Sartorial Guide (Pt. 1)

In my Autumn Outfits post, I featured a pair of gold heels, making a point to mention the fact that I chose a low heel in order to maintain a certain level of taste. This inspired me to curate a series of posts on the topic of creating a quality, tasteful wardrobe in a society which popularizes clothing chains that churn out hyper-trendy, low-quality, and inauthentic pieces.

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1. Festive Pumps: My rules for heels are to keep it simple and low. The ideal height, in most cases, is three inches. As for simplicity, the gold pumps are a rare exception. Typically, I suggest sticking to neutral tones. Nude pumps are ladylike and elongate your legs, while black is professional. As these pumps are a special piece which you likely only wear on a few occasions per year, it’s certainly okay to sacrifice quality for a less expensive pair, just be sure to keep the appearance tasteful.

2. Denim Shorts: I must say that I am quite tired of seeing girls around campus wearing what have aptly been called “denim diapers”. They resemble the infamous “mom jeans” of the 90s, are far too revealing and not at all attractive. The Tommy Hilfiger shorts above are a tasteful alternative, though one should always use rational judgment when deciding whether shorts are appropriate for certain occasions. Rules for denim shorts? Neat (no holes or frayed edges) and length, length, length.

3. Graphic Tee: Graphic t-shirts can be great layering pieces for casual outfits. But, please, opt for something other than the awko taco. Instead, go for your college t-shirt or something which is a token of a past experience (perhaps a Black Dog tee from your trip to Martha’s Vineyard or a shirt from your high school athletic team). The rules? Keep it personal.

4. Sweater: Quality is key here. There is no point in buying a sweater if it a) will not keep you warm, b) will not last for many, many years. The rules here are: Focus on fabric (wool, cashmere, cotton, linen, or high-end blends) and be sure to properly maintain your sweaters. Store your sweaters by folding rather than hanging, as long-term hanging will cause damage. I recommend sweater shopping at L.L. Bean (heritage), Wool Overs, Barbour, Aran Sweater Market, The Nautical Company, Brooks Brothers, Orvis, Ralph Lauren (be sure to check the materials), Woolrich, and on the lower end of the price spectrum, J.Crew. Be sure to purchase a sweater appropriate for your needs and the climate. For instance, it was 75° outside a few days ago and I was comfortable in a cotton-linen blend sweater from J.Crew, which is crafted for warmer temperatures. If it had been 30° to 40° cooler, I would have opted for a wool sweater, which has the ability to keep you warm even if it gets wet.

5. Skinny Jeans: My suggestion for jeans is to always go dark. As with denim shorts, keep things neat, without holes or tears. Of course, a slight fray on the cuffs is natural after some wear. As fit is of the utmost importance, it may take time to find the perfect pair. I’m very tough to please when it comes to jeans and actually found the perfect pair just one week ago at J.Crew. Rules for jeans: Dark-wash, neat, and fit matters. Some recommended brands are J.Crew, J Brand, Citizens of Humanity, Burberry and Victoria Beckham.

6. Loafers: I’ve noticed an increasing amount of people, across all styles, wearing “loafers”. In my eyes, there are three kinds of loafers: 1) High-quality, sturdy leather loafers, 2) Fair quality loafers made to look like high-quality loafers, and 3) Low quality, tacky loafers with spikes or geometric designs. I highly recommend Bass Weejuns. Rules for loafers: Go for quality. Yes, you could buy a cheap pair for $20, but they likely wouldn’t last the year (especially if they experience the elements in any way), whereas a $100 pair of Weejuns will last much, much, much longer and can be repaired. Plain old penny loafers too boring for you? Although they are not my taste, Bass also has a line of Candy Weejuns.

PART II COMING SOON!

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