Tom Ford Revisited

Tom Ford Overcoat - Daniel Craig in Quantum of SolaceSpeaking of gorgeous outerwear … did you know the 3/4 length overcoat that Daniel Craig wore in Quantum of Solace was also a Tom Ford? It borrows the same tapered waistline from the pea coat but keeps the detailing to an absolute minimum for a ultra-clean look, even when worn over a full suit.

If you do decide to break the bank and invest in a piece of Ford outerwear, at least you can take solace (heh, heh) in the fact that you will be riding in some very posh company. But don’t expect to have enough coin left to buy your new friends a drink …

Where Can I Get Jonny Lee Miller’s Pea Coat?

Tom Ford Leather Trim Cotton Pea CoatWhere did Jonny Lee Miller get his pea coat for Elementary? I’ve been looking all over and I can’t find it.

– Samuel

Let’s start with a mea culpa: On the first go-around I completely and utterly botched this answer. Capital “c”, capital “u”. As wrong as wrong can be. So consider this some very public eating of Ye Olde Crow.

Or, in the immortal words of Inigo Montoya, “humiliation galore”.

Fortunately, a little bird was kind enough to tip me off to the actual coat and designer in question. That said, I’m still going to riff on my original answer – and expand it – since the coat you are looking for is both hard to find and annoyingly expensive.

The pea coat you see Mr. Miller wearing on Elementary is the “Cotton Pea Coat” by Tom Ford. Kind of an uninspiring name, I know. As you can see from the picture above, there are some key details that set this apart from the standard pea coat. The handwarmer “slash” pockets are much higher than normal, all the way up between the first and second sets of buttons. A second set of rather non-traditional flapped pockets have been added at the lower waist, and the double breasting gets a trimmer look with six buttons instead of the usual eight.

All of which explains why you were having such a hard time in your search. As far as I can tell there is no other coat on the market with these particular features – this this is all sorts of exclusive. And, as with some other previously discussed items, if you want this exact look you are going to have to commit yourself to some hardcore looking around. There are some serious hurdles to overcome if you want one:

  1. This actual model is a couple of years out of date.  The “Cotton Pea Coat” has been replaced with the “Leather Trim Cotton Pea Coat” in Tom Ford’s style book.  The differences are subtle – leather edging on the slash pockets instead of rolled wool, small stress patches on the end of the pockets, and leather piping on the lower pocket flaps – and don’t really change the overall look. But, if you want the exact coat, the current version will simply not do and you are going to have to find someone with the older version still on hand.
  2. There are only a couple of online retailers that carry Tom Ford and they are completely out of this item.  Searching from the comfort of your favourite chair is not an option … you are going to have to pound the pavement and start snooping around in your local high-end menswear stores.  Phone ahead.
  3. Did I mention the high-end part?  The average retail price for this jacket was well over 3000 bucks and could run as high as five grand.  Now I’m all for paying a fair dollar for a high-quality item, and this is a really nice piece, but … well, yeah.

If you decide that these hurdles are just a little too, er, hurdley for you but you still want to get yourself into a coat that gives you that same “classic-yet-edgy-modern” vibe, you are in luck.  There are some really nice pea coats out there this year, and while none of them are exact matches, you can still rock the same kind of look in a high-quality piece and save yourself three big ones in the process.

The Coat That Started It All

Schott New York 740N

Most pea coats are variants of the venerable United States Navy “740N” jacket, which was in turn derived from the Royal Navy’s “reefer” jacket. If you want to be a hardcore traditionalist you are in luck: The 740N is still made by Schott Brothers of New York and you can get one right here with a couple of clicks of the mouse.

There are no lower pockets, and the chest carries the full slate of eight buttons instead of the more modern six so you won’t look quite as trim as the esteemed Mr. Miller when you wear it. On the plus side, sowever, Schott jackets are renowned for their quality and finish and it’s hard to argue with the chance to wear an actual piece of 20th century history for 250 bucks.

The Coat That’s Easy To Find

Land's End Dark Grey Pea Coat

The coat I referenced in the original version of this post is still a solid choice. The Land’s End Wool Pea Coat (item #418176-A7X) in “Dark Charcoal Heather” has a clean look, will keep you warm, has better-than-average quality, and comes in at a price that your wallet will appreciate. Even better, you can probably just go down to the mall and grab one.

It carries the trim six-button fronting that you see on the Tom Ford jacket, but has a lower cut on the waist and might be a better fit for guys who dont have a runner’s body like JLM. At two hundred dollars, it’s an attractive option.

The Coat That Goes Off The Board

Ted Baker ZAINAB

Finally, my personal favourite. If you want to capture the feel and attitude of the Ford but aren’t necessarily welded to the idea of an actual pea coat, take a look at the herringbone coats from Ted Baker. The Zainab Herringbone coat comes in with a nicely trim waist, the edgy chest-high handwarmer pockets, and full flapped pockets on the lower front. It is a bit longer than the pea coat, has a single breast instead of the traditional naval double, and it is made from herringbone wool (thus the name) instead of the melton wool of a pea coat … but it is one seriously fine looking piece.

If you really must have the shorter cut, Baker’s Lolplum Herringbone Coat and Lolpear Pea Coat are worth a peek. They are both strikingly good looking and will give you a bit of a roguish edge with the way they straddle the gap between the old-school naval cut and the modern details of the Tom Ford.

I’ve worn a Ted Baker pea coat for a number of years now and I can vouch for the quality and the warmth. If you are willing to break the mold a bit this is the one I would recommend. If you have the body shape to pull it off, this is really going to turn some heads. Added bonus: The extra bit of length means you can wear this over a suit or a blazer and look nicely layered instead of desperately stuffed in, giving you a bit more bang for your hard-earned buck.

Hope this helps, and thanks again for reading. Sorry if that bit about the three thousand bucks broke your heart. I know it did mine.

Got Any REAL Advice, Or Is This All Fancy Shit?

200463_dustyorange_lEnough with the fancy shit. Do you have any useful tips for guys who wear normal clothes and not suits and foo-foo pantyboy stuff?

– Don’t Fucking Use My Name Either

Wow – hostility! Perhaps someone scratched your Camaro.

So, yeah. Calm down. And listen up. While I could spend the rest of this post arguing as to whether Not Dressing Like A Homeless Person constitutes “fancy”, I will take the high road here and give you a sage and useful piece of advice for guys who wear what you are terming “normal clothes” and that I am going to go way out on a limb here and guess means “jeans and tees”.

And that advice is this: Figure out whatever colour most of your jeans are (I’m gonna be Svengali here and guess that it’s “blue”) and then when you buy t-shirts, don’t buy that colour. Really. That’s it. If you jeans and shirt are the same colour you look like a bit of a nondescript tool. If you have a nice contrast, then you not only look neat, you stand out a bit too.

And if you absolutely must have a shirt in the same colour as most of your jeans (I’m looking at you, Leafs fans) then get one decent pair of jeans in a different colour – not just a different shade – and wear them with that shirt. You should have at least one good pair of black jeans anyway, and if you don’t … go buy ’em.

There. Easy-to-follow advice. And no fancy shit. Happy?

What Boots Does Jonny Lee Miller Wear On Elementary?

150686526What brand and style shoe does Jonny Lee Miller wear in “Elementary”?

– Jeff

That depends on which shoe you mean. If you are talking about the cool two-tone black and mid-brown boots he showed for the second half of the season, I believe that they are the leather “Hipster Chukka” boot from John Varvatos. Sadly, it appears that the two-tone version is not in this year’s catalogue. Some places at the retail level may still have them in stock, though, so if you are really jonesing for them it could be worth your time to look around.

While you are out shopping check out the “Richards” in grey suede, also from Varvatos. They are available in both a brogued and a wingtip version – the wingtip is what you will see Mr. Miller wearing if you happen to stumble across him wandering around New York outside of the Elementary set. Suede is red hot for men’s casual this spring and summer, and for good reason. A subtle suede in a classic cut and a light-yet-neutral colour looks great with almost any pant you would think to wear and gives you an effortlessly finished look and vibe.

Since we are on the topic, I should mention that the black tank boots that he wore last season were the “Flinder” from Kurt Geiger. Like the Varvatos boots, they have a nicely distressed and slightly beaten finish to give that sort of “I don’t even bother to worry about it and yet I still look insanely cool” look right out of the box. They are also on clearance as of this writing on the Geiger web store, so now is the time to lay them in for next fall. At significantly less than 100 bucks, this is a killer deal.

What About Conditioner?

34214_2_468I read your “Shampoo Your Face” post and now I have to ask: Should you use conditioner too?

– Jammy Dodger

Huh. Good point. I probably should have been more clear as to what is actually going on. The reason you want to shampoo your facial hair is to properly clean the follicles. Healthy follicles mean healthy hair. And when that hair is front and centre on your mug, and probably something that is going to come into some very intimate contact with the assorted lights of your life, well, you don’t want to skip.

No one wants to suck face with Jimmy Dandruffchin.

So shampoo is key. Conditioner, which has nothing to do with cleaning, not so much. Unless you are a card carrying member of ZZ Top of one of those Duck Dynasty types, the hair on your face probably isn’t long or dense enough to benefit from conditioner at all. If anything you risk clogging up some of your pores or follicles with the waxes and lubricants that are in most conditioners. So if you actually have a beard long enough to comb out, conditioner might help you. But for the average mope that is a step you can safely – and probably should – just skip.

Hot Tip – Shampoo Your Face

Evil SpockAre you a cool and modern guy who is packing a bit of facial hair? I’m not just talking stubble here, I mean something with some substance – a ‘stache, a nice goatee, a full-on Abe Lincoln, whatever. If that’s your look, then chances are pretty good that you are mistreating that carefully cultivated growth ever time you get in the shower. You wash your hair on your head with a product designed to properly clean the follicles and protect the cuticles … and then you callously move on without giving the hair on your face the same consideration. Dude!

When you are lathering up your head with your shampoo of choice, take the extra minute and shampoo your facial hair too. Really – dont be drying out that hair with whatever soap you use in your face, protect it and nourish it with the same product that you trust to maintain the health of the hair on your head.

Shampoo your head, shampoo your ‘stache/beard/whatever, then get on with your regular schedule. Your face and the hair upon it will thank you.

What Was That Cool Shirt I Saw On “Elementary”?

Jonny Lee MillerI saw Johnny Lee Miller wearing this cool “Aviator” shirt on Elementary last week. I’ve looked for a brand called Aviator and come up with nothing. Can I buy this?

– Phil

First things first: It’s “Jonny”. No “h”. You and I might (correctly) think that the spelling variation is no big deal, but I spent the first seventeen years of my life living with one of these Jon-no-h types and trust me, they take it all very seriously. So Jonny it is.

With that out of the way, the brand you are actually looking for is called “Jacks and Jokers”. The company has licensed the classic trademarks of the United States Playing Card Company – Bicycle, Bee, Maverick and yes, Aviator – and turned them into a sweet line of graphic tees. The shirts are, quite frankly, great. The visuals are classic and more-or-less-iconic images that virtually everyone knows, the artwork harkens back to the ornate heyday of mid-century graphic design, and the quality is first rate. Be warned: These shirts are not cheap. Before you get freaked out by sticker shock, however, think of this as a long-term investment in your repetoire of style. Layer these up with a jacket or a cardigan or a casual vest and they work almost anywhere. At the pub with your buddies? Check. Casual day at work? Check. Breakfast date on a Saturday morning? Check. And the combination of righteous quality and timeless design will keep these looking as fresh and stylish in three years as they do right now.

This is definitely the right way to spend too much money on a shirt.

The shirt you saw was the “Aviator fade” in royal blue. Unfortunately, that particular shirt is no longer available. You can get the same graphic layout with the Aviator fade in peacock, or – if you want to stay with a more subtle colour choice – you can go with the full-sized graphic on a sage-hinted grey.

jacks-and-jokers-bee-92Since we are already pimping the product, I’ll point out that this isn’t the first time that we have seen Mr. Miller wearing Jacks and Jokers on the show. Two weeks earlier he was sporting a seriously swank red tee with the old “Bee” ace of spades design. This shirt is also from last year’s collection but you might be lucky enough to find some stock still in the stores. Annoyingly, the company web site has no way to search for retailers (an inexcusable oversight, really) so you are going to have to hunt around.

What Size Cufflinks Should I Wear?

cybermen cufflinksAre there any rules about the proper size of cufflinks?

– J. Boo

Rules? There is one rule, yes, but I am guessing that there is almost no chance that you will ever come into a situation where it actually applies. Guidelines? Now we’re talking. There are a few general guidelines, and I am happy to pass them along.

First, The Rule: If you are wearing a shirt that has studs instead of buttons, your cufflinks must match the studs and be exactly twice the diameter of the studs. Period. End of discussion.

Now then. For the 99.934 percent of the time that you are not wearing studs, the guidelines mostly come down to our old friend Common Sense. First (and foremost!) the size and style of your cufflinks should play nicely with the size and style of your other jewelry – especially your watch. If you are wearing one of those unfortunate new Giant Wirst Monstrosities you probably want a cufflink with enough visual heft to keep up. Conversely, if you are packing a watch that has a more subtle design and size (think Skägen) then you should go with a smaller and cleaner link to balance it.

The size of your cuff counts, too. Some guys still go for the elongated cuff, and you dont want your links getting lost on a sea of fabric. At the other end of the scale we have the convertible cuff, with a much shorter haft than a traditional french cuff, and you dont want to bust out something that will hang off both ends or look like a pair of bad-sci-fi-movie prison manacles.

Interestingly, the size of your own self is not that big of a deal. People compare the links to parts around them, not your body as a whole. Unless you happen to be Andre The Giant’s larger cousin or something, body size is not something that is going to limit your choices.

Have fun.

How Do I Tie This Damn Bow Tie?

tom-ford-bowtieHow are your really supposed to tie a bow tie? It might just be me, but it seems like the pictures and stuff online don’t help at all.

– PZ

Tying of a bow is one of the great lost arts of manhood. It’s sad, too – a couple of bow ties should be an indispensable part of any guy’s bag of stylin’ tricks, and just cant get the same look from one of those pre-tied abominations. But all is not lost. The diagrams and how-tos you see online are only useless if you try to do them with a tie around your actual neck. If you want to succeed get yourself a tie, find a set of the aforementioned instructions, and walk through them with by tying the bow around your thigh. Really. Your thigh is usually about the same size as your neck, and things will go a lot better the first few times if you can actually see what you are doing. With a standard tie you can look down and see what your hands are up to, but with a bow you work close enough to the neck that you are flying blind. And trust me – trying to learn the technique via the mirror is damn near impossible.

Once you get the basic moves down – and they aren’t hard, it really is just like tying a shoe – then you can move up to the neck and after a couple of tries you’ll have it. Remember that the mirror is both your friend and your enemy here. You can use your reflection to check where you are or to see how the balance is, but don’t try to watch in the mirror as you go – it is nothing but an exercise in spatial futility.

Trust me.

Two things to remember: One, keep your skills sharp. Even if you don’t plan on wearing it, pull out a bow and tie it a couple of times every other week or so … use it or lose it. And two, get a bow that fits. Unlike hanging ties, bows should be measured to the size of your neck. Buy your tie to the same size as your shirt. This is a definitely a case where one size never fits all.

How Do I Tell My Girlfriend I Hate Her Gift?

theoshirtIt’s kind of late to ask this, but how do I tell my girlfriend that I don’t like the shirt she bought me for Christmas?

– S.S.

They same way you should do anything – directly and honestly. Is it going to go well? No, of course not. This is the classic no-win situation. There is no doubt at all here – you are, to put it mildly, fucked. But at least you have a choice. You can pretend you like the shirt, begrudgingly wear it, and generally hose yourself over while being a miserable whining snot, or you can bite the bullet and hose yourself over while being a stand-up sort of guy. Take your pick.

However … if you are going to be a stand-up sort of guy you need to remember that means being fair, too. Don’t jump to any sort of hasty opinion. Try the damn thing on, and do it with an open mind. Ask her what she thinks it would go with, and try it on with that, too. Then put the whole mess away and try it on again the next day. Still don’t like it? Fine – tell her, explain why, and take your medicine. In the long run everyone will be happier. And no one can say that you didn’t give it a fair shake.