My dad doesn’t need Google for fashion advice

My dear readers I have a special treat for you- my first guest contributor! After reading my suit article, I got an e-mail from my favorite guy in a suit! My dad! (yes apparently he is reading my fashion blog- what a guy! haha) So with his permission, I’ve included his two cents! 

Miss Caroline,  As one who started his working years in the men’s clothing business, at a high end men’s retail and tailor shop, I know a little something about suits.  My personal preference is in the style.  There are different styles of men’s suits.  The traditional style calls for a three button coat, a single “hooked” center of the back flap, and lapped seams(rather than single seams).  In the summer time cotton poplin, linen, and seersucker are my preferred cloths, though a very light hard finish thin wool can be nice.  In the winter I prefer 100% wool, with a hard finish.  Soft finish, like thick cloth, for blazers is good, too.  The trousers can be either plain front or pleated, but traditional calls for cuffs on the trousers.  I prefer a 2 inch cuff.  A lot of the high vis folks you pictured were wearing more fashion oriented suits, but my favorite is still the classic traditional style.  Hope that helps.  I love you,  Dad

Thanks, Dad! He doesn’t need Google to know what’s up. Let’s take a look at his pointers.

Traditional style coat has three buttons:

images-4 NO

images-2Yes

A hooked back flap?

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Oh! I get it now!

Wait, lapped seams? *tikka tikka tikka* I know these! I’ve been taught they are called “flat fell” seams. These are the kinds of seams you can probably find on the inside of your leg on your jeans! Look down! In fact, I used these on those flashy PJ’s I wore in “Breakfast-Casual” and Hairdryer Glamour Shots both on the shoulder seams and on the inside seams! If you weren’t wearing jeans and need a better idea of what I’m talking about then behold: the flat-fell/ lapped seam

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My dad mentioned his preferences for fabrics, also, which is an increasingly relevant topic in my life. (I just started my textiles classes tonight!) And he’s not kidding– he boasts a sharp collection of seersucker suits. If you aren’t literate in fabrics yet, thats okay! I probably wouldn’t know what seersucker was called if I hadn’t seen him wearing it all these years. You’ve seen it- its a lightweight fabric that is striped in white and pastel.

images-3 << I think he has at least 3 out of 5 of these colors.

I neglected to clearly acknowledge the way the seasons correlate with fabrics as it relates to suits, so this was a great point to address.

Moving on to pants, here is a great photo showing both styles my dad mentioned in his note. The left is the pleated complete with 2 inch cuffs, while the right is pleat and cuff-less.

Pleats-vs.-Flat-Front

Even though my dad would pass up Justin’s “Suit and Tie” to listen to these suited gentlemen…

…he still knows what he’s talking about.

And you can take that to the bank!

I’m also wearing a suit, but you can’t see it. teehee.

Today I was listening to Justin Timberlake’s new album, “the 20/20 experience”. For some reason, part of me hadn’t really wanted to like it. I haven’t listened since I bought it weeks ago and was feeling fairly “meh” about the absurdly long songs. Well, it got me, and I don’t know if it was just because it’s actually catchy or I was imagining JT suited up.

As long as he’s got his suit and tie, the world is a better place to live in.

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Truth is, though, I really don’t know much about suits. I watched my dad wear one every day to work, I own a couple that I used on professional Miss O appearances, and I’m known to ogle at sharply dressed gentlemen (though they are less common in Portlandia). So I asked myself and subsequently googled: what makes a good suit? 

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Okay not that kind of suit… (you know I couldn’t resist)

What seemed to be consistent results were:

Quality fabric- I feel like this goes without saying, but I didn’t realize it’s wool or bust. One needs a suit that can breath. 

Hand sewn- this allows for the structure to be more fitted, and not flat from using a machine

Lining- this is the inner layer of fabric that lies closest to the body. It should be made of a breathable fabric. Nobody wants to wear a garbage bag.

Canvassed over Fused- this means there is a layer in between the lining and outer fabric that shapes the garment. Were it fused, there would be a material stuck with adhesive to the outer fabric to give it thickness, but it wouldn’t hang quite as well. 

Details- this is what takes a suit from being a uniform to an earmark of a dude who knows the word “debonair”. 

Fit- if the suit doesn’t look like it was made for your body, you’d be better off in your birthday suit. One of the key elements to a great suit is making sure all the hems and seams are right where they should be. Don’t mess around get it tailored so you don’t look like this:

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Sorry bro, that’s not going to get you a date to the office party.

The bottom line with suits is that you can’t fake quality. To get the perfect suit, one must know right from wrong and tight from long. Standing out means taking high-quality detailing to the next level, and you have to be prepared to dish out for those top-notch duds.

Let’s take a moment of silence (aka speechlessness) at some beautiful….. suits.

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Hubba hubba!

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And of course:

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To all of my straight females and gay males reading out there: you’re welcome.

And for all of my fellow How I Met Your Mother fans: well… you know what to do.

🙂