Author Archives: Tom James

Over and Done – Why Do I Need an Overcoat?

Have you seen that guy? You know the one. The guy wearing his new suit…the new suit that’s getting wet because he couldn’t be bothered with an umbrella or overcoat. Or what about Mr. “I’ll-just-wear-my-ski-parka-over-my-suit” during this year’s perfect storm? Then there is this friend of mine who must have twenty five top-shelf custom suits, but when it’s cold and wet, out comes that black, double-breasted trench coat circa 1992. Lazy, sad, and pathetic!

Over means your coat, and done means finished.

When the weather turns cold or wet or both, your look isn’t complete and finished unless your outerwear is money. It should look so good that you’re compelled to keep it on for a few extra moments, even after you’ve stepped inside, out of the elements.

Do you have that coat? Or wardrobe of coats should I say?

As another friend of mine often reminds me, “It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.” I think you know what I’m saying and you know what to do.

Over and “finished,”


Nine Easy Pieces – Black Tie Style

One of the most sublime aspects of formal dressing is its simplicity. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” said Da Vinci. Well, whether or not he actually said that, it makes sense that he would have. And, if you study those who have been considered the icons of style and the best dressed throughout history, each one, though unique, has demonstrated exceptionally good taste, subtle and refined.

Black and White. Tailored from fine cotton, wool, and silk. Simplicity defined.

In an article titled ‘Pablo Picasso: Austerity Measures,’ (WSJ, October 17, 2012) about a current exhibit at the Guggenheim, “Picasso Black and White,” Michael Fitzgerald (Professor of Art History at Trinity College) made reference to the “structural clarity of black and white.” You’re busy. You’re successful. The formal choice is simple and clear.

The nine easy pieces? Pictured above, they include:

  1. Dinner Jacket
  2. Formal Trousers
  3. Formal Shirt
  4. Studs and Links
  5. Black Bow Tie (preferably a bow tie that you tie yourself…which may cause you to need a…
  6. Flask….of the hard stuff….to calm your nerves which are now frayed from tying that bow tie.
  7. Cummerbund to match the bow tie
  8. Formal Shoes
  9. Fine, black socks

Add yourself (or your favorite pocket square – luxurious silk or crisp white linen) to the mix and you have a perfect ten.

Here’s an idea: Update your formal wear and plan a weekend in NYC, including a visit to the Guggenheim.

Now go have some fun!