Archive for the ‘suit’ Category

Recently on one of my travels while I was waiting at the gate for my flight home from Stockholm, this guy sat down opposite me. There was something about him which made me look up. A nerdy coolness. Geeky perfectionism if there is such a thing in fashion. (Or maybe it was just the red socks?)

His second hand or well used red leather attache with matching red socks.
The horn rimmed glasses.
The knitwear with the suit.
The suit jacket which was longer than the winter jacket he was wearing.
The colour of the winter jacket which wasn’t perfectly matching that of the suit or the sweater.
When he pulled out a 13,3″ MBP, I was in love.

I still cannot make up my mind if this is something he put together effortlessly, having done it like that his whole life, or if he actually spends time putting together a look. Wish I had gone over and talked to him, instead of just secretly shooting a picture with my iPhone.


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Hola qué tal von wicho.


Photo from the flickr stream of wicho Thanks.

Immaculate. Double cuff shirt. Perfect cuff length. Curved spread collar is not Dfof’s personal favourite, but it certainly works for Charles Phillips. Simple, bold, olive green tie. Looks like a half-windsor knot, but difficult to be sure. Two button suit. Chalk stripe. Relatively deep gorge. Impeccable fit.

To quote my colleague Jim, “Charles is a snappy dresser.”  In DFOF’s book this is an understatement, a very rare thing at an enterprise software conference.

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DFOF, like most people in the software industry it seems, reads Hugh’s  Gapingvoid. Hugh currently resides in West Texas. You may be relieved to know that this post will not discuss how one should dress in Alpine Texas. DFOF would not dare to discuss Texan fashions, as that is not in his research area.

One of Hugh’s real life friends (so more than a mere follower) is Thomas Mahon. He is a tailor who blogs. He makes bespoke suits. One day DFOF hopes to own a Mahon suit. In the meantime, DFOF must be content merely to read his blog.  This video is well worth a watch.

Thomas  and Hugh are friends with JP, whose blog, Confused of Calcutta, all people in the software industry should read. It will make you smarter, and you will also learn about cricket. JP picked up on the Advertising standards authority’s decision to water down the meaning of the word bespoke. Nasty stuff this, JP covers it well. 

Moving on to the shirt.

Thomas used to have a line in shirts too, but the suit business is so busy that he hasn’t got the time to focus on shirts. All is not lost, as he says on his blog:

As you know, I always like to keep an eye on wonderful products made here in the UK , and recently I found this super little business called “The White Shirt Company” It’s an unusual concept, but it’s one that makes good sense. Lola Cashman is a little fanatical about the virtues of a crisp, beautifully made white shirt. This is, of course, very understandable because it is a classic that never dates or fails to make you feel brand new in the morning. Lola has them made here in the UK and amazes me how far she goes to look after her clients.

All the details regarding materials and workmanship are all you’d expect on the finest of English shirts. The beauty is that they’re ready to order online and you can be wearing one of these in a couple of days, or even in three hours if you’re in central London. She does offer made-to-measure, and she’ll also alter stock sizes for you. So all-in-all it’s a very nice service. I know this because I wear some of Lola’s shirts myself and they’re what they say they are. They also supply this little gem, what a super idea.

It seems an odd concept to only supply white shirts, but it is also so refreshing that someone wants to specialise and do it so well. Check them out. You won’t be disappointed by the product or the service.

DFOF has discussed the white shirt before, but good things are worth repeating. If in doubt, go with a white shirt.

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Advice on Bow-ties


(from DFOF’s own collection)

Manolo, one of DFOF’s favourite fashion bloggers, has a fine piece on the dastardly evil that is the pre-tied bow tie.

Pre-Tied Bowties: Why Not Just Wear Sweatpants?

He picks up on the Oscars, and gives John Travolta a basting and grilling

It is indeed sad state of affairs, then, when the same knot used for your shoelaces cannot be successfully duplicated on the necks of dozens of grown men at an event known for its clothing and televised for millions of viewers.

Dear John Travolta, I ask you. I ask your stylists. I ask the designer who probably gave you that tuxedo. How did you decide on a pre-tied bowtie? And how did you decide on the most awful, symetrical, perfect, bowtie the world has ever seen?

Tying a bow-tie takes a little practice, but thanks to youtube, you too can learn how. This alone justifies youtube’s existence.

For those that would prefer words and diagrams, Barrybrake does a fine job here.

DFOF agrees wholeheartedly with Barry’s point.

Disheveled formal clothes tell an entire story, compacted into a single and powerful image. So the act of disheveling them becomes a ritual itself, and it produces a frisson that is irreplaceable.

With one key proviso.

Important notice.

The untied bow-tie only works late, very late of an evening, typically as the birds tweeting in the trees signals dawn. As another fine fashion blog, go fug yourself, notes.

I’m probably supposed to think it’s charming to show up with the bow tie undone, hanging languidly against your popped-open shirt which reveals just enough of what looks like a freshly waxed and/or lubed-up chest; I’m sure you expect me to think it’s all just effortlessly cool, suave, and macho. But here’s the thing: I don’t. I find it pretentious, John Legend.

That’s right. I said it. You’re trying very hard not to try, and it shows. Your paradox bores and annoys me. I feel like you’re standing there quietly urging me to think you delicious and sex-on-legs because you couldn’t be bothered to do up the tie, and yet, all I can think of is how smarmy you were in your red-carpet interview and how much thought I suspect you put into this, and how many man-hours you spent staring at yourself in the mirror cocking your finger guns at your own reflection before you decided that leaving your second-storey barn door halfway open (with the deadbolt undone to boot) was really tantalizing.

Arriving with the bow-tie undone may also leave you in the potentially embarrassing position of having someone ask you to do it up

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A sartorial wilderness.

DFOF didn’t attend the Crunchies, so he is relying on flickr  and blogs for his coverage.  The folks from Zivity sponsored the photo shoot.

It was, by many accounts, an excellent bash. For those that don’t know, the Crunchies are the

The Internet Startup world’s equivalent of the Oscars

Across the vast expanse of chinos, dull blazers, and blue shirts, the occasional glimpse of something resembling an interesting outfit could be seen, but the dirty tide of business casual overwhelmingly dominated.

The dress sense of the award winners is grim.  Nothing hip, nothing radical, nothing innovative, perhaps one here or there vaguely smart, but really just oceans of drab dullness. A payroll conference would be more fashionable and edgy.

An honourable exception mention should go to Matt from WordPress.  He, at least, wore a tie. And it matched.  DFOF would have avoided the button down shirt with a tie, but compared to the other winners,  Matt was Jude Law.

Fewer men than try it can do stubble though.

Before next year’s awards, DFOF hopes that the nominees and attendees visit The Sartorialist Blog.   DFOF would prefer to write something upbeat.


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Sublime elegance from Xavier of Geneva.  DFOF has met him on a number of occasions, but alas, without a camera.  DFOF stole one on this particular evening in Stockholm, but you will agree it was in a good cause.

Here,  at the end of a very long day, Xavier  immaculate  in an  ‘old’  Corneliani Suit.   Please note the cuff length. He obeys the first rule of suitdom;  make sure it fits.  The starched but unbuttoned cuffs add a deft touch,  finished off with a neatly tied scarf.

He takes the DFOF award for the Most  Sartorially Adept  IT project manager.

And here, the perfect winter boot, in this case from Prada. A blot in the copybook as they could do with a shine, but in Xaiver’s defence, he’d walked through the worst that a late November Stockholm  could throw at him. Also the carpet wasn’t his fault. Note the sock length – no winter shins peeking out here, even though the legs are crossed.

DFOF is attempting to snare him as the French speaking correspondent. 

By the way, Xavier’s project was a great success with ROI galore, but that would be for a different blog. 

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Some of DFOF’s enterprise irregular blogging cohorts recently attended Oracle Open World. As the eagle-eyed Zoli noted, the EI dress code was a small notch up from their usually rather dire threads.

DFOF is rarely to be seen in a blazer or sports jacket himself, but he is pleased to see his fellow EIs at least making an effort. However, it does seem that Josh Greenbaum is having trouble keeping his trousers up. Despite this improving effort from the American EI contingent, Sig remains the king of the blazer.

Charles Phillips is absolutely impeccably dressed. DFOF will need to do more fashion forensics on the Oracle President. Perhaps it is the rather scary combination of background in investment banking and the Marines, but DFOF is mightily impressed. Never a thread out of place. Masterful.

The sports jacket / blazer was obviously in strong demand in San Francisco.

Here Michael Dell. thanks to amorimur’s photostream

If one is going to do the navy blazer and jeans thing, make sure the shoes are sparkling and the shirt crisp. Full points to Mr Dell here. The two tone effect does make his legs look shorter than an suit would.

An interesting choice for a keynote presentation, as it lacks the coolness of the Steve Jobs casual look, but it is not as sharp nor as imposing as a suit.

Larry Ellison, like Steve Jobs, has a look that he has made his own. For years he has worn the turtleneck cashmere with a suit, and it works very very well. It is far more elegant than an open neck shirt. Double Breasted Jackets are rare these days, but Mr Ellison cuts a fine figure in one here. Google tells me that his suits are handmade in Italy, but more info would be appreciated. They fit him precisely. He is not a Larry Laffer.

Photo courtesy of Lou Springer’s flickrstream

Different shades of brown – Larry pulls it off with aplomb.

Returning to the sports jacket- blazer theme…

More brown. This time, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz, looking smartly professorial. Tie is super, the blue and red lifting the brown, but DFOF dislikes the button down collar with a tie, it is an evil trend. A two button brown sports jacket is a good wardrobe staple if you are a lecturer in 18th Century English literature. Shoes impeccable. Trousers are almost too long.  (Cote, please comment on the Vaio).

Thanks again Lou springer‘s flickr.

Update: upon reading ZDNET, dfof was shocked to see JS from this angle, not because he was breaking bread with Michael Dell, but those trousers are too long. Way too long.


Thomas Kurian, yet more brown. Ensemble fuses together rather well. Double cuff shirt is excellent, but the jacket seems the wrong size, too tight on the chest between the two top buttons, yet far too long in the sleeve. High-waisted, pleated trouser. Patterned tie and jacket perfect in an American setting, or on a grouse shoot. Immaculate knot.

Here he is again, this time looking a far smarter in a charcoal suit, bold red tie, white shirt, just a little cuff showing.

Photo thanks Dan Farber.

Again, impeccable knot. A 4 in hand, the simplest, but most elegant tie knot. For a presentation, a well ironed white shirt and plain bold tie is tough to beat. It is the Occam’s razor of business dress. It is timeless. The narrower tie suits him better than the broader tie in his brown ensemble did.

If, dear geek, you only have one formal outfit, make it this one. Only once you own 10 jackets, buy a brown one.

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