What’s your favorite color for this season?

I’ve never been one to put away my “whites” after Labor Day.  I think it’s quite chic to wear my favorite white jeans with a pair of boots and a fuzzy cashmere sweater.  But when it comes to menswear, my clients should pack up their Nantucket reds, bright pink ties and anything pastel. When selecting accessories like socks, pocket squares and ties for my company, Bond & Bari, we use the pantone colors for inspiration.  I will be posting some of our samples in the coming weeks!

 

 

 

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Fall/Winter 2016

Zegna collection is a homerun this season.  Solid colors in unique hues are very on trend.  Eggplant, burgundy, cobalt and ocean blue are great alternatives to navy or charcoal. More specific looks to come…

What does bespoke mean anyway? 

 Bespoke has become an everyday term in the menswear industry, but rarely is the definition fully understood. It’s derived from “bespeak”, to speak for something, and, to give order for it to be made. Everywhere you look another menswear company is poppng up with their spin of the term. Most of these Made-to-Measure (MTM) companies claim to make bespoke suits.  Just last week a read an advertisement from a competing company who proclaimed: “Super 180’s handmade bespoke suits for $799.”  Please note, the adage is correct:  If something seems to good to be true, then it probably is.

In ’08 the Advertising Standards Authority (British regulators), made a significant ruling in formalizing a less traditional definition of bespoke clothing, even though the older distinction with made-to-measure was recognized. 

The ruling cited the Oxford English Dictionary definition of bespoke as “made to order.” They ruled that despite their differences, bespoke and made-to-measure suits were “made to order” in that they were made to the customer’s precise measurements and specifications, unlike off-the-rack suits.

This was a truly disappointing decision.  As a result, subpar shops can now exploit consumers. There are huge differences between the two techniques. 

MTM (Made to Measure):  A MTM company works off a standard size (let’s say 42).  They take the pattern and modify it with measurements outside the range of a standard 42 jacket. The master tailor will make adjustments such as jacket length or shoulder width.

It’s important to note that not all MTM are created equal!!!!  Some companies only modify 5 or 6 basic measurements. Many of the most important adjustments in a well made suit are posture readings, arm hole circumference and specific rise measurements.  If your clothier doesn’t accommodate for all of the proper measurements, you’re essentially buying a glorified off-the-rack suit.

Bespoke: This is a technique where a patter is created uniquely for the client. No modifications are done nor is a base pattern used. Although many measurements are needed, we also rely on other important factors like… the slope of the shoulder, the arch of the back, etc. 

My company, Bond & Bari bespoke, use 30+ measurements. From my experience, relying on my eyes to understand my clients build/posture is essential. We also send digital pics to our master tailors in Italy, so he  can see for himself!

 

Other things to consider:

Fittings: Some would say a bespoke fit requires multiple fitting.   I’ve heard of some shops doing 5+ fittings. Personally, I think this is more about pomp and circumstance.  They put their client through this arduous process so he feels like he’s “getting his money’s worth.”  Talented clothiers can perfect your garment within 2 fittings.

Fabric selection:  MTM shops offer less fabric options. They typically only sell 1-2 different brands. 

Most bespoke shops have a library of 10+ mills.  At my shop, Bond & Bari, we offer over 16 collections from the finest mills such as: Loro Piana, Dormueil, Scabal, Barberis, Castangia, etc. This is important for selection, but also for price point / quality range.

Styling options:

With MTM, the styling options are limited. Typically on the list: # of buttons on jacket, pocket style, vent options, pant pleats, cuffs. Sometimes available: lining, lapel styles, button placement. Never available: Anything rare, that requires explanation. 

With bespoke suits there are no limits on options, regardless of complexity.   

   

I’ve been in the custom business for almost 15 years and have worked with both MTM and (handmade) bespoke garments. I’ve had the pleasure of learning from master tailors and our Italian partners, Castangia 1850.  In my opinion you can’t  find a better bespoke garment in the business. My client unanimously agree.  Here are some pics from a recent trip to the factory in Sardinia

 

Whichever option you choose, be sure your clothier is experienced and honest (remember there are no regulatory bodies to watch over this industry). Good communication and trust between client/clothier is essential for a well made garment.

  

 

I’m revived with REVIVAL BODY CARE

If you’re like me, you’ve tried hundreds (maybe thousands) of beauty products.  I’m a sucker for luxury creams, soaps, makeup and hair products.  I’ll try any new, trendy ingredient – from stem cells to caviar. But if you look more closely at the label on your favorite products, chances are you’ll also find toxins.


Did you know we absorb up to 60% of what we put on our skin? After ready this scary statistic I’ve decided to focus more on “all natural” products.   This isn’t an easy task, as the labels on products are difficult to read.  The industry is unregulated (scary) and most of the marketing is misleading.  Just because something is labeled “organic” doesn’t mean it’s 100% organic.  The portion that isn’t organic can include toxins!  Why should this worry you? We’ll take a look at this chart:
  

This morning I used a new body scrub from my friend new skincare company, Revival Body Care.  I was thrilled to read the ingredients: sugar, salt, coconut oil, olive oil, lemon essential oil.
  
I am THRILLED with the results!  The first thing I noticed was the smell. The lemon and coconut blend is a great way to start your morning. It’s bright, refreshing and invigorating.  Next was the texture.  The sugar and salt mixture was soft and the essential oils made it easy to apply. Finally, the results. I instantly noticed how supple my skin became as I rinsed off. Truthfully, I didn’t even need to apply my normal body lotion! 

What’s even better?  My feet looked like I’d just had a pedicure – smooth and soft.  I was equally impressed with how well the product worked on my face.  The sugar provided a nice exfoliant, while the olive oil left my skin soft and dewy. 

At $17.98 per unit, this a bargain!  I have used similar products from luxury brands like Fresh which retail around $40.  I can honestly say Revival Body Care products smell better, cost less and most importantly gave me superior results. 

You can choose from several different blends: Lemon & Coconut, Coffe & Rose Hip, Grapefruit & Mint, Lavendar & Grapeseed and Greent Tea & Coconut.  Also coming soon are lip scrubs!  Get online now and try it yourself:  www.revivalbodycare.com
  

Gina’s Spring Essentials

I’m a firm believer in dressing for your body type, coloring and lifestyle. I’m not a huge fan of trends.  However, I think it’s important to update your wardrobe each season with new accessories. Whether you’re looking for a wardrobe overhaul this spring or just a refresher, these are a few of my favorite pieces to shop now. 

My #1 spring essential comes from our newest partner, 34 Heritage

These 5 pocket jeans are amazing! 34 Heritage was created for today’s gentlemen—evolved, well traveled and stylish; always insisting on the best even when out of their office suit. Every aspect of his life is luxurious and premium.

The feedback from my clients is undeniable: “they are the most comfortable jeans I’ve ever worn” and “hands down the best jeans”

Heritage offers three distinctly different fits and numerous color options. 

The Charisma is the most relaxed fit.  

Courage is a little more trim  

Cool is the most fitted option  

I suggest brightening up your closet and select the cream linen, grey chambray and stone colors! 

#2 Sanyo Raincoat

Experience ultimate protection from the elements with our Sanyo Rainwear Collection. Fusing high class fashion with state of the art water-repelling technology, these coats are engineered to keep the wearer warm and dry while retaining comfort.

Sanyo offers 8 differnt styles. Two of my favorite options are the Bogart ($495) and the Curtis ($450). They’re so affordable you should buy BOTH!  

#3 Armstrong & Wilson squares

The Armstrong & Wilson brand incorporates timeless men’s fashion with a splash of modern zest using distinct fabrics, bold colors, and their signature button look to generate a sense of attitude and personality to the pocket square accessory.

Bond & Bari has a gorgeous spring selection. My absolute fave is the paisley linen square. The colors are light and bright. You can wear it with suits or a great solid blazer!  

#4 Layering Sweaters

Generally speaking, layering is a year round look. It lends itself easily to fall and spring — when changing temperatures make it convenient to have pieces you can take on or off throughout the day.

While layering is practical, it’s also stylish. The best dressed men are masters of this technique.  So, where should you start? Follow these rules:

  • You can have lots of colors, but there should be some familial similarities between a couple of them, and only one or two should be vivid, bright colors. If you’ve got bright blue trousers, don’t wear a yellow shirt and a red scarf. Have one pop of color  and the rest of the outfit muted. 
  • Scale your patterns. Meaning, if you’re wearing a bold check shirt, the next layer should have a more subtle patter. The layer after that should be solid.  You can work in either direction
  • Don’t let any of your hems stick out. No shirts untucked here!
  • Last but not least, make sure each layer is FITTED.  We don’t want this look to be bulky. So choose lightweight, thin garments to create a streamlined look.

Our company, Bond & Bari carries a great sweater line. We offer cashmere, wool and cotton items in various styles. Take a look at all of the color options!

 

This layered look is perfection! 

 

#5 Custom Belts

While doing your spring cleaning pay close attention to your belts. Most men have a hard time throwing anything away, even ill fitting 20 year old accessories. While doing closet consultations for my clients, Im always coming across old, ratty, frayed, dulled belts. It’s time to let go and replace with modern, fresh and properly fitting belts.

Bond & Bari offers custom belts made from several leathers: calf, suede, lizard, crock and pebble.  We customize the width, buckle style, waist size and personalized name engraving. You can even choose a pop of color for the stitching!

Suede and pebble grain belts are the best options for spring. They add elegance to casual wear outfits.  My favorite look is the blue suede belt with white contrast (as seen on my brother below).