Category Archives: Tailored Fit

Living Well: A Custom suit made from Merino wool from Cloudy Bay

imageI was reading about wine, while drinking a little wine (as I am prone to do,) and I was reminded about the lingering pleasure found in a mouthful of sauvignon blanc from the Marlborough region of New Zealand.  More than 60% of the wine produced in New Zealand comes from that region.  Among the many fine producers,  Cloudy Bay Vineyards,  located in Blenheim, about 8 miles from Cloudy Bay, is one of the better known wineries on the island.

Bob Campbell wrote about the 2012 vintage in Gourmet Traveller,  “After all these years, Cloudy Bay has still got it. It’s encouraging to know that the brand is not merely resting on its laurels. Beautifully harmonious sauvignon blanc with a mix imageof grapefruit, gooseberry and capsicum contrasting with riper tropical and tree fruit characters while the acidity and sweetness are perfectly balanced. The net effect is an elegant and moderately complex wine that delivers power with great subtlety.”

Kind of makes you want to take a sip, doesn’t it?  Well, as much as I enjoy the sauvignon blanc varietal, there is more to the region near Cloudy Bay than just beautiful vistas, rows of grapes, and tasting rooms.  There are also rolling pastures that boast lush vegetation, fertile soil, and a temperate climate, making it the ideal habitat for Merino sheep, and the inspiration for a new suit cloth, for a custom suit, that can be encapsulated in a single word: “sublime.”

A custom suit, tailored from one of the more then forty patterns in the exclusive and “sublime” Cloudy Bay Super 140’s Merino wool collection by Holland & Sherry will cost you a pretty penny more than a bottle or even a case of Cloudy Bay sauvignon blanc, but rather than drink it up, you can wear it and enjoy it any day of the year for seasons to come.

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Merino sheep were first introduced to New Zealand in 1773 by British explorer James Cook.  That venture didn’t work so well, but in 1814, Samuel Marsden re-introduced Merino sheep to New Zealand and from that time forward they have thrived on the islands, producing among the finest of all wool fibers.

The Cloudy Bay region of New Zealand is located in the north east of the South Island, south of the Marlborough sounds.  Named by Captain Cook in 1770, the bay itself connects the Tasman Sea to the South Pacific Ocean.  The Cloudy Bay Collection of cloth is woven in both warp and weft direction by 2 ply yarns and is constructed of a 2/2 twill weave.  It is a full-bodied cloth with bloom and a luxurious, sleek handle.

The color and pattern choices range from classic mid-gray solid to a slate blue alternate stripe, a series of completely amazing shadow stripes and reverse plaids, six colors of birdseye, and plaids with mirrored window panes. Any cloth from the Cloudy Bay collection will form an amazing foundation for a custom suit – your next suit.  How you style a custom suit is up to you.  Yeah, you should see them!

To see and feel the Cloudy Bay collection, or any of the more than 40 other cloth collections offered this season, please contact your local Tom James professional.

Suit Project pays it forward!

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One day last month the lives of twenty five men in St. Louis were changed for the better and forever by the simple gift of a tailored suit.

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The men are of varying ages and backgrounds, but have two particulars in common: serious and persistent mental health challenges coupled with a strong desire to join or re-join the workforce. The gift of a suit (with coordinating shirt and tie) came their way through a partnership of  two St. Louis based non-profits, Suit Project: St. Louis and Independence Center: Restoring Lives.

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The mission of The Suit Project is to provide professional business attire to deserving individuals in need, toward the goal of eliminating the barriers caused by financial inequality and unfortunate circumstances throughout all aspects of life.  Tom James professional Ben Lawler is one the organization’s three co-founders.  Since their founding in 2012 The Suit Project of St. Louis has grown each year and has given well over 2,000 suits and sport coats to deserving individuals who needed the help.  The Suit Project is active in St. Louis and Memphis, with plans to open in at least three more cities this year.  Late last year The Suit Project was able to help an Aspiring young student reach for the Stars!

St. Louis Suit Project 2015 195“Work is essential… it is the glue that binds us to society.” – Bob Harvey, Founding Director (Independence Center)

 

The Independence Center provides tools such as resume preparation, interview training, assistance with job searches, employment workshops, job placement services, on-the-job training and ongoing follow up.

The tailored suits provided by the Suit Project are not only helping those twenty five men make that ever-important first impression, but even more importantly, the appropriate professional clothing helps them to gain the confidence they need to succeed. For many of them, it’s critical to simply feel like they deserve it. It’s hard to state how important that is for anyone, let alone men with the additional challenges they are dealing with each day. Everyone involved agreed that “Seeing these men transformed by the gift of a suit was truly special for all of us.”

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Would you like to help the Suit Project fulfill their mission?

Do you have some business attire that is in good condition that you are ready to part with?

Why not donate them to a worthy cause that will put them to good use.  If you could use some assistance in properly donating that clothing, there is likely a Tom James professional in your area who would be happy to directly help or to at least point you in the right direction.

Jacket and Jeans: Finding the right combination to dress up your jeans

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All of us have seen them. I notice them most often at the airport, walking down the street over the noon hour or happy hour, or certainly when out for dinner or a few drinks. Those men who on the one hand annoy me, and on the other, are like a soap opera that I just can’t turn away from. Like peacocks on display, they walk about with shoulders back and chest forward. It seems like their gate is a little bit slower than necessary, as they casually check their reflection in store front windows. I can’t tell if it’s a habit, or if they just don’t care that people like me notice. Likely both are true.

Distinct from “gentleman peacocks” are a much more impressive, and perhaps rare, breed of male style specimens. Those men are harder to notice, mostly because they seem so comfortable in their own skin and in their clothing. They don’t obtrusively stand out, as do their peacock counter parts, but don’t be fooled. The confidence and style they exude has roots deeper than any plumage one might display. It comes from wearing clothing that perfectly reflects who they are and what they do. They don’t let clothes wear them, rather they wear their clothing. Or as Stephen Marche wrote in Esquire, “the most potent style is the style that you don’t know is a style.”

A particularly sublime distinction shows up in the way these men wear one of the great modern looks – a jacket and jeans. One of the reasons I love this look is because it’s not one for the peacocks, because without the dress shirt and tie, cuff links, shiny leather shoes, and slicked hair, there’s less chance for the flourish they crave. Don’t get me wrong, I love some flourish now and again. Emphasis on “now and again.”

How to do this great modern look? Find a pair of great jeans, throw on a jacket that fits you – one that just feels so right, on top of a simple button down oxford, a simple leather belt and a great loafer or oxford. Ready to roll.

But what makes this look roll off some men so wonderfully, and on others, not so much?

Fit.

“What’s that?” you say. “Is that the entire answer? Certainly it has to be more than that, right?”

Nope. Not really.

Fit is it!

In 2014, jeans that fit means nothing too full in the leg, all the way from the top to the bottom. If you’ve tried pulling off your boot cuts from 2005 recently, you’ll know what I’m talking about. What then looked so stylish now looks so baggy, so….wrong.

Your jacket must also fit. Fabric and details matter too, but fit will make or break the look. Before I continue – “jacket” is really synonymous with sport coat. Why not use the “sport coat” designation then? I love that casual ring to “jacket.” And we’re talking with jeans, so it just works. I say it does anyway.

For a jacket to fit, nothing too full throughout the chest and waist, and yet nothing too tight either. Dare I say I’m a bit tired of the skinny, sausage casing suit and sport coats? Let the peacocks think they still look good in them. As to length, I will suggest the length of the jacket needs to have a modern feel to it – nothing much beyond the fullest part of the seat. Generally, this won’t be too far past the bottom of the jean’s rise. Where’s that? Where the pant inseams run into each other, right below the bottom of the zipper.

You’re a modern man, making your mark on the world. Jeans and a jacket is a look for you to master. Your time is now. People are looking to you, at you and up to you. Don’t waste time looking into reflective surfaces. Wear a pair of great jeans with a well-cut jacket, keep it simple with the shirt, shoe, and belt, and live your life!

A Triple Crown for You and Me

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The first leg (The Kentucky Derby) of the Thoroughbred Racing Triumvirate was run on May 3rd.   California Chrome was favored and did not disappoint, winning the race handily. Now it’s on to The Preakness Stakes (run at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland)  this Saturday, May 17 (California Chrome is again the favorite to win,) followed by The Belmont Stakes (run at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York) on June 7 in the quest for the elusive Triple Crown – a series of three specific races for three year old Thoroughbred horses. You have to win all three in the same year to win the Triple Crown. Three horses (but of course) won the Triple Crown in the 1970’s (Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and Affirmed.) None have won it since. Twelve horses have since then won the first two races, but none were able to win all three.

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In 2012 Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers won the batting Triple Crown of Major League Baseball (MLB). Prior to that no one had won it since Carl Yastrzemski of the Boston Red Sox did it in 1967. The Triple Crown of baseball consists of leading a league (either the American or National) in three specific statistical categories: batting average, home runs, and runs batted in (RBI) over a full regular season. As you can readily see from those two examples – horse racing and playing baseball – achieving a Triple Crown is difficult and rare!

In the world of tailoring and fine cloth, a triple crown is equally rare though lesser known. Triple Crown is a crafty way to describe a new cloth creation by Holland & Sherry that is woven from yarns with a 3-ply twist. This is significant for at least two reasons:

1. Most fine worsted wool cloth is woven from yarns that are 2-ply or even single ply. Adding the third ply (meaning three threads are twisted together instead of just two) makes the yarns and resulting cloth stronger and adds dimensional stability.
2. The 3-ply twists offer a depth of color that would not otherwise be achievable, creating cloths that are visually interesting and supremely well balanced.  Many of the cloths have a look of texture but are completely smooth to the touch.

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Woven from Super 120’s wool, the Triple Crown collection is perfect for the individual who would welcome a fresh twist on a variety of classic looks for suits, blazers, and 245520245501trousers. The range of solid colors is truly unique and particularly well suited for separates or coordinates.

California Chrome is the only horse  that still has a shot at the thoroughbred racing Triple Crown this year.  But you and I can take advantage of a unique opportunity to wear a Triple Crown.  To see the full Triple Crown cloth collection from Holland & Sherry, contact your Tom James Clothier.