How to Master the Pocket Square

What two accessories look identical, but should not be treated that way?

Hint: They both belong in your pocket…

Although you can find both tucked away in your jacket pocket, pocket squares are both worn differently and used to serve a different purpose than handkerchiefs. Handkerchiefs are typically seen in white linen and worn principally with your more conservative suits, giving them a more “formal” purpose. Pocket squares are most often found in silk, and most believe they should be paired with casual suits.

However, we do not necessarily agree with these assumptions. When handkerchiefs serve their intended purpose (similar to a tissue), they should be kept hidden, preferably in your pants pocket. Pocket squares are a way for a man to express himself; simply an accessory used to add more detail to your ensemble.

Pattern is the best way to think about your pocket squares. With multiple colors showcased in your pocket, the pattern will both complement and contrast your shirt, necktie, and jacket. Considering that neither the pattern nor color of your pocket square has to match your outfit entirely, this is one of the easiest accessorizing tricks to master. Here are a few things to consider the next time you plan to spice things up with a pocket square.

Pocket Squares

12 Shirt Theory

In our last post about Building a Basic Wardrobe, we recommended that you have a minimum of 12 shirts in your collection. Why? It is based on a simple equation…

The magic number of twelve allows a man to wear a fresh shirt each day of the work week, as well as on Saturday when necessary. Sunday, he takes these six shirts to be dry cleaned, and while they are at the cleaner’s, he wears his remaining six shirts. The process continues to repeat so he is never left without a clean shirt.

If he doesn’t wear a dress shirt on Saturdays, these sixth shirts provide another option or an alternative in the case of a ruined or worn out shirt. By following this advice, a man will be able to wear a fresh shirt every day for two weeks.

We have previously explained this theory, but we felt our visual calendar was due for some updates. Clifton Charles shirts are tailored exactly to your measurements, and can be customized to fit your personality and lifestyle. With hundreds of luxurious fabric choices, various options for style, and complimentary monograms, we are confident you will find exactly what you need.

12 Shirt Theory(1)

How to Build a Basic Wardrobe

There comes a time in a man’s life when he needs to elevate his fashion game to the next level. Most men are unaware of their ability to be well-dressed with a relatively modest amount of clothing. Depending on your occupation, only a couple of basics are necessary, like a charcoal or navy suit. However, others wear suits every day of the week and therefore require a more substantial wardrobe. Your wardrobe should offer a choice of appropriate clothing for a variety of occasions, and it is easy to build one sufficient to your requirements. Click here for our Visual Guide, or continue reading for further detail. By understanding these tips, you will possess the first building blocks of impeccable style.

Suiting

The most expensive garment in a gentleman’s wardrobe, suits should be made from high quality fabrics in conservative colors and patterns. Your basic wardrobe should consist of 5 suits to offer a full week’s worth of clothing options. By utilizing accessories, you are able to achieve multiple different looks with the same suits, and they provide flexibility in personal style. Your basic selection of suits should include:

  • Dark Grey Solid
  • Navy Blue Solid
  • Medium Grey Semi-Solid
  • Grey Pinstripe
  • Navy Blue Chalk Stripe

Once you have built your wardrobe with these basics, you can further expand with a less formal sixth suit, for wear on Fridays or less formal weekend occasions.

Shirts

Men constantly wonder, “What shirts do I need in my closet?” While a gentleman can never have too many dress shirts, there is a magic combination of shirts that each man should have in his wardrobe. This is to ensure you are prepared with fresh shirts for any situation, whether that be a regular day at the office, a surprise business meeting, or a much-anticipated date.

For the greatest flexibility, choose an assortment of shirts in semi-solids and simple patterns. A palette of blues from pale through periwinkle to navy, blue stripes or checks on white, gray stripes or checks on white, and pink shirt fabrics are the most basic and easy to wear. The magic combination is as follows:

  • 3 White Shirts
  • 3 Blue Shirts
  • 3 Stripe or Check Shirts
  • 2 Pink Shirts
  • 1 Fun/Casual Shirt

We have tested it out and arrived at the magic number of 12. Twelve shirts give you a range of choices and also minimizes your trips to the cleaners. Wear 6 one week, drop them off, and pick up the next 6 for the coming week. Repeat.

Accessories

At this point, you are able to use accessories to creatively expand your wardrobe, even if it is modest in size. By changing shoes, ties, pocket squares, and cufflinks, you can transform your 5 suits and 12 shirts into a year’s worth of outfits.

To start, every gentleman must have good shoes. Generally speaking, you should have at least 3-4 pairs of dress shoes that you can rotate through. However, the total number of pairs a man should own entirely depends on his personal needs. The essentials a gentleman should possess are:

  • Black Calf Oxfords
  • Brown Calf Shoes
  • Brown Calf Monk Straps
  • Brogues
  • Slip-on Casuals
  • Evening shoes

For ties, gentlemen should work towards a robust collection of at least 12 ties. Blue, green, red, and gold are classic tie colors, while striped, dot, plaid, club, foulard, and paisley are classic patterns. Start with simple solids and stripes; when you move past a half dozen ties already in your wardrobe, it is safe to purchase more fashion-forward ties.

Cufflinks and pocket squares are a creative way to show your own personality and style. Bright pocket squares can illuminate a generally boring grey suit, while heirloom cufflinks can be a conversation starter. Don’t be afraid to be stylish – just choose your investments wisely!

Building a wardrobe does take time. In order to expand, you will need to acquire more suits each year than you wear out – a formula that varies according to the frequency that you wear each suit and the quality of its construction. As you expand your basic wardrobe, keep in mind the objectives: extend the lives of your existing suits, provide choices for different occasions, and acquire clothing that will be comfortable in a broad range of temperatures. You may want to add a flannel winter suit or a linen summer suit once the basics have been covered, for example. And, of course, don’t forget that every gentleman needs a tuxedo for those special occasions! (Related posts: 5 Reasons to Invest in Custom-Made & BITNB)

Similarly, you should also continue expanding your shirt wardrobe by acquiring new shirts on a regular basis. When selecting new dress shirts, consider current fashion colors, and mix things up by adding a few options with French cuffs. Keep in mind that your daily white and blue shirts will need to be replaced more often, as they tend to wear out faster.

Remember, professional wardrobe acquisition is a career-long routine. It will continue to build over the years, and you will constantly need to replace items you already own. To stay ahead of wear and tear, you will need about three new suits and six new shirts per year. However, once you have covered the basics, you will have plenty of options to continue dressing for success while your wardrobe slowly expands.

 

 

The Fall of Street Style has a Humorous Silver Lining

It was all the rage at Men’s Fashion Week in London, then Florence, Milan, and now Paris. While models strut down the runway in the latest trends-to-be, all we are hearing about is ‘Street Style’.

Street style? What exactly is that? The definitions vary, but it is commonly described as being all about the street and all about raw style. Truly, it is meant to display your personality and showcase your identity. Although often seen as controversial, it gives people a chance to show off what they really like, what they are passionate about. That is street style in its purest form: people in their everyday clothes, doing ordinary things in their everyday casual and personal routines. Street style is entirely authentic, revealing the ensembles that people really wear, rather than what appears on the runway or in a couture boutique.

So, if street style is really supposed to be genuine, why does it keep appearing on the runway and in couture boutiques? It has become a trend and, therefore, become entirely predictable. For almost a decade, street style has captivated the fashion world. Street style blogs have appeared by the dozens, street style photographers are appearing in top magazines, and street style is seen in the window displays of some of the most elite designer stores. However, the unique quality is now lost since it became so commercial. More often than not, those whom have previously engaged in this form of personal expression would not be able to afford what is being showcased on the catwalk. A trend that was once all about individuality is now all about high-end fashion. Simply allowing there to be a defining ‘street style look’ makes it contradict itself.

The majority of news coverage for fashion events often highlights the appearance of street style. Bloggers love predicting street style trends that we will see in future seasons. The hashtag #SS15 (Street Style 2015) has been trending on Twitter since early June. Just take a stroll down Madison or Fifth Avenue, look at the window displays, and proof of the booming popularity of street style is evident. Seemingly, the authenticity of street style has been co-opted by the fashion industry.

However, the loss of genuineness has not all been bad; some good, or rather, humor, has come out of it. Particularly, a satirical and hilariously accurate Twitter account: The Sarcastialist @sarcastialist.

1While we love fashion, we also love the humor that can be found in it. Trends, especially, are typical targets for such amusing wit.

4In a recent post, BuzzFeed described @sarcastialist as “your new favorite parody Twitter account” and that the account is “taking street style down with sarcasm”.

6By editing the captions on street style photos, @sarcastialist makes them more accurate.

8The account was created in order to showcase the reality of street style photography, or, rather, to bring back the authenticity of the whole thing. It looks like the clever account is returning street style to its more realistic purpose: reflecting people’s everyday fashion.

10For more street style humor, follow @sarcastialist on Twitter!