Stripe Pattern Experimentation

For those who aren’t aware, I watch Korean Dramas every now and then. What each series strikes out to me, besides the evident cheesyness, is how well the Koreans are in blending pinstripes with their casual clothing.

Pinstripes suits are often utilize to convey power or authority. The lines elongates the individual, making him or her appear taller, and commands attention without being too overbearing. Subsequently, pinstripe suits has inherently associated the vertical line pattern with formality.

The Koreans, or their stylists I should say, have a great eye for pairing striped patterned clothing into a casual ensemble. Admiring their visual prowess and continuously exploring wearing formal clothing casually, I have been attempting to implement stripes into my outfits. I am still in the experimental phrase of it and have been taking it slow by using accessories first.

If you are scared of trying it, I completely understand your apprehension. Stripes, like any other existing pattern, is not for everybody. But before determining that, as always, I urge you to experiment with it before you completely shunt it away.

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One garment to consider is a pocket square. It doesn’t require much economic investment, easy to experiment with and, if you don’t like it, the opportunity to use it as a cloth or gift is present – I am kidding but you get the drift.

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The grey pocket square in the photo is from Sprezzabox, a subscription company that I am a brand ambassador for. Unfortunately you can’t purchase this exact pocket square anymore, but a great alternative is this navy seersucker one from Tiebar.

Another accessory to consider is a tie. The most common and personally the easiest the wear is the regiment stripe tie. It has a preppy connotation and the array of colours adds youth to the individual. This tie is from Brooks Brothers’s old collection but they currently carry a similar one online.

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Lastly, if you want to go all out, consider purchasing a striped shirt. This option is my favourite as stripe shirts are incredibly easy to wear. Take note of the stripe width, a thinner, pencil like, width is more suited for a formal attire – think of the first image with the navy hopsack blazer. A larger width, such as a bengal stripe or university stripe, is often in more casual shirting fabrics such as an oxford cloth. The burgundy oxford university stripe shirt in the image above is from Spier and Mackay. They make great shirts at an exceptional value. At this time, they still offer this fabric MTM and RTW.

These three, pocket square, ties and shirts, are great avenues to experiment with stripes. You can also acquire more prominent garments, such as pinstripe trousers, but that is a little too far fetched for my liking and I am not at that level, both financially and stylistically, to freely experiment with such.

Louder Summer Prints

Summer is inching closer towards its end. For some, this is a joyous occasion as it indicates that Fall, my favourite season, is approaching. Additionally, one celebratory feature of a season’s close is, evidently, the End-of-Season sale. And some websites worth browsing are FarFetch, Barneys New York, Yoox and Saks Fifth Avenue. What these e-commerce retailers have in common is the occasional sale-on-sale code that really enables for deep discounts.

I usually use this opportunity to acquire garments that are unique, one-of, experimental and heavily discounted. The challenge to this is seeking a garment that may not be worn frequently but can pass the test of times, such that you can wear it for years to come. What I come to discover is that bolder prints or patterns often fall into this category and two louder prints I urge you to consider are madras and floral.

Most will be familiar with what a floral print looks like but madras? Not as common unfortunately. Madras, originating from a city in India, is a colourful plaid-like design that is used on a variety of garment types. Quickly adopted by rich baby boomers in the 1960s to establish social standing, madras has a slight preppy connotation to it and brands, such as Ralph Lauren, still make madras pattern garments today.

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Most floral and madras fabrics are quite different from one another and it’s boldness can range from stylishly subtle to Ronald McDonald ridiculous. This is why I highly recommend reserving these patterns solely for shirts as they are easier to wear, pair and flair well with most existing wardrobes.

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What I like about these patterns that’s often overlooked, is how easy it is to wear it casually. Its a kind of garment that requires very little thought to put on. A pairing that I have come to enjoy with these shirts is wearing them with a pair of dark denim jeans or linen pants and loafers. I can also see them looking great with navy shorts and khaki/olive chinos. However bare in mind, for the latter, a lighter coloured shirt will produce a less notable contrast that is not always ideal.

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This yellow floral shirt was purchased from Zara nearly 5 years ago. It’s quite tight now and the material isn’t of the greatest quality, but, in regards to details and pattern, the shirt does not appear dated or influent with todays dress code. With loud/bold patterns, it can be challenging to observe a garment and determine if it will be relevant or wearable in the proceeding years. It requires some form of logical foresight and, more importantly, referential experience. Ultimately, remember that clothing, dressing or building your personal style is a journey/learning process that takes time, practice, education and, unfortunately, money. So don’t beat yourself over if you felt that you wasted money purchasing something that you no longer wear now. Trust me, we have all been there.

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Back to the post’s topic, on hot summer days, specifically with a humidity such as Singapore’s, you don’t really need to wear a jacket. However, if you feel compelled to, I personally prefer wearing a jacket over a madras than a floral shirt. Floral shirts, especially this colourful one, tend to be bolder and often overwhelms the jacket. On the other hand, due to the blend of darker and lighter colours, a madras is more often subdued. They both though, look great without a jacket, which is occasionally great to focus on considering how repulsive a tailored jacket can seem in the heat.

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Some sale shirts I recommend are by my favourite Toronto brand, Spier & Mackay. For those who mainly follow me on Instagram will be familiar with my love and support I have for this classical menswear brand. Most of their Summer shirts are on sale right now and they have some extremely interesting floral, like this, and madras ones, like this.

Bare in mind, some of their fabrics, particularly the madras, are available at a custom fit for $59.99. An incredible steal if you ask me. In fact, they still have the madras fabric I am wearing above. For those who are hesitant on Made-to-Measure, fear not as you can input your favourite shirt measurements into your profile, which I did and turned out exceptionally well.

I am quite familiar with Spier & Mackay’s custom process and if anyone of you have further questions about the brand, please feel free to drop me an email. I am aware that this may seem like an advertised post (trust me it isn’t) so, to offset this perception, here are two other beautiful floral shirts at higher price points for your consideration, Xacus and Paul Smith.

Thanks for reading, cheers.

(Images from Spier & Mackay, Ralph Lauren, MenFashionHub & Pinterest)

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Interesting Legwear

The other day I was casually browsing Instagram, when I came across a promoted post by Olive. The photo was striking, it was a headless model wearing an oversized white t-shirt tucked into a looser fitting double pleated grey trousers.

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I was particularly intrigued by the high waisted fit and shallow reverse double pleats that meets the trouser crease. Often, fast fashion retailers make double pleated trousers that does not align with the trouser’s natural crease – which immensely annoys me.

Founded in UK 2010, they are a relatively new entrant to the apparel industry. After taking the liberty of browsing their collection online, it appears that they specialize in streetwear with an emphasis on high end fashion silhouettes. Their entire line is inherently casual and, although the silhouette differs entirely from my preferred style, there are certain pieces I could envision myself wearing, for example this beige belted cotton parka and chore jacket with a white contrast stitching.

But, personally, their leg wear section is the true gem of their assortment. They have a variety of styles at an affordable price range. I also think that some of these garments have the potentiality to blend well with tailored wear. Some of my personal favourites are Ivory Drawstring Trousers, that will look great with just a navy T-Shirt or light blue button down, and Single Pleated Light Grey Trouser, which is a great wardrobe addition as it acts similarly to a grey flannel trouser.

Nevertheless, before purchasing, I will be mindful of their silhouette, as they are quite trendy, and its composition. I cannot speak at length about their quality as I do not own a piece of Olive clothing. But, be aware that some of their garments are made in a polyester blend, making it less ideal for sustainability. I do believe that this brand is positioned at a higher tier fast fashion audience, much like Oak and Fort. Still, don’t let that deter you as it’s a great way to experiment with different silhouettes and unique garments.

Below are more photos from their leg wear section.

Thanks for reading, cheers.

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