Ask Kent

Where to the best fabrics come from?

I received this question from a reader: Where do the best fabrics come from? This is what I shared with them: Traditionally, the fabrics made in Italy are known for their quality in raw materials and workmanship. We carry many of these select Italian fabrics. We also carry fabrics made in England and other locations devoted to quality textile construction—each has been chosen to join our fabric selection based on quality of threads, dyes, and weave. High-quality fabrics last longer and wear better than those made to lower standards. Off-the-rack clothing is often designed to be worn for a year or two at most, so quality isn’t always paramount to the makers. We insist on first-class fabrics to ensure your custom clothing is wearable for years to come.  ...

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What’s the best thing to carry my work things around?

I received this question from a reader: I’ve always used a backpack, but I want to up my game a bit. What’s the best thing to carry my work things around? This is what I shared with them: When you are ready to move beyond the backpack, you’ve got several good options for a classy carry-all. The traditional leather briefcase is all-business and makes an elegant statement about your professionalism. If you want a slimmer profile, try a portfolio case that safely zips your most important items inside. For hands-free comfort, go with a sturdy cross-body satchel bag, made of either leather or canvas. Whichever carry-all you choose, make sure it’s ruggedly built, including the hardware, for long-lasting durability....

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Is it okay to roll up my shirt sleeves?

I received this question from a reader: Is it okay to roll up my shirt sleeves? This is what I shared with them: Rolling up your sleeves keeps the cuffs clean when you’re eating or washing your hands. It’s also a great way to dress down an outfit when going from an office atmosphere to after-hours social engagements. However, there’s definitely an art to it. Here are a few tips on how to roll up your sleeves yet keep your shirt looking great. It’s best to fold sleeves—don’t roll them. Make sure both sides end up even in length, and don’t roll sleeves up past your elbows. Unroll them as soon as possible to avoid excessive wrinkles. Don’t roll up sleeves when in important business meetings, when you need to look as polished as possible. Sleeves should also be worn down to the wrist when wearing a coat or vest, as well as when dressed...

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Different Length Ties

I received this question from a reader: How do I tie different length ties right the first time? This is what I shared with them: We've got a simple way to help you know exactly where to start your knot, with any length of necktie. Tie your regular knot. Carefully untie and measure the length of fabric used in knot. Slide the thick (wide) end of your necktie down so that length of fabric used in the knot sits just below your belt buckle. Hold the necktie in position carefully and tie the knot again. QUICK TIP: Find an easy approximation of the knot fabric length (such as fingertip to fingertip of your outstretched hand, or two hand widths, etc.) and use that as your measurement each time instead of using a ruler....

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Creative Coat Linings vs. Traditional Coat Linings

I received this question from a reader: Every once in a while, I catch a glimpse of a coat lining that’s bright and flashy instead of the traditional solid gray, brown, navy, etc. What do you recommend I line my next coat with? This is what I shared with them: Your coat’s lining doesn’t show often, but it does make an appearance now and then. That gives you a wonderful opportunity for an expression of your own personal style. You can certainly go with a traditional lining fabric—but if you prefer something bold (or even outrageous), we’re here to help! Our extensive fabric supply gives you access to lining fabrics that create a bold statement with a contrasting color, or add elegance with coordinating stripes or prints. The myriad possibilities include novelty prints, hobby- or sports-based prints, paisleys, jacquard weaves, and more....

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Plastic Collar Stays vs. Metal Collar Stays

I received this question from a reader: Which are better, plastic or metal collar stays? This is what I shared with them: Collar stays are inserted into the points of your collar to strengthen the fabric. Over time, even if you remove the plastic stays before they go through the rigors of being laundered, they may bend enough that they no longer have the stiffness necessary to maintain the collar’s strong V shape. Metal stays are less flexible than plastic ones, so do not bend as easily. If you’re trying out metal stays, consider magnetic ones. They’re a great option for collars that don’t have stay pockets (such as polo shirts) and occasions when you want to precisely control the collar presentation....

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How to Iron a Tie

I received this question from a reader: Can I iron my tie? It seems to have permanent wrinkles, but I don’t want to take it to the cleaners. This is what I shared with them: You can certainly use an iron to remove wrinkles and restore a fresh look to your ties—but not by pressing them. Here’s how: Turn the iron on high and select the steam setting. Hold the iron about one inch over the tie and let the steam sink into the tie. Move the iron back and forth slowly above the tie’s surface. This will release wrinkles without damaging the delicate fabric of your tie....

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The Flat-Front Trouser Compromise

I received this question from a reader: My wife says I should buy flat-front trousers, but they’re uncomfortable—too tight, and not just at the waist! Is there any compromise? This is what I shared with them: Yes, there’s an excellent compromise. Trousers with pleats are generally felt to be more comfortable because they not only offer more room around your middle, they are also roomier at the knee. We can subtly alter the dimensions of even flat-front trousers to provide ample room at the knee, so that you lose nothing in comfort—and keep your wife happy with the trim look of flat-front trousers....

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Master Going Tie-less

I received this question from a reader: When I don’t wear a tie, I feel like my outfit looks incomplete. How do I master going tie-less? This is what I shared with them: When you’re skipping the tie, you’ll need to make sure your shirt is up to the task. Choose thicker fabric to ensure your shirt won’t “wilt” without a tie to stabilize it and pull it into shape. If you frequently go tie-less, consider creating a stiffer-than-usual collar for even more help with stabilization. And, of course, a shirt that fits you perfectly will always look better than one that’s merely close to fitting you and requires a tie to cover its inadequacy....

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How to Choose Cuff Links

I received this question from a reader: How do I choose cuff links? This is what I shared with them: There are several good approaches to choosing cuff links. You may want to wear cuff links that carry personal meaning, such as an heirloom set or gift from a loved one. Your cuff links can also show support of a group you value, such as your political affiliation, your alma mater, or a philanthropic cause you support. Or, you may choose cuff links as a tribute to your culture or geographical region. Ideally, the best cuff links have visual appeal on both sides, instead of having one decorative side and one plain side. However, a fantastic design may be worth having a standard swivel on the back side....

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