Archives: Dress Tips

What we’ve learned about our summer style this year

This August will mark the fifth year in operation for Bespoke Edge. We’ve come a long way, for sure. One of the strengths that we’ve leveraged over these past years is the distinct style that each of us bring to the brand. This was apparent to me in a recent team photo shoot and I thought it would be fun to talk about summer style this year in the context of these images.

For a lot of guys, summer style is something entirely separate from work attire. It’s shorts and flip flops and tank tops. While that’s certainly true (in the appropriate setting!), one of the great things about summer is that it can lighten up your work attire and help you to stay comfortable.

What does this mean?

Well, fabrics become more breathable. Out goes the heavy woolen suits and in come the linen, cotton, and blended suiting. Full construction tends to go away too, leaving behind “unconstructed” summer jackets that are lightweight and casual. And colors tend to get lighter in nature too. Earth tones and light blues and grays are perfect for the warmer months of the season.

Some of the traditional details of menswear tend to drift away. Neckties are few and far between. Heavy leather shoes are left in the closet and dress shirts tend to go lighter in color, just as the jackets have done. It’s even OK to wear a short sleeve button-up dress shirt under your suit jacket or sportcoat in the summer.

Let’s take a look at what the three of us have each done.

Brett’s look

As always, Brett is showing us his casual sophistication. His herringbone woven jacket adds elegance to his go-to summer look. It’s also a very young and fitted cut. The jacket length is shorter than most and Brett’s body type fills up the coat perfectly. The result is a jacket that was undoubtedly made for him and him alone.

The open shirt collar is mandatory on warm summer days, but the thoughtful pocket square reminds us that he put some thought into this look. The takeaway? Dressing sharp is easier than you think. Start with a strong piece, in this case the jacket, dress other areas down if you like, but don’t skimp on the details (i.e the pocket square).

I also want to bring your attention to two notable details: His watch and his blue lapel button hole. These may seem to be mere subtitles, but they really add some visual weight to his look.

summer style this year

Ryan’s look

I tend to have a very relaxed yet sophisticated look, what I would call a Mediterranean style. For summer, that means a lightweight and unstructured sportcoat in a soft color (I have blue eyes so I tend to wear a lot of blues). I love white dress shirts in the summer for their simplicity, but always unbutton the top two buttons. And I’m never without a pocket square.

On the pants, during a hot summer day, I’ll go for something light like this grey. However, if I have a meeting that will spill over into dinner or happy hour, I’ll often wear dark navy pants which instantly dress up the whole outfit. The contrast it provides adds an sense of elegance. This coupled with the sock-less look gives me a very sophisticated and young look.

summer style this year

Ron’s look

Year after year, Ron tends to take a different approach with his summer style. From my perspective, he even tends to ignore many of the seasonal tactics I outline above!

First of all, Ron likes to wear a full suit. And although this may look overly warm, his fabrics are of a sufficiently high quality that he actually stays relatively cool. Of course, on exceptionally warm days, he will probably lose out to Brett and I with our unstructured coats, but he will be better dressed than either one of us combined, up until that point.

And Ron’s a traditional guy; he’s often wearing a necktie. In the summer, his necktie will go a little lighter in hue and I can guarantee you, he will always have his pocket square matching perfectly!

Wrap up

You see, we each have different styles that we bring to the table for our summer style this year. And yet each of us is always wearing something that makes us feel good. That’s the whole point, isn’t it? 🙂

More information

Seven summer style essentials

Our favorite summer pocket squares

Here’s one of our videos on what an unstructured suit jacket is:

How to wear a sportcoat to the office (when no one else does)

Do you want to wear a sportcoat to the office, but you’d be the only guy wearing one and you are worried about rocking the boat? I know exactly what this is like.

When I was working as an engineer back in the day, there was a very standard, but largely unspoken, dress code. Officially, it was deemed business casual, but what it really meant was that you couldn’t dress too sloppy. Most guys would wear dockers or something similar with either a polo shirt or a simple button down dress shirt. And always tucked in. Jeans were OK too. Throughout my seven years as an engineer, I only knew two colleagues who wore a necktie and one that ever wore a sportcoat.

As you can probably imagine, I always dressed a little sharper than the average engineer. I only wore jeans on Fridays. Every other day was a pair of slacks and a nice dress shirt. But even I never wore a blazer or sportcoat to the office for fear of the impending gossip around the watercooler. I wish I could tell you that I was the trailblazer that didn’t care what other people thought about how I dressed, but I can’t. It was quite common knowledge that to dress too nice (i.e. with a necktie or jacket) was to imply that you were gunning for upper management and “trying too hard,” whatever that means.

That being said, I’m completely emphatic to all of you that may work in a similar office environment, one where it can be a bit of a risk to break the mold and walk through the front door tomorrow morning with a sportcoat on. Your colleagues are going to notice and probably ask you with a smirk, “when is the interview?”

Hindsight is 20/20 and I wish I would have worn a sportcoat like I wanted to. Because the truth was (and is) that I have always felt good in a jacket. Plus, I like wearing things that have hidden pockets to put all of my things in. And let’s be honest with one another — conference rooms can get cold.

But here’s the thing: No one really cares if you suddenly start dressing better. If wearing a sportcoat is important to you, then I think you should do it!

Here’s how you make the transition without rocking the boat too much:

Start conservative

This is a no-brainer, right? If you work in a conservative work environment, it’s smart to keep your clothing somewhat conservative too, at least at first ;).

What this means for men’s jackets is that you’ll want to keep your sportcoat relatively traditional. Stick with earth tones. Your greys, tans, and browns will be a lot easier to pull off than anything real colorful and attention grabbing. Also, stick to a notched lapel, as opposed to the more style-forward peaked lapel.

Furthermore, if your intention is to wear a sportcoat to the office, then you may want to stick with a conservative dress shirt too, like a white or a similar earth tone.

If you need inspiration, take a peek at our lookbook here or on Pinterest. And of course, a great example of what I would call a conservative and versatile jacket is the one in the featured image, above.

scottsdale mens clothing pocket square

Be consistent

Depending on your office environment, you may want to start wearing that sportcoat between one and three days a week. It may not seem like a lot, but keep at it. And maybe you only want to wear a sportcoat once or twice a week anyway. That’s perfectly fine. But whether your goal is once a week or everyday, stay consistent and ramp up your frequency over time.

Consistency is key. After about a month or so, your colleagues won’t even notice you wearing a jacket!

Take it off when at your desk

Here’s a practical tactic: Start out by treating your sportcoat like a traditional jacket. That is, wear it to the office and when you get to your desk, take it off. Either hang it over your chair or, ideally, use a hanger and give that lonely hook in your cubicle something to hang.

This way, if any of your style-challenged office neighbors give you a hard time, you can say something like, “oh, this thing? It’s just my new jacket.”

Then start wearing your jacket longer and longer before you take it off in the morning. After about a month, no one is going to notice that you’re wearing your blazer for the majority of the day.

Wrap up – wear a sportcoat to the office

What do you think? Does this sound doable? I think you can do it!

If you’re like me, then you know that it’s fun to wear a sportcoat in the office and that there’s nothing wrong with being the sharpest dressed guy on the team.

Resources

Style lessons from the French

The French have a reputation for all things luxury, don’t they? Wine, cheese, espresso, perfume, and certainly, style. But what exactly does men’s style look like in France? And what style lessons from the French should we borrow?

To find out, I recently spent some time in Paris. It was my first trip to France and simply put, I loved it. If you haven’t been, you need to book a flight right away. It’s an incredible city that’s best seen on foot. The food is spectacular, whether you eat a nice meal in a restaurant or eat a typical French breakfast of a croissant and coffee, you won’t be disappointed.

From a sartorial perspective, yes, Parisians do indeed dress well. Whether they are enjoying some wine at a bistro at 10:00 pm or commuting to/from the office, Parisian men are dressed pretty sharp. Fortunately, adopting their style doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. And doing so will certainly help you to stand apart from the crowd here in the Denver and Scottsdale areas.

Let’s break it down:

Wear a scarf

In Colorado, we have a very frontier attitude. That’s partly why we see so many mountain rain shells being worn all over town. When the temperature drops, we have a tendency to just zip up our jackets and tuck our chins down to stay warm.

A far better option for the city is to wear a jacket and a scarf.

On the drizzly days that I was in the French capital, the daily highs were in the mid-50s and believe me when I tell you, almost every Parisian man was wearing a scarf around his neck. It wasn’t a heavy wool scarf, but a much more fine and soft silk or woolen/silk blend, so far as I could tell.

style lessons from the french

style lessons from the french

Stick to dark colors

To some extent, I think that this is a stereotype on French style, and New York style, for that matter.

Turns out, it’s true!

But it’s a good thing because everyone looks great in black. Many of the Parisian men that I saw around town were wearing varying hues on black, charcoal, and grey. Not only does dressing in dark colors make matching easy, but it’s a very classic and sophisticated look.

french style for men

dress in dark hues in Paris

 

 

Carry an umbrella

In the Colorado area we have a tendency to wear our mountain rain coats when the sky looks like it will turn to rain. But in the city, a better option is to wear a dressier jacket and simply grab an umbrella.

Carrying an umbrella is an instant style upgrade for any gentlemen. French men obviously know this.

men's style in france with umbrellas

 

Style lessons from the French — Wrap up

Are there more style lessons from the French that we can adopt? Of course! This is just a small sampling of what I saw while I was visiting the city. And obviously, my knowledge of French style spans only three days and only in Paris. Nevertheless, adopting just one of these style techniques will help to elevate your own look in a hurry!

Check out our lookbook for some more inspiration here.

Style lessons from James Bond

Bond has always been a sharp dressed gentleman, there’s no denying that. But what can we learn from him, sartorially speaking? Why is it that he always looks so sharp? Let’s break it down and see what style lessons we can learn from Bond.

Tailoring

Obviously, tailoring is a big reason Bond looks the way he does in his clothes. He’s certainly not wearing anything off the rack. From Connery to Craig, Bond has always worn a well-fitted suit. Even though Daniel Craig’s suits have been almost skin tight, there’s no denying the fact that they are bespoke.

Now you certainly don’t need to wear a very slim suit (and honestly, it’s not a good look for all body types), but if you want to improve upon your style, you need to wear a tailored suit. Be that MTM or true bespoke, a suit or jacket that’s made to your body’s contour will look far better than anything else.

Lesson: There’s no substitute for custom.

Stick to the basics

Throughout the Bond films, there was always a nod to present day fashion. For instance, Roger Moore wore a large lapel on his suits, as was the trend in the 1970s. Similarly, Daniel Craig is wearing very small (maybe too small!) suits in Spectre and Skyfall. The latter being an accentuation of modern day fit, that is slim and reminiscent of the mid-century look.

However, Bond keeps his overall style relatively low key. He is never wearing bright colors and taking any “fashion risks.” I would say that his overall style is relatively conservative, actually. But moviegoers never feel this way about Bond, right? They can just tell that he’s well dressed. I think that this is in large part due to the fact that he sticks to the basics and does them very, very well.

Lesson: Stick to a neutral color palette

Wear a pocket square

Bond almost always wears a pocket square. And it’s almost always a clean fold, with about 1/4 inch extending beyond his chest pocket.

I think many guys tend to think that pocket squares should be reserved only for weddings. After all, that’s where we usually see them, right? However, as Bond shows us over and over again, a crisp white pocket square, or some other soft tone, offers up an understated elegance that is never distracting nor flamboyant.

Lesson: Wear a pocket square already!!

Never worrying about being overdressed

For years, I would always dress down to suit my surroundings. For instance, when going to get a haircut, I would leave my sport coat at home and just wear a dress shirt and pants. I was worried about being overdressed. In the years that BE has been in operation, I have fortunately kicked this habit and embraced my passion to dress sharp everywhere I go.

I may not walk into a business meeting at a coffee shop wearing a tuxedo, but I do wear a suit, or at least a sharp sportcoat. Yes, I may be the only guy dressed up in a jacket, but you know what? The other guys are probably wishing that they wore one.

Lesson: There’s nothing wrong with being the best dressed man in the room.

Always having your jacket buttoned

This is something that you may not have noticed watching the Bond films, unless you’re a suit guy, like me. That Bond always has his jacket buttoned when standing or walking, as he should. He doesn’t leave it unbuttoned in some misguided effort to appear casual. It’s a subtlety, but one that really contributes to Bond’s elegance in menswear.

Lesson: Button your jacket anytime you’re standing.

Style lessons: Further reading

Here’s an excellent blog on all things related to James Bond style — well worth a read for some additional style lessons: The Suits of James Bond.