New Laws Of Fashion Part 1
With more quality available to the American man than ever before, there are also more pitfalls. To help you navigate our expanding sartorial world, here are Esquire’s fifty new laws of fashion. Commit them to memory. Break them if you like. (We’ll tell you how.) Then go undaunted.
1. YOU WEAR THE CLOTHES, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.
2. INVESTING IN QUALITY OFTEN MEANS INVESTING IN THE THINGS YOU CAN’T SEE. Like the movement inside a mechanical watch, the full hand-canvasing in a jacket or single breasted suits, or the hand-stitched uppers of your shoes.
3. BLUE JEANS ARE GOOD; DARK-BLUE JEANS ARE BETTER. Leave the boot cuts to cowgirls and black denim to ex-cons.
4. CELEBRITIES LOOK GOOD IN CLOTHES FOR TWO REASONS: a) They’re famous. b) They have someone whose full-time job is to dress them. Don’t get discouraged. Get famous.
5. YOU SHOULD DRESS FOR AIR TRAVEL AS IF IT WERE STILL A PRIVILEGE. Start with a collared shirt and a tailored jacket. And if you can’t bear wearing proper shoes, low-key leather sneakers will do. Ditch the sweatpants, though. You’re not at the gym. How to break it: Flying private gives you sartorial carte blanche.
6. A WELL MADE AND PROPERLY KEPT SHOE WILL LAST YOU THREE DECADES. When shopping for your feet, remember to invest in leather soles and uppers and Goodyear-worthy welts. Remember, too, that all-leather shoes are easier to rebuild. How to break it: If it’s obvious that your loafers are from the seventies, retire them.
7. WOODEN SHOE TREES ARE A GOOD IDEA. But you need only one pair. Put them in the shoes you’ve been wearing all day. The shoe, warmed and wet from your body heat and perspiration, will contract as it cools over the shape of the tree and return to its original form. Within an hour or two, the tree has done its job. Leather Tramezza shoes (made to measure, starting at $810) by Salvatore Ferragamo.
8. THERE ARE TWO WAYS YOU SHOULD STORE YOUR TIE: 1) Lay it flat in a drawer. 2) Roll it up like a Swiss roll by folding it once and then rolling it from the narrow end. Both methods allow the tie to settle and regain its shape overnight.
9. BROADEN YOUR COLOR WHEEL. Colors that real men actually look good in, though they don’t realize it (one item of clothing at a time, please): pink, turquoise, and coral.
10. IT’S BETTER TO BE OVERDRESSED THAN UNDERDRESSED. Being thought eccentric for wearing a tux to a swim meet is preferable to wearing a T-shirt and jeans to a wedding.
12. IN YOUR MEDICINE CABINET: one razor, one bar of shaving soap, a shaving brush, a comb, deodorant, nail clippers, hair gel, toothpaste, and a toothbrush. Done.
13. BUY THE SUIT THAT FITS, NOT THE ONE YOU WISH YOU COULD FIT INTO. A suit that’s too tight will make you look fat. And while an oversized suit may seem more comfortable, in reality you’ll just look like a ten-year-old playing dress-up. In between the two is the suit that fits.
14. WOMEN ARE SEXY WHEN WEARING ONE ITEM OF MEN’S CLOTHING. How to break it: Or nothing at all.
15. WATERPROOF AND WATER-RESISTANT: There’s a big difference.
16. WET SHOES SHOULD BE DRIED IN A WARM PLACE NEAR AN OVEN (BUT NEVER IN ONE). But be careful: Rapid drying can irreversibly crack the leather.
17. "A WELL-TIED TIE IS THE FIRST SERIOUS STEP IN LIFE." —OSCAR WILDE
18. BE SUSPICIOUS OF THE GUY IN THE STATE U. SWEATSHIRT. Varsity sweatshirts are usually worn by people on whom the educational establishment in question had no lasting or useful impact at all or by people who paid for their kids to go there and would dearly like to advertise the fact. How to break it: Let go of suspicion if you live within twenty miles of a Big Ten school.
19. YOUR EYEGLASSES SHOULD CONTRAST, NOT MIMIC, THE SHAPE OF YOUR FACE. Here’s a quick guide, courtesy of renowned eyeglass designer Richard Morgenthal.
Your shape: Heart
Your specs: A heart-shaped face already has a lot of definition. Since your head is top-heavy, go for a geometric frame that gives some width to the lower half of your face.
Your shape: Square
Your specs: Since a square face already has angles, go for a round or oval frame that shapes your cheekbones. A decorative frame with width will often do the trick.
Your shape: Round
Your specs: Avoid dark frames; they only make your face appear heavy. A round face needs direction, so opt for angular and narrow frames—never a square or a circle.
Your shape: Oval
Your specs: A modern rectangle is best for an oval face. Because your face is longer than it is wide, you’ll need frames that provide width. If your face is wider than it is long, go the opposite way.
20. IN THE NEW JEANS-AND-A-SUIT-JACKET ENVIRONMENT, A POCKET SQUARE CAN STAND IN FOR A TIE. Here’s how.
Astaire: To be done only with a silk handkerchief. Begin by spreading the material across a flat surface and pinching at the center, allowing the fabric to pillow around the pinch. Only an elegant pattern will do.
Churchill: Constructed in the same fashion as the Astaire pocket square but with the additional step of folding up the corners. This style is slightly more ragged in a very purposeful way. Must still be done with silk.
JFK: The structured nature of this style can be done with almost any material: silk, linen, or cotton. Very measured and exact, it calls for a quiet pattern on the hankie and is usually worn by men you’d trust to invest your money.
Bond, James: Straight out of the 1960s comes this straight-across approach. Donned by spies, news anchors, and heads of state, this style is simple and clean. It should be done with a white linen or cotton handkerchief.
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