The basic wardrobe I posted last week is somewhat bland, and it's that way on purpose. The components I advised purchasing allow for a variety of configurations and the option to make the wardrobe your own by adding individual touches.
So, what are those personal touches?
But before I go on with those touches, allow me to suggest a classic drink:
Let's go with a Sidecar. The Sidecar is one of my favorite drinks and a true classic. Like many of the libations I'm partial to, the Sidecar was created in the early 1920s. Many recipes call for a cocktail glass or martini glass for this drink, but I prefer a rocks glass, also known as an Old Fashioned glass (yep, the glass was named for the drink in which it was served). The Old Fashioned glass is a type of tumbler. Why do I prefer this type of glass for this drink? Well, it's easier to hold and sip from in my opinion. Yes, certain drinks look better in a cocktail glass, but this isn't one of them.
There are a few variations, but they usually mess with the ratio of ingredients. Below is how I prefer the drink. Oh, and don't rim the glass with sugar--there is no need, the drink is sweet enough already.
- 2 parts Brandy or Cognac
- 1 part Cointreau (or Triple-Sec)
- 1 part lemon juice
Dump all those ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake with vigor. Pour the mixture in an Old Fashioned glass (don't put ice in the glass). Enjoy.
Okay, time to discuss the personal touches you can add to your basic wardrobe. This is quite a list, and allows you to add color and texture and put your mark on the ensemble. What exactly are these accessories?
- Pocket Square
- Cuff Links
Depending on weather and other situations you could add the following as accessories, but I won't deal with these in this article:
- Hat (not a ball cap--a real hat like a Fedora--I'll cover this in another post).
Tie: I'm still going to have you hold off on getting crazy with ties. You should really keep them simple at this stage. A horrid tie will ruin your ensemble. You'd almost be better off without a tie if you can't go simple and seem drawn to crazy colors and patterns.
Pocket Square: Be careful here--simple is better. You can go silk or cotton. Cotton allows for intricate folds (you should learn a few--they're sharp and you'll have people commenting on them), while the silk variety allow you to basically go for a more carefree look. Whatever you do though, do not buy a pre-folded pocket square that has a cardboard insert. That is embarrassing and in poor taste. It's like wearing a clip-on tie or keeping your tie knotted because you don't know how to tie it properly. I'd keep the colors on the silk pocket squares simple--you can do a pattern, but realize that you're limiting your options for usage. I actually prefer white cotton folded with precision. It'd be a great idea to keep a spare handkerchief folded neatly inside your suit jacket.
Cuff Links: I didn't tell you to buy French Cuff shirts, but if you happen to have one already, or went out and bought one, cuff links will raise your style a couple of levels, but with caveats I'm afraid.
Again, and I'm going to keep writing this: keep them simple. Try plain swivel bar types that are squares/rectangles or circular. If you stick with plain metal, like sterling silver, they will be functional and go with the wardrobe I suggested last week.
A few caveats:
- stay away from the cloth braid/knot type cuff links
- do not buy a package that has cuff links that match a tie and a shirt. DO NOT DO THAT.
- match the cuff links with the watch. If you have a white metal watch, you HAVE to wear white metal cuff links.
Watch: I find it's easier to match with a white metal type watch. I don't care if you go with a quartz movement or mechanical movement, but whatever you do, do not wear a digital watch with the wardrobe I've suggested. In fact, unless you're working out or running a marathon or something similar, stay away from the digital watch.
Make sure you have the watch adjusted. Meaning: the watch should fit snugly around your wrist, not dangling and able to spin around because it's so loose. The face of the watch doesn't have to be enormous: it isn't a contest.
My day-to-day watch is a Swiss made Burberry watch:
Belt: Fine leather. And you have to have a black one as well as a brown one. Do not wear one with a huge buckle emblazoned with some emblem or logo on it (this isn't the rodeo). You have to go plain here. And again, the belt buckle needs to match the rest of the accessories. If you're wearing white metal cuff links and a watch, well, you have to do the same with the belt buckle.
Socks: You could make a statement here, but don't. Stay plain. You have to match the socks with the slacks as best as possible, and when in doubt go with a darker shade of sock than the slacks.
I've rambled on enough. I have a lot more to say about how to wear this stuff and what to buy, and I'll save those comments for a future post.
As always, my posts are meant to convey a classic style. If you're a nutty professor then go for that look. If you're a cowboy then go ahead and dress like one. But don't be a poser.
Go have a Sidecar today, it's a classic drink and not difficult to mix.