By Gerry Mattingly, Evolve
Hey guys … with The Breeders’ Cup coming up this weekend, this might be your perfect opportunity to infuse your closet with a little a little vintage and wow ‘em at the Downs.
When I consult local “vintagistas” Terry and Amy from The Nitty Gritty, they tell me vintage clothing is as much about quality, fabric and pattern as it is about period styles.
There are several local stores that carry or specialize in vintage clothing, but like most other clothing stores, the ladies dominate. So you’re going to have to get out there and look.
A vintage sport coat is a great place to get started.
The patterns, fabrics and cuts on the 60’s style jackets are perfect for today’s silhouette-fitting styles. For that 60’s “Mad Men” look, keep the lapels thin, no wider than a business card and look for the glen plaids, hounds tooth and herringbone patterns (check examples above.) Before you jump on that treadmill and ride like the wicked witch of the west, people and clothing were both smaller a few decades ago.
So be prepared to kick it up a size or two when you look.
(By the way, a lot of the clothing you find on the racks today – even at popular retailers – is fused or glued together instead of stitched. For example, on less expensive blazers, sport coats and suits, the sleeves are glued to the body of the coat, not sewn! That’s just one factor in why today’s designer and upscale clothing is more expensive. Many of the best are still machine stitched or even hand stitched.)
Take the sport coats’ minor color and match with a pair of flat front cords or wool slacks. Today’s corduroys have a thin “wale,” the wale the vertical “cord” on the slacks. There are also some great wool textures out there that look great with vintage style jackets, but definitely stay away from man-made fabrics that tend to have smoother, shinier textures. They might work on the club scene, but not with this look.
Now for the shirt: If you’re up for going way “modern,” pick a shirt with a noncompeting print. I mean if your sport coat is glen plaid, pick a contrasting stripe in colors that will pull both the sport coat and slacks together for one great look. If you want to include a tie, make it a skinny tie – two inches wide or less.
Lastly the shoes. There are a lot of options here from penny loafers to suede buc’s and the shoes you choose can make or break the outfit. Stay way away from the clunky soles, Witchy-Poo pointed toes (I mean really….what was that style all about anyway?) Square toes are also a no-no. Like most clothing styles, today’s men’s are also closely formed.
Whether you choose vintage, go all in, or not at all. Just try to work a look that will make you stand out from the crowd rather than stand out in the crowd.
As I mentioned in an earlier blog, locally owned stores are your best shot at getting not only help and advice on how to put these things together but also to find unique, current styles that won’t be in everybody’s else’s closets as well.
About Gerry Mattingly: Mattingly is a former certified public accountant who left the profession to open Evolve, a high-end menswear consignment store two years ago.