5 Essentials for your Fall Business Wardrobe

It’s time to dust off your fall wardrobe and head into the season with looks as crisp and fresh as the air. Here are our top picks to spruce up your fall business attire:

1. A versatile fashion sportcoat

Select a style you can wear with a dress shirt and tie for the office, or pair with denim and knitwear for a more casual look. Branch out with a bolder pattern or brighter color.

2. Modern fitting, flat-front dress pants

Choose a dress pant from a quality brand like Ballin with the Comfort-EZE waistband, and you won’t sacrifice comfort for a more modern silhouette.

3. A classic knitwear piece from St. Croix

A fashion cardigan or pull-over sweater can trade off with your sportcoat for a different, yet still very sophisticated office look. Wear a mock or polo collar knit under your coat in place of a dress shirt. Versatility and timelessness make the investment in quality knitwear worth every penny.

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4. A dress shoe with some style and flair

If you’re going to have some fun this season, start with your shoes. Try a classic look in a new color, like the blue cap-toe oxford by Allen Edmonds.

5. A premium writing instrument

It’s the fashion accessory that gets forgotten. Whether you’re signing important documents or hand-writing a thoughtful note, notice the difference it makes when you sport your own premium pen. Faber-Castell writing instruments also make a great professional gift!

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Short Sleeve Shirt Style for Men

Trend Alert: The short sleeve, button-down shirt is making a comeback. No longer just reserved for the studious, pocket-protector wearing guy, short sleeve shirts are here this season in many shapes, forms, and fabrics. Nearly every brand offers some version of this style – from Tommy Bahama linen shirts, to modern fitting Rodd & Gunn cotton wovens, to Kuhl quick-dry camp shirts with UPF 15 for your outdoor adventures.

Check out these great looks we’ve put together for summer:

Look # 1 – Lakeside Leisure

For a day that begins with a casual coffee meeting and becomes an afternoon on the boat, wear this breezy Tommy Bahama linen shirt unbuttoned to show off a coral high v-neck tee. Paired with 34 Heritage five-pocket pants in stone and Tommy Bahama Felton slip-on shoes, you are set for a day to relax in style. Don’t forget your personal writing utensil made by Faber-Castell.

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Look # 2 – Work Ready

If your office vibe is trendy and casual, muster your inner hipster and give this summer look a try. Maker & Co button-down shirt in classic gingham (we love the Corozo buttons) paired with fashion denim from 34 Heritage and your favorite nerdy glasses (these readers are from Scojo).

Fit tip: To pull off this look, find a trimmer fit shirt that flatters your shape and is not boxy. Sleeves should end mid-bicep and you should only be able to fit a few fingers between it and your arm.

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Look #3 – Party Cool

For your summer barbecues or live-music date, go for a Kuhl camp shirt layered over a pop color maize yellow tee from Tasc, offering tons of performance qualities like bamboo, UPF15, and moisture wicking. On the bottom, we love these new stretch cotton cargos from Thaddeus for the ultimate in comfort.

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To get these looks and more, visit The Foursome Fine Men’s Apparel in Plymouth, MN or shop www.thefoursome.com

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

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

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

Limelight Shoes: A Slice of Color and Nice

Lets talk about something that will put a little spring in your step. Limelight shoes. Even if you don’t get out much, I am sure you have seen brightly colored shoes somewhere, in some way, shape, or form. I am not a trend expert but I notice things. And anyway, neon is hard to miss. We saw a splash of it in golfwear and neckwear for spring 2012 and I know there is more of to come this spring. I wrote a blog post about color when fall apparel hit. But right now I am mainly talking about shoes. The bright and vibrant shoe trend, throbbing with color from laces to soles. I did not catch much of the Olympic Games this summer but enough to notice the hundreds of athletes shod in electric footwear. Check out this article about Nike’s neon shoe ambush. It is pretty intriguing.

So I know what you might be thinking – neon colors are a blast from the past. The 80’s are over. Not interested. Or – I am not into wearing florescent athletic shoes. Fine. But that is not the only way to wear this trend. How about a pair of dress shoes with just a slice of color? A sole with a bit of hue? Brightly colored laces? If you are not walking down the fashion runway on a regular basis, then accessories and footwear are the best and most versatile way to incorporate these vigorous colors into your wardrobe. And the reason for doing so is not mainly to be trendy. It is important to maintain your timeless fashion while continually adding bits here and there to stay current and interesting. A pair of exceptional shoes is one way of doing just that.

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As I perused the men’s shoe selection at The Foursome the other day looking at our newest footwear, I noticed two specific things seen in various brands. Wingtips and color. In most cases they were together. A traditional shoe design merged with the color craze. Subtle, yet full of character. Brilliant and tastefully crafted. Allen Edmonds, one of our highest quality and most timeless shoe brands designed a brown wingtip with hot orange rims and replaceable matching laces. Also hip wingtip boots accented in red and other similar designs. Cole Haan created a dull-ish sea blue wingtip with brighter blue laces in the same color spectrum. Or how about a pair of two-toned brown saddle shoes with blue soles. Don’t be concerned about if you have something at home that matches. They are not meant to match perfectly, that would be contrived. You can wear wingtips and colorful shoes with jeans or slacks, sport shirts or sport coats. Wingtips easily dress up or down. These shoes are worth kickin’ up your heels about. That is why I bring them to your attention. For your own fashionable good. So step out a little, your spirits will thank you.

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