Category Archive 'Men’s Tailoring'

09 Apr 2020

1954: Life Magazine Tribute to J. Press

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In 1954 Life Magazine dubbed J. Press in New Haven the birthplace of the “Ivy League Look.”

“The Ivy Look Heads Across U.S.” the magazine proclaimed in an anthropological examination of the natural-shouldered suit and its sartorial brethren. They sent photographer Nina Leen to J. Press in New Haven, dubbing it the birthplace of the “Ivy League Look” when it opened back in 1902, to see the original in action outfitting Yale men. There she located the founder’s sons, Irving (Yale ’26) and Paul Press presiding soberly over the premises.

We are always hearing about the Jewish quota at Ivy League schools, but … the actual extent of the absolutely vital and integral contribution of Jewish Americans of recent immigrant background ought to be reflected upon in the light of the fact that all the great men’s clothiers in New Haven serving the Yale community, who created the national Ivy League style, Rosenberg’s, White’s, Gamer’s, J. Press, and Barrie Ltd (for footwear) were Jewish owned and operated. It wasn’t the WASPs who invented the Ivy League style. It was their Jewish classmates from Yale who, after graduation, became their preferred source of men’s fashion.

20 May 2018

Dege & Skinner Made Prince Harry’s Uniform

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GQ interviews the Savile Row Tailors who made Harry’s Blues & Royals uniform and the delightful miniature versions worn by the little page boys at the wedding.

[T]he pageboy uniforms were a bit of a challenge because obviously we were very familiar with the grown-up version that Harry was wearing and to make it for someone who’s considerably smaller, particularly with the detail on the sleeve and on the back and collar of the jacket, we just have to shrink it down to the size that a young child could wear.

On the grown-up version, the lacework on the sleeves goes up above the elbows, so if we used it on the coat for a small chap that would have gone all the way up his sleeve and over his shoulder. So we had to think quite carefully how to represent that design on the sleeve which is an intricate design and we just shrank it.

We were working it out yesterday how long it took and how many stitches were involved and the sleeves alone for Harry’s uniform took one lady one week to make. Between Harry’s and the four pageboy uniforms we used 150 meters [164 yards or 492 feet] of Black Russia, which is a type of double-ribbed lace, and we worked out it was about 65,000 stitches and that’s just the lacework alone.


Dege & Skinner have in the past (not this year) put in a annual visit to the Red Fox Inn in Middleburg, Virginia to measure bespoke hunt uniforms for residents of Northern Virginia Horse Country.

I have an Old Dominion Hunt tie made by Dege & Skinner, bearing a Griffin in memory of the Griffin Tavern in Flint Hill where — before WWII, in Mr. Larrabee’s day, when foxes were still scarce in Fauquier County, and they hunted a carted stag, who amusingly could be seen at the end of the day trotting home along the then dirt roads companionably with hounds– the hunt had its Opening Meet.

HT: Karen L. Myers.

02 Feb 2017

Mousey Revealed, Now Working in Trump Administration

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Decius identified as Michael Anton, the figure on the right

Claremont Institute last Fall made a major splash by publishing a revolutionary manifesto by a Trump-supporting intellectual, who struck learned, classical poses while championing Alt-Right demands for a new blend of Populism and Nationalism to replace the Conservative Movement and the politics of Goldwater, Buckley, and Reagan.

This provocative writer chose to be anonymous, appearing in the mode of 18th century polemicists under a Classical pen-name, in his case: Publius Decius Mus, a 4th century B.C. Roman consul who, according to Livy, facing imminent defeat, deliberately sacrificed himself in battle, having first offered up himself and the enemy to the gods of the Underworld and the Earth, thus gaining for Rome the victory.

Several further articles by Decius appeared during the course of the electoral campaign, and word leaked out in Conservative circles that Decius was none other than Tucker Carlson, who needed to be anonymous because he was right on the verge of a major new deal with Fox News. I, like a lot of people, believed those rumors, but we all politely kept our mouths shut, thinking that, despite our disagreements, the author was entitled to his privacy and his career opportunities.

It appears that it was just as well that nobody went public with the Tucker Carlson rumor, because here is Michael Warren, in the Weekly Standard, telling us that Mousey is a completely different guy, a fellow named Michael Anton.

On a late January afternoon, as press secretary Sean Spicer walked into the White House media briefing room, a tall, thin, bespectacled man poked his head in the doorway for a moment before turning around and heading back into the West Wing. Later that week, at another briefing, the man stayed longer, standing in the corner behind the podium, out of view of the array of television cameras.

The reporters peppering Spicer with questions were unlikely to know it, but the wallflower watching over the proceedings happened to be the leading conservative intellectual to argue for the election of Donald Trump. His pseudonymous essays during the campaign sparked more discussion—and disputation—among thinkers on the right than just about anyone else’s. Rush Limbaugh spent hours on his radio show promoting what he hailed as the writer’s “shaming” of the Never Trump conservatives. Leading conservative opponents of Trump, like New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, National Review’s Jonah Goldberg, and Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, published critical responses to his most widely read essay. The writer even granted a postelection interview to the New Yorker, on the condition that his real identity not be revealed. The magazine described him as among those trying “to build a governing ideology” around Trump.

Now he’s helping to implement that governing ideology directly. The writer is a senior national-security official in the Trump White House, nearly a decade after serving in a similar role for George W. Bush. His unmasking ends one of the remaining mysteries of last year’s crazy and unpredictable election.

The enigmatic writer’s real name is Michael Anton, and he’s a fast-talking 47-year-old intellectual who, unlike most of his colleagues, can readily quote Roman histories and Renaissance thinkers. But readers knew him throughout 2016 as Publius Decius Mus, first at a now-defunct website called the Journal of American Greatness and later in the online pages of the Claremont Review of Books. As Decius, Anton insisted that electing Trump and implementing Trumpism was the best and only way to stave off American decline—making a cerebral case to make America great again.


Looking up Michael Anton on the Internet proved tricky.

There appeared to be three of them: one Michael Anton wrote articles for Claremont Review under his real name; one Michael Anton (Michael Anton Mansour) attended Auburn, played football there, and then went to Hollywood where he became an actor, writer, and filmmaker; the third Michael Anton is a sort of contemporary Beau Brummel, a style-maker expert on masculine tailoring and haberdashery, who has written a book, The Suit: A Machiavellian Approach to Men’s Style under the pen-name Nicholas Antongiavanni.

Michael Anton Number 3 is all over the place on the Internet, pontificating pompously on male clothing. Photos of him, I believe, are up there misidentified as being of the actor-writer-filmmaker Michael Anton Number 2.

My own guess is that Michael Anton Number 1, Alt-Right Trump supporter and Claremont Review’s Decius, is the same as Michael Anton Number 3, the clothes horse. Compare the photo below to the one above.

Mens’ Tailoring Expert Michael Anton

14 Jul 2016

New British PM’s Fashion Plate Husband

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News of Theresa May’s accession to Prime Minister was eclipsed yesterday in some quarters by gushings over her husband Philip’s well-tailored, single-button blue suit.

Metro.Uk and Twitter went wild:

Theresa May became Britain’s new prime minister, but her husband’s big fashion moment stole the show.

Stepping into the limelight as First Man, Philip May showcased a sexy navy suit with a flourish of pinstripe.
Britain’s new Prime Minister Theresa May speaks outside 10 Downing Street in central London on July 13, 2016 on the day she takes office following the formal resignation of David Cameron. Theresa May took office as Britain’s second female prime minister on July 13 charged with guiding the UK out of the European Union after a deeply devisive referendum campaign ended with Britain voting to leave and David Cameron resigning. / AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFFOLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images
Theresa May’s speech in full as she becomes Prime Minister

A single fastened button at the waist helped show off his fantastic figure and a pale blue tie brought out the colour of his eyes.

Round glasses perched on his nose accentuated his amazing bone structure – no doubt one of the assets he used to help him to bag his wife.



Mr. May’s haberdashery has evidently been attracting complimentary attention in the media for some time. Marie Claire actually devoted a feature to his suits and ties, noting approvingly that he frequently coordinates his outfits with hers.


Jasmin Nahar, at Buzz Feed UK, is envious of the PM:

A man who can dress himself and has a job? Where do I sign up?

16 Apr 2016

The Struggle to Find a Respectable Three-Button Suit

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Harry Mount is frustrated to find that most tailors have succumbed to the two-button suit trend.

Last week I walked along Jermyn Street, spiritual home of the gentleman’s suit, and noticed something shocking. The jackets in the shop windows had lots of materials — tweed, cotton, wool — in all colours, shades and checks. But every single jacket had two buttons.

When did tailors get so boringly uniform? Why has the three-button suit — the classic style that dominated the 20th century — been wiped off the map? As a diehard three-button man, am I a fogeyish dinosaur, a walking Bateman cartoon: ‘The Man Who Wore a Three-Button Suit in the 21st Century’?

I seek solace (and a new three-button suit, in storm- grey, 13-ounce birdseye wool) from Tina Loder, a tailor for more than 30 years, and one of the few women tailors on Savile Row. ‘We’re going through a two-button cycle, just as we went through a three-button cycle a decade ago,’ she says. ‘Two buttons signal a casual informality and egalitarianism.’

But what if I don’t want to look casually informal and egalitarian?

Read the whole thing and insist on three-button suits.

Hat tip to David Wagner.

05 Sep 2014

“If I Listen Hard, I Think I Can Hear Whit Stillman Crying”


Trying on a sport coat at J.Press in the good old days.

New York Observer:

Time for a Strong Gin & Tonic: J. Press Is Shuttering Its Madison Avenue Flagship.

It’s a good thing that preppy style is timeless, because New Yorkers will have to make do with whatever madras blazers and toggle coats are currently in their closets—the city is about to lose its premier purveyor of repp ties, seersucker suits and kiwi green cashmere. J. Press confirmed today that it will close its Madison Avenue flagship while the building undergoes extensive renovations, as first reported by Ivy Style. The building-wide renovations, being done at the behest of the landlord, are expected to take about a year. Wherever will the city’s trust-funders go for their whale print pants and ribbon belts in the many months to come? (Well, there’s always Brooks Brothers, we guess.)

And don’t think you can just hop on MetroNorth for a tweed fix. J. Press’s original York Street store is also closed—this December, the New Haven building was declared structurally unsound—and while the clothing purveyor has set up a temporary shop on College Street, a rented storefront could hardly be called a beacon of hope in these dark times. (“If I listen hard, I think I can hear Whit Stillman crying,” quipped a colleague.)

If there’s anything WASPs hate, it’s change.

Hat tip to James Harberson.

31 Aug 2013

More About Goldman’s Dress Code

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Bankers — The two-button suits, buttonless collars, and custom shirts really don’t look that well.

GSElevator, the cynic who earlier this year was offering advice to summer interns, is back at Business insider, with even more sartorial advice.

I find the millenial perspective interesting, though I frequently do not in the least agree. So, instead of quoting him, I will just comment and respond.


Loafers are fine for casual wear, but for business? Especially for investment banking??

My own opinion is that, no, sonny, loafers have not really become appropriate. What has happened is that more tasteless ethnic louts confusedly think the high prices associated with Gucci loafers make them formal and appropriate.

Men walking around offices in loafers will strike the genuinely critical observer as adolescent.

For serious occasions, and banking is serious, a man ought to wear serious adult footwear, with laces.

GSE has lots of money. He ought to get his shoes custom made.

He is right about using shoe trees, but I find his inclination to get his housekeeper to polish his shoes impressively self-entitled. My cleaning women, I think, would typically have either rebelled or done a poor job. I favor getting one’s shoes polished at a shoeshine stand at the station or one’s club.

One other note: Bostonians believe that only waiters swear black shoes. So in Boston, be sure to carefully match fine shades of brown or cordovan to one’s blue and grey suits. Since neither you nor I are actually from Boston, we cannot possibly do what an old school Bostonian would and wear brown shoes with a black suit.



If GSE has seen some Brits running around flashing pink socks, he probably should be told that the proper term is “cerise,” and those gentlemen are subtly boasting about belonging to the Leander Club, the home away from home of aging crew jocks.



No cuffs on full weight formal woolen suits? God forbid! You omit cuffs on summer weight suits, on poplin, khaki, seersucker. But only spivs and ethnic gentlemen with more money than taste wear conventional suits without cuffs.

Pleats are entirely a matter of ephemeral fashion and individual taste.

If you don’t wear a belt, you will have difficulty carrying a handgun. Your trouser waistband will not provide adequate support. Besides, trousers without a belt buckle concealing the top closure look too informal.



Obviously, no gentleman should ever wear a visible haberdasher’s logo on anything but a polo short (and, personally, I used to remove Rene LaCoste crocodiles with a razor blade when I was really hard-core).

I think all bespoke trousers ought to come with suspender buttons. I’d say that one ought to wear, in most cases, both a belt and suspenders: the belt purely ornamentally to complete the look of the trousers, and the braces for actual support.



In general, one should avoid white collared coloured shirts. Most men simply cannot pull them off. They are naturally expressive of vanity and excess. And they shout aloud: “I have been to a custom shirtmaker.”

I have my doubts about custom shirts in general. In most cases, they are not superior in fabric, tailoring, or even cost to good men’s off-the-peg shirts, but they are fussier. I have had shirts custom made, but I found that I actually don’t like tailored sleeves which closely hug the wrist, and I’m perfectly content with standard Oxford cloth white shirts from Brooks Brothers, J. Press, or Paul Stuart.

I tend to associate the precise shape of the collar and whether or not the shirt has a pocket with exactly which traditional men’s shop sold me the shirt.

Those of us who attended certain universities tend to wear button down collars in all but the most formal of diurnal circumstances. If one understands these things correctly, one understands that men’s style is timeless. There are no 1990s. There are no 2020s. If Cary Grant came to work at Goldman’s wearing the grey suit he was wearing in North by Northwest (1959), he’d look better than anyone else and he’d be perfectly in fashion.

I think cufflinks are excessive most days, and French cuffs too much trouble. But this sort of thing is within the realm of individual taste and expression. But, if you are going to wear cufflinks in the daytime, they had better be discreet and in careful good taste.



You have to tie a Windsor knot if you are wearing a wide collar and/or if you happen to be using a thin tie. Very old neckties often lack good linings. Well-made contemporary neckties, on the other hand, typically form an excellent knot when tied simply in the four-in-hand knot. A Windsor knot will be too big for many collars, will not suit a lot of modern ties, and is liable to identify you as an egotistical Bond villain to any observant agent of MI6 in your vicinity.

If you do not know how to form a tie with what, in my circles, we called a “wimple,” you don’t know how to tie a tie properly. It is an essential ingredient in any properly tied necktie, and if Al Sharpton ties one and you don’t, it may be very sad indeed, but Al Sharpton is right and you are wrong.

I don’t understand all the Hermès folderol. I own a few Hermès ties, but there is nothing in my eyes magical about that brand of necktie. In fact, I tend to frown upon wearing Hermès because its tie designs are commonly just like Ferragamo’s, and I dislike wearing ties which identify their brand via their design. I only own a few Hermès and maybe two Ferragamo ties because those examples are witty club ties, jokingly alluding to various equestrian activities, so they’re useful to wear when I’m working as judge or some other kind of offical at an event.

I think GSE overlooks more interesting tie questions like: do you wear the currently preferred width of tie, or choose your own? Do you wear club ties in the office? Or are they too hearty and informal? What brands and styles of design do you find intolerable? Do you wear seasonal, humorous, or holiday ties at all, ever? And where do you stand on the bow tie question? My own view is that some people like bow ties and can pull them off, but most of us cannot.


Suit Jacket

Two button is down market, moderne, not good. The three button jacket is classic. Some men are obliged to wear two button suits due to problems with their figures, but if you do not have to, you should not.

He’s right about grey and Navy, but black suits are also possible. We all have to go to funerals occasionally.

If we are all working at Goldman, then we are all rich and we can all meet with visiting London tailors. GSE fails clearly to warn against allowing them to talk you into any of the excesses of contemporary British tailoring (other than peaked lapels). Buy the US-style sack suit, not the double-breasted, nipped in at the waist, big-lapeled Prince Charles suit. But there does remain room for individual expression. Do you want the stiff, fully-tailored Huntsman military uniform look? Or the Anderson & Shepherd softer tailored look? Hook back vent (American), side vents (British), or no vents (Continental)?


Business Casual

Do not do business casual.



Rolex and Audi may be cliches, but Rolex is the least expensive very high end watch, and people who own expensive watches tend to look at other people’s wrists. In some circles, if you aren’t wearing a Rolex or above, you may lack financial credibility.
GSE obviously doesn’t understand cars. Audi is making better cars than BMW or Benz these days.

I don’t myself believe in rules about watches, but you can count on it that some people will see that Rolex or Royal Oak on your wrist and condemn you as a frivolous waster afflicted with vanity, while others will look at anybody without a top tier timepiece as a probable pauper.


I guess he’s right. The generation that has trouble figuring out how to tie a tie had better dispense with pocket squares.

13 May 2012

Whit Stillman on Masculine Attire

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The L interview:

I’ve never worn sneakers or sweatshirts in my life. And I wore blue jeans—pretty much the same pair of blue jeans—every day, throughout college. And I decided the moment I graduated from college that I would never wear blue jeans again. And I have never worn blue jeans again.

Unlike Whit Stillman, I have worn sneakers and sweatshirts: exclusively while working out in health clubs, never on the street or at home. I think I was just very slightly older than him when I too came to the conclusion that there was no place in adult life for blue jeans and switched permanently to khaki slacks for informal wear.

13 Apr 2011

World’s Most Expensive (& Most Vulgar) Suit

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For the Russian billionaire, Narcosyndicate chief, or Third World dictator who has everything: a diamond-encrusted, single button suit designed by Stuart Hughes of Liverpool, purveyor of the “world’s most luxurious communications and bespoke elements.”

Hughes specializes in solid gold iPhones and similar knickknacks and tailoring is a new area for him, so the actual cutting, sewing, and fitting are being done by Richard Jewels, a 27-year-old Manchester designer of Nigerian extraction who opened his own fashion house last year.

Referred to as the “R. Jewels Diamond Edition,” the world’s most expensive suit is “made from a blend of Cashmere wool, silk & diamonds, and requires 600 man hours of assembly. 480 diamonds (0.5cts, colour G, VS2 quality, totalling 240cts) are “strategically positioned” around the suit. Clients receive all expenses paid trips to luxury destinations such as the Arc en Ciel in St Lucia, presumably for fittings, as part of the deal.

It is not actually mentioned, but the photos suggest that the lucky Mafioso will receive a diamond-trimmed pocket handkerchief accessory as well.

Three of these suits are planned at a cost each of £599,000.00 ($892,250). Buyers can soothe their consciences by reflecting that 10% of the price will be donated to Haitian relief.


Born Rich

The Chap

Stuart Hughes demonstrates an impressive yobbo accent, and inability to stop saying “OK,” as he proudly displays gold iPhones, iPads, and Blackberries.

Hat tip to James Coulter Harbison III.

20 Jun 2010

Facebook Friend Formally Attired

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George Lucki, a friend from Polish heraldic study circles, posted on Facebook a Photoshopped version of Jan Matejko’s Portrait of Artur Wladyslaw Potocki (1850-1890) with his own head replacing the original.

Actually, I think Mr. Lucki’s countenance looks even better than Mr. Potocki’s in the portrait. In fact, I did not recognize it as a Photoshopped image, until George told me.

This would be a very becoming outfit for formal evening wear, if one could only find a tailor able to do an equivalently elegant set of zupan, kontusz, and pas kontuszowy.

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