Male fashion trends that need to stop

I love men’s fashion. What got me hooked was buying three custom tailored business shirts at James Fashion in Bangkok, Thailand. I wasn’t really into the clothing game before that point, but when I got my shirts and tried them on, it was an experience that changed my mind. The fit was perfect, they looked great and my self esteem was instantly raised. That’s the moment I became interested in timeless men’s fashion – a dressed up style that NEVER gets old and always looks good.

I recently got my diploma as a men’s style consultant, and one of the biggest takeaways I learned during the course was to avoid what teacher Antonio Centeno calls “The whimsical winds” of fashion.

What does he mean by that? Trends fluctuate, and what’s hot today will highly likely be passe in three months. Don’t fall for the temptation to jump on these trends. Instead, a man should slowly build his wardrobe based on timeless pieces of clothing that looked great 50 years ago and likely will look great during the next 50 years. Following the whimsical trends will leave you with an empty wallet and a chaotic and growing wardrobe of low quality garments that you can’t mix and match and can’t wear anymore because they aren’t in style.

Here are three current whimsical trends that particularly burn my eyes, and that many guys seem keen to jump on. Best advice? Avoid like the plague.

Extravagantly unbuttoned dress shirts

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Good looking guy, but what is he thinking? No, no no.

I started noticing this trend on Instagram a while back. Suddenly, it seemed cool to wear a dress shirt like flamboyant Mediterranean beach hustler. Not far after, I saw men of all ages and styles jumping on this ridiculous trend.

I remember sitting in an outdoor cafe in central Singapore and a few tables away from me, a middle aged, over weight office worker with a very hairy upper body tried to pull this off. His shirt was unbuttoned down to the belly button, exposing his hairy chest and stomach for everyone to see. Needless to say, he looked like a clown.

Guys, just don’t go there. Think hard before unbuttoning the third button of your dress shirt – and for gods sake, start using an undershirt with your dress shirts. The benefits are just too many to not do it.

I can’t think of many occasions where it would be OK to unbutton this much. But in this situation, I’ll let you off the hook.

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Cropped pants

A very clownish style that burns my eyes at the moment is this notion of wearing too short pants. Do I really need to explain this further? Nobody has ever looked good in 3/4 shorts, and the last thing pants and trousers need is to imitate that. Don’t do it guys. You won’t be able to wear the pants in 3 months and it will be a poor investment that rots in your closet until you donate them.

croppedpants
I’m baffled by how many guys walk around like this.

How long should your pants be? There are a few factors to consider. Do you want to appear tall or short? A short guy would want to create vertical lines for the eye to follow, witch makes him appear taller. In that case, aim for a length of the pants that ends exactly where the shoe begins – touching the shoe slightly but avoiding a crease.

A tall guy who wants to appear shorter to blend in could have a pants length that makes a full crease and breaks up his vertical length a bit. Just don’t do anything extreme like too saggy (or too short, like above), and you’ll be able to wear your pants for the rest of your life. A good example:

uncropped pants
This is a nice length.

 

Skinny & spray on

This trend has been particularly pervasive, and every night before I fall asleep I say a silent prayer to the fashion gods to end it immediately. Guys all around the world are walking around in pants that resemble female leggings and tights more than men’s clothing.

sprayonjeans
No explanation needed

The sad thing is that the trend even has spread into formal office wear, like trousers and suits. You see them all over Instagram – the flashy guys who nail the color combinations perfectly – but fail miserably on the fit.

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Great combo! Love the color, and the shoes. But the fit is slightly too tight, and pants too short.
skinnysuit
Another example

Leave the tight fitting clothes for your workouts guys. The fit of office clothes and most street wear should follow your body shape but not be sprayed on. A good fitting garment is meant to compliment your body – not be your body.

What to do instead?

I definitely recommend every man to learn the basics of men’s timeless fashion. Check out Antonio Centeno’s stuff. He has courses, and a good place to start if you don’t want to invest in one of them, is his YouTube channel with tons of free videos for men. Time to leave boyhood and start dressing like a man. A good Instagram account, one of my personal favorites, is modern man collection. I’ve gotten lots of inspiration there. Tons of looks and good color combinations of timeless fashion.

modernamn

Irritating things that stores do

Sometimes shopping can be a less than pleasurable experience. I’ve personally come across three very irritating things that I find is common in many stores and outlets.

Hiding the price tag

Am-I-The-Only-One-Around-Here

This really infuriates me. Don’t you just hate when you are shopping for a nice watch, and the price tag is hidden on some small sticker in a place you can’t see? The staff could have easily put the tag outside the wristband holder, but NO! The hid it on purpose. It also seems like the norm these days, especially for men’s shirts. Stores like to button the shirt and then put the price tag hidden inside the buttoned shirt so that you have to take the time and unbutton it and search for it – often a nearly impossible task with one hand, since many people shopping are already carrying one or two items. You try to do it with one hand, but end up making a mess of the store by accidentally bumping other clothes off the hanger. It’s happened many times that I prefer to just not look and leave the store, rather than to take my time and put my stuff on the ground to free my hands for the stupid find-the-price-tag-game. My advice to stores: STOP DOING THIS FOR F*CKS SAKE! You SHOULD be making shopping as EASY and CONVENIENT for customers as possible. This is the complete opposite. Hang out the price tag so the customer can see it without having to lift a finger. The hidden price tags is actually costing you many sales opportunities, just sayin’.. I don’t know who’s idea this was but it should stop.

Too loud music

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Here in Singapore, a store that frequently does this is Giordano. I think that some of there clothes are actually quite nice. They have some good polo shirts and shorts. But I can’t stand even a minute in there, and I cross to the other side of the mall corridor when walking buy their stores. They blast the music in their store so ridiculously loud that I can’t even think, and on top of that, the speaker system is too weak for the volume which makes the sound distorted and unbearable to listen too. I really must question the intelligence of the person who decided that this is a good practice for creating a pleasurable shopping experience. Really? I feel so bad for their staff who have to work in that environment. I’m sure they have a very high turnover rate of staff. My advice to stores who blast music too loud: It’s been proven in many studies that music affects the purchasing behavior and decisions of customers. Your’re doing it wrong. Get it right.

Hoovering staff

chan

I realize that this is a cultural thing, but I don’t like being bothered by staff when I’m shopping. In some parts of the world, for example Turkey, It’s considered very bad service and rude if a staff member doesn’t approach you. In other countries and regions, people don’t like it. I’m one of them. I often wear headphones (even without music) when I look for clothes to signal that I’m not interested in having a conversation. If I want help, I’m perfectly happy asking for it. The worst moments are when staff stalk you around the stores and hoover over your shoulder. That stresses me a lot and I prefer to just leave. I would advise stores to pay attention to the customer and only approach if he or she tries to make eye contact or clearly displays a body language that is open for an approach.

What kinds of store behavior don’t you like? Something I forgot here?

Topman utmanar Zara

Zara har alltid varit min definitiva favoritbutik i budgetsegmentet för herrmode. Deras design är mer vågad än H&M, och ofta kan man hitta riktigt coola fynd och speciella modeller. De tar ut svängarna mer och experimenterar med stilar och material. Ett annat budgetmodemärke som på senaste tiden ryckt upp sig REJÄLT i mina ögon är Engelska Topman. De har inte bara ryckt upp sig – de verkar ha påbörjat en direkt utmaning av Zara där många av de nya plaggen är ännu mer experimentiellt vågade än Zaras!

topman

Ett bra exempel är deras senaste kimonos för män. Jag gillar verkligen konceptet! De har tagit det traditionella japanska plagget och uppdaterat designen för att passa med både finare skjortor och t-shirts. Well played.

Sen för övrigt hoppas jag att hela modebranschen snabbt överger det här super-skinny-skiten som är modernt nu. FAIL. Hur stor andel av kunderna är egentligen super skinny? Tänkte väl det.. För oss andra 99% som är normalbyggda, vältränade eller feta så är det omöjligt att hitta något med bra passform på senare tid. En av grundpelarna i mode är att köpa kläder som passar ens kroppstyp, och ifall man går runt med super skinny kläder utan att ha den kroppstypen ser det inte alls bra ut, om man ens får på sig plagget.

En positiv nyhet i rätt riktning är att Topman nyss lanserat skjortor och kostymer med något de kallar “muscle fit” och som jag tolkar är sydda efter att bäras av vältränade killar.

topman muscle

ÄNTLIGEN! Jag provade en snygg vinröd kostym i en av deras butiker här i Singapore, och jag är försiktigt optimistisk. Den satt faktiskt hyfsat. Med lite kärlek från en skräddare skulle jag kunnat tänka mig bära den. Hoppas verkligen inte bara att musle fit konceptet är ett förklätt super-skinny, marknadsfört under ett annat namn.

Topman-muscle-fit
En av Topmans modeller för muslce fit conceptet

Min tidigare erfarenhet säger nämligen att ett modeföretags definition av en vältränad man är ganska långt från min egen definition. Vad de kallar vältränad skulle jag snarare kalla anorektisk, så jag vågar inte hoppas för mycket. Men som sagt – lovande. Tittar man på Topmans modell for konceptet (ovan) så är han iaf iaf lite grövre än modehusens generella modeller, och dessutom bra deffad! För oss med lite mer muskelmassa är det inte lätt att hitta bra plagg.

Topman releases male kimono

Topman: I LOVE YOU!

I must confess that I totally dig their male kimonos that hit stores here in Singapore recently. Not sure if it’s a local market thing, but I sure hope that it isn’t – I think that the kimono is one of the most interesting yet unusual garments for men to wear these days.

mens-kimono-1
Traditional men’s kimono

This traditional Japanese garment i loaded with history, and the unique design certainly is appealing to my eye. Topman has modernized the design a bit here to make a bold play at matching the kimono to formal dress shirts! I like it. By making it a bit shorter, thicker and more luxurious fabric, a wearer can choose if he wants to wear is with street wear such as a t-shirt or a formal shirt. Well played, Topman. Here are their models. Like any of them?

casely
I couldn’t find this one on Topman Singapores website. It appears to be a special collaboration with British designer Casely Hayford

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The most pressing question in my mind is which one I’m buying!

I see Topman going heavily after Zara. Their Chinese new years collection was amazing, and I can’t wait to see what more they can bring to the table now during the spring. They are playing their cards right, in my opinion. The recent “Muscle fit” suits is a promising and VERY welcomed step away from this horrible ultra skinny shit that’s been going on in men’s wear for all too long. One can only hope that others will take the hint and follow.

 

 

Grattis H&M – ni är tråkigare än nånsin

Jag har tidigare alltid varit ett stort fan av H&M. Varje gång jag gått in i någon av deras butiker har jag sett massor av inspiration och kläder som jag skulle kunna tänka mig äga – tills nyligen.

I mina ögon började H&Ms förfall när de under hösten lanserade en lodiskollektion med herrkläder som inte ens en uteliggare skulle ta i med tång. Ta en titt på den här t-shirten till exempel, modellen kallades hole-patterned t-shirt.

hm hole

Helt ärligt. Om du frivilligt betalar pengar för den här t-shirten, då finns det ingen annan slutsats att dra än att du måste va dum i huvudet. Jag vet inte vad H&M’s designers tänkte här – min bästa gissning är att man försökte spela på Marvels serie Luke Cage?

luke cage

Hur som helst, epic fail. Hade jag varit en av cheferna på H&M så hade designern som kommit till mig med en idé om att sälja uteliggarkläder fyllda av hål fått sparken med omedelbar verkan. Sedan dess kan man konstatera att det inte gick bättre. Skandalen med “coolest monkey in the jungle” blossade upp, vilket gjorde att man förlorade samarbetet med artisten The Weeknd, vilket var en kollektion som jag verkligen gillade och som jag tyckte började ta H&M i rätt riktning igen.

monkey

Coolest monkey skandalen gjorde att man fick stänga butiker och flera butiker i Sydafrika blev totalförstörda av vandalisering. Oavsett ifall man tycker att folk gjorde en höna av en fjäder eller ej, så var det ett osmart och osmakligt drag att publicera bilden.  Ett globalt modeföretag med miljontals följare i olika kulturer borde förstått att en sådan bild är att be om trouble – speciellt i dagens lättkränkta och uppkopplade samhällsklimat där minsta felsteg snabbt kan få viral spridning och sänka bilden av ett företag.

viral.jpg

Sedan dess har man legat kvar på botten modemässigt, iaf i mina ögon. Varje gång under de senaste tre månaderna som jag gått in i en H&M butik så har jag blivit deprimerad. Kläderna som hänger där saknar helt karaktär, färgerna är konstigt valda, och designen på plaggen är minst sagt tråkig. Jag har gått ut ur butiken utan att ha sett ett enda plagg som jag skulle kunna tänka mig bära, vilket aldrig hänt när jag besökt H&M innan.

Är det en marknadsstrategi? Kanske försöker man rida ut vågen efter monkeyskandalen genom att spara in så mycket som möjligt på design? Jag vet inte. Håller iaf tummarna för en storslagen comeback, för innan har det varit en av mina favoritbutiker. Sparka era designers och ta in nytt kompetent folk tack.

 

Guess didn’t feel right

I’ve been on the lookout for a blue watch lately. A brand that I’ve seen in shops is Guess, and they have a lot of models in blue at the moment. Generally, I like Guess’s designs so I decided to have a closer look. The style I’m after is sporty yet elegant, and the nice royal  color combo blue + gold can be well suited for this. Here are the models I tried on. Which one would you go for?
Screenshot (44)Screenshot (45)Screenshot (46)Screenshot (47)Screenshot (48)

They all looked great in the shop window, but to be honest, none of them looked good enough on my wrist to convince me into making the purchase. I don’t know why, maybe it was the dark light at the shop counter. All of them looked kind of flat and dull. I might go to another shop with better light to form a second opinion.

When it comes to buying clothes, shoes, watches and jewelry, I’m very picky. I can look for ages for something but until I find a piece that fits good and suits my body type, I won’t buy anything. During 2014 for example, I didn’t buy a single piece of clothing. But when I do find something that fits very well and feels excellent, I buy more than one pair.

The hunt continues!

I never wear underwear

Yes – you did read that correct. I never wear underwear. At least not underwear of the traditional type such as briefs or tighty whities. And definitely not boxers.

I’ve hated boxers my whole life. Not the garment itself, but rather the manufacturers extreme incompetence in regards to producing a boxer short that stays in place, is comfortable, and breathable.

You’ve all seen the ad..

The fit hunky guy with PERFECTLY fitting boxers.

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Ladies and gents – that image is nothing more than a big fat ILLUSION!

Why?

I’ll explain. When you put on your boxers, they actually do stay like that – for a few short seconds. The moment you start moving around, you’re screwed.

As any guy can confirm – it only takes a few minutes until they’ve wedged themselves high up into the creek of Niagara falls, if you know what I mean.

Don’t be fooled to think that you can circumvent this by forking out your hard earned dough for a more expensive brand. Nope. This universal law of nature applies to ONE AND ALL brands of boxers.

I know this from personal experience. A few years ago, I was so sick and tired of this phenomenon that I set out on a mission to find the perfect boxer brand that would rid me of the problem.

After trying brands from the whole spectrum of price ranges and materials, I had to face the hard conclusion that proving the Riemann hypothesis seemed a piece of cake in comparison to manufacturing a good pair of boxers.

So what to do?

The obvious solution unexpectedly appeared during a hard workout. Under my workout shorts, I had, like always, a pair of compression shorts.

Under Armour Heat Gear Mens Sonic Compression Shorts Black Taxi PS1236237-003_F

Compression shorts are a piece of workout gear that is made of a thin, very durable material with outstanding breath-ability. They are a bit longer than boxers, and designed to stay in place and never wedge. So I asked myself, why not leapfrog the boxer use and go straight into compression instead? I workout almost every day, and that means putting them on at some point during the day anyway. The optimal solution is to completely “cut out the middle man” and go 100% compression the entire day.

No more wedging.

Breathable.

Light.

Stays in place.

Very comfortable.

Creates no lines that can be seen through the pants.

nike-white-pro-compression-shorts-product-2-4645874-761673923_large_flex
Since that revelation, I’ve been using compression shorts instead of boxers and I haven’t regretted it a second. And the list of benefits is even longer!

I found that boxers have an average lifespan of 1-2 years. Wear them any longer, and they start looking like something you’ve fished up out of the water close to the Fukushima power plant meltdown. Compression shorts on the other hand, have a life span of AT LEAST 6 years. I still have and use all of the pairs I bought 8 years ago. After 6 years of use in both sports and every day life, the seams on a few of them started to come undone. It was an easy fix with my moms sewing machine, and since the fabric itself was still intact with no holes, I kept them.

I also found that with boxers, they would start to smell less favorable as their age approached 1 year. With compression shorts, this isn’t the case. None of mine smell anything what so ever, even after 8 years of service.

 

Another important difference is the price. Let’s face it – boxers are quite expensive. A pair of nice looking Calvin Klein or Björn Borg’s sets you back a bit. When the short life span is taken into account, this is a very poor investment. Consider compression shorts instead. The price for a pair is in many cases close to half of what you would pay for a pair of boxers. It’s a no brainer gents!

Lastly, I’d like to share another important benefit and that is that the material dries EXTREMELY fast after a wash! Compared to heavy, water soaked boxers, the light and breathable fabric of compression shorts feels almost dry straight out of the washing machine.

And they tolerate higher temperatures of washing. Try to wash any pair of brand new boxers in higher temperature, and they come out looking like your grandpa’s. The color has lost it’s punch completely and they feel old to the touch. Not so with compression shorts. You can wash them in the highest temperature like bed linen, and they’ll still look brand new.

And they take up less weight and space, so good for traveling.

So there you have it!

ps. Eastbay is currently selling compression shorts for 11.99$ a pair..

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They even have 21 colors!

Recommended: Versace Eros

I must recommend a perfume I purchased recently here in Singapore. It’s Eros from the brand Versace. I’ve never owned a Versace product before, but I was pleasantly surprised when I came across this one. In my opinion, it manages to walk the very tight rope between fresh, sporty day-time style and more masculine, heavy night time. Good overall performance!

eros

Until that purchase, I haven’t bought a perfume since 2009. At that point I was heading to Greece to do a summer season in a bar located on the island of Crete. Walking through the tax free on the way to my gate, I realized that I had forgot to bring a perfume for the summer. The tax free store was having some kind of promotion, so I ended up buying three different brands, which has lasted me since. As a matter of fact, most of them are only half finished. And my bathroom cupboard has about 6-7 other perfumes. During my early twenties I went through a perfume-phase where I bought several unusual perfumes with very distinctive character.

My favorite perfume maker is the French luxury brand Givenchy. I think they do a superb job of combining interesting tones into unique perfumes. If I had to pick my all time personal ones, it would be these two:

Day time

givenchy-very-irresistible

Very Irrésistible, by Givenchy. It’s so unique. The smell is kind of reminiscent of green grass mixed with mint and pine. Fresh, sporty, lovely!

 

Evening

givenchy pi

PI, by Givenchy. I promise, I didn’t buy it just because I’m a math & physics nerd ha ha. It actually smalls great. This one is a KILLER! Confident masculine presence with the dominating tones of honey, vanilla and cinnamon. You can’t get enough of it.

How to give your shirts longer life

Don’t you just love the feeling of slipping into a freshly ironed, high quality shirt? Especially if it’s been tailored to fit you perfectly. It’s a feeling of success, distinction, and accomplishment. It gives you an immediate confidence boost – like slipping into the role of a highly paid CEO, or movie star on his way to win an Oscar.

Sylvester Stallone at the oscars
Stallone looking like a boss

After I discovered the world of formal dressed fashion like three piece suits, shirt and coats, I was hooked! But one thing bothered me – a few hours into wearing, business shirts started to stick to the skin and feel coarse. And another issue was that repeated use of shirts left yellowish stains of perspiration under the armpits that just wouldn’t go away no matter how I tried to wash them.

The good news is that there is a solution to this, and it’s actually vary simple:

Wear a t-shirt under the shirt

Yes. It’s that easy, and I have good arguments for this practice. Let’s take a look at them! Firstly, the t-shirt acts as a sweat buffer between your skin and the shirt. Most people sweat about 0.5 L (0.13 gallons) spread out over the day, if it’s room temperature. It’s just the natural process of your body giving off heat and getting rid of waste through the skin.

Normal+Body+Fluids+Loses+per+day

Having a t-shirt pick up this sweat is much better than letting it get in to the fabric of your shirt! Especially, since shirts tend to be much more expensive than t-shirts. The armpits of your precious Egyptian cotton shirts remain stainless as the t-shirt (undershirt) takes the blow of perspiration. This VASTLY prolongs the lifespan of your shirts and the fabric stays fresh longer.

white-t-shirt-with-yellow-pit-stains
Much better to have an undershirt take this blow than your nice shirts!

The second argument is that it feels much better to wear a t-shirt under. The business shirt won’t start to stick to your skin and it glides more when you move. When trying out the t-shirt trick, this was the thing I was most skeptical about. I worried that it would feel strange, and look weird. Both turned out to be false. Not only does it feels much better, it also looks much better – if you know what pitfalls to avoid. I’m coming to that part soon, but first tackle a concern about heat.

Some of you might think -“I live in a very warm country, and this is just going to make me sweat more!”. I’ve tried the t-shirt trick myself while traveling in areas like Africa and Asia, and I still consider it to be the best practice. While it’s true that it could make you very slightly warmer, it’s also true that you sweat much more in that kind of heat and it increases the speed at which your shirts stain, stick and deteriorate. So the benefits of the t-shirt are only amplified by the extra heat! And don’t you just hate the feeling of being out in the heat with a shirt ticking to your skin and then walking into a room with blasting air condition? The t-shirt trick mitigates this very well, I’ve found. Quite frankly, I don’t really feel any hotter with a t-shirt under. I can’t notice any difference. I even wear a t-shirt under short sleeved shirts.

An added benefit of wearing an undershirt is that it conforms to the layer-on-layer principle popularized by icons such as Steve McQueen.

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The icon Steve McQueen using the layer principle

It just looks good. An outfit with multiple layers looks more thought through and shows that you actually have put some effort into dressing well – unlike so many lazy guys who don’t have a clue or don’t care. I’m sure you’ve seen this many times; The over weight, balding, unshaved, no f*cks giving, middle aged office guy on the commute back home from work. His shirt is too tight, which creates oval spaces between the button points where his hairy chest and belly peek out – an unsightly view.

fatbelly

Don’t abuse your shirt or public image like that. If your weight has crept up, I’d suggest to get back to a healthy lifestyle, buy bigger shirts, and at least wear an undershirt to spare people in your surrounding to an involuntary show of your body parts. If you like being over weight and don’t care to change, I think the second best option is to really own that style and play it up. Dress like a kingpin or mafia boss. Wear cool hats, suspenders, pinstriped or tweed suits. Use gadgets such as smoking a pipe, walking cane, etc. Cultivate a larger then life image – at least do something that shows you put an effort into your style, regardless of how much you want to weigh or how healthy your lifestyle is. Good role models here are James Corden, Notorious BIG, or Jonah Hill.

 

Now back to the main topic. Layers let you be more creative with your style and opens up more dimensions to your outfit, such as color matching. A good example of this would be a nice white cotton t-shirt on layer 1, a light blue high quality dress shirt on layer two, and a thin beige knitted pullover on layer three. All three layers are visible, the colors compliment each other, and the look is sophisticated yet playful. Add a nice watch and the look is golden! The layer principle also lets you adjust your body temperature by adding or removing layers.

2017-Latest-Coat-Pant-Designs-Ivory-White-Linen-Men-jacket-Casual-Beach-Blazer-Terno-Slim-Fit
Picture this guy with a white t-shirt under his shirt, and a beige or navy pullover between the shirt and blazer

Another benefit of the undershirt is that it brings out the true color of your business shirt much more. Most business shirts are somewhat transparent, which means that their color will be affected by your skin color. A wisely chosen undershirt sets a neutral base that will make the true color of your shirt come alive and stand out. For light colored shirts, chose a white undershirt. For dark colored shirts, the options are a bit more flexible, and I’d suggest wearing a black undershirt for most outfits, but in some cases, a white undershirt will match a dark shirt very well. Use color matching theory here if you are unsure.

Choose your undershirt wisely

OK, so let’s take a look at different types of undershirts. First, we have to make sure the fit is good. Ideally, you want a fit that is quite close to your body, but not quite as tight as compression gear like underarmour.  A well fitting undershirt prevents your business shirt from wrinkling, and doesn’t fill out your shape too much. Something like the image below, is a good example of a fit.

undershirt
Perfect example

I suggest going to a v-neck, because it compliments the v-shape of the buttoning of the business shirt. But this is of course a matter of personal taste, so if you strongly prefer round neck t-shirts, feel free.

Another option is to go long sleeve. This is something you could consider if you don’t like the undershirt showing through the shirt, as it does in the picture below where I’m wearing a mandarin collar business shirt over a cotton undershirt.

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Common mistakes when choosing an undershirt

  1. T-shirt is too long. This is quite common, thanks to the the general tendency of clothing manufacturers to make t-shirts unnecessarily long.  For a short and muscular guy like me, this is real problem. It’s almost impossible to find a good fitting t-shirt. The ideal undershirt ends just before your ass starts. If it’s too long you will add extra circumference to your hip area, which diminishes your manly V-shape and creates an unsightly horizontal line across your butt that can be seen through your pants.
  2. T-shirt is too loose. That means extra fabric to create more space and induces wrinkles. Avoid!
  3. Going for a tanktop instead. There is a cultural aspect of this, since tanktop under a shirt is very common in the Balkans and eastern European countries such as Ukraine, Belarus etc. Unless you consciously want people to put you in the Eastern European guy category, I would avoid it. There are several reasons to this, but the most important is that it defeats the purpose of absorbing sweat from your armpits and keeping your business shirt free from deodorant & perspiration stains. The second  reason is that it’s generally considered a bit tacky. Of course there are exception. Both Mit Romney and Obama prefer the tanktop under. But it’s not a style I’d consider wearing personally.

    tank-top-under-dress-shirt-feature

  4. Wearing a fishnet undershirt or tanktop. Do I really need to explain this one further..? Just don’t go there.

 

 

Getting a tailor-made Asian style business suit

After extensive research, I settled for the award winning Mohan’s custom tailors, who have a shop in the Far East Plaza complex. Mohans claim to be the oldest and most experienced bespoke tailor in Singapore.

I’ve tried two online tailors, I’ve had off the rack suits altered at tailors before, but until recently I had never had a suit made by a tailor completely from scratch.

tailor

Being here in the tropical paradise of Singapore, I thought it would be a good opportunity to get my first Asian style business suit, and have a tailor make it for me completely from scratch. As in most Asian countries, cheap and skilled tailors are in no shortage here. Just walk in to the mall called Far East Plaza and you’ll probably find at least 50 tailors in that location who are all displaying dazzling suits, coats and tuxedos in the front of their shops.

Choosing a tailor

After extensive research, I settled for the award winning Mohan’s custom tailors, who have a shop in the Far East Plaza complex. Mohans claim to be the oldest and most experienced bespoke tailor in Singapore. They have a Tripadvisor certificate of excellence, and over 40 google reviews with an average rating of 4.6 out of 5. One of the headline reviews that caught my eye stated “When getting a suit in Singapore, ALWAYS go for Mohan’s”. According to their website, they have been in business for 45+ years and have close to 100 000 satisfied customers.

mohans

I was concerned about pricing, since I’m still a student with a limited budget. Most of the reviews also stated that Mohan would get the job done at a great price, which was important to me. In most Asian market-style shops you can (and often are expected to) haggle, and luckily, I’m quite good at it.

Going through the process, step by step

At my first visit to the shop, I was attended by a courteous employee named Elan, and I told him what I was looking for. The Asian style business suit differs from the western on a few points, the most noticeable being the suit lapels.

Western to the left, Asian to the right
The regular western business suit to the left, have two lapels that fold out to expose the tie and standard collar business shirt. To the right, we see the Asian style business suit. It is buttoned all the way up, with no lapels. It also has a rounded collar with no button – to expose the button on the mandarin style collar of the shirt often worn to this style of suit.

Another difference is in the slits at the bottom of the blazer. Western suits normally have either one slit in the middle of the back, or a slit on each side. The Asian style doesn’t have slits, and the bottom opening of the blazer is cut at almost 90 degree angle, compared to the western style of rounded corners. I asked Elan a lot about the different style options and he competently answered all of my questions. One interesting thing he pointed out is that Asian suits can be made to cover the button – which is considered a bit more conservative and formal and would be better for business meetings. Exposing the buttons is considered more “sporty” and leisure.

After some negotiation, we settled on a price that was a bit less than half the initial asked price. He also agreed to throw in a mandarin collar business shirt, which is the style of shirt that goes best with this suit design. Elan took my measurements, and we booked a time for the first fitting, which was about a week later.

The first fitting rolled around and I got to try the pants, shirt, and the base for the jacket. It all fit well, with only a few minor adjustments required. We booked a time for the second fitting, where the customer most often takes the suit home. The second fitting is sometimes used to make revisions or fine tune small things before it’s too late. My second fitting went very well! I didn’t see the need to change anything, and I was very happy with the work. Elan helped me with the tax refund papers, and provided me with a hanger and cover to store my suit in. Here are a few pictures of the finished suit.