Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Spring 'Mad Men'-inspired collection released

The latest in Banana Republic’s collaboration with the acclaimed costume designer from AMC’s “Mad Men” television drama hit stores last week.

Marketed as a contemporary take on mid-1960s style, the collection includes a beautiful navy Glen plaid suit (pictured below).

PHOTOS courtesy of Banana Republic.

Glen plaid is one of the most versatile patterns for gentlemen.

In brown, it’s the perfect jacket when paired with flannel pants and penny loafers for one of those transitional autumn days. While the navy Glen plaid used by Banana Republic is tougher to dress down, it comes off rather subdued from a distance and adds a bit of personality to one’s wardrobe.

Oddly, Banana Republic doesn’t disclose the source of its cloth, at least on the interior label other than to say it’s Italian. At the same time, the cloth is marketed on the Banana Republic website as being from Marzotto, an Italian mill that dates to 1836. This partial vagueness is somewhat reminiscent of J. Crew a few years ago — before the Ludlow fad — when the famed Lora Piana didn’t want an open relationship for fear of undercutting its prestige.

All in all, at $375 (available here) the suit is a terrific choice for those who want an affordable off-the-peg suit with a bit of pizazz. It’s an even better value if purchased during a sale.

While more “Mad Men”-esque than authentic — something that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, unless you want to be a menswear reenactor — a three-roll-two lapel and hook vent would have been a nice touch to anchor its retro credentials.

Banana Republic’s suiting clearly isn’t Savile Row, but it’s pretty darn good for a mall shop.

It would, however, be nice to see the Gap-owned brand place a little more attention on details, such as half-canvassing or side tab adjusters on pants in lieu of belt loops. 

When you buy the suit, get your tailor to put cuffs on the pants. The tailor will insist that a plain bottom is all the rage, but don’t relent for anything other than cuffs with a height of 1.75 inches. Removing the belt loops is also a must-do alteration.

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