Detail of the Day – Twilled Cotton in Pink from Button-down Shirt
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This is the detail of a twill weave of cotton from a pink button-down shirt.
Vintage Brooks Brothers Shirts and Collars from the 1920's
The base of every gentleman’s outfit is his shirt. They may be made of cotton, linen, silk, wool, or other textiles. A shirt maybe worn for casual pursuits or the most formal ones.
The basic shirt is comprised of the collar, sleeves, cuffs and yoke. The yoke and the sleeves have plackets to help with the closures which may be buttons, studs or cufflinks. More on all those in future posts…
The Parts of a Shirt
A shirt may have short sleeves, for wear in tropical or warm summer climates. It may also be of finely woven cotton pressed and starched for ‘white tie‘ occassions. The various elements of the shirt may be changed to give such a wide variety that it has become the staple of gentlemen’s dress.
* – Please note that an undershirt is not a shirt. A “T-shirt” is of the most extreme casual dress and one that should be the rare exception to a gentleman’s dress and not the rule!
The most important element of any shirt in a gentleman’s wardrobe is that is fit him properly. Each fellow has there own desired fit for their ideal shirt and you need to know how to measure one so you can find them more easily.
For your viewing pleasure and sartorial edification:
Kingpin Chic Mens Clothing at Wychwood Barns Gadsden’s Toronto Vintage Clothing Show
By special request Kingpin Chic will be opening up our collection of fine gentleman’s apparel one day only on Sunday, October 23, 2011 at the Gadsden’s Toronto Vintage Clothing Show Wychwood Barns located at 601 Christie Street Toronto, Ontario. The hours for the show are 11 am – 4:00 pm and admission for adults is $8.00, and for children 12 and under there is no charge!
It is a common site on the streets, in the cafe, nightclubs, banks, and even weddings and funerals to see men dressed in a T-shirt as their only uppermost garb. Time was that you only saw a man in his T-shirt when he had removed his actual shirt to do some heavy labour or in preparation for intimate times.
Don Draper in a T-shirt (Work)
Fast forward to today and the T-shirt has become ubiquitous for the male look, regardless of age. It certainly no longer signifies a man about to do anything strenuous. Remember this guy from South Park…
Computer Nerd Wearing a T-shirt and Playing Warcraft (Not Work)
Why bring this up?
The other day as I was off to my favourite breakfast place out-of-town when a man wearing no shirt, cigarette dangling from his mouth drove his pickup truck ahead of me. After I recovered from this awesome display it occurred to me that the only thing that separates most men from straying into that heinous look is one bad decision. They look down and instead of picking one of their T-shirts to wear they think, “Screw it,” and leave the house without a shirt. A gentleman has his jacket and his shirt to remove before he’s down to only his undershirt. This provides him plenty of time to think about why he is disrobing and to consider the ramifications along the way. The guy who insists on dressing like he did in grade school does not have this style fail-safe.
Oh, and before you start thinking about how a guy driving his vehicle sans shirt is sexy, like this:
Fantasy Shirtless Man in a Truck Smoking a Cigarette
remember that this is pure fantasy like the seductive nurse or sex-crazed librarian. Reality looks more like this:
Real Shirtless Man in a Truck
I am the last person to pass judgement on what one may find sexually stimulating. That is not the point. What is the point is that a gentleman does not inflict his nakedness on the general public, and certainly never in such a crass manner. In order to avoid this colossal mistake, a gentleman restricts his T-shirt wearing to a minimum and to the select purposes to which they are best suited. If you’re not sure a T-shirt is appropriate for a situation then don’t. Just don’t.
You’ve been warned.
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I have friends that have many excuses for not wearing proper shirts, let alone ones with French cuffs. This style of cuff is the one that lets you choose the style of cuff links that demonstrate you are a gentleman to those around you.
Oh, you say, that’s not cool. Really. I guess you’re too cool for Jon Stewart
Jon Stewart in French Cuffs
Still not cool? Then how about Stephen Colbert, a regular cuff link wearing guy:
Stephen Colbert in French Cuff, Colbert Report April 13, 2011
Just to make sure, here’ s the hippest of the late night crowd, Jimmy Fallon literally rocking his French cuffs:
Jimmy Fallon Rocking French Cuffs
and in case there are still some holdouts that think French Cuff is not masculine enough, I present two killers from Mad Men infamy, Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm) and Roger Sterling (played by John Slattery):
Don Draper with French Cuff
Roger Sterling in French Cuff
The style necessary to dress as a the gentleman you are lies in the details. One detail you must not leave out is adding French cuff to your wardrobe. So much so, in fact, that the days you do not wear them, you will feel as if you are only half-dressed. At least, that’s how Duke Ellington felt… and everyone knows he is cool personified.