Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Buying Guide: The best value in shirting

The following is part of's annual Christmas Buying Guide


It's difficult to buy a shirt.

Part of the reason is there's a heap of custom shirtmakers, who in as little as a week or two can make a made-to-measure shirt with the exact details that special someone wants.

That can make it difficult to settle for something off-the-rack, especially when custom — be it made-to-order, made-to-measure or bespoke — is theoretically made to fit perfectly.  

Still, it's difficult to gift custom shirting for Christmas, unless you don't mind blowing the surprise by asking for measurements.

So when it comes to giving a shirt on the big day next week, one needs to look at value. And while everyone sells off-the-peg shirts, most of the big brands are very overpriced.

The exception is Lands' End, which by far offers the best value.

Best of all, you'll get a fit that is pretty darn close to custom — some of this correspondent's best-fitting shirts are off-the-peg from Lands' End — because Wisconsin-based catalog retailer has virtually every neck-by-sleeve size imaginable in three distinct cuts: traditional, tailored and slim.

The only complaint this correspondent has with Lands' End is a limited selection of collar choices, as it would be nice to have a few proper spread collars. (Pretty much every shirt features a button-down collar.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Mastering Highland attire

Dressing for a Scottish-themed event can be confusing, as many discerning gentlemen have never dressed in Highland attire before.
INFOGRAPHIC courtesy of Scotire.

That’s where this infographic, produced by Scotire, comes in handy. It outlines in great detail what should be worn to complete your formal classic Highland look.
Obviously, the most important element here is the kilt, which traditionally is dependent upon ancestral ties — meaning if your family’s surname is Ferguson, you would choose the Ferguson tartan for your kilt.
However, there are other sartorial considerations to be had.
One of them is the shirt, as there are many choices ranging from wing collar shirts to traditional Ghillie shirts. While available in numerous colors today, A classic white shirt is always the best choice.
There is also the sporran to think about because, well, let’s face it, you have to have somewhere to store your wallet. A dress sporran — usually made from animal hide — is the most popular option for formal events.
Last, but certainly not least, you will need a kilt pin.
Unlike say a pocket square, kilt pins aren’t just for decoration. They sit on the top apron of your kilt and act as a weight to keep the fold of your kilt in place and prevent any embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions from occurring.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Look: A tweedy kind of day


  • Jacket: Tweed sport jacket from Harris Tweed Scotland.
  • Pocket square: Black Brown 1829 (Lord & Taylor in-house brand) wool pocket square.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Buying Guide: The tartan jacket

The following is part of's annual Christmas Buying Guide

After months of endless searching we have found the ultimate jacket for this Christmas.

And not only does the stunning Black Watch tartan jacket pictured below function as a sport jacket, but it can do double-duty as a swanky suit, if the matching trousers are also purchased.

PHOTOS courtesy of Viyella.

The jacket is sold by Viyella (£350 or $550; available here), a brand long known for its super-luxurious flannel shirting that has expanded in recent years to include a full range.

It certainly won't disappoint, as Viyella paid careful attention to getting all of the details right — real horn buttons, side vents, a ticket pocket. There are even side adjusters on the matching trousers (£150 or $235; available here), though a visit to the tailor will be necessary to remove the redundant belt loops.

The price may be a little high for an off-the-peg jacket, but it's not as if many are actually selling a Black Watch tartan jacket.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Look: Getting the details right


  • Sport jacket: Tweed made-to-measure sport jacket from
  • Pocket square: Black Brown 1829 (Lord & Taylor in-house brand) wool pocket square.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Would you wear a thousand-dollar off-the-peg jacket?

Nine hundred and ninety-five dollars. Just five dollars short of a grand. That's the price of an off-the-peg sport jacket from Bills Khakis, the American-made brand best known for, well, chinos.

PHOTO courtesy of Bills Khakis.

Sure, the jacket's cloth has provenance. It's Harris tweed, after all. And Harris tweed is the granddaddy of all things tweed.

Yet for its price one can commission a made-to-measure — heck, even bespoke — tweed jacket in their exact size with the exact details they want from any number of tailors. A discerning gentleman might even be able to get two made-to-measure sport jackets for less than the price of one jacket from Bills, if they go with an oriental tailor.

Still, look at the shoulders of the sport jacket from Bills (available here). They do look perfect.

Thursday, December 4, 2014


For sartorialists, buying shirts is like being a kid at the candy store.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014