So You Think You Could be a Leader? Seven Things to Ask Yourself

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic is the first woman to be elected President of Croatia. Serving since 2015, she is the youngest person to ever enter the office. She also served as Minister of European Affairs and Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy at NATO. She remains the highest ranking female official to have served within NATO, and is also known for her strong sense of personal style.


If you’re even an occasional writer, then you may know what it’s like to be filled with a clap of emotion, as your inner pluck rises in search of a shore, with an urge that only ceases as you yield your mind-works to the canvas of a blank page.

This morning, I was struck with this feeling, and pressured by the thought of describing people who not only lead, but also create a syndrome of awe and respect among those who follow.

As my head typed thoughts, mental snippets of great men and women who know (or knew) how to relay passion and inspire action flashed through my brain in a state of chaos asking for order — to answer the question of how each of us can better achieve, no matter the endeavor we choose to captain,

QUALITIES OF A GREAT LEADER — Seven Things to Ask Yourself

1.  Do I know how to rise through the ranks?


Trying to get ahead can be frustrating, but to lead, one must rise to the position of a leader. According to Theo Epstein, who was named the World’s Greatest Leader in 2017, by Fortune Magazine, if you can figure what your boss hates to do and do it for him or her (which usually accounts for about 20 percent of his or her job), you’ll eventually find yourself rising through the ranks. This makes sense, unless you have a boss who finds you too useful to promote. At any rate, the first requirement to become a leader is to get into a leadership position–and if you feel ambitious, use your intuition to work your way up.

2. Can I stir passion?


Canadian American Business Magnate Elon Musk reveals one secret of his leadership success : “give people ownership over their own projects”. Musk has been credited with convincing employees not to consider impossibilities. His avoidance of micro-managing has helped him get where he is today. Sure others may not do things exactly as he would have done them, but a project completed well is a project completed well.

The ability to inspire passion cannot be faked…and not all passion is meant for the greater good. It requires a sage audience to exercise discernment towards the intent of a leader. But if the intent is worthy, the ability to rally people is invaluable, whether done in the reticent style of Abraham Lincoln or the vibrant style of Winston Churchill.

To stir passion, a leader must hold the attention of others, sentence by sentence–while keeping the “Bore-Radar” set to the ON position.

Warning: a good leader must also avoid falling prey to the habit of getting lost in the joy of hearing the sound of his or her own voice by noting the bodily expressions of his audience (like deep sighs) and nonverbal messages (like squirming around as if looking for the escape hatch).

3. Do I know how to create, create, create (and not become discouraged)? 


We are always moving forwards or moving backwards.

If we stand still, we may believe we are in a state of stasis, but standing still is synonymous to moving backwards–because most everything around us is propelling forward. Remember when you sat on a train and noticed the train beside you moving forward? You may have an instinct you’re moving backwards, even though you were not in motion at all. Any time a person in position becomes too comfortable or lazy to act, the “moving” world around can cause him to go backwards.

American actor, writer, producer, director, rapper, singer, and songwriter Donald Glover first found success as the lead writer for a NBC show at the incredibly young age of 23.

Since then, Glover’s career has catapulted upwards. FX president John Landgraf describes Glover : “He’s remarkably multifaceted. I look at Donald first and foremost as a creator, but also as an entrepreneur–someone who is almost boundary-less, who can do almost anything [he sets his mind to].”

Creative leaders may not be able to do things the “conventional way” and often prefer to do new things…or to do old things in new ways.

4. Do I always have a project? 


When I think of having a project, I always think of the incredible Henry Ford and what he said :


If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.
Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.
Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. ~Henry Ford

Henry Ford was a man who lived in the future. We may all agree that it’s not healthful to live in the past. But don’t always buy into the hype that we should only be “living in the present”.

Living in the present can be wonderful, but a great leader also lives in the future, keeping a project going at all times and thinking about the days, weeks, months and even years to come.

A leader knows that one of the most effective ways to achieve is to always have a project.

5. Do I make things happen?


Many of us have the grandest plans in the world, but do you actually make your plan happen?

On almost every list of top leaders in history, you’ll find Joan of Arc. At the age of 19, she had a vision of how to help France fight against England. She could have stopped there and kept dreaming, but instead she went to see the king. Although she could have felt insecure about her age, she convinced Charles VII that she could save France, eventually leading an army to free the city of Orléans from a siege by the English. Although her life was taken later, the French continued to rise in power in part due to Joan’s courage to make her vision happen.

How we make things happen is important. Pushing an agenda forward without regard for others almost always backfires. Some level of communication and respect for the thoughts of others must be heeded, or a position of leadership will be short-lived.

6. Do I Forget the Ones Who Helped Me Succeed?

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” ~A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

One man or woman cannot succeed without help. One of the greatest attributes of a great leader is the ability to remember the forces that helped along the way, including who made introductions, who did the dirty work, and who took the time to lend a hand or to make a winning suggestion.

The “ego” is a tricky monster and can cause one to believe that he or she did everything all alone with no help. This is a pitfall which a leader who is going to continue to lead, must avoid.

Remember it often turns out that, when you make the effort to remember  those who helped you along the way–showing gratitude through memory leads to a mutual trust that tends to pay gigantic dividends later.

7. Do I look the part?

Each photo in this article features a person who “looks the part”, for a reason.

How many times have we seen the sloppy-looking candidate try to gain a position of authority? Unless you are aiming to enter the Silcon Valley set, how you take care of yourself will influence your chances of gaining the position you want. If anything, hygiene and stylistic flair, no matter your style, will gain leadership points.






Classic English Tailoring Defined in Two Minutes

A classic Huntsman jacket from Savile Row in London, crafted before the time so many ateliers on “the Row” have been overtaken by investor buyouts

If you’re going to understand women’s tailoring, a great place to start is to have some understanding of the holy grail of men’s tailoring, namely–London’s ‘Golden Mile of Tailoring’ : Savile Row.

The subtleties of traditional English tailoring has become somewhat diluted with the influx of made-to-measure offerings and the practice of outsourcing tailoring work.

As a reminder, if not for posterity, we review what defines the traditional English cut, keeping in mind that the inspiration for English tailoring is primarily the military uniform.

According to My Custom Tailor:

“An English or British traditional cut is where the proportions are closer to the body. These suits have slightly narrower shoulders, a closer fit at the chest and an hourglass (as close to an hourglass as possible given the wearers body structure) shape at the waist. The skirt (hip) section of the jacket flares out ever so slightly to add accent to the waist.”


Characteristics of English Tailoring:

* Shaped shoulder, usually padded.

* Line from side of neck to tip of shoulder is straight (not concave).

* Shoulder-seam-area is smooth and does not angle towards nor away from the body.

* Ample chest area is revealed with medium size lapels.

* Chest pocket is cut straight, with lower pockets cut diagonally as often as they are cut straight.

* Natural or high button stance

* Lapel is medium-width, with a fairly high notch placement, typically with a fish mouth notch

* Arm holes are placed high with the house style varying in terms of whether the armscye cut is large or small.

* Waist suppression/ pinch is more defined than gradual.

* Jacket length covers the seat.

* Skirt has a slight flair.

* Double-vents

* Trousers width matches jacket width.

* Trouser turn-ups are prevalent, but sans pant-cuffs not unusual.

A Few House Specialties:

Peak lapel by C&M
Peak lapel by Chittleborough and Morgan.
The Dinner Jacket, invented by Henry Poole.
The Dinner Jacket, invented by Henry Poole.
Full Chest, Bernard W
Full Chest, Bernard W
Women's tailoring. Edward Sexton.
Women’s tailoring. Edward Sexton.
Drape cut, Anderson & Sheppard
Drape cut, Anderson & Sheppard

“A man should look as though he has chosen his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care and then forgotten all about them.” Hardy Amies

The Barefoot Princess defined in 30 seconds (Sandie Shaw)

Singer Sandie Shaw is one of the most successful British singers in history. Dubbed the “barefoot princess of pop”, her single “Always Something There to Remind Me”, hit number 1 on the charts in 1964.

She earned the name of “barefoot princess” for a reason, as she indeed possessed the aura of a princess and secondly, was almost always barefoot when photographed.

Shaw is a prime example of someone who uses personal style to exponentially add to her beauty.

Here, we see some examples of her style choices, which include extreme minimalism, one strong accessory (or none), a precision hair cut, eyes only emphasised, ultra-conservative style with the occasional surprise–such as a prominent zebra print, a bold flower in the hair, or an oversized collar.





An updated look for a more organized closet, by The Container Store


Why organize your closet?

It may seem like a superficial goal, but it’s really about preserving your investment and lifting your mood. If you know what’s “ready to be worn”, it’s easier to prepare for the day, but if you have to seek-and-find, it can be exhausting. Organizing is also also about mastering “aesthetics” through the ability to view your wardrobe at a glance.


Some of us are more challenged than others when it comes to being organized.

Emma Thompson, in The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay Diaries, once said “Got up this morning and could not find my glasses. Finally had to seek assistance. Kate [Winslet] found them inside a flower arrangement.”

I can tell the same story as Emma Thompson, although with a different result, as my Maison Bonnet glasses were eventually found in the freezer.

I’ve come to understand that being organized is more about “caring” than about being an obsessive bore who approaches organization with the same approach as using a soulless spreadsheet.

Author Victoria Kahler expressed the purpose of organization in an anecdote from her novel “Their Friend Scarlet”:

“When everything was laid out before her, she felt safe, loved even. She was always trying to be more organized than she was. She knew it was weird and blamed her mother, with the lists and notes she’d leave whenever she and Dad went out of town. The labeled dinners in the freezer and the 20 emergency numbers on the phone showed she cared, even when absent, she cared.”

Caring for our clothes and being able to quickly find what we want to wear can clear the mind for other purposes. Efforts used to locate a lost sock or spot-clean a forgotten dirty shirt may not seem like a big deal, but at some point such experiences deplete our energy.

If you like good clothing and are ready to stop making excuses for being disorganized–getting your closet in order will allow you to enjoy your clothing investment. Remember, the absence of organization can eventually become maddening and cause a trap in cerebral thought and inaction, creating irritability and restlessness.

A warning though : obsessive organizational maniacs are more tiring than feeling disorganized. The act of order should bring joy and calmness to life, while the spirit of ‘nit picking, judgmental finger-pointing, and a know-it-all attitude’ destroys a sense of peacefulness.


If you’re already well organized, you may want to skip this section. However, if you find yourself to be “organizationally-challenged”:

1. Try identifying and always keeping up with one “stable object“. For example, my stable object is my car key. I always know exactly where my car key is located (in the blue cup on the coffee table).

Defining a stable object and tracking its position will help make an element of organization part of your life. Whether a passport, wallet, eyeglasses or a car key, knowing where your stable object is at all times can boost your interest in becoming more organized.

2. Break the cerebral cycle of “all thought and no action” by completing a simple task from A to Z, like clearing your desk or cleaning the inside of your car. A completion of a task from A to Z will set the mood to tackle bigger projects like organizing your closet.

3. Document your success through photography. Take a photo of a section of your closet that you like, and/or photograph your favorite suit ensemble so you won’t have to “reconstruct from memory” outfits you put together well. Visual reinforcements are reminders of how the results are worth the effort.

To make gradual steps forward, you may find the most success through tackling one or two points at a time, until you eventually master all twelve. Pay particular attention to the types of hangers that you use–this infographic is very good for hanger selection:

men's closet hangers





Shirts are a great place to start the organizational process. Use lightweight hangers to hang dress shirts (but avoid flimsy wire hangers). We like to use clear plastic hangers with silver hooks for our shirts since wooden hangers seem like overkill, but to each his own. Button the top two buttons of each shirt and hang shirts in groupings of similar colors or patterns.



shirt dividers

If too many types of clothes are hung-up, it can be visually overwhelming. Try folding casual shirts/sweaters using a method as described here. You may use dividers as shown above to help keep folded shirts in place.



savile row fold

Hanging trousers upside-down in a row returns trousers to their original shape, keeping them free of wrinkles and allowing them to air out. If you choose this method, use hangers with sliding clips to adjust to the size of pant leg. Group colors and patterns together.

If you prefer the “Savile Row Fold” for suspending trousers, it is described here.



men's closet 3

Suspending casual trousers by the belt loop is a newer method which helps to mentally separate dressing-up versus dressing-down, with the idea again, to keep all trousers together for easier mental processing.



men's closet 1

Use sturdy U-shaped hangers with rounded sides to preserve the shoulder form of the jacket, suit coat, or blazer (as shown in the hanger guide above). The large size of the hangers is also helpful since it separates suits from each other to allow for more air circulation. Hang coats together in a row, according to purpose, color and pattern. Most bespoke tailors will provide you with the right sort of hangers.

As Kirby Allison from the Hanger Project puts it, “you tailor your suits, now tailor your hangers!”.



men's ties

Suspend ties on a pegged-hanger alongside your suit coats and jackets. Although above we see a customized hanger, individual pegged hangers are easily found for purchase at places like The Hanger Project and The Container Store. Remember, neckties which are rarely worn can be put away elsewhere, to keep the area clear of rarely-used items. Belts also may be organized using pegged hangers or pegged panels installed into the wall.




A dedicated sock drawer will ensure that every sock goes to the same place, and no other item will share the drawer with your socks. Organizational tools like this by can prove useful in keeping socks in place.



pocket square organization

A set of dedicated pocket square boxes help ensure each pocket square stays in its place and is less likely to be lost. Small boxes inside a drawer also work well to display pocket squares.



storing your shoes in closet

While it would be best for all shoes to have their own pair of shoe trees, if it’s not possible, then remember shoe woods are crucial only during the first two hours after shoes have been worn to maintain the form while the shoes are drying from sweat and outdoor elements. The good news is that with two or three shoe trees, you can easily maintain ten or more pairs of shoes! [Note: Keep a ‘buffing glove’ within reach to buff away pesky dust which gathers on shoes].



Here, we address the more advanced area of organization: clothing maintenance. Position items that need to be washed or maintained to the ‘far left’ section of each category to be tended to later, as discussed below (i.e., washing, ironing, polishing). Adopting this method means dirty clothes should never be strewn about, lost or forgotten, because such items, whether dirty or clean, are all kept together.



sunday an ironing dayAll your dirty clothes and unpolished shoes should be to the far left of your clean clothes and polished shoes waiting for maintenance.

If a once-a-week schedule for clothing maintenance is not possible, opt for bi-weekly maintenance–that is, if you can wait two weeks to reuse your clothing and shoes. Above we see an image of shuao74’s Instagram Sunday ironing ritual.

Set your cleaning and polishing schedule to your liking, but at least have a rough schedule in place.



wool and cashmere spray

Suspending your most-worn suits and overcoats outdoors will allow the sun and wind to refresh your clothing. Before airing your clothes, it’s a good idea to brush your suits and overcoats to loosen and release debris on the fabric. When placing your cloths back in your closet use a cedar based method to spot clean and to repel those dreadful moths (above offered by

To brush your suit, brush from top to bottom in a downward motion, preferably in the direction of the lay of the wool fibers. Also brush behind the collar and around the armpits in downward motions. Finally, lightly shake your suit to release any remaining debris.

Remember, chemicals from dry cleaning break down the fibers on your clothes and may not be healthful for skin contact or inhalation. Often tumbling and aggressive ironing is involved in dry cleaning, which further deteriorates your suits. Dry cleaning a suit once a year may be necessary, but use a cleaner who knows how to handle bespoke suits (e.g., some professional cleaners have been known to do dastardly things like “pressing” lapels, thus ruining suit coats and jackets). Also, if you choose to steam your suit, avoid the canvassed area at the front of your suit coat, jacket, or blazer, since canvas can be sensitive to the high temperatures and humidity.

To air out your clothes outdoors, this simple outdoor drying rack can be purchased here for $45.00.


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Unless otherwise indicated, most images are by — contemporary closets . Contact us if we have used one of your images and we will amend as you indicate.


Men and Their Clothes — What Women Think

One of the most popular articles I’ve written to date. Please interject thoughts to keep the information current…write 


Articles that pitch how women feel about the way men dress can be met with little, if any, enthusiasm.

Usually, these recycled articles are scanned for key points and forgotten within minutes after reading.

In fact, when I was commissioned to write this article, I felt a little flushed, maybe even embarrassed–for fear of joining the ranks of Cosmopolitan magazine writers throwing together trite articles on sex-appeal, revealing contrived tricks on how to catch a mate.

As a contrast to the brain-numbing content of these redundant articles, I realized that spending a mere ten minutes reading a passage from books such as “The Suit” by Nicholas Antongiavanni will likely have the opposite effect on the ability to recall information after reading—and, it is a good bet that after reading a passage from such a book that the reader will be able to recall the bulk of what he or she read indefinitely.

Inspired by this same spirit of authors such as Antongiavanni, we launch into a more meaningful look at how the way men dress may affect the perceptions of the fairer sex by identifying general archetypes of men’s style with ample photographs, including specific shoe recommendations for each archetype, and also discussing the general impressions that may be created by these very different categories of men’s style choices. Also added is some playfulness in stereotyping the personalities of men in different categories, if just to give a wink at these slightly ridiculous articles that we see in many women’s and men’s magazines.


A book with an unpretentious cover that gives real style direction with solid explanations behind the recommendations.


As a man starts to become serious about dressing well, he then begins to gravitate toward one specific style choice or another, and we notice that at this point, he also starts to reveal his true persona in the process, Persona is a term given to describe the versions of self that all individuals possess.

Some men are able to recognize that when developing his persona, dressing well begins with emotion, follows with inspiration, and develops with expression of style through technical know-how and the courage to break the rules from time to time. And put plainly, these men do draw the attention of women, sometimes getting more attention and admiration than originally intended. It is safe to say that women admire and respect a man who knows how to put himself together in dress and appearance.

Carl Jung wrote about the concept of the persona, or outer-self, even though he recognized that the outer self and inner self do not always merge completely. Jung summarized his philosophy here: “To develop a stronger persona… might feel inauthentic, like learning to «play a role»… but if one cannot perform a social role then one will suffer. Thus one goal for individuation is for people to «develop a more realistic, flexible persona that helps them navigate in society but does not collide with nor hide their true self». Eventually, in the best case, the persona is appropriate and tasteful, a true reflection of our inner individuality and our outward sense of self.”

For inspiration on how a man develops his persona through the way he dresses, we turn to Cesare Attolini, a “symbol of the Neapolitan’ tailoring tradition all around the world.” Attolini features a particularly stunning example of how a man can develop his own persona with the help of some fine tailoring.

Here, from Attolini’s collection:

This man communicates a clear message of position, power, personality, wealth, importance, good taste and a strong business acumen. In this case, the man has managed to communicate his persona that in many ways defines who he is, without requiring him to speak a word.


At least four recent studies attempt to quantify the importance of men’s clothing and how what a man chooses to wear affects the actions of women. One recent study of 2,000 women by the detergent maker Ariel found that:

–Poor style is a turn-off: 28% of women admit they have declined a date with someone because they disliked their clothes.

–Poor style is a deal-breaker: 60 percent of women said that taste in clothes is the top dating deal breaker (a suitor’s haircut placed second with 17 per cent, and style of shoes placed third with nine percent).

Another study commissioned by Men’s Health Magazine and conducted last year by Opinion Research Corporation (Princeton, NJ) questioned more than 1,000 American women ages 21 to 54 in two online polls and found that women ranked a man’s «sense of style» as one of the the Top 10 Traits Women want in a man. Yet another study provided by Kelton Research (although we have not been able to locate the sample size included in the study) in 2011, found that:

–Money isn’t everything: A vast majority (85 percent) of women think a guy who dresses well is sexier than one who has a lot of money.

–Women will sacrifice a lot for style: Eight in ten (80 percent) women would give up something in their lives — such as going out to dinner, using their cell phone, or even having sex for an entire year — for a better-dressed partner.

A fourth study in 2010, conducted by John Townsend and Gary Levy, which received publishing rights by the Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied, showed that women tend to find men who wore “high status attire” as more attractive and were more open to developing relationships with them–ranging from “conversation and coffee” to committing to marriage and serious involvement.

Also, as a side note, even the color a man wears may affect a women’s perception of him.

A study from the University of Rochester and University of Munich found that men wearing red are more attractive, desirable and are seen as having a higher status in the eyes of women. The research was based on women rating photos of a model dressed in different coloured polo shirts and framed by different shades (The Science of Attraction,

With clear indications that women are affected by the way men dress, we attempt to define seven specific archetypes of men’s style and spur thought about the personas that are created within each archetype and pose questions about whether the man is creating the message to others through his individual style that he intends to create.

This exercise is meant to examine emotions that are created through how men dress. After all, dressing well begins with emotion, and everything else in regard to style is built around this emotion. As we discuss perceptions and emotions, the examples here are meant to spawn thought and reflections on what may be communicated through how men present themselves.


As frivolous as it may sound, there is no shame in a man wanting to please his partner or his potential partner by dressing well.

Aside from the neanderthal objective of a male seeking to achieve Casanova status, the intent of a man wanting to please a woman by the way that he dresses is extremely charming and endearing…and is perhaps one of the reasons that it works so well when elegant dressing is done with real emotion alongside a working knowledge of some basic rules (and a knack for doing a good job at breaking those rules).

It can be said that there are at least seven distinctive styles in men’s clothing that give others a clear idea of the persona of the man. And when any of these seven styles are done correctly, it is difficult to deny the power of a magnificent fabric, the shock of a brilliant cut, the allure of clever texture and color combinations, as well as the smiles that are created by meaningful accessories, and the emotion that is incited by a shoe that depicts true art.

The following describes the seven archetypes of men’s style and examines intentional and unintentional messages that may be conveyed in each style area.

As an added touch, Hugo Jacomet, the Parisian Gentleman himself, has selected a specific shoe that he believes best portrays each of the seven archetypes.



Timothy Everest

The stylish pragmatic appears rebellious in spirit, but style-driven with a typically limited tie collection.

Even so, his strength in choosing the correct sport coat and accessories often make up for a lack of formality, simply because he pays close attention to his casual-wear style choices.

Still, unless he is careful, without wearing a tie regularly and eschewing more formal style choices, this man may find himself more challenged in his style decisions since he is operating within a more “casual realm”, which puts him in the category of the majority of the population—requiring a little more staunch and creativity to distinguish himself from others.

Yet if done properly, the pragmatic can leave a lasting impression of being mod, voguish, and positively progressive.

Artists, entrepreneurs, and creative directors who are not concerned with keeping with tradition, often opt for the pragmatic style. Timothy Everest, sometimes referred to as the leader of the bespoke casual movement, gives us an ultra fine taste of the pragmatic style done right in the following two images.

The Intentional Message of the Pragmatic: This style communicates a clear sense of fun, adventure and tenacity.

It feels creative and active…almost as if there will not be a boring moment with this type of man. He moves, he shakes, he is interesting to talk with and is open and ready to take on the world on his own terms.

The Unintentional Message of the Pragmatic: Falling a little short on glamour and romanticism, a woman may pause and wonder if life with a pragmatic could mean life without black tie events, steal-aways to Paris or Tahiti, and the occasional wonder of being treated like a princess.

Possible remedy: Choose one other archetype style, and dress in that style occasionally, which will add serious dimension to the pragmatic man.

Hugo’s Pick for the Pragmatic Man’s Shoes: Alden Leffot Naval Boots



“Less is More” is the theme of the minimalist.

He believes in owning the best of the best and does not compromise his standards. There is nothing plain about his appearance because he is crisp and polished and gives the impression that he can look fear in the face until it turns away.

The minimalist will not back down in pursuing the best in all walks of life and is a force to be reckoned with in his personal and professional life. There is only a select few frills in his wardrobe like jewelry and accessories, but there is an insatiable hunger for high grade fabrics and weaves, exceptional cuts, as well as an ongoing love affair between himself and the armful of the exquisitely made shoes that he owns.

The Intentional Message of the Minimalist: To a woman, this look is classic perfection in pure form and substance.

It feels correct and beautiful and oozes balance and calm. The minimalist style says yes to class, yes to intelligence, and yes to understanding the misunderstood power of correctness.

The Unintentional Message of the Minimalist: This look is safe and sometimes not everyone wants to play it safe. Sometimes we want to at least bend the rules a little and if a minimalist is too careful, then we wonder if he is able to push the boundaries in life beyond the predictable.

Possible remedy: Break some sartorial rules from time to time and use a strong accessory to add intrigue to your style. If possible, opting for “bespoke only” suits is a sure way to carry off the clean lines that accompany this look.

Hugo’s Pick for the Minimalist’s Shoes: John Lobb Oxfords



The Dashing man displays ruthless flair and upon meeting him, it feels like he just arrived from New York City, Milan, Barcelona, or Paris.

He looks better in a silk scarf than most women and the drape of his clothing almost sings. He is vintage and modern at the same time and, at the drop of a hat, will be able to have an enthralling conversation about old movies, classic literature, theatre and opera.

Intentional Message of the Dashing man: This look feels educated and worldly. This man will go places in life while he achieves self-actualization. He has an electric presence and is an ideal travel companion and conversationist.

Unintentional Message of the Dashing Man: This look is not always approachable and can feel intimidating in the sense that a woman may wonder if she is being judged and measured in his presence. Unless a woman is highly confident, she may be put in a position where she feels like she needs to measure up in some way.

Possible remedy: Add a smile to your wardrobe in order to put others at ease.

Hugo’s pick for the Dashing Man’s shoes: Tony Gaziano & Dean Girling


CIRCA 1800s

This man exudes warmth and a deep intellect. He can be taken for a professor, a history-buff, or a respected statesman with an old-money essence.

He seems loyal and wise and is the most likely person to be chosen to lead a cause or to speak on behalf of a group of people. Inspiration for this look is derived from the Federal, Jacksonian, Dickens, Manifest Destiny, Victorian, Antebellum, American Civil War, Gilded Age, Gay 90s and Old West eras.

Intentional message of the Circa 1800s man: This look is analogous to comfort food and creates a peaceful presence.

This type of man is highly approachable and seems strong and composed. He creates of aura of trustworthiness and intelligence and he seems to be well equipped to provide beautiful evenings filled with great wine and real conversation.

Unintentional message of the Circa 1800s man: Sometimes it may feel like this man may live inside his own head too much and a woman may wonder if he is as interested in her as much as he is interested in old cars and BBC documentaries.

Possible remedy: In this archetype, fitness is key. A healthy frame counters the impression of being self-indulgent and a bit glutenous in the realm of cigar smoking, whiskey drinking, and culinary adventures.

Hugo’s pick for the Circa 1800s Man’s Shoes: Laszlo Vass


He could be a banjo player, or a rugby star…or even the distant cousin that makes a woman wish that she wasn’t related to him, because he is so adorable. This man is warm and funny, adventurous and happy-go-lucky. Everyone seems to like him upon first look, since there is very little not to like.

Intentional message of the Countryside Elegant man: This style feels almost bohemian, and you expect that this man plays guitar or is at least is a music aficionado. Picnics and cycling trips through the countryside come to mind when you see him. Romanticism rules with this look and there is a strong swoon-factor that is created when this elegant style is done right.

Unintentional message of the Countryside Elegant man: A curiosity is created as to whether this man is successful or struggling in life. Can his charming self pay the rent and make a good living, or is he a Robin Hood wanderer that drifts from place to place (happy to join a group of traveling gypsies or backpack through Europe again when the next season rolls around)?

Possible remedy: invest in a pair of high-end shoes that clearly shows that you are able to pursue the best in life.

Hugo’s pick for the Countryside Elegant’s Shoes: Anything J.M. Weston


The Futuristic Man is a cutting-edge force with a forward-thinking perspective.

He portrays a space-age military look. He is bold and forthright, and is most likely a computer wiz with a charming geekish streak that comes through in his penchant for science fiction films and “hacking” forums.

He believes in his potential to conquer the world and makes others believe in him as well. He is a combination of retro and the year 3000…perhaps the most unique of all the archetypes.

The Intentional Message of the Futuristic: Packed with the power of technology and knowledge, this man is a force to reckoned with. His sharp mind combined with his exquisite style with a hint of geek suave, may mesmerize the women around him.

The Unintentional Message of the Futuristic: Women wonder if the Futuristic is stuck in a forward-thinking warp and if he is capable of being down-to-earth and relaxed without worrying about things like whether he will get dirt on his shoes if he takes a walk in the park.

Possible remedy: add a vintage watch or antique lapel pin or accessory that provides an unexpected tone of warmth to the overall look.

Hugo’s pick for the Futuristic’s man’s shoes: Ricardo Bestetti


“No Boundaries” is this man’s mantra. Magical and fantastical, this man is a storybook fellow that sparkles sublimely.

Women look to this man for style advice and adore going out in public with him, as he feels like her best accessory of all. He is fun and only slightly quirky, which adds to his charm.

The Panache man can not only pull together a complex and alluring wardrobe, but also can compose magical life projects that sparkle as much as he does, and rarely fails to impress.Intentional message of the Panache: Filled with imagination and innate talent, this man thinks outside of the circle, the box, the rectangle. He is aesthetic in nature, and celebrates beauty almost daily.

Unintentional message of the Panache: The risk of coming off as “fussy” is a clear possibility for the Panache man. A woman may wonder if this man is so obsessed with his clothes, if he would eventual become a unidimensional bore who is hyper focused on clothing to the point that he may neglect other areas in life.

Possible remedy: Know the exact rules of mixing patterns and textures and make sure clothing has the appearance of being custom-cut–but most importantly, dress for the day and then forget about being perfect, since there is a undeniable charm that occurs when encountering a man of ease.

Hugo’s Pick for the Panache Man’s Shoes: Corthay Belphegor


Hopefully, we have established that there is little doubt that the way men dress affects women’s attitudes toward men.

And, if a man relays his emotions through his wardrobe along with having a clear knowledge of the rules with knack for breaking these same rules in a way that matches his persona, then a man is on his way to merging his inner self with his outer self.

Emotion is a lofty subject to approach in the world of the wardrobe. But, once we realize that elegance is not a technical term, but instead a term that encompasses feeling and authentic expression, then we move into a realm of a higher ability to reveal our true selves through the way we dress.

RELATED ARTICLESThe Man Behind the Clothes, and How to Have Great Conversations

Women Who Wear Suits


photo by Bill Phelps

Once upon a time, most everyone had a tailor or a seamstress.

Prior to the 1800s, men and women lived in a handmade world where clothes were crafted according to a person’s unique morphology.

Before the 1840s every stitch of sewing had to be done by hand; Elias Howe didn’t even invent the sewing machine until 1846, and Isaac Singer’s version didn’t come about until 1850. Only the wealthy could afford clothing from a store keeper in the 1800s. Most everyone else relied on tailors, seamstresses and shoemakers for his or her clothes and shoes.

Today, if you make a list of every person you know who buys handcrafted garments, it’s likely almost all of the names on the list will be…men (not women).

Throughout time, a strata of men have clung to the preference for traditional tailoring, and tailoring houses have been around to accommodate the demand.

But the ‘seamstress profession’ women once relied on for handmade clothing, has become all but extinct; and so most women today believe that buying off-the-peg clothing and shoes is their only option (with the notable exception of haute couturefor women of high means).

However, women are beginning to take notice of men who have chosen the tailored life and who are enamored with the (very) specific culture of tailoring and shoemaking. With the burgeoning fascination with tailoring expanding among the male and female spectrum, women are now asking: “Are handmade garments and shoes a possibility for me?”


What can a woman expect when she makes the decision to enter the world of tailored garments?

1. Pleasantly surprised looks and comments from others

sarah informalsarah formal

Sarah Ann Murray, International Creative Director, quickly earned the status of “the queen of women in suits” after her debut at Pitti Uomo with The Rake in 2012. Here, Sarah wears a casual and formal version of the very versatile grey chalk-stripe suit.

Even after you’ve forgotten you’re wearing a well-crafted suit and a great pair of shoes, others will remind you, sometimes with pleasant comments. Most often heard feedback consists of “I like your style” and “you look great”.

It can feel odd at first when you start wearing well-crafted suits, coats trousers or skirts, but after a few months of doing so, the practice becomes natural and feels almost too easy—as you find a system to care for your crafted clothes (see 12 Commandments for Organizing Your Closet) and get business done in a stylish way…or just simply enjoy your clothing.

2. Being taken more seriously

erica red white blue

erica shirt and tie

Beautiful inside and out, Erica Strom (everyone’s favorite redhead), marches to the beat of her own drum. Pictured here in a more formal and then more casual take on the shirt and tie.

When suiting up, it catches the attention of others who generally will respond to you out of respect for the effort you’ve put into dressing well. You feel good, and the effect is contagious.

3. Being told “It’s better for women to wear dresses”

sonya dc

sonya mb

I’ve heard it all! Yours truly in a more formal look above, and expressing the ‘geek’ part of myself, below.

Eventually you’ll encounter a small sub-strata of men/women who’ll tell you with a whisper “it’s much more attractive for a woman to wear a dress than to wear a suit with trousers”.

Don’t worry, a suited woman creates her own brand of allure. Your goal isn’t to be attractive to people who have particular dress code preferences for women, but instead to feel confident and satisfied with your own style. Results: being swift-on-your-feet in business and knowing the pleasure of wearing beautifully crafted items.

4. Fantastic service

ashley 2

ashley owens 7

Bringing new blood into women’s suiting, Ashley Owens, Creative Director of Suited Magazine keeps with traditional style while interjecting her own twist of fashion; her dressed-up look above, and a more casual look below.

If you are suited, airlines tend to give you preferred service (especially if there are flight problems), hotels sometimes upgrade your room, and restaurants often seat you at one of the better tables. I’ve witnessed improved service across the board when taking care to dress well.

5. An overall performance boost 

pia respect

pia advanced suiting

Women dandies do exist! Case-in-point Pia Antignani of L’Eleganza del Gusto, who always has something brilliant up her sleeve.

As you refine your style, you will feel less inhibited with an easy posture, fewer wardrobe malfunctions, and the ability to sprint down the street when you’re running late or are caught in a rainstorm—business is less humdrum and productivity seems to be a by-product of dressing well.

6. Broken-down gender barriers

You may find it easier to be assertive and forthright when you wear a good suit. Not explainable. You must try it to understand !



Lucia Serran, apprentice at Sastreria Serna, Madrid, and private designer–who’s fantastical visual designs are used for motifs for pocket squares, scarves, and high-level liners for suits.

7. Viewing clothing as an “art form”

Your clothing will be viewed as art itself, as you understand the talent and sheer time it takes to cut and tailor your suit or to handcraft your shoes and accessories.


m cait bris

Feisty Mary-Cait Bristow, a pattern-cutter and up-and-coming designer from London, showing how tailored clothes can be expressed as an artform

8. Longevity of your clothing

For the first time, your clothing may outlive you.

eleonora S


The timelessly tailored, kind-hearted Eleonora Sebastiani–a 1930s/40s-inspired clothing designer and international sensation whose closet is the envy of many-a-woman.



Cate Blanchett, known to sometimes have her garments tailored by Timothy Everest, London

Limited information is to be found on tailoring for women (compared to the vast amount of sources for men), and we’re regularly asked to write on crafted-garments for women.

Tackling the subtleties of tailoring,  perceptions of women-in-suits, and elements of what differentiates a good suit from a bad suit takes time to learn and absorb.

Then, there’s a realm of discussion on tailoring that can startle newcomers: i.e., the ‘character of the person’ wearing a suit is discussed and taken into consideration in this culture. To try to transmit this esoteric point to women, I take a passage from the musings of Emily Post:

Regarding Gentleman:

From Emily Post (1873–1960).  Etiquette.  1922:

“FAR more important than any mere dictum of etiquette is the fundamental code of honor, without strict observance of which no man, no matter how “polished,” can be considered a gentleman.

The honor of a gentleman demands the inviolability of his word, and the incorruptibility of his principles; he is the descendant of the knight, the crusader; he is the defender of the defenseless, and the champion of justice—or he is not a gentleman.”

Regarding Ladies:

“The instincts of a lady are much the same as those of a gentleman. She is equally punctilious about her debts, equally averse to pressing her advantage; especially if her adversary is helpless or poor[…] All thoroughbred women, and men, are considerate of others less fortunately placed, especially of those in their employ. One of the tests by which to distinguish between the woman of breeding and the woman merely of wealth, is to notice the way she speaks to dependents.

Queen Victoria’s duchesses, those great ladies of grand manner, were the very ones who, on entering the house of a close friend, said “How do you do, Hawkins?” to a butler; and to a sister duchess’s maid, “Good morning, Jenkins.” A Maryland lady, still living on the estate granted to her family three generations before the Revolution, is quite as polite to her friends’ servants as to her friends themselves.

When you see a woman in silks and sables and diamonds speak to a little errand girl or a footman or a scullery maid as though they were the dirt under her feet, you may be sure of one thing; she hasn’t come a very long way from the ground herself.”

Character is important in this business. Even tailors are more valued when their quality of work matches their personal integrity and their ability to keep their word. Clergy and the military clothing are tied to a code of behavior–but (to a lesser degree) the type of person who wears bespoke clothes also tends to be interested in improving himself internally as well as externally.


jenna lyons

Jenna Lyons, Creative Director and President of J Crew, 2008 and 2010

There is one impression that I would like to correct–the belief that “a women in a suit is dressing like a man”.

This is for the most part, a false belief. How many women do you see wearing trousers on a daily basis? And how many women do you see wearing a jacket with their clothing? A quick glimpse of women in stunning suits dispels the theory that wearing a suit is synonymous with being masculine.

In France, a “Tailleur” describes a business jacket for a women which is paired with trousers or a skirt. In America, the same connotation applies to a “pantsuit”.  It is less usual for a woman to wear a necktie and oxford shoes, but I find it to be dogmatic thinking to assume that a woman in a necktie is dressing like a man–especially considering females in neckties and oxford shoes is a practice adopted by prep schools around the world.



Esther Quek, Director of Luxury Publications, The Rake & Revolution

To learn about garments which put many mass-marketed “pantsuits” to shame takes a willingness to learn (see the male version of Seven things to look for in a suit).

Before mass industrialization, women of means bought their clothes from a store keeper, hired-out custom sewing, or even arranged for a live-in seamstress to craft their clothing. Then, the 1900s saw clothing brands arrive in department stores as well as mail-order catalogs making it possible to deliver clothes at doorsteps.

All this “sudden convenience” was a game-changer for craftsmen as clients left in droves for ready-made products and seamstresses practically disappeared altogether.

Tailoring shops and shoe makers hung on by the skin of their teeth between the 1970s and 1990s— with many closing their doors for good as “hand crafting” seemed to be a relic of the past.

Yet, the 2000s would bear witness to a phenomenon which seemed like a miracle. Likely due to the internet, news about the joys of fine craftsmanship spread across the world—and tailors and shoemakers saw a rebirth of the demand for crafted garments and shoes in a growing niche market!

While it’s a relatively recent occurrence for many women to seriously consider a return to handmade clothing, only time will tell if the interest will stick.

Even if some women are full of enthusiasm for handmade garments, just as many women are at a loss of where to start. It’s taken me years to know where to find good handmade garments and shoes for women and believe me, I’m still looking.

Where can women find the most incredible bespoke, hand tailored/hand finished or made-to-measure garments and shoes in the world? I’m sorry to say that my list isn’t that long, but here are a few places I’ve found:

[If you’re looking for a good off-the-rack suit, in lieu of my recommending brands, review the article Seven Things to Look for in a Suit and refer to the list when buying a suit].

Bespoke Suits

1. Sartoria Dalcuore (Naples) — Located in Naples, Italy, Gigi Dalcuore will not blink when a woman requests a bespoke suit. He cuts a great silhouette, natural shoulders, and crafts for surprising comfort. He is a master at creating  whatever you can conjure in your imagination.

2. Cifonelli (Paris) — The crème de la crème of suiting directly from Paris. Expect a defined “la cigarette” shoulder and to command a strong presence when you walk into a room. Master cutters Lorenzo and Massimo will stun you with their finesse in crafting.

3. Edward Sexton (London) — Flair abounds with a Tommy Nutter 60’s vibe in suits cut by Edward Sexton. If you appreciate the look of Sexton’s unique silhouette, do not hesitate to swing by London to begin your fittings–as Edward probably has more experience than almost any other tailor in crafting for women.

4. Timothy Everest (London)  –Bespoke tailor for the stars. Get your traditional look on with some great design twists. Delays are not uncommon in waiting for your suit.

5. Gianni Celeghin (Legnano, near Milan) — Probably one of the most overlooked tailors in the world, Maestro Celeghin is working in his 100% artisanal atelier with his wife and daughter and is creating exquisite garments for both men and women. A true hidden gem that every bespoke enthusiast should visit one day.


1. Marol (Bologna) — Great traditional shirtmaker with a fantastic fit. Bespoke and ready-to-wear.

2. Salvatore Piccolo (Naples) — Salvatore and his mother are crafting in the family atelier beautiful Neapolitan shirts.

3. Charvet (Paris) — The French institution of bespoke shirts for both men and women.

4. Maison Siniscalchi (Milan) — The Milanese institution of bespoke shirts for both men and women.

Shoes (oxfords, brogues, boots)

1. J.M. Weston (Limoges-France) — A gem of french shoemaking with beautiful women’s lasts for oxfords and brogues.

2. Carmina (Spain) — Hailing from the Spanish island of Majorca, the Albaladejo family is crafting exquisite and great value shoes for women.

3. Saint Crispin’s (Romania) — A well-known name for luxury handmade shoes for gentlemen and ladies.



Sarah Ann Murray: 1. 2.source unknown, Cifonelli suit

Erica Strom: 1. 2. Marcin T. Jozefiak

Sonya Glyn Nicholson: 1. Lyle Roblin 2. sonyaglyn Instagram

Ashley Owens: 1. 2. Streetstyle Nina’s Vintage

Pia Antignani: 1. 2. piaantignani instagram

Lucia Serran: 1. 2. luciaserran Instagram

Mary-Cait Bristow: 1. 2. acaluculatedrisk

Eleonora Sebastiani: 1. eleonora-sebastiani pinterest 2. unknown

Contact me if I have used one of your images and we will amend / credit the work or remove the photo, as you indicate.

What do you think of Emily Post?


Back in the 80s (1880s), Emily apparently was tall, pretty and spoiled. I’m not sure how she became an authority on the delicate path of  becoming a lady or gentleman.

Just how did Post come by her words? Maybe we aren’t privy to some of the suffering and stripes she earned…or maybe she was just a brilliant writer with perspective.

Let’s take a look at a few of her revelations to see if her magic has aged well:

From Emily Post (1873–1960).  Etiquette.  1922 [see more at bartleby. com]

FAR more important than any mere dictum of etiquette is the fundamental code of honor, without strict observance of which no man, no matter how “polished,” can be considered a gentleman.

The honor of a gentleman demands the inviolability of his word, and the incorruptibility of his principles; he is the descendant of the knight, the crusader; he is the defender of the defenseless, and the champion of justice—or he is not a gentleman.

I admit I’m suspicious to know if Emily copied this stuff from someone else or if she pulled it out of her own head. Well, if the words are hers, hats off to Ms. Post.

Integrity is a a rare organism in this world and a quality which I stand in awe of when I’m graced with the presence of a person who makes a decision for integrity.

OK. I just took a five minute break to scan part of Post’s bio, and it’s safe to say she did indeed face a few tumultuous challenges.

Suddenly, I’m a fan of Ms. Post and feel a little twitch to read more. So I end with some advice for the ladies. If you find yourself bitten by her candor, do continue to investigate:



The instincts of a lady are much the same as those of a gentleman. She is equally punctilious about her debts, equally averse to pressing her advantage; especially if her adversary is helpless or poor.


Nothing so blatantly proclaims a woman climber as the repetition of prominent names, the owners of which she must have struggled to know. Otherwise, why so eagerly boast of the achievement? Nobody cares whom she knows—nobody that is, but a climber like herself. To those who were born and who live, no matter how quietly, in the security of a perfectly good ledge above and away from the social ladder’s rungs, the evidence of one frantically climbing and trying to vaunt her exalted position is merely ludicrous.


  All thoroughbred women, and men, are considerate of others less fortunately placed, especially of those in their employ. One of the tests by which to distinguish between the woman of breeding and the woman merely of wealth, is to notice the way she speaks to dependents. Queen Victoria’s duchesses, those great ladies of grand manner, were the very ones who, on entering the house of a close friend, said “How do you do, Hawkins?” to a butler; and to a sister duchess’s maid, “Good morning, Jenkins.” A Maryland lady, still living on the estate granted to her family three generations before the Revolution, is quite as polite to her friends’ servants as to her friends themselves. When you see a woman in silks and sables and diamonds speak to a little errand girl or a footman or a scullery maid as though they were the dirt under her feet, you may be sure of one thing; she hasn’t come a very long way from the ground herself.

Jean Shrimpton — What is it That Makes a Woman Elegant?

After publishing dozens of articles on male elegance here and on Parisian Gentleman, Iconicallyrare is opening a new chapter, exploring the mode of women’s elegance.

Kept in a simple format, we focus on one elegant woman at a time, trying to understand the concrete elements that makes us perceive her to possess that elusive concept called ‘true elegance’, all the while remembering that it’s never really about the clothes…


In her article “The Man in the Bill Blass Suit”, Nora Ephron tells of the time when Jean Shrimpton posed for a Revlon advertisement in an antique white Chantilly lace dress by Blass. Minutes after the lipstick placard was displayed at the drugstores, the Revlon switchboard received many calls from women demanding to know where they could buy the dress.

As one of the first true supermodels of our time, Jean Shrimpton graced the covers of numerous high-fashion magazines and appeared in a few good films. Raised as a Buckinghamshire farm girl, she later became dubbed as the “it girl” and as “the symbol of swinging London’.

What sets Jean Shrimpton apart from the others, other than her obvious beauty? Take a look at her style preferences to get a few clues:

1. Fabric Colors and Patterns – One base color

Colors are mainly one strong base color (usually black or white). Patterns favored include a simple floral, or a basic geometric design.


2. Fabric Cut / Fit – Fabric is cut close to Body with a Flat Front around the waistline.

Fabric is generally cut close to the body, with a fit that is snug, but not tight.

A round or V-neckline is standard.

The front of the blouse or dress is typically flat, with little or no pleats at the waist area.

The fabric on the underside of the shoulder (the armpit area) is cut high and adequately covers the skin, with few exceptions.

3. Daywear – Very few accessories, a simple ensemble, and pumps.

Accessories are kept to a minimum, ranging from no accessories to two accessories, maximum, with a definitive pair of earrings often being the accessory of choice.

Pumps are the standard for shoe wear, in a variety of solid colors.

A soft print blouse with a solid skirt is the go-to ensemble.

4. Unique Expression – The headscarf and long gloves

The headscarf serves as a staple style-element that sets her style apart from others.

Gloves that extend up past the wrist are worn liberally.

5. Business Wear – Conservative suits and dresses, avoiding excessive accessories that age the look.

To avoid looking “Grandmotherly”, conservative suits and dresses fit closely and are kept fresh by foregoing excessive jewelry, pins and scarves that add age to the overall look. No more than two accessories are worn at a time.

A simple black-banded watch gives a vibe of permanent elegance.

Bags are medium in size with little ornamentation and of a solid color.

A more daring hat with a clean circular line tops off the look.

The suit cut has soft shoulders, a generous lapel, a defined silhouette, and the suit coat has slightly short sleeves.

5. Evening Wear – Keep it simple. Keep it black.

Black is the go-to color.

With evening wear, accessories can be quite strong, but the number of accessories is limited no more than two with evening wear.

The neckline is horizontal, running from shoulder to shoulder.

A plunging backline amps up the formal factor.

Sequins and shiny material is kept to a bare minimum.

6. Make-up – It’s all about the eyes.

Eyebrows are darkened with a defined shape with highlighter likely applied below the brow.

Eyeliner is bottom-heavy with a light wing drawn with eyeliner slightly above the natural line of the eyelid.

A patch of lashes are applied directly to the middle of the eyelid.

Other than the eyes, the rest of the face is natural with no evidence of makeup being applied.



We all have them, those moments when we wear something that goes against the grain of our defined personal style. Whether you like or not…body assets here are shown freely with a dress made of netting and a high fashion fabric.


This is a first attempt to answer some requests from my readers for a source on female elegance. Any advice on how to improve along the way will be fully read and honored, if you find yourself motivated to comment.

~Sonya Glyn Nicholson






For the Love of Proportions! Ties, Lapels, and Shirt Collars


As women, we revisit the rules of proportions established by the (non-fairer) sex, but well worth noting.

It’s a simple formula worth knowing:

The widest part of the lapel and the widest part of the tie should be similar in width.

We especially like this illustration by :

The next time you wonder why someone looks so good in a suit, note the lapel/tie width ratio and see if it is influencing your positive perception.

HOWEVER, one caveat exists for the man who craves ‘ more lapel ‘ (reminiscent of SNL’s pop culture ‘ more cowbell ‘ catchphrase):

It can be ridiculous to try to match the width of a tie to that of a super-wide lapel, and so the law of diminishing returns applies to just how wide the tie should be. In this case, match tie-width to shirt collar width (being careful to choose a more substantial shirt collar and tie when working with large lapels).


Eyeing the shirt collar before putting on a suit, and choosing a shirt collar width similar to tie width, can be a real help in balancing proportions.

Case in point — media mogul Keith Olbermann is referred to as a master of proportions. Unbeknownst to many, Olbermann is quite a large man…but, his attention to proportions has kept this point fairly mute among the public.

In this GQ photo, we notice Olberman’s consistency in keeping his tie width somewhat similar to his shirt collar width (as his lapels are so expressive that matching tie and shirt collar width with the size of the lapel would be absurd). We also witness on the left, what happens when overall proportion details go wrong. The good news is that with a little education and some attention to what he is wearing, the man on the left can transform his entire appearance.

Olbermann’s shirt collar and tie (widest part of each) measurements are similar. Also note the finer point of how the shirt collar edge is slightly covered by the waistcoat, compared to the free-floating shirt collar on the left.


Knit ties can be quite dapper, but it can be confounding to know how to use them in a suit ensemble. But, when factoring in the proportion formula on matching tie width with the lapel and/or the shirt collar width, suddenly knit ties begin to work better with suits. The problem with knit ties is that most of them are just too skinny, and this fact alone throws off the overall proportions of the suit.

But, once we purge these skinny knit ties, and opt for fuller, wider and more cleverly designed ones, then the proportion problem vanishes, and knit ties become a real viable option to add texture to a suit.


Spread Your Wingtips? Selecting the Right Wingtip Design for Your Foot

Carmina : One of the few high hand producers that makes shoes for women who wear suits

Brogue and spectators shoes alike peacock their wingtip designs, begging to be noticed for their clever perforations of twists and turns that channel thoughts of a certain fountain in Paris, or a delicate flower extracted from a crest displayed on a castle wall. While the people who hold their noses a bit high may say that wingtips originate from the countryside, and are too banal for their taste, the esoterics and the bohemians in spirit find this fact to be part of the charm of the semi-formal wingtip shoe.

And, for the those who haven’t noticed…all wingtips do not look alike. To look close, it’s easy to see that the designs on wingtip shoes vary wildly.  But even with their differences, all wingtips have two consistent similarities :

* All wingtip shoes have a W shape on the top of the shoe, and

* All wingtip shoes have decorative perforations.


We have been binge-viewing countless websites and magazines lately, featuring brogue and spectator shoes. A couple of hours into our binge-viewing session, we begin to notice something that we haven’t noticed before…

Changing the type of W on the Wingtip changes the perceived proportions of the foot.

It was kind of an aha moment… and it seemed to deserve a closer look to see if it is possible that the design pattern on top of the shoe could cause the foot to look bigger, smaller, more narrow or wider. There were photos to share, but it felt rude to show photography of men with big trouser legs with tiny feet underneath, or men with skinny legs and feet so huge that their feet looked more like flippers, not to mention the wide-footed man whose feet looked almost square instead of oblong…you get the picture.

In putting together a few theories about how wingtip design relates to body proportion, we wondered if perhaps we were going a bit too far with it all (i.e., focusing so much on the feet in regard to overall body proportion). After all, we are just talking about…feet. But then, we remembered the possible universal truth that the first thing someone looks at when he or she meets you is your face and your shoes. We remembered the countless photos on Style Forum of men photographing their socks. And, we remembered how a certain group of men fondly refer to looking at shoes as…porn. And then, we decided to investigate.

In the initial findings, we stayed with two key points to analyze wingtip shoe design and its affect on perceived foot proportions:

1. Where is the W positioned on the wingtip? … high, medium, or low ?

2. Is the center of the W pointed or more flat?

BIG W OR SMALL W ? (affects how LONG the foot looks)

The positioning of the W on a wingtip shoe can range from high to medium to low W positioning. Here are examples of each of the three positions:

1. HIGH – W : the W covers more than the half of the front of the shoe (vamp + cap, starting from the throat line).  See also above opening photo by Gaziano & Girling.

Scarpe di Bianco

2. MID – W : The W covers slightly less than the half of the front of the shoe.

Ivan Crivellaro with a mid-position W. source: The Shoe Snob

3. LOW – W : The W covers only around 1/3 of the front.

One of the Corthay signature designs, The Vendome with a low-position W



* Select a low-W positioning with bold perforations on the toes.

As seen in the Corthay wingtip shoes just above, the low-W lengthens the appearance of the foot and the bold perforations draw the eye all the way to the tips of the toes, lengthening not only the overall appearance of the shoe, but also lengthening the appearance of the legs.

side note: With small feet, keep trouser legs more narrow and perhaps fractionally shorter than usual so that trousers don’t hide the length of the foot.

AVERAGE FEET (anything goes) :

* Since there are no disproportions with average feet, anything goes when selecting a wingtip design (unless the design itself creates a disproportional look).

Any shoe size between 8 – 10 (British) and 9 – 11 (American), is considered average. Here, Hugo (average foot size) is wearing a Corthay Low-W wingtip brogue. The design adds a nice lengthening affect to both the feet and the legs.

Photographed by Justin Fitzpatrick : The Shoe Snob


* Select a mid or high W position, without a lot of “attention-grabbing” perforations

For those born with disproportionately large feet, a mid or high-positioned W with minimal perforations softens the appearance of oversized feet. The Gaziano & Girling brogues below are a nice example…and although it can be delicate to craft shoes for extra large feet, the design elements of the G & G brogues feel simple and elegant.

Gaziano & Girling … keeping it elegantly simple.


Affects how WIDE the foot looks.

Some men have extremely wide feet, which can make the foot look more square than oblong, Other men have super narrow feet, which may look disproportionate with wide trouser legs.  The wingtip design can make a shoe appear more narrow or wider than it really is.


When the design of the W is more flat, this makes the foot appear wider than it actually is. In this photo, the W is completely flattened to form a U-Cap, which widens the look of the foot.

Roberto Ugolini Bespoke U-Caps


Select a pointed W, which makes the foot look more narrow, as shown in this pair of shoes (that you probably won’t forget):

New kid on the block, Clarence Clifford

Thanks to Justin Fitzpatrick and his incredible blog “The Shoe Snob” for vast visual inspiration in writing about wingtip design.

Sonya Glyn Nicholson, Senior Editor.

Links :

The shoe snob

Gaziano & Girling


Ivan Crivellaro (facebook page)

Roberto Ugolini

Scarpe Di Bianco

Clarence Clifford

How to Choose the Right Shirt Collar for Your Face

29e5e3f0393456a3a26099a21a366772--women-in-suits-tie-womenThe collar of a shirt may seem like it is a small part of  the overall look of an ensemble, and choosing a shirt collar may feel like a simple choice based on personal taste.

Still, it is hard to ignore, once aware of how the wrong choice of a shirt collar can distract from an otherwise good appearance, how choosing the correct shirt collar in proportion with the head shape and size can polish and enhance overall appearance.

The method of choosing the right shirt collar is fairly simple and involves knowing head shape and size, followed by choosing the right shirt collar to harmonize with these proportions.

The formula is simple:

* with a large head and wider head shape, choose long and narrow collars to offset the wider head shape and size.

* with a narrow head and slimmer head shape, choose wider collars and cut-aways to balance the thinness of the face.

* with a balanced head size and shape, anything goes.

To assist in choosing the correct shirt collar, here are two diagrams—one of head shapes and sizes, and the other of collar choices:



By mentally extracting the heads from the above chart and placing them on the shirt collar chart below, you can instantly know which combinations work, and which do not.

To follow with an example, notice how Leonardo DiCaprio’s head is large and squarish, and how selecting a long and narrow shirt collar balances his wider proportions and results in a completely correct overall look:

In contrast, notice how Tobey McGuire’s head is slender and more triangular. Also fitted with a long and narrow shirt collar, we quickly see the fault of how this shirt collar dominates an otherwise fairly nice ensemble, as the head is much too small for such a long and vast collar mass.

Once this formula is understood, choosing the correct shirt collar that compliments the proportions of the head/face can be a great piece of arsenal in fine-tuning the overall look and feel of an ensemble.
Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” ~ Albert Einstein