Dressy Attire

The One Shoe Type That Works with Almost Any Outfit

Men's Style Consulting: What Shoes to WearWhat would you say if I told you there was one shoe you could wear with just about anything on a daily basis? You'd be all over that, right? It's true. A medium brown lace-up dress shoe can be worn with any outfit except for a tuxedo, a black suit (which you shouldn't be wearing anyway), and shorts. Wear them with jeans, chinos, suits and dress pants.One of the places I always recommend investing in wardrobe-wise is shoes -- you're better off buying one pair of quality shoes and replacing them as needed every 5 years or so, than a crappy quality shoe that you have to replace every year. When it comes to making the most of your footwear investment, another key to keep in mind is not to wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row. If you rotate your shoes, they'll last a whole lot longer.So if you're going to make an investment shoe purchase, I highly recommend a medium-brown lace-up. They can have a cap toe, no cap toe (see above), or you can do a wingtip (see below).Men's Style Consulting: What Shoes to WearCheers,Julie

Two Easy Outfits to Help You Stand Out From the Crowd

Have you ever been out on the weekend or after work and looked around to see that there are basically 2 or 3 types of outfits every guy is wearing, and no one is standing out from the crowd (in a good way)? Most guys are wearing what they wore earlier that day (jeans and logo’d/giveaway t-shirt, and blue button-down and khakis are two examples), with no effort to step it up for going out.How incredibly boring! Dressing this way is certainly not going to help you be attractive to new women, much less the one you’re already with if you are in a relationship.With the above in mind, I put together 2 sharp going out looks that you can recreate easily either using these specific items or a variation on each theme. The first is dressier, for when you truly want to dress to impress. And the second less so.Also, if you're looking to try to learn how to put great looks together yourself, I included reasoning behind my the choices. Men's Style Tips: What to Wear on a DateGrey suit, J. Crew, $650 (Gray reads friendlier and less business than navy.)Chambray shirt, Theory, $195 (A denim or chambray dress shirt is a nice departure from the everyday dress shirt for business. It shows some thought was put into creating a stylish look.)Red tie, Billy Reid, $59 (The texture in this tie contrasts well against the smoothness of the chambray shirt above. Texture will also make you look approachable, which is a good thing for when you're going out and looking to meet people, or on a date.)Blue tie bar, The Tie Bar, $15 (A tie bar is a small detail that adds visual interest and reflects style prowess. If you want to stand out from the crowd, this is the perfect way to do so without being loud or obnoxious, a trap many guys fall into when dressing for going out – in effort to be noticed.)White and gray pocket square, The Tie Bar,$8 (This pocket square is simple and classy yet adds a stylish touch to the outfit.)Brown shoes, Massimo Matteo, $169 (Double-monk shoes will allow you to look sharp and distinguish you from all the other guys in loafers and laceups.)Grey socks, J. Crew, $14 (Because there’s a fair amount going on otherwise in the look, I kept the socks quiet and matched them to the suit pants, a stylist trick that elongates your legs.)Brown belt, Magnianni, $125 (I kept it classy, matching belt to shoes.) Men's Style Tips: What to Wear on a DatePurple gingham shirt, Proper Cloth, $85 (Women can find it boring when men wear the same color light blue dress shirts day in and day out. Wearing purple shows creativity, and it’s a good conversation starter.)Jeans, John Varvatos, $228 (The slight wear in the rinse on these jeans lend them a somewhat casual feel, which works well with the tweed fabric of the vest.)Brown vest, Billy Reid, $159 (It's easy to fall into the trap of wearing all black when going out, mainly because you don’t know what else to do. But this can make you look remote and unapproachable. The softness of the brown and textured fabric on this vest will lend you a friendly air instead.)Navy knit tie, J. Crew, $59 (I kept the tie simple so as not to draw away from the patterns in the vest and shirt. The texture in the knit keeps you approachable, as above with the vest.)Tan belt, John Varvatos, $295 (This belt works with the brown in both the vest and shoes. The subtle details give the outfit more personality than a plain brown belt would, but the statement is not so strong that it draws away from everything else.)Bracelet, Miansai, $60 (For an element of fun, I’d add this bracelet in. Blue and purple work together because they’re analogous colors, i.e., they sit next to each other on the color wheel.)Brown chukka boots, H by Hudson, $285 (Brown shoes work best with this outfit due to the brown in the vest. Chukkas are a nice boot option in a look like this, as they’re casual but certainly not boring.)The playful and stylish elements of these looks clearly distinguish them from typical office garb, making it clear that the wearer knows how to dress for play vs for work.How do you like to dress for going out? Let me know in the comments below how the outfits above have inspired you!Cheers,Julie

New Year's Style Cleanse: 14 Bad Habits that Get the Axe in 2014

How did 2013 go for you style-wise? Were you totally on point, or was there room for improvement? I’ve been traveling over the past month visiting out of town clients and doing some serious people-watching while on the road. I was sitting in LaGuardia Airport at 6AM one day, and I started a list of don’ts, which grew at each of my stops (Minneapolis, Chicago, North Dakota, and Palm Springs), evolving into the New Year’s Bad Style Cleanse below. Read on for 14 habits to purge from your style diet.1) Don’t wear a crewneck undershirt with your button-up shirt. Showing your undershirt collar is like showing your underwear, something you don't want to do in public (I hope). This goes for both casual and dress button-ups. I like Tommy John for great undershirts with v-necks that are low enough not to be visible. Here is my review of the brand.

Men's Personal Shopper: Monk Straps

2) Even if you’re traveling, you shouldn’t wear loafers with a suit. Try monk straps instead, as they can slip on and off easily when going through security (tip: packing a travel-size shoe horn will make your life easier).

3) You can leave the top button of your dress shirt undone with a tie, but don’t have the tie hanging down below your collarbone. Your tie knot should be no more than an inch lower than the top of where your shirt collar closes.

Men's Style Consultant: No Backpack with Suit

4) Never wear a backpack with a suit or sportcoat. It’s terrible for the shoulders. Also, you are going to work, not for a trail run.

5) Don’t wear a striped jacket as though it’s a sportcoat. A striped jacket is only worn as part of a suit, never as a separate.6) Don’t wear a Hawaiian shirt unless you are going to an actual luau.

Men's Stylist: Avoid Hybrid Shoes

7) Avoid those hybrid sneakers-shoes at all costs. It’s a sneaker or a shoe. Not both.8) While you’re at it, say no to those hiking-type sneakers for anything other than an actual mountain trek.9) Skip the strong colognes or aftershaves (Old Spice, I’m talking to you) if you know you’re going to be on an airplane. This is a courtesy to those around you!10) Grab the waistband of your pants (yes, right now) and yank on it. If you can pull it away from your body more than half an inch, your pants are too big. Go down in size until you find the right fit.Men's Personal Stylist: Avoid Tie and Pocket Square Combos11) Avoid pocket square and tie combos that match too closely (and especially ones that come in sets!).12) A t-shirt is too tight if it pulls such that the fabric creates a diagonal crease from your collarbone to your armpit. Go up a size if this happens to you.13) Don’t be that guy who wears a parka with ski tags dangling from the zips out to a restaurant. Technical/athletic gear is meant for just that – not date night. This includes outerwear and accessories like hats and gloves. One of my favorite brands of outerwear that gets the job done sharply is Aether.

Men's Image Consultant: Avoid Ties as Wide as Lobster Bibsa lobster bib in the truest sense of the term

14) Don’t wear ties that are too wide for you. This is true even if you paid a lot for it/wide ties may come back in style someday/your Aunt Edna gave it to you. Either donate or send them to somewhere like Tiecrafters to have it narrowed. Here’s my guide on how to choose the best proportion for you.

Now that you’ve effectively cleansed yourself of bad style habits, check out this list of 8 style resolutions to embrace for the new year. Out with the old and in with the new! What are you adding and removing from your style repertoire this year?Wishing you happiness, health and success in 2014.Cheers,Julie

How to Buy an Overcoat

Men's Image Consultant: Overcoat

If you’re still rocking that North Face parka over your suit jacket, it’s time for an upgrade.

Nothing ruins a great look faster than a not-so-great coat. For some reason outerwear often seems to be at the end of peoples’ priority lists, but I can’t stress enough how important it is for your coat or jacket to be up to par with the rest of your outfit. Think about it: you walk into a restaurant to meet a date. Before you take your coat off, she's already formed an impression of you. The same goes for your office elevator. People tell me all the time that they sneak in to their office building in junk clothes/shoes and change once they’re there, but if you’re riding up in the elevator with people in your office, the damage is done. So, have I convinced you of the merits of a good overcoat yet? Good! Here are my suggestions on how to choose one.Fit: I see too many people around in oversized, too long overcoats – such a disappointing look! It makes me think of a little kid playing dress-up. Ideally, your overcoat should fit comfortably over a suit but still be slim enough to look stylish with just a shirt and pants. The best, most versatile length for a modern but still classic look is around your knee. It should hit anywhere from mid/low-knee to just above it, depending on how modern you want the look to be (the shorter you go, the younger the look). A good-fitting overcoat should make you look taller, leaner and broader across the shoulders.Sizing: An overcoat is meant to fit on top of your suit, so when buying off-the-rack, start by going up one size from your suit. Try it on with a suit jacket or blazer and be sure it can close. The sleeves should cover your suit and shirt sleeves.Men's Personal Shopper: OvercoatButtons – Make sure it buttons to a location on your body that you’re comfortable with. I like this houndstooth check coat above from Balenciaga, but notice how low it buttons on the model's body. If it’s too low, and you get cold easily, you might want to choose a coat that buttons a little higher. Remember that you’ll likely be wearing a scarf with it on very cold days which will give you additional coverage. What about the number of buttons? Most people will need 3 buttons for a classic single-breasted style, but if you’re very tall (over 6’ 3”), you should get 4.Men's Personal Stylist: OvercoatStyle: A single-breasted notch lapel creates a more conservative/traditional look, whereas a double-breasted peak lapel is more dressy, and also warmer due to the fuller coverage and double layer of fabric over your chest. Overcoats also come with a wide choice of different pocket options for you to consider: straight/horizontal, flap/slit, ticket/no ticket, breast pocket/no breast pocket. And make sure to consider whether you want a center vent in back or no vent at all. Don’t get locked in to the first coat you see just because it’s convenient. Look around to find the one that resonates best with you. Perhaps you wouldn't have considered one with a leather collar like the above from Burberry Prorsum until you saw it in person. There's a world of options!Men's Personal Shopper: Chesterfield CoatColor/Patterns – The most classic colors are navy, camel and grey (in that order), but you might also consider getting a pattern if you’re into that sort of thing. If you do go for a pattern, make sure to keep the rest of your outfit subtle. I’m anxiously awaiting this brown herrringbone which I ordered custom as a chesterfield (with a velvet collar) for a client.Fabrics: There’s a huge range, from camel hair, to wool, to cashmere to blends. Do some research on the different weights that you’re choosing from and figure out how warm you need your overcoat to be before taking the plunge. I’ve seen people buy very heavy overcoats that they never wear because they’re just too warm. Know yourself and the climate you’re in (or that you travel to) and factor that in.Investment: Remember when you purchase a high quality overcoat that it’s a classic piece which should last you at least 10-15 years. This is one place in your wardrobe where it makes sense to invest.Where to buy: You can either go off-the-rack or custom. For the former, try department stores like Saks, Barney’s and Bloomingdale’s, along with specific brand boutiques like Hugo Boss or Prada. If you live somewhere without access to a lot of stores, you can look online. Websites like Mr. Porter and Suit Supply are good go-to’s. If you decide to go custom, check Yelp and local listings (like nymag.com here in NYC) for highly-rated clothiers or ask well-dressed friends/acquaintances where they go.

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Are you shopping for an overcoat this season? I'd love to know what you're considering! Leave me a comment below.Cheers,Julie

Your Fall Shopping List

Men's Personal Shopper: Fall Fashion TipsEven if you’re still rocking shorts and polo shirts, the time is now to make plans for your cool weather wardrobe. I’ve been pounding the pavement and interwebs hard looking for the best items for my clients as the stores are flush with new merchandise. If you’re planning on doing some Fall shopping yourself, I must warn you that one of the worst things you can do is to go shopping without a plan or, at the very least, a list. Just wandering into a store aimlessly is for sure the easiest way to end up with nothing at all, or worse, to get pushed into buying a pile of clothes you’ll never wear. With that in mind, I created this list of 18 must-haves (or nice-to-haves) to inspire and keep you organized as you craft a smart Fall/Winter wardrobe.Transitional jacket -- think peacoat, car coat, or other medium-weight optionLeather jacket -- here’s how it should fitOvercoat -- buy now while the selection is good, and there’s still time to have one custom-madeOuterwear vest -- wool/cashmere/down, as in the header imageLined raincoat -- you can also get one with a zip-out lining, which is one of the most versatile garments you can ownDress boots -- yes, you can wear these with your suit!Bad weather boots -- look for options that are waterproof and have rubber soles for tractionWool/cashmere socks -- if you're tall or have very long legs, get ones that go over your calves so your legs remain covered when you sitWool/cashmere ties -- perfect for frigid days in combination with a scarfHat, gloves and scarf -- don't wait for someone to give these to you as a holiday gift!Winter-weight casual pants -- Incotex makes great corduroys and moleskin pantsHeavier-weight sport shirts -- a trim-fitting flannel is a great weekend go-toHeavier weight dress shirts -- in more tightly-woven fabrics like oxfordFall/Winter suits, dress pants and sportcoats -- look for tweeds, flannels and heavier-weight worstedsMenswear vest -- wear with jeans for a stylish going-out lookSweaters -- v-necks, polo-necks, henleys, thin cardigans and thick shawl-collared cardigans are good optionsLong sleeve tops -- in thick materials like waffle-knitHoodie -- look for one that's super soft and trim-fittingRemember, autumn is all about layering, so even if for example the idea of a thin cardigan or outerwear vest don't appeal to you, think about them in combination with the rest of your wardrobe. The more you can mix and match pieces, the more versatile what you own will be.If you'd like more tailored help with your Fall/Winter wardrobe, contact me. I'm currently booking appointments for the first week of October.Cheers,Julie

Try a New Hide: Stingray

Men's Style: StingrayA lot of what I hear from new clients is a desire for what I call “Next Level Style”. Next Level Style is the development of a look that is uniquely one’s own, one that will make others sit up and take notice (but only to the degree wanted, of course!). One of my favorite things to do as a stylist is to seek out clothing and accessory items that will create that affect. No more walking into your office and seeing another guy in the same exact Brooks Brothers shirt and Ferragamo tie. With that goal in mind, today I’m shining the spotlight on stingray, a material you’ve possibly never heard of in relation to style.Stingray leather (also known as "shagreen") is extremely durable and has been used throughout history for everything from swanky armored clothing to sword handle wraps. Today in the fashion world, stingray is used on items ranging from wallets to shoes. One of the nice things about this skin is that stingrays aren't threatened by extinction, so its leather can be sourced easily, which also contributes to its relatively low pricing. In fact, stingrays are found in abundance in the shallow, warm waters of the Pacific Rim and are fished commercially as a primary food source.Here are my 6 favorite stingray items currently available that I hope will inspire you to get some new hides into your rotation.Men's Style: Stingray Wallets1. These wallets above from Adam Unlimited ($80, left), and Bottega Veneta ($560, right) are sure to catch peoples' eyes when you pull one out of your pocket.

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Men's Style: Stingray Cufflinks2. Why not incorporate stingray into your dressier attire? These cufflinks ($275) would pop nicely against a grey suit, white dress shirt and a black and white or grey tie.

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Men's Style: Business Card Holder3. I recently got this business card holder ($75) from a store called Unearthed on Etsy. I love the strong contrast of black with white. Each piece is customized, so you can tell them your color preference, and they'll select a hide to suit that.

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Men's Style: Stingray Belt4. Interesting belts are an excellent way to mix things up from the usual black or brown leather. I like this one from Scunzani in dark (above), or light brown ($515).

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Men's Style: Stingray Bracelets5. A piece of men's jewelry (a.k.a. "mewlery") can be one of the most rewarding items to add to your wardrobe when done right. I am very much into this bracelet ($175, above left), which would work well with most silver-toned watches. And if you want to throw some color into the mix, try this turquoise stingray and braided leather combo ($150, above right).

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Men's Personal Shopper: Stingray Shoes6. Stingray shoes are not for the faint-hearted. These balmorals ($1195) from Harris (which I've highlighted previously) are so unique and interesting that they will surely be conversation starters. With this price tag though, you must be absolutely sure you love them before taking the leap!

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How do you like to up the style quotient? And would you wear stingray?Cheers to Next Level Style,Julie

Go Big or Go Home: Stingray Shoes

Men's Personal Shopper: Stingray ShoesI am always in hot pursuit of outside-the-box items. That's what my clients hire me for as we construct looks that are uniquely their own. These shoes are not for everyone, but if they appeal to you, and you're looking to take an outfit from standard to stylish, I say get after it!

Need a Last Minute Christmas Gift?

Men's Style: Tie and Pocket Square CombinationThere are officially 3 shopping days left before Christmas, including today. If you still need a gift idea, get him a tie and pocket square combination. He'll appreciate knowing up front that they work together, which will make his life easier when choosing his outfit in the morning. Here are five combos I put together for a client's wife at Bergdorf Goodman to get you started.

Get this Party Started: What to Wear for Black Tie Optional and Creative Black Tie

Men's Style: Black TieThere are few things more devastatingly dashing than a man in a beautifully-fitted tuxedo. If you’ve received an invitation for an event calling for “Black Tie Optional” attire, your best option is – you guessed it – Black Tie. Why not take the opportunity to bring out the big guns? I promise, womens' heads will turn, and the other guys not in tuxes will wish they had opted otherwise. Check out this shot above from a recent photo shoot for my new website (coming soon!). Pretty good, right?Relatedly, designers have been showing formalwear looks deconstructed with individual items worn as separates (as seen in my Fall style report). This gives you even more reason to invest in a tux as well as some fun and interesting formalwear elements, which will come in handy when you’re faced with a Creative or Festive Black Tie dress code. Below are my top 5 picks for pieces that will help you mix up your evening gear.Men's Style: Acne Double-Breasted Tuxedo Jacket1) Acne Velvet Double-Breasted Tuxedo Jacket -- Acne made a splash with their fall lineup of swanky eveningwear separates. This jacket speaks for itself, so keep the rest of the look simple and classic. Men's Style: Acne Jacquard Print Pants2) Acne Jacquard Print Pants - These print pants are next-level style at its best. The trim cut calls for a similarly tailored jacket. Men's Style: Michael Bastian Shawl Collar Dinner Jacket3) Michael Bastian Dinner Jacket - For evening wear with a festive twist, I am very much into this tartan shawl collar dinner jacket. The beauty of this piece is that you can wear it formally as shown above with ivory dress pants, but you can also dress it down with a bowtie, denim dress shirt, boots and cords, as seen in this excellent WSJ article on the topic.Alexander McQueen Black and Gold Stripe-Skull Bowtie4) Alexander McQueen Black and Gold Stripe-Skull Bowtie - Bring out your inner rebel with this McQueen bowtie. Let it pop against a crisp white shirt, or give it a moodier edge by pairing it with a black or dark grey shirt. Boss Black Mini Houndstooth Contrast-Collar Shirt5) Boss Black Contrast-Collar Shirt - Sport this mini-houndstooth shirt with a straight black tie and a shawl collar dinner jacket (bonus points for a lapel with contrasting color).Even if you don’t have a formal event on the horizon, consider planning ahead with some swanky evening style that will make things easy when that time comes, which it inevitably will. For my full discussion on how to choose a tuxedo, click here.How do you like to amp up your evening wear? 

The Rath & Co. 2012 Holiday Gift Guide

Socks, swords, and a sled built for speedfreaks...What more could you ask for this holiday season? Read on for 15 Rath-approved holiday gifts.

STOCKING

Men's Style: Wool Suiting Square

1) Make a quick getaway from your style rut with this wool suiting pocket square ($10). Wear it with a navy blazer or suit, a light pastel shirt and a dark wool tie.

 Men's Style: Russian Coat of Arms Flask

2) For the drink that's always with you, a stately flask with the Russian coat of arms ($25).

 Men's Style: Etro Herringbone Socks

3) Socks are a holiday gift list mainstay, and these Etro Herringbone socks won't disappoint ($39).

 

SNAG

Men's Style: Wool Hat

4) This cozy wool hat ($88) comes in charcoal, navy and cream, so there's something flattering for everyone.

 Men's Style: Oliver Spencer Two-Tone Belt

5) I always like to look for belts that are a bit "different" to help my clients define their style, and this two-tone leather belt ($180) is an excellent find with its unexpected blue buckle.

 Men's Style: Jack Spade Dress Scarf

6) Silk scarves are dressier in feel than their wool or cashmere cousins, but they do work casually. Try one like this Jack Spade dress scarf ($185) draped simply around your neck when a tie is too much and an open collar just isn't cutting it.

 Men's Style: Pierrepont Hicks Tie Case

7) The frequent traveler's defense against wrinkly neckwear: a tie case ($185), this one from Pierrepont Hicks.

 Men's Style: Champagne Saber

8) Nothing says holiday cheer like swordplay. Make like Napoleon, and open your next bottle of champagne with a Champagne Saber ($189). (Yes, you really can open a champagne bottle with a sword; click for a video play-by-play.)

 

Men's Style: Etro Paisley Scarf

9) Manly yet romantic, this Etro paisley scarf ($245) can take an outfit from zero to sixty with one swift loop around the neck.

 

Men's Style: Burberry Touch Screen Leather Gloves

10) For the guy who can't afford to be unplugged, try Burberry's touch screen leather gloves ($325). 

SPLURGE

Men's Style: Folding Beach Chairs and Table

11) Form and function come together elegantly with this collapsible beach table and chair set ($495) which folds down to the size of a tote bag.

 

Men's Style: Loro Piana Suede Belt

12) Sophisticated and sumptuous, this Loro Piana suede belt ($500) works with everything from jeans to a suit. And you don't need suede shoes to rock this -- it works just fine with brown leather in a similar shade.

 Men's Style: Thom Browne Briefcase

13) Nothing beats a smooth black briefcase for making a smart and stylish impression. This one from Thom Browne  ($1850) is a handsome option.

Men's Style: Smythson Rotary Watch Case

14) For the watch connoisseur, this solid leather rotary watch case ($3720) from Smythson has two Swiss-made rotators to keep his timepieces in top-notch condition.

 Men's Style: Stealth-X Sled

15) The Snolo High Performance Alpine Sled (price upon request) can hit speeds of over 40 mph on average gradient slopes, and, on top of that, it can be folded into a backpack by collapsing one locking nut. Perfect for the speed demon with space issues.

What's on your wish list this holiday season?

What to Wear This Fall

I know what you may be thinking:Fashion trends...whaa? Those don't apply to me. They're for hipsters and models and the guys who stand outside the Abercrombie store. Right?Wrong! Just because your comfort zone is more mainstream than what you see in the runway images below, that doesn't mean you have to completely ignore the trends. That kind of thinking keeps you from stepping outside the box and trying new looks that can work for you. The key is to remember that you don't have to dress head-to-toe in these trends; you can instead pull bits and pieces from those that appeal to you and make them your own.With that in mind, read on for my top 5 Fall trends and corresponding shopping suggestions.Trend #1 American GigoloFall 2012 Menswear TrendsInspired by the cult-classic movie, American Gigolo style is all about looking good while enjoying the finer things in life. Think 70's-inspired details like double-breasted jackets, geometric patterns, double-flap shirt pockets and shearling trims.  One great way to inject some jiggy Gigolo-style into your wardrobe would be with this Michael Kors suede utility jacket, (below, $695).Mens utility jacket Trend #2 Black TieFall 2012 Menswear TrendsDesigners like Dolce & Gabbana, Canali and Givenchy featured a number of sleek looks geared for black tie affairs. While it's always a good idea to have a well-fitting tux in your closet for formal events, this trend can also inform your more casual looks. Think creatively by pairing Dolce & Gabbana's midnight blue Martini Tuxedo jacket (£1345) with a pair of jeans as shown below.Men's tuxedo jacket Trend #3 Horse and HoundFall 2012 Menswear TrendsWith classic materials like tweed, wool flannel, corduroy, cavalry twill and leather, this equestrian style is perfect for brisk Fall weather. Look for items with quilting, toggles, knee or elbow patches and patch pockets on blazers or sweaters. I am very much into this glen plaid shawl collar sweater ($265) from Polo Ralph Lauren, which captures several of these elements in one look.Fall 2012 Menswear Trends Trend #4 Old WorldFall 2012 Menswear TrendsThe feel is reminiscent of last Fall's industrial revolution trend but less "dirty" and much more buttoned up. Adding details to your look like gangster stripes, vests, contrast piping, and suspenders are great ways to implement this trend. If the look vibes with you, try Rag & Bone's light grey vest (below, $325).Fall 2012 Menswear Trends Trend #5 Tyrolean FolkFall 2012 Menswear TrendsYes, the name of this trend is a little out there, but designers really were inspired by the Tyrolean mountain men of West Austria. Check out the ethnic embroidery, diamond quilting and foulard and paisley patterns in the runway images. As I said above, I wouldn't suggest the everyday guy dressing head to toe in this look, but it might be fun to try a piece here and there that makes subtle reference to it. I love this non-traditional take on a quilted jacket from Etro ($2065).Fall 2012 Menswear Trends With Fall around the corner, now's the perfect time to start thinking about how to adjust your wardrobe for the new season. I hope the trends above inspire you to create looks for yourself that are relevant to your personality, lifestyle and taste.How are you planning to update your wardrobe for Fall?

(Runway images courtesy of Fashion Snoops.)

Spring 2012 Menswear Trend Report

Spring has not quite sprung yet here in NYC, but I've already been hitting the pavement and interwebs with my styling clients' needs in mind. Even if you aren't planning on a complete wardrobe overhaul this Spring, transitional periods like now are great times to take a look at what you own and consider strategically adding a few items that will help you get the most out of what you have. With that in mind, below is my roundup of Spring 2012's menswear trends, along with corresponding suggestions.Trend #1 Old HollywoodSpring 2012 Men's Style Tips: Old HollywoodClean, crisp and confident, the Old Hollywood trend is timeless. In many ways, it's a nod to style icon Cary Grant, known for his simple block colors and classic style. Think white pants, double breasted tailored jackets or sportcoats. For both, make sure the fit is slim, and for the latter, also have it cut on the short side, just covering your seat. Look for white pants from designers like Simon Spurr, Hermes, DSquared2, and Ralph Lauren Black Label ($295) below.Spring 2012 Men's Style Tips: White PantsTrend #2 SuburbiaSpring 2012 Men's Style Tips: SuburbiaSpring runways abounded with checks and plaids, frequently in silhouettes that had a 1950's suburban feel. Think of it as what you might wear to a summer barbecue: gingham, camp shirts, polos and blazers. This blue and green check shirt below ($185) from Billy Reid is an easy example of how to rock this trend.Spring 2012 Men's Style Tips: Check ShirtTrend #3 Urban SafariMen's Spring 2012 Style Tips: Urban SafariSafari jackets were introduced as part of the British military's tropical uniform. They're lightweight for easy mobility and typically contain expandable front pockets. I like the safari jacket because with it, fashion goes hand-in-hand with function, as it can come in many materials and colors (usually neutral) and have additional details like contrast stitching and an attached waist belt. The gorgeous leather one below from Bottega Veneta ($8100) is a luxe example of this look -- let's hope those safari pockets are loaded with cash though because this jam does not come cheap! Of course, there are plenty of other styles out there that are friendlier on the wallet (see here and here). Other ways to incorporate safari style into your wardrobe are via linen fabrics and silk-blend shirts.Men's Spring 2012 Style Tips: Safari JacketA word of caution: when choosing neutral jackets, try to choose a shade that's flattering on our skin tone. Most of us look better in either cool tones (blue-based, like grey) or warm tones (yellow-based, like tan or olive).Trend #4 Naval AcademyMen's Spring 2012 Style Tips: Naval AcademyBrands like J. Crew and H&M presented collections with a maritime aesthetic, as seen in details like stripes, ribbed knits, blue/red/white color palettes, nautical prints, Bermuda shorts and Fisherman's sweaters. This pocket square ($65) from Richard James is a peppy way to work the trend into dressier outfits.Men's Spring 2012 Style Tips: Pocket SquareI hope you found this trend report helpful and inspiring as you get your wardrobe in gear for Spring. As always, I welcome your comments and questions. And if any of these trends resonate with you, but you're still not sure how to implement them, please contact me for more tailored help.Runway photos courtesy of Fashion Snoops.

Pushing the Envelope the Wrong Way: George Clooney Tux Analysis

Peak vs Notch Lapel TuxI hate to say it because I always think George Clooney looks like a million bucks (and my image and style consulting clients often request looks reminiscent of his signature nonchalance), but I was struck watching last night's Oscars by how much less sharp than usual he looked. Time and time again, we've seen him bang-on in peak and shawl lapel tuxes (which btw are the only "correct" types of lapels for a tux, according to tradition). But last night's rule-breaking notch lapel was, I think, a mistake. Take a look at the images above where the peak lapel is on the left, and the notch is on the right. It's a subtle difference, and of course that's why I love menswear, but he looks sharper, taller (he needs all the help he can get next to Stacey Keibler!), and more built through his chest with the peak lapel. Not to mention, the peak draws the viewer's eye up toward his face, highlighting his eyes, strong features and great haircut. Usually it's the younger guys who are still figuring out their personal style that experiment with tux details (think long ties instead of bowties, etc.), but once you've reached a certain age/sense of style and are known for always nailing classics, there's no reason to push the envelope. At a certain point, you're just pushing it the wrong way.What do you think? Do you prefer the peak to the notch on Clooney too?

How to Wear Spring's Statement Shoes (+ Rath & Co. Featured in WSJ)

Spring 2012 Men's Shoe TrendsA big thank you to The Wall Street Journal for including me in the recent article, Spring Shoes for Men Step Brightly. The piece discusses how men's footwear is trending toward colorful uppers or soles and "statement" elements like spikes and wild patterns; my advice on how to incorporate this trend into your wardrobe is included at the end of the article.After speaking with the WSJ reporter, I had an outfit brainstorm, and below I share with you a few specific looks that incorporate Spring 2012's shoe trends.

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T&F Slack Men's Shoes

1) A great Spring combo would include a pair of neutral shoes with a neon sole like the bucks, above, from T&F Slack. Pair them with white straight-leg jeans and a denim shirt for a casual night out.

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Tod's Men's Competition Shoes2) If the shoe itself is brightly colored, like Tods' royal blue Competition Shoe, go with a dark wash, straight-leg jean, a grey henley shirt and a navy vest.

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Esquivel Men's Boots3) If neon shoes are too much of a commitment for you, you might dip your toes in the trend by adding color via your laces, as with the Esquivel shoes above. Because the color pop is not too prominent, you can play around by incorporating other colors into your look. Pair these boots with dressy jeans and a sport shirt that has some yellow in the pattern, like the one below from Polo Ralph Lauren. The reason yellow and purple work together is that they are complementary colors, meaning that they live opposite from each other on the color wheel. When used together, complementary colors intensify each other and create a harmonious color scheme.

Polo Ralph Lauren Men's Shirt

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Jimmy Choo Men's Provocative Paisley Slipper4) For a shoe where the detail (as opposed to the color) is the statement, like Jimmy Choo's "provocative paisley" slippers above, you want to keep the rest of your look tailored and simple. Wear these with a midnight three-piece suit for a posh night out, or for a more casual event, try a medium grey dress shirt and black or charcoal grey pants. The important thing to keep in mind with shoes like this is that they need to be in line with your personality, and wearing them with confidence is key. (As an aside, check out this fun Bond-style video detailing the Burlesque silhouettes hidden in the print.)

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I hope the post above gives you ideas for your own combinations if you decide to rock Spring 2012's shoe trends. Let me know what outfits you put together!

A Rath & Co. Wedding: Sarah and Jonathan

Groom wedding stylingOne of the crazy fun ways we spend our time here at Rath & Co. is styling grooms and groomsmen for weddings (sometimes the brides get in on the action too). I recently got pictures from a beautiful wedding I styled for Sarah Jenks and Jonathan Brajtbord, above, back in June. Sarah is a bridal weight loss coach, and Jonathan is a urologist -- certainly a case of opposites attract in terms of her eastern and his western approach to health care, but it works. They were ridiculously happy, and not to mention all over each other, at every point in the wardrobe planning process.Details: The color scheme for the bridal party was grey and pink. We got Jonathan into a winning three-piece suit from Simon Spurr, a white dress shirt from Michael Andrews Bespoke, a pink and grey stripe tie from Billy Reid, and a pair of black Lucchese cowboy boots (the man is a Texan, after all). The groomsmen all wore gray suits, white shirts, and the same Billy Reid tie as Jonathan. The couple wanted some uniformity between the groom and groomsmen, with Jonathan standing out marginally. So we opted for a three-piece suit for him and two-piece suits for the guys. And the ties matched the pink of the bridesmaids dresses. More pictures below.Congratulations Sarah and Jonathan! You guys rock.Groom Styling Groomsmen ties match bridesmaid dresses Read more about Sarah and Jonathan's wedding here.

Shopping Excursion: Rehearsal Dinner Options for Grooms

In our search for dashing rehearsal dinner options for grooms, Brian Leahy (founder of The Groom Says blog) and I start the day at Kmart and end up at Michael Andrews Bespoke. Part I of the interview (at Kmart) can be read on Brian's blog here, and Part II (at MAB) here.Kmart Men's Rehearsal Dinner Options Michael Andrews Bespoke Groom Rehearsal Dinner Look Michael Andrews Bespoke Groom Rehearsal Dinner LookSpecial thanks to our gorgeous models, Alex and Adam, and to Michael Andrews Bespoke.Images courtesy of Joanna Wilson Photography

Profile in Awesomeness: Tony Martignetti

Check out my latest Profiles in Awesomeness interview with the well-heeled and always entertaining Tony Martignetti, Founder of Martignetti Planned Giving Advisors and Host of Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio. Tony and I talk Garanimals, the Blockbuster Uniform, and why he can sometimes be found in women's pants. We shot this video at the beautiful Michael Andrews Bespoke studio (Note how Tony's tie and pocket square coordinate with MAB's wallpaper. The man is a pattern-matching fool.).  Click the image above to play.

How to Choose the Right Tie Width

Skinny, and even slim ties, are not one size fits all. Check out GQ’s August 2010 cover above featuring Zac Galifianakis ridiculously sporting a tie barely two inches wide. While super skinny ties have had their moment (and thankfully seem to be on their way out), one of the most important considerations you can make when getting dressed is scale, i.e. matching the size of the things you put on your body to your body. This creates balance and visual harmony, which is a nice way of saying, I am trying to help you not look like a lollipop.See how much better Galifianakis looks with a slightly broader tie? It complements the width of his face and large scale of his facial features, whereas the pencil-thin version only emphasizes them.Bottom line. If you have a broad face and neck, you’re best off with a wider tie. You don’t have to go for the lobster-bib look of the 80’s and 90’s, but consider something in the 3 ¾ -4" range depending on your size. This way you’ll look more well-proportioned and less tootsie pop. If your face and neck are more average width, you can select a more modern, slim tie, somewhere between 3” and 3 ½” across. Of course, your tie at its widest point should equal your jacket lapel at its widest point, and there are ways to determine that. Stay tuned for more posts on proportion as it relates to other elements of your wardrobe, as it truly is the foundation of sartorial distinction.It can be difficult to be objective about your body shape and scale. So, if you’d like advice that’s actually tailored to you, contact me for a body shape strategy session. I will show you which clothing proportions suit you best and why. This can be done in person in the NYC-area or by Skype and email.

How to Choose a Tuxedo: Expanded Discussion for Weddings

An abbreviated version of this article appeared on the Brilliant Event Planning blog..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........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....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.

Valentine-Worthy Date Looks

A lot will dictate how well you pull off your Valentine's date look. Success depends on aligning your selection with what you'll be doing, where and with whom. That said, here are a few ideas that will hopefully inspire you to create your own looks for whatever your Valentine's Day plans hold. Keep in mind that the best choice for you is determined by your coloring, body type and personality, so these are meant to be broad suggestions.Casual dinner at your neighborhood joint...Navy blazer + thin grey cardigan (skip the top and bottom buttons) + white v-neck t-shirt + colorful pocket square + dark straight leg jeans + laceup bootsI love the addition of a thin cashmere cardigan beneath a blazer. It adds both warmth and visual interest. The colorful pocket square shows her that despite your decidedly casual look, you recognize the day’s significance.

Casual Dinner

Fancy night out...Navy suit + lavender dress shirt + grey pocket square + brown cap-toesThis year Valentine’s Day is on a Monday, which means most likely you're meeting her straight from work. This is the perfect excuse to wear one of your most versatile pieces: the navy suit. Pair it with a lavender shirt (points for thinking outside the white and blue shirt box), and as you leave the office lose the tie and unbutton your top two shirt buttons. 

Fancy Night Out Final

Somewhere in between...White jeans + grey blazer + black and white plaid dress shirt + penny loafersContrary to what you might have been told, white jeans can (and should) be worn year-round. They’re a refreshing and sharp-looking surprise in the dead of winter, and they look terrific with black and grey. Try them without a belt for a leaner look.

Somewhere in between

And all looks are, of course, + flowers.