If you’ve got a style tip, question, or anything else you’d like to pass along, you can send those in to email@example.com. If you’d rather your question not be featured in a future mailbag, just go ahead and say so in your email. Want more than one average Joe’s (HA!) opinion? Check out our forum, Threads.
Q: Wearing Merlot Shoes: What Socks?
I recently picked up a pair of Merlot McAllisters from Allen Edmonds. I really love their versatility. But I have an important question now though. What kind of socks do I wear with them? They’re, to me, such a funky color (that reddish hue) that I’m not sure whether to wear black socks, brown socks, or atomic green. Or will any of those do?
A fine question. In the recent “How to wear it” that featured those Merlot McAllisters, we didn’t show any socks (they’re kinda hard to show in that format). But the good news is, there’s an answer that’ll solve all of your issues. The rule of thumb (or… toe?) is to match your socks to your pants. NOT your shoes. A lot of guys match their socks to their shoes, but actually, matching to your pants makes you look taller, since it’s a seamless transition from trouser to shoe. So if you’re wearing navy pants with your McAllisters? Wear navy socks. Grey cords? Grey socks.
Q: Dressing well in a very Dressed Down Job
I used to live in a big city, but recently moved to Nebraska to take a job as a wrestling coach at a university. The unannounced ‘dress code’ here is all athletic gear all the time. My colleagues wear athletic shirts and shorts with the schools logo and running shoes every day. My head coach does it with cargo shorts. It’s not really my preference, and I’ve been wearing blank t-shirts and polos with jeans or chinos on a daily basis. The thing is, even that seems like it might be too much, since everyone else is rolling around in all Under Armour, all the time. How can i differentiate myself and feel comfortable/confident, without looking like the ‘pretty city boy’ in my office and in the weight room?
Wow. This is a tough one, because:
A. Your place of work (on campus)
B. You don’t want to outdress the boss at this point (or maybe ever, depending on how that’d be viewed)
I think the best course of action is to stick with the athletic gear, but focus on FIT, simplicity (think smaller logos/less patterns) as well as good grooming and nice accessories. Two guys to take cues from would be Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kliff Klingsbury from Texas Tech. Both are contractually obligated to wear whatever officially licensed gear they’re provided with. But? They still knock it out of the park. Well thought out, sharp accessories, really good grooming, and fit. Maybe look for some throwback/retro gear at the bookstore? Or just stick with basic stuff that’s just sized right? Perhaps toss in some old school Chuck Taylors or PF Flyers on practice days? Skip the bulky hoodies and gym shorts. Go with trim athletic fit polos in the tech fabrics and match them with well cut chinos in the school color. Good luck!
Q: Fused vs. Half Canvas vs. Full Canvas
Based upon the information on the site, it appears half or full canvas is preferable to fused. However at some price points, a suit is always going to be fully fused. So I am wondering at what price point is fused acceptable, and in what circumstances (ie cut, mfr, etc.) should having a full canvas suit be a goal for every guy?
I think anytime you’re getting north of $300, you might want to take the leap and upgrade to a half-canvassed suit from Suitsupply or Spier and Mackay. $100ish (think, JC Penney) to mid $200s (think J. Crew Factory) and fused is fine, as long as the jacket isn’t stiff and board like. Not all fused suits are equal in terms of flexibility. And no, having a full canvas suit shouldn’t be a goal for every guy. I have no real desire to acquire a full canvas suit, and I’m the clothes-dope running this goofy website. Why not? I love my half-canvas suits. They work for me. And while some love the weight and feel of a full canvas suit, especially as it molds to your frame over time, I don’t work in a field where a suit and tie is required every day. So by rotating my half canvas suits, and avoiding the dry cleaner (which is harsh as hell on suits of all constructions) I should have my suits for a very, very, very long time.
Q: Those 1901 Suede Chukkas. How they holdin’ up?
Can you share how they are so far after one week, and how you plan to take care of them from weather/water/scuffs?
They’re doing more than fine. As was stated in the review, while they’re made in China, the quality is absolutely there. I’ve worn them at least half a dozen times since getting them in (I really dig em’) and they’re super comfortable. The rubber studded soles don’t show any real wear yet, and it looks like they’ll be in for the long haul. In terms of protecting them from weather/water/scuffs, I know more than a few guys use water repellent spray on their suede. I honestly don’t bother with that. I just don’t wear them when it’s super sloppy out. For scuffs and marks, I use a cheap suede eraser & brush.
Q. What’s up with Bonobos?
Any idea as to what’s up with Bonobos? No real big, recent sales. Just lots of seasonal clearances when selection is usually shot. Plus, they seemt to have increased their prices. With few/no sales and higher prices they don’t seem as competitive anymore?
Ouch Phil. Crushing Bonobos. I do agree that it seems like they’ve greatly reduced their frequency with sales. Remember way back when they hit 50,000 followers on facebook, knocked 50% off their entire site, and then the site promptly crashed and burned due to the flood of traffic? That was a very, very long time ago. They now have closer to 400k followers on facebook, their return policy is now 45 days (I personally felt lifetime returns and/or 365 day returns was coddling and unreasonable) and they’ve just recently launched $78 gym shorts. So what’s all that mean? I have no idea. But, Bonobos has built a brand that many are extremely loyal to. For those of us who can’t imagine spending $78 on gym shorts, ever (or $88 on chinos for that matter) we’ll have to either wait for those less frequent sales, or, prioritize items that are unique to their brand (such as their unconstructed Italian Wool sportcoats as shown above).
Q. Moving to a cold weather city
I’ve lived in Arizona for almost 10 years and am heading to Chicago. But I have no clue how to survive the winter in style. Any tips?
I ain’t gonna lie to you Dave. You’re in for a bit of a shock. BUT… you’ll get used to it. Three things: Wear lots of wool, layer up, and know that some days, pure function is just gonna have to be a priority over style. That said, a good quality, easy to layer under, wool, just about knee length topcoat will be your best friend. You can dress it up or down, and that extra length will help keep your upper legs warm (compared to a bomber style jacket or coat). Just make sure you also pick up a good wool scarf to wear with it. Most top coats dip low enough that if you go without a scarf, your sternum will be a block of ice by the time you make it indoors.
Q: Not interested
– Alan, via social media, in response to “10 tips on how to become your Bartender’s Best Friend“
Well, okay. Too bad too. As Jay-Z once said, “you’re not feeling me? Fine; it cost you nothing – pay me no mind.” Bottom line = If the incentive to consume Dappered on social media is outweighed by the cost of having a non-clothing related article show up in your social media news feed every once in a blue moon, then it is absolutely your prerogative to stop following us on social media. In fact, I’d encourage it.
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