The Glory of…SOCKS!

SOCKS Apparel Arts 2

The socks we American men usually wear could stand to be more inspiring.  Basic black or navy blue with an occasional dark grey thown in normally constitutes the extent of it.  More often than not, the socks are mid-calf nylon numbers with worn-out elastic, which, when worn, become ankle socks thus allowing a generous amount of hairy leg to show when sitting down.  Stylish? No.  Glorious?  Not even close.

SOCKS What NOT To Do

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the art of wearing socks in a way that almost effortlessly adds style, elegance, and individuality to one’s dress.

Reestablishing the Basics.  The first principle of wearing socks is to show no leg, unless wearing clothing that allows for such behavior (e.g. casual summer Trad chinos with beef roll loafers).  If wearing a suit, it’s over-the-calf socks.  Always. Period. Dot.

The second principle is this: the more formal the setting, the plainer the socks.  For example, with a black tuxedo, socks should be black, untextured, and undecorated.  For a high power business deal, if you are wearing a navy suit, pair it with solid, untextured navy socks…charcoal pinstripe suit, solid, untextured charcoal socks.  You get the idea.  And you’ll never go wrong if you match your socks to your pants.

But all that said, we can do better and achieve a higher degree of personal style in the process.

Advanced Sockery.  The golden age of socks was arguably the 1930’s as exemplified by the trade magazine Apparel Arts.  The following illustrations convey the richness of sock colors and patterns.  The finesse with which socks were coordinated with entire ensembles was exquisite.

SOCKS Apparel Arts 3SOCKS Apparel Arts 2

For example, one’s choice of socks can emphasize a color in the shirt, tie, or pocket square or perhaps echo a pattern in one’s suit.  Regrettably, such sartorial mastery has been largely lost today.  However, there are signs of life in the sock universe.

The Glory of Socks!  Excellence in socks is exemplified by companies such as Italian makers Bresciani and Marcoliani as well as relative newcomers like Hook and Albert.

Bresciani produces fine socks at their factory in Matova, Italy.  They use top quality cotton, wool, and cashmere as well as advanced sewing methods so that the socks retain stretch over time.  The socks are also sized to achieve a better fit.  Bresciani’s seasonal selection of socks in splendid shades and patterns of purple (the new “power color” by the way) show the potential you have in making the lower end of your ensemble pop in a stylish way without going over the top.

SOCKS Bresciani

Marcoliani is a newer Italian brand launched in 2000, but its roots go back to 1947 and the production of silk in the Lake Como area of northern Italy.  The socks are highly praised for their fit, feel, and quality.

SOCKS Marcoliani 1SOCKS Marcoliani 4SOCKS Marcoliani 3SOCKS Marcoliani 2

Hook and Albert is an American start-up begun by two friends who after attending a wedding in Sweden, lamented the state of men’s socks of all things.  Good for us though as their collaboration has added new punch and vibrancy to the field (not to mention well-fitting and feeling socks!)

SOCKS Hook and Albert 3SOCKS Hook and Albert 5SOCKS Hook and Albert 4

So yes, it’s perfectly right and proper–highly encouraged really–to push up your personal style quotient with a well-chosen pair of socks.  At HKT, we have an amazing collection of socks from Bresciani, Marcoliani, and Hook and Albert.  Stop by the shop or give us a call and we’d be happy to assist you in choosing your perfect pair(s) of glorious socks!

Joe Scherrer | Tailored and Styled writer

Article publié pour la première fois le 11/12/2012

How a Suit Collar Should Fit | Parisian Gentleman

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by Sonya Glyn Nicholson, PG Senior Editor. It’s surprising to notice that so many people with exquisite taste fail to notice the importance of a good collar fit with no “collar gap”.

Joseph Scherrer‘s insight:

You want your jacket to fit well right?  One of the aspects of fit that is often overlooked is how the collar lays around the neck.

One of the disadvantages of off-the-rack is that you get what you get.  And more often than not, you get a collar that gaps.  Once you notice it, you won’t be satisfied with anything less that the right fit.

Sonya Glyn Nicholson gives an excellent rundown of what this looks like and how to avoid it to include a section of “the physics of collar fit.”

Enjoy this very educational piece.

By Joe Scherrer | Tailored and Styled Writer

See on parisiangentleman.co.uk

Article publié pour la première fois le 20/05/2013

The Wonders of Vintage Cloth | How to Spend It

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Vintage fabrics have long put steam in Nick Foulkes’ strides. Now more men are raiding their tailors’ stockrooms for heavyweight sartorial gems from the eras of Cary Grant and Terence Stamp

See on howtospendit.ft.com

Joseph Scherrer‘s insight:

My custom tailoring journey has led me down various paths over the past decade. Some of these paths have been dead ends such as:

- Getting shirts made through an online web site using my measurements (the cloth ended up being poor quality and the shirt was too small)

- Using a tailor who wouldn’t listen to what I wanted and “did it his way”

- Trying to fix a poorly made jacket (virtually impossible to do once the cloth is sewn together).

One of the paths that has proven most rewarding is the selection of fabric to use in my suits, jackets, and pants. I started with books from lesser-name mills (mostly Chinese), worked my way into some of the major European cloth makers (Barberis, Loro Piana, Holland and Sherry), then discovered Dormeuil, Scabal, and the excellent conservative fabrics from H. Lesser.

What really transformed my approach to fabric was when I picked up a piece of vintage worsted. The color is light grey with a mixture of tan and light blue so it is extremely versatile. The cloth was probably woven in the 60′s and has a rough hand, but what sets it apart is its weight and drape.

It’s nothing like the 8oz – 9oz stuff offered from most manufacturers. It’s not even like the heavier 10oz- 12oz three season fabrics.

In short, this cloth has character.

Now I’m constantly on the hunt for excellent vintage specimens like this, and as the article indicates, they’re getting harder and harder to find.

It seems that other men have also discovered the richness, depth, and comfort of vintage fabric.

On the one hand, this is a great development. On the other, it’s sad because once it’s gone, it’s gone and the much sought after craft and quality of another era is gone with it.

Unless the market responds and the bigger mills start producing such cloth again–which I am hopeful they will, but am pessimistic that it will actually happen–the remnants of this splendid cloth and the ethos of elegance will be lost.

That’s why I’m a huge fan of what Michael Alden has done over at London Lounge. He and an intrepid group of like-minded souls regularly commission special runs of cloth made to recreate the magnificence of the Golden Age of men’s classic style from the 20′s and 30′s.

Once you wear them, it’s very, very difficult to go back because they look, feel, and drape so well.

Some things do get better with age, and some things are worth preserving.

By Joe Scherrer | Tailored and Styled

See on howtospendit.ft.com

Article publié pour la première fois le 06/01/2014

29 Parts of a Shoe in Detail | Put This On

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Shoe Terminology
Yesterday’s post on shoe construction seemed to be popular, so I thought I’d do something similar by going through some more terminology.”

 

Joseph Scherrer‘s insight:

This post at Put This On is about the best I’ve seen on the parts of a shoe.

Once you read this, you’ll know more about shoes than 99% of the population.  The annotated photos are very helpful as well.

Here’s a list of what you’ll learn about:

Aglet

Apron

Blind Eyelet

Brogueing

Burnishing

Eyelets

Eyelet tabs

Heel cup

Heel lifts

Insole

Instep

Lining

Medallion

Outsole

Pinking

Quarter

Quarter rubber

Scalloping

Sock

Sole

Throat

Toe cap

Tongue

Topline

Top piece

Upper

Vamp

Waist

Welt

Well worth archiving for future reference.

By Joe Scherrer | Tailored and Styled Writer

See on putthison.com

Article publié pour la première fois le 24/06/2013

Minimalism Exemplified | Put This On

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The Man Who Believed in Simplicity

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Joseph Scherrer‘s insight:

This piece from Put This On describes the style and wardrobe of Jean-Michel Frank, a renowned French interior designer of the 20th century.

Frank specialized in minimalism based on simplicity. He was quoted as saying, “Throw out and keep throwing. Elegance means elimination.”

When it came to his wardrobe, he certainly kept it simple: he had 40 of the exact same gray wool flannel suits.

The suits were double breasted with four on two buttoning and clean, straight lines. The cut complimented his slim physique and resulted in a simple elegance–which I’m sure was Frank’s intent.

There is much to admire about such a simple approach. I’m not saying you should buy 40 identical suits. But if you select that absolute best quality, in timeless styles, colors, fabrics, and patterns that are made by expert tailors to fit you, you don’t need a massive wardrobe.

Less can indeed be more when it comes to classic style.

By Joe Scherrer | Tailored and Styled

See on putthison.com

Article publié pour la première fois le 26/03/2014