Men’s Bags: When, Where, and Why

Men’s bags have been around for thousands of years but it’s only been in the last 50 years or so that they’ve seen a revival, and it’s becoming fashionable to carry them again. This is largely due to the increasing number of things we tend to carry around. Whether it’s a new cell phone that’s three times the size of our old flip phones or our work laptops, we have more things and need a stylish way to carry them.

Carrying a bag may also send a subtle psychological message. Dr. Benjamin Wild argues in Parisian Gentleman that carrying a bag is an intentional handicap akin to a peacock’s feathers. (These ostentatious feathers are a functional detriment to the peacock but act as a signal that the peacock is of such fine stock that it has biological resources to spare.) In the case of strapless bags, reducing by half our manual utility could be a signal to others that our resources are such that we can afford to temporarily give up the use of one of our hands. The analogy also works when we consider financial resources instead of biological ones since some bags can cost over $1,000.

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Wrapping our Heads Around Weaves

The way a fabric is created determines the way it looks, the way it hangs, the way it feels. From light and sheer to heavy and shiny, the weave determines the very character of a garment. When it comes to men’s clothing we only have to consider two basic types of weaving, but the variety within those weaves is almost endless.

Plain Weave

Plain weaves are defined by their simple over-under weave. The warp threads (those running vertically) alternate going over and under the weft threads (those running horizontally), just as the weft alternates going over and under the warp.

Poplin

A popular and common weave, poplin gets its name from the Pope having a residence in the town where it was once made. Poplin was originally made with a thicker weft, giving it a corded appearance and texture. Modern poplins use the same size threads for warp and weft, making it smoother but also a bit sheer. Poplin fabrics are usually used for formal dress shirts and tend to have solid colors.

Broadcloth

Broadcloth is made with a normal plain weave like the poplin, but it is woven wider than its intended final width. Traditionally, it was stretched while immersed in water; when it dried, the fabric shrank to its intended size. Finally, the fabric was rubbed with special earth and beaten with wooden hammers to bind the individual fibers together, similar to a felting process. Because of this processing, broadcloth is softer and heavier than poplin, but it can still be used in formal situations.

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Sizing up the Right Shirt for our Style

Originally considered underwear, shirts didn’t come into their own until the 20th century, yet of all the garments that go into our outfits, the shirt is the most diverse and the most visible. White shirts have always been at the top of the fashion food chain because it’s indicative of a lifestyle where the wearer doesn’t get dirty. Likewise, colored shirts have traditionally been more casual because the colors were originally meant to obscure stains between washings.

The easiest way I’ve found to organize this list is by the length of the placket — the reinforced piece of fabric onto which buttons are attached. A shirt with a full placket is one with buttons from the neck down to the bottom hem. Shirts with partial plackets have buttons that start at the neck but don’t extend to the bottom of the shirt. A shirt without a placket has no buttons.

Full Placket

Dress and Sport Shirts
First, let’s discuss our basic shirts with full plackets and collars. They come in a countless array of colors, cuts, and costs. A simple dress shirt in a conservative color is the foundation for nearly every formal outfit. Add a bold pattern or a unique cut and it becomes a sports shirt, ready for a night out. These shirts come in both short- and long-sleeved varieties. Whichever way we go, fit comes first, if it’s too billowy we’ll look like we borrowed dad’s shirt, if it’s too tight, we look fat.

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Mixing the Michelada

Style isn’t just about the clothes we wear or how we wear them. Style is what we do, how we do it, what we eat, where we go, and so much more. Today I want to focus on something we drink. Specifically, I want to focus on one drink, and that’s the michelada.

Though the drink is gaining in popularity in the United States, it has been a staple of Latin American bars for years. Micheladas come in many different varieties and no two restaurants are likely to prepare them the same way. Most will have salt and lime at a minimum but numerous variations can dramatically change the flavor of the drink.

I just got back from Cancun where I got to sample many styles of micheladas and I wanted to share my variation on this Latin American classic. We will need Dos Equis Amber beer, Clamato, Valentina, salt, and a lime.

miche start

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Six Questions with Robert Godley

Hopefully we’ve all had a chance to read the article I wrote about Psycho Bunny by now. I think it’s clear that I’m a fan of the brand, but as I pored over my research, there were a few things I still wanted to know more about. I reached out to Psycho Bunny directly for some insights, and co-founder Robert Godley gave us a peek into the level of dedication required to produce a brand that continues to create high-quality clothing and remain relevant and competitive in the cut-throat luxury retail industry.

Style Zero 2 Style Hero: Where do you draw inspiration for your patterns?

Robert Godley: I have an interest in pop art and its origins. Our logo being such a distinct graphic lends itself to this application and seems to resonate well with our audience.

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Psycho Bunny

Before I began my quest to become a Style Hero, I never paid much attention to clothing brands. My daily uniform outside of work consisted of baggy jeans and a printed t-shirt. Now that I’ve been exposed to the broader sartorial culture, I wanted to take a look at a brand that’s caught my eye. I was initially drawn to Psycho Bunny because of their awesome logo [originally sketched on a napkin by co-founder Robert Godley]. I’m sticking with the brand because of the quality construction of the garments.

Psycho Bunny was founded in 2005 by fashion industry veterans Robert Godley and Robert Goldman. Godley cut his teeth with the likes of Turnbull & Asser and Ralph Lauren; Goldman got his start in the family business – neckties – eventually moving to retailers Federated Department Stores (Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s) and Lord & Taylor. Both men got their start in fashion by making high-end neckwear, and although the original focus of the business was creating luxury neckties it has since grown to include polos, t-shirts, socks, underwear, scarves, cufflinks, pocket squares, and wallets. You can even find poker chips, playing cards, and dominoes.

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