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

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

Travel Series, Part 1: Vacation Fly Away

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Do you ever pity your suitcase? Poor thing. You jam it full and sit on it, ooching the zipper shut and weighing it 9 times before the scale reaches not one ounce less than 50lbs, all the while hoping it does not split at the seams en route. Needless to say, practical packing is a great skill to acquire. So lets explore some space saving, travel friendly, versatile vacation wear to bring on your next getaway.

We should adopt a travel appropriate principle: Less is more. Wearing things twice is no faux pas, though I am not necessarily suggesting wearing the exact same outfit twice. So be creative in pairing different tops with bottoms and creating various looks with the same elements. Roll up your sleeves and loosen a few buttons for lunch and then tighten up the same shirt and throw on a soft shouldered sportcoat for dinner the next night.

My top Tommy Bahama Picks:

1. Pocket T-shirt – Pick a color, any color. Wear them alone or layered

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2. Flipster 1/4 Zip– Perfect for traveling. Two tops for the space of one. A great item to wear on the plane.

3. Linen Suit – Buy the coat and pants separate or the whole shebang. Pair the coat with denim or colored chinos for a different look. You’ll fit in at any restaurant in this perfect cross between casual and formal.

4. Linen Plaid Shorts in Haze – Breathable, sophisticated, casual. Buy linen in every shape and form.

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5. Five pocket pants in Light Sand- Half linen and cotton, textural, versatile, casual. New this season!

6. Canvas Fold-out Dopp Kit – Keep your toiletries contained and organized in your suitcase

Fashion for the Travel Man

1. Eyebobs Reading Glasses- Current, funky, and come with a durable travel case. Freshen your look.

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2. Robert Graham Shirts – Your after 9 shirt, unbutton the top two and show off the details and fashion.

3. St. Croix Cotton Pullover – A classic sweater with a beautiful color palette to choose from.

4. 34 Heritage Denim – Stretch, comfort, and slimming effects, the best pants to wear on the plane.

5. Southern Tide – The Skipjack Polo is the best, most comfortable classic polo ever made. This fun, colorful brand is new at The Foursome this spring and flying off the shelves.

Golfwear for the Course

1. Bobby Jones Full Zip Plaid Nylon Jacket – So light weight it could fit in your pocket. Perfect for travel, course, and club.

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Available in-store only.

2. Bobby Jones Polo- Mini stripe with solid contrasting collar. Thin and lightweight.

3. Cutter & Buck Polos – Thinner than paper, your skin and suitcase will thank you.

Additional Packing Tips

  • Check the 7-day forecast before you pack
  • Roll your clothes, it limits wrinkles and saves space
  • Don’t pack for the worst scenario, pack for the best
  • Wear your thickest layer on the plane rather than packing it
  • Pack just enough toiletries to get you started and buy the rest when you get there
  • Don’t weigh yourself down with extra shoe options
  • Check your suitcase weight before you leave the house

Healthy Travel Snacks

  • Hard boiled eggs = compact protein
  • Dried fruit and nut mix = salty and sweet pick-me-up
  • Rice cakes = light weight and low calorie
  • Apple = keep the doctor away
  • Green tea bags = energy boost along the way

May your packing be light, your journey adventurous, and your vacation as free as the wind. Soak up the sun and Bon Voyage!

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

Color your Spring Palette

Tommy Bahama Knit Shirt

Lucky for you, spring menswear is about color. According to The Foursome’s menswear buyer, Scott Winterbottom, you can look forward to fresh colors like lavender, orange, and green this season. Spring is a time to utilize color in interesting ways. Besides color, you can also add performance and comfort to your expectation list.

Like the drab “winter” landscape (since ours in MN has been especially so) blossoming into spring, your wardrobe will soon come to life with bright new colors, dyed twill, and a sophisticated mixing of prints and patterns. Even if you do not consider yourself a trend adopter, we are here to help with a few new ideas for spring.

Neon: Including neon in your wardrobe can be tastefully done by adding it as an accent to an otherwise mundane look. Try accessorizing with neon pocket squares, ties, socks, etc. Neon colors also pair well with neutral colors. For example, check out our Tommy Bahama Aruba Zip in slightly washed out neon colors like melon and key lime. Pair this with their authentic twill 5 pocket khakis.

Dyed Pants: Sticking with their “hometown, deep-pocket, made in America” flavor, Bills Khaki is very much with the times this season when it comes to their dyed cotton vintage twill pants in Atlantic blue, butter yellow, and salmon red. These pants are proof that you can stick to your traditions and be current at the same time.

Colored Sport coats: I wouldn’t suggest a neon sport coat but you may consider something other than a navy blazer this spring. We have a beautiful linen/silk blended sport coat by Joseph Abboud. It can be dressed up or down. We like it paired with a lavender and green patterned shirt or over a more monochrome dress shirt with blues and greens. Tie or no tie, it typifies the emphasis of spring colors in your clothing wardrobe.

Colored Dress Shirts: We offer a wide selection of dress shirts by Enro and Forsyth of Canada. Both solid colored dress shirts and patterned dress shirts can be included in your spring look this season. Many of our seasonal fashion shirts can be added to your existing spring wardrobe for a fresh look.

Prints and Patterns: Patterned dress shirts can be paired with colorful ties and even bold prints. Try contrasting pale colors with saturated colors or subtle patterns with bolder prints. St. Croix has designed a perfect spring collection that incorporates vibrant colors and patterns.

The 1/4 Zip: If you do not own one of these (or if you own five already), we have a plethora to choose from. This classic, versatile, and comfortable item of clothing is a must have in any man’s wardrobe. From St. Croix to Tommy Bahama, to many of our golf lines, there are various colors and fabrics to choose from.