Archives: Guy Knowledge

Guess what was in the shoe shine box

The other day I happened to find myself at the Bespoke Edge windsor office and in need of some shoe polish. I asked Ron if he had a shoe shine box available and when he returned from the other room, what he handed me, quite fittingly, was an old shoebox full of what I could only surmise to be was twenty plus years worth of collecting shoe polish and shoe polish accessories.

Right off the bat I saw a 1980’s era electric shoe polisher. With a spare brush!

There were a handful of rags too, including what looked to be a more professional (microfiber?) polishing cloth with a healthy amount of shoe polish stain. And yes, there was lots of shoe polish. There was neutral shine, brown shine, black shine, and multiples of each.

But most interesting to me was a bottle of edge conditioner. I had never personally used a product like this before and the only time my shoes get this treatment is when I visit Solebox or another professional shoe shine outfit. This product is great for any scuffed edges on your soles. I shook the bottle up a bit and went to work.

Next up was the polish. And very quickly, a question came to mind: “Can shoe polish go bad?” Hunting around on the internet didn’t quite provide any certainty, but if polish can go bad, I imagine that it takes a very long time. Nevertheless, the available black polish didn’t look very appealing to me so I reached for a jar of neutral.

When I was all finished and had a pair of shiny black shoes in front of me, I couldn’t help but think how satisfying it is to polish a pair of shoes. Now, before you email me and offer to drop off all seven pairs of your dress shoes to keep me satisfied, please know that I am by no means an expert on shining shoes. But it is fun to clean up your favorite pair of shoes for a specific event (I had a wedding to attend).

Going through this little experience was also very nostalgic. Do yourself a favor and ask your own father or grandfather what they keep tucked away in their shoe shine box…

The basted fitting: A hallmark of bespoke suiting

When Ron and Brett and I founded Bespoke Edge back in 2012, it was very important to all of us that we offered a true bespoke tailoring experience to our clients. And it dawned on me the other day that one aspect of our service that I haven’t discussed much to date is our basted fitting option.

A basted fitting is when you try on your custom suit jacket that has been temporarily stitched together with white basting thread. Initial measurements that were carefully taken during your first fitting were used to create this “working” jacket. We then use this jacket to fine tune the fitting.

basted fitting

The basted fitting is also your first opportunity to try on your custom suit. It may not look like much — with loose threads, somewhat scratchy fabric, and no buttons — but it will still feel like it was made for you.

This is a chance for you and Ron to look in the mirror and ensure that the fit is just how you want it. Maybe after seeing the jacket on, you decide that you want a more snug fit? Or a more relaxed fit, perhaps? Maybe the front button placement looks to be a little higher than you had expected? These are all adjustments that can easily be made halfway through the build process, thereby eliminating the potential need for any downstream alterations.

And on our end, we’re taking careful note of the jacket’s drape. Are the shoulders warping at all? Should the sleeve pitch be adjusted? These are examples of the kind of adjustments that we make on the backend to ensure that your finished suit fits you like a glove.

basted fitting for a truly bespoke suit

Presently, we offer the basted fitting option on our hand-made suits only (we offer two lines of suiting) and it’s always up to you as to whether or not you want to take advantage of this option. It will take a little more of your time to schedule another fitting with us, but oh boy, is it worth it! Our basted fitting clients enjoy a spectacular fit. Also, key to our goal as a company, we are guiding you through a revered and time honored process that gentleman have been enjoying for a very long time.

Saville Row in London enjoys a well deserved reputation as where many of the world’s finest suits come from. It is our hope that one day we can help to put Denver on the map.

the second fitting or the basted fitting for a bespoke suit

Basted fitting: Further reading

Bespoke Edge: What is a men’s clothier?

Forbes: What is the difference between MTM and Bespoke?

About that lapel buttonhole

It seems a bit odd to have a lapel buttonhole on your jacket, but no button on the other side, doesn’t it? Why is it even there in the first place?

Like so many things in menswear, there are a handful of origin stories, many of which have very practical beginnings. The story of this button hole is no different.

Apparently, there was a time when men would wear dress hats that came complete with a small elastic cord with a button on the end. This button on a string was used to fasten to your jacket lapel, such that in windy conditions, you wouldn’t lose your hat if it blew off!

Another story is that at one point there actually was a button on the opposite suit lapel — but on the underside — such that you could button the coat all the way up in very chilly conditions. I think this is a great idea, especially since you can’t see the button with it being on the underside of the lapel.

Yet another origin story is that Prince Albert (1819 – 1861), when presented a small bouquet of flowers by his bride, Queen Victoria, cut a small hole in his jacket lapel and wore the flowers. His tailor then made the smart move to include a small hole on the left lapel of all of his jackets. Needless to say, the trend caught on.

Fast forward to today, and that buttonhole is used largely for flowers or boutonnieres. By the way, in Europe this lapel buttonhole is called a boutonniere, while in the US, a boutonniere refers to the floral arrangement.

It’s important to note that whether you opt for a single flower or a boutonniere, that you put it through the lapel buttonhole versus pinning directly to the fabric. There are some cases, however, where it may be best to let your florist arrange the boutonniere as he/she likes, but generally speaking, you should always place a flower directly through this hole. And if you look closely on well made jackets, you’ll see that there is a small bit of thread running horizontal on the backside of your jacket lapel, just below the the lapel buttonhole. This is where your flower stem goes. It’s a neat little trick to keeping everything in place.

So, there you have it! A little helpful background on your lapel buttonhole. Consider having your tailor install a small button on the backside of your opposite lapel such that you can button up all the way in the fall and winter months. And during summer, don’t forget to put that buttonhole to good use and put a flower in there!

The right way to roll up your sleeves

As a kid, I would roll up my sleeves sometimes to signify that “I was getting down to business.” As I grew older, the simple act of rolling my shirt sleeves up became more functional and even stylish. And of course, there are many times throughout the day when you get too warm, need to get your hands dirty, or you simply want to roll up your sleeves.

Today, I consider myself a bit of a shirt roll aficionado. While there is no one right way to roll up your sleeves, I do believe there are methods that not only look better, but work best in specific situations. So, with this article, I have outlined three simple methods which will help you to roll up your sleeves properly and with some style!

Let’s get started.

Method #1: Casual Roll

This is the most common roll and most likely what you have been doing already. This type of roll is best for casual dress, when you get warm and need to quickly and simply roll up your sleeves. This roll also involves very few folds which will cut down on wrinkles.

  1. Unbutton both the cuff button and the gauntlet button (the button midway up the forearm) and flip the cuff back evenly so that it is inside out.
  2. Using the cuff as a measuring point, fold the cuff back so that it is neatly tucked behind a band of shirt fabric.
  3. That’s it! Now neatly tuck the corners of the cuff and make sure that each roll is even for a uniform look and feel.

step 1 casual sleeve roll casual2

Method #2: Basic Roll

This is your standard military roll. It is clean, simple and great for physical labor.

  1. Unbutton both the cuff button and the gauntlet button and flip the cuff back evenly so that it is inside out.
  2. Using the cuff as a measuring point, fold the cuff back so that it is neatly tucked behind the a band of shirt fabric just like in the Casual Roll.
  3. Repeat this until you roll it past your elbow. (If you have a narrow fitting sleeve, performing this roll before you put the shirt on will help). Be sure that the roll is even and uniform.

Basic Roll basic2

Method #3: Master Roll

This roll takes a little more work to figure out, but it is great for showing off the inner contrast of your cuff and for those looking for added style.

  1. Unbutton both the cuff button and the gauntlet button and flip the cuff back evenly so that it is inside out.
  2. Pull the flipped cuff (don’t roll) up your arm until the sleeve is about an inch beyond your elbow.
  3. Now, roll the sleeve upward to cover the cuff. (Double check that this step is done evenly to avoid pinching).
  4. Cover or reveal as much of the cuff as you like. To undo the fold, simply pull the cuff down.

master1Master Roll

Wrap up

While there is certainly no right or wrong way to roll up your sleeves, it is fun to play around with different styles and do something different. Give each of these methods a try sometime and let us know how it goes when you see us next!

By Brett Wagner