28 November 2009

Breaking the Law: A Dressy Suit Goes Casual

I love to wear suits, but my lifestyle simply doesn't "require" them that often. And when it does, there's invariably a wedding or a death involved. I buy a lot of sports jackets and nice trousers, because they fit my game better...but being an avid thrifter, it's sometimes hard to say no to a good looking suit.

Back in January, I picked up this double-breasted chalk stripe suit, courtesy of Polo Ralphie. Today, I wore it for the first time. Funny, in my original post on the day I bought the suit, I talked about how the only way to wear it was to break numerous sartorial laws, and match it with a button down collar, v-neck sweater, and brown suede shoes, all of which I did today.


No tie, to boot. I've been itching to wear this number. The problem is that a double breasted striped suit is a pretty dressy rig, so I had to tone it down. I have to say, I like it as a casual kit. The weather was ripe for it, too. Cold enough for flannel and a sweater, but not quite cold enough for a coat.

Which means I had to consider how the whole thing would look sans jacket. I'm officially convinced, every man needs a bright red wool v-neck sweater, it's a staple.


Just to keep the "rule breaker" aesthetic complete, I opted for cream colored socks with my best brown suede shoes.

Accessorized to death with a Brooks Brothers merino wool scarf, an old grey herringbone driving cap, vintage tortoise shell wayfarers (thanks again, Egadfly), and wool lined brown leather gloves ($2.99, thrift).

The moral of the story is: rethink your dressiest items. Try wearing them like they weren't even dressy. Ralphie has built an empire on this rationale.

In other news...

I don't know how many of you read the comments around here, but I've recently been accused of hypocrisy.(see comments here). That really stings, since hypocrisy is something I simply do not abide.

Apparently, since I don't divulge the specific name and location of the sources of my "scores", I'm some kind of self indulgent hypocrite. Have I ever been anything but honest in my intentions in writing this blog?

Anyone will tell you, the first "rule" of successful thrift shopping is keep your mouth shut. No one ever told me where the hot spots were...I found them myself through perseverance and hard work. Back in the old days, when I didn't have a computer or a cell phone.

Is it so hard to Google "Thrift store Boston"?

Hypocrite indeed.

p.s. "The Tyrant" wrote me an email suggesting I work on my overall photo/lighting skills. And he's right. So today, I used the tri-pod, found a new location in the house, and shot during the day, in natural light. Better?






38 comments:

ScottyAlexander said...

I'm all for breaking the rules. And though I did a double-take after seeing you in a double-breasted suit, I started to warm up to the idea. Maybe you could take it a step further. Keep the jacket, but switch to dark jeans. Go for a bright pocket square, maybe. Thanks for another awesome post!

-ScottyAlexander

GySgt Chimichanga said...

I thought the bookcase made a nice backdrop for your shots, but that's just my opinion.

I wouldn't worry about the trolls either - hypocrite isn't an accusation to throw around lightly; I'm guessing this guy is trolling for a reaction.

James said...

You're 100% right, an angler never tells where his best spot is. Part of the thrill of thrifting is the hunt!

FIXED BAYONET METAL SOLDIERS said...

Why would anone spoil a nice looking suit with a pullover under it? No one does that. It makes the suit look like it doesn't fit you.
With this suit ghet a polka dot burgandy type, a white shirt with long thirties points.Lose the brown brogues and get black leather brogues (check out special offers Samuel Windsor). It will work then , now it just looks like a suit that got too small for you.I mean whats the point of that Christmas Jumper?

FIXED BAYONET METAL SOLDIERS said...

Lose the driving hat as well.Thats another silly thing on a nice suit such as this, get a stetson or trilby

Sean said...

Anyone who expects you to divulge your secret thrift shop fishing holes is a total palin-head. (pardon my language)

Giuseppe said...

Bayonet,

Ever heard of Gianni Agnelli? I amm, of course, by no means comparing myself to him, but he practically inveted the v-neck under double breasted look. There are worse styles to ape.

Chimichanga,

I likes the book case too, but the sunlight was better in the other room.

Giuseppe said...

Bayonet,

Also, the "point of the Chistmas jumper" was too keep warm on a cold day. Isn't that usually the point of sweaters? The suit fits well, but I grant you the sleeves are a pinch short. I'll address that issue soon enough.

Scotty,
I actually wore the jacket with a white shirt, dark jeans and a scrf the other day. Worked quite well, I thouhgt.

Rebecca said...

I'm with you on the First Rule of Thrift Store Shopping. No explanations are really necessary....

I've enjoyed your blog before the tripod and will no doubt continue to do so in the future. Do as you wish. Just keep your jaunty style and sense of adventure.

The Tyrant said...

The sun makes for terrific budget lighting -- shots definitely looking a bit clearer and more crisp. Love the super-saturated red V-neck.

David said...

Nicely done, I like the red sweater. I would have worn it with the bright red socks from the last post, just to stir it up more.

RandyLuvsPaiste said...

Giuseppe-
Don't let the haters get you down, although better lighting was a good idea.

Cyclo2000 said...

Again, a nice look.
I'm experimenting with the V neck under a waistcoat look myself. Super warm and surprisingly stylish.

Clay said...

Hit a nerve huh?

The quotation I included in my previous post clearly suggests that one of your goals is "informing" others on how to dress stylishly on a shoestring. Nevertheless, you consistently ignore requests for the most vital sort of information.

Regarding the first rule of thrifting...the guys over at Ask Andy apparently never were issued the rule book. I've been thrifting for about six months, and my best scores have been at places that AAAC guys recommended.

I've never been much of a rules guys...so if you're ever in Connecticut, try the Clothes Horse in West Hartford, th Bargain Barn in Sharon, or Goodwills in Hamden, Rocky Hill, or Newington. All have yielded legit trad items.

Rosaria said...

G Believe me it doesn't work in the least.Agnelli wore very sheer jumpers and he was very lean.this, doesn't work on you, it really looks bad.get a nice Burgandy white polka dot tie and black brogues.give the suit some JJ.Gittes.Like this you just spoil a great suit.

David V said...

The first look still troubles me. Perhaps if you wore it with only the lower button fastened...but I still don't think I would follow you.

I do like the second look!

I echo the thoughts of those who feel a man's favorite "fish'n hole" is not something to be shared.

lynne said...

much better photography. lynne

Enzo AGC said...

100% disagree with Bayonet. The suit looks like it fits well to me and the shoe choice was perfect too. Black shoes are for weddings and funerals...

Anonymous said...

Not sure about the first picture with full suit, sweater and shirt; but I think the second picture with chalkstripe pants, sweater and shirt is spot-on. There's your outfit for Holiday entertaining!

Anonymous said...

best background would be light gray. it's seems like photographers use gray backdrops in their studios (e.g. j. crew website).

Giuseppe said...

Clay,
Accusations of hypocrisy are nothing to be taken lightly. I still think you're being a bit harsh.

Seriously, just google it. What's the big deal?

Giuseppe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
basietrane said...

I really appreciate the honesty of your blog. The lack of slick photography and overly designed banner graphics is quite refreshing in the growing sea of personal style blogs. I usually hold back from blog commenting, but your steadfast opinions on the topics as of late are admirable. As a fellow thrifter, I always abide by the "keep it in your pocket" rule about the source of great finds. Here's to many more. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

What a stupid thing to complain about. I live nowhere near Boston and couldn't care less about which thrift stores were the hot spots in the city. I've always viewed this blog as a guide to dressing well on a budget, not "great shopping spots on a budget." Further, I don't blame you for not divulging secrets of that nature. I'd hate to see my favorite thrift store picked clean.

Young Fogey said...

I'm so happy you've improved the lighting! Now we can tell what colors you're really wearing.

I actually like this outfit--really like it--in spite of myself. Somehow it works--though I would counsel you to ditch the white socks.

A bow tie would be the bee's knees with this suit.

FIXED BAYONET METAL SOLDIERS said...

Enzo don't understand that with a chalkstripe like this you need formal shoes. If it was just grey then ok.The shoes, if you have to pair them with something , go better with dark blue chalkstripe, Grey in this colour goes better with Tobacco suede like the brogues from ablemare. Anyway Shetland Jumpers in "RED" don't go with ralph Lauren Chalkstripes, the shoes could squeeze in but the cap? for Gawds sake!!!!!

Enzo AGC said...

Bayonet - What I "understand" is that Giuseppe dresses like this because he wants to, not because he has a board meeting to go to. This is an example of a casual suit look and he carries it off well. Getting dressed is supposed to be fun and this is a great example of that. As for red not working with Ralph Lauren chalkstripes I can tell you, as a designer employed by Ralph Lauren, that we had something very similar rigged in our fall blue label showroom. This is exactly the kind of look our concept designers might put together (maybe adding an ascot to it) for a holiday showroom. Its okay to disagree, its a whole other evil to say that someone "doesn't understand" something because their opinion differs from your own.

Giuseppe said...

I understand all about black cap toed shoes, a white shirt with Feench cuffs and an understaed tie. I own all of those items, too, incidentally.

My intention was to go for a casual look with a full suit. I don't work in an office, I don't attend board meetings. But I do like this suit. What's so bad about a litle creativity in a man's dress, anyway?

Thad said...

Really like the suit!

Also, I have to agree that it is legit to keep your favorite hunting spots to yourself. If you put in the effort to find the stores and make friends with the clerks, you don't want them picked clean by the internet trolls.

Sophie said...

All good with the exception of the white socks (go big red!) and loving the much improved lighting.

People who are too lazy to seek out thrift stores don't deserve your help. I'm from a different continent and I still manage to source some great bargains whenever I visit the US.

Illegitimi non carborundum.

Anonymous said...

I have to say, with regards to your idea of Williams' approach: "Pat me on the back or get out". He did not, however, hesitate to list all the press his fiasco received, sans yours truly, or any other writer/blogger/journalist who dared call him out. Such an attitude is neither democratic, American, or professional, in any sort of journalistic sense."

The thing about blogs, at least the sort pioneered by people untied to corporations, is that they are not bound to any rules of journalism. They can say and take on whatever bias they choose. They do not have to be fact-checked or grammatically correct. It is a shame that he chose to employ censorship, but it is the nature of these sorts of blogs to write whatever and however they choose.

Anonymous said...

Nice gym socks.

FIXED BAYONET METAL SOLDIERS said...

Enzo works for ralph Lauren and ralph lauren approve this look? well i've seen some strange combinations on Lauren but they have very tall lean models who manage to make things workable on otherwise unworkable combinations.
G is a muscular geezer and this kind of look on him doesn't work.Red Jumpers are like too RED!!!!!!!
Do me a favour G and redo this suit with a nice burgandy tie and a nice pair of proper brogues then lets see.
The cap has to go, believe me!!!!!
read this suit as in John Dillinger!!!!!!!!!!!!
By the way saw the Depp Film=crap , much better the newsreels of the geezer himself and if not that warren Oates

FIXED BAYONET METAL SOLDIERS said...

I don't think you can be a designer and approve this look to be honest

FIXED BAYONET METAL SOLDIERS said...

wear a Sports jacket. I wear suits nearly every day and I don't wear them Cos I have to go to a board meeting. If I'm on a shoot during the day and lets say it requires a tie (rare) I'll already have one on and in the evening if I'm out in a night club or wine bar or Pub I'll just take the tie off and work out the shirt collar.Maybe I'll change my shoes but in the end you are wearing clothes, just clothes.If you listen to the "feel good "troop here you'll believe the worst is best G. believe me I know what I'm talking about.My Chicks in the model world and she said "Ugh!!!! She didn't like the shirt either.The suit is brillian though, I love it.How much did you pay it

The Ghost of Tom Choad said...

G, long-time-reader-first-time-commenter. I personally love the look. I couldn't pull it off but when I see this I have to issue applause.

It takes balls to wear something that not everybody is going to agree with, or even most. Sometimes the style works and sometimes it doesn't but at least you tried and in this case I give it a thumbs up.

I'm not a fan of the double-breasted suit (but that's just because they don't frame me well) but you pull it off and the red accents from the sweater are striking to say the least. I will agree that some red socks would have topped (bottomed?) this off perfectly.

Keep up the good work and be awesome to yourself and others.

Sal

FIXED BAYONET METAL SOLDIERS said...

That Norwegian Jumper G doesn't cut it.It looks like a kinda sitting under the Christmas tree jumper. I just bought a Cashmere one with a US army fatigue button collar in dark blue=thats much better or get a Fair isle from ralph Lauren

Drake said...

Its good to know that bernie mac's suits have a home after his demise.
Good form!