Men’s Spring Tailored Clothing: Subtle to Perfection, as Vibrant as you Like It

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Can you smell spring yet? Men’s fashion invigorates the senses this season. Fine lighter-weight fabrics remind us of warmer air. Beautiful subtle hue variations in threads create endless color options to accessorize with. Fresh ideas and up-to-date fashions sing like the newly returning birds. The clothing hitting our store this spring keeps getting better and better. I dress my favorite sportcoat on a mannequin and change it four days later with a new favorite suit. Choosing how to outfit each suit and sportcoat is perpetually fun. Though I am eager to introduce a few new clothing lines, mainstays Joseph Abboud, Hart Schaffner Marx, Jack Victor and Hickey Freeman all have stunning pieces this season as well.

So lets get things started with a drumroll…introducing The Foursome Signature Collection. A custom program with unlikely features and countless options. Crafting your own suit is like designing a house from the ground up. You get to have it exactly how you want it, down to the buttons. Do you have an athletic build? Always wanted a double breasted suit or a peak lapel? Ever wish you could flash a fancy lining when you reach for your business card? All the details are up to you. But don’t get intimidated if you are not an architect by trade, our skilled fashion experts will be with you in the process, from swatch hunting to measuring. The unusual thing about The Foursome Signature Collection is that you do not have to wait months for the clothing to be made. We are talking 1-2 weeks max! Its crazy. Suits and sportcoats starting at $695. Definitely sounds too good to be true. (But it is true.)

Next exciting news on the table is is a clothing line by the name of Byron. With a lengthy list of desirable features and consistent attention to detail, these suits and sportcoats are worth of a try-on. I especially appreciate the modern “British” fit and balanced jacket design. It is tailored to created some waist suppression, has a trimmer sleeve head and a slightly shorter jacket length.

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Byron boasts of its canvas construction with a floating chestpiece. Sounds superlative, right? Well I had to look up exactly what that means. In brief, there are three types of coat construction. Full canvas construction is handmade with a free-floating piece of material between the jacket’s exterior fabric and interior lining. (Takes forever to make!) Fused means it has a layer of glue or adhesive that completely binds the layers together, creating a stiffer and less natural fitting coat. Between these extremes is (old world) Canvas Construction with a (modern technology) Floating Chestpiece. The canvas provides a proper drape, while the floating (not fused) upper chest ensures a longer lifespan and more natural fit when you are on the move. One surface detail to look for is pick stitching, a simple running stitch that catches only a few threads of fabric at a time. Subtle handwork is a sign of quality in fashion.  Click here for a more extensive look at the Byron suit design.

I must mention the vibrant neckwear we are seeing. Screaming with color and so very tastefully made. (not too surprising since I have been writing about the color craze in fashion these days, its everywhere.) Our London made ties by Seward and Stern will make you want to walk all over town. They remain committed to the time-honored craft of cutting and folding ties by hand, being one of the few out there to design and color their own neckwear. Geometric and organic patterns to boost your own aesthetic.

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If the idea of putting on another tie does not excite you, let me clue you into an equally appropriate alternative. The pocket square. Think of it as your new maintenance-free accessory. I am even suggesting it in place of the tie every once in a while. We have a great spring selection with interesting color combinations and patterns. It may break your own rule book but I promise you won’t be the only guy out there doing it.

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

Beyond the Holiday Sweater

Guys, are you feeling a bit uninspired about what to wear to your holiday parties this year? Not looking forward to de-pilling that sweater vest you wore a few too many times last year (and the year before)? Well dread your holiday wardrobe no longer, there is no need to think typical when it comes to fashionable attire this season. These outfitting suggestions are simple, versatile, and fresh. Our aim is to help you turn one or two garments into multiple outifits suitable for different occasions.

Be freed from traditional pressures, you do not have to dress like a Christmas tree to be festive. Red and green are fine colors to wear, but they are not the only colors suitable for this time of year. The colors you wear evoke a mood. Warm browns and rusts and oranges like the fireplace. Cool blues in every shade like ice and snow. Bright reds and purples like holly and wine. Neutral tans and creams like a cinnamon cappuccino. Everyone is drawn to some colors more than others. We encourage you to follow your instincts and allow us to help guide your appearance forward.

Fashion rules are both said and unsaid. Some trends come and go quickly, some trends are slower moving and last longer. Colored pants, for example, are everywhere right now. We are seeing them for spring 2013. They are fantastic, but in my opinion this trend is faster moving. However, I don’t foresee slimmer fit suits and pants vanishing anytime soon. Similarly, flat front pants and non-button down collars are increasing in production. I mention these things as you consider what direction you want your threads to move toward. What can you wear a tie with? What about pattern on pattern? Denim with a sportcoat? Consider something new this holiday season. Everything we have to offer is first-class.

To set you at ease, The Foursome is here to help you dress felicitously. How formal is too formal? What outfit suites what festivity? Below you will find seven scenarios, one or more you likely already have on your calendar. Consider each outfit a starting point, to which there is great potential for dressing up or down.  Infinity the limit.

FORMAL | For your Holiday Benefit Party

They picked over-the-top fancy, you pick the color. Renting or buying a tuxedo is not so boring after all. Select your favorite tuxedo accessories and be as distinct as you like.

Rental tuxedo by Jim’s Formalwear, $145
100% silk cummerbun and bow tie set for purchase to go with your own tuxedo, $95

Alternatives: For something seasonal, try a red vest and bow tie with a Christmas patterned pocket square.

FASTIDIOUS | For your “Invitation only” Holiday Gala 

We recommend you dress excessively particular for this event. Let them take your picture in black and white to bring out the contrasting tonal patterns between shirt, tie, and pocket square. This elegant ensemble is timeless, yet sleek and up to date. The suit is sure to be a foundation piece in your wardrobe with potential for the future.

Nailhead suit by Hart Schaffner Marx, $895
Non-iron dress shirt by Enro, $89.50
Striped silk necktie by Barbara Blank, $55

Alternatives: Wear the suit with a solid shirt and pair with patterned bow tie or a fascinating tie by Dion.

FANCYPANTS | For your Holiday Wine Tasting Party

Who said you should wear red to every holiday party? Some traditions are worth breaking. A color palette of rich blues and navy and gray create a sophisticated look while checks and dots add some flirtatious flair. The navy cashmere coat is as classic as they come and can be worn in a hundred different ways.

100% cashmere navy sportcoat by Jack Victor, $695
Grey flannel pants by Hart Schaffner Marx, $275
Blue checked shirt by Enro, $89.50
Polka dot silk tie by Seaward & Stearn, $125

Alternatives: Dress it down with a pair of St. Croix corduroys and a knit turtleneck.

FOLKSY | For your holiday work party

If you haven’t worn a sport coat with denim before, wait no longer. This outfit is the perfect example of how to do it in style. Grainy browns in the vest and sport coat paired with an extraordinary shirt by St. Croix adds a bit of blue that compliments the denim.

Sport coat by Jack Victor, $550
Vest by Hart Schaffner Marx, $125
Shirt by St. Croix, $215
Denim by 34 Heritage, $165

Alternatives: Take the coat off and admire the vintage looking vest with contrasting fabric on the back, plus you have a new outfit for date night. To dress up the sport coat, wear it with flat front slacks and a patterned sport/dress shirt.

FASHIONABLE | For your Special Holiday Date Night…or Happy Hour

Robert Graham is nothing but fashion, and this outfit is fresh attire. A purple, gray, and camel colored argyle sweater with matching paisley tie will help you celebrate the season with flair. Black washed denim is something you want in your closet. These jeans have dressing-up ability.

Purple shirt by Robert Graham, $178
Paisley tie by Santorelli, $98.50
Argyle sweater by Scott Barber, $245
Denim by 34 Heritage, $165

Alternative: Take the sweater off, roll the cuffs, tie or no tie, and you are ready for the city. For a totally different look, wear the sweater with a mock turtleneck and charcoal flat front cords.

FESTIVE | For Christmas Eve Dinner with the In-laws 

Traditional but not typical. An Italian inspired Visconti shirt adds festive glimmer with silver threads woven in. Don’t forget to turn your cuffs up for a holiday worthy pattern. The red wool sweater by Raffi is a must have for your wardrobe. At a great price point, try another color and take home two.

Marino wool red v-neck sweater by Raffi, $105
Striped shirt by Lusciano Visconti, $95
Black mercerized cotton pant by 34 Heritage, $185

Alternatives: Take the sweater off and you have a new shirt for happy hour. To dress it up, wear the shirt and sweater with a pair of charcoal Zanella pants or wool slacks. You could even throw on a black sportcoat.

FAMILY | For the Kid’s School Christmas Pageant

In typical Tommy tradition, you get style with comfort. You won’t want to take this outfit off at the end of the day. These light tan cords go with anything and are full of warmth and seasonal texture. Silk Tommy shirt should be worn untucked and looks stunning with this black zip top. It is a cross between a sweater, sweatshirt, and jacket. Great detailing.

Light tan corduroys by Tommy Bahama, $128
Tommy Bahama silk shirt, $138
Black double pocket zip sweatshirt by Tommy Bahama, $168

Alternatives: For a dressed up snowy look, wear the cords with a Scott Barber shirt and cream cashmere sweater by Raffi. Or try our new 5 pocket travel pants with the silk shirt.

Join us for a special Men’s Night at The Foursome on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Our expert sales associates – your personal shoppers for the evening – will help you assemble a great holiday wardrobe. Plus, enjoy tasty appetizers from Jake’s Grille, a free shoe shine, shoulder massages and hair consultations from Sport Clips stylists, and 20% savings on your purchase that night.

  – Words and Photos by Beth Dougherty, Inspiration and Display Coordinator at The Foursome

Accessories Make A Statement

Accessories are often essential items but are not limited by function. They help tell your fashion story, which does not have to be eccentric but is hopefully not boring. Some accessories are worth spending money on. For example, I justify spending a little extra dough on my spectacles because I wear them everyday and they are one of the first things people notice on me. (I love scrolling through our reading glass spinner on my way through the store. Did you know Eyebob frames can have prescriptions put in them!)

Tommy Bahama fall jacket layered with Hart Schaffner Marx vest, vintage Stormy Kromer hat, and Lauer gloves.

Accessories might strike some as feminine. But men’s fashion has caught onto a lot of what women have been enjoying for years. Take stretch denim for example. At The Foursome, we have a hard time keeping our beloved 34 Heritage denim fully stocked because it literally flies out the door. These “stretch” jeans are slimming and comfortable, yet are made to fit men well with extra height in the back waistline and the right amount of room everywhere else. Or what about socks? (I used to collect socks from my favorite Japanese line, so I am aware of the uniqueness a pair can offer your outfit.) Between Marcoliani and St. Croix and SmartWool, men are not left out in the cold when it comes to sock fashion. Socks are no longer just essential, they make a statement.

Marcoliani Italian socks pair well with Allen Edmonds shoes

Of the many available accessories for men, scarves are on my radar these days. Without looking at statistics, I can say from observation that scarves are a hot item. Women and men are wearing them every season of the year, they range from cotton to wool to silk and their price range is just as far reaching. A scarf adds color, pattern, personality. Winter is the obvious time to grab a few new ones to spice up your collection or replace the oldies.

While dressing mannequins a few months ago, I happened to walk past an informal buying meeting with Seaward & Stearn. In addition to eye-catching ties with flair and color, I spied a collection of scarves with as much fun woven into them as you would expect from this London based company. This week I noticed their arrival at The Foursome when I first came into work. I unfolded them and put them on display immediately. Seeing a folded pile of these beauties does not do them justice, varied weaves from front to back with reverse color and a mixtures of polka dots and stripes. They feel exquisite and look sophisticated. A truly special gift for yourself or someone important.

Seaward and Stern scarves

  – Words and Photos by Beth Dougherty, Inspiration and Display Coordinator at The Foursome