Manolo for the Men Fashion and Lifestyle Advice for Men

November 4, 2008

The Clash of Civilizations

Prince Charles meets the Sultan of the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta. Notice how the Sultan’s decoration is barely visible in the midst of his technicolored top, while the Prince’s poppy, well, pops.

September 23, 2008

A Man of the Cloth-Covered Button

Filed under: Men's Fashion,Suits,Tailoring — Izzy @ 5:00 pm

fabric-covered buttons

You might never have consciously noticed it, but buttons covered in matching fabric are the norm on a tuxedo.  On suits, however, they’re either the sign of a dandy or a mafioso—or both.  If either applies to you, and you can’t afford bespoke tailoring, check out this Tom James suit now selling on eBay.

September 17, 2008

Pocketful of Sunshine

Filed under: Men's Fashion,Suits — Izzy @ 11:55 am

Elio Berhanyer suit

There might not be anything particularly exciting about this suit from Elio Berhanyer, but the well-puffed pocket square certainly grabs the attention.  The color combination of yellow and gray is a rare one, but those with a strong grip on the palette can make it work.

September 8, 2008

Aryan Master Drapes

Filed under: Grooming,Men's Fashion,Shirts,Suits — Izzy @ 9:47 pm

drapes suit

Whether or not this Obedient Sons suit is made of wallpaper, curtains, or drapes, Izzy thinks it would be wunderbar were it from the designer’s Von Trapp collection.

September 5, 2008

Good Lieutenant

Filed under: Men's Fashion,Suits,Tailoring — Izzy @ 11:53 am

Maryland Governor Michael Steele

On the right, Michael Steele, former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, does something rare among politicians: flaunt a bespoke suit by leaving not just one, but two, sleeve buttons undone.   On another occasion, he has even worn a shirt with a spread collar in a contrasting color.  As if being a prominent black Republican wasn’t enough to make him an outlier.

September 3, 2008

Apparel Disfunction

Filed under: Celebrity,Glasses,Grooming,Hats,Men's Fashion,Shirts,Suits — Izzy @ 6:07 pm

George Clooney and Brad Pitt with open collars

There are only two ways to wear an open collar under a jacket: 1) firm and erect, 2) limp and flaccid. Someone, please get Mr. Clooney some Viagra for his shirt.

September 2, 2008

On Tightening One’s Belt

Filed under: Men's Fashion,Shirts,Suits,Tailoring,Ties — Izzy @ 11:56 am

James Cook of Turnbull & Asser

If this interview of James Cook, the bespoke manager of Turnbull & Asser, can be trusted, economic downturns turn out to be booms not just for bankruptcy lawyers but high-end conservative tailoring.   According to Cook (who, incidentally, wears his jacket sleeves unusually short—perhaps to show off T&A’s best work: their shirts?):

In the 90’s, many Americans came into Turnbull & Asser in London and every single person was talking of the dot com craze and how they would never have to buy a tie again. They were only ordering shirts. And then there was a massive crash, and everyone went back to a tie because the Bank Manager showed up, or the Finance Minister. Gradually people started wearing less and less ties again until this recession.

You notice in this recession that people are dressing up again. Every time that [an economic downturn] happens, people have to get suits and shirts. They have to sharpen themselves up again.

Everyone forgets about history; the shirt, the tie and the suit never change. I don’t know why people think it is okay to be casual at work…. [I]f I show up and my bank manager isn’t suitably attired, I am not going to trust that person with my money. Same thing with my lawyer.

August 26, 2008

Top Hat on Your Tail

Filed under: Formal Wear,Hats,Men's Fashion,Suits — Izzy @ 10:57 pm

El Cobrador del Frac

It’s not exactly a scarlet letter, but a Spanish debt collection company has been using a very odd tactic to shame deadbeat debtors into paying up:

If more confirmation were needed of the funereal state of Spain’s economy, it can be found in the shape of The Debt Collector in Top Hat and Tails.

That’s a translation into English of “El Cobrador del Frac,” the name of a company that specializes in sending out men dressed like extras from a 1930s Fred Astaire movie to humiliate debtors into paying up. Its business is booming.

“At the start of the year we noticed demand was increasing,” said Juan Carlos Granda, head of El Cobrador del Frac’s international department.

Mr. Granda refers to the top hats and tails, whose appearance has unnerved so many Spanish debtors, as the company “uniform.”

“We send collectors in uniform and collectors without uniform. It depends on how the debtor reacts. If we need to do it to collect a debt, we send a collector wearing top hat and tails, so his debt attracts more attention,” he said.

The ethics of public shaming aside, Izzy is dismayed to see a look that was once was the epitome of elegance being debased by such negative association.  It ought to make every hatter mad, and Señor Cacahuete nuts.

August 25, 2008

The Dude’s a Biden

Filed under: Celebrity,Men's Fashion,Outerwear,Shirts,Socks,Suits — Izzy @ 10:59 pm

Joe Biden

Regardless of one’s politics, it’s hard to deny that in choosing Joseph Biden as his running mate, Barack Obama picked the best-dressed man in the Senate.  Admittedly, there’s not much competition for that title, but Biden stands out due to his willingness to wear form-fitting suits in a shade other than blue or gray, fun suspenders, pocket squares, casual shirts with the top two buttons undone, and, in the winter, a chesterfield coat with a velvet collar.   And in what is perhaps a bold statement about his foreign policy, he often wears shirts with French freedom cuffs.

August 19, 2008

Madras Makes Your Eyes Bleed

Filed under: Bad Fashion,Etiquette,Men's Fashion,Shirts,Suits,Ties — Izzy @ 6:45 am

madras nightmare

A little while back, the folks at Kempt analyzed the ultra-preppy style of Southampton, New York.  No doubt schooled at a radical madras-a, these men are in effect saying, “I’m so rich I can buy a hideous jacket I wear once a year as a joke.”  But even worse is the implied incivility: by wearing such obnoxious jackets, paired with clashing bow ties no less, the men are showing little concern for the eyeballs of anyone else.

August 11, 2008

The Artist of Rhetoric

Filed under: Celebrity,Grooming,Men's Fashion,Suits — Izzy @ 6:54 am

Frederick Douglass

Born a slave, the nineteenth-century abolitionist Frederick Douglass was not only one of the best orators in American history, he was also one of the most dashing—whatever it takes to captivate an audience. Izzy would love to see someone resurrect Douglass’ romantic hairstyle, a sort of a combed-over afro.

August 7, 2008

Legionnaires He Sees

Filed under: Men's Fashion,Suits — Izzy @ 6:54 am

Legion of Honor red thread

Yesterday, while strolling near Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan, Izzy saw a well-dressed gentleman with a small red thread sewn on his lapel right next to the button hole. Luckily, Izzy could decipher the code, having remembered an article in The New York Times all about that little bit of thread:

To the untrained eye, the lapel thread might be confused for a brand indicator, like the red stripe in Prada shoes or the Lacoste crocodile, or even a stray piece of lint. But to those in the know, the decoration is more like a military chevron or a tribal tattoo. It shows that [the wearer] is a member of France’s most prestigious — and most coveted — society: the Légion d’Honneur, granted by the French government to those who have somehow contributed to the glory of France.


More elite than the Masons, less secretive than Skull & Bones, less G.P.A.-dependant than Phi Beta Kappa, the Legion of Honor was founded in 1802 by Napoleon. It’s been awarded to an estimated 40,000 foreigners and 96,000 French citizens — military personnel and civilians, men and women.

There are several ranks, each with a medal and ribbon, starting with chevalier, or knight; then officier, or officer; commandeur; grand officier, and grand croix.


For everyday use, chevaliers and officiers wear a special hue of deep red thread sewn in a thin stripe from the buttonhole to the outer edge of the lapel, while commandeurs wear a silver thread. The thread and other legionnaire pins are sold at a store near the Palais Royal in Paris.

These threads might get some attention in France, but are harder to decode in New York. “Every time I take a suit to the dry cleaners they try to snip them off,” said Paul LeClerc, the president of the New York Public Library and a chevalier. “It’s very expensive thread if you have to go all the way to Paris” to get it.

One has to wonder why Mr. LeClerc does not frequent a French laundry.

Izzy must confess to enjoying the display of the thread (especially on a dark suit), which is surely the most elegant award one can wear.

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