Posts filed under 'How To'

How To: Stay Manly While Wearing Traditionally Feminine Colors

You’ve been eyeing that pale pink dress shirt in the mall. Or perhaps it was an effortlessly au courant purple polo. Maybe it was a baby blue t-shirt.

Whatever it was, you want to wear it. But you want to retain your manliness, rather than serving it up on a silver platter as a sacrificial offering to the style Gods.

No problem.

While these colors are seen as more feminine than masculine, you can wear them without being labeled as a woman. Just follow these simple guidelines:

  1. Limit potentially feminine-looking garments to one per outfit, unless you’re a stylist/actor/metro/etc.
  2. Balance out such outfits with garments with masculine elements.

Let’s put theory into practice:

Situation: You want to add a chalk stripe pale pink sport shirt into your wardrobe.

Three possible solutions:

  • Tone the shirt down with a sweater or pants in another, more manly, color such as grey.
  • Add an overtly masculine garment, such as a tie, vest, or dress pants.
  • Focus attention elsewhere with a unique accessory, such as an oversized belt buckle.

Before I close out this post, I’d like to share a couple of common sense guidelines that will serve you well when taking a walk on the wild side.

  1. If you’re planning to wear a potentially questionable color, make sure you pick a shade that works well with your skin tone. People will notice how radiant you look, not how pink your shirt is.
  2. Finish your outfit off with a whopping dose of confidence! I can’t say this enough, and this advice applies whether you’re wearing a pastel purple shirt, a traditional suit, or manly military garb. If you don’t feel good about what you’re wearing, it’ll show. Even if it’s the most stylish and expensive outfit in the store. And conversely, the easiest (and might I say cheapest!) way to elevate a cheapchic outfit is to hold your head up high and walk, speak, and act with confidence.

Add comment July 25th, 2005

How To: Mix and Match Shirts and Ties

While Mondays can be dreary, your work wardrobe doesn’t have to be. Say goodbye to plain shirts and plain ties, and say hello to the world of pattern!

Easier said than done.

But Style Intelligence Report is here to walk you through the basics of mixing and matching patterns. Let’s look at the shirt and tie combos case by case:

Case I: Patterned shirt + Plain Tie
Best Bet: Repeat in the tie one of the colors in the patterned shirt. Alternatively, choose a tie in a color complementary to the dominant color of the shirt.

Two-Color Stripe Premium Barrel Cuff Shirt
Two-Color Stripe Premium Barrel Cuff Shirt | $78 at Banana Republic

Solid Repp Tie
Solid Repp Tie | $39.50 at JCrew

Case II: Plain Shirt + Patterned Tie
Best Bet: Have one of the pattern colors in the tie echo the color of the shirt. Alternatively, choose a shirt in a color complementary to the dominant color of the tie.

End-on-End Shirt
End-on-End Shirt | $59.50 at JCrew

Tonal Paisley Tie
Tonal Paisley Tie | $59.50 at Banana Republic

Case III: Patterned Shirt + Patterned Tie: Same Pattern
If you’re mixing two of the same pattern, say, two stripes, vary the size of the pattern. Choosing patterns of the same size and type can look too matchy-matchy. Show that you’re in the know by choosing one large and one small stripe.

Classic Stripe Shirt
Classic Stripe Shirt | $65 at JCrew

Regimental Striped Tie
Regimental Striped Tie | $59.50 at Banana Republic

Case IV: Patterned Shirt + Patterned Tie: Different Pattern
If you’re mixing two different patterns, say, a dot and a check, keep the size of the patterns on the same level. If you mix two patterns of two different sizes, the results will be overwhelming to the eye. Unless you’re going for a super eclectic look, choose two patterns on the same scale.

Green Check Shirt
Green Check Shirt | $69.50 at JCrew

Multi-Dot Tie
Multi-Dot Tie | $59.50 at Banana Republic

6 comments July 18th, 2005

How To: Wear White

Avoiding white in the summer? Wearing bright whites shouldn’t play out like a chapter in Homer’s Odyssey. Today, we’re sharing some tips so that wearing white doesn’t have to be an ordeal.

Stick to sunny days…
To keep your summer outfit looking clean, fresh and white-hot, avoid wearing white outfits on rainy days. You don’t want to be splattered with muddy water, or, worse yet, caught in a wet T-shirt-esque situation. Need we say more?

Stay dry
Load up on antiperspirant before you get dressed to avoid difficult-to-remove sweat stains.

White goes best with contrast
White goes best with tan (skin, that is). Wearing a white dress is one of the best ways to flaunt a fabulous tan. Accessorize with contrasting colors like beige, browns and metallics.

Don’t commit the ultimate white fashion faux pas
White outfits are fitting for most summer daytime occasions. The exception: Unless you’re the one getting hitched, don’t wear bright white to a wedding. You’ll upstage the bride.

Be prepared for the worst
Oh, no! You’ve spilled mustard on your beloved white pants…or worse yet, barbecue sauce on your brand new shirt. Fear not, for you’ve come armed and dangerous with Shout! Wipes. These individually-wrapped, portable moist towelettes are safe on all colorfast washable and dry-cleanable fabrics, and don’t contain enzymes, so you won’t damage your outfit if you have to wear it for the rest of the day.

While white fabric is probably the most susceptible to stains, those stains are oftentimes the simplest to remove. If your garment is made of a sturdy fabric like cotton, you can try laundering it individually with the recommended amount of chlorine bleach. Be warned, though, that while bleach usually combats even the most stubborn of stains, it is also abrasive to your clothes. For a small spot, I apply a tiny amount of bleach to one end of a Q Tip and then treat the stain individually before tossing the garment in the wash.

4 comments July 11th, 2005

How To: Combat the Summer Pant See-Through Effect

Picture this:

You’re in your favorite store, you’ve picked out The perfect outfit for your friend’s beachfront soiree, and you’re confident that everything fits perfectly.

But then you look in the mirror and you see…it. Maybe it’s just that you can see the pockets through your pants, or maybe you can see *ahem* more than just your pockets down there.

The ugly underbelly of the summer pant, the see through effect, strikes again!

You’ve seen this before—on unsuspecting people going about their day, and undoubtedly in the fitting room. But while you can’t save everybody from the see through effect, you can save yourself. Depending on the severity of the problem, you have two main options: add a full lining, or just cut out the pockets.

Add a full lining
If you’ve got a bad case of the see throughs, my recommendation is to add a full lining. Or, if you don’t love the pants, donate them. If you want to save the pants, take them to your favorite tailor and add a thin allover lining in the same or lighter color than your pants.

Cut out the pockets
If you have a mild case of the see throughs, in that you can just see the pockets through the pants, all you have to do is cut out the pockets. Snip out the pocket linings carefully so that you don’t cut the actual pant. Follow up by sewing the pocket openings shut.

Add comment July 4th, 2005

Be ShopSmart: How To Recognize Garment Quality

Part of being smart about shopping is knowing how to discern clothing quality.

You may wonder why the clothes at, say, Forever 21 can be less than half the price of those found at Club Monaco. One word: Quality.

The higher priced Club Monaco shirt will likely have more expensive detailing—say rows of topstitching, or the addition of higher-priced fabrics. More care will have been taken in “dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s,” so to speak, and you won’t find large numbers of unsnipped threads hanging off the shirt. Any zippers will have been put in correctly, and they’ll likely zip and unzip better than their counterparts at Forever 21. The garment from Forever 21 may have slightly mismatched seams and/or loose threads hanging off it, and it will likely be made of lesser quality fabric.

Perhaps most importantly, the Forever 21 shirt, while probably cute, will likely not last more than one or two seasons. The Club Monaco shirt, however, will likely be sticking around in your closet for more than a few months.

That’s not to say that there’s no place for value-priced clothing—sometimes it’s nice to hop on the trend bandwagon with a low-priced investment. I do it all the time. I just think it’s important to know what you’re paying for each time you make a purchase. After all, nobody wants to invest a lot of money in a piece of “quality” clothing that’s going to fall apart after a couple of washings.

What do I look for in a quality garment?

  • No Loose Threads: Loose threads hanging off of a garment are a red flag signal of poor quality in a garment. If the manufacturer couldn’t be bothered to finish the sewing job by cutting off the thread ends, what else did they skimp on?
  • Stitch Length: In general, the shorter the stitch length on a garment, the better the quality.
  • Linings: The very presence of a lining tends to signify a garment of better quality. However, not all linings are equal, so check the quality of the lining, just as you would check the rest of the garment.
  • Seams: In general, the greater number of times a seam was sewn, the better the quality. I generally look for topstitching and/or interesting seam treatments. I also pull on the seams in the store to test their strength.
  • Patterns: Patterns should match at all seamlines. For most garments, patterns should be parallel or perpendicular at the seams. If the pattern matching looks haphazard, and not in the “I meant to do that” designer way, put down the garment and walk away.
  • Fastenings: Zippers should move smoothly—it’s a good idea to test them in-store. Buttons and buttonholes should be sewn tightly with plenty of thread.
  • Pockets: They should lie flat and not pull or pucker in any way.
  • Seam allowances and hems: Seam allowance is the width of fabric extending from a seamline to the raw edge of a garment. For items like suits, in particular, wider seam allowances are preferable because they allow for greater flexibility for alterations. Wider hems are also preferable for the same reason.

FYI: Starting this week, I’ll be adding to my men’s fashion coverage. Look for men’s fashion ideas on Wednesday and Thursday this week!

Add comment April 11th, 2005

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