Wants: Navy Blazer x Gold Buttons

21/09/2011 § 6 Comments

You’re probably already well aware of my preppyish tomboyish inclinations.  I’ve never met a monogram or a penny loafer that I didn’t like, but as I survey my fall wardrobe, I have a glaring omission that you will probably be surprised to learn.  Every time fall rolls around, I say to myself (and whoever might be listening), “Man, I really need a navy blazer with gold buttons”…and then nothing happens.  Every year.  I’m not sure why.  An iconic prep staple, if ever there was one, the navy blazer will figure largely for me this fall.  It must be wool, it must have gold buttons, but I’m flexible on whether it is double or single breasted.

I’ve collected a few candidates on my Svpply.  Which one do you prefer?

J. Crew Schoolboy blazer $188
Cheapest option, but a bit too much on the shrunken side.

Rugby Little Boy Polo Jacket $298
Really like the contrast collar, but I’m not a collar-popper.
Are those cuff buttons functional?

Ralph Lauren Blue Label Classic Blazer $398
Generally like, especially the lapels, but will I tire of the crest?

Brooks Brothers Classic Blazer $398
Oh Brooks Brothers, take me to Yawnsville.
I am a fan of Loro Piana wool, though…

Ralph Lauren Blue Label Polo Custom Blazer $598
Liking these lapels and this crest less than the other RL blazer.

Brooks Brothers Black Fleece Shetland Jacket $650
Uff!! Thom Browne, you are so so good.
Love the additional pocket.

Boy. by Band of Outsiders cropped blazer $1,110
Hate the way they styled this.
Very much like how it manages to be double-breasted and not too boxy.

Boy. by Band of Outsiders blazer $1,125
Perfection.  Well, except for the price tag.


Ask Me Anything: The Perfect Button-Down

28/06/2011 § 4 Comments

If there’s anything I might be able to help you with, drop me a line: contact@quitecontinental.net
The amazing Ms. Jenna Lyons* Image via Style.com

Dear QC,
I’m relatively new to your blog, but am thoroughly enamored with your looks for summer (chinos, oxfords, and the like). I was wondering if you have any tips for choosing the best fit for button-down shirts? Do you shop men’s, women’s or both? I’m a bit curvy and not sure where to begin, I’m afraid I’ll be swimming in a men’s shirt, but won’t get the same look in a women’s cut!

I’m a size 12 and pretty curvaceous, as I have a 40 inch bust. I’m a recent graduate from Saint Louis University, so I shop on a budget, with few splurges. My best friends are upscale resale stores and on occasion eBay, but I try to find looks in stores where I can try things on first, and then buy pieces at a discount elsewhere.

Any suggestions would be fantastic!

First, thanks for your kind words and asking for my help!  Ah yes, you have figured out that I almost always have buttons on my shirt.  (In fact, I’m wearing a button-down right now…)  Let’s first get you sorted and then offer a few tips to everyone else.  I should first disclose that you and I have opposite “fit issues” when it comes to shirt shopping.  While mother nature has blessed you with a womanly bustline that has me positively green with envy, I’m what some might call “athletic”…if they were being nice.  But I think that my experience hunting for a perfect shirt will lend itself nicely to your search.

Our first stop is Brooks Brothers.  With women’s shirts available in sizes 0 to 20, I’m confident you could find something here.  Their Classic Fit is the fullest fit available, isn’t darted and has a french front, but I’m curious to see if you might like going up a size or two and trying their more tailored fits — namely, the Tailored and the Fitted.  The darts on a larger size might add a nice bit of shape, whereas the Classic Fit might end up being a bit too blousy.  (Sidenote: the Miracle Non-Iron shirts are amazing, especially for travel, business or otherwise.  I took one with me on a trip to Cairo and it held up beautifully crammed in my duffel.  They’re also excellent if you hate ironing as much as I do.)

Next up, J. Crew.  Here, I recommend the men’s shirts over the women’s.  I’m an especially big fan of their Vintage Chambray Utility Shirt, and have been wearing mine nonstop.  Last summer I went to the Liquor Store in Tribeca to try out the sizing.  I fit into an extra small, but preferred the small because this is a shirt that is meant to be worn a bit loose.  Luckily, these shirts go up to an extra extra large, so I’ll confident you’ll be able to find something comfy and casual.  (The J. Crew women’s shirts go up to an extra large or a 14, which should work.  To be safe, I’d suggest the Perfect Shirt with a bit of stretch, as I understand from my more endowed lady friends that the single biggest issue with wearing button-downs is that annoying gap that tends to open between button holes across the bust.) (I wouldn’t know as my buttons aren’t taxed in the least bit.  They’re practically on vacation.)

Lastly, if you only get one oxford shirt, I want you to get a bengal stripe by Ralph Lauren.  I’ve got more than a few and they only get better and softer with age.  On the women’s side they offer sizes up to 14, but just in case you find the fit unsatisfactory, I might suggest purchasing the men’s shirt and taking it to a tailor to add back or side darts to tweak the fit and make it your own.  (Sidenote: Go to a menswear shop and get measured to figure out what size you are in men’s dress shirts, as they are sold by neck size and sleeve length.)

Good luck!  Do let me know what you end up getting!

A few tips for those with me in the — ahem — “athletic” boat:

  • For dress shirts, the Brooks Brothers Tailored Fit cannot be beat.  The darts are excellently placed.
  • Also try J. Crew men’s shirts in slim/extra small.  An added bonus for tall girls like me, the sleeves are usually quite a bit longer than those you find normally on a woman’s shirt.
  • Check out the men’s shirts at Wharf.  Made in New England, they are of excellent quality, are offered in a small and are meant to shrink a bit.  (Sidenote: I hear that Wharf is working on a line of ladies shirts, which I am sure will be very exciting.)

*Postscript: By the by, I am rather obsessed with Jenna Jyons, President and executive creative director of J. Crew.  She’s 6 feet tall, brunette, from California, and the heir apparent at J. Crew — how could I not be a fan? The lovely Kendall Crow posted a great interview of Jenna and Derek Lam at Parsons (their alma matter) on her blog that you should take a look at, when you have a moment.  I love how Lyons is so funny and down to earth, and greatly admire her personal sense of style — not to mention how well she handled the whole (ridiculous) nail polish gender controversy.

If there’s anything I might be able to help you with, drop me a line: contact@quitecontinental.net

One From The Boys: Silk in the Raw {also, My Tie Love Affair}

16/03/2011 § 4 Comments

My love affair with beautiful neckties is ages old, cherie, and I definitely think it began in my formative years.  The fact that my father wore a suit and tie every day served to transform the necktie into a powerful symbol of maleness and there is nothing I like more on a man.  Even when he’s in casual dress, the addition of a tie will make me look once, twice, thrice.  (Tie and glasses?  C’est Fini!)

In college, I worked as a sales clerk in men’s suits in a large department store one Christmas season.  The crowning glory?  Ties upon ties upon ties displayed in a rainbow wheel of silk on circular tables, susceptible to complete dishevelment at the lightest touch from passersby.  That table was a labor of love for me.  I lost myself in the pursuit of perfection while my co-workers steered clear, endeavoring to look busy as they futzed over already-tidied merchandise.

While I’ve definitely given more Hermès than I’ve received — I’m looking to rectify that, d’accord! — I’ve become something of a tie collector and I enjoy wearing one frequently.  (Sidenote: Isn’t it more than a bit unfair that a woman in a tie is viewed as more casual, whereas a man in a tie is automatically considered more formal?)  I tend to favor a skinnier tie and usually employ the military tie tuck to keep from looking too Annie Hall.  My best tie tip for the girls is that most of us can get away with wearing a boy’s tie — just look for the longest length available.  Brooks Brothers Fleece ties in a size 50 are perfect.  Added bonus: when they go on sale they run about $16.

Tie: Brooks Brothers Fleece, available here.  Foto: Jennerator

As spring approaches, I’ve been hungering for a few new ties and Lawrence over at Sartorially Inclined has clued me in to what just might be my next move: raw silk.  The ties I wear need to be versatile enough to be dressed down, but I love luxurious textiles — This is beautiful! What is that? Velvet? I definitely don’t want to be limited to knit or casual fabrics just because a tie on a girl is considered casual.  The texture of the raw silk immediately caught my eye — luxe, nubby, simultaneously shiny and matte — and I’m inclined to give the 7cm striped shantung ties by Drakes London a try with threadbare chambray, crisp dress shirts and everything in between.

What’s around your neck this spring?

H/T: Sartorially Inclined: Raw Silk For S/S

28 Days of Classy and Fabulous Things: Day 15 – Wear Pajamas

15/02/2011 § Leave a comment

**QC’s 28 Days**
In February I will be bringing you daily tips
to cultivate more classiness and fabulousness in daily life!
Image via LIFE, taken in 1944 by Nina Leen.

Day 15: Wear Pajamas
Today’s tip is an easy way to class up your boudoir.  In eras past, people put just as much thought into their clothes for sleeping as they did for their day wardrobe.  Today, this sartorial pride has completely fallen off — evidenced not only in the prevalence of jogging suits and Uggs but especially in what is popularly accepted as pajamas.  I’m not linking anything here as an example because I don’t want to steer you wrong, d’accord!

The classy and fabulous thing to wear to bed?  Pajamas.  Or a nightgown.  And put a robe on.  Whatever you choose, take pride in it and make sure it’s beautiful.  No more crawling into bed in the ratty old boxers you’re still holding onto from your college boyfriend.  No more falling asleep in your undershirt and basketball shorts.  No.  Wifebeaters.  Yes, really.

Kiki de Montparnasse makes a simple, yet sensual statement in silk chiffon.  Scoop it here.

I may not be a fan of their aforementioned jogging suits, but Juicy Couture delivers a sweet silk camisole set.  Scoop it here.

If you’re more of a romantic, Clare Tough’s cream silk slip may be right up your alley.  Scoop it here.

Perhaps something that looks like you stole it from your Mr.?  Brooks Brothers is the place to look.  Do your best Lucy Ricardo and scoop these classic pinstripes here.

Earlier: Quite Continental’s 28 Days of Classy and Fabulous Things

Fotos: Brooks Brothers Fleece Fall 2010 ~ 346 Madison Ave Flagship

09/09/2010 § Leave a comment

Was at the Brooks Brothers flagship for a completely unrelated bit of browsing when I happened upon the display for their relatively new children’s line, called “Fleece,” on the second floor.  While both the boys’ and girls’ lines are charming, I feel the girls’ line (and display) has a slight edge.  The looks for the girls have such a fresh take on the classic prep school style: pinstriped oxford shirt dresses with contrast piping, ties and bow ties used liberally, lots of fun contrasting colors, etc.  As for the displays and merchandising, all of my pictures are from the girls’ side.

The boys’ line, while classic and of high quality, doesn’t really break any new ground.  Looked more like BB had simply miniaturized and rehashed old mens’ lines and displays.  With such innovation on the girls’ side, I expected the some for the boys as well, but perhaps this is the one example where Brooks Brothers finally does a superior line for females.   (I’ve always been a bit of a disappointed Brooks Brothers womenswear shopper, can you tell?)  I have to admit, this lopsidedness was surprising to me — until I found out the primary designer for Fleece was a woman.  Aha!

For more on Fleece – head over to the Brooks Brothers site here.

The only thing more adorable than the store display is the ad campaign.

What is a classic?
a. The #2 pencil. In yellow.
b. An ancient Greek story.
c. Fleece: Brooks Brothers’ new collection for children.

Answer: all the above. A classic is like a secret. Pass it on…from sibling to sibling, one generation to the next.

The little girl in the bow tie!  J’adore!

Via: BrooksBrothers346 YouTube Channel

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