The Mailbag Lightning Round – February 2013

<div class='at-above-post addthis_default_style addthis_toolbox at-wordpress-hide' data-title='The Mailbag Lightning Round – February 2013' data-url=''></div><div class='at-above-post-recommended addthis_default_style addthis_toolbox at-wordpress-hide'></div>From Chambray Suits to Badger State Boots.<div class='at-below-post addthis_default_style addthis_toolbox at-wordpress-hide' data-title='The Mailbag Lightning Round – February 2013' data-url=''></div><div class='at-below-post-recommended addthis_default_style addthis_toolbox at-wordpress-hide'></div>

Some questions are better answered publicly since others might be asking the same thing, or, one of you has the perfect answer.  If you’ve got a style tip, question, or anything else you’d like to pass along, you can send those in here. If you’d rather your question not be featured in a future mailbag, just go ahead and say so in your email.  Feel free to hit the comments with other options for answers to this most recent batch of questions.  Top Photo Credit:  Tracy O.

Q:  Watch Face Color?
The Orient Mako in Blue

The Orient Mako in Blue

I’m trying to pick out a watch in the Seiko FFF/007/Orient Mako/Ray vein. I am really liking the Blue, definitely not Orange or Yellow, but Black is nice too. I want a color that looks good in multiple applications and not spoil a look with an off color.  I’m leaning toward a Blue Orient Mako with a bracelet. As the majority of my time is spent casual, I think the blue would work, but I also want to be able to dress up for a fine dinner with my wife. Is the Blue going to be out of place or would Black fit better for both casual and dress? – Douglas

Nah.  You’re fine.  If you’re leaning towards the blue, go with the blue.  Black will work too though.  It’s just your preference.  If you’ll be dressing up a dive watch, you’re already technically breaking a “rule” since by definition it’s more of a casual watch (but hey, Bond does it, right?)  If you change your mind and decide to go with a watch on a leather strap, of course you want to match your leathers (shoes, belt, watch strap) but the dial itself can be a wildcard. Plenty of watches are sold with black dials on brown straps, and they look terrific.


Q:  Should I buy a suit brush?
Left: $98.  Right: $11.  Up to you.

Left: $98. Right: $11. Up to you.

Just read an interview with Alton Brown today regarding his change to dressing better. He mentioned owning a good suit brush, and using  it. That it makes quite the difference… any experience with this? – Jeff

The dry cleaning process is pretty harsh on a suit.  Especially if the jacket is fused.  So anything that can lengthen that time between dry cleaning is a good thing.  While a steamer helps release wrinkles, a suit brush will tackle debris lurking in the fabric.  So unless you’ve badly sweated up, bled into, or done something worse in your suit involving liquids, you can go a good long time without hitting the dry cleaner thanks to those two pieces of equipment.  Antonio over at Real Men Real Style has an expansive breakdown on suit brushes and why you should consider picking one up.  On the scale of clothing maintenance devices, a suit brush isn’t as critical as shoe trees or good hangers, but they’re up there.  (Left:  Brooks Brothers – $98.  Right: “Garment Care” via Amazon – $11.  Want something in-between with a good reputation?  Try something from Kent for around $40.  Also:  See this old Article at Valet which will point you to a Kent ebay outlet shop.)

UPDATE:  The interview with Alton Brown Jeff references can be found over here at SuaveByNature.


Q: Is a chambray suit off limits?
Dark linen suit = Yes.  Chambray suit?  Hang on now.

Dark linen suit = Yes. Chambray suit? Hang on now.

Looks like LEC just introduced a a chambray sportcoat and chambray Elston 608 pants. I immediately wanted to buy it, then realized I was considering buying a denim suit.  But now I want to buy it again. I’m torn. – Zach.

There’s something about owning a dark suit in a fabric like cotton or linen.  It’s a huge luxury, since at that point you most likely already have a navy suit in wool, and, a summer suit in a lighter tan or stone color to keep you cool. Combining the two for a dark, warm weather option means you’re one lucky son of a gun.

But chambray?  Best to stick with the less risky & more versatile chino or linen.  Can’t recommend the Ludlow in Irish Linen enough.  Just hang out for a sale or an end of season clearance in the fall.


You'd smell my butt if you could.

Hand over the monk straps.  Or I shall chew them.

Have you seen Menswear Dog yet?  Thoughts?  How awesome is that?? – Nate

Brilliant.  Totally brilliant.  Menswear Dog has expensive taste though.  Paul Smith, Gucci, and IWC?  Damn Menswear Dog.  Who needs kibble though when you look that good, right?  Kudos to the creators.  I once got our dog Matilda to wear a necktie, but that was it.  I have no idea how they get that pooch in shirts, ties, suit jack… wait.  No it’s not. You’re telling me it’s photosho… well it’s STILL REAL TO ME DAMMIT.


Q: Weekend shoes for snowy conditions
Moc attock.

Moc a…ttock?

I live in snowy Wisconsin and I’m looking to expand my shoe wardrobe.  My dilemma is that I’m struggling with what to wear on winter weekend days.  Something causal yet stylish/mature that can handle the snow snd slush.   Nothing too fancy but definitely not full out snow boots. All I have are sneakers and dressy stuff for going out.  Please advise!? – Andrew

Ah, the Badger state.  Where one chunk gets buried in “lake effect” snow, and the rest never truly left the ice age (drumlins, eskers, kettles and moraines… yahtzee).  The answer lies in how much protection you need from the snow. There’s these from Timberland which are waterproof out of the box and around $100 with the code SHOE2013. Meanwhile, there’s these in Bison leather from Allen Edmonds for $117.  They’re not waterproof, but if you’re looking for a pair of boots that can get wet but won’t soak your socks, they should hold up.  Also, if you’re in the NW part of the state, consider a Pilgrimage to the Red Wing factory store.


Q:  Looking for a watch box…

4.5 / 5 stars after a whopping 900 reviews.

I have 6 watches that are currently kept in their original boxes on my nightstand. I’ve been looking for a good watch box, but don’t know any decent manufacturers, etc. I’ve searched some forums and haven’t seen it discussed. Leaning towards this, but the Diplomat plaque kind of kills it for me. – Josh

There’s a lot of bad watch boxes out there.  This one from Red Envelope is not one of them.  A personal favorite, it’s got four individual slots, and one long slot with an extra long watch pillow.  That gives you some flexibility, so you can store the watches you don’t wear that often up there, or, in case you’ve got some behemoth time piece, you’re not limited by the width of the four individual slots.  $69.96 is the list price, but you can often get it for at least 15% off with a click on their coupon page.


Q:  Advertorials

Greetings!  I represent brand XYZ and I’d like to write an article for your website about our product.  Please tell me your rates for such a post and how to proceed! – Signed, about 15 PR people a week.


Got a question or a style tip?  Send them in here.  Additional answers to the above questions can go in the comments.