I don’t think I’ve done an “about me” post in years. My name’s Paul Byrne. That’s actually not how you spell my last name, but I’m on the job market, so. I like clothes. I like my clothes to speak for me a bit because I do a terrible job at presenting myself to people before I get comfortable with them. Clothes can let people know a bit about you, or present something you’d like to put out there without saying anything, so I like that. That is most decidedly that shit that I do like. Rap reference! I want to start a home business. I’m an amateur stand-up comic. I’m a very easy-going person, and one of my worst fears is being unapproachable or out of touch with people from all walks of life. That’s not entirely true, I guess the real core of it is that I’m afraid of closing my mind to anything that could be helpful to me. I don’t like my job, but I’m working on that. I have a problem with dedicating myself to long-form writing on any consistent basis. That’s probably why I’m a bad blogger. I have 3 sisters who are funnier and better looking than me, but I am at peace with that since I’m not a woman, so it’s apples to oranges, or penis to vaginas if that first analogy didn’t land. Gender! With that, here are Instagrams. Wow, I’m fucking awful, huh? LOL
crispy [kris-pee] adj. Similar in nature to “fresh” or “clean.” A positive signifier when used as a discriptor. “That new shirt is so crispy, brah.”
crotch blowout [kirch-bloh-out] n. When an extremly worn pair of pants, usually jeans, wears in the crotchal area and the seams rip, creating a hole.
dressed by the internet [drest-bahy-th-uh-in-ter-net] adj. The ultimate insult. Implies that one’s personal style is 100 percent culled from various websites and web personalities.
fit [fit] n. The totality of your outfit.
fucks wit [fuhks-wit] adj. To enjoy. “I fucks wit that new Ralph Lauren collection.”
instacop [in-stuh-kop] adj. Something so amazing that it has to be purchased right there and then.
jawns [‘jawnz] n. Clothing. “I need to double check my jawnz allowance for this month.”
goth ninja [goth-nin-juh] n./adj. Those, not necessarily formally trained in martial arts, who favor a dark, drapey, and somewhat futuristic style of dress. The mortal enemy of the classic menswear enthusiast.
sprezz [sprez] adj. Shortened form of sprezzatura, an Italian word describing a casual nonchalance exhibited in how one wears their clothing.
steez [steez] adj./n.v. Literally, style plus ease. The epitome of personal style.
trad [trad] adj./n. Short for traditional. Denotes a particularly boring style of dress popularized by old dudes with Internet connections.
trill [tril] adj. In the classic sense, a combination of words true and real. Something badass to its very essence.
It is with great pleasure that I write this review of Ratio Clothing’s offerings. As a blogger, you are most often approached with products of questionable origin and promises of free gear in exchange for positive reviews. Years ago, I may have been swayed by this type of ploy, but now with an established wardrobe that’s seen some seasons of wear, I’m not looking to add anything to the closet that isn’t of equal or better construction, cut, and styling than what’s already in there.
Enter Ratio Clothing. I’ll cut to the chase here and just flat out tell you that Ratio has met all of the above criteria for wardrobe additions. I’ve been eyeing Ratio for some time now, and really admire their simple approach to made-to-measure shirting. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to enter 15 different measurements to get a shirt made. 90% (totally unfounded number, but stick with me) of guys out there don’t need more than neck, sleeve, and chest measurements to get a great fitting shirt. It took me all of 5 minutes, if not less, to complete my order. We’ve all had blousey shirts in our past, and if you’re reading this you’ve probably joined me on the journey to getting shirts cut a bit too slim in your first steps to bettering your wardrobe. Knowing I can float from an Italian 42r to a US 40r depending on the make, I chose a conservative 41 chest, opting for the ‘Ratio Slim Cut’ in my measurement options. The outcome? My new favorite shirt.
Slim and not tight. Untucked (as pictured), the side seams hit at the pockets—just like I like ‘em. I’ll admit, the design was inspired by my favorite shirt configuration, that unfortunately OTR didn’t fit my gangly arms. Thus, Ratio has stepped in to fill the void for others like myself that don’t fit the OTR mold.
I sprung for the ‘Londoner’ collar, available by special request. It’s a classic cutaway with 3” points that tuck perfectly under your jacket lapels, with or without collar stays.
A very nice and unexpected touch was the naturally stitched collar. In case you’re not familiar, a way for manufacturers to cut costs on dress shirts is to fuse (think: glue) the collar to the shirt before applying the final stitching. This leads to stiff collars that can warp with laundering and normal washing over time. I was definitely very pleased to see this type of classic construction on a made in the US shirt at this price point.
Ratio’s oxford cloth fabric is a solid weight. I’d say it’s comparable to a Brooks Brothers made in US oxford.
The stitch count is high and consistent throughout with all edges inside and out finished properly. Basically, no corners are being cut.
I also appreciate the individual tagging at the shirt tail (inside the shirt, below the extra buttons) printed with the date the shirt was produced.
I have to say, I am a Ratio Clothing convert. Getting a great fit and high quality shirt in a hard-wearing fabric like oxford cloth is a welcome addition to the wardrobe. In fact, my obsessive blogger mentality is starting to take control and lead me down the path of replacing all of my shirting with Ratio product. I’m getting a little ahead of myself, but I can’t lie and say that even my sensible side agrees that an all-Ratio shirting line-up would be the ideal.
Look for more on Ratio products here in the future. I’ve got my eyes on a chambray number in the near future.
Yea, they’re not sneakers, but they’re definitely summer casual footwear that may be a worthy substitute in certain locales.
As far as color, I’m sure you noticed a pattern here. I’m thinking all white everything if you’re only going to buy one pair this summer. If you’re looking at buying a few, then branch out with something that pops more, like red or even this.
I dicked around and helped drink the beers (the) while shooting my own behind the scenes.
Scott Pegram took some awesome detail shots, behind the behind the behind the scenes within a scene in a dream in the crumbling city where the top stopped spinning, Cobb go be with your kids. Avalanche. Kick? Bane.
Always fun kickin it with @ntbro and nice to meet @LHommeNY.
Big shout-out and thank you to David Hart for being an excellent host and providing an amazing space for the shoot that made my unedited amateur photography look very not bad.
I’m a Seiko guy. Seiko makes a very affordable automatic line of watches called the Seiko 5. I recommend them to anyone and everyone inquiring about an affordable watch. The 5 stands for the five elements inherent to any offering from this line: day display, date display, shock resistance, water resistance, and reliable automatic movement. You see, unlike similarly-priced watches from reputable fashion houses (I will not name names, but let’s just say “department store staples”), Seiko is a timepiece company responsible for innovating and perfecting modern wristwatch movement. These days, though parts of the movement are now sourced from various countries, Seiko still manages production at their headquarters in Japan. Long story short, Seiko doesn’t just stamp their name on any old watch—they build watches in-house with quality that rivals timepieces in the range of a few thousand dollars.
my typical set-up. Seiko 5 on a nato band
After a recent evening event, I decided I needed a way to “dress up” my Seiko a bit. You know, show a little more elegance than quirk. Sure my SNKK71 came with a handsome enough metal link band, but I wanted something that would make a little more of a statement than a run of the mill stock band.
With a little help from my spring bar tool, I installed this lovely band, acquired for only $28. It’s a weighty, stainless steel mesh band ordered in the same 18mm width as my usual nato straps.
Just a few minutes with the mini tool and I was ready to go. However, I must admit I’m thinking of picking up another Seiko (hell, you can find them for $75 or less) to use solely for easy-to-swap nato straps.
There you have it. A simple, inexpensive way to dress up any watch.
Last Thursday, Ready Set DC hosted their spring edition of Fashion District at the Powerplant in Georgetown. For one night only this modular, start-up friendly, lofted workspace was converted into a market show meets living-lookbook for DC-based clothiers and merchants. The DC fashion world is small. The DC menswear world is tinier. The DC menswear offerings that fit into my forum-farmed aesthetic are basically microscopic. For this reason, I can only really cover Hugh and Crye shirting and Accoutre accessories in this mostly pictorial write-up.
some of Hugh and Crye's spring cutaway collar shirts in various checks
I took an active role by modeling some of Hugh and Crye’s latest for the night. By modeling, of course, I mean wearing a well-fitting shirt and enjoying some cocktails, so basically, “Thursday.”
some bros and I, acting natural. ya know, modeling.
everything is purple.
I’m very pumped on H&C’s cutaways. 100% cotton, a nice wrinkle resisting light weave, prime for summer, and as you can see, cut to make my man parts look even better than I’m sure you’ve dreamed, ladiez.
I hear Pranav and the Hugh and Crye crew had to return the next day to remove some of those stickers that neither he, the crew, I, nor any of the cocktail drinking gentlemen in slim fitting shirts had a hand in applying liberally to many a surface. Weird!
On Thursday, November 17th, fellow bloggers and style entrepreneurs, Grant Harris and Kendrick Jackson, hosted “A Gathering of Style,” the first in a series of menswear trunk shows based in Washington, DC. An air of mystery surrounded the affair, held in an undisclosed speak-easy (home of the finest mixologists in DC, i.m.h.o.) with attendees granted access by passcode only.
A limited supply of hand-picked pieces were available for sale in the swanky atmosphere chock full of in-the-know DC style enthusiasts. The big winner of the night would be General Knot Company, whose selection of ties in classics wools and dual- patterned cottons were a hit with all in attendance. Below is a pictorial review of some of their offerings modeled by fellow DC bloggers and of course, yours truly.
Man. Microblogging game stressful. I mean tumblr’s cool, but damn is it hard to whip up content. Reblog? Add a description? Ugh. I don’t have the time to find an intern to not pay—not if I’m punching the clock composing these tweets! Help a blogger out. There’s gotta be a simpler way to gain a following and cut out the heavy lifting that is curating style inspiration pics from around the internet!
..Realest of raps: Instagram is a great mobile app for sharing pictures and applying great faux-boceh/lomography/film-simulation effects. If you’re new to the game, here’s a running list of some menswear nerds, companies, and generally cool folks to follow on the platform. These are listed in no particular order. I’m gonna keep serving up a few every week, as my ‘following’ list is in the hundreds, and that’s before I get to the list of half-naked chicks, er, amateur models that don’t live in NYC, er, healthy ladies’ instagrams to follow.
Jump on the comments or hit me up directly if you’d like to bring some other menswear-centric instagrams to my attention. Again, I will be rolling out several more installments over the next few weeks.
A welcome addition to the District’s expanding range of quality menswear retailers, Streets officially opened doors last Wednesday, November 9th to their Georgetown storefront. Present for the festivities were world-renowned designer and the night’s host, Joseph Abboud; event coordinator and Americana enthusiast, aka The Godblogger, Michael Williams of ACL notoriety; blogger, stylist, and menswear nerd extraordinaire, Chris Rucker; image consultant and entrepreneur Grant Harris; and jack-of-all-trades, blogger, and aesthetician, Kendrick Jackson.
The new shop will carry a variety of lines under the HMX umbrella including Hickey Freeman, Hart Schaffner Marx, and Coppley. The majority of the store’s merchandise consists of suiting, shirts, ties, and accessories for businesswear. However, there are some excellent casual offerings from Filson and an athletic, golfwear line (also in-house, HMX) by the name of Bobby Jones. This truly is a store full of classic, “buy better, buy once” items, the majority of which falling into the professional man’s “wardrobe cornerstone” category. If you’re in DC and care about how you look, you need to stop by the HMX group’s shop. I feel it is my duty to caution you, though, that you will forever look down upon department store garments after you’ve seen the real deal at Streets.
Dude wore charcoal wool head to toe (litchrally, peep the loafers). Killed it.
The only time I caught Mr. Williams standing still. Well, aside from when he stopped to chat with us bloggers, which definitely yielded some great advice and insight, worthy of not interrupting for blog photo ops. Though it would have been like level 4, nothing’s-real-anymore, Inception type meta.
Chris Hogan of Off The Cuff. Between him and ACL, if Scott Schuman showed up, the entirety of my early ‘08 menswear rss feed would be in the same room. It was very nice to finally meet Chris and tell him how much I continue to appreciate his site.
"I want to build a better wardrobe, where do I start?"
I cannot tell you how many times a day this question or a variant of it pops up in the menswear blog world. There’s not much to say, so I’ll just direct you to my go-to options. I plan to revisit this post a few times a year, each time updating with the latest, greatest, or most cost effective options.
There are two areas where you cannot skimp. Pants are one of them. Pants are stress-tested with every step and every seat you take. Pants will make or break your day depending on how comfortable they are on your man-parts. Not hyperbole. Try running around from 9 to 5 in some low-rise, extra slim, made of cheap blended papyrus-like miscellaneous material jawnz. You will learn that lesson quickly. Pain.
Shoes are the second area where skimping will hurt you more than it will help you in the long term. Your first 2 pairs of dress shoes should be “classic” and “understated” and all those other blogger words, but essentially, versatile. A solid brown/burgundy wingtip and a black plain or cap-toe lace-up will get you just about anywhere you need to go whilst wearing a tie. Too often I see noobz jump the line and go for something either cheap, seasonal, non-versatile, or a combination of these factors. For example, these graily beauties need to be your 4th shoe and not your first. Here are some well-priced options.
For those just starting out, I’d say there are two major cornerstone pieces you will need as far as jackets: a navy blazer and a tweed sportcoat. Don’t let the terminology trip you. You can get down and dirty in the weeds with definitions on your own time, but as far as you need to know (if you are at square one) sportcoats, blazers, and odd-jackets are all pretty interchangeable terms. Essentially, they are all jackets with more relaxed details (namely, the shoulders) that are not part of a traditional suit. There are plenty of options out there that can be found with relatively little effort using the links above. In this category, especially with tweed coats, vintage is always a good bargain option.
Sunglasses are the best and the worst thing that can happen to a man. They’re up there with foreign accident babies arriving on your doorstep, Kelis, and testicular cancer of the mouth.
Let me ease up off the accelerator a bit.
Sunglasses is nice. I like them. They make the face cool. Or bad. The can does that too. If you will. Well alright.
So, yea, sunglasses can be the icing on your toaster strudel (JAMAZING) or the toothpaste posing as icing on a poo log. A few weeks ago, I picked up my grail sunglasses from ClassicSpecs.com. I’ve been scheming on some Shuron Sidewinder shades for nearly two years but never found a reasonable option. I mean, the frames can be had for about $60. But everywhere I looked online or every shop I called quoted me for no less than $100 to insert non-prescription plain old tinted lenses in them. No dice. Then one glorious Wednesday night in May, a Facebook ad actually peaked my interest. [My one interest that doesn’t involve meeting sexy singles in Washington or ‘Liking’ Radioshack (check and double-check on those already)]. I clicked through to Classic Specs and lo and behold, $90 customizable Shuron sunglasses.
Robocopped dem jawnz.
Fast forward 6 weeks later and I party my face off in Chicago. Things got wild and I put my Shurons in some serious danger. As a result of heavy-handed pregaming I not only left the hotel at midnight with shades in pocket (why?), but I then proceeded to wear them indoors. Drippin’ failgu. Somewhere between me partying my face off, LITCHrally jogging around the club when “African Americans in the City of Lights*” came on, and stumbling back to the hotel, my Shurons were lost. Slanty.
Thus goes the oldest tale in the book (my book) (pop-up). It’s always the sunglasses you spend some real money on that get lost or destroyed. The cheapy boys? They last forever. Come judgement days it’s going to be roaches and Fugazi Engineerings. Take this pair of fake RayBans I purchased for $3.50 during my trip to China 2 1/2 years ago. They’re still going strong as my back-up’s back-up pair. It’s insane as unfortunately, in June, my back-ups got lost too. $60 gone. Also lost to baller bad life decisions. A couple years ago, right before the China trip my real RayBans met the same fate. With all this losing of quality shades, I end up wearing be FayBans more than my tenuous, revolving supply of quality jawnz.
Doing the math here that’s easily $250-300 worth of sunglasses forever lost to the sauce, while the $3.50 pair continues to pull through. I know there’s a lot of logic to explain this and obviously this is all my fault, BUT intelligent thought aside, at the end of the day (today), it seems to me every time I put down some good money on los gafas de sol, I end up losing or breaking them and resorting back to some cheap pair.
Currently, it appears that Classic Specs has repealed their limited run of customized Shurons and will probably just bring them back sporadically in the future. Lucky for me, they are good peoples and after explaining my recent loss they have scrounged up a pair for me to purchase as a replacement.
The moral of the story, obviously, is that sunglasses in the club is for toolsheds and will result in failure. Further, sunglasses in the club whilst a’popping bottles listening to WTT is complete and utter over-stimulation for mere mortals. Basically, I deserved that strike of lightening in the eye by Zues himself, for I falsely impersonated the gods… and they were NOT having that shit.
“If custom clothing is well out of reach, buck up, make due with what you have, and remember that style doesn’t care about money. It will require extra elbow grease, but any bum can dress well. Penury is not an excuse, remember?”—Giuseppe
Three years ago, the street-style movement felt like a mini revolution. Guys like The Sartorialist used a digital camera, a blog, and photographs of real people with real style to upend the closed clique that is the fashion world. Suddenly, instead of looking to the runways for inspiration, the style-minded started stealing ideas from online photos snapped on the world’s hippest streets. It was fresh, it was democratic, it was inspired. But now it just feels lame.
Here’s why: When the street-style trend went nuclear, all the accidental “Who, me?” unselfconsciousness that once made it so fresh was tainted. The streets became the runway. Next thing you know, wannabe style icons are stalking Sartorialist-favored avenues, hoping to be photographed. And—even worse—the fashionistas loitering outside the shows in Europe transformed from insiders who live the life into try-hards working overtime to get photographed. What everyone quickly learned is that the best way to get noticed is to go over the top—to identify every trend and pile them all on at once.
These days, the supposed cool kids look like straight-up jackasses. It’s like, dude, why is your tie tucked, your collar askew, your pant rolled, your sleeves cut off, your jacket double-breasted, and your pocket square poufing so high it’s licking your earlobes…all at the same time? You know it’s bad when bros are making Kanye West seem like a bastion of restrained taste.
So what does all this mean to those of us who want to look stylish without becoming fashion victims? Be careful when imitating what you see on the blogs, and remember to take it one trend at a time. Avoid the temptation to go full Salvador Dalí. If you’ve got on blue-soled shoes, maybe you don’t need a matching blue bolo tie. If your trousers are artfully rolled, maybe you don’t need to tuck in your tie. And for the love of God, don’t make somebody stop you in the street to tell you that your ankle bandannas are showing.