U.S. Olympians to don Ralph Lauren in London

Ralph Lauren Dresses U.S. Olympians

For the third time, the king of American cool, Ralph Lauren, will design uniforms for nearly 800 United States Olympians competing in the 2012 Summer Games in London.

“The looks for the London Olympics are fitting: vintage-inspired polos, pants and sweaters on a red, white and blue color palette (above). The line includes jackets, glasses, luggage, shoes, hats, belts and beach towels, all of which go on sale online and in stores May 15,” according to Forbes.

For the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Lauren’s look was sporty-prep. The 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing featured more classic attire such as sharp navy blazers, crisp white pants and scarf ascots for the women and red-striped ties for the men.

The Ralph Lauren 2012 Summer Olympics collection will debut at the opening ceremony parade on July 27.

Hilfiger creates an empire on $150 and a dream

“When I was a teenager growing up in Elmira, I had a dream. And the dream was to become a designer and build my own brand,” related Tommy Hilfiger to Women’s Wear Daily for an April 5 profile. Jump-starting that dream early, Hilfiger went into the jeans business with his friend Larry Stemerman as a high school student.

“We each put $150 in a kitty and drove to New York City in a Volkswagen Beetle and bought 20 pairs of bell-bottoms from the streets of the Village — Saint Mark’s Place — and brought them back to the schoolyard and basically sold them to our friends,” recalled the designer.

During Tommy Hilfiger‘s career, which has spanned more than 40 years, he has sold everything from bell bottoms to blazers to button-downs. The prep school prince, whose first shop was People’s Place in upstate New York, now has an international brand that benefits celebrity endorsements from the likes of Britney Spears, David Bowie and the Rolling Stones.

Gone mad about ‘Mad Men’ style

Men have the green light to start getting their Don Draper look on now, according to Janie Bryant, the costumer designer for AMC’s “Mad Men.”

Man Men Style

Fashion is taking a more casual turn on the show, however sharp suits remain a mainstay. “It’s all about polo shirts, short-sleeved button-down shirts, cardigan sweaters, V-neck sweaters, sweater vests, flat-front narrow legged trousers (solids and plaids), loafers and don’t forget your sports coat!” Bryant told AskMen.com.

“I love the men’s accessories for this period, and as a costume designer, the accessories tell so much about each of these characters on the show. To name a few accessories, the monogrammed belt buckles, belts, cuff links, collar bars, tie tacks, tie bars, stingy brimmed fedoras, Tyrolean hats, trilbys and walking hats (think Rex Harrison),” she said.

Banana Republic has an encore of the “Mad Men” collection that debuted last fall that is inspired by country club scenes of the 1960s, including polo shirts, argyle vests and navy blue blazers. Another “Mad Men” collection is due soon.

Where the clothes make the man

A new scientific study confirms why we feel more confident in a new, pressed suit.

“Clothing affects how other people perceive us as well as how we think about ourselves,” Dr. Adam D. Galinsky told the New York Times on April 2.

The study, which appeared in the by the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, tested how individuals reacted wearing different clothes ascribed to different roles like a white doctor’s coat versus a white painter’s coat. The group wearing the doctor’s coat showed improved attention.

If wearing a drab white coat can increase your attention, imagine the boost of donning a new Ralph Lauren pinstriped suit.

The catch, though, Dr. Galinsky said, was “what happens, he mused, if you wear pimp clothes every day? Or a priest’s robes? Or a police officer’s uniform? Do you become habituated so that cognitive changes do not occur? Do the effects wear off?”

Staples for cuff links? No problem.

“The problem with using staples instead of cuff links to fasten French cuffs is not so much that it doesn’t work — it doesn’t — but that people tend to associate the look with an unattractive mental instability.”

– a fashion neophyte revealed in a piece in this week’s New York Times’ Opinionator.

“It seems pretty obvious to me now. A French-cuffed shirt requires cuff links. Full stop. However, 10 years ago, when I first removed the pins and packaging from a dress shirt and threaded my arms through the sleeves, I was that most hapless class of human being — a college intern. It was my first morning in New York; I had just woken up on my friend Dan’s couch in Murray Hill; and I had one hour to go before the scheduled start of my professional life. I was to be an investment banker, if I could just get dressed.”

Fashion Disaster Prevention

Fashion Disaster

Steven Tyler, a portrait of how not to dress, on the beach in Maui.

Pennsylvania’s Morning Call newspaper March 30 published a great list of how men shouldn’t dress.

A recent market research survey by Mintel found that 25 percent of all men who bought clothes in the last year, and 40 percent of younger men, said they would dress more stylishly if only they knew how.

Some highlights:

Pants

The ideal length for slacks is that they touch the top of your shoe heel. Never ever should dress pants drag on the ground. Too short trousers, which show socks at the back, is just as bad.

“Pants that are too long do not make you look taller,” says men’s fashion expert Joe Lupo, co-founder of visual-therapy.com. Trousers with cuffs make you look shorter too.

Shirts

A tailor can be your best friend for sleeves that are too long or a shirt that’s too big. With a jacket, show one-quarter inch of shirt cuff, one-half inch if you’re wearing a french cuff shirt with cufflinks.

With dress shirts, button all the buttons on the collar. Yes, if a button is missing or hanging by a thread, it will be noticed. So get the needle out or take it to the dry cleaner.

The full article with more style tips can be found here.

‘American Idol’ Hires Tommy Hilfiger As Image Adviser

Tommy Hilfiger Suits

America's next style Idol: Tommy Hilfiger

Fashion icon Tommy Hilfiger‘s career returned full circle March 15 when he began a new gig as a style mentor and image adviser for the finalists of the 11th season of “American Idol” on Fox.

As style adviser, Hilfiger will mentor the Idol contestants’ style transformations as they define their performance identities on the show, while vying to be the next American Idol.

“My own experiences at the beginning of my career inspired my commitment to mentor young people who are dedicated to pursuing their dreams,” Hilfiger said. “Musicians can bring such a unique vision and personality to the stage. I admire risk takers who share my belief in the power of fashion to transform and influence.”

For more than 25 years, Hilfiger has brought classic, cool, American lifestyle to consumers around the world. From his career’s inception, Hilfiger has been inspired by music. His first business, People’s Place, at 18, sold denim jeans and styled his brother’s band for local performances. As Hilfiger’s designs merged with popular culture, the company’s distinct brand message has continued to celebrate the long association between the brand and the music business. Hilfiger has worked with music legends such as the Rolling Stones, Lenny Kravitz, David Bowie, Britney Spears, Beyonce and Taylor Swift.

‘Details’ Charts Seismic Shift In Last Decade of Men’s Fashion

The last decade has experienced a seismic shift in men’s fashion as the definition of masculinity has changed, according to two experts.

“I was actually going back yesterday and looking at fashions from the 1990s,” Calvin Klein Men’s Creative Director Italo Zucchelli told Thread NY. “And I was like, “Oh my god” – especially when I was looking at men’s fashion. In the last ten years, things have changed enormously. 15 years ago, you wouldn’t even call clothes for men fashion sometimes.”

A renewed interest in fashion has reinvigorated the classic suit and sport coat.

“I see a lot of younger guys returning to the suit,” Details editor in chief Dan Peres told Thread NY. “I think wearing a suit is great, but I also think that breaking up a suit is something men are doing — it’s a much more versatile element in a man’s wardrobe now.”

He added, “Guys, more than anything else right now, want “luxe casual.” They want quality stuff, but they don’t necessarily always want to feel buttoned up. So whether it’s a great pair of chinos, a great pair of shorts, that’s what they are shopping for.”

The Skinny on Big and Tall

Looking good is important to everyone  If you are anything like me you have packed on a few pounds this winter and are in the middle of the slow and painful process of shedding that extra weight to get ready for summer. But what can we do to look our best in the meantime (or if like last year if our weight loss plans don’t quite pan out again)? How do we look best when we are big and tall?

Muumuu

First thing is first; do not simply buy everything one or two sizes bigger. More fabric is not a cure-all for hiding extra pounds. Generally speaking,unless the article of clothing in question is a tailored men’s suit or casual item it will have a blousy effect (IE: the dreaded “muumuu look”).

The best colors for giving a slimmer appearance are dark ones. For instance, colors like Navy, Mid-Blue, Charcoal, or Black are great for shirts and suits. Patterns, especially horizontal pinstripes in similar colors work as well.  You can offset the dark colors with a white undershirt or with a bright colored tie or pocket square.

Layers, layers, layers. As long as you are not headed for a hot summer BBQ or to the pool, wear at least two layers (shirt and sweater/jacket). This will reduce any tight or hugging look around your stomach and chest as well as provide added comfort.

Plan your clothing based upon the right occasion. Attending a dinner where you will be sitting down a lot? Be sure to sit down while trying on your new clothing. We all expand when we sit and you do NOT want to put an eye out with a popped button! Will you be dancing or moving around a lot? Be sure you feel comfortable in your first layer and not just with your jacket on. Good planning goes a long way in both your comfort and your appearance.

Of course many of the issues brought up in this article can be disregarded by simply losing weight (which we encourage). However if you are anything like me, losing weight doesn’t always work out the way you plan! Regardless of your weight it is of the utmost importance professionally and personally for a man to look good take these tips and keep looking sharp!

Check out our Big and Tall Suit, Pant and Shirt section while you are here!

Looking Your Best in the Workplace

Starting a new job? Gunning for that promotion? Concerned that you are not looking your best in the office? 

In the business world it is of the utmost importance to not only make a good first impression but to turn that impression into your reputation by maintaining the high standards in appearance and work ethic. While the latter is completely up to you we have some simple rules you can follow in order to keep your office style top-notch.

The suit is your canvas. It needs to fit well, be of a contemporary style (IE: no 70’s throwback sport coats) and it needs to fit your office dress code. First and foremost a good suit needs to fit perfectly. Do not settle for a near perfect fit. Unless your body type is extremely rare and EXACTLY fits an off-the-rack suit size you must have the suit tailored. Tailoring the suit will bring out your best look by favoring your body’s qualities while downplaying its drawbacks.

The color of the suit should be your next concern. Black, Navy, Gray, Dark Brown. These are all colors that easily look sharp in the office environment. If your office is a bit less conservative then you can feel free to branch out into less traditional colors or a sport coat/pant combination. If you are worried about which color to go for, you can’t go wrong with black.

Match your dress shirt with your suit. How exotic you can make your shirt colors and whether you go for a French Cuff (formal) or Barrel Cuff (less formal) depends solely on the formality of your workplace. You can’t go wrong with classic white, cadet or light blue. Other basic colors work well such as cream, pink, black and silver. Be conscious of how your shirt will look without your suit coat on. A good business outfit is essentially two separate outfits, one with the jacket and one without. Don’t forget to match your dress shirt with good looking ties, pocket squares and other accessories. . Ties, cufflinks, money clips and wallets are all part of an outfit and should be picked very carefully. People will notice them, good or bad.

Never underestimate the importance of shoes in accenting your suit. Make sure the colors match your suit and your socks and make sure that your shoes are always polished. That last point can’t be harped upon enough. A basic shoe polishing kit is inexpensive and shining your own shoes takes only 10 minutes every night or every other evening. Nothing says “I am lazy” like scuffed up shoes.Also you don’t need to spend designer prices to get designer style. Check out our selection of shoes here.

Looking good = being taken seriously.

If you want to stand out and have your boss and/or co-workers listen to what you have to say you will have to rely on both your actions and your wardrobe.  Do not ever go into work with an old worn out suit and expect to be taken as seriously as you are when you look your best, it simply won’t happen. Yes it is vain but it is also reality.  Good luck!