Ask Forum: Fall 2014 Fashion Tips for Him

Courtesy of Ermenegildo Zegna

Q: Other than for weddings and special events, I don’t wear suits much these days. Is it okay to pull out what’s in my closet for occasional dress-up events?

Probably not. Although menswear is evolution rather than revolution, suits that are more than five years old, even from the best makers, will definitely look dated: trousers too long and baggy, jackets too roomy, shoulders too padded. Designers have gradually gone slimmer in suits, sportcoats and trousers, and fabrics have evolved so that today’s suits are more comfortable and travel- friendly than the old stuff in your closet. We’re betting you’ll find our fall ’14 suits so comfortable that you’ll choose to wear them in more casual settings, even when no suit is required.

 

Q: Is it okay to text or email my sales associate when I have a wardrobe question? How can I maximize our relationship?

Not only is it okay, but they would totally appreciate it! (Well maybe not at 3:00 a.m…) Our sales people have a wealth of information that can help you look your best every day. They can email you photos of new items as they arrive in store that will work with what you’ve already bought. They can inform you about the best-fitting jeans. They can help you match colors and patterns or figure out which tie to wear with which shirt collar. (For example, your new skinny tie is not likely to work with a cutaway collar shirt, but yes, you can wear the brown suede shoes with your gray suit!) They can also suggest the perfect gift, wrap it and send it without you needing to leave your desk. Never be afraid to contact your sales associate for any fashion-related issue: their passion for fine clothing is the reason they chose this career, and your trust in them is the ultimate compliment.

Q: I see that a lot of my favorite brands have their own stores: do you carry the same styles they do?

Sometimes there’s crossover, but we try to customize our mix to the needs of our community. While fashion has become somewhat international, our buyers know their customers personally so it’s easy for them to fine-tune assortments to specific tastes and lifestyles. Another advantage of shopping an independent store: since we carry so many top brands, we can suggest how to mix your favorite pieces so you’re not dressed head-to-toe in a single designer. This type of brand blending adds creativity and personality to your look so you won’t see yourself coming and going. Stop by and we’ll show you how to do it!

Designed to Thrill

A look inside the Maserati Quattroporte Ermenegildo Zegna Limited Edition.

BY DAVID A. ROSE

Italy is renowned for many fine products: cuisine, wines and luxury fashions instantly come to mind. But high on the list of Italian gems are its exotic sports cars. Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati set the bar for fast and exquisitely designed racing machines. Every so often this automotive world crosses paths with the world of high-end fashions, but rarely have the results been so intriguing.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Maserati marque, the company has collaborated with top fashion house Ermenegildo Zegna to offer a limited series of 100 Maserati Quattroporte high-performance luxury cars. The 100 numbered cars represent each year Maserati has been in production.

When two highly respected global companies of this caliber work together on a project, it becomes a celebration of Italian production and design not just from a standpoint of mechanical know-how, but also of fabric innovation. Ermenegildo Zegna was established as a fine woolen mill in 1910 and today is known not only for its clothing designs, but also for its unparalleled creation of original fabrics.

An exclusive Owner’s Collection kit is Ermenegildo Zegna’s gift with purchase. The kit includes personal accessories and 10 yards of Zegna silk in the same chevron pattern used on the car’s seats.

Reminiscent of the finest Zegna suit, the silk fabric used for the car’s roof lining exhibits a tasteful and classic touch. The combination of leather and silk appears in soft shades of gray and cappuccino, which exude the tone of a Zegna menswear collection and give the vehicle its strong masculine identity. The exterior shade, developed exclusively for the Maserati Quattroporte Ermenegildo Zegna Limited Edition, is called Platinum Silk. The exterior appeal of the car is further enhanced by the stunning 20” polished wheels.

To drive a beautiful car is very satisfying, but the experience would be quite lacking if the car’s performance did not match its elegant looks. In this regard, the Maserati Quattroporte Ermenegildo Zegna Limited Edition will not disappoint. Thanks to its twin turbo V/8 and 530 horsepower, the car can catapult from 0 to 60 MPH in less than 4.7 seconds and reach a top speed of 191. Not only will the owner turn heads as he cruises along Main Street, but the vehicle’s speed and handling will impress even the most accomplished driver.

Spring Forward

Advances in modern materials take us through the changing seasons.

BY WILLIAM KISSEL

Clothing by Samuelsohn

If you still believe that cashmere and wool are for winter and cotton and linen must stay in the closet until the first signs of spring, you may not have a clear grasp on the material world—or at least not on the materials that have been developed in the past decade.

In today’s world, where travel is more commonplace and indoor to outdoor temperatures can fluctuate wildly, the best spring menswear is made from fabrics that are essentially seasonless. Featherweight cashmere in the summer? Why not? A small percentage of tropical wool blended into that linen shirt? Of course, especially since wool’s elastic properties help combat wrinkles.

“The biggest trend is weight-neutral fabrics that travel well and go from one climate to the next with ease,” explains Craig Wertheim of Scabal USA, one of the top cloth makers in the world. The Brussels-based company’s solution this season is Fresh, a collection of tropical-weight, wool-blend suit fabrics treated in an advanced finishing process that makes them more breathable as well as cooler to the touch, especially for spring.

Of course, cotton and linen are still the two most versatile fabrics for the warmer months. The hygroscopic properties of both plant-based fibers make them highly absorbent and resistant to heat. That same characteristic also makes them remarkably durable, and cooler when in contact with the body.

But contrary to popular belief, traditional winter-weight cloths such as alpaca, cashmere and wool—all derived from the downy fleece of animals—are also hygroscopic, meaning they too can absorb perspiration and have the ability to keep the body cool in summer, depending on the weight of the fiber.

Clothing by Samuelsohn

In fact, cashmere’s unique molecular structure actually helps the fiber absorb as much as 35 percent of its own weight in moisture. That compares to 25 percent moisture absorption for cotton, which makes cashmere the better choice for wicking perspiration away from the body.

Thankfully, modern technology can render many classically cool-weather cloths in microscopically thin and lightweight versions. To that end, some extra-fine gauge cashmeres are now as light and airy as a pair of silk stockings, primarily because top knitting factories are using the same weaving machines to produce both.

Or consider the incredible lightness found in this season’s fine-micron wools, some of which are made of gossamer-thin fibers six times finer than human hair. The newest technologies have been embraced by makers of both sportswear and suits, so unless you’re an Icelandic fisherman, it’s hard to believe there isn’t room in your wardrobe for any of these year-round weaves.

For spring 2014, suit makers including Canali and Ermenegildo Zegna have been especially keen on seasonless blends of tropical-weight wool mixed with silk, bamboo and even mohair for a look that can add a bit of iridescence to the finished cloth. Others are using high-tech fabrics such as microfiber, which is lightweight, water-resistant and breathable, as well as Ermenegildo Zegna’s Techmarino cloth and Loro Piana’s Storm System, which both add comfort and breathability to wool and other fabrics for when temperatures rise and fall.

Clothing by Samuelsohn

“Selling wool or cashmere in summer five years ago would have been tough,” offers Arnold Silverstone, president and creative director at Samuelsohn and Hickey Freeman, two of the leading suit makers at the forefront of new trends in fabric technology. “But the weights, the weaving and the technology have all changed so much that you can have jackets that look like cotton poplin and seersucker, but are really made of wool.”

Among the company’s newest fabrics is a proprietary performance-driven wool called Extreme, created in collaboration with Loro Piana’s patented Rain System technology to give it natural stretch and render it water and wrinkle resistant as well. “We also did a lightweight cashmere/silk blend for spring that weighs only 200 grams, so it’s almost shirt weight but gives a soft hand [previously found] only in cashmere,” says Silverstone. “The ultimate summer blazer is no longer limited to cotton or linen; now you can wear a blend of wool/silk/linen and still be comfortable.”