Archives: Guy Knowledge

What is a men’s clothier?

When you start to think about it, you begin to realize just how many different ways there are to say “store that sells clothes for men.”  There’s men’s store, men’s clothing, men’s attire, men’s dresswear, etc. But what you don’t see very often, maybe you’ve only seen it at Bespoke Edge, is men’s clothier.

Is there a difference? Absolutely.

Yesterday, I met with one of my adopted mentors who I think really summed it up nicely. He said that a true men’s clothier will always ensure that his/her clients get exactly what they wanted. They will always go the extra mile, they will overdeliver on their client’s needs, and be right there with them during the entire process of buying clothes. Bespoke or otherwise.

A clothing salesperson, on the other hand, is there to make a sale and that’s it.

I think that this terminology is extremely important in the growing industry of custom clothing. Specifically, with bespoke suiting, where there are often second fittings and minor adjustments downstream, you will need a clothier who understands every single step of the process in and out and can guide you along the way. And you should feel confident that they won’t cut corners at your expense.

A clothier is focused first and foremost on service and the client’s experience. The product sold is a natural outcome of this effort.

From a business perspective, clothiers believe that it’s a safe bet that if your experience was excellent, your needs delivered on and then some, and you had fun throughout the process, then you’ll likely be back again.

So, whether you shop with us or someone else, be sure you ask them:

Are you a clothier?

By Ryan Wagner

Why corozo buttons are my new favorite

corozo buttons scottsdale suit

If you’ve shopped with us before, you’ll know that aside from offering an enormous collection of suit and shirt fabrics, we carry an impressive amount of buttons. Not just different colors, but different materials like metallic and rubber buttons. But there’s one particular type that I think is really quite cool: Corozo buttons.

These buttons are made from the corozo nut, or tagua nut. This is the seed of a tropical palm known scientifically as the phytelephas macrocarpas. It’s found throughout Northern South America and parts of Panama.

The fruit of this palm is huge, about a foot across. Each fruit is made up of clusters of seeds with cavities that fill with a white, ivory-like fluid that over time, will harden. Out of this hardened substance, local peoples would fashion figurines or buttons.

Modern manufacturing methods have pushed the corozo material to its limits. It can be cut, machined, heated, bleached, and polished to a finish that I think is even more impressive than ivory. Corozo buttons are also relatively scratch resistant, have a beautiful natural grain, and resist fading.

There’s a lot to like. Plus, they are completely all natural.

custom suits phoenix unique buttons

In particular, I think these buttons are a good match for many of our Scottsdale custom suit clients because the corozo palm is a nod to the warm environment. And in Denver, the natural aesthetic and unique grain of a corozo button pairs nicely for anyone wanting to build a more natural suit.

Speaking of custom suits, let’s take a step back and talk about these buttons – or any luxury button, for that matter – in the context of a shirt or suit. Any sort of high-end button is going to add some subtle style to your outfit. I say subtle, because after all, they are just buttons. They won’t be noticed much until someone gets close enough to see them.

custom suits scottsdale unique corozo buttons

However, you’ll certainly notice them because of the way that they feel. It’s difficult to describe, you really just need to see them in person.

I think that the real beauty in these buttons is that the corozo option is yet another way to build a suit with a nod to luxury craftsmanship. To wear something that tells a story. When done properly, a bespoke suit is a work of art. Paying careful attention to the suit’s details makes for a well-rounded garment.

By Ryan Wagner

corozo buttons

Images courtesy of Corozo Buttons.

How to keep your dress shirts looking like new

dress shirts looking like new

I received a question recently on how to keep your dress shirts looking like new. The more I thought about it, I realized that this is really an important question.

When you first receive a bespoke dress shirt, whether it’s from Bespoke Edge or another provider, there’s no doubt that it looks pretty phenomenal in the box. The fabric is even better looking than the swatch had you seen and the collar looks immaculate in its crispness. You almost don’t want to take it out of the box!

Of course, you eventually do.

And if you wash your shirts at home there’s always that sad moment when you open the washer door and see your once proud dress shirt now in a wrinkled and damp pile of itself.

Sigh.

But shirts are shirts and they are meant to be washed. They’ll be fine. They will shrink a little bit, but if they are one of our shirts, I can say confidently that they will shrink just as planned. For instance, when we took your measurements to build the shirt in the first place, we accounted for a little shrinkage in the sleeves. So, your shirt will fit better and better after the first several wash cycles.

What if you have your bespoke shirts professionally cleaned? Is there anything you should know? Or directions that should be relayed to your cleaner so that your shirts come back looking like new?

First, a high quality bespoke shirt will last a long time and look nice, even after repeated washings. In my experience, skilled launderers are very hard to come by. All too often, cleaners will abuse the shirts with overly high temperatures and harsh pressing. But a good cleaner will employ hand methods where appropriate and use gentle techniques. It wouldn’t hurt to get in the habit of asking your cleaner how they go about washing your shirt and what options are available to you. At the very least, you’ll learn something new.

dress shirts looking like new

Secondly, use a very light starch on any bespoke shirt – you may be surprised how little you actually need.

And don’t dry clean your shirts, just launder them. Washing dress shirts in water is definitely going to be better for removing water soluble dirt and stains. It will also put less wear and tear on your shirts.

Before you exclaim that “…I don’t want to iron! Dry cleaning is so much easier,” you may want to ask your cleaner if they press laundered shirts. This way you get the best of both worlds – appropriate and effective shirt cleaning and no ironing (Oh, and for far less money than having your shirts dry cleaned).

The above tips will help you keep your custom dress shirts looking great, but if I had to highlight one point, it would be the pressing. This is probably the single most important thing you can do to keep your dress shirts looking like new. Whether you’re a skilled ironer or prefer to send your shirts out, be sure to pay special attention to the collar, yoke, and placket of the shirt. If these three areas are looking great, so will you.

By Ryan Wagner

Further reading

Here’s an article on how to wash your dress shirt from our Learn page.

Is raw denim the same as selvedge denim?

jeans as business casual in scottsdale

Is Raw denim the same as Selvedge denim?

That’s the driving question behind my ongoing search for the perfect pair of jeans this fall. You see, I’ve had the same pair of jeans for maybe 3 or 4 years now. Late in the winter they sprung a leak, in the form of a large hole over the knee. I’ll still wear them from time to time, but the occasion has changed and now I need to find a new pair for dressier outings (when one of my suits is too much, of course!)

Simply put, I want something special and something that will last me a long time.

I’ve heard the buzzwords. I think we all have. Raw denim, selvedge denim, self-edge, etc. But what do they mean?

And from an economics perspective, where should I consider investing my money? So, I did some research. This fall I’m going to keep you in the loop on my search for the perfect pair of jeans. I think we’re both going to learn a lot.

To start off the series, I wanted to investigate the difference between raw denim and selvedge denim.

Raw denim

Raw denim is just what the name says – it’s raw. That means it hasn’t been processed in any way, such as washing or strategic distressing. You can think of it as coming straight off the loom to the shelf in the store.

But let’s back up a moment.

What makes your jeans blue in the first place? Where does that “jean color” hue come from? Well, it’s indigo dye. And here’s what is unique about indigo dye – it doesn’t absorb into the fabric. Instead, it merely coats the fibers. Consequently, over time it can rub off. This is how your jeans become faded in all the right places. Your unique lifestyle and wearing habits, over time, will have a direct impact on how your jeans look. They will become entirely individual to you.

Now what you need to bear in mind is that raw denim will shrink. There is a notable exception – sanforized denim. This is still considered raw denim – although some true believers may disagree with me on this one – but the shrinking will be very, very minimal.

The other thing to be aware of is that raw denims will also be a little stiff to wear in the beginning. They demand a break-in period. And honestly, this is what has kept me away from raw denim for so long. Shopping for jeans in the store I would also seek out the softest pair. While this meant they were comfortable from the beginning, their longevity was impacted.

Selvedge denim

First of all, you may see different spelling of this word – self-edge or selvage, maybe. But it’s all the same thing. The spelling selvedge is a bit more traditional and appropriate, so it’s what I’ll continue to use here.

Selvedge actually means “self edge.” This is because instead of having frayed edges, like most garments, selvedge denim is finished by looping the weft threads (the yarns that run from side to side) back at the end of each row on a shuttle loom. A shuttle loom uses one continuous piece of yarn to run back and forth across the warp threads that run up and down. There are no frayed edges this way. Everything is kept nice and neat from a manufacturing perspective.

Up until about the 1950s, almost all denim was produced this way.

What changed?

Well, as you can imagine, the demand for more productivity and higher efficiency led to the so-called mass production looms that churned out several times the output of a humble shuttle loom…and they did so without the closed edges.

This method requires the edges to be “overlocked stitched” to keep the frayed yarns in place.

From my research, there is only one domestic selvedge denim producer in existence today, Cone Mills in Greensboro, North Carolina. Interestingly, the rest are in Japan. Beginning in the 1980s, a handful of Japanese mills began weaving their own selvedge denim and even recasting rivets and buttons in an attempt to recapture the vintage American style.

I reached out to Denver based Armitage & McMillan co-owner, Daniel Armitage, for some good photos of selvedge jeans from his store. The following two images highlight the defining feature that makes selvedge denim unique – the accent stitching on the outseam (in this case, red).

selvedge denim in denver armitage mcmillan

raw denim the same as selvedge denim in denver

In theory, selvedge jeans will last longer than a raw or washed jean due to this sealed edge. But I think it’s really how you wear the jeans. After all, my present pair – that wasn’t raw nor selvedge denim – failed me via a hole on the knee, not the unraveling of the outseam.

Wrap up

So, is raw denim the same as selvedge denim?

In summation, selvedge denim can be raw, but raw denim is not always selvedge denim.

Here’s all you need to remember: Selvedge denim has to do with the weaving process, it has a “self edge.” Whereas raw denim just means that it hasn’t been washed and processed after coming off of the loom. 

Yet both will likely end up being more durable than a distressed or typical off-the-rack garment.

Regardless, I think the real charm of denim today is that we have an opportunity to seek out traditional manufacturing methods that emphasize durability and can provide you with an opportunity to wear a pair of jeans that you can truly make your own.

By Ryan Wagner

Further reading

Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about denim: The essential raw denim breakdown

And here’s a great video on the Cone Mill from the folks at Self Edge: https://vimeo.com/38817626

Check out some jeans in person at Armitage & McMillan in Denver: 1550 Platte St, Denver, CO