Q: I’ve been seeing more and more plain front trousers. Are pleats no longer in?
A: The choice really has to do with what looks most flattering on you. The plain front look is associated with narrower pant leg and the return of the two-button side-vent suit jacket. It’s considered a more modern, lean, pared-down look – if you can call a style from the late 50’s and early 60’s “modern.” (Think JFK, Rat Pack chic, “Mad Men.”) The wider- leg pleated pant harkens back to the glamorous 30’s and 40’s (think Fred Astaire, early Cary Grant) and has been the dominant look for about 20 years. If you tend to expand or reduce your waist size over time, the pleats are better at concealing it. So it just depends on your comfort level with either look.
Q: How much cuff on my pants should cover my shoes?
A: You’re asking about what’s called the “break.” Usually, a one-inch break on the front crease will give you the look of correct proportion. Remember, when you’re standing straight up, your socks should not show. But don’t use that as an excuse to wear socks that don’t remotely work with your suit.
Q: Whenever I hang a new or just-dry cleaned suit or jacket in my closet, when I take it out it’s wrinkled. What’s going on?
A: Be assured there’s no wrinkle demon living in your closet. You are probably hanging your garments too close together. For suits and overcoats, allow three inches between each. For trousers, allow 2” between them. Otherwise, be prepared to buy a clothes steamer and use it every day.
Q: I try wearing striped ties with striped shirts but end up giving myself and everyone else a headache. What am doing wrong?
A: The stripe of the shirt should be smaller or subtler than the stripe of the tie. Otherwise, take two aspirin and call us in the morning.
Ask Ed your questions about anything concerning menswear, tailoring, clothing maintenance, or the other urgent matters of style and taste. Just send an email right here.