“Your Suit is Talking to Me!”

Color Psychology and your Choice of Clothing

Fashion colors for spring 2012 are the most “normal” and accessible that we have seen in many seasons. According to those who decide such things, a range of prep school friendly blues, a cooler red, grass green, and solar power yellow lead the way, trailing only the color of the year – tangerine tango. The shade of blue that is central to current fashion is like the ocean off the coast of the Hawaiian Islands. (If that shade of blue is too difficult to picture, maybe it’s time to pack a bag and call your travel adviser?) Simply put, your new blue suit or blazer for 2012 should be bluer than standard – that is, pick the bluest shade of navy that works with your complexion (skin tone, hair and eye color). For the most part, work the other suggested colors into your shirts, ties, accessories, and sportswear.

Back in the day, in the experimental 60’s, someone famously told another person at a party, “You’ve turned a whiter shade of pale.” I say “famously” because that catch of phrase became the title of a #1 single in the UK and #5 in the USA in 1967, and has been by far the most publicly played song in the UK ever since. A whiter shade of pale may not be in your sartorial future, nor your desired skin tone, but the shade of blue or gray or brown that you choose to wear this spring and summer deserves careful consideration.

I singled out those three colors because they are the dominant and most popular suit colors for business. Some would argue that “no brown in town,” still holds true, and not only for shoes, but in most places the dress code is relaxed enough that even a darker shade earth-tone suit may be considered relatively formal and in the warmer months a summer tan suit is a timeless standard. And I will always advocate that brown shoes provide decidedly masculine and elegant of dress footwear with a broad range of suit colors.


Could the colors that you choose to wear really influence the outcome of human inter action – whether a planned meeting or a chance encounter? Yes. Emphatically, yes!!! Color is an emotional language, replete with nuanced meanings, subjective perception, and highly charged impact. In terms of emotional influence, suit colors can be grouped into a few basic categories. Each category conveys its own meanings and elicits a certain set of responses, but a single theme runs through all color categories: formality and the perception of authority increase as the shade of color darkens. For a more detailed overview of how to apply the 3 most popular suit color categories to some common business situations, visit the Virtual Tailor. Look for more to come here as well on the subtleties of color, including meaning and how to put it together.

Your suit is talking to me. Hope it’s sending the right message.

 

Sartorial Regards,

Tom@tomjames.com

 

New Year, New Look?

Ten Sure Ways to Successfully Mix Up your Look (aka rejuvenate your wardrobe)

– Part Four

I’m not done talking about Wedding Season, but as a brief interlude, here is the final installment of the series we began earlier this year. Most of the other ways, previously mentioned, to mix up your look are relative child’s play when compared with the topic of the day.

I Revere You… Masculine Man of Strength! – Return of the Double Breasted Jacket

Whether in fact or illusion, a well-cut double breasted jacket, with the exaggerated ‘V’ created by the lines of lapels as they descend from the shoulders, creates a strong, masculine and somewhat regal image, one which commands a certain reverence. Popular between the wars (WWI and WWII that is) and again from the early 80’s through the mid-90’s, wearers of double breasted clothing have exuded a certain aura of strength and vitality, possessing “an undeniable jauntiness.”

The night I met my wife I was wearing an impeccably cut six-on-one (one button, six to show) double breasted suit, cut from a most amazing cloth – a blend of Super 140’s wool, cashmere and mink – that Holland & Sherry 1838 called “Victory.” If I could still fit into that slim 33” waist I would wear it again today. My bride would be the first to admit that the suit played a definite role in her giving me not only a fair audition, but a life-long call back.

Not designed for the every man’s day-to-day attire, double breasted jackets lend an air of formality, and carry with them a bit of the dandy – ever so slightly excessive in elegance. If for no other reason, men of reputation and a certain distinction would do well to include double breasted clothing among their choices for important events of a social nature (including business social) and special occasions.

 

When properly cut and fitted, the long diagonal line created by the lapel, in concert with the pointed shape of the peak lapel will cause the wearer (all but the shortest) to appear more athletic and slimmer. Though the aforementioned Six-on-One creates a longer line, the classic British Six-on-Two (two button, six to show) model shown above is the preferred style of the day, and always preferred by the classically attired. The Six-on-Two should be styled with side (double) vents, because the coat should be buttoned while standing, and double vents are the only way to gracefully access the trouser pockets, in addition to maintaining the style’s basic geometry and essential panache. This would be a perfect opportunity to acquire a custom made suit.

Note: A modern double breasted jacket is decidedly trimmer and a bit shorter than those of prior eras. The navy blazer pictured above is from the “old school,” shown for the purpose of comparison, and because a blazer is a top tier choice for including the DB style.

If after all of that, you’re still not of a mind to consider some new double breasted clothing at this point, a perfect transition style might be a single breasted jacket with peak lapels, instead of the conventional notch.

 

Sartorial Regards,

Tom@tomjames.com

 

No One Told Me

Insights and Advice from Recent Grooms on What they don’t prep you for

We’ve all heard it said, “Hindsight is twenty twenty.” One way to get that advantage is to ride the coattails of someone else who has “already been there.” If your wedding is still in the future, perhaps the very near future, then here is your chance to do just that. Before things get too crazy and your ability to listen is greatly diminished by the emotions and activities of the wedding festivities, here is some ‘sage’ advice from the experiences of a few recent grooms.

Adam M. from San Francisco provides these priceless nuggets:

“Nobody told me that a sudden rainstorm right before the outdoor ceremony was entirely the groom’s fault… as if, somehow, I controlled the weather.”
“Nobody told me to double-check the length of my collar stays before packing my wedding suit, so they wouldn’t stick into my neck throughout the ceremony.”
“Nobody told me a couple glasses of champagne before the ceremony is a perfectly acceptable way to steady the nerves. Thankfully I figured it out on my own.”
“Nobody told me my father, who officiated the wedding and agreed to wear a tie for the occasion, would show up in a bolo tie.”

So the acorn doesn’t always fall that close to the tree?

“Nobody told me a dozen white doves would be released right after kissing the bride, so every photo of the moment shows me cowering behind my wife.”

I knew ahead of time about the doves at my shindig. They were awesome! Great for outdoor weddings. Maybe not so much in a church or chapel. At least have someone open the doors and windows.

Or how about this one courtesy of Brad from Chicago:

“No one ever tells you that “hey, one of the happiest days of your life can also be one of the most stressful”. Looking back, I would have done more to keep situations “light” rather than getting upset trying to figure out who this woman was and where did the girl go that I am supposed to marry.”

Robert C. gave us this great tip:

I think the thing they don’t prep you for is how much you will be the center of attention. This puts pressure on you to be pretty perfect in all you do. One way I combated any anxiety from that is to focus my attention on how I can serve others and make sure they feel like the special ones. I made sure everyone felt appreciated for what they were doing for us as groomsmen, parents, priests and ushers. By helping them I helped myself.

And while we’re on this topic, here are two simple lists to pay close attention to:

What you Shouldn’t Care about

(at least not to the point of losing sleep, etc.)

  • Her dress
  • Any of the other dresses
  • The flowers
  • Wedding colors (unless she wants to pick the colors of your favorite team’s arch nemesis)
  • …I’m sure there are a few other things. Ask around and make your own list.

What you Should Care About

  • What you will be wearing
  • Your Vows
  • Who you choose for Best Man
  • The Guest List
  • The Food and Beverages….especially the beverages
  • The Honeymoon and what you will be wearing

Already experiencing marital bliss? Do you have a tip you’d like to share, so a future groom doesn’t have to say “no one told me…”?

Also, check out more photos and dialog on our Facebook Timeline.

Sartorial Regards,

Tom@tomjames.com

Your Day, Your Way (Part Two)

Styling Thoughts for the Groom and his Groomsmen

Your groomsmen are your supporting cast. At least those fine gentlemen are the part of the cast of characters who stand on the groom’s side of the altar during the wedding drama. Though according to most historical accounts, it hasn’t always been that way. Originally, from an Anglo-Saxon tradition, the primary role of the groomsmen (then referred to as the bride’s knights) was to protect the bride and her dowry, making certain that she arrived safely to the wedding ceremony and any event related to the wedding. In cases where the bride’s family was opposed to the wedding, the groomsmen would serve as a line of defense to keep the family at bay while the bride and groom made their getaway. Now that could be some pretty good fun! Anyway, most people in that situation today simply choose to elope. Not as much fun, but just try to stop them!

As your supporting cast, the groomsmen should look like they belong with the groom, but none of them should run the risk of being mistaken for the groom. If you will be wearing a tuxedo, then they should too. You know that I always say “Luxe to the Tux,” but there are other options. If you’re in a suit, then they should be in suits too. Should you choose to be fully dressed in morning coat or tailcoat, you probably won’t ask your wedding party to follow suit unless you are commonly referred to as Your Royal Highness or that sort of thing. In that case, your groomsmen should, at a minimum, wear tuxedos. Typically the groomsmen are differentiated from the groom in the finer details such as a vest or tie or both. Other details to consider as a means of coordinating and providing both color and continuity are pocket squares, boutonnieres, or socks. On suits or more casual outfits, matching belts could come into play.

Recently hitched in the City by the Bay, J.T from San Francisco said,

“Probably the most important thing I learned was matching everyone’s clothing–whether it was suits or ties (making sure both suit and tie coloring matches with the wedding colors) the importance of continuity with your groomsman’s clothing is huge. My Bride and I were thinking of having every groomsman wear their own suit but in the end we realized that continuity is key!”

So, choosing ties for the groomsmen’s that coordinate with the color of the bridesmaid’s dresses could be a way to go. Your Tom James clothier has amazing resources to do whatever amount you may need of ties, bow ties, vests, or pocket squares.

With his wedding only a few weeks away, the topic of what everyone will be wearing has been fresh on his mind of Kevin M., from Austin, TX. Kevin says,

“The wedding will be in the Spring and held outside in the bride’s parents back garden. Since it will be before 6:00pm, I will not be wearing a tuxedo and since it will be a bit on the casual side neither will I be wearing a morning suit. I have decided to wear a dark blue suit with a contrasting buff/tan double breasted, straight bottom vest, a white shirt and a blue tie. I am going for a look that does not look like I just came from the office, but that I am getting married. The bridesmaids will be wearing lighter earth tones with some tan and some gold. For the groomsmen we have chosen solid navy blue, single breasted suits, white shirts and gold woven textured solid ties. We want the groomsmen to be dressed very similar to help provide continuity.

All of the groomsmen and I will also be wearing the traditional boutonniere on the lapel of our coats. My best man’s suit will be a slightly lighter shade and along with his name inside the suit he will have a label inside that says “Best man”. Inside my suit I will have my name on one side and on the other side the label will read “Kevin & Erin 4-13-2012”

I’m convinced! There is virtue in continuity when it comes to planning a wedding party. I like Kevin’s comment about making sure that he looks like he’s getting married (aka doing something extraordinarily special). He also told me that “when it comes to groomsmen, they should be dressed just a notch less formal than the groom.” Sounds to me like he has that well figured.

So you’re a groomsman?
Here are a few basics to keep in mind to:

  • Make sure ahead of time that your outfit fits. Ahead of time….meaning not just before show time…just in case it the pant length needs a final adjustment. People will be watching, pictures will be taken.
  • Show up on time.
  • Plan to attend all of the pre and post wedding events (Engagement party, rehearsal dinner, and of course the reception.)
  • Be a great wingman to the Best Man.
  • Be prepared to work as an usher and to be generally helpful. The groom will have enough on his mind without having to worry about a wayward groomsman.

For you who have been there, done that, what additional advice would you offer for turning out a supporting cast who will do the groom (and bride) proud?

 

Sartorial Regards,

Tom@tomjames.com