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.

Shirt photo

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

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

The Right Fit

Tailoring Tips from The Foursome’s Expert Tailor Hyo Shik Chong

Tailor sewing and thread

Neutral spools of thread crowded in a shoe box, a row of coats with raw-edged sleeve linings waiting for their turn in the tailor’s hands, snippets of fabric and thread gathered in clumps like hair on the floor of a barber’s shop, a group of shirts draped over a chair ready for pressing. . . The tailor shop was quiet, except for the low humming of the machine that started and stopped abruptly as Hyo Shik turned the coat he was working on under the needle. He stopped sewing and sat slouched in his chair as he answered my questions. I walked away from our informal interview with a greater appreciation for the quality clothing we sell at The Foursome and learned a number of practical things for helping men discern how their clothing should fit. A few tailoring tweaks to your wardrobe can make a big difference in your personal presentation.

Check out the latest interview with our expert tailor Hyo Shik for helpful tips and a glimpse into how our tailor shop ticks. He has been a part of The Foursome team for 39 years!

Suits waiting to be tailored

What do you look for when altering a suit?
When I come to a man standing in the mirror with a suit on, I have an immediate judgement. Just by looking I can see how to make it fit right. I look at the man’s body, does he have an athletic body? Does he have broad shoulders? Etc. Each person’s body determines what should be altered. A suit should not pull in any areas, nor should it be loose fitting. A well fitted suit feels very comfortable to the customer when he moves, sits, or stands.

What is the appropriate coat sleeve length?
Usually 4 inches from the end of the thumb. Some men prefer to show their cuff, which makes it 4 1/2 to 5 inches from the thumb tip.

What is the appropriate pant length?
I generally determine a man’s pant length by his age. A younger guy, perhaps 35 and under, I mark a 1/2 inch from the floor. But for someone over 50 I want to see a slight break in the pants and mark them 1 1/2 to 2 inches from the floor. However, it is really up to the customer and what length he prefers for his pants.

What alterations can be done to an existing pair of pants to help them fit well?
For example, when someone has an athletic body, the waist is often smaller and needs to be taken in. The maximum amount that a pair of pants can be taken in is 4 to 5 inches. On the contrary, most pants are made with an extra 2 inches of fabric that can be let out. This will help someone determine whether they should get an alteration done or buy a new pair of pants.

thread spools

How easily can someone change an existing dress shirt into a slimmer fit shirt?
We do a lot of shirt alterations in the tailor shop. These days men are wearing slimmer fit dress shirts. A lot of companies have redesigned shirts in this way but we can always tailor shirts to fit well. On average, I would take a dress shirt in 4 to 6 inches.

What item of clothing do you think is most often ill-fitting on men?
If I were to walk into an event with a lot of men dressed in suits and sport coats, I can tell just by looking how well a garment fits. I can tell what clothing is cheaper and lesser quality because it does not fit well. So it is not just one item of clothing that I notice not fitting well, but the quality of the garment that makes it ill-fitting on men.

About how many pants do you hem in one week?
We hem 300-400 pants a week so about 60 a day and approximately 25-30 coats a day.

What is the most time consuming alteration for you as a tailor?
It takes the most time and skill to adjust the collar/shoulder of a garment. I have to start from scratch. It is like making a new piece of clothing because I have to take apart the collar, make adjustments and then re-attach the collar. This is why it is important to have an expert tailor who has the skills to do good work.

What item of clothing do you enjoy altering most?
I most enjoy working with luxury garments like Hickey Freeman and Hart Schaffner Marx because of the exceptional quality of fabrics, linings, and details that are worked into the clothing. I find handmade elements when I open up the suit to make alterations and I appreciate the individual components of these well constructed garments. I have to do less work on them because they are made to fit the body so well.

The Foursome offers one of the best full-service tailor shops in the Twin Cities, conveniently located onsite in their men’s clothing store in Plymouth. From complex suit alterations to mending to replacing hardware on garments, our proficient tailors enjoy serving our customers with care. We are pleased to alter both men’s and women’s garments – whether you purchased the garments at our store or elsewhere. See a list of services and competitive prices.

Interview and written by Beth Dougherty

The Foursome Man: Well Suited for Business

A popular business rule suggests you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have. A new year brings resolve to polish up those bad fashion habits and set yourself up for a successful year in both your professional and personal life. By using a little thought and planning, you can achieve a work wardrobe that shows you care about presenting yourself in the best manner possible.

When it comes to men and the office, wearing the proper clothing shows helps you feel well suited for any occasion. Whether it be an interview for a promotion, a board meeting presentation, or a meeting with clients – when you dress like a professional you will feel like a professional.

We suggest a few general rules:

  1. Err towards being overdressed. Almost everyone has been there and knows that it’s harder to overcome being underdressed than being overdressed.
  2. Choose the right suit. A suit is the anchor of a professional man’s wardrobe.
    1. Most importantly a suit must fit correctly. If your weight has fluctuated, proper tailoring/alterations can easily make your suit wearable again.
    2. Investing in a well made suit of quality fabrics will pay off over time and will last you many years.
    3. It is important to rotate your suits to give them the chance to “rest” between wearing. It will benefit you to add a new suit into your wardrobe to allow all of your suits to last longer.
    4. There is nothing boring about a crisp and tasteful navy or grey suit. Whereas there is a place for fashion forward suits and sport coats, be sure you have the basics covered first.
  3. Accessories are what get noticed. Be sure your shirts are clean and pressed and the collars are not pilling or worn. Collar stays are necessary to give you a crisp look on point collar dress shirts. We suggest Enro or Forsyth non-iron dress shirts for easy care and great everyday wearability. Neckties and pocket squares add the finishing touch to your look and can give a pop of color and personality.
  4. Clean and polished dress shoes are a must. Shoes are often the part of a man’s wardrobe that are most neglected (but most noticed by women!). If your shoes are in good shape, take care of them with a brush & polish (we recommend Allen Edmond shoe polish that comes with a hand sponge right on the end!), replace broken laces, place them in shoe trees when not being worn, and wear rubber overshoes in sloppy weather. Shoes also need proper rotation to extend their life, so be sure you have several black and brown options in your closet. The Foursome shoe store offers quality dress shoe brands like Allen Edmonds, Cole Haan, Ecco, and Florsheim.