How to Pull Off a Look

Discussion in 'Suits' started by ArrowCollarMan, Apr 13, 2006.

  1. ArrowCollarMan

    ArrowCollarMan A-List Customer

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    One thing I always wonder is how to pull off a certain look. I like to be dress up. The only coats I wear are blazers, I usually wear collared shirts and every so-often: a necktie. Even so, I want it to look older yet somehow fit-in with modern styles. This is what I have now:
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    I am very fond of the styles from anywhere between 1911 and 1933. Right now I'm more in the timeframe of around 1925. Is it possible to acheive that persona without looking like I'm wearing a costume?
     
  2. Mr. Rover

    Mr. Rover One Too Many

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    Well, the first thing to do would be to get a haircut. It would change your silhouette completely into the more tightly groomed 20s look.
    Next, don't look like your trying too hard- i.e., fidgeting with the jacket, hat, etc.
    I'm not really sure how to make a vintage look more modernized, but if you exude self-confidence, you shouldn't have a problem.

    Just out of curiosity, how old are you and what makes you pick 1925 in particular?

    ray
     
  3. Big Man

    Big Man My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would live to see the day that a teenager said "get a hircut". :) You sound just like my Dad talking to me back about 1971.

    I'll tell you, Ray, you really made my day. Thanks!
     
  4. Short hair and vintage style are not necessarily synonymous.

    I'm catching a strong Oscar Wilde - you may take this as an insult or a compliment, it is meant as a compliment - vibe from a few of the photos above (white jacket pic and the black jacket pic with the cross and light from window).

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    lose the T-shirts - or not wear them with blazers, anyway.

    How to catch a look? Make it look like you're not trying to catch the look. It should appear effortless - though in fact it necessarily takes a lot of planning and effort. This will only come with practice and a lot of mistakes - like learning how best to mix colour/patterns in dress. Best advice: Study study study the old magazines, movies etc. For example the wearing of gloves was rather old-fashioned by 1925.

    Smoke the cigar, man! Don't chew it ...

    bk
     
  5. Burma Shave

    Burma Shave One of the Regulars

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    Once again I find myself in agreement...

    ... with the good Baron.

    Perhaps the greatest lesson I've learned concerning dress and other matters sartorial is that if you're trying, you're trying too hard. Since you're here at the FL, chances are you have inclinations toward gentlemanly attire. If you are so inclined, study what you can find, learn all you can, but don't start taking it too seriously.

    It's like when I was learning photography: I've been using a camera since I was but a tyke, but my photos were pedestrian until after high school. That's when I began studying other people's photos -- looking at the masters to see what they did that made them stand out, what made them special yet at home with themselves. I learned more from studying photos by Kertesz, Cartier Bresson and such than I had in years of playing around with a camera.

    However, after a period of time, I got bogged down in the study and neglected to take MY photos. I was so busy trying to emulate that I didn't get around to actually doing it. But it wasn't a mistake. When I started paying attention to what I wanted to do with the camera, I had immersed myself sufficiently in what worked that I actually FELT what worked.

    Long story even longer: Your interest in dressing well will enable you to do so, as will the study of what has worked in the past -- but it's a synthesis of the two elements that will do wonders for you.

    In the light of Baron Kurtz's Oscar Wilde reference, here's one from "The Picture of Dorian Gray." He's referring to life, but what's applicable to life is similarly applicable to anything else of value, including clothing:

    "Experience was of no ethical value. It was merely the name men gave to their mistakes."

    Yes, you're going to have off days (like those t-shirts, for example;) ) but chalk those mistakes up as "experience" and go on with the learning.
     
  6. ArrowCollarMan

    ArrowCollarMan A-List Customer

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    Well some of the things I wear, I must confess, I do like even though they don't appear to be from 1925 or for that matter, old fashioned. The t-shirt under the blazer, yes, I gave in. I have become very low on collared shirts to wear that would fit that style and resorted to t-shirts. Alot of it has to do with myself not wanting to look terribly out of place. I went through a stage when I did always try and wear neckties and collared shirts but I did it all wrong (thick long sleeved, cotton shirts and my grandfather's ties from the 1980's). As of now I do wear the t-shirt, jeans a blazer combo quite often just because, for me, its the closest thing I can have to being "dressed up" and not seem out of place umong people my age. I also don't want to look really costumey. Another part that bothers me is that if I do these things I will end up out-dressing my girlfriend because she is a very casual person. It just seems out of place for a young man to out-dress a young-lady. I also had once earned the reputation of looking like an old man; I don't want that to happen again.
    What I realized later on was the way you wear something that makes the outfit. I've just received that advice from you all. But in order for some of that to work requires me to obtain the right kind of apperal. Vintage suits, jackets, vests (I am very fodn of vests even though I have none I wear around), ties, shoes, shirts, so many things must come into place. I do have a pocket watch (those are my favorite kinds of watches) and I try to find healed shoes that look casual but its hard.
    Getting dressed up is a completely different story. Perhaps if I can't dress casual and look old-fashioned I could look "gentelmenly" when it is the appropriate time! I have, just yesterday, bought a new suit for easter (it ended up costing only $80 :) ).
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    The gloves again.

    The suit doesn't look 1920's but what it does remind me of is that Oscar Wilde picture that was posted above. Even though he was a flamming homosexual who got dirty with young boys (and lest we not forget he was too a great poet and weiter) I thought that style he had going was cool! High socks arn't accepatble these days but in some way it meshed well with an old liking I had to the 18th century and late 19th century. The suit I just got (which is my first three piece, so exciting!) seems to appear to lean more to the late 19th or early 20th century, if I am not mistaken. Those styles I also really appriciate and maybe I could do something like that? The 1920's are good and from waht I collected they went for a generally younger look and form-fitting clothing. It also appears to be when the fedora really came into the mainstream. I have studied the dress of that time period a bit (seldom finding anything really good unfortunatally) because of the drawings I do. I am working on a comic that has the people's dress styled in a late 20's early 30's time period.

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    OK, I really have to stop! But now I am more specific than was ever needed. Any other imput?
     
  7. Briscoeteque

    Briscoeteque One of the Regulars

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    Don't be worry about dressing better than dolls, most of them love it. Some'll think you're looney, but they don't deserve the time of day anyway. I tell ya, I've gotten more compliments and nice looks from students than I need. Visiting parents though, they tend to stare.

    That's a pretty good suit, the four buttons and the low chain on the watch give it a zootish appeal. Dig the white shirt and tie thing too.

    That said, a quick trim would definately help the image. Long hair can be vintage, if it's long in the front and short in the back.

    Don't fear any reputation. When I came to college dressing in suits all of the time, people thought I was an antisocial stiff. Then when they actually met me, the style they first thought was just looney and stogey turned out to be pure, distillled sophistication.

    Whatever you do though, do not wear a trechcoat with jeans and a t-shirt. Trechcoats with suits are cool, and would help get the look I see in your pictures, but never, ever wear them with jeans and t-shirts.
     
  8. Wild Root

    Wild Root Gone Home

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    Some love long hair and wear suits... for me, it throws off the clean lines of the suit and if you want to emulate the classy men of the golden past, a nice clean cut look is what works the best:eusa_clap Yes, girls do dig the long locks but, if you want to attract the sophisticated refined ladies... the barber is just down the street!

    There were some men who wore long hair in the past but, they were still out numbered by those who kept a clean appearance.

    For me, if you want to look classic, look classic, I find there is no way to really combine "modern" with a vintage look. It's a train wrack every time. Go with one or the other. It's kind of like girls wearing jeans under dresses... that's just wrong.

    As for pulling off a look, I've fallen in love with the 1930's to 40's look so, I started to buy the real deal. Some thought I was wearing a costume at first but, they could see how comfortable I was in clothes that I really love. So, do your home work, learn more about haberdashery, study the look and time frame you love, you'll start to want to dress that way and people will make the connection to the past. You're a pretty young guy and you have a lot to learn about vintage fashion so, get cracking and you'll find the style you like the most. After you find your look and you feel comfortable in it, you’ll then own the look and people see it. It takes confidence to pull of a vintage look! Since you’re still in school, friends and other class mates will have a hard time understanding your taste but, just do it and you’ll have fun and look dapper wile doing.


    I'm a 1930's-40's transplant... not every one has to be like me but, I find success in dressing classy and having a well groomed mop.

    =WR=
     
  9. ArrowCollarMan

    ArrowCollarMan A-List Customer

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    Hmmm, alot of things you guys are saying are interesting. I don't think I'll cut my hair for a while though ;) What I really want is the clothing style. I was thinking of perhaps starting with a vest. I know that in the 20's period almost every man's suit was a three piece. Slacks would also be good. I do own a pair of dark khakis with brown pinstripes. I could obtain more (the ones I have were from American Eagle Outfitters...not exactly your vinatge store but their khakis are made for the younger generation, I think I could make them work to my advantage). Shoes? What do I do about the shoes? I am interested in buying a pair of spats, if I do that I probably wouldn't have to worry about the look of the shoe so much...or would I? The reason why I stressed on the casual was because I don't want to have to worry about my outfit getting messed up. I want something for every day wear.
     
  10. Briscoeteque

    Briscoeteque One of the Regulars

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    Two-tone shoes are great, they really give everything a real old-time classic look that stands out. White and black are a must, and I've also got a tan and navy suede.

    I understand about getting the clothes messed up, I'm always worried. A pen of Tide 2 Go on hand at all time helps an awful lot. That stuff is amazing.
     
  11. Wild Root

    Wild Root Gone Home

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    Oh boy, you know what you need, you need to dress as a young school man did in the 20’s! Do your self a favor and look up some old year books from the mid 20’s… look at what the guys wear in the photos! They wore mostly pull over or cardigan sweaters and ivory striped wool pants or tweed. Shoes were mostly brown or black cap-toe or wing tip styled shoes. Some even wore canvas sport shoes like Converse or PF Flyers. The 1920’s and early 30’s collegiate style and look is super keen! I love it very much and think that you could rock that look if you put some effort into it. Get a ukulele and learn it, hang out the school and play simple sweet songs to the girls… you’ll be a chick magnate!

    Check these photos out!

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    Short hair just makes it all come together... there, I'm done... I'll stop about the hair, remember, I'm just trying to help you achieve the best look for your self!;)

    =WR=
     
  12. Irena

    Irena One of the Regulars

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    First of all, girls love a fellow who dresses nicely (I should know) and wears his clothes well. And don't worry about people thinking you dress like an old man - they don't know what they're talking about.

    Second, you do need a haircut. I think that a man with long hair looks untidy, no matter how he syles it. With long hair, hat-head can also be a problem.

    The '20s collegiate (is that what you would call it?) look would fit you well. If you worry about ruining vintage clothes, learn to sew! It's not that hard, I'm actually teaching myself how to sew right now. It's a great skill that will serve you well, and believe me, it will sure impress the ladies!

    So long for the present,

    Irena
     
  13. ArrowCollarMan

    ArrowCollarMan A-List Customer

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    Ugh, the more of this style I see the harder it looks to pull off and the less attractive it seems :( I'm more for the blazers to tell you the truth. Sweaters...never really liked them. As for my hair I am gradually making it shorter. I used to have a pony tail and I've always had a the idea of eventually getting to something like this.

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    But hey, I'm young (16). I have alot of time to change my style and tweak with things. Maybe I shouldn't be so scared to try older styles. Like I said, I am young and I could probably pull some of it off. What I really want to get is a wing-collared shirt (no pleats) that I have been wanting for a long time. Maybe I could get one with a detachable collar? Anyone have an idea where those are made in the LA area?
     
  14. Rosie

    Rosie One Too Many

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    In my opinion, if you want to dress in a certain way, you could definitely do it without feeling "dressy" or looking like you are in costume. I'm 28 now but, I have been dressing with a bit of a vintage flair since I was about 15. I didn't do it every day but, I did it. The hair, the clothes, the stockings, etc. Even when I dressed in modern clothes, it was always a "polished/vintage" look. When you dress that way, you don't really stand out, you just are you, if you know what I mean. The way you dress becomes synonymous with who you are to everybody. For example, when I was in college, everyone kept telling me "you've got to meet this guy", when I finally met him, I realized they felt I should meet him because he wore vintage suits, they thought we would be a match made in heaven simply because we wore the same period style clothing. Yes, I was "overdressed" (and so was he) in the conventional sense but, that is who I am, that was who he was, your friends (and your girlfriend) will come to accept it. BTW, there is NOTHING like a well dressed man with a nice lid.
     
  15. Wild Root

    Wild Root Gone Home

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    Well, this is hard for you to grasp being so new to vintage style, I find this look is really sharp my self. I've worn some of my period 30's 40's school sweaters and the ladies love them! I'm telling you, I've worn them and they just flock over and say how nice I look in them! I think the wide legged pants look super tough and would put to shame any baggy jeans on campus today.

    As you learn about true vintage fashion and how each style fits into each decade, you might find you don't really have a taste for vintage fashion other then the idea of wearing a hat and a suit. To look 1920's, some one has to be 1920's! By that I mean look at the styles and wear it no matter how unattractive you may think it is. What makes it unattractive is the modern mindset and you're eyes aren't adjusted to what was popular then.

    I live in LA County and could tell ya where to go for some good tailor made shirts or I could even direct you to some great shops to find real vintage. When you decide you want to look period, give me a ring, I'd be happy to assist in any manor.;)

    =WR=
     
  16. Angelicious

    Angelicious One of the Regulars

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    Sweetie, I think you look just fine, even in your t-shirt photos - maybe not vintage, but fine. :) It's a touch of the individual, and shows more care and thought than most guys your age.

    I can understand the need to balance a touch of old style with a modern lifestyle; not everyone has the time, money, or energy to study, create, and then perfect a vintage look as a day-to-day thing.

    That said though, I had some thoughts, not so much on vintage authenticity, but on the way vintage "inspiration" is likely to be interpreted by the public at large:

    Firstly, any kind of vintage look (especially the '20s!) should be sharp and crisp, particularly in comparison to modern fashion. If you compromise on cut and details you may end up with more of a deconstructed, late-'90s Eric Clapton or Johnny Depp type look.

    Secondly, long hair is well and good if that's your preference, but the longer your hair, the harder it is to make it look "sharp and crisp". If your hair is longer than collar length, it's unlikely you'll ever do more than have it just hang there (product won't help unless you want to look grunge). If you opt for a uniform length at the collar or above, you'll look '90s (again). If you want length but vintage inspiration, as someone said, you at least need it short at the back.

    If, for financial or availability reasons, you end up wearing t-shirts with blazers, go for white or a colour that tones with the jacket. Black will make you look like an advertising executive, logos will make you look like a post-grunge retro devotee, and avoid polo shirts; they'll make you look like an anthropology professor.

    Just some food for thought... [angel]
     
  17. Mr. Rover

    Mr. Rover One Too Many

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    No offense, but I feel that that suit is really moving further away from your purpose....it just looks really costumey. I don't mean to be harsh, but I agree that that suit looks like something from even earlier that I've seen Theodore Roosevelt wearing. The pose just seems contrived and not a pose that any 16 year old, unless raised by royalty and with a stick up his bum, would ever strike.
    It just doesn't look natural to my eye, but then again, I don't know you personally. I can't make a judgement about that. You may talk with an aristocratic tone and wear a monocle on occassion, I don't know that. You don't like you're acting like you.
    If you are moving towards dressier clothing, I would say start to stray from the American Eagle, Abercrombie, Hollister as a part of that ensemble. I will say I am guilty of having recently bought a few pairs of jeans from Hollister (and a few polos as well). On the other hand, I never "try" to force it into a vintage look.

    ray

    P.S. I went back to review some of those posts, and I think I may agree with Root. I think you have a flair for the hats and for the suits, but you're generalizing on a generic era. You really should watch old movies and adjust your point of view on this sort of fashion.
    Take a look at this web-site: http://thesartorialist.blogspot.com/
    The Sartorialist is a blog where this photoblogger in New York City takes pictures of inspirational or extra-ordinary outfits. He just goes around NYC and takes pictures of random people that he thinks have interesting clothing choices. These looks might suit you more.
     
  18. I disagree ...

    ... I think the suit is fine for what it is. A nice three piece suit thats seems to fit okay. He's hardly going to be walking into church on easter Sunday striking the pose! Well, maybe he will, but i doubt it.

    Looks like ye'r on the right track, ArrowCollarMan.

    bk
     
  19. Talking of the sartorialist ...

    1920s cyclist, anyone?

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    bk
     
  20. ArrowCollarMan

    ArrowCollarMan A-List Customer

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    What I think would be a good first step in getting the vintage look is when I "dress up". I already dress pretty nice (according to other people). I would dress up every sunday in my suit and vest and I'd get alot of comments from the older folks about how I'm "the finest dressed young man". My peers couldn't seem to quite understand how I could do that every sunday. As of late, I only dress up on days when I usher because I got tired of having to change into other clothes when I got home. People always say I wear suits but I don't. A blazer and jeans is not a suit. People just tend to think the coat alone makes a suit. And as for my girlfriend, shes not against me out-dressing here. When I suggested wearing a top hat to homecoming she supported it when all my other friends thought she was crazy. I didn't end up getting a top hat though because I didn't want a costumey one, I wanted the real thing! She doesn't find it strange, she actually kind of likes it to my knowledge because its just who I am. I think it would look strange. This has to do greatly with my "modern mindset".

    Speaking of modern, can anyone agree there are some nice styles of dress nowadays? I have seen some casual suit wearing. Plain, two peice suit with a boldy striped shirt tucked in with a dark belt. I have seen it and I like it. Another suit ensable I saw in a movie. If anyone has ever seen Curel Intentions the main character has a suit with a long frock-style coat with a dark shirt underneath. Both myself and my cousin thought that kicked! When he died at the end from getting hit by a car all both of us could say ,while shaking our heads in dissapointment, was "such a nice jacket". I am very fond of long coats, especially frock coats. A bit early 20th century but still, if you pull it off right I think it looks nice! My new suit has a long cut coat, I like it alot!

    As for contrived poses and costumey looks, meh, I was fooling around because I was excited about the suit...and Theodore Roosevelt hey, why not? I like that era too. The suit itself isn't really costumey it was just the way I wore it (I think, I looked at the suit hard because I really didn't want it to be costumey). I think now that I've seen some stuff from the 20's it might not be exactly what I thought it was. It seems hard to catch movies on TV from the 20's and find photo references (trust me, I've looked, much harder than 30's or 40's photo refs). Now, I don't know what I want. I think you were right about me "generalizing on a generic era", Ghos7a55assin. And trying to make something from American Eagle Outiftters look vintage probably wouldn't work either. I just figured those were good wear-around slacks. Now I feel like I'm way off course! I need to figure out more of what I want. I love old things, its always been terribly interesting to me. However, trying to bring it into this time and wear it is a different story. I've basically done it all my life and tried to do it right. My firsy real form of it was a Pirate Captain when I was 5 but I'll explain that later...

    P.S. Where do I get pants like that, Baron?
     

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