Julie Rath: Sweaters

Men's Holiday Gift: Cardigan Sweater

Question:

Hi Julie,

Happy holiday season! I hope Black Friday/Cyber Monday treated you well. I’m hoping you might be able to help me out with your amazing knowledge of the menswear market. I bought my husband Stephen a sweater at Mulberry (see photo attached) about 5 years ago (or maybe 6? or 7?) and he has loved the thing to death. It definitely needs to be replaced but I haven’t found anything else like it (Mulberry doesn’t do men’s anymore). It’s really really thick and has a high-ish collar and he raves about how warm it is. Do you know where I could find one like it? Are there any men’s luxury brands known for doing really thick classic sweaters? Thank you for any guidance you can offer!

-Jenny

Men's Holiday Gift: Cardigan Sweater

Answer:

Hi Jenny,

Thanks for your email and flattering words! It’s funny, I just got a client a similar sweater (in navy) at Barney’s today — from Shipley & Halmos. They do really nice heavy knits that look great on. Also, check out this sweater from Billy Reid, and this one from Ami Alexandre Mattiussi. Let me know how it goes!

 

Julie Rath: Your Fall Jacket Primer

One of my favorite activities at this time of year is selecting transitional  jackets for my clients. Moderate in weight, the Fall jacket falls squarely  between an overcoat or parka, and one made of light material like cotton or  nylon. The reason I like this type of jacket so much is that the stylistic  options are practically endless. Below are my top picks for Fall outerwear in 7  different categories.

Leather

Men's Style: Leather Jacket

The nice thing about this leather  jacket from John Varvatos ($1898) is that its waxed texture won’t show  scratches or spills the way a softer, smoother leather does. But at the same  time it still has a refined quality. The most important tip I can give you on  buying a leather jacket is to make sure it fits perfectly. If you  haven’t read my leather jacket guide, check it out here.

Field Jacket

Men's Style: Field Jacket

Downtown meets classic country in this great Moncler field  jacket ($1695). I love the combination of the quilting and knit fabrics for  creating visual interest.

Biking Jacket

Men's Style: Biking Jacket

I probably should’ve called this  jacket from Fay, “Field Jacket 2,” as I’m not quite sure what a Biking  Jacket is (the company’s term, not mine). Nonetheless, I am very much into this  refined yet approachable tweed wool coat which also comes in blue and gray.

Peacoat

Men's Style: Peacoat

A peacoat is one of the most versatile jackets around: you can wear it for  everything from a night out to a trip to the gym. I like this  one ($1795) from cult brand Camoshita for its elegant tailoring and  supersoft wool-cashmere blend. Bonus that this mid-gray color is universally  flattering.

Trench

Men's Style: Trenchcoat

You can’t go wrong in this minimalist pick from Jack Spade  ($595). It’s a clean and modern take on the classic trench. Wear it for dressy  or casual, rain or shine.

Vest

Men's Style: Quilted Vest

As I’ve said before, a thin down vest is a terrific layering piece. You  can throw it over or under a sportcoat/suit jacket for extra warmth  once the sun goes down. This  navy one from J. Crew ($128) is perfect because it’s thin and not as sporty  as many other vests.

Denim

Men's Style: Denim Jacket

This jacket  from Vince ($245) is a bit of a cheat, as denim is pretty lightweight. But when  layered correctly, you can absolutely incorporate a jean jacket into your Fall  repertoire. Rock it layered with a cardigan, hoody or wool vest. Bonus  tip: for a bold-playful look, try it with a pocket square. If that’s not  your jam, but you still want to add a stylistic touch, then put your sunglasses  in the chest pocket for an alternative take on the pocket square.

 

You’ll notice that my picks on a whole are simple and unfussy, which are good  things to aim for with outerwear, especially when you’re building a wardrobe. My  suggestion: keep the jacket classic, especially if it’s an investment piece.  Then you can pull in trends, colors/patterns you love or personal touches via  your accessories, like with the pocket square suggestion above, a scarf or even  a lapel pin. That way, if you get tired of those things, you can easily change  them up (which is much less painful than getting a new jacket every  season!).

What’s your Fall jacket of choice? Leave me a comment or question below. I  always love hearing from you!

Julie Rath: How Powerfully are You Showing Up?

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Have you ever wondered how you rate on a scale of 1-10? Fall is practically here, and the holidays right after that. Those are key times to be exuding confidence and looking your best.

If you want to get serious about your style, and be taken seriously as a result, I invite you to watch the video I made for you explaining how it all works. I’ve worked with hundreds of men worldwide, and it’s been my incredible privilege to observe how much their lives improve and what opportunities come their way when they upgrade their style.

On the same page as the video, you can also take my style quiz. It will show you how you measure up, and what you can do to get to a 10.

Julie Rath: 3 Style Mistakes You’re Making Everyday – and How to Fix Them

People often ask me – usually at parties – if I walk around every day critiquing peoples’ outfits. While I can turn my critical eye on and off, and I certainly never go up to anyone and give them my opinion unsolicited, there are certain mistakes that I see consistently. If you’re someone who cares about how he looks (and I assume if you’re reading this article, you are), read on for three common errors and how to easily nip them in the bud.

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1) Loafers with your suit – I get it. Traveling in lace-ups is no fun. Try a monkstrap instead, like the pair above. You can slip in and out of them, and they work with a suit.

Men's Style: How Pants Should Fit2) Wearing pants that are too big in the waist – If your belt loops are pulling up when you tighten your belt like in the picture above, it means the waist on your pants is too big, and you run the risk of having diaper butt. Go down a size and your pants and belt won’t work against each other.

Men's Style Advice: Boots
3) Mismatching themes – I often see guys in preppy polo shirts or khakis wearing things that are edgy in feel (like a biker jacket or boots) elsewhere in their outfit. It doesn’t work. If one piece in your outfit is preppy or conservative, the whole look should be such. Likewise, if one piece in your outfit has an edge to it, the rest of your outfit should too. For example, you wouldn’t wear a rough and tumble boot like the one above with a pair of traditional khakis. A pair of dark jeans or slim dark dress pants would suit them much better.

Have you ever made any of these mistakes? Fess up! I’d love to hear where things have gone awry for you. Leave me a comment below, and perhaps I can offer some additional solutions.

Julie Rath: That’s What She Said, Vol. 2: Ms. Williams and the ONE Accessory to Avoid at All Costs

In today’s edition of That’s What She Said, I interview recording artist Ms. Williams on men’s style.

Click here or on the image below to watch our interview. You’ll hear her take on the matter, including the ONE accessory that makes her run the other way when a guy wears it.

Men's Style: What to Wear on a Date

 

After you’re done watching the interview, make sure you take my style quiz to see how you rate on a scale of 1 to 10.

Julie Rath: That’s What She Said, Vol. 1: Sara Davidson on Dressing for Attraction

I interviewed some of my most successful, smart, and gorgeous girlfriends to find out how important it really is to them for a guy to pay attention to his image and style, and I thought you might be interested in watching what they had to say. The first of these three interviews is with Sara Davidson, business strategist and marketing maven.

Click here or on the image below to watch our interview. You’ll hear what turns her on and off, and the one thing a guy did that completely changed the way she looked at him (and as a result she couldn’t keep her hands off of him).

Men's Style for Dating

After you’re done watching the interview, make sure you take my style quiz to see how you rate on a scale of 1 to 10.

Julie Rath: Groom Alert

I always say a groom should look dashing at his wedding, and choosing the right accessories is key to the result. In selecting neckwear for your nuptials, remember that you’re not choosing a power tie or a work tie — you’re choosing a wedding tie, and it should be celebratory. After all, that’s what the whole day is about. So give yourself permission to think outside the box and go with something you might not normally wear. You’ll still look like you, only a cool and sharp groom version of you. Below are several different categories of ties that are just right for those that are altar-bound.

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SOLIDS

Solids: Wearing a solid tie is a nice way to let your bride, no doubt gorgeous in her wedding dress, take center stage. I recommend using a shade from the wedding color scheme and/or the bridesmaid dresses. I like the three below (left to right): from Drake’s London (£95), Turnbull & Asser ($175), and to go with a more casual look — perhaps a khaki suit — this linen tie from Faconnable ($115). All three are available in a range of colors for easy coordination.

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TONE-ON-TONE

If a solid doesn’t have enough flavor, but you still want to keep it simple, try one that’s tone-on-tone like those below from Jil Sander ($165; also comes in tan) and Brioni ($195).

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METALLIC

Another easy principle to follow is matching metals to metals. So if your bride’s jewelry and your belt buckle, watch, cuff links, etc. are silver-toned, you might incorporate a corresponding metallic shade into your tie. This rule works particularly well if your metals are silver and you happen to have cool skin tone, or if your metals are gold, and your skin tone is warm. For silvers, I like this diamond-patterned tie from Sam Hober ($80) and this silk stripe from Giorgio Armani ($145). Keep in mind that the Sam Hober is on the dressy side because the pattern is small.

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Julie Rath: Groom Alert

Julie Rath: Fall Trends

As a Personal Stylist, my mission is to create outfits that make my clients look and feel terrific. Dressing well is about manhandling the rules and trends to create a look that’s uniquely one’s own.

This roundup of Fall’s menswear trends and my corresponding “real life” suggestions are meant to serve as inspiration as you figure out what works for you.

Trend #1 Military

Military Fall 2011 Menswear Trend

Military is a perennial favorite, and designers are adept at keeping it fresh each season. A major bonus that comes with it is the epaulette, which fools the eye into thinking the wearer’s shoulders are broader than they actually are. Look for jackets like Reiss’s military macintosh coat ($485) or Burberry’s wool and cashmere peacoat ($1195).

Reiss Men's Military Macintosh Coat

Burberry Men's Pea Coat

You could also go the authentic route and hit up an Army-Navy surplus or thrift store for a military peacoat. I found this handsome one (complete with arm patch and interior stencil and name plate) below for $60 at a thrift store in Connecticut last Fall.

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Julie Rath: Fall Trends

Julie Rath: How to Pack Like a Pro

The way you pack can either make or break your trip. Hanging around the airport lost baggage office is a drag (I’ve been there), as is opening up a suitcase and finding everything in a crumpled mess. With some foresight and planning, however, you can make the process seamless and worry-free. Read on for 9 tips on how to pack like a pro:

1) If you travel frequently to the same location, say from your east coast office to your west coast office, leave a trunk or suitcase at the hotel. Most good hotels are happy to do this for frequent guests, and often without charge. Lifestyle engineer and frequent traveler Tim Ferriss recommends this, and while you may not keep lentils and whey protein in your trunk like Tim does, his idea is enormously useful for clothes and shoes which can take up a lot of space in your luggage. When the clothes you wore are dirty, simply give them to the hotel laundry and tell them to put them back in your bag when they’re clean. Every so often you can switch things out so you aren’t repeating outfits too much.

Men's Personal Stylist: How to Pack for Travel2) One can tend to accumulate things along the way when traveling, particularly for leisure. In order to make sure everything fits on the way back and/or that you can still fit your bag as a carry-on, bring along 4-5 empty gallon-size Ziploc bags on your trip. When you’re packing to come home, fold and put your dirty clothes inside the bags, then (and this is the key), SIT on the Ziploc to squeeze out all of the air, and then zip it shut. You’re essentially vacuum-sealing your clothes. This works great for dirty t-shirts, underwear and socks, and it saves you a huge amount of space. When you get home, the contents of the Ziplocs go straight into the laundry. No sorting required.

3) Keep a separate travel toilet kit with travel-size versions of all the toiletrees you’ll need for travel. Don’t touch it except for when traveling.

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Julie Rath: How to Pack Like a Pro

Julie Rath: How to Choose a Tuxedo

Dressing for a formal event is like ice climbing: one misstep, and it’s all downhill. The reason there are so many rules to follow is that the point of formal dressing originally was that at formal engagements, men could blend into the crowd while their female companions could stand out in their finery. For this reason, if you’re having a formal wedding, it’s particularly important that you nail the details. With so many options out there, here’s your cheat sheet:

Renting vs Buying: Buy if at all possible. When you have a chance to dress formally — particularly on your wedding day — you should look your absolute best, and renting won’t achieve that. I’ve seen more ill-fitting rented tuxes than I care to recall. Yes, buying a good-quality, well-tailored tux is an investment, but it’s a very good one that will pay dividends in photos. Not to mention you’ll save in the long run not having to rent each time you need one. Renting will cost you anywhere from 25-50% of the average purchase price of a tux, so if you do it a few times, and it adds up. You’ll be happy next time you get a formal invite if you’re armed with a tux in your closet that fits you impeccably.

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Black Tie vs. White Tie vs. Morning Attire: The wording of your invitation dictates the color of your neckwear. “Black tie” (also referred to as “evening dress”) means a black bowtie, which is traditionally worn with a tuxedo. “White tie” (also referred to as ” full evening dress;” see above left) means a white bowtie, which is worn with tails. This is a very dressy look. Both black and white tie are generally worn after 6PM. A morning suit is your most formal daytime look (see above right). This is typically reserved for weddings taking place before 6PM. The morning coat (essentially a frock coat with the corners cut away — hence the term “cutaway coat”) is black or gray with a single button at the waist. Wear it with gray striped trousers, a gray or white vest, a wing collar shirt, and a tie or an ascot. Leave the top hat and walking stick at home.

The information below pertains to tuxedos.

Color and Fabric: Black is the standard, but midnight blue is also acceptable. White is typically worn in warmer climates for open-air events.  Choose something in a wool that isn’t too heavy. Chances are you’re only going to have one tux in your closet, so it should be as versatile as possible.

Jacket: The most common and versatile jacket type is a one-button, but you can also go with double-breasted (see above), which looks best on guys with broader physiques. If you wear a double-breasted jacket, a cummerbund is unnecessary. The traditional dinner jacket (a fancy name for your tux jacket) is ventless, but a you can also go for a more modern — and generally more flattering — look with double vents.


Collar: This should be either peaked or shawl. A peaked lapel (where the points of the lapel point upward; see above and below left) reads as more powerful, whereas shawl collar (which has a continuous curve; see above and below right) sends off a softer message. Unless you’re a waiter, your wedding tux shouldn’t have a notched lapel.

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Cummerbund/Vest/Going Without: Formal dressing dictates that the waistband of your trousers should never show, hence the traditional need for either a vest or cummerbund. In general, the cummerbund is a more stylish option. If you wear a vest, your guests might ask where your organ and monkey are, and hopefully you won’t be bringing either to your wedding, so why confuse people? Either way, the cummerbund or vest should be subtle and keep its mouth shut. Now is not the time to channel your inner Elton John. If you opt for the classic cummerbund, make sure you wear it with the pleats facing upward (fun fact: this hails from British colonial days where gentlemen used to tuck their theater tickets into the pleats). Formal dressing aside, if you want to stray from tradition, this is one place where that’s ok. These days, it’s become acceptable for guys to skip the vest or cummerbund altogether. Just make sure the shirt you buy has actual buttons or a covered placket, and this will eliminate the need for studs.

Pants: Your pants never have cuffs, as that would spoil the sleek lines of your look. They should have satin banding on the sides. No belts please — your tux pants should come with side adjusters to ensure proper fit. If you still feel you need something to hold them up, you can wear suspenders in simple black or white.

Shirt: Your shirt should be perfectly pressed and have French cuffs. It can have either a plain, bib or narrowly-pleated front. It’s made of marcella cotton, which is noticeably thicker than regular cotton and has a honeycomb-like appearance. The shirt is either turndown or wing collar. A turndown collar is always sharp, modern and elegant, while a wing collar is a bit of a throwback to the 19th century and works best with white tie.

Bowtie: Always tie it yourself. If you’ve never tied one before, now is the time to learn. This guide will walk you through it. The bowtie should be black and made of silk satin or silk grosgain. If you’re more comfortable in a straight tie, it’s acceptable to wear a black one that’s relatively slim, as a more modern fashion statement (see above).

Socks and Shoes: The former should be black silk hose, and the latter either black patent leather or polished black calf skin. Shoes should be lightweight and unadorned.

Accessories: As mentioned above, when dressing formally, blending in is a good thing, and standing out only leads to embarrassment as it means you broke the rules somehow. If this feels overly rigid, and you’re itching to show some personal style, you can do so via your accessories. Just make sure you keep the look subtle and nuanced. Your pocket square, cuff links, studs, watch (which matches your cuff links) and charming personality are excellent ways to do so.

Fit: As with suiting, fit is your everything when it comes to formal attire. It should fit close to your frame with the jacket hitting exactly on your shoulders. The break on your pants can be slightly shorter than what you normally get on regular trousers.

While there is quite a bit to keep in mind with black-tie dressing, don’t let it intimidate you. After all, wearing a tux is about confidence and panache. Once you figure it out, you’ll find that a tux can be completely transformative for any man. It’s absolutely worth the work.