Reinvigorating your Wardrobe – Ideas from Combatgent.

I really loved this article.  Concise and well written, it was a great reminder to look through the collection of clothing and decide what really deserves to stay and what should be sent on its way.

Combatgent is one of my favorite finds of the last year.  I love the approach that they are taking to the idea of clothing, though it is worth remembering that much of what they offer is best suited for those who can comfortably wear the “modern” fit.  Don’t be surprised to see them mentioned again in the future.

The Versatile and Indispensable Sweater

The man of style and substance is both discerning and dogged in his pursuit of elements to add to his wardrobe.  They must fill more than one niche, of high quality, and designed with both aesthetic and serviceable qualities in mind.  We who are driven to pursue style even while remaining committed to priorities (and budgets) are careful in our acquisitions but ever mindful of the items that can be added to dress an outfit up or down.  Enter the sweater!  While not in the category of a suit, it can perform many of the same functions.  and while alone it is not enough to fend off the elements in many outdoor situations, with a little thought it can be a wonderful addition to pieces that are insufficient alone.


Let me be clear, I am not thinking of a sweater like Mr. Rogers cardigans.  There is a time and place for such a sweater, but they are not necessarily a style piece.  They are functional to a fault, and while they lend themselves to style rich pieces, what I am thinking of is definitely a different item.


The sweater I am referring to is typically made of acrylic or blended with cotton or wool to give a high warmth without feeling like a track jacket or sweatshirt.  It isn’t fleece, but instead is woven with thicker fibers and finished to prevent easy snagging while retaining a more organic feel.


Typically, the sweater I am thinking of is cut closer to the body and likely with a longer than waist hem.  It may or may not have waist pockets, but will invariably have a chest pocket, perfect for storing a mobile phone.  It zips, allowing it to vent and hold in heat, depending on the needs of the wearer, and it is likely finished in colors that make it easy to match to various trousers or pants.


Did I say trousers?  Why yes I did.  The sweater I am speaking of would look fine paired with the right slacks and dress shirt, and can even make a tie look less formal, but can also be paired with jeans or twills and a mock turtleneck and become a step above casual.  Comfortable in both the board room and the ski lift, it can be worn as a layering piece in both arenas without losing any of its credibility.


Most of us, when we are thinking about a piece to wear over a shirt, go immediately to the sport coat.  I’m not saying that you shouldn’t.  But I am suggesting that, if you can look through your closet and not find at least one or two good sweaters, maybe it’s time to change targets.  Use the sweater to dress up jeans and a polo, pairing the outfit with a pair of dressy styled slipons.  Or use the sweater to give the dress shirt and slacks an approachability factor that every favorite uncle is known for.  Experiment with this wonderful piece, pick one up in neutral colors, and another in some rich tones, and see what it does for your style choices.


I am careful about recommending brands, because you con’t always get what you pay for, but The North Face and Columbia both have some wonderful options, as does Eddie Bauer and Banana Republic.  But look around, and you will find options galore.


What do you think about the option of using a sweater to expand your wardrobe options, and if you desire, leave a thought about your favorite sweater.



Accessorizing the Suit: Fit to be Tied

Today, we will continue our treatment of helping today’s man of style and substance in properly accessiring the suit by taking our attention to the tie.  Arguably one of the least comfortable pieces of the wardrobe, when tied correctly and worn with a shirt that fits correctly, the tie becomes an indispensable part of the modern man’s wardrobe.  And while the thickness of the tie, the material, and the patterns may change over time, the value of a tie in the wardrobe of today cannot be overstated.


The first thing to consider when selecting a tie to accessorize a suit is the material.  While there are many options available, silk is, I believe, the best choice.  It wears well over time, especially when taken care of properly, and responds well to being tied in a variety of knots.  While wool, cotton, leather, polyester and other materials will be available, they are typically not the best for use when putting together a classic and professional look.

Pattern and Decoration

This is perhaps the most difficult aspect of the subject, as much revolves around the tastes or the wearer.  Some men I know wear only striped or solid ties, while others are more adventurous in their pattern selection.  Some men prefer to stick with one designer whose colors and designs have become predictable and safe, while others are always on the search for something new.  In most situations, whatever the gentleman feels comfortable with will likely be fine.  However, I have noticed a few rules of thumb that have served me well over the years.

  • If either the shirt or the suit has a noticeable pattern, the tie should be less patterned or differently patterned.  For instance, if the suit has a windowpane pattern, paisleys may be a good choice if a pattern is desired.  Likewise, a subtle stripe or geometric motif in complimentary colors may work well
  • Ask yourself, “What is the central piece of clothing?”  If the suit is being worn for a particular reason (a job interview or a funeral) the tie should be selected so as not to detract from the look, but rather to add to it.
  • Will there be anything to accentuate the tie?  Contrasting colors in shirt or suit, or other items, like jewelry or a pocket square, can influence the selection of tie.


Various knots exist, and I have been known to use many of them.  My personal favorite is the Four-in-Hand knot, a simple knot that is quite versatile.  The profile is longer than either the Half Windsor or Full Windsor, and thus becomes a nice knot for point collar shirts, especially modern fit shirts with a tighter collar profile.

For more information on how to tie a tie and instructions on different knots Click Here

These are just some thoughts on the tie.  What are some of your experiences with this piece of men’s clothing?