Pitti Uomo 87, I.M.O

Its funny how the beauty of art has so much more to do with the frame than the artwork itself 

- Chuck Palahniuk

It's Pitti Uomo (87) time and as always, the event has been plastered all over my social media feed. 

Those of you not familiar may be asking; "Jared, what's Pitti Uomo?", to which I reply, It's the world's premiere men's fashion festival - full of new season products and accessories. 

"Is it Inspirational?"

"Are their stylish people there?"

"Can anyone go?"

"Are there ever badly dressed people?" 
 I'm afraid so. 

"So how was it this year?" 

And to be completely honest with you, I didn't go, but from what I saw it was lacking. 
Usually I would look through the photos and see crazy new ideas, ridiculous colour combos and some outfits and styles worth applauding. 

But this time around I felt very uninspired. It was a little more dull than usual and that left me feeling slightly disappointed, but there were still a few stylish outfits - And here are some of my favourites in no particular order:

Massimiliano Donnarumma of Otto Marchesi

Fabrizio Oriani of Gentlemen's Wear Daily 

Luca Rubinacci of Rubinacci 

Brown in my town? Always!

Lachie Watson of Oscar Hunt Tailors (Yes, I do work with him and Yes, I picked it because I like it.)

 The best is always last and this was easily it, Erik Mannby well done! (Even his other half dresses well too).

Of course there were your regular faces and everyone goes crazy for them, but in my option it doesn't matter who's wearing it, if it looks good well then to me that's enough! 

See you soon Italy.



Collar Non-Fiction

Here's the thing about dress shirts. You need white, and you need black. Have you ever seen Cary Grant in a blue dress shirt?

- Tom Ford

It's time for another knowledge bomb and this time I welcome you to the wonderful world of the humble shirt collar. 

The shirt collar is another part of menswear that seems to make people really confused and I'm regularly asked to make my suggestions on what shape, size and length guys should be choosing. 

My number one rule when giving fashion advice is to suggest that you always keep your proportions correct. That holds true for when you're choosing your pant or shirt length (or like previously discussed, your lapel width) and I can't stress enough just how important it is when it comes to dressing and looking your best. 

Just as the lapel draws your eye up towards the neck and face, the collar is generally the focal point of a shirt and your shirt collar will actually help to frame your face - Different collar styles will suit different face shapes and it's easy to choose the right style for yourself if you think of your face as a piece of art and your collar as the frame. Smaller pictures require a smaller frame and larger pictures a larger frame (and so on and so on).

 Here is a good example of how a small collar can make a big face/head look bigger!

The right collar and proportions.

Another point to take into consideration is the shape and style of your collar; for example a collar with a medium to long point will slim down a wide face, a spread collar will counter-balance a narrow face. Guys with longer necks can also balance their proportions by raising their collar height.
Just remember that your collar should sit flush alongside the lapel of your jacket, giving a smooth transition from layer to layer and proper framing.

The perfect balance between a larger face/head and shirt collar

Another perfect balance, even when the jacket is open the collar sits neatly under the collar/lapel


A Suitable Ride

I can think. I can sleep. I can move. I can ride my bike. I can dream
- Bill Walton

The other day I took my bike out, something that I haven't done in a very long time.

Although riding a bike whilst wearing a suit may not be entirely practical, I choose to take my inspiration from the Europeans who've been doing it for centuries. While I was visiting Europe last summer I saw so many stylish guys cycling their way around the tiny little back streets of Paris, Italy and Spain -  it's an easy and effective way to travel, especially in cities with high traffic congestion. Not to mention the fact that it also happens to be a great workout.

I've found that my biggest issue while riding a bike on a regular basis is the fact that it can be a little bit tough on my clothes. With that in mind I decided it would be a good idea to think of a couple of things to consider before you ride your bike to work tomorrow:

- Having pedal straps or stirrups will stop your shoes from slipping off, especially if you're wearing leather soled dress shoes. 

- Having metal teethed pedals like mine will mark the soles of your shoes and if you wear the same pair of shoes each time you ride you may wear through them, it's better to alternate between a couple of pairs. 

- Having your seat and handlebars at a comfortable height, or even having your handlebars positioned a little higher will stop any pulls or pressure on your jacket and shirt. 

- Be careful of the bike chain as it can mark your pants. Chain guards are a great investment you don't like to wear your pants too tailored or slim. 

- And finally, if you think that you'll spend a lot of time riding through puddles or rain, mud-guards are a great way of to stopping water and mud flicking up onto your seat and back.

Jacket by Hackett
Polo by Barbour
Jeans by Dejour
Pocket Square by Paolo Albizzati
Sunglasses by Cutler & Gross
Boat Shoes by Sperry Topsider


Roll out the Lapel!

The lapel of a well-styled suit should extend to just a fraction less than the halfway mark between the collar and shoulder line. In general, this size means a width of approximately 3 1/2 inches, thus honouring the main principle of classic tailoring.

- Alan Flusser
Three different sized gents all with perfect lapel sizes to suit, image courtesy of Liverano & Liverano

This is something that needs attention, even though it may land me in hot water with most Australian menswear brands:

- What's the origin of the jacket lapel?
- Exactly what size should a jacket lapel be? 
- What's its purpose? 
- Will it suit me? 

I have been asked the above four questions countless times and with the abundance of tiny lapels on the market here in Australia, I sometimes wonder if designers even know the correct answers.

The most common style, or "notched" lapel, was originally found in jackets that buttoned up to the neck, the lapel formed by simply unbuttoning and turning back the upper part of the closure at an angle. As you can imagine, this was most common in hotter climates or while being worn indoors.

Traditional smoking jacket

What's the purpose of the lapel now days?
The purpose of the jacket lapel is to draw the eyes up towards the wearers face and frame it. With a peak lapel this framing can accentuate the "V" shape of a gentleman's physique and shoulders, whilst adding a little more flair. A shawl collar offers a relaxed look with slightly rounder edges, most commonly seen on smoking jackets, bathrobes and dressing gowns. 

What size should a lapel be?

As my quote from Alan Flusser suggests, it should sit almost halfway between the roll of the lapel and shoulder. If the lapel is too small it will make the body look larger, which is great for the skinny or slender man wanting to add bulk, but is best avoided by larger guys. Just like the rest of your suit, lapels should always be in proportion.

Bigger gent with small lapel, you can't help but focus on his size.

Jeremy Hackett with a smaller than standard lapel.

Hackett wearing a larger lapel (standard size) which gives him better proportions.

By now the answer to the question, "What size should MY lapel be?" should be relatively easy. Just keep in mind that you lapel should end somewhere between the half way lapel roll and the shoulder, or if you're slender and want to look bigger, take two to two and a half centimetres off that measurement - I hope this sheds some light and helps clear up confusion.

Happy New Year everyone, I hope that all of my readers have an amazing and healthy 2015.


Survival Style

Don't gain the world and lose your soul; wisdom is better than silver or gold
Bob Marley

I get a lot of people asking me for advice on what to wear and I always struggle to think of a creative way to answer the question. Not because it isn't easy to suggest dressing by the fashion 'rules', but because I genuinely think people need to dress to suit their personalities, as opposed to what's considered sartorially 'right' or 'wrong'.

The one thing I can suggest is developing your style in the same manor that I developed mine and for me, the number one key was to remember that it's not always about dropping tones of money. Cash is a small guideline when buying, but knowledge and education is really what gives this poor man his "millions".

You also need to try things on. It's so important to test clothes and accessories against your skin tone to determine a flattering colour palette. Discovering style 'icons' who have similar features to you will also help you find suitable colours and patterns to experiment with. 

Looking in the mirror and working out your proportions and is another massive must do. It doesn't matter whether you're wearing pair of jeans and a t-shirt or a suit, correct size and fit is the basic foundation of style.

The final thing I suggest is to forget brand names. Wearing a certain label doesn't necessarily make you look better and a $200 suit can look more expensive than a $10,000 one if the fit and fabric is correct. 

Remember to start subtle and go slow, developing your personal style will take time.

Top images by Kim Donggwan from Looongblack
Bottom image by Kirsty Umback