Why you should not trust all of these Pitti pictures.

Jan 16, 2015

Handmade hatOk, we’ve got it: It’s January, and your Facebook wall is crammed with pictures from the Pitti Palace, London men’s collections, or any other place where style seems natural thanks to the magic of marketing and Instagram filters. The doublebreasted jackets are passing in front of your dreaming eyes, you dream of trench coats by day  and of shoes by night. Literally.  Lost in this dandyist maelstrom, you just about managed to forget that you work in the City, your father does not own a racing car company, and your outfits won’t be analysed by Schott Schuman. Because we care about you, let’s analyse  the style mistakes you could be tempted to make this winter/spring.

- Colourful socks : yes. Clown socks : no. Let’s be clear: we love colourful socks, and ours, made in England, come in some bold shades. But there’s a time and a place for everything.  You should probably avoid bright yellow socks for that job interview in Chiswick, and definitely not apple green at your great aunt Dorothy’s    And I won’t even mention the ones where   you’ve got 10 different colours  per square inch. Less is more.   Enough said.

- Pattern juxtaposition. The eternal rookie error. The horrible life lesson you are treated to when you arrive at your parents’ house for lunch, proudly sporting  your new/favourite purple striped waistcoat, your orange windowpane check jacket and these houndstooth trousers you just bought. Sweet baby Jesus and all the other gods who could be horrified! Do you want to kill your mother with embarrassment? She doesn’t understand how you can spend a fortune on clothes in the first place… and there she is, watching you get  ridiculed by all your uncles at the Sunday table while you sit there dressed like a clown. Don’t despair though. Keep calm and remember that everybody goes through a phase at one point. Just leave the table as quietly as you can, go to your room, find yourself some beige chinos, a white shirt and a navy sweater. And now back to table; you’ve got entertaining to do.

English tie

Choose your tie carefully! (Monsieur London Gigmore tie, Fontainebleau pocket square, bespoke glen plaid check two pieces suit).

- 5-inch ties. All these wonderfully-dressed gentlemen you follow on your favourite blogs are certainly wearing large ties, allowing them to create knots with beautiful drops. But you, my friend, you still weigh three pounds and a half, and cannot even eat a large portion of fish and chips without feeling sick. Stay faithful to your 2.7-inch knitted tie. It fits you, and nobody will accuse you of having stolen your great uncle’s one. What do you mean which one? You know, the guy who tried 5 times to be elected to Westminster council.  A tie is better when it looks a bit more ‘you’.

- A tweed three-piece suit, with large sole brogues, flat cap, and a tartan tie. My dear chap, you should clearly stop watching Downton Abbey Christmas Specials every weekend. To start with, nobody authorized you to wear a tartan which you are not associated with. Then, you look like an idiot pretending you are William Wallace’s long-lost twin, when you actually can’t grow a beard. And finally, the highland style looks better when used in a light way. A tweed flat cap with a pair of jeans is great for example. Something subtle…. Not an outfit which suggests you’re actually trying to model your style on that of Rob Roy.

Monsieur London hat

A Fedora hat will always look better on a tall man. Shorter gentlemen should go for a Tribly, most of the time. (Monsieur London "Antoine" Burgundy hat, handloomed irish scarf "Houghton".)

- An ill-fitting hat. Nobody told you this when you were watching Mad Men, but a hat has to be carefully chosen according to your body shape. A short man won’t wear a large brim fedora (like our Antoine hat for example) if he doesn’t want to look even shorter. However, he should look pretty awesome with a Trilby (like our Charles hat). Also, you shouldn’t wear a hat before turning 25. Unless you’re actually a Reggae singer... are you?

 - A very high turn-up. Almost a century ago, they were popular with the French « Zazous », early adopters of jazz music. Today, they’re sported by the guys filling the men’s style blogs. They can look good, but please notice the conditional in “can”. If in doubt, drop it, and I don’t mean it figuratively. What counts is the  overall look of your outfit. Nobody will judge you on your turn-ups. Unless the guy who is interviewing you for a job can see your calves.

Yellow braces

Braces should be worn with buttons, and never, EVER, with a belt. (Monsieur London Del Mar Echo braces)

 - Wearing braces.Yes, but not at any cost! Let’s start with rule number one: no belts with braces. This is so annoying that I recently had to stop Thibault actually cutting it on a random chap with a pair of scissors. A chap who, it seems, did not trust his own trousers to stay up. (A nice glass of scotch at the shop to all those who recognized the joke.) Also: if you want to wear braces, try stitching a set of buttons in your   Clips  pull the fabric, and after all, you  want to look after your trousers, don’t  you?

 - Sporting a jacket and no coat in January. Let’s make one thing really clear: Florence is in Italy, and the winter is warmer there. Also, the guys who get their outfits photographed at the Pitti may be immune to the cold, but that’s still a theory, like the idea that their feet don’t sweat. So please, everybody knows you’ve been saving for a year to afford that superb flannel jacket. But you can still wear a coat over the top. Otherwise, instead of your friends’ admiration, you’ll just catch a cold.

J.Fitzpatrick shoes

Gloves are better when used than simply left to show off in your jacket pocket. (Monsieur London Bragelonne black gloves, J. Fitzpatrick Wedgwood boots.)

- Wearing your gloves in your breast pocket. Too much is too much. OK, we get that your brother gave you a magnificent pair of lambskin gloves for Christmas. Everybody saw them. You sleep with them, and you even stopped wearing a pocket square, and replaced it with the gloves. You look stupid, and everybody is laughing at you. Please don’t go that way. Nobody ever came back. You have been warned.

- Believing in style mistakes lists. It goes without saying that the 9 previous rules are extremely strict. So you should feel free to break it as soon as you can; life is way too short. But beware when playing this game: many are called, but few are chosen. If in doubt, get back to the basics. They are your best ally.

 Valentin Goux

Proofreading by Lucy Martin. (This actually is Valentin's first article in english. Be kind gentlemen.)

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