ASK DAN: Vegan Menswear, Over-Dressing, Patch Pockets
November 9th, 2015
Vegan Formalwear Options
Q: Would you have any options for a vegan wanting to dress formal (no animal products)? We have a vegan wedding coming up and a lot of vegan friends looking for recommendations. Thanks!
A: Absolutely. As long as you stick to fabrics made of vegetable fibers – like cotton, hemp and linen – you should be fine. The trick to keeping it fully Vegan is making sure there is no wool used in the felt that goes under the collar. Typically the undercollar is made from a wool melton material, though good bespoke tailors usually stock a hemp-based version for Vegan clients (and Jewish clients who follow the law of Shatnez). I realize that plant fibers are generally lighter in weight than animal hairs, but cotton is especially diverse for the Fall/Winter. You can make some epic formalwear pieces by thinking-outside-the-box with dark corduroy, moleskin, velvet, etc. Shoot me a message if you’re interested in having us design you something ;)
Over-Dressing at the Office
Q: Hey Dan. I truly love the aesthetic of AOS. I wish I could dress like your editorials, and feel like James Bond, every day. The thing is, my office environment is professional, but relatively conservative and casual. Guys wear ill-fitting suits with no ties and leave their jackets off for most of the day… So sometimes when I wear a very tailored outfit (bespoke DB, or 3-piece with contrast vest) I feel a faint resentment coming from some of the other guys in the office. It’s as if dressing well to throw it in their faces. I feel this may not be great for my career, as I’m trying to “climb the ladder” so to speak. What do you think?
A: Ah, the old best-dressed-guy-in-the-office complex. This is a tricky one, as it’s deeply personal and contextual to your office, and the personalities within it. The first question that comes to mind is: are you over-doing it? If the other guys in the office are wearing casual suits, I would keep it in that general wheelhouse. There’s no need to go full-on power dressing with a banker collar and double-breasted pinstripe suit. There’s also no need to go full dandy with a bowtie, stick pin and top hat. Keep it simple but tasteful. Think well-tailored dark suits, creative but subtle jacket/trouser combinations, a contrast vest with open collar every once in a while, perhaps some sweater variations under your jackets and sport coats. Ultimately it’s important that you consider the “general feel” of the office dress code, and within that framework you can make all types of variations and show the different sides of your style. Cheers mate.
Patch Pockets vs Flaps
Q: I’m interested in your navy three-piece flannel suit. However, I see that you have patch pockets on the jacket. On one hand, those probably make it more versatile as a separate sport jacket. On the other, I always thought that patch pockets are considered less suitable for business, and more casual. Also, aren’t they easier and less expensive to tailor which will make the suit look less high end? Please advise.
A: Totally understand where you are coming from. You’re right, patch pockets are generally considered more casual than flap pockets and in some ultra-conservative business environments could stand out. If you’d like your bespoke suit(s) with traditional flap pockets, we can certainly do that for you. No problem. But since you mentioned it, patch pockets are actually more expensive to produce than flaps; they use more fabric, have to be hand-sewn, and require quite a bit more time for cutting and placement. To your last point, on whether or not a suit looks “high-end”, I’d say 99% of these opinions come down to the fit and fabric quality – and you have nothing to worry about there. Let me know if you have any other questions, we’re looking forward to your fittings.
Thanks, as always, for reading. If you have a style question, hit us.
Yours in style,
Photography by Alex Crawford.