June 19, 2009

Men In Suits - A Fashion Primer

Ted Nugent called, he wants his shirt back.

Ask any woman, and most will tell you that there's almost nothing better than a man in a nicely tailored suit. Well, except for me, of course. I like to add that there's almost nothing better than a man in a nicely tailored suit - except for, maybe, a man in a kilt. But that's my Scottish heritage talking.

An inexpensive suit can look expensive if nicely tailored. An expensive suit can look cheap if it's not tailored and ill-fitting. Trust me, men, it's worth the extra change and time to get it done - and to get it done right.

So here's some basic rules on suits, because women pay a great deal of attention to these things.
  • Always match your belt, watch band (if it's leather), and shoes. They should be about the same color. All of them. And probably either all suede or all finished leather.
  • Never wear black leather accessories with a navy suit. Black works with a blue suit, but never a navy one. There's a difference.
  • Never buy a suit with metal buttons. If you love the suit regardless of the buttons, have the tailor switch the buttons for you. Metal buttons make you look like Mr. Howell from Gilligan's Island - or a cruise director on the Love Boat.
  • Always, always, always match your socks to either your pants or your shoes - no matter what you're wearing. Athletic socks are for athletic shoes. And athletics. Seriously.
Here are the basic rules on fit - for pretty much all clothes for men, really.
  • Suit jackets. Shoulders should be even with the upper arms. Meaning, there should be about an inch overhang of the shoulder seam from the actual shoulder.
  • Sleeves. When arms are hanging down, cuffs should hit halfway down the back of the hand with normal posture. When arms are raised and hands are out front and shoulder-level, cuffs should just cover the wrists. It's pretty much the same for jackets, except they should be half an inch shorter then shirt sleeves.
  • Buy shirts that are an inch larger around the neck then the actual neck measurement.
  • Pant legs should fall one to one and a half inches above the ground at the heel with normal posture.
  • Only men with broad shoulders can get away with wearing a double-breasted jacket. When in doubt, just don't do it.
My personal preferences, speaking as a woman....
  • No pleats. Flat-front pants always. Not even on the golf course.
  • No cuffs on the pants.
  • Neck ties finish a suit nicely. I know that they're uncomfortable - but so are high heels. A suit without a tie looks incomplete and almost too casual for business attire.
  • I like pocket squares. (Also known as handkerchiefs to us older folk.) But then, I grew up watching old movies and they were a standard part of the apparel. As were flowers in the lapel, but that might be a little over the top in this day and age.
  • Try dressing like Cary Grant, and you can never go wrong - in my opinion, at least. Same as was mentioned with the Jarome Iginla photo. Just like that.
And, as always, the best accessory a man can have is an attractive women. And that works the other way, too - the best accessory a woman can have is an attractive man. I just have to make one little comment on that, tho.

So surveying the players and their female companions, I noticed the two extremes. On the one hand, you had Steve Mason's companion - who looked..."hired"...as Wrap Around Curl so accurately put it. And then there was Zdeno Chara's companion who looked pretty normal. You can tell a lot about a guy by the type of female companionship he chooses to be with - temporarily, permanently, or otherwise.

Now, I understand the appeal of the trophy girlfriend/wife. I don't agree with it, but I understand it - it's an insecurity thing. I get that. However, I do have to say that any man who has the ability and the opportunity to date/marry a model or an actress, and instead chooses a normal looking woman to be with, instantly gets respect in my book.

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