A New Frontier for Women: The Bespoke Suit

Blue Bespoke


The words “woman’s suit” sounds a bit banal compared to the words “man’s suit”.  After all, women began wearing suits based on the frame of reference given to them by men in suits. Because of this, there is at times, an automatic association with a woman in a suit having a certain “masculine flair” about her. And while we can admit that it may sound more interesting to think of a woman in a dress and heels than to think of a women in a suit; recently, there is something fresh and new occurring  in the female sartorial world.

It may be too early to know if this more recent interest in women’s tailoring is here to stay. But, we take notice of the stir that is occurring among women who (like their great-grandmothers, albeit often out of necessity) are discovering the joy of wearing items that are hand-sewn. And we wonder if–after skipping two generations of wearing hand-sewn items in favor of the sleuth of ready-to-wear clothing–perhaps this appreciation of tailoring is resting in our DNA and now is being reawakened?

In the 1930s, 1940s, and early 1950s, women relished wearing well-fitted suits. During next 30 years following the 50s, the female suit practically dropped off the style radar. Then, in the 1980s, we witnessed  women beginning to enter management positions at an accelerating rate, while relying on suits to wear to work. These suits were usually not that notable, and knowing about the finer points of tailoring would have sounded slightly ridiculous to the typical woman. At this time, for the discerning executive woman (in the UK and U.S), “buying a suit” usually meant a trip to Brooks Brothers.

But now, women are noticing how the art of tailoring can amp up a wardrobe, and work for them in ways professionally and personally that they previously didin’t understand. In fact, it’s almost impossible not to notice something special about a bespoke tailored suit or a well done made-to-measure item. Even ready-to-wear houses are attempting more precise cuts in coats and trousers, as a direct result of a population with a penchant for bespoke tailoring.

Decades before  the 1980s…before the suit was so directly related to something worn mainly  for work and church, we are able to find some real examples of women who dressed in suits to communicate elegance and sophistication.


Marlene Dietrich, who’s preferred tailor was Anderson & Sheppard, pulls of feminine charm with her ensemble

1940s "Skirt Suits"

1940s “Skirt Suits”

As women begin to understand that wearing a suit doesn’t have to be based on the prototypes offered by her elegant male counterparts, a new world of possibilities open to her, and a woman’s style begins to take on a life of it’s own. It is no longer a “woman’s suit”…it’s simply a creation that expresses her personality.

A suit to remember, by Roubi of Huntsman, straight from Savile Row

A suit to remember, by Roubi of Huntsman, straight from Savile Row

Fully Bespoke - Eva Herzigova by Edward Sexton

Fully Bespoke – Eva Herzigova in a double-breasted suit by Edward Sexton

Yasmin le Bon in a magnificent wool suit by Edward Sexton

Yasmin le Bon in a magnificent wool suit by Edward Sexton

Rock-n-roll sex appeal. Cindy Crawford in waistcoat and trousers, again by Edward Sexton

Rock-n-roll sex appeal. Cindy Crawford in waistcoat and trousers, again by Edward Sexton


Gangster Charm, Made-to-Measure,  Hemingway Tailors, UK

Armani 2013

Sophisticated eady-to-wear, Armani 2013

As more women become aware of their option to own a bespoke suit, we can only wonder if  the industry of bespoke tailoring and made-to-measure women’s apparel will secure a real presence among fine tailors worldwide.

This is why we are considering giving regular interest on the subject…

Sonya Glyn Nicholson

written for:  Parisian Gentleman.uk

Losing Our Emotion — Is it Now Cool to be a Flatliner?

There is a noticeable decline in the amount of emotion we use when we communicate with each other. It seems that somehow, there is an accepted perception that showing feelings of sentimentality, passion, hurt, and shame is…embarrassing (even weak).

A  flatliner is a more recent term that is used to describe a person who expresses himself through emotionless communication through:

1) matter-of-fact texts and emails,

2) robotic responses by companies during a crisis, and

3) benign stone-faced speakers at press conferences dealing with controversial topics.

And so aside from the sensationalism we see in the media today, the other end of the spectrum is pressure to deal with life on a personal and professional level without showing signs of being moved emotionally. As flatliners adopt the philosophy that the purse strings and the ego are best protected by staging”Spock-like” attitudes and  Dragnet–“Just the Facts Ma’am ”  approaches, we fall into the world of  the film set of The Stepford Wives, going about our business while being numb to the world around us. The absence of emotion in today’s world has its advantages, but something is lost along the way and we may find that we miss understanding the true sentiment behind the message. We are human after all…and the capacity to experience emotion on a high level is what differentiates us from the other species.

As I write articles on style, I stop to understand how “flatliner mentality” may affect how we dress. Of course our mood and the occasion plays the main role in affecting the way we dress. If we are in a festive mood, we dress with more flair. If we are attending a more somber event, then we dress conservatively in more toned down colors. Even so, while living in a flatliner society, we watch how the flatliner way of thinking influences how we present ourselves. One result can be that we find ourselves dressing “safely and carefully” — subconsciously avoiding creating too much emotion.

I am intrigued by the idea that our clothes can also symbolize our philosophy of life. Consider the process that a person goes through to select a tattoo. Although I’m not a particular fan of tattoos, I’ve watched person after person plan for months to make sure that the image that he or she selects to display on the body conveys a certain meaning, or symbolism of who he or she is as a person. While our clothing choices are not inked onto our bodies, the choices we make can still convey meaning.

So, I reject this wave of flatliner thinking and choose to put sentiment and real feeling behind most everything that I  do. I assume the risk of being too emotional…I assume the risk of rejecting what society sometimes tells us we must do in order to be “good”…and live my life unabashedly with fully-loaded emotion-based elegance. And, if that makes me uncool, then so be it.

Elegance is all about emotion and the ability to share emotion with others. ~Hugo Jacomet

~Sonya Glyn Nicholson


Classic barrel cut cuff with a twist...reverse button and angle cut tips

The White Shirt — Telling the Men from The Boys

Written for: Parisian Gentleman

by Sonya Glyn Nicholson

Don’t deal in lies.

Don’t give way to hating.

And no matter how tough the going gets… hold on.

Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936)  gave boys everywhere expert advice on how to become a man in behavior and character in his well-known poem,”IF”.  Kipling’s dictum to young men everywhere sticks in my mind and makes me notice the “great divide” between men and boys. And the more time we spend on this planet, the more that it becomes apparent that turning age 18 or age 21 definitely does not make a man.

And who can forget T.S.Eliot’s (1888-1965),«The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock», where we visit the tortured male psyche that tosses and turns with feelings of inadequacy–the prototypical well-cultivated modern man whose social moors crack at the surface as he struggles with the dichotomy of his emotional closeness, yet distance, from the world that he knows?

While admittedly a mental stretch, I draw the analogy that the perineal white shirt is able to give clues about manhood itself. And OK, even if you disagree that a white shirt is an indicator of manhood, still–the postulate makes the topic of the white shirt a little more interesting. After all, even Dougal Munro, President of Holland and Sherry, who selected my fuchsia fabric (yes, he chose fuchsia!) for a recent suit, told me when I asked for advice on selecting a shirt fabric to pair with my suit–with a bit of a pause, a slightly crooked smile and a jesting shrug, he said…«It’s just a shirt».

The day I met Dougal Munro, President, Holland & Sherry

Still, male and female alike–we love our white shirts. The white button-down shirt is on constant duty — prepared to rescue its owner whenever he finds himself in a sartorial stupor. The white shirt is worn until its last breath, or until its color shifts to some unknown off-white shade that is only named in paint store flip-guide color palettes. We  have a certain penchant for our new white shirts. And, like a new car’s first scratch, we cringe at the first drop of red wine or salsa dip that jumps defiantly onto the front panel (of course) of our gleaming white.

Without a man saying a word, the choice and condition of his white shirt is able to give a few clues about his personality. Noticing his white shirt during the span of one week, I can’t help but have some clear impressions about whether this person is creative or unimaginative, takes care with his appearance or is indifferent to dressing well, and whether he is good at attending to details or not.

Without going into excessive explanations, we can agree that the man who shows up to a meeting with a faded, slightly wrinkled white shirt that looks like it was picked off the shelf at Wal-Mart (alongside a baguette and some shaving cream), has nothing on the man with the clean, crisp, white, well-woven shirt with an obviously selected weave, collar, cuff and placket style. And, all of this leads me to wonder…if a person decides embrace the gestures and attitudes of being the man (or woman for that matter) that he wants to be…will he become that man?

If it seems silly to elevate the importance of a white shirt, it seems less silly to do so when we realize that for many of us, the white shirt is on our backs a couple of hundred times a year. A white shirt can create emotion, even if it is just a shirt.  And if we look at shirt-making as an artform and an act of craftsmanship, then we began to sense the possibilities of making this staple…something special.  The chase to create a signature white shirt specifically designed for a man can’t help but be an intriguing adventure that yields real dividends.  And, what man or woman would not be at least curious to see such a result?

It only takes a little time to review the options in front of you before selecting a shirt…specifically your shirt, formulated by your own thoughts and preferences.

For a quick reference on choosing your ready-to-wear, made-to-order, or custom shirt, start here:


Jean-Claude Colban of Charvet gives us a glimpse into the world of fabric selection.

I recently scrutinized every shirt available (several hundred) offered by Howard’s. After more than a week of studying in detail a vast selection of shirt construction variations, I began to approach the possibility of having at least a respectable discussion about the art of shirt-making.

Most strikingly, I noticed during this review of Howard’s shirts, that by changing the type of fabric weave in identically constructed shirts, a major overall difference resulted in the appearance of the shirt, simply based on the fabric of which the shirt was constructed.

Although there is an array of fabric choices available, here are the basic fabric groups you may select from to get the look that you want.

TWILL (Includes Herringbone)

Twill fabrics include standard twill and herringbone twill. Each of these constitute a special weave that that has diagonal ribbing, or  wale. The diagonal weave causes twill fabrics to have a softer hand and fewer wrinkles. They are also easier to iron. On the downside, twill fabric is more difficult to clean if it gest soiled, and will not be as crisp as a well-pressed broadcloth or pinpoint. If you like a softer and heavier fabric with dimension,  you will enjoy a twill or herringbone white shirt. Twill fabrics are suitable for formal and informal occasion.

Standard Twill shirting fabrics

Herringbone twill shirt


The Oxford weave is much like pinpoint cotton, except for slightly heavier thread. It is the most durable, but also the most casual of the fabric choices, as it was originally designed for wear during sports. While an Oxford shirt works well for casual wear, it should not be used for formal occasions or after 6 pm.

The Pinpoint weave is like Oxford, except a finer thread and a tighter weave is used. More formal than Oxford, but less formal than Poplin (or Broadcloth), the pinpoint is highly versatile since it can shift into both the casual and the dress-up realm. Durability is the key advantage of the pinpoint, which has a formidable construction.

The Poplin (or broadcloth) weave is tightly woven fabric that has a very simple over-under weave plus a sheen that makes it quite dressy. Since poplin is thinner and lighter than the other fabrics, sometimes it can be slightly transparent.

There are other options, of course, ranging from honeycomb patterns to high-end sea island cotton constructions. But, knowing the four weaves above is basic and a great beginning to designing a quality shirt.


Master Shirtmaker David Gale of Turnbull Asserwww.turnbullandasser.com.

The collar selection may be the greatest indicator of the mood of a man. Take a look at these collar choices, as well as a few examples of the shirt-maker’s result:

An especially attractive collar style is the “cutaway” widespread collar with short points. Howard’s of Paris does this collar quite well, and gives us a nice look at this striking design.

A daring, yet strong collar choice, the extra-long points collar:

The traditional, regular length, points collar works well with a serious suit:

A unique choice, a widespread collar with extra fabric. Sometimes a simple photo says it all (© Andy Julia / Moynat / PG)

Moving into the couture realm…widespread meets regular cut with a semi-spread collar:

Thom Sweeney, London Mayfairwww.thomsweeney.com

A well-done rounded tab collar give a sense of a regal and historical penchant for style :

Hugo Jacomet wearing a Courtot, rounded tab collar Bespoke shirt.


Even with a suit coat, the shirt cuff is always visible and deserves some contemplation to get the overall look that you want. Here are eight cuff choices that offer a great starting point when experimenting with cuff cuts.

French cuff.

Barrel Cuff
barrel cuff

barrel cuff

Angle cut simple cuff.

Infamous James Bond cocktail cuff, also known as the Flowback Cuff, Neapolitan, Turnback, Milanese, or Portofino Cuff.


The placket area (or button-down area) of a shirt has three standard designs.

Plackets are almost always made of more than one layer of fabric with interfacing between the fabric layers to give support and strength to the fabric area. The placket not only is a style statement, but is also functional, as if it is sewn well, it lessens the stress on the button area of the shirt when the garment is worn. The placket may overlap to make the shirt more tactile friendly–keeping fasteners from rubbing against the skin and even hiding undergarments. Of the style choices, the plain front gives a simple streamlined look, a front placket adds dimension to the shirt, and a fly front gives the most formal result.

Plain front.

Placket front.

Fly front.


Hugo recommends these shirt-makers to pay attention to :

Courtot (Bespoke only)

113 Rue de Rennes, 75006 Paris, France

Phone:+33 1 45 48 54 86

No website.

Hugo’s personal shirt maker. Small traditional Parisian house. Warm and simple atmosphere. Fair prices.

Lucca (Bespoke only)

58 boulevard des Batignoles, Paris 75017, France

Phone:+33 1 43 87 75 10

No website.

Craftsmanship passed down through the generations, you won’t even find a website on Lucca. But the journey to this obscure and hidden shop will be worth the effort. Traditional bespoke. Fair prices.

Fray Italy (Ready-to-wear)


Not child’s play. A Frey shirt ($450.00) as featured in The Contender Magazine.

Emma Willis (Bespoke and Ready-to-wear)

66 Jermyn Street,

London SW1Y 6NY

United Kingdom

T+44(0)20 7930 9980


The only women bespoke and ready-to-wear men’s shirtmaker on Savile Row.  Adheres to traditional English shirt making techniques, using luxurious Italian and Swiss Cottons, silks and linens, many of which are designated exclusive to her collections.

The special silk above is designed by Emma Willis and is woven exclusively for her in Italy.  It is woven as Oxford Cotton, but using Silk yarn, creating a soft matte effect… Wonderful.

Dege & Skinner (Bespoke only)

10, Savile Row

London W1S 3PF

United Kingdom

T+ 44(0)20 7287 2941


The first – and still only – house to provide its own bespoke shirt facility on Savile Row. Dege & Skinner provides exquisite traditional bespoke shirts to demanding and refined gentlemen all around the world. The House’s shirt head cutter, Robert Whittaker, has won acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic.

Sonya Glyn Nicholson.


Couture Lab feature on Charvet

The Suits of James Bond, An Interview with James Cook, Turnball & Asser Bespoke

Howard’s of Paris, Spread Collar

Glammeup: James Bond, The Double Oh of Style

Plackets: OfficeDressShirts. com

Michael Caine featured in Mr Porter.

Men and Their Clothes — What Women Think (Part II)

by: Sonya Glyn Nicholson Written for Parisian Gentleman . uk


Articles that pitch how women feel about the way men dress can be met with little, if any, enthusiasm. Usually, these recycled articles are scanned for key points and forgotten within minutes after reading. In fact, when I was commissioned to write this article, I felt a little flushed, maybe even embarrassed–for fear of joining the ranks of Cosmopolitan magazine writers throwing together trite articles on sex-appeal, revealing contrived tricks on how to catch a mate.

As a contrast to the brain-numbing content of these redundant articles, I realized that spending a mere ten minutes reading a passage from books such as “The Suit” by Nicholas Antongiavanni will likely have the opposite effect on the ability to recall information after reading—and, it is a good bet that after reading a passage from such a book that the reader will be able to recall the bulk of what he or she read indefinitely.

Inspired by this same spirit of authors such as Antongiavanni, we launch into a more meaningful look at how the way men dress may affect the perceptions of the fairer sex by identifying general archetypes of men’s style with ample photographs, including specific shoe recommendations by the Parisian Gentleman for each archetype, and also discussing the general impressions that may be created by these very different categories of men’s style choices. Also added is some playfulness in stereotyping the personalities of men in different categories, if just to give a wink at these slightly ridiculous articles that we see in many women’s and men’s magazines.

A book with an unpretentious cover that gives real style direction with solid explanations behind the recommendations.
A book with an unpretentious cover that gives real style direction with solid explanations behind the recommendations.


As a man starts to become serious about dressing well, he then begins to gravitate toward one specific style choice or another, and we notice that at this point, he also starts to reveal his true persona in the process,

Persona is a term given to describe the versions of self that all individuals possess. Some men are able to recognize that when developing his persona, dressing well begins with emotion, follows with inspiration, and develops with expression of style through technical know-how and the courage to break the rules from time to time.  And put plainly, these men do draw the attention of women, sometimes getting more attention and admiration than originally intended. It is safe to say that women admire and respect a man who knows how to put himself together in dress and appearance.

Carl Jung wrote about the concept of the persona, or outer-self, even though he recognized that the outer self and inner self do not always merge completely. Jung summarized his philosophy here:

To “develop a stronger persona… might feel inauthentic, like learning to “play a role”… but if one cannot perform a social role then one will suffer”.Thus one goal for individuation is for people to “develop a more realistic, flexible persona that helps them navigate in society but does not collide with nor hide their true self”. Eventually, “in the best case, the persona is appropriate and tasteful, a true reflection of our inner individuality and our outward sense of self.

For inspiration on how a man develops his persona through the way he dresses, we turn to Cesare Attolini, a “symbol of the Neapolitan’ tailoring tradition all around the world.”  Attolini features a particularly stunning example of how a man can develop his own persona with the help of some fine tailoring. Here, from their Attolini’s 2013 collection:



casual A

This man communicates a clear message of position, power, personality, wealth, importance, good taste and a strong business acumen. In this case, the man has managed to communicate his persona that in many ways defines who he is, without requiring him to speak a word.


At least four recent studies attempt to quantify the importance of men’s clothing and how what a man chooses to wear affects the actions of women.  One recent study of 2,000 women by the detergent maker Ariel found that:

  • Poor style is a turn-off: 28% of women admit they have declined a date with someone because they disliked their clothes
  • Poor style is a deal-breaker: 60 percent of women said that taste in clothes is the top dating deal breaker (a suitor’s haircut placed second with 17 per cent, and style of shoes placed third with nine percent).

Another study commissioned by Men’s Health Magazine and conducted last year by Opinion Research Corporation (Princeton, NJ) questioned more than 1,000 American women ages 21 to 54 in two online polls and found that women ranked a man’s “sense of style” as one of the the Top 10 Traits Women want in a man.

Yet another study provided by Kelton Research (although we have not been able to locate the sample size included in the study) in 2011, found that:

  • Money isn’t everything: A vast majority (85 percent) of women think a guy who dresses well is sexier than one who has a lot of money.
  • Women will sacrifice a lot for style: Eight in ten (80 percent) women would give up something in their lives — such as going out to dinner, using their cell phone, or even having sex for an entire year — for a better-dressed partner.

A fourth study in 2010, conducted by John Townsend and Gary Levy, which received publishing rights by the Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied, showed that women tend to find men who wore “high status attire” as more attractive and were more open to developing relationships with them–ranging from “conversation and coffee” to committing to marriage and serious involvement.

Also, as a side note, even the color a man wears may affect a women’s perception of him.  A study from the University of Rochester and University of Munich found that men wearing red are more attractive, desirable and are seen as having a higher status in the eyes of women. The research was based on women rating photos of a model dressed in different coloured polo shirts and framed by different shades (The Science of Attraction, Stylist.com.uk).

With clear indications that women are affected by the way men dress, we attempt to define seven specific archetypes of men’s style and spur thought about the personas that are created within each archetype and pose questions about whether the man is creating the message to others through his individual style that he intends to create.

This exercise is meant to examine emotions that are created through how men dress. After all, dressing well begins with emotion, and everything else in regard to style is built around this emotion. As we discuss perceptions and emotions, the examples here are meant to spawn thought and reflections on what may be communicated through how men present themselves.


As frivolous as it may sound, there is no shame in a man wanting to please his partner or his potential partner by dressing well. Aside from the neanderthal objective of a male seeking to achieve Casanova status, the intent of a man wanting to please a woman by the way that he dresses is extremely charming and endearing…and is perhaps one of the reasons that it works so well when elegant dressing is done with real emotion alongside a working knowledge of some basic rules (and a knack for doing a good job at breaking those rules).

It can be said that there are at least seven distinctive styles in men’s clothing that give others a clear idea of the persona of the man. And when any of these seven styles are done correctly, it is difficult to deny the power of a magnificent fabric, the shock of a brilliant cut, the allure of clever texture and color combinations, as well as the smiles that are created by meaningful accessories, and the emotion that is incited by a shoe that depicts true art.

The following describes the seven archetypes of men’s style and examines intentional and unintentional messages that may be conveyed in each style area.

As an added touch, the Parisian Gentleman himself has selected a specific shoe that he believes best portrays each of the seven archetypes.



Timothy Everest
Timothy Everest

The stylish pragmatic appears rebellious in spirit, but style-driven with a typically limited tie collection. Even so, his strength in choosing the correct sports coat and accessories often make up for a lack of formality, simply because he pays close attention to his casual-wear style choices. Still, unless he is careful, without wearing a tie regularly and eschewing more formal style choices, this man may find himself more challenged in his style decisions since he is operating within a more “casual realm”, which puts him in the category of the majority of the population—requiring a little more staunch and creativity to distinguish himself from others. Yet if done properly, the pragmatic can leave a lasting impression of being mod, voguish, and positively progressive. Artists, entrepreneurs, and creative directors who are not concerned with keeping with tradition, often opt for the pragmatic style.

Timothy Everest, sometimes referred to as the god of the bespoke casual movement, gives us an ultra fine taste of the pragmatic style done right in the following two images.

Everest A1Everest A2

pragmatic 5
The Intentional Message of the Pragmatic: This style communicates a clear sense of fun, adventure and tenacity. It feels creative and active…almost as if there will not be a boring moment with this type of man. He moves, he shakes, he is interesting to talk with and is open and ready to take on the world on his own terms.

The Unintentional Message of the Pragmatic:  Falling a little short on glamour and romanticism, a woman may pause and wonder if life with a pragmatic could mean life without black tie events, steal-aways to Paris or Tahiti, and the occasional wonder of being treated like a princess.

Possible remedy: Choose one other archetype style, and dress in that style occasionally, which will add serious dimension to the pragmatic man.


Hugo’s Pick for the Pragmatic Man’s Shoes: Alden Leffot Naval Boots



“Less is More” is the theme of the minimalist. He believes in owning the best of the best and does not compromise his standards. There is nothing plain about his appearance because he is crisp and polished and gives the impression that he can look fear in the face until it turns away.

The minimalist will not back down in pursuing the best in all walks of life and is a force to be reckoned with in his personal and professional life. There is only a select few frills in his wardrobe like jewelry and accessories, but there is an insatiable hunger for high grade fabrics and weaves, exceptional cuts, as well as an ongoing love affair between himself and the armful of the exquisitely made shoes that he owns.

Minimalist10David B.


Minimalist 5

circa 1800s 4minimalist7

The Intentional Message of the Minimalist: To a woman, this look is classic perfection in pure form and substance. It feels correct and beautiful and oozes balance and calm. The minimalist style says yes to class, yes to intelligence, and yes to understanding the misunderstood power of correctness.

The Unintentional Message of the Minimalist: This look is safe and sometimes not everyone wants to play it safe. Sometimes we want to at least bend the rules a little and if a minimalist is too careful, then we wonder if he is able to push the boundaries in life beyond the predictable.

Possible remedy: Break some sartorial rules from time to time and use a strong accessory to add intrigue to your style. If possible, opting for “bespoke only” suits is a sure way to carry off the clean lines that accompany this look.

saunton LobbHugo’s Pick for the Minimalist’s Shoes:John Lobb Oxfords


Dashing C

The Dashing man displays ruthless flair and upon meeting him, it feels like he just arrived from New York City, Milan, Barcelona, or Paris. He looks better in a silk scarf than most women and the drape of his clothing almost sings. He is vintage and modern at the same time and, at the drop of a hat, will be able to have an enthralling conversation about old movies, classic literature, theatre and opera.

DashingDashing 1

Minimalist 2

Dashing 2


Intentional Message of the Dashing man: This look feels educated and worldly. This man will go places in life while he achieves self-actualization. He has an electric presence and is an ideal travel companion and conversationist.

Unintentional Message of the Dashing Man: This look is not always approachable and can feel intimidating in the sense that a woman may wonder if she is being judged and measured in his presence. Unless a woman is highly confident, she may be put in a position where she feels like she needs to measure up in some way.

Possible remedy: Add a smile to your wardrobe in order to put others at ease.


Hugo’s pick for the Dashing Man’s shoes: Tony Gaziano & Dean Girling

CIRCA 1800s 

circa 1800s Gentleman

This man exudes warmth and a deep intellect. He can be taken for a professor, a history-buff, or a respected statesman with an old-money essence. He seems loyal and wise and is the most likely person to be chosen to lead a cause or to speak on behalf of a group of people. Inspiration for this look is derived from the Federal, Jacksonian, Dickens, Manifest Destiny, Victorian, Antebellum, American Civil War, Gilded Age, Gay 90s and Old West eras.
Circa 1800s 1

circa 1800s6

circa 1800s 6Circa 1800s 2

circa 1800s 20circa 1800s 11

Intentional message of the Circa 1800s man: This look is analogous to comfort food and creates a peaceful presence. This type of man is highly approachable and seems strong and composed. He creates of aura of trustworthiness and intelligence and he seems to be well equipped to provide beautiful evenings filled with great wine and real conversation.

Unintentional message of the Circa 1800s man: Sometimes it may feel like this man may live inside his own head too much and a woman may wonder if he is as interested in her as much as he is interested in old cars and BBC documentaries.

Possible remedy: In this archetype, fitness is key. A healthy frame counters the impression of being self-indulgent and a bit glutenous in the realm of cigar smoking, whiskey drinking, and culinary adventures.

vassHugo’s pick for the Circa 1800s Man’s Shoes: Laszlo Vass


Countryside Elegant

He could be a banjo player, or a rugby star…or even the distant cousin that makes a woman wish that she wasn’t related to him, because he is so adorable. This man is warm and funny, adventurous and happy-go-lucky. Everyone seems to like him upon first look, since there is very little not to like.

countryside 9

countryside elegance 13countryside elegant 8

Countryside Elegant B 

Intentional message of the Countryside Elegant man: This style feels almost bohemian, and you expect that this man plays guitar or is at least is a music aficionado. Picnics and cycling trips through the countryside come to mind when you see him. Romanticism rules with this look and there is a strong swoon-factor that is created when this elegant style is done right.

Unintentional message of the Countryside Elegant man: A curiosity is created as to whether this man is successful or struggling in life. Can his charming self pay the rent and make a good living, or is he a Robin Hood wanderer that drifts from place to place (happy to join a group of traveling gypsies or backpack through Europe again when the next season rolls around)?

Possible remedy: invest in a pair of high-end shoes that clearly shows that you are able to pursue the best in life.


Hugo’s pick for the Countryside Elegant’s Shoes: Anything J.M. Weston



The Futuristic Man is a cutting-edge force with a forward-thinking perspective. He portrays a space-age military look. He is bold and forthright, and is most likely a computer wiz with a charming geekish streak that comes through in his penchant for science fiction films and “hacking” forums. He believes in his potential to conquer the world and makes others believe in him as well. He is a combination of retro and the year 3000…perhaps the most unique of all the archetypes.

creator-profile-donato-liguori-for-brioni-made-to-measure_10futuristic 11
futuristic 9futuristic2Bur Trench coat

The Intentional Message of the Futuristic: Packed with the power of technology and knowledge, this man is a force to reckoned with. His sharp mind combined with his exquisite style with a hint of geek suave, may mesmerize the women around him.

The Unintentional Message of the Futuristic: Women wonder if the Futuristic is stuck in a forward-thinking warp and if  he is capable of being down-to-earth and relaxed without worrying about things like whether he will get dirt on his shoes if he takes a walk in the park.

Possible remedy: add a vintage watch or antique lapel pin or accessory that provides an unexpected tone of warmth to the overall look.


Hugo’s pick for the Futuristic’s man’s shoes: Ricardo Bestetti


Panache 12

“No Boundaries” is this man’s mantra. Magical and fantastical, this man is a storybook fellow that sparkles sublimely. Women look to this man for style advice and adore going out in public with him, as he feels like her best accessory of all. He is fun and only slightly quirky, which adds to his charm. The Panache man can not only pull together a complex and alluring wardrobe, but also can compose magical life projects that sparkle as much as he does, and rarely fails to impress.

The Fusion Man


panache 11Panache 2

panache 10ford-albazar

Intentional message of the Panache: Filled with imagination and innate talent, this man thinks outside of the circle, the box, the rectangle. He is aesthetic in nature, and celebrates beauty almost daily.

Unintentional message of the Panache:  The risk of coming off as “fussy” is a clear possibility for the Panache man. A woman may wonder if this man is so obsessed with his clothes, if he would eventual become a unidimensional bore who is hyper focused on clothing to the point that he may neglect other areas in life.

Possible remedy: Know the exact rules of mixing patterns and textures and make sure clothing has the appearance of being custom-cut–but most importantly, dress for the day and then forget about being perfect, since there is a undeniable charm that occurs when encountering a man of ease.

Corthay PanacheHugo’s Pick for the Panache Man’s Shoes: Corthay Belphegor


Hopefully, we have established that there is little doubt that the way men dress affects women’s attitudes toward men. And, if a man relays his emotions through his wardrobe along with having a clear knowledge of the rules with knack for breaking these same rules in a way that matches his persona, then a man is on his way to merging his inner self with his outer self. Emotion is a lofty subject to approach in the world of the wardrobe. But, once we realize that elegance is not a technical term, but instead a term that encompasses feeling and authentic expression, then we move into a realm of a higher abilities to reveal our true selves through the way we dress.

The 2013 Sartorial Storm (Part I)

written for: Parisian Gentleman

John Hamm dressed for the role of a doctor in 1934 based on the writing of Mikhail Bulgakov set during the Russian Revolution. Could this "look " now be considered irresistible?
John Hamm dressed for the role of a doctor in 1934 set during the Russian Revolution and based on the stories of Mikhail Bulgakov. Could this look now be considered “irresistible”?


The male elegance climate appears to be simmering  to a boil lately (compared to a mere five years ago). While we are seeing a boon in men dressing well with a growing penchant for style and quality, at the same time we notice a collapse in the frequency of spotting the quintessential middle management man with scuffed-up shoes and a dilapidated leather belt with belt-hole notches shaped like inverted amebas (of which he seems oddly proud to announce that his belt notches chronicle his weight loss and gain history since 1990… hence you deduce that his belt must be around 13 years old).

These days, it is more likely for a man to feel good about having immaculately polished shoes and to find satisfaction in knowing that a belt is rarely needed with a suit in the first place, since the complete body line of a man looks much better when he opts for trousers designed for no belt, thus avoiding the “cutting of the man in half” visual effect that a belt causes.

This man realizes
This man understands that wearing a belt with a suit can be passé and cut the flow of the total line of a man.

Yet even if men are speeding towards sartorial excellence at an alarming rate, we continue to see the occasional breed of the sartorial counter-culture set fanning the embers of the spirit of the 1980s “casual Friday movement”, perhaps most by those who feel trapped as time-watchers living for 5 o’clock and for the promise of another weekend—leaving us with the impression of a lost ability to feel intrigue for any day except Friday, Saturday and Sunday…with even churches replacing dress standards with the come as you are mindset.

France (even with its obvious population of sartorial-gifted men and women) gives us a more direct example of a diminishing regard for the work week by introducing “Half-Day Fridays “, or more specifically a reduction of the hours in the workweek  from 39 to 35 hours, since the year 2000. At this rate, in the year 2052, we can project an introduction of the  two-hour workday–with  potential daily perks such as Tie-Less Thursdays, Facebook Wednesdays, No Need to Tuck Your Shirt In Tuesdays, and Don’t Bother to Show Up Mondays.

This passive attitude towards how we present ourselves creates a piggy-back effect that biases these same time-watchers towards the belief that the reason dressing casually is better is because it is easier. And, once it is perceived that the daily goal is to make things easier, then the possibility of sartorial glory is lost. And, if a sartorial atheist believes that Monday through Thursday constitute corporate enslavement, forced dress-codes, and a general sense of misery, then we accept that we are unlikely to see a glowing sartorial result within this cultural realm.

However, the incredible point that may be easy to overlook, is that the sartorially-inclined man can use Casual Friday to his advantage as an optimal opportunity to come to work in business-only attire, which causes him be noticed in a way that helps communicate his own unique persona while at the same time, nurturing career advancement potential and boosting the chance for success in his social endeavors.

Not foregoing the necktie on Casual Friday sets this man apart from the others.
Not foregoing the necktie on Casual Friday sets this man apart from the others.

Dress for the job above yours…and rethink casual Friday. Business Insider, 2011

Although many may consider disregarding Casual Fridays to be somewhat hardcore, in actuality, dressing well is a moderate gesture that pays great dividends.


When considering the perpetual turnaround from style nonchalance to style concern, it is curious to consider what is causing the intensifying energy behind this sartorial revival that is winning eager converts by the hour. There are at least three catalysts causing  this resurrection of interest among men in all-things-sartorial:

First, the influence of television shows like Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire, as well as Hollywood movies featuring gangsters and spys no doubt play a pivotal role in the perception reversal from sartorial indifference to sartorial passion that is occurring among men. By simply watching episodes of shows and movies with images of men dressed in fine-tailored clothing causes our minds to take sartorial notes; and put simply, our visual pleasure centers are repetitively rewarded with images of impeccably dressed actors—which eventually results in giving us an impression that dressing well can be…pleasurable.

Sean Connery with Tailor Anthony Sinclair, London. A precursor to the male elegance media rage.
007 Sean Connery with Tailor Anthony Sinclair, London. Sean Connery’s,  fittings  finally offers the masses a peek at the world of bespoke tailoring…and provides a precursor to the current male elegance media rage.
The iconic Michael Kenneth Williams from the HBO television series "Boardwalk Empire".
The iconic Michael Kenneth Williams from the HBO television series “Boardwalk Empire”.
From the 2012 film "This Means War"---In the movie, the leading characters location is traced by a villain through a torn patch of South American vicuna , a relative of the llama shorn every three years and considered to be very rare and luxurious. The scrap of fabric is identified as coming from "Savile Row's finest tailor".  The mystery question of the real-life suit's origin? Chris Pine's suit is Ralph Lauren's Purple Label  and the Brit's Tom Hardy suit is Paul Smith (with a signature narrow lapel and slim leg).
From the 2012 film “This Means War”—In the movie, the leading characters location is traced by a villain through a torn patch of South American vicuna , a relative of the llama shorn every three years and considered to be very rare and luxurious. The scrap of fabric is identified as coming from “Savile Row’s finest tailor”. The mystery question of the real-life suit’s origin? Chris Pine’s suit is Ralph Lauren’s Purple Label and the Brit’s Tom Hardy suit is Paul Smith (with a signature narrow lapel and slim leg).

A second  pop culture influence (as covered in the PG article (A défaut de fin du monde, la fin d’un monde ?) comes from more and more ad campaigns capitalizing on the mesmerization with bespoke tailoring by featuring models in authentic, not so glamorous bespoke tailoring workshops. These campaigns create an awareness that something more exists in the world of style. Perhaps the man who gains a glimpse of the Savile Row tailor’s life in an unexpected print advertisement stops for a moment, and asks himself  “What is that??”. Once this question is posed, many men find themselves on a journey to the sartorial promise land, with the only regret being that they hadn’t started the trip sooner.

Even though for some of us, it can be funny to notice that some of these advertisements greatly exaggerate the quality and origin of many products, we can still appreciate the awareness that is created as themes such as the tailor’s dusty workshop, continues to grow among ad agencies promoting male elegance.  In the same vein, numerous ad campaigns are also promoting men’s style by featuring men who look as if they have stepped into a frame shot from another time era (usually ranging from the mid-1800s up until the 1960s) which brings on a sentiment for hand-tailoring, or at least encourages a sentiment for items that relay the spirit of being hand-tailored.

Corneliani. Yet another ad campaign with subjects photographed with the "dusty workshop tailor-at-work theme."
Corneliani. Yet another ad campaign with subjects photographed with the “dusty workshop tailor-at-work theme.”
Time Era Dressing -- Sans the vest, this man evokes the emotion of the 1940s
Time Era Dressing — Sans the vest, this Pepe Jeans model evokes the emotion of the 1940s
Timothy Everest, tailor to the upper echelon of public figures and celebrities, provides designs that particularly appeal to the more cutting-edge sartorial thinker. Here: The Town Coat, reminiscent of the beloved frock coat from the mid-1800s
Timothy Everest, tailor to the upper echelon of public figures and celebrities, also provides designs for younger brands like Superdry, that particularly appeal to the more cutting-edge sartorial thinker. Here: The Town Coat, reminiscent of the beloved frock coat from the mid-1800s

As fresh as it looks…the town coat is firmly grounded in history, owing a great debt to that forebear, the frock coat. It may surprise many, but back in its mid-19th-century heyday, the frock coat was as “it” as it gets, having come into fashion as a more subdued (and less froufrou) alternative to courtly attire — the Helmut Lang of its day. But by the dawn of the 20th century, it itself had come to personify the calcified rigor of aristocratic European society…NY Times, November, 2011

The third influence may be very familiar to the readers of PG. Men and women alike from a vast array of different backgrounds, who have experienced a sometimes unexplained interest in how men dress, are now writing about their sartorial thoughts, impressions, and experiences. And with the internet in place, these voices are now able to reach the bulk of the world, where like-minded people assimilate in sartorial thought and spirit.

The writers that are rising to acclaim realize that writing about how we dress has as much to do with emotion as it has to do with knowledge. And where there is emotion, there is meaning. This specific element of a writer evoking sentiments, combined with a scholarly approach to dressing well, appears to be fundamental in rallying the interest in male elegance by a growing population of men.

James Sherwood (in a suit perhaps reminiscent of Andrew Ramroop's first suit in 1969?).  Sherwood has gained worldwide respect for writing about bespoke tailoring with emotion, as well as scholarly detail.
A candid shot of James Sherwood (in a bespoke coat by Edward Sexton). Sherwood has gained worldwide respect for writing about bespoke tailoring with emotion, as well as with scholarly detail.

And so, as a man’s attitude sets the stage for the development of his appearance, indeed there seems to be a new awareness among men that time is short—a knowing that living life well each day is infinitely more rewarding than waiting for the perineal Friday to roll around.  Most notably, men in their 20s are recognizing that a striking sartorial style quickly sets them apart from a league of other men who have overlooked the shaking effect of developing an unforgettable persona.

Now we can say with strong certainty, that we have entered a completely new sartorial age–where quality matters and a return to style has become important in people’s lives.

Part II will examine this mass attitude shift and attempt a cultivated way to understand the emotion a man feels as he develops his sartorial persona—as well as how the women around him may perceive and react to him.


Pomp and Practicality

aaaRemember the one in school who always seemed to dress right–the one indubitably awarded  “best-dressed” by popular vote–and who won so easily that his title was never in question? I often wondered if this dapper young gent’s mum should have had the real credit for his ease and fortitude, and whether his actual award should have been that of “most obedient son”.  Or, on the contrary, did this soldier-of-style have an innate talent to present himself eloquently almost from the time of his birth? I remember having admiration for these types who gave us the impression that they were well-bred  and knowledgeable, if only through the way that they dressed.  Even decades later, I recall the tailored chocolate brown velvet blazer that my classmate, Terrisina O’Neal, wore in Grade 7, and the yellow and blue wool argyle v-neck sweater with the bronzed-yellow tie that Chels Norton paired with his tan pants and polished loafers in Grade 10.

This fascinating point of being able to recall a style choice (years later) stays with me, because of the simple fact that, if these two former classmates did not dress as they did, I doubt that I would even be able to recall their names today.  And, if dressing well causes a person to be memorable, can these well-dressed soul’s “pomp” be more practical than we could have imagined?

Of couse it’s obvious that men have a greater challenge than women when it comes to making style choices that causes them to be remembered (most preferably in a good way) because there are fewer choices available in the sheer number of accessories and clothing pieces offered for men versus women. But even so, we see men who, ever-so-slightly, push the envelope in order to nab a definitive style for themselves. Yet with men and women alike, the feeling is the same when it comes to the satisfaction of  “owning your style” and in finding your own rite-of-passage in the field of elegance.

There is a bit of a awestruck feeling that occurs when seeing men take more daring style choices and carrying off their choices with ease (perhaps because we’ve seen the epic style failures of checks and stripes that are proportionately ill-mixed, the dizzying effect of over-accessorizing, as well as the intentional clashing of colors that makes us recognize the clothes well before recognizing the man). And isn’t it true that if it looks like a man has tried too hard to pull himself together, then he appears more like a walking window display, rather than a persona in his own right? After all, while persnickety tailors can be the best of the best, persnickety men can be the worst of the worst. But still, you may agree that we can’t help but enjoy a little pomp, while being spared the act of being “pompous.”  

The word pomp can be misunderstood.  The first definition of pomp connotes “dignified”, while the second definition connotes “vanity”.  These two definitions provide a confusing (even intriguing) dichotomy of meanings.  While we can safely refer to pomp as meaning dignified, most likely we can also agree that thinking of a pompous person brings on thoughts of  someone who is “irritatingly self-important”.   The root of the word  “pomp” is the Latin “pompa,” meaning “procession”, which gives the word a regal feel. And, the phrase “pomp and circumstance” has been preserved by Shakespeare in his play Othello, Act III, scene iii with the words “Farewell the neighing steed and the shrill trump, The spirit-stirring drum, th’ear-piercing fife, The royal banner, and all quality, Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!”

What gives a man a little “pomp”…just enough to be remembered? Here are six examples that tend to leave memorable impressions.


Tie Twist, Pocketsquare, Fine Detail (red button-hole)
Tie tie-arch, the pocketsquare, and the fine detail of red button-hole stitching

There are three things that I notice right away about this style: the arched tie, the pocketsquare, and the contrasting button-hole stitching.  This look feels like it is understated but still holds a strong sense of style.  And, this combination of style elements definitely allows for focus on the man instead of his clothing.  It is not overdone, but nonetheless displays a lot of flair and individuality.  The pocketsquare itself is not a duplicate of any other color or pattern (over-matching a pocketsquare to other fabrics and patterns worn comes off as looking fussy and unimaginative), but is simply white in color with interesting stitching–a fine complement to this overall look.  A properly arched tie does not fail to intrigue…it makes me wonder how it was managed and just how one uses a tie slide…and what special twist or push or positioning caused it to look so steeped in 19th century tradition?  I adore this way of wearing a tie and it is pleasing to see this effect carried off well.  The red stitched button hole is bold and shows a willingness to take risks and seems to communicate at slight sense of adventure.

Even waist deep in hot water, Draper pulls off the ultra thin tie with ease.
Even waist deep in hot water, Draper pulls off the ultra thin tie with ease.

Another tie twist is opting for the ultra thin tie, inspired by  the 1960s era to complement a suit. Don Draper from the series Mad Men has become an icon for sporting this retro look.


Perhaps no one has carried off the rose buttonniere better than Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, whom, on the day of his funeral, caused a sell-out of roses at local florists because of the volumes of men who sought rose buttonnieres on that day in order to commemorate his memory.Former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau

Perhaps no one has carried off the rose boutonniere better than former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, whom, on the day of his funeral, caused a sell-out of roses at Canadian florists because of the sheer volume of men who sought rose boutonnieres on that day in to commemorate his memory.  This little article of nature seems to be worn by men in a class of their own. If this look is worn consistently, it is hard to imagine anyone who would not be impressed with the fortitude of the man donning a boutonniere, especially considering his effort in arrange for something fresh to be worn regularly that also gives pleasure to others, most of whom can appreciate the beauty and simplicity of a single flower.

A working lapel button-hole with a boutonniere latch

A working lapel button-hole with a boutonniere latch raises the bar in the world of boutonnieres. I find this small touch to be impossibly elegant.

scarlet carnations

One of the most understated choices for the boutonniere, the scarlet carnation. If you like to hold strictly to tradition, wear a red flower if your mother is living and a white flower if she is not, as is the custom in several parts of the U.S. and abroad.

douglas-fairbanks-jr-1933                                                                 Douglass Fairbanks Jr., 1933

a nicely worn boutonniere
a nicely worn boutonniere
A more modern twist on the use of the lapel notch.
A more modern twist on the use of the lapel notch.



Obviously, an amazing timepiece is something that can bring great pleasure to a man. Yet, it can be of benefit to a man to notice how he wears his timepiece. For example, it isn’t becoming of a man to pose for a photograph after noticeably pulling one sleeve higher than the other, thrusting his wrist forward and tilting his timepiece ever-so-towards the camera. This move is blatantly apparent to others who look at his picture. Even when a man is not posing for a photograph, constantly extending the arm forward to show off a timepiece smacks a bit of of desperation, and can be off-putting to others. However, when catching an accidental peek of a fine timepiece worn by an elegant man, that man is more likely to be viewed as a person of deliberation and success, not as ostentatious and overly proud. Conversely, a discreet man seems to enjoy functionality and style, and is more than adept at expressing himself well, even in regard to his selection of jewelry.

A discreetly worn timepiece
A discreetly worn timepiece

Finding a fine timepiece can be a memorable life experience. The research, anticipation, and finally, the reward of owning an item that is both a technical and beautiful, as well as a constant companion, can provide great satisfaction for decades to follow.


Frank Sinatra

It seems as if it would have been a waste for Frank Sinatra not to wear a hat. There can be no question that this man was made to don un chapeau.  It is also a bit of a loss for many other men who have the correct face shape and dimensions to forego placing a fine Fedora, or the likes, a top of their heads.



My father always carried a freshly laundered handkerchief in his inside jacket pocket. He would offer the handkerchief to those closest to him, should they have a slight spill, need to wipe their hands, or find themselves unexpectedly emotional. This sentiment of offering a handkerchief to someone remains with me. It is these small subtleties that causes a man to become memorable and is testimony that real pomp comes not only from outward appearances, but also from subtle and sincere gestures of grace.

A 60-Second Designer Breakfast

I’ve enjoyed this ritual for months now, partly based on a recommendation from a Parisian nutritionalist, and I have never felt better in the morning hours.  It seemed right to share this formula since it has brought so much health and vitality to my life.



Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar

There must be something miraculous about ingesting apple cider vinegar, since historical records suggest that even the father of medicine, Hippocrates, used it around 400 BC as a primary health remedy. A simple online search on the benefits of apple cider vinegar will yield a plethora of information.

1. Take a shot glass. Fill it with half water and half Bragg’s apple cider vinegar and drink it down in one gulp with your favorite supplement (my choice: kyolic garlic for disease fighting and anti-inflammatory effects).

Two tablespoons of almond butter has around 202 calories, 18 grams of mostly unsaturated fat, and 4 grams of protein. It’s an excellent source of vitamin E, magnesium and manganese. It also provides fiber, calcium, iron, a few B-vitamins, potassium, and zinc.The flavor of almond butter is comparable to peanut butter only nuttier and slightly richer. It’s a tasty alternative for those with peanut-only allergies.  A recent ABC News article also reported that two-time American Olympic medalist and beach volleyball player Kerry Walsh eats almond butter and honey sandwiches, especially before she competes.” blog.foodnetwork.com

Two tablespoons of almond butter has around 202 calories, 18 grams of mostly unsaturated fat, and 4 grams of protein. It’s an excellent source of vitamin E, magnesium and manganese. It also provides fiber, calcium, iron, a few B-vitamins, potassium, and zinc.
A recent ABC News article also reported that two-time American Olympic medalist and beach volleyball player Kerry Walsh eats almond butter and honey sandwiches, especially before she competes.” blog.foodnetwork.com

2. Take about two tablespoons of almond butter and a tablespoon of raw pumpkin seeds.  A burst of energy will soon be heading in your direction.

"Brace yourselves - pumpkin seeds contain a long list of anti-ageing ingredients, including (deep breath) zinc, magnesium, iron, copper, vitamin A, B, K, manganese, protein, niacin, thiamine and omega 3 fatty acids, the combined power of which is pretty unbeatable when it comes to slowing down collagen breakdown. Take that, wrinkles!" www.easyliving.com.uk

“Brace yourselves – pumpkin seeds contain a long list of anti-aging ingredients, including zinc, magnesium, iron, copper, vitamin A, B, K, manganese, protein, niacin, thiamine and omega 3 fatty acids, the combined power of which is pretty unbeatable when it comes to slowing down collagen breakdown. Take that, wrinkles!” from easyliving.com.uk

The beautiful thing about this quick breakfast is that I’m not hungry at all for several hours and not tempted to overeat at lunch; and, of course, the health benefits of balancing blood sugar levels, combatting aging and losing weight are nothing to complain about.


Endymion: A Men’s Fragrance to Remember

It is the final day in Brussels at the esteemed House of Degand, which I am attending for the book signing of the stunning talent, James Sherwood’s “A Perfect Gentleman” book (celebrating the rich history of men’s style).   Just before departing, I acquire an unforgettable men’s fragrance called Endymion, created by London’s House of Penhaligon’s…


Some may think it’s odd to get wrapped up in the thought of discovering a killer fragrance; but, perhaps you know what it’s like to search for a fragrance you love—only to discover that five years later, you are still looking?

Yet, some things are just right.  And you know it instantly.  Such is the men’s fragrance Endymion from London’s house of Penhaligon’s.


Created in 2003, Endymion is a sensual fusion of citrus, spices and leather.  It opens with a burst of sweetened mandarin wrapped gently in sage and leather, then settles and smoothes gently into a dark coffee heart.  As it warms up, mysterious resins rise up with hints of creamy nutmeg, cardamom and the softest leather.” Penhaligons.com


After being completely allured by Endymion’s discreet ability to catch my attention, later I decided to poke around online in the attempt to find a bad review on the fragrance.  One man lamented that he wanted the scent to linger longer…yet the other reviews that I read sang tabernacle-like praises about the wonder of Endymion.

In fact, most every review sounded more like a love story between a man and his cologne instead of a critique.  And, I believe that this particular fragrance is relationship-material for a man as it calls out to be revisited regularly to ritually bathe the senses in a most pleasurable scent…so that the event of putting on cologne becomes pure pleasure in a world where we crave a certain aesthetical boost, whether we realize it or not.

Only twice in my life have I been frozen where I stood by a scent. To cut a long and embarrassing story short, I followed a guy off the London underground when I had no idea where I was, to find out from him what his scent was. And I’m usually pretty shy. The scent was Endymion, and I couldn’t help but inhale it the way you inhale a lover’s scent with your mouth part open to catch every facet and reflection. Warm, earthy, dreamy yet authoritative and potent. The effect on me may have been exaggerated because the man wearing it was probably the most beautiful man I’d ever seen – either that or his scent made him seem that way. It just made me want to pull his shirt off. I didn’t tell him that bit… but I did go and buy his perfume. –a review by Lucy2shoes@basenotes.net, November, 2012


The year is 1860; the place, London.  A Cornish barber named William Henry Penhaligon moved to London and soon became Court Barber and Perfumer to Queen Victoria.

William lived in an age of decadence, excess and flamboyance.  He found so much time to self-actualize, that he began relating experiences to fragrances.  His trade remained strong during his lifetime and was carried on by his uber-stylish son Walt Penhaligon.

In the 1940s, the business faded into oblivion, only to reemerge in the 1970s and today, Penhaligon fragrances are coveted by men who, down to their bones, feel an appreciation for the highest standard in life and living.

William's son, Walt Penhaligon displaying stunning style in 1907.

William’s son, Walt Penhaligon displaying stunning style in 1907.

There is something old-worldly about this Penhaligon fragrance.  When you breathe in the cologne, you feel the purity of the perfumery trade permeate your senses.  What I find particularly pleasing is that the fragrance seems to develop beautifully (even elegantly) on the skin and that there is no offensive reaction of feeling overwhelmed by its intensity, even if a man enjoys lavishing himself with this perineal potion.

Although Endymion is classically masculine, before it develops, it feels distinctly unisex, and I admit that I like it so much, that occasionally I’ve doused myself with this brilliant brew of woodsy orange and eventual sophisticated mix of sage with only a slight hint of lavender.

For me, the scent creates an image of an eternally stylish–yet slightly rugged man toting a leather satchel by his side, taking a clever short-cut through a patch of woods before reaching his rather elite address, simply because his sense of adventure requires him  to do so.

 Founded over 135 years ago, Penhaligon's is the ultimate ole-world perfumer with an impressive patron list including fashion God Tom Ford, Britain's great Statesman, Sir Winston Churchill and the Royal family, who long before blessing the brand with two Royal warrants from Prince Charles and his father, the Duke of Edinburgh, employed William Penhaligon as Court Barber and Perfumier to Queen Victoria.

“Founded over 135 years ago, Penhaligon’s is the ultimate old-world perfumer with an impressive patron list including fashion God Tom Ford, Britain’s great Statesman, Sir Winston Churchill and the Royal family, who long before blessing the brand with two Royal warrants from Prince Charles and his father, the Duke of Edinburgh, employed William Penhaligon as Court Barber and Perfumier to Queen Victoria.” (From Localspotter.com)

The bottle pleases the eye and is William Penhaligon’s original design: clear glass with a distinctively Victorian ribbon-wrapped top. And, as a final note, the bottle itself is of immaculate construction, as I confess to have dropped it from a 5 foot shelf onto a tile floor with no damage other than a temporarily racing-heart.

How the Necktie Conquered the World

The necktie is a powerful gesture and sometimes we may underestimate its effect.  After being commissioned by Parisian Gentleman to write about this complex “strip of fabric” that can say so much with so little, I found the necktie’s story to be more captivating than expected.

Brioni, The Regiment Tie, Purple. The Regiment Tie communicates respect for convention, seriousness, straight-talk, and perhaps a little “frat boy” churned into the mix. Serious or relaxed…a perfect choice; but, be careful not to infringe upon a regiment or club and wear a regiment tie that has been designed to represent a specific organization.

Consider the power of a rather small piece of apparel such as the necktie.  This slice of fabric can make or break a job interview, determine admittance or rejection into a fine restaurant and be a key factor in whether a man is to be taken seriously, or not.  And it is fascinating to consider that a man’s choice of a necktie may give insight into his personality.

Stefano Ricci, Lavender Gray Paisley. A nice paisley conveys boldness and when well chosen, displays a strong flair for style (and perhaps even a slight penchant for the flower power era).

The vintage Sulka Tie is now an ultra rare deadstock item that the most every tie aficionado may seek to own.

From Drakes, London: “There’s a touch of sartorial audacity in a silk knitted tie that’s oddly liberating and we’re proud that our knits continue to set the standard. Starting with the finest quality spun raw silk they’re knitted on hundred year old looms that produce the distinctive crunchy ‘cri de la soie’ hand, the true mark of quality and authenticity in knitted silk ties. Spots are sewn on by hand. Made in Germany, 100% silk, 7cm width”


The first known version of the necktie is located in the massive mausoleum of China’s first emperor, Shih Huang Ti (buried in 210 B.C and whose tomb was unearthed in 1974 near the ancient capital city of Xian).

Inordinately afraid of death, the emperor wanted to slaughter his entire army to accompany him into the next world. Persuaded by his advisors to take life-size replicas of the soldiers instead, astonishingly, his tomb contains 7,500 life-size terracotta replicas of Shih Huang Ti’s regal fighting force. Reproduced in painstaking detail are their armor, uniforms, hair, and even facial expressions of the soldiers. Each figure is different – except in one respect: all wear neck cloths.

Other records indicate the Chinese did not wear ties, so why the emperor’s guards wore carefully wrapped silk cloths around their necks is unknown.  With silk looked upon as a great luxury, the neck cloths were likely a symbol of high honor and prestige.


Hats off (or on) to Croatia for the contribution of introducing the necktie globally. As early as the mid-1600s, during the European Thirty Year War, from around 1618-1648, Croatian soldiers fought in various regions of Europe. The traditional Croatian military dress included a noteworthy scarf tied around the neck, which is very similar to the style in which the necktie is worn today.

The setting is now in Prague; the year, 1618.  Some Prague agents of the Holy Roman Emperor were in a state of dissent when a group of citizens threw the agents out of a window. The agents landed on a dunghill and happened to survive. Being foul tempered because of this angst with Prague, it is said that the 30 Year War ensued soon after. which gave way to an immediate need for Croatian mercenaries. Although these Croations were rough-and-ready fellows, they held fast to making a style statement by displaying notable neckwear.

The word “‘cravat” is a derivative of the word “Croat”. It is an enigma as to why the Croatians exacted such imitation.  Still, as these Croatian soldiers were stationed in Paris during the reign of Louis XIV, the Croatians’ overall style greatly impressed their French counterparts and French men rather quickly borrowed from their sense of fashion–most notably when it came to neckwear. “.

The tie gained entry into the bourgeois style circle of that era as a sign of elegance and the cultivated elitism, and soon after the rest of Europe fell at the cravate’s feet. Of course today we witness the power of the necktie in practically every culture, with 85 different tie methods and a wide array of materials and colors.


After a few generations of aiming towards exaggerated convenience in most every area of life, recently we have witnessed a hunger for handcrafted items. We have grown fatigued with all of the computer and machine generated merchandise.  Herbs and natural remedies often are favored in place of chemically produced drugs.  Handwritten notes are more valued than the common email.  And, a taste for meticulous custom-clothing has caused a case of amnesia when trying to remember the need for a shopping trip to the mall.

Today, the celebrated necktie has seen a specific revival in the house of Passaggio Cravatte, founded in 2010 by Gianni Cerutti and Marta Step. The shop is located in Robbio, Italy (near Milan and the Malpensa airport) and uses the rare practice of hand-cutting the entire necktie from a single piece of fabric, then the tie is carefully hand-stitched and meticulously hand-folded using a seven-fold method form the early 1900s to produce a newly made vintage piece.  Even the fabric is taken from 90 percent real vintage cloth and is hand printed with patterns that are hard to find and virtually unobtainable.

Passagio Cravatte seven fold passaggiocravatte.com

The result?  Nothing short of magnificent.  While a Sulka tie can be an amazing find, now there is a chance to take the pursuit of a “magical tie” a step further by experiencing firsthand the traditional necktie original construction–simply because of a dream transposed into reality by two determined Italians to return to the tried and true method of producing a work of art that can be selected, cut and sewn on demand.


And so, whether you resent having to dress for an occasion or find pleasure in doing so, we must admit that the necktie is a wondrous opportunity for a man to express himself in a way that makes people take notice.  The necktie can give a man the chance to portray power or humility, seriousness or humor, status or convention.  If more men looked at the tie as a tool (and we know how the male species loves tools), then maybe we will accelerate even further this era of a a return to style.

The Comeback of the Century: Dressing Well Again

Above: Andrew Ramroop’s first suit from 1969. The renowned Master Bespoke Tailor Andrew Ramroop runs Maurice Sedwell No. 19 Savile Row and is the first black tailor to own a Savile Row tailoring shop. Twice he has captured the title of “Best Men’s Wear: Design, Cut and Fit” at the Golden Shears Awards, the Oscars of tailoring. Photo by Gentleman’s Gazette



Perhaps this message to “lighten up” our attitude about almost everything began in the 1980s with the book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff–It’s All Small Stuff by Richard Carlson. This dictum has its merits; but, these days, plenty of men find nothing wrong with taking some things quite seriously — specifically when it comes to dressing well.  And dressing well they do– with willing moxie and pluck, and with no complaints from women.

Choose any point in history and envision that time period.  It is likely that the pictures in your head include how people dress.  We “predate” ourselves in having an earnest yearning to express our individual style and wanting to feel at least slightly impeccable.  Put simply, we want to look our best, whether we admit it or not.

Yet in recent decades–just like the stunning reptile, the Golden Toad, who has not been seen since 1989, somehow our verve for style found itself on the verge of becoming extinct.


Like it or not, society cares about what people wear.  Flashback to the year 2009 when Google displayed 9 million entries regarding Michelle Obama wearing shorts as she exited the Airforce One. Although poll results showed that 80 percent found Michelle’s attire acceptable (yes, even with major events occurring in the world, there is poll about the First Lady’s shorts), the truth of the matter is that deep down, people want the First Lady to have a slightly magical and regal presence, and there is a bit of mental confusion that occurs in seeing her appear as a Disneyland tourist.  Notably, since this uproar, Mrs. Obama has been on her best sartorial behavior.

The “Casual Friday” epidemic has found its way onto Airforce One. 


Since the donning of the first loincloth, it is safe to say that we are aesthetic beings.  Men and women alike, appreciate design and function, by our very natures of being.

And if you fast forward from the day of the loincloth to the medieval era, we notice that by this time, clothing became so important, that codes were put into place dictating how people dressed.  At that time, it was a privilege to wear certain items, and what your wore represented your core identity.

Even Medieval peasants had great concern for their garments.  [Medieval bronze caster. Image licensed under Creative Commons by Hans on Flickr]

There were strict rules governing who could wear what in medieval and Renaissance times. The general rule was that the poorer someone was, the simpler their clothes were: a simple belted tunic for peasants…made of wool or linen. Both men and women wore ‘hose’ – leggings like long stockings without feet.

Nobles had access to any fabric they liked, including the exotic silks and velvets brought back by crusaders and merchants, but only royalty were permitted an ermine trim.  (EducationScotland.gov.uk)


Steady as a beating drum, free people across the world continued for centuries to hold the way people dress in high esteem (of course our neighbors in Russia and China and many Arab countries suffered a true repression of self-expression).

In free countries (often inspired by well dressed Presidents and Royalty during the 1700s and 1800s), men and women all over the world savored the opportunity to dress for self-expression, and to dress in order to make an impression.

Dressing well as a way of life, late 1800s. Oregon Public Library historical record.

In the early 1900s, when many-a-man traded in his horse-and-carriage for his first petrol-powered or Model T car, “dressing well” catapulted into a global obsession. Perhaps the glamour of cruising in style in these miraculous automobiles proved to be a motivating factor; but, whatever the reason (with exception of the time period of The Great Depression), for many years to follow, the pursuit of style held strong.

Hollywood brought images to us that inspired and motivated the masses. There was a feeling of believing that each person could create his or her own persona–that “wearable art” is limited only by the imagination. People were happy to present their best selves, as it was a pleasure instead of a burden to do so.

Silent film star Rudolph Valentino, 1920s


Of course the rest is history.  We have all seen the sharp dressed men and women of the 1940s and 50s.  And, television glorifies the rakish working man of the 1960s in shows like Mad Men.

Even the clothing of the 1970s, with all its ‘Make love, not war’ influence, had a certain thoughtful rebellion to its look of playboy leisure suits and bandanas and bell bottoms.

Tommy Nutter design exclusively for Ringo

The 1980s felt like a schlack-coated red candy apple with a lot of Wall Street shine and glory with little substance, but still; overall, even with the overdone braces and oversized MC Hammer suits, the intent to look our best remained.  Throughout the 1980s, we loved to follow the swaddle and swathe of our Princess Diana and somehow, we still cared about what we wore…and then came the 1990s.


I like Nirvana.  When a Nirvana song plays, I feel an intense sense of nostalgia and appreciation for a stand-alone (even if troubled) performer.  That said, my first inclination in trying to put a finger on the downturn of concern about style is directly correlated to Kurt Cobain’s preference for grunge wear.

The “first thing to come out of the closet” look

To turn to a more technical theory, analyst have blamed this downturn in concern for style during this period on the recession of the 90s.  And maybe, like the time during the Great Depression, people really did put attention to style on the back-burner because they simply had other priorities.

“The recession came and after that fashion and beauty became more pared down. One of my first jobs after moving to New York was to make up Kate Moss for the Calvin Klein Obsession fragrance campaign and I just used moisturizer.” –Kay Montano, Makeup Artist for Kate Moss

Staying in the musical world for a little while, I am now reminded of the U2 song lyrics “Stuck in a moment and can’t get out of it”.   Even after the 1990s recession softened, in the decade that followed, a polished appearance seemed forgotten and along with the golden toad, the quest for style seemed to practically disappear.

Prompted by a “Skinny Girl” Liquor advertisement glorifying the nonchalant modern-day women, Monsignor Charles Pope wrote a thought-provoking post, lamenting our lax modern attitudes about the way we comport ourselves in public.  Here is an excerpt from his article:

…but as the commercial rolls on, I think we see that we have lost a lot. The picture flashes away from the elegantly dressed woman, careful for modesty and dignity (though excessively portrayed), to the modern scene where we are suppose to rejoice and approve at how far women have come.

And what do we see? Half drunk women, with painted nails and flip flops, liquor bottles in abundance, and the indelicate and boorish behavior of those who have been drinking too much. Further there are numerous displays of immodest dress, immodest posture and unbecoming behaviors. In effect, if you ask me, it is a celebration of all in our culture that is boorish, immodest, indelicate, and excessively informal.


The bespoke tailoring business is on the rise. Men and women alike are becoming more concerned with the form, function, style and quality of what they are wearing. And, counterfeit items are beginning to be seen as lackluster by the general population.

But most markedly, men are discovering the power of developing real personal style and for many males, the allure of the technical and aesthetic side of the style industry is as strong as the fascination for power tools and Monday night football (or a good Rugby match, depending on preferences).

These days, men have found a renewed interest in dressing well, and custom tailoring is no longer limited to the elite and privileged.

What prompted this change away from the nonchalant attitude towards men’s style?  What has ended this long walk in the men’s style industry desert…and brought us to this cusp of an oasis which has thrived for centuries, only to fade and finally reappear?

As I begin to research the answer, I hope to gather other responses and theories about the revival of men’s interest in high-handed style.  A few explanations are evident.

Perhaps the strongest influence in regard to the turnaround from a sluggish to a keen interest in men’s style may be attributed to televised shows such as Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire, which have given men a new eye for pocket square folds, vests, pant pleats and cuffs, lapel design, and tie knots.  This phenomenon has been extensively covered by the media and reinforces the idea that with change, in almost every case, the starting point is awareness, followed by knowledge and action.

Another less obvious explanation to the skyrocketing interest in men’s style may be attributed to age we live in, specifically the age of technology.  While swimming in the  world of the internet, we find that almost every convenience is at our “keyboard fingertips”.

In essence, it is possible to exist for years in a single room with a bathroom and have every need and whim delivered to our front door.  Even our business may be conducted from the very bed we fall asleep in at night, and rise in during the morning hours.  We find ourselves in a state of virtual life that many times feels as real as if we were physically somewhere else.  We can skype our family and friends, conduct business, order products and even fall in love in front of a rectangle screen, without stepping foot outside our humble or not-so-humble homes.

In many ways, the internet has replaced the necessity for human contact.

With this cerebral life in full-force with not even a trip to our old-fashioned mailboxes necessary, we long for a real reason to make contact with the outside world.  The fact is that technology cannot produce a tailored-made suit from the confines of our bedroom.

With thousands of combinations possible for design, we can feel the tactile satisfaction of placing our hands on different fabrics, feeling our arms slide into a sample coat jacket and imagining being cloaked in a custom designed piece.

And so it is an intriguing and adrenaline-producing thought to have the very human experience of commissioning a custom ensemble — a quest requiring several fittings with each piece sewn specifically for the individual, until the final product is produced, of which there will be only one of its kind in the entire world.

With this new avenue discovered that produces and unrivaled human experience in the world of style, we fall for the allure of the experience itself.  And it feels right.


With the escalation of interest in custom clothiers, the future should see a continuation of what I have termed high-hand branding by mass marketers.

Already, we have seen a broadening and loosening of once sacred terms like bespoke, tailor-made, hand-crafted by order, hand-tailored, by appointment, made-to-measure, custom-made, made-to-order, Fatto a Mano su misura, and sartorial, to name a few.

The result of the misuse of these sacred terms shows disregard and even disrespect towards the skilled craftsman who has spent decades refining his or her art to earn the right to use these esteemed labels and descriptions which have been tagged for exclusive use for the custom clothiers and shoe makers alike.

Mass marketers are likely to water-down quality and use clever marketing terms to reel in uneducated customers, commanding high prices for pseudo quality and even convincing customers that items are “bespoke” or “tailor-made” which in reality, is not the case.

The pursuit of true bespoke quality is growing and the media is paying attention, as demonstrated in The New York Times September 2012 article What’s a $4,000 Suit Worth?

And so, while the custom clothing market continues to grow, attracting a wider age range and demographic group, mass marketers will attempt to ride piggy-back on this runaway train and only the most discerning customers may get what they pay for in the mad world of threads, button holes, and silk linings.

The future may also see a whole new career world opening up for young men and women who are looking for an alternative to the earning the masters degree and securing a corporate job.  As the demand for custom clothing increases, obviously more skilled craftsmen will be needed to produce high level clothing and shoes.  From tailors to cordwainers, the market of custom production will open up to welcome new artistic, financial and managerial talent.

Young Justin Fitzpatrick moved to Europe from the U.S., to learn more about the world of bespoke shoe-making.  He opened his shoe shine concession in Gieves & Hawkes on Savile Row and is currently preparing for his ultimate aim to launch his ready to wear men’s shoe collection.


There is a clear celebration occurring which recognizes master craftsmanship and true high quality market offerings. Finally, more of us seem to be developing an eye for quality and at last retiring our cargo shorts and cheap shoes in favor of the idea that less is more when it comes to selecting quality over poorly constructed items.

Moreover, vintage shops with treasures of years past are popping up with fervor and finally, the media is beginning to recognize real elegance when it presents itself. The result is that we find when we begin to select our clothes with the same criteria we may select a car or a home, we just feel better.  And, ten or even twenty years later we may discover that the clothing and shoes we bought decades earlier still perform quite well and that our bank account is also no worse for the wear.


Note: This is my first commissioned article for the esteemed on-line men’s magazine, Parisian Gentleman

London — Magic and Tragic

London oozes culture from the cracks of its pavements.  History and liberty abound; yet, perhaps London stands alone as the place in the world that unveils the highest level of the opposing states of regal and raunch.

In some parts of the city, you can feel aristocracy in the air, which I find to be a pleasurable thing.  I don’t need anyone to give me a concerning smile and a hearty chat, but can simply enjoy a sense of refinement and elegance skipping around on the grey streets in the better parts of town.  And, if you are lucky enough to know of some obscure inner circle restaurants in London and cost is not much of a concern, your culinary needs will be more than satisfied.

Other places in London can be abrasive and untidy to the point of having to dodge waste on the streets and an obvious presence of groups of people who appear emotionally numbed, perhaps by financial woes, too much alcohol, logistical problems, and a general feeling of the weight of life.  In this state of existence, there becomes an acceptance of too many cupcakes, an abandonment of civility, and a lost-count of glasses of wine or bottles of beer consumed, as if people are grasping to own little moments where they are able to put down their guard and forget about their worries.

But on this day, there is an oblivion to the dichotomy of London as I decide to board one of those prettily glaring candy-apple-red double-decker buses running through the heart of the city, and today I become a full-fledged admitted-tourist.

During the double-decker bus tour, I attempt to take photos that give a unique perspective to some of the more common sites of the city and in the end, I feel that I have found pretty good results.

A man reading the morning paper on the front steps of London Bridge Hospital Building.

Old couple walking down the street together

The next day, I attended the Changing of the Guard Ceremony at Buckingham palace, and felt like I was crammed inside a box of overloaded toothpicks, barely able to move or see anything more than a 60 second segment of the ceremony in motion.

If I could do it again, I would roam around Buckingham Palace before the ceremony, watch a few minutes of the fanfare, and then leave and watch a youtube on “changing of the guards” at my leisure. 

The crowd making their way toward Buckingham Palace, awaiting the beginning of the ceremony.

More people rush to gather around the main gate.

–Most people are feeling a little stress because there seems to be no good place to stand.

The parade segment of the ceremony starts, and because I am standing at the gate, I can see nothing but human bodies in front of me.

So I turn to photograph the lady standing directly before me at the gate…clearly not happy.

Finally we see the Changing of the Guard Ceremony, and although there is a partial view, there is an air of satisfaction.