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.

Interview with Moreau & Co wedding photography

If you follow the BE blog then you are well aware of our interest in interviewing Colorado’s most talented wedding photographers. And this past week, we chatted with Shawn and Jennifer Moreau, of Moreau & Co Photography.

Here’s what happened:

[Ryan] How would you describe your particular approach to wedding photography? What makes Moreau & Co different?

[Shawn] We specialize in candid photography. On your wedding day, that translates to a lack of photos prefaced with “can you pause there for a moment” and “okay, now pretend to be laughing”. We always tell our couples that we will never ask them to stop half way down the aisle so that we can get the perfectly posed shot. We thrive on authentic, genuine, raw emotion.

Your wedding will inevitably come with details, moments, and factors that you could potentially miss because you’re preoccupied, nervous, or overwhelmed by emotion. We make it a point to capture all of these for you and preserve them with our photography. We always take the obligatory posed family photos – but we love being a part of the moments that you’ll remember forever and those are the photos that we specialize in providing to our clients.

moreau & co wedding photography

What kinds of things can a groom do to look his best in his wedding photos? Any common mistakes that grooms are making in your experience?

Admittedly, groom’s kind of have it easy when it comes to looking good on their wedding day. That said, it all starts with good planning and preparation. Get a suit that fits nicely. Have it tailored (it makes a huge difference). And unless your photographer tells you otherwise, keep your hands out of your pockets!

When shooting, where do you find inspiration?

We’re driven by the raw emotion that comes with a wedding day – whether that be the first time he sees his beautiful bride, or when the father of the bride dances with his daughter to a sentimental song that stir memories and soon after, tears. The love that is captured in those moments can be frozen in time because we’re there, and that means the world to us.

colorado springs wedding photographer moreau & co

How to spot a custom suit – 4 subtle giveaways

liner-and-construction

Custom suiting for men has certainly grown in popularity over the past five years. Many men are discovering the advantages of buying a custom suit or tuxedo that’s made for them, and as individual as their own signature.

As you can imagine, there are many, many attributes of a suit that can be customized when you shop bespoke, but there are four that I would call the tell-tale signs of a bespoke suit. These are subtle things that are almost exclusive to the world of men’s custom clothing.

Does it fit?

Obviously, fit is the most important thing. You’ll know a good fit when you see it.

The sleeves will be of an appropriate length, the body shaped and neatly contoured around the torso, and the shoulders right where they should be. Less obvious to the untrained eye, will be that the jacket lapel lays flat on the chest and without a gap between the shirt collar on the back of the neck.

Working sleeve buttonholes on a custom suit

Working sleeve buttonholes (surgeon cuffs) are a throwback to the old days, when all jackets where bespoke and had functional buttonholes on the sleeves.

Historically, military field surgeons wore jackets that they could roll up when helping a wounded soldier in the field. At one point in time, many of these surgeons lived in Saville Row, London. When the tailors moved into the neighborhood, a little cross pollination happened that resulted in working buttonholes becoming the norm on men’s suiting.

Pick stitching

Pick stitching is often neglected on off-the-rack suits. It’s labor intensive (when done right) and somewhat difficult to do well. It’s easiest for most manufacturers to simply forget it altogether.

But that’s a shame, because pick stitching is a subtle detail that can really add some life to a men’s jacket. Look for it along the lapel and pocket flaps.

Pattern matching over pockets

This is something that you have to look closely to see. What you are looking for is that with patterned fabrics (plaids, stripes, etc), do the pockets line up with the rest of the shirt? In other words, was the pocket fabric haphazardly sewn on or was care taken during this process to line up the pattern on the pocket with the rest of the suit or shirt?

signs of a good custom suit