The first in a series on buying custom suits, I settled on Hong Kong known for its quick turnaround.  I flew on American Airlines with the routing DCA-DFW-HKG  777 flight AA137 out and turnaround on AA138.  A Harbour View room at the Sheraton in Kowloon was a quick and reasonable pick I was familiar with from my days at Mattel.

Of course, I came to Hong Kong to research the custom tailor market.  Now only to find a tailor. Just walk down Nathan Road and they will find you. Apparently I had neon lights across my forehead, because I couldn’t walk 20 steps without some industrious business development guy putting his card in my face, offering to make me a suit.  On my first pass, I took many of their cards, and tried to make mental notes on the approach and presentation of the sales person. If they were too pushy, forget about it.  If they were not at least dressed neatly, no need to talk further.

So I settled on one and I take the walk down a side street in the wake of this excited salesman, into a nondescript building.  I met the tailor exchange pleasantries and get to business.  I was drawn to this beautiful cashmere fabric — an iridescent blue/green with pattern. I was excited, but I notice that there is not enough fabric on the bolt to make a suit as it take 3 1/2 to 4 yards to make a man’s suit.  But the tailor assured me that he has more at another locale.

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I got into the details that I want in the suit: hand stitched canvas, functioning button holes on sleeves, buttonhole on my slightly peaked lapel, details on the width of my pant leg, size of cuff, etc.

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Everything was good and no problems.  We plan to do a fitting at my hotel later that evening.  So I pay my 50% deposit and off I go.

Just before the scheduled fitting I get a WhatsApp saying that there is not enough fabric to make a suit. I needed to come in to choose another.  My initial reaction was to cancel, but how can I go to Hong Kong and not get a suit made, right. So I went in and chose another fabric.  A glen plaid with an interesting color combo. Also cashmere. We set another fitting time for late that night.

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They came to my hotel for the fitting.  I finally met the real tailor, the first guy just took my measurements.  He made a few minor modifications and off they go with the promise, “the suit will be ready tomorrow at 11:00 am,” just in time for me to take a car to the airport for my 1:40 pm flight home.

11:00 am comes and goes, so I called to confirm.  They made it by 11:20 am and I try the suit on.  The jacket fit well, but the pants were too short, so I left the pant, took the jacket and rushed down to take my waiting car to HKG.

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It wasn’t until I returned home that I really took a look at the details on the suit.  For example, no button holes on the sleeves, which aren’t functional.

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Other than fitting well, none of the details that I requested were included.  The moment I noticed, I called the shop to alert them. Not much in the way of a response, other than to request the balance before the pant is shipped. Unacceptable, so as of this posting I only have jacket with no details.

Stay tuned to see how this gets resolved.  Hopefully this helps a few of you in the future.

The return of the bowtie as an everyday male fashion accessory has presented handsome, well-dressed men all over the world with a pending dilemma: to bow tie, or to necktie?

I’ll start by running through the difference between the two:

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A bow tie is a small tie that has an ending which is straight and rectangular or one that tapers and flares out at the end. Bow ties are often for more elegant occasions, but lately have been used with more day-to-day looks, and often provides a playful, whimsical touch to an outfit.

A dapper necktie spotted in London

A dapper necktie spotted in London

Neckies are more traditional, longer ties that can vary in width. Recently, the skinny tie is a hipster trend that can be worn with just about anything, no suit needed.

Why Wear A Bow Tie?

Wearing a bow tie may be easier for those with an busy lifestyle. It won’t fall into your soup and salad lunch combo or get stuck in a car door or machinery. Men of action will like the bow tie and it also gives off a retro, spirited and elegant vibe. 

Bow ties don't always have to be dressy

Bow ties don’t always have to be dressy

Millennials also enjoy wearing bow ties with just about any outfit, including a more casual looks like paired with jeans. Of course, the old-school elegance of a bow tie can go a long way when you are trying to impress.

Downton Abbey regal British cast wouldn't be caught dead without their bow ties

Downton Abbey regal British cast wouldn’t be caught dead without their bow ties

Famous bow tie wearers: Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin

Why Wear A Necktie?

Wearing a more traditional necktie can actually make you look taller, so all you height-challenged dudes out there listen up: Tie lengths are usually between 52 and 58 inches and make sure your tie is proportional to your height.

Neckties can express your style

Neckties can express your style

Width of  ties is also important. Three inches is always a good choice and skinnier ties can give you a more hipster, downtown look. A necktie is a safe bet–one you can never go wrong with as long as you can tie it properly!

George Clooney isn't starting any new trends, but looks great in a traditional necktie

George Clooney isn’t starting any new trends, but looks great in a traditional necktie

Famous necktie wearers: Donald Trump, George Clooney, The Blues Brothers

Commit to whatever style you choose and wear it with pride

Commit to whatever style you choose and wear it with pride

Regardless of which you choose, commit to it, and choose one that reflects your personality. If you are stuck wearing a suit all day, this may be one of the few ways you can truly accessorize, so have fun with it and pick a tie you can be proud to wear.

A bolo tie can make a bold statement

A bolo tie can make a bold statement

Tie Tips: 

  • Looking impeccable means you know how to perfectly tie your tie
  • If you want something really original and retro, try a bolo tie
  • Enjoy and embrace all tie styles. You don’t always have to stick to one or the other–that’s the beauty of accessories! You can have a great collection of both bow ties and neckties.

Posted by Lori Zaino and photos by Darrel Hunter and Paloma Canseco.

How Do Know: When Is It Time To Fire Your Mother And Hire A Stylist?

In sales, you deal with all kinds of people; however, mothers of adult men make me shake my head. Most of the time they are guessing sizes and desperately wanting to make their son happy.  So, this is my shot in the dark. I get it: everyone doesn’t like to shop. You look at ad campaig1ns or magazine layouts and you like the looks but you don’t know where to began. Or you’re racked with anxiety at the idea of getting yourself together for your friends wedding. Your dream jobs is one interview away and you NEED to look every inch the part or worse, you get the job and you only have your interview look. Once you’re over your hives it maybe time to make a call; not to mommy, but to a stylist.

Styling is a pretty new phenomenon. 10 years ago, not to many people knew that was a legitimate business. Wardrobe stylist used to work with celebrities flawless for their personal appearances.

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What a stylist does is elevate. They learn the client’s body type, likes and dislikes and with their knowledge of fashion create the appropriate looks. They usually have a broad understanding of the world around them and at the same time they know how to reference fantasy, a different era or updated trends. Their ultimate goal is to teach you how to make yourself eye popping amazing or just do it for you.

I have worked in retail for many years and when you’re trying to help a frantic, stressed out mother two days before a big event, pick out a look (sight unseen) for a 40 year old, you become team mom. Gentleman, it’s time to give Mom a break and get professional help. In most major cities you can find people through social media.

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Also, a lot of department stores have personal shoppers, so call and inquire. The perk with going that route is all the product is in the same place and the company pays them. Occasionally, you will find a sales associate who is amazing at it. A lot of shops and small businesses are hiring people with a styling background to make their brand fashion savvy. When picking a personal stylist, chemistry is key. So you may not find the right person immediately but when you do your outlook will shift. Now I am aware that some people are not fashion challenged and are in fact rock stars, and this isn’t for those people. Some people just don’t need a personal shopper!

However, some of us are not as lucky, and there are many reasons a person would hire a wardrobe stylist, for instance updating their style.  Learning to dress a new body, like a change in weight. A new city, a new job or a new lifestyle can also warrant searching for the right stylist–pretty much anywhere you want to look your best.

So when is it time to fire your mother? When she’s had enough and you hate everything she picks out. Free Mom!!!!

Post and photos by Denee Davis.

persol714SMlimitededition

SM stands, of course, for Steve MQueen who made this blue lens pair of shades instantly classic in the 1968 ONE-LINER classic movie The Thomas Crown Affair, starring Faye Dunaway and the man himself, who, as adventurous lovers often do in film, tries to pull off a heist and escape riding off into the sunset never to be seen or heard of again.  And to remain incognito, surely, and in good style, a good pair of shades will help as an indispensable accessory, because, as the script reads:

“We’re in this together.”

Steve McQueen wearing Folding P 714’s

Steve McQueen wearing Folding P 714’s

Persol (per il sole = for the sun), today owned by Luxottica, who also owns Ray Ban, and who today is the world’s numero uno maker of sunglasses, decided to bring back this sixties GEM in the form of a Limited Edition aptly called Steve McQueen geared for a contemporary audience and customized for today’s demanding global style-hungry hipster-proletariat – and also for YOU –, because admit it brother, we ALL want to look cool and handsome these days.

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And please take it from BDMOTP that right now no pair of sunglasses is better equipped for contemporary fast and exclusive living than the P 714 SM LE.  The blue shade of lens is exclusive and special, and the frame comes in classic Havana both tortoise and amber as well as black, but the feature with the “wow” factor which is not only highly impressive from a standpoint of technology but also from a practical perspective, is that this pair of sunglasses is FOLDABLE. It folds! It is a folding pair of sunglasses.  Yes, you read that right, it can be folded up, and nicely be put back into the in – or outside pocket of your dress jacket in a very small case, so that no one will ever know that just one minute before you were trying to go incognito.  It’s discrete, it’s clever, it’s cool, and it is grand in its conception.

Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint trying to remain incognito in Hitchcock’s 1959 ‘North by Northwest’

Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint trying to remain incognito in Hitchcock’s 1959 ‘North by Northwest’

In fact, the 714 model is a more developed and evolved version of the famous Persol 649 S from a decade earlier in the fifties when it had originally been developed for tram drivers in Turin, Italy, protecting them from dust of sandy roads hitting their eyes.  The 714 is thus the foldable version (yes practical and handy) of the 649 and both these sets of magic sunglasses reached a larger public almost immediately since conception through the movies.

The 649 is created in 1957 and when Marcello Mastroianni wears them in Divorce Italian Style’by Pietro Germi from 1961, the name of this all-time classic accessory had already been made famous when Cary Grant desperately is trying to remain INCOGNITO on a train by wearing his sunglasses and by wearing them well and in style in Alfed Hitchcock’s North by Northwest from 1959. And so as any movie director without a stylist would know: One good pair of shades on one good actor at one right moment makes for a classic image!

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And this is why perhaps the Folding P 714 Steve McQueen Limited Edition is not only brand-able by the name of an actor, but also by the name of a film itself: The Thomas Crown Affair Edition.

BDMOTP can do that exercise too!  Take very cool accessory from several decades ago and find film in which it first appears.  Come up with a new and improved customized version of same classic item. Chose well known charismatic actor who wears/wore item really well in film. Use both name of actor and name of film. For final touch, select classic one-liner or discourse by said actor in same film while wearing the item, and gently change key words.  Repeat, repeat again, then fade with image on smile of actor’s female counterpart (from The Thomas Crown Affair):

« Let’s start with the money. »

« Well I don’t have it. »

« But what would you do if you did ? »

++++++++++++++++++++++

« Let’s start with the shades. »

« Well I don’t have them. »

« But what would you do if you did ? »

Posted by Sandro Joo.

This suit is stylish and could save your life!

This suit is stylish and could save your life!

Ever considered combining safety AND fashion? That’s exactly what the design team at Toronto based boutique Garrison Bespoke decided to do. Garrison Bespoke is known for their impeccable custom fits and now, they have a new idea to make something stylish that also keeps there customer safe!

The boutique explains that often times in the world of business, men need to travel to countries that are potentially dangerous or unsafe, particularly in industries such as the oil or diamond business.  To respond to this need, Garrison Bespoke wanted to create something fashionable, comfortable and practical, but that will protect you in case you are shot at.

The Garrison Bespoke design team worked alongside the US 19th Special Forces to develop this custom suit. This suit looks just like a typical suit- no one would ever know the difference! The bulletproof suit uses nanotechnology and is made from the exact same carbon nanotubes that were used in the US troops uniforms in Iraq. However, Garrison Bespoke prides itself on the fact that the fabric, although bulletproof, has been slightly altered as to feel more flexible and lightweight for maximum comfort AND safety.

Canada Bulletproof Suit

These suits have been tested at shooting ranges and will protect against a 9, 22, and 45 mm bullet.  The suit won’t come cheap, and is priced at $20,000.  But can you really put a price on safety?

Canada Bulletproof Suit

Posted by Lori Zaino

Steve Oldfield for BDMOTP interviews Matthew McConaughey about his new movie Dallas Buyers Club. He also talks fashion with McConaughey, discussing the the original “skinny jean”-Wranglers!

BDMOTP Interviews Matthew McConaughey from BDMOTP on Vimeo.

So, I’m on the subway when what could only be described as a little bit of masculine heaven passes by me. He should have been Mediterranean perfection except for that buzz kill of a suit. It needed a minimum of two inches cut away from each side or better yet; he should have bought a suit that fits.

Really Bad Fit

Yikes! Bad fit! Don’t be ” this guy”.

Gentlemen, the difference between a sophisticated man and a guy in a suit is tailoring. When you buy a suit, fit is key. Are your shoulders stopping in the right place? Is there space in the neck area? Is the jacket gapping anywhere? You want your suit to flatter you, not make you look untidy. However, it’s not likely that a suit will be perfect off the rack. On average, most men have thicker necks, broader shoulders and/or longer arms than the size the design world uses. Think of the sizes as an educated guess. Also, you should keep in mind every designer cuts differently. It’s possible to find your perfect match.

Attempting to get more information on this, I sat down with my favorite tailor, Ruth, and found out what you should know. I can’t prove it but I suspect she was birthed at a sewing machine with a measuring tape around her neck. Needless to say she’s been making people look perfect for a long time.

HOW TO MAKE YOUR SUIT FIT PERFECTLY

Ruth says:
• If the shoulders and chest don’t fit, then it’s simply not worth it. It will cost too much to fix it. Leave the suit behind.
• The sleeve, the side seams, the collar and the back seam can all be adjusted within reason.
• Don’t forget the pants. The hem should stop about 1 1/2 inches below the ankle. There are some newer slim fits that stop above the ankle. Don’t hem those pants.
• Look at yourself in the big three-way mirror in the best light and consider the length of the jacket and the style of the suit. Are you too short to carry off the six button double-breasted blazer? Should you have a shorter jacket?

Good Fit

This is how a suit should properly fit.

There are a few ways to go in terms of where to look for suits and suiting. The most expensive alternative is custom.

Custom made suits can be pricier, but worth it.

Custom made suits can be pricier, but worth it.

Truthfully, while it’s not cheap, I suggest having it done at least once for the experience. If that’s too tall of an order, I suggest the department store. Higher end department stores like Saks, Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman carry suits that GQ dreams are made of. For the cost conscience guy, there are lots of department stores that sell quality suits at reasonable prices. Sometimes department stores have sale events where you get free tailoring with purchase. Depending on the retailer you could get crazy good deals.

What I haven’t talked about are the smaller specialty stores and the smaller privately owned shops. Most small specialty stores can’t afford a full time tailor, however, asking costs you nothing. Private shops usually can offer great service and sometimes face time with the designers. Where some men make their mistake is choosing a suit solely based on price. A good deal doesn’t make for a great look.
The suit doesn’t have to be custom; it can be vintage, but take the time to have it tailored. A little bit of effort in your appearance will put you heads and shoulders above the rest.

*Special thanks to Ruth Wongdebalderas at the Washington DC Lord and Taylor for her collaboration.

Posted by Denee Davis

 

 

Shawn Edwards is a popular personality in Kansas City, where he is featured on the local Fox station. Shawn is a founding member of the African American Film Critics Association and served as its first president. He has written for Vibe, The Source and XXL magazines and Shawn currently working on a book about contemporary black movies entitled Little Black Sambo’s Revenge: The Best of Black Film.

We caught up with Shawn inside the Waldorf Astoria, where he had just interviewed Eric Bana for his new film, “Closed Circuit.”

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1.  What’s your must-carry item when you’re on the road to feel stylish?
Gotta rock a dope bag. I got stuff.

2. Where did you learn your sense of style?
My grandfather who lived in Princeton, New Jersey was the most stylish man I’ve ever known. Dude was always sharp and had mad wisdom.

3. What do you love about the store that supplies your clothes to wear on-air?
They put things together in creative and unexpected ways!

4.  Who do you think are the most put-together, stylish actors you’ve interviewed?
Justin Timberlake stays fresh. A lot of classic and traditional stuff but always clean. Terrence Howard is sophisticated but daring. A true fashion risk taker. Lilly Collins is a young gun but her fashion game is money. She’s very versatile but always fly.

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Shawn is wearing a Moods of Norwary Jacket, an Imaginary Foundation T-Shirt,  Ben Sherman Pants and J. Crew Boots.

Interview by Steve Oldfield

Chris is a radio and television personality in Cleveland. The Canadian-born talent was named Cosmopolitan Magazine’s Bachelor of the Year for 2011 and donated the $10,000 prize money to The Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland. He was recently awarded the “Personality of the Year” honor from the Broadcasters Hall of Fame. We caught up with Chris at the Waldorf-Astoria in NYC where he traveled to interview the stars of “The World’s End” and “Closed Circuit.”

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1) What’s your must-carry item when you’re on the road to feel stylish?
If I’m traveling for work, a suit is an absolute must-have for me. And great shoes too. When I’m conducting an interview, I firmly believe in the idea of dressing in a manner that shows that you respect the person you are speaking with. I feel like it’s very easy to under dress for a situation, but you can’t overdress.

2) Where did you learn your sense of style?
I would stay my personal style is a real mash up from a lot of different places. Being a big movie fan, I take note of what an actor is wearing both on the screen and on the red carpet. I also love checking out new styles in magazines like GQ or Esquire and picking up ideas from there. I do little things with each outfit to try to make what I’m wearing stand out, even just slightly. Whether it’s a different colored button hole on the sleeve of my suit, or adding a tie bar or a pocket square. I also love socks. Even if no one else sees them, I love knowing that I have crazy socks on.

3) Who do you think are the most put-together, stylish actors you’ve interviewed?
Hugh Jackman is not only one of the nicest guys in Hollywood, his style is always on point whether he’s dressed up or dressed down, same thing with Ryan Gosling, Channing Tatum and Will Smith just to name a few. Being a huge professional wrestling fan since I was a kid, I think The Miz (who just so happens to be from Cleveland) always has great style with great suits both in the ring and the many times I’ve interviewed him.

steve oldfield Chris VanVliet2sm

Interview by Steve Oldfield

At 25, Jake Hamilton is one of the most popular young film critics in the United States. While his main job is working for KRIV-TV, the Fox station in Houston, Jake is seen by audiences the world over, with his popular channel on Youtube. He has had several celebrity interviews “go viral.”

Jake is known as one of the most stylish critics on the circuit. We caught up with him outside the SLS Hotel, in Los Angeles – which has its own red carpet – a place where Jake is at home when he’s not in Houston. Jake was there to interview the stars of “You’re Next” and “Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.”

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1. What’s your must-carry item when you’re on the road to feel stylish?
It’s all about the little things — a nice tie-clip, a classy pair of cuff links, a colorfully popping pocket square. To add attention to a detail of your ensemble that might initially go unseen says you care less about what other people think of you and more about what you think of yourself.
2. Where did you learn your sense of style?
My sense of style comes from details over history that have remained timeless. A well fitted black suit will NEVER go out of style — that’s the sort of thing that has always been appealing to me. Boys may have swag, but men have class.
3. What do you love about the store that supplies your clothing?
For me, it’s all about the fit. Whether the pieces of my ensemble come from Banana Republic, Express, H&M or Target, they all have one thing in common — they fit like they were made just for me. I’ve often paid more for tailoring than I have for the suit — and that’s where it counts. The name on the inside of the jacket doesn’t matter as much as the name of the tailor who fit it for you.
4. Who do you think are the most put-together, stylish actors you’ve interviewed? And why?
I’m always impressed by actors who rock what they know works for them. I could never pull off Johnny Depp’s look, but it fits who he is. So that sort of thing is what impresses me — not having an actor wear what I would wear, but wearing what works best for them. Style isn’t always the clothes on your back, but the confidence you use to back it up. That goes a long way.

JakeHamilton

Interview by Steve Oldfield

 

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