Cowboy Hats for Non-Cowboys, and More Style Dilemmas Solved

The editors of Gilt MANual tackle your latest sartorial quandaries.

Photo: Everett Digital

An iconic big-screen look, yes—just not one we'd recommend you try at home.

Is a cowboy hat ever okay?
As a general rule, anything that can reasonably be repurposed for use in a child’s Halloween costume shouldn’t be worn in polite circles. I don’t wear stethoscopes because I’m not a doctor. And I don’t wear spurs, chaps, or a cowboy hat because I’m not a cowboy. So unless your livelihood actually requires you to dress like a model in Adam Kimmel’s Spring ’10 lookbook (i.e., you are either an actual cowboy or a Nashville recording artist), go ahead and skip the lid. If, on the other hand, you actually rope dogies (or whatever they call it) for a living—respect. And feel free to wear that 10-gallon hat wherever, and whenever.—Jared Flint

Can a groom wear a different, but similar, suit/tux than the groomsmen? This groom ain’t wearing a rental.
Absolutely, sir. First off, let me commend you for refusing to go the rental route. Getting married in a tux that’s already had intimate relations with fifteen other guys is, well, let’s just leave that metaphor alone for now. I know that some guys opt to rent because they think it’s cheaper. But when you can snag a great-fitting Tommy Hilfiger tux on Gilt MAN for less than $250—or less than the cost of two halfway decent rentals—that argument falls apart faster than the crotch on your rental once you hit the dance floor. If you are lucky enough to be surrounded by groomsmen with similar fashion sense (and math skills), you’ll inevitably end up with some variation from one tux to the next, and there’s nothing wrong with that. As long as everyone’s tie (and by tie I mean “bowtie”) is identical (and by identical I mean “black”) and the disparities are kept to a minimum—peak lapel vs. shawl, say—you’ll be in great shape. (If someone opts for a black suit, fine—better that than a rental.) After all, the tuxedo was created to shackle men into sartorial conformity so the ladies can grab the spotlight. And my friend, there’s no better time for that scenario than your wedding day.—Tyler Thoreson

I have been on a tie-buying binge. You have listed Alexander Olch’s ties in wool for sale, but now it’s getting warmer. Is it okay to wear wool ties like his during warmer weather?
It’s easy to forget just how versatile a fabric wool can be. Mr. Olch and most of today’s most esteemed neckwear purveyors make ties from lighter wools that are appropriate, and enthusiastically recommended, year round. While I’d of course caution against wearing a heavy tweed tie during a heatwave (for the same reason I’d avoid, say, a heavy tweed sport coat under those same conditions), man, in my humble opinion, cannot live on silk and cotton ties alone—irrespective of the weather.—Andy Comer

What is the metal chain in the back of a jacket for, and are you supposed to cut it out?
That eccentric-looking bit inside the collar of your jacket, blazer, or shirt, be it made of fabric, leather, or chain, is the so-called locker loop, from which you can hang your garment in your locker or beneath a bar. You don’t need to rip it out, but we recommend eschewing it for a proper hanger.—Chris Wallace

Can a corduroy blazer with a thin wale be worn in spring, or is corduroy strictly for the fall and winter months?  The blazer is very close to caramel in color.  Besides dark denim jeans, what can be worn with the blazer? Thanks, Manny
It’s understandable to feel conflicted about corduroy in the spring time. Depending on what corners of the internet you frequent, you might hear completely conflicting opinions on the subject. Just like every other subject. But I come down firmly on the side of fine wales in warmer weather. Especially caramel—that’s a good look in any climate. Here’s my contention: Fine-waled corduroy tends to be lightweight, and the areas that are shorn (however microscopic they are) are essentially just a cotton woven, which is breathable. There are a couple of other considerations; like, if there is a lining, and how much shoulder and facing construction you have in there, but provided they are both minimal, then I say wear away. Because this time of year, depending on where you live, the temperature can fluctuate wildly over the course of the day—and that makes corduroy a great choice for a spring jacket. While wearing it with dark jeans makes it feel winter, wearing it with some medium brown cotton chinos, or a nice olive, will make it feel warmer. If you want to go there, it would look dynamite with more vibrantly hued pants, like red, orange, or sea foam.—Josh Peskowitz

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