ASK DAN: Combovers, Beltlessness, Short DBs

March 17th, 2015


Q: My dad has no sense of fashion. He’s also been rocking the worst comb-over in history for about the past 10 years. How do I convince him to trim it off, and step up his style game in general? I try and be a good influence on him, but some people are just set in their ways.

A: Find that man a good hat. A combover means he doesn’t have a lot of hair and is self conscious about it – which is a good sign because it means he cares, to some degree. Finding a flattering hat can change all that, so take him to a headwear expert and let him see the difference. As far as getting him on board with a full-on style upgrade, make a bet with him, and convince him that if you take him shopping (including the tailor and the barber shop) and get him a new look, he will feel better and people will be complimenting him like never before… Then prove it!

Q: Tips on going beltless? I know it’s a good look if you can pull it off but I always feel incomplete without one, like I didn’t finish getting dressed before I left the house. Is it okay to do it with slacks that still have belt loops?

A: The first tip is making sure the waist on your trousers fits properly so you don’t need a belt to keep them up. I rarely wear empty belt loops…most of my trousers are designed to be worn beltless, with side of rear adjusters. It’s more comforting knowing that there is some mechanism to ensure your trousers stay in place. The other option is sewing buttons to the inner waistband and experimenting with traditional braces. A lot of guys fall in love with them, because of the comfort and the hidden element of style. 

Q: I love the elegance of the double-breasted jacket, but I’m a small guy (5’7 on a good day). Can short guys pull-off the DB look? What’s the secret?

A: Sure, but the cut has to be just right. When I won Esquire’s “Best Dressed Real Man in America” one of the finalists was a very small guy (I would say maybe 5’3) who wore some incredible double-breasted suits and jackets. He has a combination of confidence and knowledge about his wardrobe, and a great bespoke tailor who makes sure the armholes are high, the lapels lift the shoulders, the midsection is as trim as possible, and the body is just long enough to cover the seat. Check him out here

Got a style question? Hit is on the Contact Form.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Yours in style,

Dan Trepanier


Photography by Alex Crawford.

  • Jeff P.

    Foo!!! I remember Mafoofan from The Style Forum days. Pretty sure he wears Rubinacci?

  • Okay

    Thanks for reminding us again that you won Esquire’s “Best Dressed Real Man in America” contest, you almost let us forget for a second there.

  • Dave Coakley

    That Camel coat is GLORIOUS mate.

  • Geezer

    In regards to the belt-less question, I have fully embraced (word play!) the braces option for sport jackets and suits. I am small waisted (30 inch) with no hips. I was finding that when using a belt the only thing keeping my pants up was friction. Now, with braces, I never once have to re-tuck my shirt or adjust my sagging pants throughout the day. It truly is a wonderful feeling.

    For casual pants (basically linen pants and some others like cords) I tend to stick with side-tabs and obviously jeans and chinos should be worn with a belt. Be warned though, braces become addictive ;)

    • tommyjohn_45

      I do love the hidden element of braces (as well as the classic vibe they portray), but I find my shirts still bunch up throughout the day and needs to be adjusted. Still a better feeling than always have to re-tuck into my belt though! That drives me nuts.

      I have a few pairs of MAB pants with the rubber inseam, total game changer and highly recommended! The grip keeps your shirt from moving exceptionally well.

      • Geezer

        I have never tried the the grip pads. I just military tuck my shirts (push it to the back) and it is usually hidden beneath the jacket. I am now curious tommyjohn_45 about the grip pads and will give them a go on my next custom piece ;)

    • Willie JS

      Regarding the adding/sewing buttons to the inner waistband of a suit trousers to incorporate new braces. Don’t the empty belt loops make the look incomplete or not sharp when the jacket is open?
      Is it a good idea removing the belt loops and storing them away when you go back to wearing a belt again ??
      Please advice, going for my first braces soon !!!
      Thanks in advance for your help.

      • Geezer

        That is the plan in the long run, removing the belt loops that is. Now, do me a favour and look at all the pics of guys in their jackets on this site and see if you notice the belt loops. Very rarely at all, well to me that is ;).

        My advice, keep the belt loops and simply get the buttons sewn on and try it for a while. If you like it,
        amazing, start getting rid of those belt loops (not as easy of a job as one might first assume). If not, no harm no foul, you can go back to the inferior invention that is the belt :) Some pants, like my stack of grey flannels in particular, I have elected to keep belt loops and have
        brace buttons sewn in. They are worn differently at time and I like the option.

  • scottembler

    Pretty sure you mean “self-conscious” and not “subconscious” there, Dan.

  • JoeFromTexas

    “The other option is sewing buttons to the inner waistcoat” – I’m assuming you meant “inner waist” or “inner waistband”, rather than the British term for a vest.