inherently dressy as a double breasted, opening the wearer's options to sportswear, rather than solely  formal clothing. Though the previous post was spent bemoaning the single breasted coat, it does have its place.

Coat and suit by Brioni, shirt by Piatelli, tie by Isaia, hat by Selentino, eyeglass frames by Tom Ford

Coat and suit by Brioni, shirt by Piatelli, tie by Isaia, hat by Selentino, eyeglass frames by Tom Ford

This style is versatile. The understated charcoal and herringbone pattern make it best at home over suits and sport jackets alike. The peak lapel is a touch that is always dressier than its notched brethren; it's just dashing enough. Still, it's less dressy than its velvet collared chesterfield cousin. The lapel rolls to the middle button, much like a three button jacket. The middle buttoning point provides a the sought after'V' which frames a suit jacket and tie nicely.

Wool pocket square by J.Crew

Wool pocket square by J.Crew

Among the advantages of the single breasted is the quiet simplicity. However, some men have allowed themselves to become hidden in lifeless, ill-fitting coats, the majority of them in black. Incorporating a texture or pattern like herringbone or tweed, in a shade that isn't black, may add enough personality for those willing to tip toe outside the box of conformity.

Bonus points for dressing the breast pocket.

Photos by Bevin Elias

The Perfectly Autumnal Pairing, Brown and Blue

Kamau Hosten

With cool weather making its official return, the opportunities for men who enjoy dressing are limitless. Layers upon layers of textures and richer hues than ones afforded to us during summer months are now a necessary armor against the elements. As a backdrop to the plums and eggplants, rusts and burnt oranges that no doubt line the closet of the well dressed, deep browns and greyish blues provide a quiet balance.

Brown Fedora by Selentino, Harris Tweed jacket by Bloomingdale's, Cashmere trousers by Brioni, Chukkas by Barney's, Umbrella by Kent Wang

Brown Fedora by Selentino, Harris Tweed jacket by Bloomingdale's, Cashmere trousers by Brioni, Chukkas by Barney's, Umbrella by Kent Wang

As we wade slowly into the not yet frozen pool of autumnal shades, I'm reminded how often nature unwittingly dictates our selections. The previously mentioned neutrals of brown and blue and grey play off the sky and its less sunny tendencies during the next several months. Additionally, browns, deep reds, and oranges are reminiscent of the bare trees and their newly fallen leaves, which will hopefully be raked by children more enthusiastic than I was.

Shirt by AM Bespoke, Pocket square by Ikire Jones

Shirt by AM Bespoke, Pocket square by Ikire Jones

These shades, specifically, play well off of each other with many shades of fall. Together, though muted, there lies a quiet elegance in the slightly less formal appeal of it.

The Winter Coat Guide: The Trench

Kamau Hosten

Before the end of November the gleaming lights and trimmings of 5th Avenue shops will attempt to conjure up a warm, rather cozy, if slightly manufactured, concept of holiday spirit. Truthfully, The Rockefeller Center Tree, with its own televised special complete with magnificent lights and pageantry is an annual tradition marking a true beginning to the Christmas season for many.  On the more cynical, though realistic, end of the holiday spectrum is the perpetual need for various coats to brave the the bitter elements. For the cool and rainy days ahead, the trench coat, especially the lined variety, should act as a first mate of sorts as we trudge our way through wintery slush.

With the cold weather staples like the paletot and the single breasted topcoat hopefully on the checklist, another equally important addition is said trench coat. The most widely accepted story regarding its name is that it was favored by British officers during the first World War; of which battle took place in trenches. Tan gabardine or cotton, popularized by Burberry and Aquascutum, is the most traditional, and historic choice, it's also the most ubiquitous. For the purists, nothing but khaki will do. Less popular but, just as appropriate is navy.

Unbranded coat (consignment shop), jacket by Isaia, shirt and foulard by Brioni, trousers by Gant, hat by Selentino

Unbranded coat (consignment shop), jacket by Isaia, shirt and foulard by Brioni, trousers by Gant, hat by Selentino

A cashmere overcoat and a newspaper held over one's head is no real match for the weather.  The basic construction of the coat itself; double breasted with storm flaps and wrist belts, all designed so water beads off the coat and doesn't get in, is a garment that came into fashion based on its utility. That, coupled with a removable lining can serve as a topcoat for the cool rainy days. When layer adequately, it may provide sufficient warmth for frigid temperatures as well. It's not the ideal choice but, it will work in a pinch.

Now, many design houses and fast fashion retailers have reworked the classic into a myriad of colors and lengths. Yet still, coats, especially those intended to protect the wearer from rain, make the most sense at knee length, despite what the trends may be.

A fourth option is the alternative coat. This green coat is wool, with a quilted lining. It is more substantial than a traditional trench coat but, with all of the militaristic inspiration and styling of one.

Coat by Brioni, Shirt by Kamakura, tie by Park en Madison Su misura, hat by Selentino

Coat by Brioni, Shirt by Kamakura, tie by Park en Madison Su misura, hat by Selentino

The color separates the wearer from the herd of black and off black. While it's not suited for the blistery days, it's ideal for odd jackets and trousers on calm, but cool days. This coat will be just as home with chinos and jeans, versus the decidedly dressier double breasted paletot.

Utility and style play well together in a trench coat. The military inspired construction is practical; keeping the wearer warm and dry. The styling, typically a distant second with a garment designed for military use, has become a popular piece since the second World War. Immortalized on screen by the Humphrey Bogart's character in Casablanca, it's become that rare piece with equal parts style and function.

All photos by Bevin Elias