Ivy League Style & Resurgence

Simon Crompton has a great article on the Permanent Style website which highlights not only his participation in the Ivy League Symposium but the coverage of the event, coupled with photographs and a great video.

So you can go to his style blog from here and view the pictures by clicking on the link, Permanent Style or you can just watch the video on Youtube which is shown below, if you have not watched it then watch it, you will enjoy Simon and all the participants like Alan Flusser (I collect his books), so enjoy I like when notables get together and discuss a subject that interest sartorialists like myself.

Style or Interpretation

Interestingly, I am writing this piece due to a fallacy that I have seen propagated on the web by some who consider themselves to be experts on men’s wear. They throw around terms like bespoke, fly and sprezzatura, they throw around names of designers, and the like and they tout their Instagram, and Pinterest pages. They include well-crafted images that are quite laid out and so from a visual standpoint they make it seem that they really know men’s wear, these must be experts.

The word Sprezzatura is an old Italian word defined by Oxford Dictionary as studied carelessness, but basically means doing something extremely well without making any effort, mostly the buzz word today for stylish men and used in every men’s blog. The word usage has its origin with an Italian Writer named Baldassare Castiglione (1478-1529) in The Book of the Courtier, his aim was to instruct noblemen on the art of manners and how to comport oneself when courting a lady of nobility. The term Bespoke meaning custom or custom – made is an equally old English term that goes back to the 1580s and originally had several meanings but also included made-to-order goods, and now it is synonymous with custom-made men’s wear.

So quick history lesson, but the reality is that people telling you what is stylish and fly as compared to what is not stylish and fly does not hold any real validity. Today’s fashion and styles and what people deem to be chic is very interpretive some like skinny suits, others like sack suits, some do not like a break in their pants others do. The reality is there is no meter, no quantifiable rule or regulation that can say if your stylish or not, we reserve that right to people who see us and observe the way one presents him or herself visually to those whom we meet.

I do not consider myself to be an expert, but I feel that I had a good upbringing when it comes to wearing classic men’s wear. I have been wearing nicely constructed clothes since I was a teenager (I’m 56), raised in NYC I often purchased clothes from various places, like the Custom Shop that existed on Madison avenue, Wallachs, Brooks Brothers, Paul Stuart, Thomas Pink, Bally of Switzerland, Allen Edmonds, as well as smaller operations that existed on Delancy Street and other places in NYC that focused on bespoke and made-to-measure suits, pants, and shirts. I even remember going to Harlem (I’m from the South Bronx, over the Willis Avenue Bridge) like AJ Lester, Dapper Dan and British Walker in the ’80s when that was the place to go for those who consider themselves players (urban slang for guys who dress nice, stylish, but it had some bad connotations associated with it but I just like to dress nice).

I like a well-cut suit, I like well-made or constructed garments with high-quality materials. I items that fit well and are according to my body type, not skinny, not too big but one that fits well. So if someone says hey you look very nice, professional, then I know I put my outfit together well.

Of course, I look at books, review images on Instagram, and Pinterest, and I follow blogs like He spoke style, Permanent Style, Articles of Style, The Brooks Brothers Blog as well as blogs belonging to tailors, and fabric houses, these help me make choices based on styles that are similar to my own or articles of clothing I can see myself wearing, but ultimately that decision rest with me. So before I go, when you review these images on Instagram and Pinterest they are just meant to give you ideas in which to help you in making decisions regarding your appearance that you feel comfortable with.

In reality, style is very interpretive, so if someone is selling a measuring stick on how good you should look, or encouraging you to adopt a style they feel is it, maybe its time to do some research, you might realize you already made some good choices in your wardrobe, because every time you step out, people are telling you that you look nice and professional. The best and most simplistic way to judge your choice of fashion is the reaction of people and if you receive compliments for what you are wearing then you are being scrutinized by the best measuring stick you can have when it comes to your appearance.

Mistakes Made in Made-to-Measure Suit

Just recently, I had a beautiful suit made, it was a six-on-two double breasted with patch pockets. Very different and very stylish and yet one problem arose, in the initial fit the jacket was actually cut too small. They just finished making me two suits that fit superb and now the third one was cut too small. So it does fit but a little too snug for me and my arms feel a little constricted in movement.

It highlights one thing, that bespoke and made-to-measure is still the only way to go but keep in mind that human error does occur. In these situations, there is never a need to get bent out of shape. The tailor realized it and fortunately for me, they will cut my jacket again free of charge but I will have to wait 4 weeks for the new jacket to come back. Remember that well-made clothes is an art and even artists can make mistakes even if the mistake is small like 1″ (inch) in the measurement. Below is an image of me wearing the suit at the tailor.

Made-to-measure suit
Six-on-two double breasted wit patch pockets.

The Life Of Pitti Peacocks – Pitti Uomo Mockumentary

This light-hearted video by Aaron Christian shows what happens at Pitti Uomo. Pitti Uomo is a biannual gathering that draws retailers, editors, and menswear enthusiasts from around the globe.

I like to dress but I keep a low profile it is just me. However at Pitti Uomo a four-day long menswear trade- show, in Florence Italy. It’s a place where attendees spend all day walking around, visiting stands, eating and enjoying the sun while catching up with fellow menswear enthusiasts.

It has also become a prime spot for the top street style photographers to document and take pictures of stylish men. According to this mockumentary, It’s become a peacock parade where the men show off their outfits in all their glory hoping to get their picture taken by the top photographers.

Aaron Christian’s approach to the subject is quite comical, the way that fully grown men strut around subtly trying their best to get their picture taken. Like I said I keep a low profile but with the rise of Instagram, Pinterest, and the selfie I wonder if we are all peacocks by nature? Well, enjoy the video and you can find it on YouTube.

Honest Advertising

On the right sidebar, you will see many links, but truth be told I do not have a relationship with any of them. The reason I provide a link is that I am a customer. At one time or another, I have a purchased at least one product from them and find them to be of great design and quality. I am also a subscriber to The Rake Magazine and the Brooks Brothers blog.

I am a firm believer in quality over quantity. I have a decent closet as a man and own some nice bespoke, made to measure and ready to wear pieces. I feel that you should buy quality items that are classic and will stand the test of time. I hate fads, crazy hues, and brilliant shiny material when it comes to what I like to wear. I prefer a certain style but have been known to wear some more modern pieces of clothes as long as they fit alongside my preferred look and they are of great quality and constructed well.

For instance, on my blog, I will only feature great items but truth be told that may come at a slight cost, and there are times I go to vintage clothing shops and look for gently used quality pieces, that I incorporate into my wardrobe. Being refined does not mean you have to spend tons of money but it does mean being discriminating when picking good quality items and being able to identify the material and construction since those are important when buying pieces that you may need to be altered.

So do not worry, I am just a small time fashion blogger, here is an interesting fact, I been blogging as The Dicky Bow for over 12 years, that is how long this blog has been around. The other problem that after 12 years, a system glitch caused the entire site to go down and we lost 12 years of written content but on the bright side we have recovered all our photographs and while doing it found some of the past written content.

My decision though was to move forward blaze a new trail, write new content and along the way make sure we have weekly backups and hopefully after 12 years The Dicky Bow will start to be one of the more recognizable places on the web where you can get honest advise from a guy that really likes to dress and look good and more importantly does not profit from any relationships with manufacturers.

Thanks,

Eric

Time for New Shirts

Shirt Fabrics
Most tailors provide a wide range of shirt fabrics

This time of year, many of us start to get new shirts for summer. I like bright colors, lighter weight fabrics this time of the year and I start to get my summer wear ready before the month of June hits and the hotter days are coming soon.

I will not get into the nitty-gritty details of buying shirts and selecting fabrics. However, with so many made-to-measure options available you will have a good time looking for a new shirt maker and trying out different options.

Remember not all made-to-measure programs are not considered equal and yes if you are older there are many great options at great price points that should suit your taste, feel great and can easily be accommodated by your budget.

Here are some options for your review:

This is just a short list, there are dozens of online clothing companies that offer made-to-measure shirts that fit great and offer decent prices. I will continue to update the list so that you can try different options and find the shirt that provides all the comfort you need at a good price.

Sincerely,

Eric