Ask Dan: Non-Sweat Suit, $400 Sneakers, Age Appropriate Attire
July 5th, 2016
Q: Hey Dan. I’m a heavier guy, and tend to always be hot. I’m looking for a very lightweight suit that breathes so I won’t be a sweaty mess by the time I get to the office. Should I go linen? cotton? something else? Appreciate your advice.
A: I hear you. Nobody likes that feeling – of arriving hot & bothered, feeling like you need a second shower. Good news is, there are fabrics out there that are engineered for exactly this purpose – and they are always getting better and better, as innovation in textile production continually produces fabrics for a “comfort generation” that are lighter, stronger, and more porous. The most breathable fabric I’ve come across, to date, is a wool “Fresco” made from Australian wool that is spun super tight and thin, then woven into an open texture for maximum air circulation. I find the breathability of Fresco to be better than both cotton and linen – and you don’t have to worry about wrinkling/disheveling through a long day (Fresco, like Hopsack, is naturally wrinkle resistant). The other thing to keep in mind is to avoid structure in a lightweight suit – things like shoulder pads (layers of cotton or foam), lining (an insulating synthetic fiber) or heavy canvas (literally horse hair in your jacket) or obviously only going to warm you up. Lastly, have your tailor cut the suit with a little breathing room – literally. Anything tight, or physically restrictive, is making you hotter. You want to float between the cloth, not by hugged by it… Hope this helps, stay cool out there bigman.
Too Much for Sneakers
Q: Dan, I’ve gone through several pairs of cheaper low-top sneakers (Chuck Taylors, Stan Smiths, Vans, etc) and they always end up looking shabby after a couple months (too shabby for my tailored suit from you, for example). A friend of mine has Common Projects that he swears by – and every time he wears them I feel like I need them… But, $400 for sneakers seems like too much. Can you justify this for me?
A: I went through the same thing a couple years ago, but now whenever I put on a pair of CPs I feel awesome (which is the most important thing about fashion). I also often wear them with tailoring because of their sleek design, smooth shape and luxe leather. They also last quite well, if you take good care of them… On this one I say don’t knock the hype – instead look for a deal (they go on sale if you look hard enough).
Age Appropriate Attire
Q: I was searching the site for commentary on age-appropriate attire…how to dress as a man +50 amidst a backdrop of millennials in a more casual workplace…avoiding Obama mom jeans. Stuff like that. The whole slim and skinny silhouette is a challenge with the slowing metabolism ;) JOHN
A: Hey John. Do you follow this gentlemen (“Style After 50”)? What I love about his style is that he really embraces tailoring (even in more casual settings, occasionally) and uses it effectively to enhance (lengthen/slim) his physique. This is the true beauty of a well-tailored garment – it can hide that metabolism issue you spoke about, while given an older gentlemen an air of sophistication. Of course you don’t always need the ties and the wingtips. I would suggest investing in a couple great-fitting sportcoats, that you can wear often and in a variety of formal and casual settings (with trousers, chinos, corduroys, jeans – not the “dad” versions though). In my opinion there is no garment that will look more flattering and age appropriate than a great soft-shouldered sportcoat. Once you find a couple that you love and feel really great wearing, I would build around those (add classic oxford shirts, good loafers, a cashmere sweater, a topcoat, etc). The key to building a wardrobe is finding a garment you love (and makes you feel good, most importantly), and building around it by investing in pieces that all work together and form a cohesive collection… Another pro tip: as the hair begins to go, the hat collection begins to grow.
Thanks, as always, for reading.
Yours in style,