For Weddings And A Funeral

kamaparty

I’ve mentioned here before that I haven’t owned a suit for the past few years, preferring grey trousers and patterned sportcoats.

But I now have a simple charcoal suit to wear to weddings and a funeral — my own funeral, that is. Perhaps someday I’ll be buried in this.

The suit was made by Kamakura Shirts — that’s right, they’ve got even more tricks up their sleeve. We posted recently on their ties and pocket squares, but back in Japan they also have a made-to-measure suit business that goes by the name Tex-Teq. During the summer their fitter visited and took my specs. I chose a simple charcoal worsted fabric from Dormeuil, and asked for as close to an Ivy suit as possible. We hit one barrier immediately when the fitter said he didn’t think the factory could make an undarted chest.

But the result is a superb-fitting and very well made suit perfectly in keeping with how I dress. It features swelled edges on the lapel and lapped seams, hook vent, and two working buttonholes on each sleeve, which they placed kissing for a non-kosher twist. A small amount of sleevehead meets an otherwise unpadded shoulder. Trousers are flat-front and slightly tapered with 1 3/4 inch cuffs.

The suit arrived just in time for Kamakura’s one-year anniversary party last week at its Madison Avenue store, where I was thanked profusely for introducing the brand to America in that first blog post. Even random middle-aged women I was introduced to (hardly our readers or their customers) somehow had heard that a website called Ivy Style was responsible for the brand’s success. Those polite Japanese, always overstating things.

I’m seen above walking in the front door (and, thanks to the diminutive photographer, looking taller than Tyler Thoreson), wearing a short buttondown from Ledbury, a navy satin tie (with the sky blue rear blade sprezzidentally showing) from Tommy Hilfiger, black and white rep-striped tie bar from Rugby, black grosgrain watch band, and black Alden tassels with blue and white houndstooth socks from RL.

No idea if Kamakura will ever bring its suit program here to the States, but if it does, you can bet you’ll find the same quality-to-price ratio as with its shirts. — CC

42 Comments on "For Weddings And A Funeral"

  1. Very nice looking suit! I hope the bring it to the states.
    Also, it’s a rare honor to be an influencer in the world of American styled fashion 😉

  2. G. Bruce Boyer | November 8, 2013 at 11:18 am |

    The suit looks good, and the total look is sophisticated. It has the aura of the jazz musicians of my youth, who were super clean, cool, and polished. “Pressed to the marrow”, as we used to say.

  3. I thought my eyes were deceiving me—everything looks great, but what’s going on with the tie?—and then I read this:

    “a navy satin tie (with the sky blue rear blade sprezzidentally showing) from Tommy Hilfiger”

    Contrast-tail ties are is not to my tastes, but the colors of this one bring out your eyes.

  4. I watched a Fred Astaire film from the ’50s a couple of weeks ago and he wore satin ties with his oxford buttondowns and sport jackets. Loved it and stole it immediately.

    Looked around for ones in the right width and found 3.25s from Tommy, 2 for 1 at a Macy’s sale. No idea why the rear blade is sticking out to the side like that, but at least it gave me the opportunity to coin a neosprezzalogism.

    I’m planning another “Black Mischief” post and will show the black one in action.

  5. Love to see the suit with OCBD, repp or madder tie, paisley kerchief minus the clown smile more befitting to the classy woman with whom you are pictured.

  6. Sharp suit, nice color. I like the coat, earrings and haircut of the woman beside you, really pretty.

  7. She’s a chic chick and has been digging her chic sheik.

    I’ll probably wear it at least once before my funeral, Squeeze, and will take your suggestions under advisement.

  8. A buttondown with a suit? And a short one at that? With a sport jacket, okay. With a suit, no. Just a personal opinion. Suit IS nice looking, though.

  9. Buttondown with a suit is the Ivyist thing about this outfit! ; )

    Already have a post planned for Sunday on why the buttondown is not a dress shirt, by no less an authority as GQ. Should be fun.

  10. Malvernlink | November 8, 2013 at 1:57 pm |

    Beautiful suit. Charcoal is so versatile. An evening wedding when a dinner jacket is not required, same goes for a night at the symphony. For a cocktail party I wear a pink and white
    university stripe OCBD with dark navy knit tie and color 8 shell cordovan penny loafers. You look great in that suit.

  11. Mitchell S. | November 8, 2013 at 2:02 pm |

    Christian looking dapper, as usual. The university-stripe button down is a nice touch. If only Kamakura offered a Royal Oxford button-down, I would wear it with a suit. A regular OCBD shirt is too informal to wear with a business suit.

  12. Pinky ring!

  13. A really nice suit…nearly ruined by a terrible necktie.

  14. Roy R. Platt | November 8, 2013 at 3:11 pm |

    I’ve worn button down shirts (and only button down shirts) with suits for over fifty years. I have no idea where the “no button downs with suits” concept came from. It seems to be a fairly recent invention, probably made up by the sort of people whose fathers and grandfathers didn’t wear suits to work.

    The only non button down shirts that I have ever had are the white pique shirts that I wear with dinner jackets, and if I ever saw a RTW white pique bib front three stud hole button down shirt, I would buy it.

    I have even worn white button down shirts with a black jacket, grey vest, striped trousers, and spats.

  15. Great suit,Chris,
    i hope that you can wear it for many weddings and very very few funerals (of 100 year old guys).
    About your last trip ( in very late XXI century i wish you), as Ivy league aesthetic follower and disciple,you are comfortable with the idea to spend the eternity with two darts on the chest?

  16. Eternity with darts is preferable to eternity with a lapel over 3 inches. Now that would be square.

    Nice to see reactions are along party lines and as predictable as the rising of the sun and moon. Bruce, who’s into jazz and Astaire, digs the look. Squeeze, who’s Broadway and kosher Ivy royalty, wants OCBD and rep tie. AEV hates satin tie. Non-orthodox Carmelo likes non-orthodox suit. Etc., etc.

  17. Absolutly Chris!
    Over 3 inches is the hell.
    I like your suit,is heir of the “American clean cut” ( i call it so) of 50s and 60s (the style that Don Draper character has popularized): a suit darted,but with many Ivy feature.
    The best of two world,in my opinion.

  18. But does the shoulder have the 6 and 1/8th “Golden Ratio”?

  19. Indeed Carmelo, and who would refuse the kindness and generosity of one’s Japanese menswear peers on the moral grounds of dartlessness?

  20. Are you really known as Chris, or is that just the assumption of some readers of this blog?

  21. When I was a little kid I told a roomful of friends and relatives I wanted to be called Chris because “I’m not much of a Christian.”

  22. You mention the value proposition of the suit; if it’s not too hush-hush, how much did the suit set you back?

  23. Five years.

  24. Looking sharp Christian. I gotta go with Squeeze on the observations. A rep tie would have nailed it, but hey, you had an Astaire moment, no harm, no foul..ard!

  25. Nice.

    I am guessing that, with time, they’ll figure out the no darts/dartless thing. I mean, one would think.

    If they can introduce that suit at $700 or less, they’ll find a market.

  26. A.E.W. Mason | November 9, 2013 at 2:59 am |

    It looks great. Darts used to bother me; my mantra was, “Men’s jackets do not have darts.” Not any more. There are much more important factors that go into making a great jacket. Anyway, the whole things has a great sophisticated look about it, and the white pocket square folded straight is a part of what makes it work. I also think it’s great you took inspiration from Astaire. After all, that’s the kind of approach that makes wearing cloths and cultivating a wardrobe fun. I just bought two windowpane suits and tried to match two of the suits worn by Ray Milland in Dial M for Murder. Are those working cuff buttons? Lastly, I agree with Squeeze; I think that woman looks great–great smile.

  27. I never had such a mantra. Because, in fact, some jackets (suit and sporting) do, and, well, because of the sartorial lineage, should, have darts. I can’t see the shoulders because of the angle, but I feel sure CC demanded a soft, sloped, rounded shoulder. Plenty of other important elements to a well made, good looking jacket.

    Still, if it’s the purist Brooks No. 1 Sack look one is after (I don’t think CC declared as much), then darts aren’t welcome. It’s a unique style. Quintessentially American? And now endangered.

  28. And I agree with Squeeze.

    Especially if it’s a basic worsted (plain weave or twill)–100’s or less–it cries out for something a tad more matte. Like a basic English Repp (stripe) or wool challis.

  29. @CC – true, satin ties are pretty bad…..but, to be clear, contrast blade Hilfiger ones are even worse.

    but, again, a great looking suit. have you thought about pairing the jacket with sweatpants? http://www.unabashedlyprep.com

  30. Astaire paired a bright, satin (okay, redundant) tie with a tweed jacket?

    There’s imaginitive, and then there’s outright recalcitrance. Sometimes rules just make sense.

  31. AEV & SE:

    Astaire is widely regarded as one of the best dressed men of the 20th century. I admire his taste more than yours, AEV. He broke rules, you follow them. You’re a prep, he wasn’t.

    Of course satin isn’t Ivy. I expected that 99 percent of my readers here wouldn’t like it. Ditto for the color black. That doesn’t stop me though from occasionally sharing my personal tastes here.

    Hard to tell from photos if Astaire paired satin with tweed. They were certainly patterned sport coats, though, and with oxford cloth button downs.

    The day after I saw the movie (I think it was “Daddy Long Legs”), I was at Paul Stuart and talked about Astaire with Mark Rykken. I mentioned the satin tie (Astaire’s was grey/silver) with OCBD, saying I thought it looked great and that no one would do that today. He readily agreed.

    I wear wool challis ties and paisley squares with my sport coats and flannels all the time. The suit provided the perfect occasion for a challis and paisley vacation.

  32. ‘Breaking rules’ has become one of the most grating phrases and aspirations within men’s fashion/clothing. In many ways, it’s become harder – more unique, more noteworthy almost – to be aware of and follow basic style rules and guidelines than it is to ‘break them’. Most people seem to break rules for the sake of it……the blogosphere certainly proves that. Fred Astaire, for example, wasn’t so much ‘breaking rules’ as he was helping to redefine and establish (new) rules for the rest of us (and for the last 50 years of men’s style/fashion…). Beyond that, he was Fred Astaire – you’re not (nor am I).

    If you think an OCBD and satin contrasting blade tie looks good with a traditionally styled charcoal suit, so be it….this is your sandbox. That said, I don’t.

  33. I’d like to offer a personal apology for the contrasting blade being visible. We had just played for an hour on the golf simulator at Brooks Brothers.

  34. Your patience and tolerance is beyond commendable, Christian.
    I rather liked the outfit, tie included.

  35. A.E.W. Mason | November 9, 2013 at 5:49 pm |

    I’ve always liked composer Arnold Schoenberg’s formulation: “Rules are broken by two kinds of people; the first kind to great achievement and the other to ruin, the former being a master and the latter someone entirely ignorant.” I think the tie works in the way CC wanted it to. When men like Astaire break rules, or–more accurately as described by AEV–redefine and establish new ones, they are really challenging us to accept something which is to us out of the “ordinary” but which may prove pleasing and desirable. This isn’t really rule breaking. All Christian has done is employ a combination that is outside what we associate with what would customarily be worn by a man from the Eastern Establishment who attended prep school, an Ivy League college, who is employed such that he is decidedly not starving for his art, and whose public image speaks of that certain WASP profile which shuns all sensuality and experimentation (although in private, of course, he may be a raving sex addict).

  36. Thing is, it fits in perfetctly. Having walked the streets of Midtown more often than I’d prefer throughout the past few years, a darted, mid-roll three button (low button stance) paired with straight (no roll) spread collar (in this case, button downed) and solid, shiny tie is par. for. the. course. Ubiquitous. Every-darned-where. It’s the going look.

    And I no longer associate old Brooks/J. Press with an Eastern Establishment of any sort. Gergen was right when he declared there is no longer an Establishment. Many establishments mean no one Establishment. And even if there is, they’re wearing darted charcoal suits with straight spread collars and solid, shiny ties.

    What would really and truly be “out of the ordinary” (in Manhattan, at least) is a circa-1985 Brooks ensemble–the kind many of us recall, and HTJ (among others) have been good to resurrect by way of the occasoinal post: a natural shoulder sack suit (that actually has natural shoulders), unlined OCBD, bold repp tie (what happened to the #1 repp in bold, primary colors?), and tassel mocs.

  37. Can any Kamakura customers in the US describe any import duties, fees, etc. they may have had to pay? I am considering placing an order for two shirts to qualify for free shipping, but paying 19.7% duty adds to the already considerable (for me) price. The total will be near $190 for two shirts if the duties described on their page are accurate. Thank you in advance for any input you have to offer!

  38. Guys, please calm down. It’s a big world out there — why turn personal style into a religion that others must follow or risk censure? It’s the overall effect that counts, not whether each detail is orthodox in the context of a particular aesthetic (ivy).

    Do you need more proof than the elegant, charming woman next to our hero in the photo?

  39. Christian,

    good suit. Since they placed the two buttons kissing and up from the cuff, you might consider adding a third button to give the sleeve more balance. I think three would look more complete than two in this case.

    .

  40. Thank you for writing about Kamakura. I have found their OCBDs excellent.

  41. In response to the question re: duties, I ordered 2 Kamakura shirts sent to Toronto and was hit up with some pretty nasty duties, pretty well what you describe.

    And to Mitchell S’ plea for a Royal Oxford BD, here’s one: http://shop.kamakurashirts.com/goods_en_usd_665.html

  42. @Spex

    Judging by that photo, Kamakura’s collar spread is as bad as L.L. Bean’s.

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