Pressing Dilemmas

Sleeveless in Seattle (Well, Almost)

Your latest style dilemmas, solved, including the right shirt for a long-armed gent from the Northwest and how to accessorize a black suit.

I am 6’3″ and 180lbs, and I find it incredibly difficult to find slim fitting shirts that don’t fall short in the sleeves. I had a bunch of shirts made while living in China a couple of years ago, and predictably, they have all fallen apart by now. Now that I’m used to the tailored fit, it’s hard to settle for a baggy torso. I recently went on the hunt for the perfect fitting oxford shirt, but anything in a large was too baggy in the mid-section, and too short in the sleeve. Can you recommend any brands that would offer the extra-slim fit I am looking for, without requiring tailoring and always having the sleeves rolled up? Thanks. Yale, Seattle.

Hey Yale, I have two names for you: Thom Browne and Michael Bastian. Thom is the master of the fitted oxford (among other things), and he makes a near-perfect riff on the classic white button-down, as well as variations trimmed with stripes, plaid, and his signature grosgrain. Size up for longer sleeves, but the fit will still be slim. Mr. Bastian, for his part, is your height if not taller, and that fact is reflected in the cut of his clothes. Good luck, and let me know how things turn out.

 

Rather than asking, “Who does this guy think he is,” your fellow guests will be wondering, “where’d he get those clothes?”

Dear Gilt MAN, my most recent dilemma involves the formality of black. I have a few events coming up where a black suit is going to be a must (as in “must look sharp and formal”). I don’t want to seem too stuffy, though. I was wondering what kind of color combinations can take the Mickey out of the traditional black suit? I can’t think of a better canvas to pop some color, but I’m paralyzed by the thought of overdoing it! Thanks as always, Dain from Minnesota

You shouldn’t let the thought of overdoing it paralyze you, but do listen to it. It’s telling you something valid. Black may seem easy, but in fact it’s hard—partly because is seems so simple, lulling you into an anything-is-possible false sense of security. And we can’t have ending up like that guy at prom who wanted to jazz up his rental tux and ended up shelling out for the top hat and the cane, along with the plaid bowtie-and-vest combo to go with it. My advice, when it comes to kitting out a black look, is to resist the urge to peacock, and focus on nuance, texture, and fit. I’ll trust you’ve got fit covered. As for the other two qualities, skip the punchy colors and stand out for your subtlety. Think: a gray wool tie from Shipley & Halmos and a complementary pocket “round” from Alexander Olch. Rather than asking, “Who does this guy think he is,” your fellow guests will be wondering, “where’d he get those clothes?” And, of course, you’ll know what to tell them.

 

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