Thursday, November 2, 2006

Dissecting The Well-Dressed Man On The Street

I shot this gentleman near 57th street the other day and as i reviewed the photo I kept finding all these well done little details that when combined are the secret to the success of his look.
First of all, I love the aggressive yet subtle (weird way to describe – I know) mix of pattern for his shirt, tie, and suit.
This is the type of thing that people who don’t understand menswear miss about how a guy can look edgy and completely classic at the same time. I find this level of creativity in mixing patterns and color in every way equal to another slim-cut black Dior Homme suit with a tricked-up white shirt. I’m not saying i don’t appreciate Dior but those type of designers don’t own the market on true design creativity
He is wearing an Etro suit.
Etro is better know for being one of the more colorful and sometimes over-the-top menswear houses ( the Italian Paul Smith) but this photo detail shows they can also deliver high-quality. Notice how the plaid matches at the sleeve seam and how well the plaids match at the breast-pocket.
Maybe Gianni Agnelli was right about wearing his watch on top of his cuff.
It is almost unavoidable that your cuff will get caught on your watch which is too bad because he is showing the perfect amount of cuff but the watch is throwing it off balance.
Personally I avoid this by using the clock on my cell phone – sorry watch industry


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  1. dds

    November 2, 2006 at 9:53 am

    I love that pattern is it called the Prince of Wales check? in any case, it is lovely and even better when it is done in a flannel or something with a heavier hand. The herringbone in the shirt works nicely here as does the multi-stripe tie. The brown shoes are a must and look so sharp! well done sir!

  2. Just an Observation

    November 2, 2006 at 9:57 am

    Again and Again …. when it comes to a classic look like this and yet understated edginess for the taking for those who can appreciate it….kind of like a good joke tha makes you laugh but if you are inclined enough to pick up the additional subtleties then they are there for the taking and make the joke that much more worthwhile.
    Really like the look and could not agree with you more Sar…this look is hard to market…it’s definitely upto each individual to find their niche…..kind goes baack to that whole “Custom Affair”
    Merci Monsieur S.

  3. Anonymous

    November 2, 2006 at 9:57 am

    OY!!!! What. A. Handsome. Man.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Stunning juxtaposition of patterns and brilliant display of plumage (as well as knowledge of color!). Smooth head is a plus in my book…. Dapper chap, indeed!

  4. fussy italian

    November 2, 2006 at 10:25 am

    best gentleman sofar!

  5. Trendy Jorge

    November 2, 2006 at 10:28 am

    I don’t really think you have to get rid of the watch to have a perfect cuff. If your wrist is not very large and you watch isn’t a Breitling you can use it inside the cuff, a bot tighter. If the watch is too loose it will interfere with your cuff line. That’s what happened to the gentleman here.

    About the pattern mixing, I should say this one is great. As you said it is very bold but subtle at the same time. It definitely isn’t shocking like some things I’ve been seeing. You should never go too far in pattern mixing, but recently it’s gone all a bit crazy.

  6. mighty_isis

    November 2, 2006 at 10:29 am

    He looks great, love all the subtle details. If only I could get my dear husband to be as adventurous with his suits!

  7. Anonymous

    November 2, 2006 at 10:44 am

    If he had had a custom shirt made, the cuff on the left sleeve would have been made slightly larger to accommodate the watch, and would slip over it nicely. (Tip of the day!)

  8. bls

    November 2, 2006 at 11:14 am

    i must admit, i am a bit perplexed by the brown shoes. the dominant theme in the two most prominent patterns (tie and suit) is black – thus i would argue for a black shoe.

    if only the tie featured that cognac brown – i’d be all for the brown shoe.

  9. The Sartorialist

    November 2, 2006 at 11:17 am

    for bls

    just trust me, brown shoes with this is what you want

    • Danelle

      November 12, 2015 at 4:20 pm

      …What is your feeling about the top stitching? I was impressed until I spotted it. I am not sure of the price bracket, for Etro, but find myself stuck on this disappointing aspect, given the overall impression.

  10. Carlene

    November 2, 2006 at 11:23 am

    Quietly brilliant. The pocket plaid-matching nearly brought tears to my eyes. And about those brown shoes…They look absolutely right with this suit. They’re the perfect kind of angular, and that leather just glows. Can we get a close-up?

  11. Anonymous

    November 2, 2006 at 11:41 am

    Brown shoes are the happiest choice for this outfit by day. In the evening, the man might change the shoe color to black.

  12. John and Sarah

    November 2, 2006 at 11:46 am

    Generally agree with the favorable commentary here. One minor oversight, which is far too common. Our gentleman’s trousers are tailored a bit too short. To “the top of the heel” rule would apply here gents! This is not a Thom Browne suit afterall. Extremely pleased that our gentlemen has opted for no cuffs and no pleats.

  13. jj

    November 2, 2006 at 11:52 am

    The match on the breast pocket… whoa… awesome!

    And the “agressive yet subtle” concept is really interesting. I always wonder how some guys can look modern classic and some guys just look like they’re wearing the same old suit.

  14. Anonymous

    November 2, 2006 at 12:08 pm

    I think a plain blue shirt would have been better, or else a smaller herringbone. The herringbone is a little too bold -its scale is too similar to that of the check on the jacket. He might have mitigated this problem somewhat by going with a black or navy solid tie.

    I think this photo is a good example of the limitations of RTW, even well-tailored RTW. At a minimum he would be better served by a bespoke shirt.

  15. Cory

    November 2, 2006 at 12:17 pm

    Are you telling us that a well-put-together man like yourself doesn’t cap off what you’re wearing with a classic watch. There’s something so gentlemanly about a watch. It’s the only jewelry many men can pull off. Thoughts?

  16. Anonymous

    November 2, 2006 at 12:20 pm

    Are his shirt cuffs rolled up a bit? The edges don’t look as crisp as they should.

  17. CSH

    November 2, 2006 at 12:26 pm

    Another great find; it’s always nice to see a confident guy out on the street.

    My only comment is about the watch, it’s just too big and Sart’s right when he noted that it throws the sleeve off balance. While I am a big fan of larger format watches and am happy to see more men paying attention to this indicator of personal style, bigger isn’t always better.

    There is nothing wrong with wearing a watch that has a more slim profile and leaves your cuffs unobstructed. While having a big chunky timepiece is an attention getter, in this case it actually draws the eye to the one blemish in a great ensemble. While he could just default to the cell phone clock, I’d rather see a nice simple Cartier tank and a balanced sleeve.

  18. leigh

    November 2, 2006 at 12:30 pm

    Best. Blog. In. The. World.

  19. Anonymous

    November 2, 2006 at 12:37 pm

    His watch bracelet is simply too big. A watch can rest underneath a cuff fine as long as the bracelet is tight enough to keep it in place.

  20. Eme Kah

    November 2, 2006 at 12:37 pm

    But a handsome watch can be a very sexy accessory on a man. Highlights a man’s hands which a lot of women see as erotic.

  21. Sagebrush Gardener

    November 2, 2006 at 12:38 pm

    I think the brown shoes work well here because they echo his skin color so nicely. But would they work as well on someone with a lighter complexion?

  22. The Sartorialist

    November 2, 2006 at 1:03 pm

    to anon 12:20
    he is wearing a french-cuff, that is why there is a gentle roll to the cuff edge.

  23. Anonymous

    November 2, 2006 at 1:08 pm

    awesome look

  24. n.rosa

    November 2, 2006 at 1:30 pm

    first thing i noticed about the second photo was how the plaids match. very good.

  25. Alice Olive

    November 2, 2006 at 1:39 pm

    I really appreciate all the fine detail he has considered in this ensemble. The brown shoes add warmth. A very stylish man!

  26. Kelli

    November 2, 2006 at 1:43 pm

    Very well done. The brown shoes are nice but I don’t think just any man can pull that off.

    If a watch is well chosen it can be a beautiful, masculine and thoughtful detail that sits close to the wrist and the shirt will naturally fall over it. The idea of capturing time in a little mechanism of well-crafted jewelry is so sexy. What is worn in this photo is an average sport watch that doesn’t work – it is forcing the shirt to accommodate to it. A woman will have many handbags, why shouldn’t a man have a couple nice watches?

  27. luvsunflowers

    November 2, 2006 at 1:43 pm

    Exquisite! I agree that this is true fashion. Anyone can wear another black suit, but mixing patterns so they work is an art! Love the brown shoes…Thom Browne’s influence on the trouser lengths these days is fine with me! A slightly slimmer, trimmer watch may make wearing the French cuffs easier. I wouldn’t want to forgo the watch altogether. It’s too important, not to mention practical…fabulous!

  28. thaddeus

    November 2, 2006 at 2:24 pm

    I would go with a half-windsor knot for the tie. The full one is a bit too bulky looking!

  29. Butch

    November 2, 2006 at 2:24 pm

    Yes, perfect.

    Don’t think the watch thing is a deal-breaker; but perhaps one whose dial is smaller/trimmer would be in order–worth considering if you’re a suit guy who wants a timepiece on your wrist.

    I’m 5′ 7″ and trim, so I regularly consider non-femmy woman’s watches when in the watch market…..

  30. oldog/oldtrix

    November 2, 2006 at 2:29 pm

    Pattern mixing reached its height in the 1930s and is seldom employed successfully today. Kudos to this gentleman for giving it a shot within a conservative color range. I agree, however, with the suggestion that the shirt’s herringbone could well be smaller so as not to fight with the suit’s Prince of Wales check. Also, to increase the interest in the mix, given the linearity of the suit and shirt patterns, I would wear a figured tie, probably in navy woven with medium size white polka dots (and a small four-in-hand knot). The suit’s breast pocket is crying for a handkerchief; I’d use a simple white linen with a hand-rolled edge, stuffed, not folded, points up into the pocket. The tan color and sophisticated last of the shoes are perfect. Can’t really see his socks, but, if I could, I love to see navy with white clocks. A thin small faced watch in a white metal on a brown pigskin strap would be perfection. All nits inspired by the gentleman’s good taste.

  31. whyioughtta

    November 2, 2006 at 2:47 pm

    “I shot this gentleman near 57th street the other day…” That made me laugh! (Good thing we know you…’armed and fabulous’ but not ‘armed and dangerous.’)

    On the subject of arms…arm length…length in general of pants and jackets…I’m seeing a lot of what look to my eye like slightly undersized suits for men in your photos. Is this a trend in NYC?

  32. ET

    November 2, 2006 at 3:19 pm

    The matching is just amazing, I always look for that when I buy checks or stripes and are mostly always dissappointed.

    I have not worn a watch for years as I think it ruined many an outfit (I am a woman, so not the shirt cuff issue)

    What do you think about the width of his pants, I think it throws out the balance.

  33. Anonymous

    November 2, 2006 at 3:35 pm

    I see someone finally mentioned the shoe-skin tone match, which I think is brilliant, and why this particular fellow should stay away from black shoes (so much for making your shoes match just your belt … now it’s hands and head as well …) But those shoes would be fabulous with this outfit for anyone.

    And thanks for the confirmation; I thought the cuffs were french.

    Kudos to this chap for pulling off this look … hard to get everything working without looking too ‘busy’ … but the comment about the shirt’s herringbone being a bit too big is probably right (minor quibble).

  34. Anonymous

    November 2, 2006 at 3:37 pm

    A Rolex or Omega is too plain a watch for this man, he has too much style and flair to wear something so basic.

    Anon 12:37, I agree, his band is too loose.

    Sart, great eye for this man and love the brown shoes.

  35. Jean S

    November 2, 2006 at 3:49 pm

    I must echo the first comment–as someone who sews, I know what a challenge it can be to match plaids. And in a suit, no less! very impressive.

  36. scone

    November 2, 2006 at 3:54 pm

    The cell phone is the pocket watch of the 21st century.

  37. tee

    November 2, 2006 at 3:55 pm



  38. Anonymous

    November 2, 2006 at 4:04 pm

    I recognize that man: it’s Spencer Means from the Corcoran Group. He’s always spectacularly put out.

  39. Anonymous

    November 2, 2006 at 4:54 pm

    Best post in months!

  40. Anonymous

    November 2, 2006 at 5:25 pm

    Sorry but a MAN wears an expensive time-piece while BOYS use their phones to tell time!

    He would have looked better in a Blancpain or Patek. Not Rolex. Rolex are for plummers and drug dealers!

  41. The Sartorialist

    November 2, 2006 at 5:52 pm

    To Anon 5:25

    Your snobbish comments are exactly why I don’t wear an expensive watch.

    Being a MAN is about a lot more than your watch-Sorry

  42. Anonymous

    November 2, 2006 at 6:05 pm

    This man is the epitome of style. I cannot wait to show my husband these images tonight. We were trying to find him a good looking/fitting suit. This is it!

  43. Jason Hahn

    November 2, 2006 at 6:17 pm

    I guess the easiest way to avoid the watch caught on cuff moment is to have your shirts custom made and make sure the cuff is made with extra give.
    But this look is so well put together, it could easily be an editorial shoot. Someone at GQ needs to give you another job!

  44. quigley

    November 2, 2006 at 6:19 pm

    What were his cufflinks like?

  45. Bunmi_K

    November 2, 2006 at 6:19 pm

    Awesome combination!

  46. b

    November 2, 2006 at 6:27 pm

    love the herringbone and plaid combination but wonder about the fit of the suit around arm and chest? great look regardless though.

  47. luvsunflowers

    November 2, 2006 at 7:32 pm

    Hmmmm, Mr. Sart, I applaud your comment to Anon 5:25. He sounds like my ex husband…maybe he is! A MAN IS about MORE than the watch he wears…The watch or any other worldly possessions cannot make up for self esteem which comes from within…

  48. Anonymous

    November 2, 2006 at 7:59 pm

    So much has already been said. Spencer is well-dressed. In fact, oldog/oldtrix said it perfectly: “Pattern mixing…within a conservative color range.”

    That’s exactly what it is and why it works. Thank you, oldog/oldtrix.

    Now, for the brown shoes. It is the bane of existence for us brown-skinned folk! The town I live is lacking in old-fashioned shoemakers/cordonneries who could likely dye my quality leathers. I’m sure this is not a challenge in NYC.

    And Spencer has “over a decade of experience” in what, being an adult? He’s a young, accomplished, and well-dressed man.

    Nice pick up, Sart.

  49. Anonymous

    November 2, 2006 at 8:37 pm

    It’s a beautiful and sophisticated match-the plaid suit, the striped tie, the herringbone cotton. But it doesn’t look right on this type of build.

    He is a guy with broad shoulders and thicker physique. He doesn’t carry this off gracefully. The cropped or pegged pants trousers look forced, like he is trying to conform to this clown Thom Browne’s ideas. If his pants were the proper length, with a break, and wide enough to drape elegantly, he would look more properly dressed.

    Dressing well isn’t just about experimentation. It’s wearing what you’re comfortable in, not trying too hard to shift with every change of seasonal style.

  50. Crash

    November 2, 2006 at 9:41 pm

    I would only add a pocket square & DELETE the Rolex (very cliched – especially in todays world when there are so many nice watches available, unless it was a pre-80′s Rolex)…

  51. D. Kelley

    November 2, 2006 at 10:52 pm

    Good job sir. As far as the watch thing goes, I feel that he should opt for a slim watch with a leather band. His cuff would fit nicely over.

  52. Lit

    November 3, 2006 at 1:00 am

    With respect Andrew, your comment is unnecessarily negative and nosensical, on what is one of the best looks we’ve seen this season! This suit is perfection and I honestly don’t think 1) that this guy is just trying to follow the Thom Browne trend or 2) that his build is too bulky for this look, quite on the contrary!

    As an aside, Sart put it perfectly, brown shoes are exactly what you want here-brilliant. This is how I want to look, everyday.

  53. Katlego

    November 3, 2006 at 3:46 am

    I like the herringbone shirt, it says that the guy is confident but I think there is one item missing: the pocket square!
    I think a blue one would have completed the look.

  54. Anonymous

    November 3, 2006 at 6:02 am

    watch is essential !!

  55. concupiscence

    November 3, 2006 at 9:19 am

    Beautifully executed and shows some balls. But it’s really the brown shoes that tie it all together.

  56. aimtx

    November 3, 2006 at 10:29 am

    Just beautiful. Etro has long been one of my favorite labels, I think they’re wildly underappreciated. Well done, sir!

  57. JA Firebrand

    November 3, 2006 at 10:41 am

    I have to agree w/ Leigh re: best blog in the world. I’ve been away from the blogosphere, meeting fantastically dressed NYC writer gentlemen like Lewis Lapham, Gay Talese and more; these posts are just feast for my famine – bravissima, what perfection

  58. Anonymous

    November 3, 2006 at 12:40 pm

    Even the plaid on the pants almost lined up with that on the hem of the jacket……..AWESOME!

  59. Anonymous

    November 3, 2006 at 12:48 pm

    I agree with the leather watch band colour is optional but a leather band would have posed less of a problem.
    Had to laugh with the shoes matching the skin tone, I did think about it myself for one short tiny moment but all in all BRILLIANT!

  60. Anonymous

    November 3, 2006 at 1:04 pm

    You are helping me, Sart! :-) I really would have thought that, while he does look FAB, the pattern on the tie and the shirt seem a bit too much with the patterned suit. I’d like to have seen one or the other more subdued (like the suit and shirt dramatic, the tie solid or subdued).

    But I gotta hand it to you — I can see the fashionable quality in this great looking guy. I guess it’s the confidence to carry it off that REALLY makes it!

  61. fussy italian

    November 3, 2006 at 1:55 pm

    for bis: you forget his skin is beautifully brown … to think of our skin as part of the colour scheme is something everyone needs to do more, I think

  62. zia marghe

    November 3, 2006 at 2:01 pm

    I like the watch.
    Men need to wear watches in order to answer graciously – this cannot be done looking at a mobile …. – to ladies who may ask the time. As more often than not a watch does not do any good to a girl’s outfit some ladies will be likely not to wear one but still need to know the time!

  63. Anonymous

    November 3, 2006 at 2:08 pm

    This is Anon 5:25 again.

    I can NEVER understand how some of you have the definition of a Sartorialist that stops at the wrist. You can have the best looking cloths on but if you have a poor “anything”, it can ruin the look. To me that extends to the type of watch you wear with your cloths. Does that not make common sense?

    Imagine if this guy had on cheap clown socks that people can see as he walked. Do you think that would be OK? Well, the same could be said for a cheap watch. When you’re considered a good dresser it extends to EVERY part of the ensemble and not stop at the kind of watch to wear.

    I will state once again that a MAN wears a good watch while a slob or BOY wears a bad one or non at all. You can check with GQ magazine if you don’t believe me…

  64. sandman_gr

    November 3, 2006 at 4:50 pm

    Amazing style and combinations! He should get an award!

  65. Anonymous

    November 3, 2006 at 7:17 pm

    I agree with Sart’s original commentary about the watch throwing off the balance of the shirt cuff and suit. His solution (no watch), however, is equally bad. This is why dress watches are designed to be paired with suits and Rolexes/divers are left for casual ensembles and sporting events. Anything greater than 8-10mm will undoubtedly alter the shirt cuff, unless they are grossly oversized or custom ordered.

  66. Thomas Irvin

    November 4, 2006 at 1:13 am

    Scone said, “The cell phone is the pocket watch of the 21st century” and that may be true, but I still wear a pocket watch every day to avoid just such problems.

  67. Anonymous

    November 4, 2006 at 6:17 pm

    Terrific.Excellent taste.Yes,he should get an award.

  68. Anonymous

    November 5, 2006 at 3:50 am

    This is perfection

  69. Fashion Rebel

    November 5, 2006 at 11:57 am

    the suit is perfect

  70. William

    November 6, 2006 at 1:54 am

    I read all 73 commends and no one mentioned it, so here is my hubmle suggestion: pocket watch ;)

  71. Anonymous

    November 6, 2006 at 10:22 am

    I love this look as well. If you don’t mind my mentioning it, even though Paul Smith is made in Italy, Smith is British, not Italian.

  72. 2 Dads

    November 6, 2006 at 2:33 pm

    love this look. i adore brown shoes with gray – very sophisticated – and i agree about how the mix is aggressive (the patterns) while being subtle (the colors). really sharp and sexy. well done, sir! well done.

  73. Anonymous

    November 14, 2006 at 5:02 pm

    Darnel sure knows how to dress

  74. Anonymous

    May 8, 2009 at 6:19 am

    this is a fantastic outfit well done! only one problem is the watch but this is simple to change buy wearing a thin watch for business use such as a cartier ronde louis ect a rolex submariner is a diving watch and should therefore be used as a psorts watch not to be worn with a suit!

  75. Anonymous

    June 17, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    His suit's a good quality but a tad too small, as you can see in the shoulders and pant leg width.

    He should have a slimmer watch with a brown band for this outfit.

    I wouldn've chosen a shirt with a less bold pattern to offset the boldness of the tie and suit.

    Also, he should have gone with button cuffs instead of french. The french cuffs give this outfit way too much flair.

    The shoe color works well with this suit.

  76. Leather Watch Strap

    October 12, 2009 at 8:36 am

    Hahaha….Love it! Especially the part about his watch band!

  77. Aman Tailors

    December 1, 2016 at 6:19 am

    A man of color looking very sharp, he dressed really well. A little improvement on his suit could be done especially on the cuff. The shoulder pads lay nicely as well as the length of his trousers match his height well, not too long nor too short.

  78. Ritoot

    February 6, 2017 at 8:16 am

    He looks great, love all the pretty details,The shoe color works well with this suit

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