Mr. Porter, a new men’s fashion site (an obvious male take on Net-A-Porter), just launched today and they ship to Hong Kong so I thought it might be worth giving their site a review. The UK-based company sells a lot of higher-end designers–like Burberry, Gucci, Lanvin–plus. ready made items from Saville Row tailors, with the occasional more affordable item, like Converses, thrown into the mix. They will soon sell J. Crew, which would be awesome for us Hong Kongers.
My favorite way to browse the clothing was through the “view by outfit” button. Each item has a video, so you can see the model walk onto the screen, turn, and walk off, which is really helpful.
Even if your Mr. is like mine and refuses to spend more than $40 on a shirt, they’ve done a really fun job of adding tons of editorial content offering lots of advice and help on how to dress well that I think would apply to any budget. I like their list of the 36 essentials every man’s wardrobe should include… I can tell you right away that my Mr. would never go for a knit tie or a Louis Moray bracelet, but all of the other 34 items I agreed with.
The site has an address book of their prestigious style counsel’s reccs in various cities around the world… their HK reccs are obvious, but not off.
My favorite section–and one that I hope they continue to develop is an organized style advice Q&A between readers and editors. I excerpted a few of the ones I found most helpful and interesting here for you:
How long should my tie be?
The front blade shouldn’t fall lower than the top of the trousers and, if you are wearing a casual outfit, it should be a few inches shorter than that. It might prompt a few funny looks but a knitted tie looks really good when the front blade is a bit shorter than the rear blade. Don’t worry how long the rear blade is – you can always tuck it into your trousers.
What is a cummerbund for, and do people still wear them?
The reason the cummerbund has been largely abandoned is because it is now pointless. Originally worn under a dinner jacket as a lighter alternative to a waistcoat (this was in the days when an exposed waistband was considered bad form) it has been rendered redundant now that we’re unperturbed by the sight of a waistband. However, if you do want to hark back, go the whole hog and get a horseshoe-shaped double-breasted waistcoat, which is far more stylish.
I can’t work out what it is about Italian men that makes them look both stylish and relaxed. How can I steal a bit of their elegance?
First, let’s remember that many Italian men want to dress like idealised Englishman. Second, you’re not alone – it was precisely this question that inspired The Sartorialist to start his blog. Extreme conservatism plays a major role: the men you admire have been dressing the same way for years or even decades, so you’ll need a high boredom threshold. As a function of this, clothes are bought for the long haul, and are more likely to be better made to start with and then altered for the perfect fit. Beyond that it’s about subtle colour combinations, which frequently involve brown, grey and navy, and immaculate presentation. As Charles Eames once said: ‘The details are not the details. They make the design.’
How do I tell if a suit fits properly?
While the prevailing silhouette is as tight now as it ever has been, suits still have to fit – stretching and pulling remain unflattering even if a jacket is cut like a second skin. Ideally the jacket will be as wide, but no wider, than your shoulders, the collar will sit flat against your shirt collar, the back will fall in a fairly straight line from the shoulder blades, the armpits will be quite neat (because otherwise the jacket will restrict arm movement), the buttoning point will be on the same latitude as your belly button, there will be enough shape to give you a waist, and it’ll be close – but not tight – around the stomach.
How often do I need to clean my suits?
Not as often than you think, but that doesn’t mean they don’t require maintenance. Unless a suit is visibly stained it probably shouldn’t be dry cleaned more than twice a year, provided it is well looked after. This involves keeping it neatly folded on a proper hanger, hanging it up somewhere it can air for 24 hours after you wear it, not wearing it more than once a week, brushing it with a clothes brush after each wear, and storing it in a place with enough space for it not to be creased.
Does it really matter what I wear? It is surely reasonable to expect the people I meet socially to judge me on my behaviour, and the people I meet professionally to judge me on my results, not my ability to buy the right shirt.
Mark Twain said: ‘Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.‘ We can’t improve on that.