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A guide to help the average man... look less average

Filtering by Tag: jackets

Sleeve length importance

Mark Kwak

Something I've been noticing a lot lately is the importance of sleeve lengths on suits, jackets, shirts, and/or any sort of outerwear.

We all know that proper fit is of the utmost importance. However, I will admit that there are certain aspects of fit that are more important than others. For example, shoulder fit. I believe that having the right fit at the shoulders is more important than 90% of other fit types, largely because the correct shoulder fit can reduce alteration costs substantially. Also, aesthetically it's just very pleasing when the shoulder hems hit your body at the right spots.

Meanwhile, a little excess fabric in the torso area, or too high a height in the collar department, or puffiness in a jacket can all take a step back as tertiary concerns when thinking about the overall fit of your clothing. These are alterations that can and perhaps should be done, depending on how bad the fit is, but they don't matter quite as much.

Sleeve length though, is starting to really creep to the top of that list for me... Why?

Source: Emenfashion

Source: Emenfashion

Take for example this jacket above. I think there are several issues with the fit on it, but to me, the thing that really catches my eye and makes this jacket look ill-fitted is the sleeve length. If the sleeves on this jacket were about 2-3 inches shorter, it could look a hell of a lot better, but as it stands, I can't 100% respect the fit.

I have two coats that were actually a little long on the sleeves. There were a multitude of other fit problems (body was a bit long, armpits were tight, etc.), but the moment I altered the sleeves, I honestly forgot about the rest of the issues. Before the alteration, these coats looked gigantic on me, as my arms were drowning in the extra fabric with just my fingers peeking out. After the alteration, everything just looked... right.

So here's my ask of you. If you have a jacket, shirt, or any other top with extra long sleeves, go to a tailor right now and get them cut a bit shorter. Believe me, even an inch or two can make the biggest difference. The difference between you looking like you're drowning in your jacket, versus looking completely meant for it.

Essential Outerwear

Mark Kwak

There are a number of reasons why I enjoy fall the most when it comes to menswear. Among those reasons, one in particular is my love of outerwear. My favorite category of clothing, hands down.

Well the good news is that there are a variety of different types of outerwear to choose from come October/November. The bad news is that this "unleashing of the bulls" per se, can get a bit overwhelming- you'll have a hard time figuring out what coat to actually buy.

To make things a little easier, I've outlined what I consider the essential outerwear list. This doesn't mean you need to own every piece on the list, but choosing a couple from here might do your wardrobe some good. In no particular order, here they are:

1. The Peacoat

2. The Field Jacket / Utility Coat

3. The Trenchcoat

4. The Leather Jacket

5. The Topcoat

6. The Cold Weather Coat

In the following weeks, I hope to delve a bit deeper into each of these jackets/coats, and let you know why I think they're awesome pieces to have in your closet. Keep an eye out, and also let me know in the comments below if there is anything specific you'd like to know about each item.

PS: I realize that I never finished by accessories series (only went through about half of the items on that list, here's part 1 , 2 , 3). That's definitely going to be intermingled with this series!

 

Denim vs chambray

Mark Kwak

Every now and again, people will ask me what the difference is between denim and chambray, since both seem to look pretty similar. Well my friends, today I shall reveal the difference, and fingers crossed that you don't leave here more confused than when you entered. chambraydenim

Alright, so the picture above shows you a denim jacket and a chambray shirt (though I'm using a bad example of a chambray shirt here since it has a herringbone design). Generally, this is how you'll see denim and chambray used: denim for jackets and pants, chambray for shirts. However, it's important to note that this isn't always the case. Denim can occasionally come in shirt form and chambray can be used for jackets.

Anyhow, the main difference between the two is in the way that they are woven. Denim is woven diagonally, while chambray is plainly woven, meaning that there's more of a traditional criss-cross weaving happening. The best way to tell is actually by looking on the inside of your jeans. Since they're probably made of denim, you'll notice the fabric is woven diagonally. This weave will look very different on chambray.

So in all, clearly not that big of a difference between the two. And perhaps a rather boring difference if anything. Either way, I wanted to at least clear up any confusion.  Alright, getting' out of here, happy day before the 4th!

chambraydenim2

Gap Denim Jacket :: Gitman Vintage Chambray Shirt

Jackets, my favorite

Mark Kwak

I'd have to say my favorite article of clothing is the jacket. Always has been, likely always will be. Why do I have such a fascination with jackets? Because they not only keep me warm, but they also are the most noticeable article of clothing one puts on. I mean seriously, a jacket goes on TOP of everything else, covering any clothes you are already wearing. It's also one of the only articles you can take off or put on multiple times in a day. It allows you to effortlessly change your look whether you're outside or inside. Make sure you have an awesome one in your wardrobe.

Here are some jackets that I personally like, all different styles:

Just quick comments on the photos above.

Trenches make you feel boss, and will never go out of style. This is especially true for Burberry , since they invented trenches. Stick with tans, greys, blacks and navys, and make sure to find the right fit, since they'll last you a lifetime.

Parkas, like the wings + horns one above, are extremely versatile, and can be dressed up or down effortlessly. They protect you from the rain, and are quite utilitarian, with the pockets and all.

Matt Bomer from White Collar pulls this jacket off awesomely (is that a word?). I've always had a hard time finding leather jackets that fit me well, but the day I do, I hope it looks like the one above, simple and slim.

Lastly, I think John Varvatos makes some really creative, and quality jackets in his mainline collection. If you've got some $, or rather, $$$, I would take a peak; you might find one that sings to you.

In terms of brand recommendations for jackets, it really depends on the price range you're looking at. Jackets can get astronomically expensive, because designers know they can charge a hefty fine on them. They usually are constructed with thicker fabrics, have a lot more variance in design, and are bought more sparingly, thus people are willing to splurge more.

I recommend spending a bare minimum of $50 on a jacket. I don't think that's unreasonable, because it will last you a long time if you buy the right one.

At the $50-$100 range, I would probably recommend Land's End or Banana Republic with a coupon (easily accessible). Many snobs will gawk at anything from GAP Co., due to their mass production and inconsistency of quality. However, I think that you can get some great jackets here that are stylish and will last. I have a jacket from BR that looks like the parka above, and I love it. People compliment this jacket all the time, and I got it for around $80 bucks.

At the $100-$200 mark, I like Topman and Diesel. I am going to say that these two recommendations are mainly based on look, rather than quality. Not saying that the quality is bad by any means, but just know that I put a bit of weight towards design. I also have to plug in The North Face & Patagonia, where it's function rather than fashion.

When we get to the $200-$400 range, this is where I think one should spend to get a quality jacket that will last. Brooks Brothers and Polo Ralph Lauren have very high quality jackets, and have obviously been in the business forever. In this range, my highest rec goes to Barbour since they make a damn solid jacket, and you'll notice the quality is exceptional.

Between $400-$1000, many jackets start to look absolutely amazing. However, you are now heading into brand name snobbery territory, so watch out!  Brooks Brothers Black Fleece and Ralph Lauren Black Label are two of my favorites.

$1000+: My favorite looking jackets come from John Varvatos Collection, Dior Homme, and Paul Smith Main Line. All three make very sleek, trim, European style jackets that I think can elevate your look. Be careful, as clearly you're spending a lot for the brand name, rather than the pure functionality of the jacket. Hey, but if you have the cash, why not right?

I'd recommend picking up a solid jacket for the fall. Whether you buy a parka, trench, leather, or wool jacket, find one that helps identify your image. It will get noticed.