Know your shirt fabrics

custom dress shirt fabric

Gingham

A gingham pattern is a checkered pattern with white and colored checks that are the same size. This pattern is made up of horizontal and vertical stripes on a white background.

Your go-to necktie: Solid

Tattersall

Similar to gingham, this is a very popular pattern. The pattern consists of regularly spaced thin vertical warp stripes and repeated in the weft direction, forming squares. Usually, the background color will be white, or something very light, but it can really be anything.

Your go-to necktie: Solid or a bold stripe.

Tartan Plaid

This is the plaid that is most often associated with Scotland. It is a very traditional plaid made up of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical stripes in multiple colors. During manufacture, each thread in the warp crosses each thread in the weft at a 90 degree angle. When a thread in the warp direction crosses a thread of the same color in the weft direction, the result is a solid color. On the other hand, a thread crosses another thread of a different color, it produces an equal mixture of the two colours. What this means is that the two base colors result in three colors!

This makes for a relatively casual dress shirt.

Your go-to necktie: None. Or, if you must, try a square-bottomed knit tie for a nice casual look.

Shepherd’s check

The shepherd’s check pattern was originally a plaid worn by Scottish shepherds. Right off the bat, you’re probably wondering “isn’t this a gingham?!” While it may look close, the difference lies in the weave. A shepherd’s check is woven with a twill weave, whereas the gingham is not.

Your go-to necktie: Solid, but steer clear of a similar twill weave.

Madras

Madras is a really fun plaid that is most often see in cotton. Its namesake comes from the former name of an Indian city, Chennai. And similar to champagne, only real madras comes from Madras. Also, both sides of the cloth must have the same pattern and it must be handwoven. Because it comes from a unique short-staple cotton fiber, one that can’t be combed, only carded, the resulting fabric has noticeable bumps called slubs.

Your go-to necktie: None.

Windowpane check

Depending on the colors, this can make for either a very bold dress shirt, or one that’s a bit like a subtle plaid. Regardless, the pattern is a lot like — you guessed — a windowpane. This is a very common dress shirt and certainly one that deserves a place in your closet.

Your go-to necktie: A solid is the safe pick, but consider a stripe or paisley for a refined look.

Houndstooth

The houndstooth pattern is one of those traditionally masculine designs. The classic look is in black and white, but it can really be in any color. It is made up by broken checks that are reminiscent of a dog’s tooth. Again, we can thank our friends in Scotland for originally creating this pattern.

Your go-to necktie: Solid

Glen plaid

Also known as Prince of Wales plaid, this is a classic menswear pattern. We see it most often in suiting, but it’s also very common in dress shirts. Simply put, it’s a twill weave made up of small and large checks.

It first made its appearance during the nineteenth century in the Glenurquhart valley of, yes, Scotland. Prince of Wales Sir Edward VIII maintained a particular affinity for the pattern, so sometimes you’ll see it labeled as Prince of Wales.

Your go-to necktie: Typically, this is a pretty versatile fabric, so you have some options. But be careful with plaid neckties.

Awning Stripe

There’s no doubt about it, the awning stripe is one bold stripe! It’s the widest there is, usually coming in at over 1/4″ wide. When paired with the right suit, this can make for a very bold look. Although not a great option for a very formal event, it can look great in the office — so long as you own the building!

Your go-to necktie: Solid or soft paisley

Bengal

A bengal stripe dress shirt is one with repeating stripes that are 1/4″ wide. The stripes can be any color, but usually sit on a white background. While not as bold as a awning stripe dress shirt, the bengal shirt is still a very commanding dress shirt pattern.

Your go-to necktie: Solid

Know your shirt fabrics – Wrap up

We hope that this article helps to shed some light on the wide world of shirting patterns.

How to wear a pocket square in the office

how to wear a pocket square in the office

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, pocket squares are a lot of fun. I can’t think of a better way to add a little personality to your wardrobe than by artfully adding a little color into your chest pocket. While many guys don’t see any problem wearing one at a wedding, they get a little timid when it comes to the workplace. Do you know how to wear a pocket square in the office?

It’s easier than you think. And with this article, I hope to give you some guidance on choosing a great looking pocket square.

In a nutshell…

How to wear a pocket square in the office:

  1. Pick the right material by matching the fabric to that of your jacket.
  2. Choose something with a pattern for a stylish look.
  3. What you need to know about matching is that your pocket square should refer to and complement the rest of your wardrobe, as opposed to matching it exactly.
  4. Fold your pocket square with the puff method (described below).

Let’s go a little more in depth.

paisley pocket square

Material

Pocket squares come in all shapes and sizes. They are most commonly silk, and made up in a 12″ x 12″ square. But we also see linen and cotton pocket squares. If you look real hard you can even find flannel and cashmere(!).

How do you know what to choose?

The rule of thumb when choosing a material is that you want to match the fabric of the pocket square to that of your jacket.

For most office use, you’ll be just fine sporting a silk pocket square because you’re probably wearing a nice woolen suit. Whereas, for linen and cotton suits, you will want to consider choosing a more textured pocket square fabric, like linen or cotton, because silk will look a little too refined for a more casual suit.

Consequently, a cotton or linen pocket square will always be more casual than a silk pocket square. A notable exception is a crisp white cotton pocket square that always looks great for black tie events and when you’re wearing a white dress shirt.

a cotton pocket square and how to wear a pocket square to the office

Patterned or solid?

Solid is obviously the easiest to match, right? But a patterned pocket square is so much more fun!

That being said, there are many different types of office environments and therefore many different answers to how to wear a pocket square in the office. If you’re in a creative field, then you’re probably OK sporting a colorful pocket square with a unique pattern. However, for a more conservative environment, it’s always a safe bet to stick to a nice crisp look — a pressed cotton pocket square that extends just a quarter to a half inch above your chest pocket.

Which brings us to…

blue check pocket squares and how to wear a pocket square in the office

Matching

If you only remember one thing after reading this article, I hope it’s this: That your pocket square should refer to and complement the rest of your wardrobe, as opposed to matching it exactly. The standard approach is to pick up some of the colors in your necktie. If you’re not wearing a necktie, then pick up some of the pattern in your dress shirt. You can even look to your socks!

If you’re just starting out learning how to wear a pocket square in the office, stick with some very basic patterns, like simple stripes or a check pattern. And something in only a couple of colors. As you become more comfortable with matching your pocket square, maybe you want to try some more unique patterns…

skull and bones pocket square and how to wear a pocket square in the office

Folds

There are many ways to fold a pocket square, but you already know that. In fact, I’d argue that the internet has made it a relatively intimidating endeavor to learn how to fold a pocket square, there are just so many options that it’s easy to feel like you won’t get it right.

In my opinion, there are two basic folds. And guess what, they’re super easy.

They are the puff and the reverse puff.

How to wear a pocket square in the office: Wrap up

Remember, in the early twentieth century, a well dressed gentleman would have never left the house without a pocket square in his chest pocket. It’s a great piece of tradition that’s certainly worth bringing back to the office.

Further reading

Our favorite summer pocket squares

Should you wear a cotton or silk pocket square?

When should you be wearing a pocket square?

elephants pocket square

nautical themed pocket square

Spring style trends for men — 2017

unique fall blazer denver custom suits and one for spring style trends for men

Spring is on the way, gentlemen. And in recent weeks it has certainly felt like it has already arrived here in the mile high city. Brett was recently in Scottsdale where the mercury is already approaching 90 degrees! Suffice it to say, it’s time we started thinking seriously about spring style. Here’s what we’re predicting will be key spring style trends for men in 2017:

V-neck sweaters

As we transition into the warmer weather, the venerable V-neck, in a nicely breathable merino wool, should be your go-to. However, the key difference between this year’s V-neck sweaters and those of past years, is that the V-shape is getting deeper. That means a sharper angle and a more masculine look.

Whether you wear a T-shirt under it is your call.

More colorful suits

While a good charcoal or navy suit will always be in style, this year we’re starting to see more patterns and color in our suiting. Pick something in a thoughtful shade of green or purple to start. A plaid pattern is a great way to ease your way into things. Pair a suit like this with a solid dress shirt and you just created your Spring/Summer 2017 uniform!

Double breasted jackets

Yes, double breasted suit jackets are coming back! We’ve kept a close eye on them over the past couple years — a couple here, a couple there — but they’re definitely on the rebound. Just promise us that you’ll always remember to button your jacket while standing (sigh).

Shorter beards and longer hair

That’s right, our grooming is headed in different directions. A shorter beard and/or 5:00 o’clock shadow will lead the pack this year while longer and more wavy hair will push up against the close-cropped and shaved hipster styles that have been popular in years past.

Spring style trends for men

There you have it. Our succinct prediction for 2017. Did I miss anything? Anything you want to add? Let us know today!

And don’t forget to sign up for our twice-monthly newsletter. We only send you the content worth consuming.

Thanks for reading!

Letitia Frye — America’s “auctiontainer”

I’m guessing you haven’t heard the term auctiontainer before, am I right? I hadn’t either, at least not until I stumbled across Scottsdale’s Letitia Frye via an article in Modern Luxury. She has a very unique job title: Auctiontainer.

As you can imagine, this was more than enough to pique my interest and so after doing a little research on her, I learned that her unique title was a direct result of her personal style and approach to live auctioning at charity fundraisers.

I couldn’t help but to reach out and ask her a few questions. Here’s what happened:

[Ryan] You have been called America’s foremost Auctiontainer. What exactly does that mean and when did the title really start to stick?

[Letitia Frye] Funny, America’s Foremost Auctiontainer came from my client and friend Alice Cooper. We were at a soundcheck for his annual Christmas Pudding event and he saw me working the mic while warming up my chant and said it was like watching another performer. I don’t stand at a podium or use notes because I have a photographic memory so it leaves me free to roam the crowd with a handheld wireless mic and perform rather than just auction. In fact I have been known to dive off stages into the crowd like a rock star, thus the auctiontainer.

How do you prepare for an upcoming auction? Is there a method you use to better understand the audience or prepare for the unexpected?

There is so much more to prepping for one of my events than meets the eye and I tend to do more prep work than the typical auctioneer. For one, most auctioneers do many different types of auctions from real estate, livestock, cars, benefits and more. Although I did my training in a multitude of mediums in the auction industry, about 8 years ago I decided to only do benefit auctions and to specialize as a charity fundraising professional in addition to auctioneer. I volunteer for every client I work with. I have been to Haiti twice to work with orphans, I trail hospice doctors, rescue horses on the border, volunteer at various camps for kids with cancer and at risk teens, and so much more. That is the first part of the prep work and the most important so that I can become passionate about who we are working to help with the funds raised at the event. Then it’s time to analyze the event itself. The timeline, the items, the crowd demographic, the benefit of creating a customized fund a need, etc.. There is so much work that goes into this process before the actual event, the event itself is probably what I consider the icing on the cake. The fun part after all the work leading up to it.

Letitia Frye an auctiontainer

With all the auctions you’ve supported over the years, I’m sure you have some good stories. What’s one of your favorites?

I average about 107 charity auctions a year and I have seen a lot of wild and interesting things happen. One of my favorites was with Larry the Cable Guy. We were doing Alice Cooper’s golf tournament and I sell actors and musicians to play in the tournament as part of your foursome. Usually the sexy, hot beefcake type sell really high, but Larry took the cake. He actually used to auction himself and we had worked together before so I had us do kind of a tag team auction almost like a duet. The crowd was going crazy and the bids getting higher and higher. Then I jokingly told Larry he should take his shirt off and get the ladies going. I was only joking as Larry is a lovable big guy, not really your body builder type. Well he did it and the crowd was in hysterics and one woman stood up and bought him for $20,000. He sold higher than anyone else, who knew!

Meet Letitia Frye

Contact Letitia Frye:

You can learn more about Letitia Frye on her website, here. And be sure to check out her recent feature in Modern Luxury, if you haven’t already.