Category Archives: Men’s Fashion

How Did We Get Here?

Every day I keep hearing the question “how did we get here?”. The only answer I can come up with is; “because we don’t want to pay for anything”. How did we manage to ship all our jobs overseas?….because we didn’t want to pay for anything. “How did we get into this healthcare mess?” ….because we didn’t want to pay for it (and then some of us ended paying too much for it)…. How is it you can’t go into a store anymore to see TV screens and only a few manufacturers still make them?…Because no one wanted to pay for them…so you can only choose from 3 adaquate manufacturers. Don’t get me wrong we WANT all these things….even though most people can’t distinguish the difference between good and bad quality….we just don’t want to pay a lot for anything. We want the big DISCOUNT of life….no matter what. That’s what drives the American consumer and it’s no secret that everyone takes advantage of that fact to give us what we want…one big DISCOUNT…because somehow we feel entilted to it!

Please read this article I ran across the other day.

The new dynamic: Off-price is not for the faint of heart

May 1, 2012 By Karen Alberg Grossman

 “What’s an off-price store anyway?” asks David Lapidos, EVP of the OffPrice Show, alluding to the extent of discounting and promotional activity in conventional stores. “Off-price stores come here to do the bulk of their buying; regular stores come to improve their margins.”

According to Lapidos, the show’s exhibitor base these days is half manufacturers and importers, half jobbers. “Jobbers can no longer exist on just clearance merchandise since few manufacturers are overcutting or taking risks. Consequently, several have developed their own lines for department stores that they also show here; others have goods made specifically for this show.”

Tom Joyce of Building 19 is a retail expert in off-price. His stores, based inMassachusetts, are famous for value product and wonderfully quirky advertising. As he explains, “It takes expertise and finesse to get good brands at good prices, especially in a tight market. There are no longer large quantities available domestically, so jobbers are going overseas. What’s more, it’s a gentleman’s business: if a jobber’s stuck with something, you help him out and then next time around, he’ll help you. With the right relationships, you can lock up exclusives, especially from department store shelf pulls. So I can sell a gorgeous designer name sweater at $9.99—maybe it’s Pantone 423 vs. 422, but who cares? Having last year’s goods is less of a factor in men’s.”

According to Joyce, great offerings are finite. “There are only limited amounts of most off-price product; when it’s gone; it’s gone. And the biggest change over the last few years is that as stores and manufacturers reduce inventories to accelerate turn, availability of the most desirable goods has diminished.”

Another issue, he explains, are the growing middle classes inChina,Indiaand other Asian countries. “Many opportunities of the past are staying in local markets overseas. If factories can sell goods in their own country, they don’t have to use quota or pay duty.”

Joyce cites another issue: chains (Bealls, National Stores, etc.) using larger quantities so that one call from a vendor could be 12,000 units—the end of that style if the chain buys it. “Several of my key vendors sold out of half their offerings by the end of the second day of the show,” he explains.

As regular-price department and specialty stores look to increase margins, off-price buys are an increasingly important part of their strategy. Concludes Joyce, “If they buy a $40 MSRP item for $5 (which means out the door at $17.99 to $19.99), they can special sale these goods at $14.99 and still triple their money. So while it’s hard to forecast and there are many frustrating variables, off-price remains a dynamic and viable business.”

Well there you have it….a whole industry built on the idea that it really doesn’t matter what it is, if it’s cheap and you can take advantage of the cheap consumer it’s on the shelves of your local stores and internet sights…..Be careful what you wish for, you’ll destroy the value of what you already have. (I sound like a fortune cookie)

 

 

Women Now Outshine the Men at Work…Is That Acceptable? Really?

Donald Trump Bad Hair Day

Here is the supposed KING of Business. So are we (I mean the work force of America) saying that it is OK for a man to parade around like this just as long as he makes a lot of money?  Would that be acceptable for women? Funny, every time a women runs for office, all the press and opponents talk about is her dress and her hair, but we don’t even speak about a man (well ok we are finally making fun of “The Donald”).

Is this Best We Can Do?

Here you go…here is the perfect illustration of our illustrious young male workforce, badly dress and groomed. Why aren’t the women of the world screaming for a revolution….Would you really look at these guys and think they are the best you could hire for your company?  How can you tell them apart?  They all think they look the part, and what they really look like is that they have white man’s disease, you can tell they can’t dance either. Maybe one of them could have worn a dark trouser that possibly would fit them without having a saggy ass. Maybe one of them could have worn a patterned shirt or dare I say a tie. We all know they were wearing blue blazers (without a spec of a design element anywhere). Somewhere there is a secret code that informs these men that it’s the only acceptable uniform to wear; khakis, a blue or white plain shirt and a navy blazer and you are all set for the business world. Get an $8 hair cut while you are at it.

Well guess what men of the secret code…your competition isn’t each other any more. it’s women. And I can say for certain, because many of them are my customers, women are grooming themselves to look more modern for business to beat the competition in their saggy assed suits from Joseph A. Banks. Get ready… So when you walk out of an interview all wrinkled (or unwrinkled in your stay pressed shirt and pants) that the women (or male) interviewer is going to respond better to a candidate with an aura of a well dressed and groomed person, not someone in the secret code uniform.

Now I know that I’m a woman, and women aren’t part of the CLUB…. But this code has gone on for way too long. It was cool to see men stop being so buttoned up, but of course we had to go to extremes and soon they are wearing pajamas around because they are comfortable. If that’s the case why wear clothes at all?

Is this Really Sexy? I Guess if You Have Money You Shouldn't Care..I Think You Should

Whether men like it or not, to compete in this business climate they are going to have to put more time and effort into their appearance or be left behind. There are leaders in this endeavor. The look may not scream out (which is the point) but check out the grooming and the variety of dress.

He Looks Modern Without Looking Stuffy

Look a Different Colored Shirt?

Now There's a Man Who Knows How To Tie aTie

See my point? Please….

Old School Jeans

Anyone who has listen to me talk about sportswear in the last five years has also heard me say “the one thing your closet doesn’t need is another pair of jeans. First of all I was sick and tired of looking at every American wearing jeans 24/7. No matter where we are, no matter what we are doing we are wearing jeans….sometimes ripped, sometimes bleached, sometimes hand rubbed they look sloppy and predictable. The funny thing is that jeans are supposed to be the great equalizer, but really they are the most toxic garment one can wear. 80% of the jeans made globally are made in China because of the toxic waste they produce. They have traced cancer in children near the rivers wear they have dumped the indigo dye that makes blue jeans …well… blue. Having said that….the best looms to make denim are in Japan (about 10% of the denim made). The Japanese bought all the machinery from American companies when we decided to make denim cheaply and washed out.

OK so here I go…I found a company “Raleigh”that makes jeans old school. I don’t know why but I was in the mood for it….The sales person for the company, John, will tell you I walked into their showroom with such an attitude….”I don’t buy jeans I leave that to department stores and jeans stores and A&F and The Gap and anyone else who wants to join in”. So why was I there? Because he asked me to come by. I felt like I was looking at jeans that James Dean would have worn. The denim was Japanese which means they had selvedge edges and the color that pure denim weave produces which is true dark denim. The fit has a low rise but not too low so they have that 501 feeling. Of course to make the jeans authentic they were raw (not washed) with a button fly….but after all it is 2011 so I had them rinsed once (so your washing machine and dryer won’t turn blue and the jeans won’t feel like sandpaper) and put in a zipper fly (so it’s easier to get on and OFF).

 

Old School Raleigh Jeans

I even shot the picture with old fashion film, and had the models cuff them, just like James Dean. Look at the women’s jeans they’re not skinnies, they are manstyle which looks great with a feminine top. (The women’s jeans have stretch in them which technically does not make them authentic but they sure do look like it.)

 

She really looks like she was from the 50's

One of the most important facts about the history of denim is that they started in America because they were made in America. Raleigh is also made in America. The tag in the back of the jeans states that fact and gives a certain air of authenticity.  I guess if I was getting back into the jeans game I should start at the beginning.

 

They make it easy to understand "Made in America"

Its All in the Cloth

When I first started to understand the true meaning of the quality of a Kiton Garment, it was explained to me the cost of the garment was in the make. The fabric would changed the cost by just a little because the tailoring was so time intensive. I bought that explanation for a while. But every season when I sat down in front of the swatches I would get a little giddy waiting for their “New” presentation. The innovation of fabrics, and the depth of their colors are always more incredible than the last season. These selections only add to the value of the jacket, plus add to the “real soul” of the the garment.

When one of the ONLY differences between a man’s wardrobe is the make and the fabric why not enjoy the distinction that quality and innovation of fabric can bring to a garment.  What does that mean exactly? Well, for example, men as a rule are always hot, like temperature hot. Fabric mills over the last seven years have spun yarns to their finest, lightest point but still sustaining the same durability as a heavier fabric. By using the best (“longest”) hairs from each of the specific animals, they have discovered they can even have the same “look” as a heavier fabric but the properties of one 40% lighter. The mills have also discovered that mixing the contents of the fabric, using the “best” qualities of each contributing yarns,  make a great cocktail.

Kiton Spring/summer 2011 Sport jacket

This Fabric is made up of 50% wool, 25% Cashmere, 25% Linen

You can see the depth of the color,  married with the texture that the wool and linen create make the fabric have a personality all it’s own. What you can’t see is the hand that these yarns feel to the touch. The predominance of wool in the fabric control the wrinkle effect of the linen. But the linen gives the appearance and airiness of a spring/summer fabric.

This Fabric Contains 50% Wool 36% Cashmere and 14% Linen

The texture of the fabric  is so visible. The traditional Glenn Plaid has such a modern feel when you can see (and feel) the blending of the yarns. here are some examples of the suits fabric as well.

Kiton Suits all with Different Blends, Unique to the Designs

“Stone” is the New “Khaki”?

I just read an article about menswear that declared “Khakis are Back!!!” First of all I love when they declare anything about menswear, like they are going to make men purchase something they don’t want. Second, when “they” declare anything you know it is so forced. But having said that I do see a shift in purchasing by men….which is saying that it IS happening (not forced blah blah) . The shift is for spring/summer men have been purchasing a stone color for their “Khakis.

Stone (color) is the new Khaki (pant)

I have to clarify what I am saying, the color Khaki is a tan/gold/butterscotch color that can’t be too yellow, too tan, too light or too dark…..there are so many variations it would make your head spin. The funny thing is I have bought them all….every one of those colors, and there is a magical color “Khaki”.  If it’s the right “Khaki” we sell out of it, if it’s wrong we don’t sell any. I used to think there was this club where men got together to discuss which color was ok and which one wasn’t. Well I can honestly say I had the right “Khaki” last season and it sat on the shelf where the stone color sold out in three different models and vendors. I have bought the same color again this season and already we have sold many pants. Did these men meet for coffee and agree that “Stone” is the new “Khaki”?

Winter Blahhhhs !!!!

Right about now most people are ready to hibernate and never get out of bed….but we have to. And when we do we have to truck our way through 3 feet of snow. Last week I was in New York buying menswear for Fall 2011. It was cold, wet and snowy. To my surprise, since I was so focused on menswear,  the shoe choice men chose to wear when it is clearly wet and cold…….

Did he think his feet would stay dry even though there was 6 inches of snow on the ground?

Does he think the shoes will stand up to the weather?

There are other solutions to this. It’s called boots….I found amazing shoe boots for next fall which I prefer to show you …well next fall (I have to make sure nobody will copy the idea and the boots) Needless to say I did find some intelligent men whose shoe choices are warm, dry and good looking. Why is it so important that every item of clothing that men choose to wear should fill every situation in life. They don’t feel that way about cars or video components, or computers or well anything they use frequently other than clothes. Can you imagine if they actually put some thought into their appearance what we would see? Here are some examples;

See what happens when you give a little attention to something?

Look how good traditional can look when you pair it with great pants!!!

When they say “Trust Me”….A Sales Consultant’s Transformation

Arthur Jordan is “the ultimate” sales consultant that the new generation will sorely miss. In an age when an actual sales person (shunned by the fear that someone will sell you anything and you have no defense against their manipulative ways) has been replaced by well….nothing, it is nice to know that the “old fashioned”  advisor to consumers is alive and well living at Louis.

A few years ago Pengcheng Song walked into Louis looking for a suit. He is small framed, but well proportioned and was unfamiliar with the idea of developing a man’s wardrobe. He walked right into Arthur Jordan, a man with 40 years of experience in the men’s clothing business. Arthur has a relaxed confident way that helps the customer navigate through the difficult task of creating a wardrobe for a modern day businessman. He also has a great sense of humor that makes the task pleasurable. He started Pengcheng slowly as Arthur insists on, by buying a few pieces each visit and asking the client to use these clothes in all aspects of their life. Needless to say the trips to Louis became more frequent. Pengcheng slowly became more confident about putting pieces together and now he has a great style that he demonstrates everyday. It is a transformation that allows Pengcheng to be more self assured in knowing he will look great no matter where his busy life leads him.

This season he was fitted into a “truly” made to measured suit, hand tailored by the best Neapolitan tailors available, Kiton. The experience was transforming and the results are indisputable. See for yourself….

The Transformation is Remarkable!!! His confidence is self evident.

You can see all the hand work that went into making this beautiful suit here are a few of the details.

You can see the results of a hand stitched shoulder

Even the lining has been sewn in by hand. The styling of the jacket and the pants are exclusive to Louis and Pengcheng wears it well.

You can see the hand stitching a luxury becoming extinct

And the finale is the shirt (hand made to measure by Kiton) and a Massimo Bizzocchi tie. The subtle mixture of fabrics makes the combination of suit, shirt and tie so interesting that only a true gentleman could understand.

The rich combination of fabrics work so well together

All it took was Pencheng Song’s  TRUST, and an amazing wardrobe consultant, Arthur Jordan!

Hey Men (Yes that means YOU) GROOMING makes all the difference

Unless it's a buzz cut get your hair styled (not an $8 haircut)

There is no excuse for men not to groom themselves…no  not one….money?  You can find a hair stylist on the web for a reasonable price. Time?…It takes just as much time to get a professional haircut  as it does to go to a barber or have your sister in law cut your hair…It’s not manly? Well it is definitely not manly to look disheveled and in need of an updated look. At a time when feeling good about life is difficult, taking care of the way you look can actually make you feel good about yourself.  That’s worth more that time and money.

Is it so BAD if a man looks Good?

Bill's confidence allows him to care about his appearance

Men are hesitant  to spend time and money on themselves. I believe that they feel it might indicate that they would be perceived as self absorbed. Well they have accomplished just that. Most men look like…well ….nothing.  You pass hundreds of men on the street everyday and nobody ever notices anything about them.

I always ask men this question.. if they would want the women in their life to look as boring as they purposely make themselves look?  Most say no. It’s not like women want men to look like peacocks…they just want them to look like they care and groomed…..please!!!

Women unite in this cause….look at Bill …it’s a pleasure….