Skin Tight Shirts
This image has been making the rounds on various menswear blogs as an example of a well-fitting business shirt. Far be it from me to criticize Matteo Marzotto, arguably one of the best-dressed men in the world right now, or the man behind Italian Industrialists and Intellectuals Style (one of my favorite style blogs, and the person who originally posted the picture) - but this is not a well-fitting shirt.
If your shirt fits like this, you probably can’t sit down. Or eat a snack. Or possibly even exhale.
In traditional men’s clothing anyway, clothes need not be skin tight to be well-fitting. In fact, they shouldn’t be. Our friend GW here is wearing something that I think sets a good example. There’s enough room in the waist to allow him to sit down and have a full meal, but not so much that excess fabric is bunching above his waistband. If a shirt is truly well-tailored, you can get the fabric to fall cleanly without vacuum sealing it against your body.
To be sure, it’s hard to get something as nice as GW’s shirt off-the-rack (his was custom made for him), but it’s a good ideal to shoot for. One test you can use when trying on a new shirt is to simply sit down in it and see if the buttons strain at the mid-section. This will tell you if it’s too tight or not.
But hey, what do I know. I’m certainly no Matteo Marzotto.
(Image via Italian Industrialists and Intellectuals Style)
Q & Answer: Can I Wear A Suit Without A Tie?
John asks: I work for a large multinational company. I see a lot of management, including C-level execs, wearing jackets without ties. I know how PTO feels about ties without jackets, and I agree, but what about the opposite? When is it OK to wear a jacket but not a tie with your shirt unbuttoned? What’s the point?
You’re right: we generally think the tie-without-coat look is goofy. Makes you look, at best, like a bank teller. But the reverse? A-OK.
Here are some ways to make it work and some things to remember:
- A suit is the ultimate flattering garment for a man; subtracting the tie doesn’t change that (much). As you can see on Tom Ford, above, it can be a clean look, especially for evening.
- A button-down collar shirt goes great with a soft, American-style casual sportcoat or blazer. With or without tie. It’s a classic casual look. Throw a sweater underneath and you’ve gone Full Granduncle.
- Is a suit with no tie appropriate for business? Well, that depends on the business. It’s certainly a better look than the aforementioned tie-no-coat thing. If the executives are wearing it, it’ll probably fly.
- It’s easier for this look to become sloppy, so make sure you’re sharp, like Ford, and not a hot mess.
- Not all shirts are created equal here. As we mentioned: with more casual coats, like tweed, hopsack and flannel, a button-down collar is great. With sharper, more formal clothes, like Ford’s solid navy suit, you want a shirt collar that’s on the stiffer and taller side, with longer points. You don’t want it slipping under your jacket.
- Remember, as Ford did above, that no tie doesn’t have to mean no pocket square. In fact, a tie-less look benefits immensely from that extra bit of “I care.”
I’d like to mention that thanks to my obsessive reading of menswear blogs, I knew what a pocket square was called and had to explain it to Boyfriend.
Real People: Well Rumpled
I really like this casual ensemble that Ben from Richmond, Virginia recently put together. Clothes are a bit wrinkly, shirt’s untucked, and the long sleeves and pants are slightly rolled back at the cuffs. It’s a carefree, rumpled look that still looks well put together, and proof that you don’t need a tie to look great.
For those interested, the khaki cotton jacket is by Engineered Garments, white oxford shirt by Wolf vs. Goat, garment dyed chinos by RRL, and plain toe derbys by Mark McNairy.