Category Archives: Tom Talks

Planning Your Original Wedding

Making your Wedding Day uniquely Yours

If you have been following this blog for a while you may recall that we wrote about weddings earlier this year. We even included some thoughts for the all important Father of the Bride. Weddings are a topic we like (and that we are good at), so we are at it again. Rumor has it that lots of people are still tying the knot and are, in fact, more enthusiastic than ever about every detail and nuance that will ensure a positively memorable occasion.

Get ready this month to learn how to craft an awesome Best Man’s speech, how to be a Wedding Crasher (actually just how to be a really great guest), and to hear from a few recent “Real Grooms” about their experience. But for now, all you would be grooms, consider how you want your day to unfold.

“This one is authentic,” said the art dealer. “It’s not a copy. It’s a true original.” That was music to the ears of the owner of the painting in question. The value we place on an original almost always far exceeds that of any copy. In fact, certain kinds of copying, plagiarism in particular, we despise and reject. Duplicating and copying can provide the virtue of consistency but also the safe and forgettable qualities of conformity, the near opposite of authenticity and idealism.

Albeit more rare than common, any amount of originality and authenticity that we perceive in another person is endearing and heightens their likeability. It also tends to walk hand in hand with more courageous and purposeful living, a willingness to conform less and risk more. In the microcosm of weddings, modern couples are progressively breaking with a strict conformity to tradition and getting married in ways that uniquely and authentically express what they believe and envision for their lives together. (Note: Judging from the pictures we are getting, more kissing appears to be a trend. And really, who could blame them?)

Are you getting married in the near future?

If you were to break it down, how would you describe your ideal day?

Sarah and Oliver said that they wanted their wedding to be about love and community, and, of course, to be EPIC! The epic element (could have been a super secret wedding dance, but I’m not tellin’) no doubt required some extra effort on the part of someone, but more than worth it for the lifetime of memories.

A Wedding Day is tailor made to be a day full of idealism: a day full of beautiful people and clothing and other things; a day punctuated by magnanimous promises and magnificent gestures; a public expression of how two individuals intend to unite their lives and progress toward a shared vision.

And what is the most important visual element in this idealistic drama?

  • The place? Important, yes.
  • The props? Crucial in any drama.
  • But, the clothes (costumes) worn by the wedding party, and particularly the bride and groom, are a true extension of the couple’s individual personalities and collective personality.

For the groom, the options to customize and personalize your wedding clothes are vast and numerous. Depending on the venue and the personality of the couple, grooms are wearing a broad range of color and more of it. And while always elegant, the look can run from beach party casual to the height of formality.

As you think through the details, elements, and features of your special day, leave no stone unturned. From the rings, to the party favors, table centerpieces, reception activities, the possibilities are there to put your personal stamp on it in way that will create a day for the record books and be a most fitting kickoff to your life together.

Do you have a wedding story to share? Don’t hold back. Please share you epic tale, simple tip for the groom or best man, or favorite wedding memory.

Applauding your authenticity,

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Clothes for Men who Know what they’re Doing!

Or who at least want to look like they do.

In the last of a series designed to introduce you to the casual dimension of all that Tom James offers, we highlight three brands that are rich in American Heritage, and all proudly made in the U.S.A., Corbin, Gitman, and…..new this season….Holland & Sherry Luxury Ready to Wear.

Having launched their business in 1947, Corbin helped to create the “Ivy League” look – a look that has defined and set the standard for clothing that is essentially conservative and enduring, and always comfortable. As R. Law, a men’s clothing retailer from Hackensack, New Jersey, put it ‘back in the day’ (1956 in this case), “The Ivy Leaguer is the man who knows that clothes are an important part of his life. Dressing properly amplifies his position in life.”

Corbin has been one of the mainstay brands that have kept this tradition alive, making clothing that emphasize quality and fit – clothes for men who know what they’re doing. In recent years, Corbin has experienced a renewal of interest from both long-time customers and a new generation of men who want to be taken seriously without appearing overly serious. Corbin’s broad selection of five-pocket and flat front trousers are dominating this category.

Since 1978, Gitman Bros. has consistently made one of the finest shirts in the world. Located in Ashland, Pennsylvania, Gitman is also one of the last remaining shirt makers that craft their products entirely in America. Many of the workers at Gitman are from families that have been sewing clothing for generations and bring all their history and skill to each individual shirt. Their experience is irreplaceable and the leadership of Gitman is dedicated to keep their manufacturing in the U.S.A. to utilize and save something that is truly part of American History.

With so many market goods now made offshore, the “Made in USA” label has not only come to represent a superior product made locally, but also to connote a new form of luxury known internationally. The Gitman identity is founded on quality in materials and construction – a particular combination of the world’s finest fabrics and master shirt making.

 

New this Fall, Tom James proudly introduces a new level of luxury in casual clothing: Holland & Sherry Luxury READY TO WEAR. Further employing the dedicated craftspeople at Corbin and Gitman, H&S RTW is a true luxury product. All of the shirts and pants are made in the U.S.A. from high thread count cotton, the highest quality Pima cotton corduroy, luxury wools, and 3-ply Italian denim. The sweaters are all 100% Scottish 2-ply Cashmere.

You know what you’re doing. Does your casual clothing reinforce that? Once you have a few lifestyle pieces from these iconic American brands, you won’t want to wear anything else.

Knowing it and Doing it,

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Sharpen the Edge on your Fall Wardrobe

Wear John Varvatos

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It’s hard to believe that in the early years of the Baby Boomer generation jeans were sometimes banned in theaters, restaurants, and schools. Evidently teenage rebellion didn’t begin with the flower children in the 60’s, but with those crazy, rebellious kids of the 1950’s! As true today as in any other generation (before or since), much of what you wear carries symbolic elements and strong associations. Our featured brand this week – John Varvatos – is strongly associated with the energy and edginess of Rock n’ Roll.

A baby boomer himself (born in 1957), Varvatos grew up in Detroit during some of the headiest days of modern American music making and was heavily influenced by the likes of Alice Cooper and Iggy Pop. That upbringing, and more than 15 years working with two of the most iconic menswear designers in America – Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein – laid the foundation for Varvotos’ unique brand of clothing “that unites a rock n’ roll sensibility and old world craftsmanship with modern innovation.”

“Varvatos USA” is the more youthful and edgy option in the line-up of jeans offered by Tom James, perfect to wear for a night out or to football games this Fall. The way I see it, a modern man needs a wardrobe of different jeans just like he does a wardrobe of different suits, jackets, shirts and pants. One occasion may call for a conservative feel, while the next may beg for something more rugged or creative. In my case, there are times when I want a closer fit (“skinny” jeans excluded) and times when I want to feel more room in my clothes. I like having jeans of different weights and refinement as well. There are jeans to wear with boots or thicker soled shoes and others that just work better with a summer slip-on, boat shoe or driving moc. Having a variety of jeans in the closet makes it an easy choice. In addition to Varvatos, Tom James Clothiers can fit you in jeans from Agave, Corbin, and Holland & Sherry, as well as a broad range of casual shirts and sweaters, shoes and belts to complete the outfit.

How we feel in our clothing makes such a big difference. “When I wake up, in the mornin’ light, I pull on my jeans and I feel all right,” sings country music star Keith Urban. Do you have the clothes in your closet that make you feel “all right?”

Living not “on the edge” but “with an edge,”

Good Clothes To Wear

Keeping you comfortable and “effortlessly cool” – wherever Life Takes You

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We’ve all been there! You get an invitation to a great event at an epic venue, or you decide on a killer vacation/weekend destination you’d like to visit, and then you think about what you have to wear…or what you should be wearing….and you draw a blank. Oh, you could probably “get by” with something in your closet, but who really wants to do that…to live that way…getting by, making do? Wouldn’t you rather truly enjoy that first cocktail (as opposed to really needing it) when you arrive at your destination rather than just drinking it to distract you from the fact that you don’t quite look the part?


I attended a book signing party a couple of months ago. It was a warm early summer evening, on the patio at a favorite local restaurant bar where trendy people mixed with a broad swath of locals. Having planned ahead for such occasions, I wore my new Agave Jeans, a pink striped shirt from Robert Graham (sleeves rolled up) with some sweet contrasting detail on the cuffs and collar, and a pair of brown calfskin loafers (no socks) with coordinated belt from Cole Haan.

Was I the best dressed guy at the event? Probably, but that’s not really the point. The real goal was to respect the occasion and venue and to be 100% comfortable and confident about myself, just like every other day of my life. I just don’t see any benefit to taking a day off from looking and feeling my best, whether I’m going to work, a backyard barbeque, or a weekend in the mountains or wine country.

Robert Graham and Jake Agave are two brands that have really figured out clothing that will put you in a comfort zone outside of the regular daily deal.

Robert Graham combines luxurious fabrics and details that range from subtle to pleasantly unexpected to create sophisticated, lifestyle clothing, self-described as American eclectic. Who knew that the simple act of putting on the right shirt could provide one with Wisdom, Knowledge, and Truth?

Jake Agave is a modern American brand that you will love to wear. Why am I so sure about that? For one, because that is their fundamental brand promise and, because I know how much I love wearing all of my garment dyed shirts. Like Tom James, Agave manufactures in an ethical way in the USA. From the creators of the brand:

“Agave Style is defined by one’s inner confidence and the ability to enjoy the simple beauty of life. It is both “effortlessly cool” and “elegantly sexy”. The Agave Brand is the definition of what we call ‘West Coast Luxury’.”

You may have heard me say this before (see two paragraphs earlier), but let me say it again, just to make sure that you are feeling me on this one – “You deserve to feel just as good, just as confident, in your clothes in every other life situation as you do in your day-to-day business attire.” And your Tom James Clothier has everything you need to make that happen.

Comfortable and Confident….and “effortlessly cool,”