Closet Refresh: Tips, Tricks, and Inspiration for Guys

Perhaps you are not the organizing type and the thought of “cleaning house” makes you want to fly away to the ocean (if the polar vortex has not already put this idea in your head). Now, in the dead of winter, with spring hopefully around the corner, is a good time to assess your wardrobe and do some rearranging. Getting your closet in order doesn’t have to be painful or take forever. Here are a few tips, tricks, and ideas to inspire a little closet revamp or perhaps complete makeover. I guarantee the outcome of either will be well worth any effort you put in. Not only will the results make your morning routine more pleasant, but the process is sure to reveal items needing to be replaced, tailored, or mended.

While sorting through things, you will want to assess the state of your clothes as you go. When you buy quality, timeless clothing like we sell at The Foursome, just because you have had something a few years doesn’t mean you have to toss it. There are ways to fix and update apparel. So in “The Foursome Tailor Shop” pile, place items that have missing buttons, minor rips along the seams, etc. Also, suits or button down shirts that need an updated look can have a few inches taken in to give them a current fit and you a modern look. (Just be sure to bring them in clean.) But there does come a time when items need to go. You are sure to find white under shirts and dress shirts with yellowed collars and pit stains that you have had a few too many years. These can go in the “Donation” pile. Just dust off your hands and purchase a new set of basic Enro or Forsyth dress shirts for every-day wear and a few new packs of Jockey undershirts (3pk for $29.50 at The Foursome). While you’re at it, give your underwear and sock drawer a quick overhaul. Throwing out the old and replacing with 7-10 new pairs of socks and underwear will make you feel like a new person.

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Declutter
Start around the edges and get rid of things you no longer use or need. (They are often things you wonder how they made it into the house in the first place) If you haven’t used it in the last year, it is a good sign it is time to purge it.

Organization Trick: Try this hanger rotation trick for a painless way to weed out your clothes and identify what you actually wear on a regular basis versus what you think you need to keep.

Instant Closet Boost
Just getting rid of mismatched plastic and wire hangers will make your closet look like a million dollars. So take the plunge and purchase simple wood hangers for all of your hanging clothes. This alone will help the quality clothes you buy stay and look nice in your closet. Here are few options and price ranges out there.

Woodlore Cedar Pant Hangers, Tie/Belt Hanger, and Sweater Box

Woodlore Cedar Pant Hangers, Tie/Belt Hanger, and Sweater Box available at The Foursome

Color Code
Organizing your clothes by color may seem a bit over the top, especially for some guys, but it is not as hard or time consuming as it may seem. Initially it may take 20 minutes or so to group your blacks, then grays, blues, etc., but once they are hanging in color order maintenance is a breeze. Just putting it back where it goes does not take any extra effort.

Seasonal Swap Out
Especially for smaller closets but to simplify any closet, storing out of season clothing items in a plastic bin will free up a lot of space in your drawers and hanging closet. Storing what you wouldn’t wear anyway helps in selecting what to wear in the morning much more quickly.

Surprise Yourself
Sometimes you have a handful of timeless items you just haven’t worn in a while but can’t seem to part with for whatever reason. One idea is to pack a surprise bin, where you store these items out of sight for a while. Then, when your wardrobe feels tired and you want something “new” to throw in the mix, open the surprise bin and see if anything strikes your fancy. What’s left, time for the give-away pile.

Door Storage
Depending on the size of the closet, it is often necessary to store things up off the floor. There are many inexpensive over the door hooks out there that can be very handy for hanging things like your leather bag or dry cleaning items. Shoes are one thing easily strewn here and there but check out this attractive over the door shoe organizer to keep pairs together. Need extra hanger space? Check out this nifty over the door hanging rod.

– By Beth Dougherty, Inspiration and Display Coordinator at The Foursome

The Material World: New Textiles and Treatments

Tommy Bahama multi-textured outfit

Tommy Bahama multi-textured outfit

An observation while unloading new merchandise onto the shelves this spring is: The material world has expanded in recent years. It seems that every garment was made of intriguing surfaces and carefully produced textiles, the fabric and dyes woven with interest and technique. Making new clothes look vintage or worn is not a new idea, but production processes continually advance, resulting in new merchandise each season.

Each brand The Foursome buys brings their own aesthetic and flavor into our store. They are the highest quality we can find. Quality truly matters. It lasts significantly longer than cheap look-a likes, it is noticeable even from a distance, and most importantly is felt by the wearer. Apparel made with fine material and constructed in smaller batches has the ability to offer a unique look. Specialty hardware, fasteners, and buttons add details that affect the overall look of any pant or shirt. The process in which clothing is designed and constructed is complex and involved.

One of the most innovative brands in creating a wide variety of textiles within their line is Tommy Bahama. They never tire of inventing new wearable surfaces. Some of their garments arrive already absorbed by the sun. Others have raw edges like their popular Fray Day polo shirt. Variation within the dye of a single sweater offers a casual yet sophisticated look. Different blends and weights of fabrics feel different against the skin and drape differently on the body.

It is inspiring to see new merchandise this spring that has evolved from only a year ago.  Beautiful new color combinations and color palettes to work into your wardrobe. Rustic and interesting textiles designed with style. So take notice. The materials these days are anything but uniform.

Below is a beginners list of textile terms. See if you can name a few next time you are in shopping.

Tommy Bahama sweater with garment over-dye

Tommy Bahama sweater with garment over-dye

Garment Dye
A special dye used to add color to finished garment. Rather than dying raw fabric before cutting and sewing, dying is done to individual pieces after construction. This can be done uniformly but it is also how they achieve subtle washed out dye along the seams and naturally throughout the garment.

Tommy Bahama yarn dyed knit shirt

Tommy Bahama yarn dyed knit shirt

Yarn Dyed
Yarn dyed clothing is made by first dying the yarn before weaving and construction. This is where you will notice beautiful subtle variation throughout the entire knit garment. The appearance can vary greatly between how fine the yarn gauge is to what type of yarn and dyes are used.

Tommy Bahama polo shirt with contrast stitching

Tommy Bahama polo shirt with contrast stitching

Contrast Stitching
When the stitching along the seams is a different color than the main fabric color. The details in types of stitching and where this contrast stitching is incorporated can completely change the look of the apparel item.

Tommy Bahama slub texture linen sportcoat

Tommy Bahama slub texture linen sportcoat

Slub Texture
Slubbed or nubby yarn adds intentional texture to fabrics and visual appeal. Machines are set to modify how much slub is present in the weave of a material so designers can implement their desired effect.

Tommy Bahama sueded cotton shirt

Tommy Bahama sueded cotton shirt

Sueded Cotton
Brushed, sanded, or chemically treated for extra softness. A sueded cotton t-shirt feels completely different than your basic cotton t-shirt. It has a different weight to it and drapes a little closer to the body.

Tommy Bahama woven double cloth shirt

Tommy Bahama woven double cloth shirt

Double Cloth
This interesting fabric is most often composed of two distinct fabrics lightly connected by a third binding weft. Basically, the exterior and interior fabric of a shirt will look completely different but are one fabric.

– By Beth Dougherty, Inspiration and Display Coordinator at The Foursome

Avoid the Winter Blues for your Shoes

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Winter is tough. The crust and slush and muck has arrived on the terrain, full of “sick germs” for your shoes. Remembering the white salt stains that rimmed my nice leather boots last year, I decided to start researching better winter shoe care. After asking our shoe experts at The Foursome and a little internet browsing, I found a few precautions and simple remedies to safeguard your favorite leathers.

PREVENTION
Polish or moisturize your leather shoes and boots to protect them against the elements. At this point in the season, do this ASAP. Think of this step like lotion for your skin…you are less likely to dry out and crack when lotion and potioned up.

Good products for this step include Saddle Soap, Allen Edmonds Leather Care Lotion, and Water & Stain Protector (see leather care products below for details)

SNOW REMOVAL
Though we are all eager to get in the warm house asap, taking the time to brush the wet snow from your shoes could save you a lot of damage. This step enables them to dry out faster which is important in helping your shoes stay healthy. So keep a brush or towel in your entry and get in the habit.

BREAK TIME
We all need a break, and shoes do too. Would you want to work seven days a week? Swapping shoes every day will enable the ones taking a nap to dry out, breathe, and remain durable and flexible for their turn out in the cold. This will only prolong the lifespan of your beloved leather footwear.

DE-SALTING
Just a few wears out in the snow or down an icy sidewalk will make noticeable white rings near the sole of the shoe. Luckily, the recipe for erasing salt lines is simpler than the Cat in the Hat removing the pink ring in the tub. If wiping the salted areas just after you come indoors with a warm damp rag doesn’t do the trick, just mix up a small container with a 1:1 ratio of water and vinegar and gently rub it into the affected areas.

BAD ODOR
Ok, let’s be honest, like bad breath it’s hard to hide foot odor. A more natural approach to sprays and other topical odor treatments are cedar wood shoe trees. They sustain the form, keep the interior dry, and leave a natural cedar scent for you and your loved ones.

STOP IN FOR A COMPLIMENTARY SHOE SHINE
Visit The Foursome’s leather care expert, Cornelius, at the store on Saturdays from noon – 3 p.m. Wear or bring a pair and receive a free shoe shine. You’ll be amazed how your shoes or boots can look good as new!


LEATHER CARE PRODUCTS

Available at The Foursome. Some only cost a couple dollars and could save you hundreds.

1. Kelly’s Water and Stain Protector ($7.95)
Protects leather and suede from water and oil-based stains. Spray should be applied to new shoes and re-applied as needed throughout the season.

2. Allen Edmonds Premium Shoe Polish ($9) – buy now
Preserves and beautifies the most delicate smooth leather, helping resist dirt, rain and snow while providing a lustrous glow

3. Allen Edmonds Leather Cleaner ($4.95) – buy now
Cleans and moisturizes, natural leather.

4. Allen Edmonds Leather Care Lotion ($9) – buy now
Moisturizes, protects, and cleans natural leather.

5. Allen Edmonds Horsehair Brush ($10) – buy now
Naturally cleans and applies shoe cream and polish.

5. Woodlore Aromatic Shoe Trees ($21-25) – buy now
Keep your leather shoes in top condition. Shoes remain dry on the inside while leaving a fresh cedar scent.

6. Tingly Shoe protectors ($27-29) – buy now
The finest rubber overshoes made. Protects your fine shoes from rain and snow.

 

– By Beth Dougherty, Inspiration and Display Coordinator at The Foursome

BRIDGE: the place to buy denim

We are thrilled to “officially” introduce a new concept shop at The Foursome Clothing Store designed to bridge the gap between modern casual wear, versatile denim, fine footwear, and tailored clothing. At The Foursome, we look for inspiration and strive to implement new ideas that reach beyond the ordinary. The Bridge is a shop within our men’s shop that offers a new experience to menswear fanatics. It tells a story and gives out-of-the-box ideas to compliment various personalities.

Bridge Shop at The Foursome

Bridge Shop at The Foursome

Dressing up and down have something in common- they both revolve around denim. If you get out once in a while, you’ve probably noticed that denim is no longer just for weekend house projects. The world of denim has expanded in so many directions that jeans are as varied as a box of crayons. From washes to contours to fabric weight, there are a thousand ways to wear denim and surely a specific brand or two for every individual to fall in love with. Medium to dark washes in denim give a more sophisticated look that can even be worn in place of dress pants at times.

Denim in many washes and hues

Men’s jeans now come in many varieties and washes

New for us this season is Robert Graham denim with a hand and wash that is quite unique. Their signature red pocket lining with polka dots and washed-out multi-color stitching on the back pockets put these jeans over the top. Oh 34 Heritage denim, how we love you. More than any other item in our store, we recommend our 34 Heritage pants to everyone. What guy wouldn’t want to wear denim with stretch and superb quality that makes them look amazing. With a lower rise and younger man’s cut, Mavi jeans are made to fit the body well. This well trusted brand has been in the business for years. Tommy Bahama denim continues to make great jeans in a variety of washes. Their fashion denim is as current as any.

Robert Graham denim, new at The Foursome fall 2013

Robert Graham denim, new at The Foursome fall 2013

In addition to denim, our Bridge area has an assortment of five pocket pants. Like jeans with five pockets and exposed stitching, these pants have a similar look and feel but are constructed out of different fabric weaves and vary in drape. From canvas to velvety cotton to variegated blends with a bit of stretch, this casual pant is a great alternative to denim but with the same comfort and wearability. Five pocket pants could even replace a more traditional pair of khakis you have had in your drawer for a while.

5 pocket pants from 34 Heritage, Rodd & Gunn, and Tommy Bahama

5 pocket pants from 34 Heritage, Rodd & Gunn, and Tommy Bahama

The Bridge showcases more than just pants. As for tops, we love our Robert Graham collection full of flavor and everything special. Made with extraordinary attention to detail from the interior woven label to contrasting cuff prints to unusual buttons hand picked to compliment each shirt. Our Italian designed Bugatchi line offers modern and colorful woven shirts that look great with denim and the like. Thomas Dean button down shirts have their own look, perhaps more subtle in aesthetic but with wide spread collars and interesting cuff combinations they are very current. Offering more casual top options, our beloved Tommy Bahama denim line adds in some great long sleeve layering pieces as well as a wonderful selection of woven shirts.

Tommy Bahama denim collection

Tommy Bahama denim collection

In menswear magazines and on the street, soft coats worn with jeans are all the rage. The non-dictionary definition of a soft coat; a soft shouldered, less structured, less formal sport coat that is both comfortable and versatile. I tell guys they can even wear them like a they would a zip-up sweatshirt or their favorite quarter zip sweater. Think of a these sport coats as another layering piece and a must have! The options abound in fit and as well as fabric. You will find them made by a handful of brands and sprinkled throughout the Bridge shop.

Flynt soft coat and Robert Graham stripe shirt

Flynt soft coat and Robert Graham stripe shirt

Come and explore The Bridge, the place to to buy denim!

– By Beth Dougherty, Inspiration and Display Coordinator at The Foursome

Evolving Men’s Fashion: New Ideas for Fall

Cool evenings are sweeping us in the mood for layers and wool, texture, comfort, and rich colors. It’s that time of year again. The cycle of seasons changing brings beauty to our experiences and revives us in new ways. In a parallel way, men’s fashion continually cycles in new trends and ideas with the pattern of seasons, while retiring fading ones into the recycling bin only to be made into something new in seasons to come. One thing stands true, menswear is ever evolving. Stay current with these top five trends we’re seeing for fall:

1. Neckwear: New Contours, Colors and Textures
Just five years ago, the neckwear business had a bleak looking future. But thanks to reinventions and thinking outside the box, it is once again on the up and up. Four elements seem to be driving new excitement for this historic accessory: skinnier ties, color, seasonal fabric, and bow ties. The younger crowd is catching on and embracing it as well. So if your tie choices make you yawn, there are a plethora of inspiring new options to try. As for seasonal neckwear, Byron ties have incredibly interesting colors, weight, and textures to them. And by the way, you are no longer bound to only wearing neckwear with a suit. Guys are wearing this hot accessory with more casual wear as well.

Byron Neckties

Byron Neckties

2. Refined Casual Wear Inspired by Nature
Making a grand appearance this fall at the Foursome is a brand from New Zealand called Rodd & Gunn. Their philosophy is to create clothes that draw the best from nature in its purest state. The collection consists of cottons, wools, and leathers that are soft, practical, superbly textured and durable. Quality pulses in this brand and can be noticed a mile away both in the fit and the fabric. With a completely modern look that is grounded in the brand’s core values, the collection sings to a wide range of styles and preferences.

Rodd & Gunn apparel

Rodd & Gunn apparel

3. The New Fitting Pant
As denim business booms worldwide, we are starting to see denim-like pants popping up everywhere. They are called Five Pocket Pants, for the simple reason that they have five pockets like jeans do. With the ability to be both casual and dressier, they are perfectly versatile. Rodd & Gunn, Tommy Bahama, and 34 Heritage are a few good places to a start trying them on. A common misconception is that flat front, trimmer leg, shorter rise pants are only for the slender man. The fact is that these aspects in fit are well suited for all shapes and sizes.

5 pocket pants from 34 Heritage, Rodd & Gunn, and Tommy Bahama

5 pocket pants from 34 Heritage, Rodd & Gunn, and Tommy Bahama

4. The Versatile “Soft Coat”
Think outside tradition when you try on a sport coat this season. The new soft coat is hip, versatile, and less structured, lending to a more casual look. We are seeing them layered over button-down shirts, fine knit sweaters, and even long sleeve t-shirts. Wear with denim or any five pocket pant to work or on the weekend. It is the sport coat redefined.

Thaddeus soft coat over Bugatchi shirt and wool Byron necktie with 34 Heritage five pocket pants

Thaddeus soft coat over Bugatchi shirt and wool Byron necktie with 34 Heritage five pocket pants

5. Modern Fit
From suits to sport coats, woven shirts to pants, fit continues to trend toward the body. Less fabric and more contoured. The modern fit does not mean skinny, but current and flattering. And guys, this does not mean you have to sacrifice comfort to look good. A well-made garment will move with you and today’s fabric technology incorporates stretch without compromising quality and durability.

Modern fit Byron suit and neckwear

Modern fit Byron suit and neckwear

– By Beth Dougherty, Inspiration and Display Coordinator at The Foursome

Our New York Story: Receiving an Award for Innovation

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It is not every year that a store wins an award. Not every year that one is recognized for the things they have been hard at work doing day after day. That is why this year is special for the Foursome. And why we feel grateful to receive the Uptown Downtown Award from MR Magazine for Retail Innovation. It is an honor to be recognized among select specialty men’s stores throughout the country.

The trip to New York was a milestone and reminder of God’s faithfulness in our family business. Monday in New York we walked the market and sat in on buying appointments, which set the tone for our “big night”. In every direction, friendly faces offered their congrats for winning the award, saying things like “We read your whole article” and “Tonight is your night to shine”. 6 o’clock sharp we arrived via yellow cab at the iconic Four Seasons restaurant. The cocktail room steadily swelled to capacity with presidents, designers, and representatives of our favorite acclaimed brands. We tipped our hats to fellow store owners receiving the Uptown/Downtown and Lifetime Achievement Awards. We got to thank Jack Mitchell himself for writing Hug Your Customers, a book that has greatly impacted our leadership over the years. The excitement was high.

The Foursome entourage in New York. Scott Winterbottom, Pat Wright, Beth Engel, Gordy Engel, Nancy Engel, Nicole Chose

The Foursome entourage in New York. Scott Winterbottom, Pat Wright, Beth Engel, Gordy Engel, Nancy Engel, Nicole Chose

At the award dinner, Karen Alberg Grossman with MR magazine stirred up a great applause as she described The Foursome as a friendly and beautiful store, but emphasized the type of person Gordy Engel is. That he spends his spare time ministering to guys in his jail ministry. Together, Gordy and his daughter Nicole received the award with a heartfelt speech. After thanking many important contributors to the business and giving God all the credit for the award, Gordy ended the acceptance speech talking about the legacy his father Ron Engel began and passed down to the next generations in our family. He then said, “my dad would have turned 92 today”. A sigh of amazement hushed across the audience as they pondered the significance of receiving this award on Ron Engel’s birthday. The entire night was truly special.

Foursome award

Gordy Engel and Nicole Chose accepted the award from MR Editor Karen Alberg Grossman

Two things in particular united the stores receiving awards this year. Namely, they have a story behind who they are and how they got to where they are today. And that they found a niche somewhere in the midst of booming retail corporations. These things are true for The Foursome. We were pleased with the article written about us by Harry Sheff with MR Magazine. The attention was not mainly on what we do, but who we are and what we believe. This sets us apart. We are committed to business but are very attentive to the people involved; employees, customers, and community.

From buzzing news of being nominated for the award to the ceremony itself, every step has brought into focus the importance of being acknowledged for innovation in our industry today. Our industry of specialty men’s stores is not the same as it once was. It is smaller and fitter. Any specialty men’s store must be fit to survive. And here The Foursome is, surviving after 75 plus years, being awarded for innovation and continually asking how we can stick to our roots and ever evolve.

– By Beth Dougherty, Third-generation owner and Visual Display Coordinator at The Foursome

Southern Tide: A Quality Story

As I read the story of how the brand Southern Tide began, I was struck by how it all started with a bit of inspiration. On a trip to Italy, founder Allen Stephenson observed exceptional craftsmanship, clean lines, fine quality, and classic design. These elements combined with Allen’s South Carolina heritage became Southern Tide. It started with the well-crafted skipjack polo and rapidly grew into the highly sought after brand it is today. Including polos, sport shirts, solid t-shirts, shorts, boxers, and “flipjack” sandals, all of which we sell at The Foursome. The opaque color palette is wonderfully fresh.

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This one small story made me think of how many good stories begin. An idea. Inspiration. Imagination surpassing reason. Once a story begins, it often becomes impractical and most often seems impossible. It takes vision, commitment, work. That is what we persevere in at The Foursome, our story as a family business. We keep asking ourselves how we can improve in every area. We are drawn to craftsmanship, quality, and the people behind the brands we buy. I recently came across a wonderfully inspiring film called Hearts and Crafts about the french line Hermes. In 46 minutes, it beautifully reveals each artisan and their process of making real human made products of exceptional quality. If you need a burst of inspiration and love real people with real stories like we do, I recommend watching the film asap.

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– By Beth Dougherty, Inspiration and Display Coordinator at The Foursome