1 Blazer, 3 Looks

The following is a guest blog post by Dan Carbery, marketing intern at FreshNeck.

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Gentlemen,

Allow me to introduce myself; my name is Dan, a recent college graduate from Quinnipiac University (Go Bobcats!) and the Marketing Intern here at FreshNeck. Like you, I take pride in my style, and try to put my best foot forward in every situation.  Not so simple on an intern’s budget, however. As much as I’d like to have a limitless wardrobe of perfectly coordinated outfits, that’s just not in the cards right now. But fear not – resourcefulness can go a long ways. Today, I am going to show you how to maximize high-quality basics by leveraging various accessories to create an unlimited wardrobe.

Today’s basic: The Blue Blazer

You probably already own one. Perhaps it’s half of a suit, or just a separate. Either way, its simplicity provides a blank canvass for you to add to, creating a myriad of possibilities. So don’t skimp, as you’ll surely realize a return on this investment. Our personal favorite, which we’ll use here, is a simple navy suit from Black Lapel (suit $449, blazer $349), pictured below.

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On to the looks:

1.  The Boardroom

Okay, so perhaps “boardroom” is a bit aspirational, but the “cubicle” look just doesn’t have quite the same cache to it. It’s often said “don’t dress for the job you have, but rather the job you want,” and this couldn’t be more spot-on for a recent grad like me.  There is a limited opportunity to make an impression on your boss and colleagues, and your personal style plays a significant role.

A well-crafted suit, especially a “basic” like a solid navy, can be worn 2-3 times a week by effectively swapping your shirt, shoes (black v. brown), belt (match your shoes!), tie, and pocket square. And given that your suit is muted, you can venture just a bit further out on the “boldness” spectrum when it comes to your accessories (remember the “1 statement piece” rule).

For a business look, you typically want to go with a silk fabric, in a traditional pattern (solid, stripe, polka dot, paisley). We recommend choosing a tie that is between 2.75″ and 3.5″. SONY DSC

  • Suit – navy solid by Black Lapel
  • Shirt – white solid by Banana Republic
  • Tie – pink, blue, and gray paisley silk by Breuer 
  • Pocket Square – white, blue, and pink cashmere by Armstrong & Wilson
  • Tie Bar – 1.5″ silver plated by DiBi

2. The Night On The Town

We’ve told you before about the emergence of the New Casual – how men are infusing formal elements into their casual wear. This can come in a variety of ways, from a blazer to a vest or skinny tie.  Your onlookers will immediately know that you understand style and appreciate the details. The key to pulling this off is to differentiate it from The Boardroom look above. If you show up to the bar in your power suit and 4″ silk tie, they’ll know you came straight from the office.

If you’re going to rock a tie, go with something that’s not suitable for the office. Go with a overly bold color or pattern, and try to keep it under 2.5″ in width. Don’t want to wear a tie outside the office? No problem. Use a fun pocket square and/or lapel flower.

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3. The Anytime I Damn Please

We all have those in-between occasions when we want to look our best but there is no strict dress code – holiday party, charity event, boozy brunch, or even a date. Perhaps it’s just a Sunday afternoon and you feel like dressing up. Enjoy the freedom and do it up right.

Similar to the New Casual look, you want to differentiate this from your Boardroom look. Mix and match patterns and textures, and add a statement piece like a bow tie, suspenders, or vest. The goal here is to stand out – for all the right reasons.

SONY DSC

As you see, by simply changing out your accessories, you can accomplish completely different looks.

Want access to a never-ending supply of accessories? Sign up at FreshNeck.com – plans start at just $20/month.

 

7 Things To Know Before You Knot Up

FN_7ThingsToKnowNewsLetter

You’re probably not a morning person (is there really such a thing?). You might be thinking about that upcoming meeting, afterwork date, or at a minimum, that first double shot of expresso. You don’t want to exert too much brain power on putting together the flawless outfit, but the way you dress will affect your attitude and performance for the entire day. So we’re here to give you 7 simple rules  that will have you looking sharp every day, with minimal effort in the new year.

1. Keep It Proportional.

classic-shirt-collar-with-horizontally-striped-shirt

This one is pretty simple, yet often overlooked. Your jacket lapels, shirt collar, and tie should all be similar in size/width. Nothing looks more clownish than a fat windsor knot overpowering a skinny H&M collar. Many of the modern suits are being cut slimmer, so adjust accordingly.

(Our friends at Arden Reed have a great write-up on matching your collar to your tie knot. Check it out.)

2. Length Matters.

Tie length

 

Your tie should just touch the top of your belt. Skinny Ties can be a tad shorter (again, it’s that whole proportion thing).

3. Everyone Loves a Good Dimple.

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A tie dimple says “this guy know’s what he’s doing.”  Perhaps nobody was more iconic for their tie dimple than Cary Grant. TSBMen (The Style Blogger) shows you how to nail it every time.

4. Setting The Bar.

tiebar-featured-664Few things to know about tie bars. First, purpose. The bar not only holds the two pieces of your tie together, but also fastens them both to the shirt’s placket, keeping your tie from getting unruly.  Second, how to wear it. Your tie bar should never be wider than your tie (three-quarters is a safe generalization), and though there are some differing opinions on the matter, ours is that the tie bar should be placed right below the third button of your shirt. It should still be visible with a vest or buttoned blazer.

5. The Combo.

Dress_Shirt_and_Tie_Combos_Men_Nordstrom

While there are endless parts of a man’s outfit that sums to the whole, the colors and patterns of the shirt/tie combo make it the center of attention. We’ve previously shown you the intricacies of pairing the solid and striped shirts with your ties (more pattern tutorials to come!), but the simplest rule of all will avoid epic fails: between your shirt and your tie, one should be simple/muted, and the other bold.

6. Play The Seasons.

rough-neck-wool-ties-gq-magazine-september-2013-fashion-04In the B.F. days (Before FreshNeck), it was a daunting task to amass a tie arsenal that allowed you to find the perfect tie for any conceivable occasion. Only Jay Gatsby’s closet would carry a full selection of light cottons and linens for summer, and wools and cashmeres for winter, in addition to the all-season silks. But now with over 1000 unique ties at your disposal, you have no excuse. So embrace the seasons. A quick tip: match your tie fabric to your suit fabric.

7. Nobody Likes a Sloppy Collar.

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Get yourself some good collar stays. We’re not talking those flimsy plastic ones. Go brass, or treat yourself to some nice engraved sterling silver ones.  A non-stiff collar can ruin an otherwise refined outfit with one swift blow. Sign up for a FreshNeck trial now and we’ll get you started with a dope pair of brass collar stays.

 

Got some other pointers you’d like to share? Tweet at us (@freshneck) with the hashtag #Fresh2014. We’ll choose one winner for a secret pack of dapper goodies.

Shirt/Tie Combos – Part 1

“We all get dressed the same way. One leg at a time.”

While true to a certain extent, we all have our own, unique routine for selecting an outfit each and every morning.  I know many guys who start with a suit, and build from there, while others begin with their shirt.  I even know a fellow who builds his entire outfit around his colorful socks!  But one thing is for sure – for any working professional, the most important part of his outfit is his shirt/tie combination.

By now, you already know the value in a limitless Collection of ties, always giving you something “fresh” to wear with your rotation of suits. But what is a tie without an accompanying shirt?  To that extent, we have partnered with Alenford, an NYC-based maker of luxury Italian-made shirts, to bring you a 4-part series, helping you match different shirts (Solids, Stripes, Checks, Plaids) with your ties.  We’ll give some basic tips, as well as some for those willing to take some risks.

Part 1 – Solids

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Solid shirts provide a blank canvas from which you can go in a variety of directions.  It is the easiest to pair, as you can go with a solid or patterned tie, in a variety of colors. For beginners, find a tie that has the shirt’s color as its secondary, or accent, color.

City White Solid

The White Shirt. You can practically match any tie with it and your only consideration is how loud or somber you want your tie to be based on the suit-wearing occasion. Our opinion? This is your best change to wear that BOLD tie staring at you in the closet, such as this or this.

Pinpoint light pink

The Pink Shirt. It is often said that “Real Men Wear Pink.” It’s a great way to break the monotony of white and blue, while still giving you many pairing options. You can either utilize the pink by pairing with a tie with pink accents, or use a complimentary color like gray, brown, or navy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is part 1 of a 4-part series highlighting ways to match your FreshNeck tie with your Alenford shirt.  FreshNeck members can enjoy a 20% discount off an Alenford shirt with the code “FRESH20″ (cap sensitive).

Look out for the remaining 3 parts, which will explore combinations using striped, checkered, and plaid shirts.

And remember, if you are looking for something a little more personal, our stylists are standing by to help you. Just shoot them an email at stylist@freshneck.com.

 

For more information on Alenford, please visit their e-commerce website at ww.alenford.com or schedule an appointment for a personal fitting with the Style Expert Luigi Leonardi by contacting him at Luigi.Leonardi@alenford.com.

Step-Up to Seven-Fold Ties

7 FOLD TIES-2

Grass-fed Beef.  180 thread-count sheets. Fully canvassed blazers. Slow churned ice-cream.  Steel-cut oats. All cost more, and represent the highest quality of their type, but many don’t even know what separates them from the ordinary.

Enter Seven-Fold Ties, an historic symbol of luxury.  It’s been called the Rolls Royce of neckwear.  But why?  Is a seven-fold tie really a “better” tie?  The answer – Yes. And here’s why:

What Is A 7-Fold Tie?

The term 7-fold refers to how the necktie is constructed.  Instead of sewing an inlay into the tie for thickness, the tie is made unlined out of a single piece of fabric (generally silk) that is folded 7 times.

So What?

While it is true that an onlooker cannot visibly decipher a 7-fold from a traditional 3-fold, the wearer can feel the difference, as a true 7-fold gives a thicker feel, incomparable drape, a larger looking tie knot, and a more hefty weight. It is generally thought that the added heft and vertical folds of the silk prevents twisting.

There is a reason most true 7-folds will run you $150-$300. It will take a full square meter of silk to craft one tie, along with many careful man-hours.

7-Fold Tips

– Like any other high-quality item, take care of your 7-fold ties, as they can last a lifetime.  This means carefully undoing the knot after a days use, and hanging it on a proper tie rack or rolling it for storage.

– Stick with a standard four-in-hand knot.  The added silk will already make a prominent knot, and using a 7-fold for a Windsor will make a huge knot suitable only for Italians or rappers married to Beyonce.

Feel The Difference

At FreshNeck, we strive to offer the best of the best, including 7-fold ties from a range of designers. Check out our selections from Sette (“Seven” in Italian), Kiton, Isaia, and others.

The entire 7-fold Collection can be found here.

Some of our favs:

SET01629GBkT_D KIT01513XPuT_D ISA01322PBlT_D

Tuxedo: Rent or Buy?

If your calendar looks anything like ours, you’ll be attending a wedding. Maybe you’ll attend as a guest, groomsman, or maybe you’re the lucky man getting hitched! Despite the excitement of weddings, what the hell are you supposed to wear? It’s time to answer the age old question:“To rent or buy a tux?”

RentOrBuy

Some of our favorite rental companies: The Black Tux or My Tuxedo Catalog

Affordable Custom Tuxedo to purchase: Black Lapel

And of course, whichever route you go for your tuxedo, get some stand-out formal accessories from FreshNeck.

A Tie for Any Occasion

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Neckwear can provide the ability for any man to elevate his appearance whether that’s to his boss, his friends or even his future wife. However, not just any tie will do. With today’s wide variety of menswear, it’s easy to tailor your style towards any event or circumstance you may find yourself in.

OFFICE

The office is all about showing off your confidence – without appearing arrogant. On your climb to the corner office, wear striped patterns while keeping in mind the power colors such as gold, blue and black when putting together your look. Stick with traditional silk and nothing slimmer than 3 inches.  Bring it all together with a tie bar.

We Recommend:

Silver – Ben Sherman, Antonio Ricci

Gold – Burberry, Brooks Brothers

Platinum - Armani Collezioni, Versace 

business-wardrobe-intro

DAY CASUAL

Get noticed for all the right reasons at your next brunch, day party or stroll around town. For a casual look, throw on a loosely knotted tie and roll up those sleeves to your collared shirt.  If you’re committed to fashion like us, think about skinny ties in solid colors and prints in non-traditional fabrics like linen and cotton.

We Recommend:

Silver –  DiBiEverett

Gold- Ivy Prepster, rag & bone

Platinum- Breuer, Bocara 

john_0782 

NIGHT CASUAL 

Whether it’s a casual first date or a night on the town, neckwear shows an attention to detail as well as style and personality. Remember that night casual is different than office attire. Look for slim and dark styles or take chances in something velvet or leather. Feeling adventurous? Drop a pocket square in your jacket and try to layer with cardigans and vests.

We Recommend:

Silver - Everett

Gold - VJNY, Ted Baker 

Platinum - Armani 

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FORMAL 

Formal occasions are the time to look simple, yet classy and refined. You can never go wrong in black, but take the time to celebrate in something fresh like a bow tie or elegant cufflinks.

We Recommend:

Silver - True Forum

Gold - Vitaliano

Platinum - Codis Maya

55th Annual GRAMMY Awards

Father Knows Best

 

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Father’s Day is about more than giving gifts, but also about appreciating the values that the Old Man has passed down.   We may not have realized it at the time, but here’s what we learned from our fathers…

1.  Invest wisely.

Screen Shot 2013-06-03 at 11.26.15 AMMy dad taught me that clothing doesn’t have to be expensive, but should be of high-quality, and that the two don’t always come together. I remember him leaving at crazy hours on Black Friday to go shopping and questioned why he would do that.  But after he came home with a Gucci blazer for $200, I stopped doubting his bargain-hunting abilities (and stole that blazer a few years later).

2.  Make a subtle statement.

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 {While this bow tie, shirt and jacket could serve as statement pieces on their own, when put together they are visually distracting.}

polka dot

{A bold piece like this bow tie completes this polished look.}

Find one bold accessory to transform something classic into something unique.  When picking out your outfit, avoid mixing too many patterns and prints, as it tends to come off as trying too hard.  Instead, utilize one “statement piece” to to center your outfit around.

3. Confidence is key.

tumblr_mnjcr2vBfk1ryp639o1_1280Dad used to say, “dress for the job you want, not the job you have”.  You never know who you will come across at any time in life, and you want to be prepared.  Our clothes are the first impression we give to onlookers.  Choose clothes that build a positive self-image for the person you aspire to be.  Clothes don’t make the man, the man makes the clothes.


Although Dad’s style choices at the time may have seemed questionable, he was trying to show me how to express myself through what I wear.  Whether that’s purchasing a designer suit or casual pants, it’s important to dress with confidence and showcase your style.

Father’s Day is the time to show your Pop appreciation for all he’s done for you.  Give him the gift of style with a monthly subscription to FreshNeck.

 Tell us a funny story about your dad’s closet….

 

 

 

The most exciting 2 minutes in…Fashion

“AND THEY’RE OFF”

Everyone loves the Kentucky Derby. Sporting Event? Check. Flowing Booze (Mint Juleps, anyone?). Check. Gambling. Check.

But as you’ve come to expect from us by now, we like to take things to another level. Sure, you can mosey on down to your local watering hole at 6:22 pm just in time to catch some 70-year-old announcer yell “AND DOWN THE STRETCH THEY COME.” But while the actual race everyone cares about is only 2 minutes long, we prefer to participate in a daylong spectacle of the 3D’s 1) Dancing 2) Drinking, and 3) Dressing Up . Yeah that’s right. No Derby Party is complete without full-on, Derby-Inspired costumes. In fact, FreshNeck has gotten together with of New York City’s hippest and most dapper companies (Everett Clothing, Suspender Boys, Electric Gentlemen, and others) to throw an all day DerbyStyle shindig at the Ava Lounge at the Dream Midtown Hotel. Tickets can be bought here, and include a drink ticket, and automatic entry to a raffle chock full of great prizes.  As if this wasn’t enough, we will also be hosting a cash-prize costume contest, and there will be a real-live horse greeting you at the door.

But we realize many of you won’t be in New York City to attend, and will be going to other Derby-themed parties.  No matter where you’re downing your juleps, we strongly encourage you to do so in style, literally. So we’ve put together some quick tips for the gent looking to get his Southern Charm on. Bonus points for buying as little as possible, and using what you have. Double bonus points for renting your accessories at FreshNeck.com. 

Everett Clothing Seersucker Bow Tie

Everett Clothing Seersucker Bow Tie

Vineyard Vines Seersucker Tie

Vineyard Vines Seersucker Tie

 

1. Seersucker – There is an old saying that “Only rich men can afford such a cheap fabric.” You can go traditional with a full-on seersucker suit or blazer like this Bonobos edition, or go modern with seersucker accessories.

2. Color – The bolder and brighter the better. There’s no wrong place for it: your shirt (think pastel!), pants, socks, bow tie, even your shoe laces.

3. Hats – Leave them for the ladies!

4. Be comfortable! The beauty of #DerbyStyle is you can dress up, and still be cool and comfortable. It’s all about breathable fabrics (seersucker, cotton, linen), whether in the Kentucky sun  or a sweaty NYC bar.

 

Now, if you just can’t get yourself to go all-in on this, and you’re looking to participate in a conservative way, perhaps you can go with a conservative, derby-themed accessory.  Here’s a favorite from our Collection:

Seaward & Stearn Silk Derby-Themed Tie

Seaward & Stearn Silk Derby-Themed Tie

We want to see your Derby Outfits! Post on FreshNeck’s Facebook or Twitter, or hashtag on Instagram with @FreshNeck or #DerbyStyle. We’ll select the best ones and repost, and give away some cool prizes.

Some full-outfit inspiration:

Derby Perfection by Kellan Lutz

Derby Perfection by Kellan Lutz

On point, without being ridiculous

On point, without being ridiculous

When in doubt, follow Heff's lead

When in doubt, follow Heff’s lead

 

Case Study: Kevin (Part 4)

FreshNeck Case Study photo

“Is There Something I Should Know?”
The FreshNeck Blog serves as a resource for the latest in men’s fashion trends.  There are great articles on how to dress for specific events, how to use the site and how celebrities wear ties. By reading through the FreshNeck Blog I learned about a new style of dress called the NewCasual. It incorporates formal men’s accessories into everyday outfits. Once I understood the style, a large percentage of what I chose from FreshNeck was worn casually. I no longer feel that wearing a tie is only needed for special occasions. As a matter of fact I started to post photos on Instagram tagged #NewCasual.  With their wide variety of designers I’m able find a tie for every event, every occasion and every day.

 “New Sensation”
Before FreshNeck dressing for work was something I never looked forward to. With such a limited wardrobe I was simply just trying to not look like I was wearing the same thing everyday. Now with FreshNeck as my resource I look forward to picking out my clothes for work. I frequently try out different patterns and colors that make wearing a tie fun and work appropriate.

 “Glamorous Life“
After I spoke about the ease of FreshNeck, some of my co-workers and friends have started using this service as well. Now when we go out for drinks, we all look stylish and fresh. FreshNeck is not only for the classic man but the modern man as well. They’re certainly helping build a new generation of tie wearers and enthusiasts.

Go Green for St. Patty’s Day

Green Tie Rentals on St. Patrick's DayYou can wear green on St. Patrick’s Day without looking like a leprechaun. There’s still time to sign up at FreshNeck and receive your first items by this weekend’s festivities.

Some examples of our SPD-appropriate gear:

 

Andrew's Ties Silk Tie

Andrew’s Ties Silk Tie

Salvatore Ferragamo Silk Tie

Salvatore Ferragamo Silk Tie

Stolen Riches Lapel Flower

Stolen Riches Lapel Flower

To view all 55 Green items in the FreshNeck Collection, click here

 

A Custom Suit For Everyone

Never Buy Off-The-Rack Again

You’ve probably heard your friends or co-workers talk about their new custom suit.  Seems everyone and their mother “knows a guy.”  The days of the one-percenters enjoying exclusivity in the bespoke world are over, thanks to modernized, and affordable, options.  However, tread carefully – just because something is “custom” does not guarantee high quality.  Here, we give you three options at various price-points, all FreshNeck-approved.

BLACK LAPEL ($) (www.blacklapel.com)

BlackLapelLogo

Who would have ever dreamed you could get a personalized, custom suit for under $450 (or shirt under $100)? How does the company even afford to pay its rent?  Well, the answer is in the question – there’s no store or showroom, and the savings get passed on to you.  They make you work for it, however, as you have to measure yourself (they provide a video guide, and with a friend’s help, 15 minutes is all it takes).  With your measurements uploaded to the system, you can design your suit online, where they offer 18 different suit fabrics and styles, plus 2 tux options.  Three weeks later and your one-of-a-kind suit arrives at your door.  And just in case your measuring skills weren’t up to par, they offer a complimentary $75 alterations credit. Once you nail the process down, re-ordering new styles from your couch is the real value-add.

Bonus Tip: If you are in New York, make an appointment to go to their office and get fitted by the pros.

ALABASTER & CHESS ($) (www.alabasterchess.com)

Alabaster & Chess Logo

So maybe you’ve dabbled in the bespoke world.  Perhaps you met a Hong-Kong tailor that rented out a Sheraton for a week, took your measurements, and mailed you a suit.  It was certainly better than going to JoS. A. Bank for a “Buy one suit get 6 free plus an ice cream cone.” Now you’re ready for the real deal, but still don’t want to break the bank.  Make an appointment with Eli over at A&C. See him either at his uptown office, his Union Square Tailor, or he’ll come to your home or office.  Every detail, from fabric, to stitching, to a contrasting inside cuff, is made to your specs. Your co-worker will think you dropped two grand, when in reality, suits start at $399 and shirts at $89.  They make a mean shirt as well.

Bonus Tip: Tell ‘em FreshNeck sent you, and get 10% off your first order.

MICHAEL ANDREWS BESPOKE ($$$) (www.michaelandrewsbespoke.com)

Michael Andrews Bespoke Logo

First off, this is their showroom on Great Jones Street. Yeah, that’s a 12-foot Oak Bar, serving your favorite single malts, gratis.  It looks like the type of joint you’d expect to run into Frank Sinatra (you probably won’t). The place oozes with inspiration, from the mannequins, to the gq-worthy Senior Stylists.  And having a seemingly never-ending supply of gorgeous (and helpful) ladies on hand never hurts.

You’ll sit down at one of the marble high-tops with your personal style consultant.  Don’t fret if you’re ill-prepared, and don’t know your peak lapels from your shawl collars.  The staff is beyond knowledgeable, and will guide you in making your vision a reality.  As if impeccable service was not enough, the quality of the fabrics, as well as the craftsmanship, is second-to-none.  While this will set you back somewhere in the neighborhood of $1500, depending on fabric, that’s not too bad when amortized over the next ten years that it will be the go-to-suit in your closet.

Stay Tuned for Part 2 next week, on how to prepare for your trip to the Custom Tailor.

In the meantime, don’t forget to sign up at freshneck.com, to get some fresh ties and accessories to pair with your fresh new suit.

 

Ties Not Just For The Office

Steven Alexander in Bally's Leather Tie for FreshNeck

Steven Alexander in Bally’s Leather Tie for FreshNeck

As GQ put it, “When you’re wearing a tie, you can pretty much stroll in anywhere you want. It’s like an Admirals Club card that you wear on the outside.” Well next time you’re going out on the town – bar, club, restaurant, date – step up your game with some neckwear. You will stand out, for all the right reasons.

Keep in mind, selection is key. This is not the time for that 3.5″ Gordon Gecko power tie. Rather, think dark and slim. Here’s a bunch for you to choose from.

Some additional tips to avoid looking like a banker that just left work:

– Undo the top button, and loosen the tie a bit

– Skip the silk and go with an alternative fabric: cotton, wool, and chambray all work well. Ready for a night to remember? Rock the Bally’s leather skinny tie seen above.

– Layer over the tie with a vest, v-neck, or cardigan.

– Bonus points for a bow tie