Since we reviewed seven custom shirtmakers a decade ago, a bunch of others have offered free shirts for an evaluation, and because it takes us getting up from the sofa, we've always said no.
But when Apposta asked us to have a look we changed our tune, primarily because their shirts are made in Italy. Where possible, this is where MBs want their clothing (and shoes) to be made. It's a default setting like getting forged blades from Japan, Scotch from Islay, or pump-action shotguns from here in America.
The shirtmakers we originally reviewed all outsourced their manufacturing to Thailand, Hong Kong, Honduras, China, and Vietnam. Proper Cloth, now one of the most popular online shirtmakers, has their shirts made in Malaysia. We're not saying some great shirts cannot be made in these places — especially Hong Kong — but we are saying that shirts made in Italy are likely just going to be better.
This was the case with the Apposta shirt. Probably because the fabric came from an Italian mill, the buttons were Australian mother of pearl, and the stitching and fit are both just very ... Italiany. While Apposta doesn't offer our preferred sewn collar, they do have an option of a "soft" collar that approximates unfused, to allow for maximum sprezzatura (that's Italian for artful dishevelment).
To top it off — and recalled the memorable touches of ordering from a well-known Italian fashion house — is the shipment came with an ear-loop mask made from the shirt fabric. Magnifico! Just don't pair with the shirt (too strong of a Garanimals vibe), or put it on while trying to buy a pump-action shotgun from a West Palm Beach gun shop (at least without an appointment).
It fits beautifully with the uniform we're building for Dave (the client). See for yourself in the brand-new Dresserizer, the name we've given our one-touch getting-dressed app. (Still in early beta.)
We Threw This One Back
The reason we're buying F/W in S/S is to maximize bang for the buck. We got this $650 vicuna cashmere Lauren Ralph Lauren blazer for $140. It ended up being a little too trad for our look and the color didn't fully work with the uniform palette, but it might work in yours. Definitely worth consideration.
Budget Update: We've purchased enough pants/shirts/sweaters/blazers for 64 different wardrobe combinations (that mostly work) in the Dresserizer and spent less than a grand. That leaves more than a grand. Stay tuned for footwear!
Hey folks, I recently popped the question to my longtime girlfriend, and for some reason, she said yes.
I would love to marry the woman of my dreams in an equally incredible tuxedo. I have no clue where to start, but I want something cool and classic with a pop. Money is an object, but the right suiting is worth it. Be my sherpas and (please!) point me in a direction. —Mike
A: Mike, we are both honored and humbled that you would ask us for advice on what might be the biggest mistake day of your life.
We adhere to our 2008 stance and say a wedding tuxedo should be able to stand a 100 year test of time. While it's been only 8 years since we recommended the classic Ralph Lauren peak lapel version, it looks as good now as it did when John McCain was running for president.
The only catch is it's $1,395, up from $1,350. There is bigger value to be had.
Until ASOS and UNIQLO start making tuxedos, we shall rely on YOOX, where there is an additional 25% off through August 26. Here are some suggestions that meet our style requirements:
All of these options are fairly similar, aesthetics-wise, so choose the one that's the best fit for your wallet and your torso. If you're feeling symbolic, give extra consideration to the DSquared2, which is 5 percent elastane. Normally, we're against synthetics, but any marriage built for the long haul can always use a tiny amount of stretch.
Apply your savings towards your shoes, shirt, tie, and if you want a good deal on groomsmen gifts, we'll be happy to work something out to help you celebrate your big day.
Best of luck to you and your new bride, and let us know what you end up deciding on.
Q: I have a summer wedding to attend and have a grey zzegna cotton suit. I am not sure what shoes to pair it with as the pants are quite narrow. Please help. —John
A: With the notable exception of the recent Kim Kardashian/Kris Humphries wedding, which featured $5 million earrings and an absurd, six-foot-tall sex toy made out of wedding cake, summer weddings are casual. So your choice of a casual cotton suit is a good one.
In his highly entertaining (and highly recommended) book How to Be a ManGQ Style Guy Glenn O'Brien says:
"...the fashion-forward periodically tell us it's OK to wear sneakers with a suit. Maybe if you've been embezzling and the auditors are in the office, sneakers will give you an edge if you make a run for it, but basically sneakers with a suit is a fundamental error, no matter how much the sneakers cost or who designed them."
We disagree. Or maybe it's just that we have more expansive definition of "sneaker" than O'Brien does. In any case, we think these textured leather sneakers from Thompson would be perfectly wedded to your Z Zegna suit. Despite their Anglo-sounding name, they're actually made in Italy — like your suit — and their narrow cut will pair well with your narrow pants.
If, however, you fall more in line with the Style Guy's way of thinking, then go for these suede Gucci lace-ups. They're dressier than the Thompsons, but with their relaxed lines and non-glossy finish, you won't look like you just came from a wedding when you hit the bars after the reception ends.
Q: I've used your shoe-pointiness graph as a guide in footwear purchases since you've published it, but it doesn't address style. How does the MB feel about wingtips? Are they an old classic or just old? --Joe
A: The highly-polished, stacked-heeled, leather-soled wingtips our grandfathers are still wearing definitely look a bit stodgy these days. And they're so noisy, like car alarms for your feet. (Don't even try to steal that Scotch, Gramps! We totally hear you!) We still like wingtips but they're a classic in desperate need of a twist, like the flat rubber-soled Guccis we endorsed a few weeks ago.
This Gucci shoe wholly embodies the "classic with a twist" MB aesthetic. Vintage pinked leather wingtip with rubber soles. $420 is slightly sticker shocking, but a value when you consider how flexible they are: wear them with a suit, grey flannel on business casual days, and of course denim.
1 raw sugar cube
2 dashes Angostura bitters
3 oz bourbon
On bottom of Old Fashioned glass (what else?) dribble bitters on sugar cube. Muddle. Fill with ice, then with bourbon. Garnish with lemon twist. No, not a thick orange wedge, handful of cherries, or a cup of fruit salad. A simple lemon wedge.