Jonny Lee Miller’s Button-Through Shirts on Elementary

Blue Industry Contrast Cuff Blue Check ShirtWho makes those shirts with the small collars that he wore this last season?

– Sumie

Ah, yes. A sure sign that autumn is well underway and another season of Elementary is right around the corner … the questions about Mr. Miller’s wardrobe are starting to trickle in. Frankly, I’m pleased about this. Mr. Miller is a damn fine actor, and he takes the time and care to dress like Not A Slob, which is something that more so-called celebrities should aspire to.

Now then. I do not have a definitive source on this particular subject, but I am going to make an extremely educated guess here and say that he is wearing Blue Industry. They use the same modern takes on plaids and checks that his character favours on the show, and they have the same scant collar and – crucial detail here – the same high placement of the second button on the placket. More to the point, I am sure that I saw the exact pattern on two of the shirts he wore last season in Blue Industry’s 2013 fall look book.

These are great choices for an everyday wardrobe foundation. The shirts have just the right combination of modern edge and classic lines … they are going to look as fresh and solid next year and the year after as they do right now. While you are browsing, make sure you take a peek at the knitwear section. The coarse-knit hooded sweaters with either the button closure or the sweet retro toggles are a killer two-season choice. You can use them as outerwear through the rest of fall and then transition them to “around the house” wear for the rest of the winter. I’m also a big fan of this beautifully minimal layering cardigan – if you are looking for one piece that refresh a lot of what you already own this would be it.

If I am mistaken here I am sure that a couple of my regular contributors will take the time to call me out, so stay tuned in case I have to endure the associated public humiliation and and point you in a different direction. In the meantime, Blue Industry is definitely worth a look.

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Got Any Other Ways To Add Colour To My Office Wear?

Great Suits. Great Socks.Call me a wuss, but I’m not brave enough to wear the flower in my lapel. How can I make a little – emphasis on “little” – bit of a statement in the office but not be that obvious about it?

– J.

Dude. Statements are obvious, or they aren’t really statements at all.

However, I do see what you are getting at. You want a bit of flash, a bit of swagger, but you aren’t ready to play in the big leagues. You want to work your way up, find your comfort zone, and that’s all good. Remember: Style is pointless if it isn’t yours.

So let’s put some colour in a place that people will notice … but not a place that people notice first. If you want to strike a solid, conservative chord, build a foundation with your first impression and then add a note of flash, do it with your feet. Dress up your favourite pair of office shoes with a hit of colour and watch what happens.

Richer Poorer PF Flyers RedStrategy One: Get yourself a couple of pairs of socks from Richer Poorer. Socks are sort of a “quick strike” strategy here. When you are standing, walking around the office, or just at your desk you fly under the radar in “colour stealth” mode. But when you sit down in a one-to-one, or turn your chair away from the table at the end of a meeting … bam! Statement made, people impressed. The fact that as soon as you stand up the is colour back under wraps gives you a little air of intrigue. You, my friend, suddenly have hidden depths.

All of the Richer Poorer socks are of impeccable quality and insanely comfortable. Treat yourself to a couple of pairs or score a gift box for a friend. Looking for a place to start? Try these – nothing says “tower of corporate power” like big, bold, in your face – or feet – red.

Stolen Riches LacesStrategy Two: Invest in some laces from Stolen Riches. Good shoelaces are one of life’s little treasures. Good shoelaces that also give you a bit of “man amongst boys” style? Pure gold. You can go subtle with something like the Connie Stripe or the Parachute Maroon or you can shoot the wad with big guns like Huckleberry Yellow or the incredible Nicklaus Green. The options and combinations are endless … if you can’t decide, get yourself a four-pack and experiment.

And I would be entirely remiss if I didn’t point out that the Stolen Riches “style in a box” packages come complete with a stickpin boutonniere. I highly recommend this combo, which features two killer colours that let you punch up any black or brown shoe either a little or a lot and sets you up for the day when you decide you are actually man enough to put the flower in your lapel.

The Boutonniere, Reborn

la_touche_errol_flynn_7030.jpeg_north_780x_whiteThe scene: The Italian Kitchen, corner of Hollywood and Argyle, Hollywood, California.

The Time: January, 1936.

The Plot: Errol Flynn has just become the prototypical overnight sensation as a result of his performance in Captain Blood. The burgeoning star has a dinner meeting with a gaggle of senior executives from Warner Brothers to discuss a possible new deal with the studio. Warner Brothers has the upper hand … Flynn still owes them two more movies under his existing contract with the studio’s low-budget subsidiary, Cosmopolitan Pictures, and they want Flynn to work cheap for at least one more flick. Flynn really has no bargaining power at all, so it’s the kind of meeting where a guy wants to be on his best behaviour.

Halfway through the meal the wife of Hal Wallis, second-in-command at Warner, arrives fashionably late. All of the men politely stand as she arrives at the table – except for one. One of the studio creeps eschews the standard etiquette and Flynn calls him out on it. The movie mogul is less than contrite about the incident, mumbles a half-hearted apology … and Errol Flynn, best behaviour be damned, hauls off and punches him in the face.

The moral? Real men take manners seriously.

Also, Errol Flynn was wearing a boutonniere.

From the last decade of the 19th century and well into the depression years, a boutonniere was the way for a well-dressed man to show a bit of flash and a shitload of confidence. It was part class, part “what the hell” insouciance, and completely cool. Street corner flower sellers would open early each day and hand-craft boutonnieres to order from their daily stock. Whether you were a captain of industry, an ambitious young executive, a breakout movie star, or just a well-dressed ne’er-do-well, a freshly twisted flower in your lapel was a simple and stylish way to let people know that you were not of the common herd. A man with a proper boutonniere was a bull amongst steers. A ram amongst sheep.

A man amongst mopes.

No one really seems to know what happened to the boutonniere. But a good guess is that the wartime austerity of the 1940s, the move to suburbia in the 1950s, and the long descent into terminal casualness throughout the 1960s and 70s combined to doom this once-awesome accessory. Along the way there have been some exceptional men who re-claimed the boutonniere and made it an essential part of their style and persona – Pierre Trudeau comes immediately to mind – but they have been sadly few and regrettably far between.

Edward Armah boutonnieres and pocket square combinationsHowever (and you probably saw this coming) all is not lost. The fine folks at Edward Armah have crafted a line of handmade fabric boutonnieres that are subtle, stylish, rakish, bold, and best of all, will last pretty much forever. Wear one in your sports coat or blazer on a Friday at the office. Pair one with a pocket square in your favourite suit to totally dominate a meeting. Or finish a suit and shirt combo with a little hit of arrogance that no tie can ever match for your next dinner date. A great starting point would be this sublime black and merlot number that will work with virtually anything you own. All you need is a functional button hole – another reason to avoid cheap suits – and enough attitude to pull it off.

Errol Flynn was a man’s man. If you can rock a boutonniere, maybe you are too.

Can I Wear Flat Shoelaces In My Dress Shoes?

Black dress shoes with proper round lacesThe round laces that come with my dress shoes always come untied. Should I replace them with flat ones? Flat ones stay tied.

– T.D.

No.

What? You want more? Fine. No, no, no, not in a million years no. I don’t care if you have to stoop and do the damn things up a hundred times a day (although, if you keep reading, you will see that this is not actually necessary), the answer is still no. If you want a quick and nasty guide to lace selection, go with this:

  • If your shoes came with round laces, that’s what you use in those shoes. Period.
  • If you are wearing your shoes to the office or with any sort of business attire, round laces only.
  • If your pants have a crease or a break, go round.
  • If you are in any doubt at all? Round laces.

You are probably noticing a trend here. Round laces make your shoes look finished, and they make you look like someone who knows the score.  Flat laces are fine in your running shoes and your work boots.  Beyond that … go round if you can.

As far as the staying tied up thing goes, ditch the cheap department store laces and get something decent.  Better laces stay tied.  Better laces last longer.  And better laces are kinder to your shoes, especially shoes with unfinished holes.  Spend a few bucks and get something that has both the quality and the fresh looks that you and your shoes deserve.

Stay tied.  Look great.  Go round.

Spring Tip: Take A Look At The Shape Of Your Shoes

John Varvatos bound oxfords in distressed black leather.See that headline? That’s a clever sort of double-meaning deal based on the the word “shape”. Shape can mean condition, and shape can mean the contour or outline. And now that spring is here, you need to check on both.

I told you it was clever.

It’s also necessary. Over the past few days I’ve seen a lot of dudes out walking around in shoes that are, to put it mildly, embarrassing. Don’t be those guys. Take a couple of minutes right now to dig into the closet, bust out your favourite pair of warm-weather casuals from last year, and take a look at both aspects. Start with condition. Are they beaten up well past “comfortably distressed” and a lot closer to “downright ratty”? Then check the contour of the toe … are they really rounded, like you just stepped out of a 1996 time machine? Or are they super pointy, the kind of thing you would see on sleazy second cousins at a late 80s wedding?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes” then it’s time to chuck those puppies and invest in something new. Broken down shoes are bad for your feet, your shins, your back, and your posture. And painfully out-of-date shoes are bad for your social life. Is that really what you want? A hunched back, aching feet, and potential dates dismissing you as a thrift store reject? No, of course not. Stupid question. So update your damn shoes.

Now then. Getting new shoes that aren’t all threadbare and nasty isn’t that hard since that’s sort of what they are all about. Ignore that part of the equation and just concentrate on shape. Shoes look best – and last longest – when you stick to the classics. You want a toe that is tapered but not pointed, and with a nice curved toe box that isn’t skater-shoe round. Take a look at those sweet John Varvatos oxfords in the picture at the top of this post. Those are the shape you want. They will look great this year, next year, and ten years after that. Pair them with jeans, pair them with casual pants, pair them with slacks and a vest on casual Friday … it doesn’t matter. They just work.

Shoes – especially quality men’s shoes – are an investment, not a fashionable whim. You aren’t going to get lasting quality on the cheap, so it’s only smart to make sure that you get your money’s worth with timeless style.

Where Did The Canucks’ Owner Get His Sweet Glasses?

Francesco Aquilini sports glasses from Tom FordI was watching the Vancouver Canucks press conference yesterday and I really liked the owner’s glasses. Any idea what they are? My girlfriend says they are Raybans.

– Nucks Fan

Dude. It’s Ray-Bans, not Raybans. Details count.

Now then. Your girlfriend is wrong, but – for reasons I probably don’t have to explain to you – you don’t want to tell her that. Those excellent semi-retro glasses that Francesco Aquilini was wearing are from the new Tom Ford collection – specifically, the new “TF5178” model. One of the cool things about the new Tom Ford acetate frames are the “mix and match” options: You can have one colour for the frontpiece of the frame and something different for the temples. In this case. it looks like Mr. Aquilini has gone with the dark tortoise front with black temples.

In an interesting bit of symmetry, you probably know that the Canucks’ new president is the celebrity face of a discount online eyewear retailer. Unfortunately, if you have been following this blog for any length of time you know that Tom Ford is not a discount brand. Sorry, Trevor. If you do want to browse, the entirety of the new Tom Ford catalogue is online at Smart Buy Glasses – click here to see the whole selection.

Once again, the readers of Hey Style Guy! show their impeccable taste by leaning towards a striking-yet-subtle offering from a premium designer. You guys rock.

Which Boots Can I Wear With A Suit?

Alden "Cordovan" cap-toe boot I’m looking for lace up boots (both black and brown) that can be worn with a suit, but that have something more interesting/cool/unique going on than the standard plain black side zip up. Something that can be worn with a suit but also dressed down a little. I know this is a broad question so if nothing comes to mind, maybe just brands?

– Jeff

Unlike ties, questions are never too broad. And this is a good one, since it let’s me introduce you to a boot that has long been a staple for gentlemen in the British Isles but has never been common over here. What you want is a traditional “brogue” boot … they straddle the line between traditional looks and stand-out style and will work with pretty much anything you can think to pair them with.

Until recently they have been a total chore to find on this side of the Atlantic, and if you wanted a decent pair you were stuck paying the hideous shipping fees associated with overseas retailers. Times change, however, and now one of my all-time favorites – the Cordovan cap toe from Alden, shown in the picture above – is available at J. Crew. They have a softer profile than the full-on brogue, so they tone down with a suit but still make a pair of jeans pop. They aren’t cheap, but these are some serious quality dogs, and you are going to get a decade or two of wear out of them.

J. Crew! I know!

If those aren’t quite your cup of tea and you have access to some brick-n-mortar stores that carry some of the better U.K. brands (or you feel like dealing with the ruinous cost of trans-Atlantic shipping) then these are a couple of other makers that I have a soft spot for:

Grenson:
Grenson Sharp two-tone

A modern and exceptionally clean take on the classic gentlemen’s country boot.. Every pair is still made by hand and every pair can be fully re-sewn and re-soled for a lifetime of wear. I especially love the “Sharp” in two-tone … they are, quite frankly, stunning.

Tricker’s:
Trickers Stow country boot

This is as old-school as it gets. No fancy urban updates here – these are real country boots with two centuries of use behind them. They aren’t for everyone, and getting a pair is going to put a serious dent in your wallet, but if you want to properly channel your inner “English County Gentleman” this is really the only way to go. These boots are going to outlast you, and probably look a lot better than you doing it.

Tom Ford Revisited

Tom Ford Overcoat - Daniel Craig in Quantum of SolaceSpeaking of gorgeous outerwear … did you know the 3/4 length overcoat that Daniel Craig wore in Quantum of Solace was also a Tom Ford? It borrows the same tapered waistline from the pea coat but keeps the detailing to an absolute minimum for a ultra-clean look, even when worn over a full suit.

If you do decide to break the bank and invest in a piece of Ford outerwear, at least you can take solace (heh, heh) in the fact that you will be riding in some very posh company. But don’t expect to have enough coin left to buy your new friends a drink …

Where Can I Get Jonny Lee Miller’s Pea Coat?

Tom Ford Leather Trim Cotton Pea CoatWhere did Jonny Lee Miller get his pea coat for Elementary? I’ve been looking all over and I can’t find it.

– Samuel

Let’s start with a mea culpa: On the first go-around I completely and utterly botched this answer. Capital “c”, capital “u”. As wrong as wrong can be. So consider this some very public eating of Ye Olde Crow.

Or, in the immortal words of Inigo Montoya, “humiliation galore”.

Fortunately, a little bird was kind enough to tip me off to the actual coat and designer in question. That said, I’m still going to riff on my original answer – and expand it – since the coat you are looking for is both hard to find and annoyingly expensive.

The pea coat you see Mr. Miller wearing on Elementary is the “Cotton Pea Coat” by Tom Ford. Kind of an uninspiring name, I know. As you can see from the picture above, there are some key details that set this apart from the standard pea coat. The handwarmer “slash” pockets are much higher than normal, all the way up between the first and second sets of buttons. A second set of rather non-traditional flapped pockets have been added at the lower waist, and the double breasting gets a trimmer look with six buttons instead of the usual eight.

All of which explains why you were having such a hard time in your search. As far as I can tell there is no other coat on the market with these particular features – this this is all sorts of exclusive. And, as with some other previously discussed items, if you want this exact look you are going to have to commit yourself to some hardcore looking around. There are some serious hurdles to overcome if you want one:

  1. This actual model is a couple of years out of date.  The “Cotton Pea Coat” has been replaced with the “Leather Trim Cotton Pea Coat” in Tom Ford’s style book.  The differences are subtle – leather edging on the slash pockets instead of rolled wool, small stress patches on the end of the pockets, and leather piping on the lower pocket flaps – and don’t really change the overall look. But, if you want the exact coat, the current version will simply not do and you are going to have to find someone with the older version still on hand.
  2. There are only a couple of online retailers that carry Tom Ford and they are completely out of this item.  Searching from the comfort of your favourite chair is not an option … you are going to have to pound the pavement and start snooping around in your local high-end menswear stores.  Phone ahead.
  3. Did I mention the high-end part?  The average retail price for this jacket was well over 3000 bucks and could run as high as five grand.  Now I’m all for paying a fair dollar for a high-quality item, and this is a really nice piece, but … well, yeah.

If you decide that these hurdles are just a little too, er, hurdley for you but you still want to get yourself into a coat that gives you that same “classic-yet-edgy-modern” vibe, you are in luck.  There are some really nice pea coats out there this year, and while none of them are exact matches, you can still rock the same kind of look in a high-quality piece and save yourself three big ones in the process.

The Coat That Started It All

Schott New York 740N

Most pea coats are variants of the venerable United States Navy “740N” jacket, which was in turn derived from the Royal Navy’s “reefer” jacket. If you want to be a hardcore traditionalist you are in luck: The 740N is still made by Schott Brothers of New York and you can get one right here with a couple of clicks of the mouse.

There are no lower pockets, and the chest carries the full slate of eight buttons instead of the more modern six so you won’t look quite as trim as the esteemed Mr. Miller when you wear it. On the plus side, sowever, Schott jackets are renowned for their quality and finish and it’s hard to argue with the chance to wear an actual piece of 20th century history for 250 bucks.

The Coat That’s Easy To Find

Land's End Dark Grey Pea Coat

The coat I referenced in the original version of this post is still a solid choice. The Land’s End Wool Pea Coat (item #418176-A7X) in “Dark Charcoal Heather” has a clean look, will keep you warm, has better-than-average quality, and comes in at a price that your wallet will appreciate. Even better, you can probably just go down to the mall and grab one.

It carries the trim six-button fronting that you see on the Tom Ford jacket, but has a lower cut on the waist and might be a better fit for guys who dont have a runner’s body like JLM. At two hundred dollars, it’s an attractive option.

The Coat That Goes Off The Board

Ted Baker ZAINAB

Finally, my personal favourite. If you want to capture the feel and attitude of the Ford but aren’t necessarily welded to the idea of an actual pea coat, take a look at the herringbone coats from Ted Baker. The Zainab Herringbone coat comes in with a nicely trim waist, the edgy chest-high handwarmer pockets, and full flapped pockets on the lower front. It is a bit longer than the pea coat, has a single breast instead of the traditional naval double, and it is made from herringbone wool (thus the name) instead of the melton wool of a pea coat … but it is one seriously fine looking piece.

If you really must have the shorter cut, Baker’s Lolplum Herringbone Coat and Lolpear Pea Coat are worth a peek. They are both strikingly good looking and will give you a bit of a roguish edge with the way they straddle the gap between the old-school naval cut and the modern details of the Tom Ford.

I’ve worn a Ted Baker pea coat for a number of years now and I can vouch for the quality and the warmth. If you are willing to break the mold a bit this is the one I would recommend. If you have the body shape to pull it off, this is really going to turn some heads. Added bonus: The extra bit of length means you can wear this over a suit or a blazer and look nicely layered instead of desperately stuffed in, giving you a bit more bang for your hard-earned buck.

Hope this helps, and thanks again for reading. Sorry if that bit about the three thousand bucks broke your heart. I know it did mine.

Got Any REAL Advice, Or Is This All Fancy Shit?

200463_dustyorange_lEnough with the fancy shit. Do you have any useful tips for guys who wear normal clothes and not suits and foo-foo pantyboy stuff?

– Don’t Fucking Use My Name Either

Wow – hostility! Perhaps someone scratched your Camaro.

So, yeah. Calm down. And listen up. While I could spend the rest of this post arguing as to whether Not Dressing Like A Homeless Person constitutes “fancy”, I will take the high road here and give you a sage and useful piece of advice for guys who wear what you are terming “normal clothes” and that I am going to go way out on a limb here and guess means “jeans and tees”.

And that advice is this: Figure out whatever colour most of your jeans are (I’m gonna be Svengali here and guess that it’s “blue”) and then when you buy t-shirts, don’t buy that colour. Really. That’s it. If you jeans and shirt are the same colour you look like a bit of a nondescript tool. If you have a nice contrast, then you not only look neat, you stand out a bit too.

And if you absolutely must have a shirt in the same colour as most of your jeans (I’m looking at you, Leafs fans) then get one decent pair of jeans in a different colour – not just a different shade – and wear them with that shirt. You should have at least one good pair of black jeans anyway, and if you don’t … go buy ’em.

There. Easy-to-follow advice. And no fancy shit. Happy?

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