Monthly Archives: February 2009

Longwing & Bubble Gum

Traditional fellow, Longwing endorsed all plaidout recently, and I couldn’t be more thrilled!

Of his most recent posts, I was particularly impressed with his inclusion of bubble gum pink; much like Go to Hell Pants, it’s standard in an Ivy League wardrobe.

pink-jacketThis jacket would look great on a bike!

pink-shetlandAny time someone gives me hell for my Bazooka Joe Shetland, I direct them to Mr. Tim Matheson in 1978’s Animal House; “You still wanna show me your cucumber?”mathesonKeep hammerin’ out the hits, Longwing!

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A Watch-finding Service

hodinkeeThanks to SL for the alert. The wristwatch fanatics at Hodinkee offer a watch-finding service. After answering a few simple questions, they wrote back within a few days with four watches that matched my search criteria.

Their questions and my answers follow:

Are you looking for something vintage or new? Vintage.

Sporty or Dressy? Sporty.

Leather Strap or Metal? Leather.

Chronograph? Yes.

Moonphase? No.

Any particular brands you’re interested in? I have loved the Max Bill for quite some time.

Any particular brands you know you AREN’T interested in? No.

Maximum price? The least expensive watch you can find.

As suspected, they disregarded the last question. That said, the watches selected were tailor-made to eventually, one day, when money is of no concern, be mine.

space-watchThose who know me well know of my deep-seated fondness for the Fisher Space Pen, and what better watch to go with a pen designed for space than the Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaute, as worn by Commander Scott Carpenter in May of 1962 during his five hour orbit. This was the second watch ever worn in space. Retails for $5,850.00.german-ad-1963-cosmonauteThe second watch selected by the honchos at Hodinkee, a chrono version of the Omega Seamaster nearly brought a tear to my eye.

vintageseamasterIn my junior year of college, I read about the Speedmaster’s storied past, and began researching the history of Omega watches. I learned that as Bond, Pierce Brosnan wore a Seamaster. Of course, at an estate sale that spring, I stumbled across a rusty old Seamaster in dire need of repair. I offered the seller $50 for it, and was off! A week later, the building where I lived caught fire, and in the hectic move that followed, I misplaced the watch – among other things. The one pictured retailed for more than $2500. The five and the oh I mentioned before. Yeah, they still sting.angelusWith its rose gold pointers and sweep seconds hand, the chrono from Angelus, now defunct Swiss watchmaker best known for their Chronodato model, looks the every bit the part of an antique. It’s a watch awaiting a sepia-toned photograph. I wouldn’t be surprised if I found myself at Steve Kivel’s shop buying an ostrich grain strap sometime soon.

The thing I love most about the watches selected by Team Hodinkee, each seems to evoke a story, if not of its own making then one I conjure up examining the thing. The 60s-era Breguet XX Flyback Chronograph provides both. breguetI love this watch, the look, the function, the apparent heft, the cutout 3 & 4, everything. A favorite of Napoleon and Marie Antoinette, Breguet’s history is as illustrious as its wares. “Louis Breguet, the great-great grandson of original Breguet (the watch brand’s namesake), was considered the most innovative engineer of his day, creating the infamous Breguet XIX plane, which made history in 1922 as the first plane to make it non-stop from Paris to New York.  In 1907, he designed and built a gyroplane with flexible wings that was capable of vertical flight, and is considered the forerunner to the helicopter.  He later went on to form a little airline called Air France.” Nuff said. It was apparently priced to move, but the fellows at Hodinkee tell me, it’s very expensive.

My only gripe, obviously, is I don’t make enough money to invest in a wristwatch of this stature. One day, when I’m able to, I will look back on this post and laugh at my youthful, plebeian taste.

Next, I’ll post some nice-looking watches we commoners can afford.

Until then, I’m all plaidout.

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Congratulations to Janie Bryant!

janie-winsImage c/o Zimbio

Congratulations to Janie Bryant, winner of the 2009 Costume Designers Guild Award for Outstanding Design for a Period/Fantasy TV Series. For more on the awards, visit Reuters.

In honor of her win, all plaidout presents Janie’s thoughts on formal wear.

draper-tuxA real man owns his own tuxedo.

Single button, peak lapel is my favorite.

draper-tux-5

I love the shawl collar and the dinner jacket as well, but I’m on the outs with the two or the three button. I don’t like the notch lapel. It’s too business-y.jimmy-barrett-tux

Cast images c/o AMC.

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Fashion Week: Michael Bastian

mb-best-overallCamerado, I give you my hand! I give you my love more precious than money,
I give you myself before preaching or law: Will you give me yourself? will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?

– Walt Whitman, from “Song of the Open Road”

Thus began Michael Bastian‘s wonderfully curated show, the sound of crickets swirling in the air. As the makeshift streetlamps faded and the show lights rose, a collection so attuned to the spirit of the outdoors and the magnetism of the open-road passed down the slot car track carpeting, before the eyes of many of menswear’s cognoscenti, and filled me with a sense of yearning. For a transitory moment, the adventurer in me misheard Whitman’s Camerado as my beloved Colorado.

Bon Iver – Skinny Love

“Skinny Love” serenaded onlookers as we sipped white wine in anticipation. Bastian, showing at Charles Nolan’s beautiful space, buzzed about the room in the minutes leading up to the show, his, now signature, red and blue striped rugby shirt well-layered over a pale blue oxford cloth buttondown.

As lights dimmed and the show began, I was distracted by all the faces lit by Blackberry devices and iPhones. It goes with the territory, I suppose.

mb-jacketsIndividually, the jackets stood out. The hooded, patch pocket field jacket, the tweed topcoat, and Bastian’s take on the fishtail parka stood out as favorites.

jungle-bootNearly every model wore OD green jungle boots, and had his trousers tucked and bloused just so. mb-sweatersThe sweaters shone, in particular the cowichan-style shawl neck pullover and the Scandinavian-inspired cardigan, as well as a crewneck shetland with a raccoon motif which peeked out from inside a pinstripe suit.

blazeI’m not ready to say “I told you so,” but blaze orange watch caps did make an appearance.overallMy favorite looks included the aforementioned pinstripe/raccoon combination with a red kerchief and a rubber boot reminiscent of the Maine Hunting Shoe; the camo chapeau, merlot bow, brass-clasped plaid mack, well-worn jeans, and Weejuns – all of which seemed to be inspired by this guy; the plaid tux jacket (single button, peak lapel) and purple pinwale cords; and the image at top, which was my favorite overall. Mr. Bastian’s elegant take on the rugby jersey with a handsome red sailor stripe, corded camp pants, and camouflage hunting jacket with its stately dark brown suede shoulder patch are instant classics and should be regarded as such henceforth.

mb-momentPhoto c/o The Moment

That’s it for now from New York’s Fashion Week. I’m all plaidout.

All images, unless noted,  c/o CN.

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Janie Bryant, Part Two

In our interview, Mad Men’s costume designer Janie Bryant discussed each of the main characters in great detail. We talked about everything from her love of pinky rings to her rules for formalwear.

Bertram Cooperbertram_lgAs played by the amazing Robert Morse, his design is more old school, fifties-style suiting. I sort of think of Cooper as a purist with all his heavy woolens, those great tweeds which were still very contemporary in the fifties.
cooper-4I’ve mixed them with his eccentricities, in particular his love for Japan, playing with the colors and patterns in his bow ties to include that Asian influence. I’ll have him fold his pocket square in four or five points. It reminds me of an origami swan.
morse-weinerTo set him apart, he wears tattersall and pinstripe shirts, which were more prevalent in the fifties. I’ve chosen to dress everyone else in more minimal, simple white shirts.

He always wears the brogues, which I associate with the forties. It’s a bigger shoe, not as clean as the narrower oxfords and bluchers of the sixties.

At day’s end, he’s a man who wears things he’s worn forever. Robert loved everything, but he did say “Please don’t put me in a vest. I’m over the top enough, I don’t need a vest.”

Roger Sterlingsterling-3“Janie I just can’t wear this collar pin. I can’t! I can’t!”
“Yes, you have to wear it. You have to.”

John Slattery’s my one actor, we fight in a fun, fun way, because we really do have great respect for one another. That’s just his personality, and it totally cracks me up. It’s a little more combative in a fun way. As my assistant designer says, “Janie, you have the Jedi mind trick,” because they do seem to come over to my way of thinking and seeing.

I love actors. I totally understand where they’re coming from. I love their process. They always crack me up. I’m always open to them because they’ve been living with the character a lot longer than I have and it’s way more specific. Because I have all the characters in my head, I’m not obsessing about one person all the time. It’s always interesting to get their feedback.
slattery-dbSterling always wears a three-piece or a double-breasted, which goes back to an earlier era. He and Bertram Cooper are the older men in the office, and I really wanted to show that. I wanted Sterling to look old school, but John wanted him to look more new school. Now, he really does love it. He’s able to bridge the gap really well.
sterling-2Roger Sterling’s cuffs are monogrammed with RSH. My grandfather did that. It’s an homage to my grandfather. Don’t you just love the monogram? I’m obsessed with it. I’m southern. Everything is monogrammed!

Don Draperdraper-1The main thing to me in designing for him: the mystery of that guy. Always dissecting. I find myself asking, “Why is he doing these things?” I wanted there to be a real lack of color, but he can’t just be a palette of the grey zone. So I lean on grey-blue, grey with a hint of brown. Cool tones. A great look for him is his grey, slightly sharkskin suit with his black and white repp tie. In choosing his ties, it’s always about that bold, strong, manly choice, because he’s not an ostentatious character. He’s not flamboyant. That’s his character; he’s very reserved. His two flourishes are his cufflinks and his monogrammed plaque belt buckle: DDF.david-ogilvy“The Father of Advertising,” David Ogilvy was the inspiration for Don.

Harry Craneharry-craneI wanted some variety in the office. And bow ties were so popular at the time, especially clip-ons. Yes, clip-ons! I love them; I think they’re awesome – not contemporarily-speaking. Harry wears both clip-ons and banded bow ties. I mix it up. For me it’s about the pattern.harry-crane-2For two seasons, Rich S0mmer, who plays Harry, could not tie that damned bow tie, but finally, he knows. A true gentleman knows how to tie a bow tie.

I arranged all the tuxedoes for the awards’ season, and I made them all learn how to tie a bow tie. Still, there’s always the emergency phone call, “Janie, I don’t think I’m going to be able to tie the bow tie. Meet me there, and tie it for me!”

I see him as the one who runs a little bit hotter. He wears short-sleeves. He’s the guy who wants more comfort than the others. The short-sleeve business shirt is such a classic piece of menswear. It totally cracks me up, but I would never suggest wearing one today. No matter how hot you run, I’d say, “Just roll your sleeves up, buddy!”

Ken Cosgroveken-cosgroveKen’s the Aryan kid. He’s my prepster. Buttondown collar. Three button suits. And even though they’re on the darker side, they’re usually in the cool tones. Don wears them as well, but for Don, I roll the lapel back. The three-button is more youthful. It creates a clean line. ken-cosgrove-3His ties have a lot of gold and red, classic American colors.

Paul Kinseypaul-kinseyPaul’s clothes are manly but earthy. I guess those two things go together.paul-kinsey-5Paul wears the tab collar. I keep him in what I call “the bear tones.” Cosy; Earthtones, browns. He has a mustard-colored sharkskin. He has some really cool suits in his closet. He has this tie, I call it the “bumblebee tie.” It’s yellow, brown, and black.

Salvatore Romanosalvatore-suit-separatesHe’s gay but cannot really express himself in that way. A little bit of flamboyance comes out in his costume. He has a great flair for dressing. I use all the elements in dressing him; double-breasted jacket with a red sweater vest; light blue shirts with French cuffs; tie clips with matching cufflinks; a three-piece worn as suit separates. Suit separates are a very big thing for him. I see that as something that normally would be difficult to mix and match, but for Salvatore it’s a natural thing. It was also quite popular for the period. He’s a very smart dresser.

salvatore-1The pinky ring was inspired by Truman Capote. I have this picture of him in close-up with a pinky ring on my inspiration board for Salvatore.

trumanI love a man in a pinky ring. I think it’s so sexy. I can’t take it! It shouldn’t have big diamonds, just a simple stone or a signet. If I see a guy in a pinky ring, I’m like, “Ah! I’ll marry you.”

Pete Campbellpete-campbellPete is the youthful, stylish up-and-comer. He seems himself as the next Don. I put him in suits I call the “Pete Campbell Blues,” that classic teal blue that Pete wears a lot.pete-campbell-2Trudie, his wife, shares that palette. In season two, as his character matured, I did introduce a grey-blue sharkskin and a blue-green glen plaid shark skin.

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Tuesday night, Janie is nominated for “Outstanding Period or Fantasy Costuming” at the Costume Designers Guild Awards. Best of luck, Janie!

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Plaidy of the Week: Janie Bryant

janiebryant1

Last week, I had a wonderful conversation with Mad Men’s Emmy-award winning costume designer, Janie Bryant. She and her team have single-handedly reintroduced the notion that dressing well and looking good can be cool. A generation of men are relearning the rules thanks to a television show. So much has been written about the women’s fashions, understandably, but the show is called Mad Men. I wanted to speak with her about their costumes.

cast_789x349I know you buy and rent a lot of vintage pieces, but have any of the male characters had a piece of their costume handmade?

I’ve designed some of their suits, and then they’re made-to-order. On my team, I have a cutter-fitter named Joanna Bradley, an incredible tailor. I’ll design the suit, and time-permitting, she will build it to all the period specs. Otherwise, we send it out to industry-specific costumers, P&K or Western Costume, both of which have an amazing tailor shop.

What do you look for in a tie?

For this period, I love repp ties. They’re so classic. Solid ties as well. I love ties that have a single decorative embroidery in the middle of the tie.

tiesDo you ever have ties made?

Sometimes, depending on the storyline, we’ll need multiples, and our tailor does that.

That’s incredible! Are you familiar with a store here in New York, Freemans Sporting Club, that uses deadstock woolens to make ties?

Yes. They’re so great! You know who’s also doing that? Brooks Brothers, with their Black Fleece line.

black-fleece-by-thom-browneFolks like Thom Browne and Michael Kors have referenced your show in their designs. How does something like that hit you?

I love it. I think it’s great. I’m humbled. I love to influence designers in my work. You know Deadwood was one thing, but Mad Men has been something else entirely!

It certainly has. Are there any other menswear designers that you’re into right now?

I’ve always loved Paul Smith. There is always such a great sense of color and fun going on. I love his details: the linings he uses, the finishing of his pocketing, the fabrication. Last year, he did this amazing purple Glen Plaid. I am obsessed with Glen Plaid.

psI am too!

I bet you are!

Anyone else?

John Varvatos. I love the cuts of his suits as well. He pays close attention to the details. Everything looks very clean, very modern. Visiting his store a few weeks ago, I died over all the leather jackets. Colors, metallics done not in a flamboyant way, but in a gorgeous, sophisticated way.

jvWhen it comes to costumes, I’ve read Matt Weiner is a self-proclaimed “control freak,” and you think you’re a good match for him. What’s the one thing that brings out your inner “control freak” amongst the sea of actors you dress for each episode?

It’s the pants. I tell my team, “You tell those guys to have their trousers up to their bellybuttons.” They see me coming, and they’re like, “Janie, my pants are up!”

pantsDo you mainly use suits with the longer fly?

Eleven inches, baby!

Not ten, not twelve?

Oh, it’s about eleven inches!

Do the actors ever ask to keep anything?

That’s a good question. In the first season, Vincent [Kartheiser] needed a suit for an event. I had a black one in his closet in case I needed to put him in black, and he did end up wearing that, but he returned it. They don’t ever wear their costumes. It’s too much. They love their suits, but if you’re in your character all day, I would think it’s the last thing you want to wear when you get home. People ask me a lot, “Janie, do you dress up a lot in sixties clothes?” No… I don’t! Hence my current rocker look.

Oh yeah? I bet you and John Varvatos would get along really well.

I bet we would.

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Join me tomorrow for part two of my interview with Janie Bryant when we’ll talk about the costuming for each of the Mad Men. That’s it for now. I’m all plaidout.

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East Side Bride

eastsidebrideESB has endorsed all plaidout twice (1,2), and I am so honored. Her incredibly stylish blog features everything from “Groom Style” to a healthy obsession with moustaches. Check her out!

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