The Sports Coat: How, Why, Where & When?

sportscoatThere are a few items out there in the world which can truly transform any outfit into a winner in one swift action, one of which has to be the Sports Coat. Thrown over a casual t-shirt you will immediately be granted access to bars which you were previously denied. Now that is power.

When did this start? 

Once restricted to sportsmen engaging in hunting trips, shooting parties and general country life, the look emerged as everyday casual wear during the 1920’s, especially among young men.

During this period, men were looking for clothing which offered a mix of both comfort and high fashion which in turn lead them to the ever-evolving sport jacket as a fashion-forward answer to their social function needs.

Why Invest?

  1.  Most Importantly, the Sports Coat should enhance your silhouette. As a well fitted sports jacket broadens & heightens a man’s shoulders, it can slim the appearance of any midsection creating a more natural masculine appearance overall. This alone should earn its place in any mans wardrobe.
  2. It’s functional – a sports jacket will keep the wearer warm and generally will have plenty of pockets for holding various items that would otherwise have been delegated to the back pocket of your jeans/trousers/pants.
  3. It allows you to showcase your individuality –  Rather than showing up to your next casual business event to find every male in the room (yourself included) is dressed in the off-duty wall street uniform of khakis, business shirt and tie, be the guy who looses the tie and throws on a sports jacket for an effortlessly casual and yet still professional look.

What Defines a Sports Coat?

Sports Coat’s can range in fabric and weave, however a classic old school style will usually be made from wool’s and cottons of various weights. Typically designers will stick to cotton fabric in the summer and wool’s in the cooler months. Blended fabrics are growing in popularity, however we personally prefer a wool blend, just for pure durability’s sake. Some of the most common weaves utilized in sports jackets are tweed, flannel and corduroy.arthur miller

How to Wear

We tend to take our style cues on this one from the great Arthur Miller. I mean….look who he was married to?!”  But generally speaking, a sports jacket is most appropriately paired with a dress shirt.

When wearing them together, consider the same rules which apply when wearing a suit, ensure ¼ to ½ inch of cuff shows and about ½ inch of the top of the collar above the jacket’s collar, just for propriety’s sake.

Casual shirts are especially at home here, think check patterns and light stripe polo’s. Personally, we are not huge fans of the jacket over the t-shirt look, but hey, if you have the confidence to pull this look off, more power to you!

Our Pick?

This classic trim, pure wool sports jacket by Cambridge is a crucial addition to any contemporary wardrobe. From the exclusive Ron Bennett signature collection, this black wool version is cut from a luxurious cloth and specially crafted to ensure the finest quality. Cut in a modern classic fit, this timeless piece sets a new standard in sharp, sophisticated style. Wear it with matching trousers to create a refined, tailored look that will ignite your appearance and provide you with a superior fashion edge this season.

Blog Writing by Alexandra Jones-Best

Mens Basics: Belts vs Braces

Mens Basics: Belts vs Braces

lithgow_suspenders_72dpiIt’s not exactly the thought-provoking conundrum which keeps one awake at night, but after recently stumbling across a forum entirely devoted to this debate, we decided it was time to delve a little deeper.

As with any outfit, it is the small touches which truly make the difference and thus mastering the basics is essential.

Important Note: As the old saying goes: “He’s a belt and suspenders kind of guy.”  This paints the picture of a man is so worried that his belt will not hold up, that he wears suspenders, just in case.

This is not exactly a flattering image, so lets avoid this metaphor at all costs. Bottom line: Unless your John Lithgow, lets agree that a belt and suspenders should never be seen.

Belts

As belts are the easier of the two, with less rules and possible mistakes we will start here.

If you are Beltattending a semi-formal to formal occasion, it is still generally considered the done thing to match your belt with your shoes.

This means, if you are wearing a dark brown belt with a simple silver buckle, matching brown leather shoes should follow. The same rule applies if you are rocking a Texas shaped buckle on a star-spangled belt: its time to dust off those cowboy boots.

For the big and tall men, purchasing a belt can be a harrowing and exhausting task, with the “standard” lengths not necessarily representative of the modern man. Luckily, Ron Bennett Big Mens Clothing  stocks a huge range of large size belts to compliment the sophistication of a new business suit, or to simply add a dash of style to your favorite pair of jeans.

Our range of big men belts are specifically designed for the modern man and come direct from some of the world’s best brands.

SuspendersBraces:

Once considered the only men’s accessory necessary for day-to-day life, braces or suspenders have re-appeared throughout the ages and are yet again making a solid comeback.

The key to wearing braces is to ensure they match your suit or general outfit colour scheme. Look to the Wall Street movies for inspiration. Braces are perfect for customizing your look to add some flare to any 9-5 workday.

Ensure you stick to neutral colours so they won’t clash with whatever you pair them with – navy or grey are always a safe bet. Much like your Belt,  make sure the leather ends (where they attach to your pants), match your shoes.

Who knows you may never want to wear a belt again!

Which to Wear When? 

Generally for professional events (work, interview, career-related cocktail party or networking function), we would tend to lean towards the belt, as it is usually more appropriate.

However, when attending casual/social events, defiantly break out those braces. Furthermore, don’t just keep them for special occasions, these babies can be used to assist your pant needs any day of the week, just throw over the top of your usual casual attire for the truly dapper look (think Gordan Gekko without the corruption).

No matter what you choose, the best advice anyone can ever give is to wear them with pride!

Blog Writing by Alexandra Jones-Best

Entertainment Friday: Celebrating Big Men Of Style

Its Friday and our favorite day to celebrate Big and Tall Men of style!

Today’s men have gone down in history, not only for their many talents but for embracing their size and wearing it proudly underneath garments that fit great and look awesome. They have paved the way for big and tall men in fashion, demonstrating that size is no barrier to success, instead presenting the ideal that dressing well is about presenting your body in the best and most flattering way possible —without trying to distort the body itself.

FatsFats Navarro:

Born Theodore “Fats” Navarro in Key West, Florida 1923, Navarro became known as the pioneer of the bebop style of jazz improvisation in the 1940’s as well as the winner of the Metronome jazz poll for 1948. As an American Jazz Trumpeter he was admired by both and fellow musicians alike.

Navarro dominated the scene stealing the audience’s attention with his trumpet solos and loose double-breasted suits. Rocking the Jazz elegance with a dash of devil-may-care attitude, Fats Navarro certainly looked good when he was in his moment.

Now just because Navarro was styling in the 1940’s does not mean his look is outdated today. In fact, with the Gatsby fever still hot, this style is right on trend. Kick it old school and rock a pin striped suit, combine this with a classic pair of dress pants and a statement tie and you will be set for your night on the town, Fats Navarro style.

John Candy:

johncandyPerhaps an obscure fit for this section, as one might not immediately connect the gentle giant John Candy with style but it may surprise you to learn that the trend you’re seeing everywhere, the whole patterned shirt buttoned all the way up with no tie under a sport coat look? Yeah, he started it.

Born John Franklin Candy, 1950, the Canadian actor and comedian rose to fame through a variety of mediums spanning television, stand up and big budget films.

Our favorite look on Candy has to be his fedora, coat, and scarf. Looking every bit the off-duty movie star he was, Candy never shied away from his size instead embracing tailor-made suits always accompanied by a simple accessory which finished off his look in an oh-so-Candy way.

Orson Welles:

orson 1For a man who got his start working on radio, Orson Wells certainly had a look that could shine as bright as any movie star of his day.

George Orson Wells, born May 6, 1915 found national and international fame as the director and narrator of a 1938 radio adaptation of H. G. Wells’ novel The War of the Worlds. The infamous performance was reported to have caused widespread panic when listeners took Welles sound effects as an indication of an alien invasion. While a majority of these reports of panic were mostly false and overstated they rocketed Welles to instant notoriety.

This aside, Welles was also a notable American actor, director, writer and producer who worked extensively in theater and film.

Favoring a strong look for his broad frame, Welles tended to wear a number of classic cut coats, always finished off with either a tie or scarf, the combination of which presented an imposing and impressive figure.

Blog Writing by Alexandra Jones-best 

How To Pick a Good Quality Business Shirt

When it comes to choosing a business shirt, lets face it, most men are completely in the dark.

It can be an especially daunting task for big men to find clothing which offers the kind of sophisticated style required by today’s busy professional. Ron Bennett Big Men’s Clothing understands this, which is why we have decided to outline some key points to look for when purchasing your next all-occasion business shirt.

The Fabric

CEO shirtPossibly the most important factor in the composition of any business shirt will come down to the fabric, as this will define the overall breath-ability, durability, resistance to stain and general comfort level of the wearer. Cotton is probably your best choice when it comes to business shirts due to its naturally long fibres allowing for a finer, softer weave without compromising strength and durability. A good quality fabric should feel soft, supple and hang on your frame perfectly. It is vital for the item to feel good on, as anything that is too tight which stretch across the body in an unflattering manner. We would recommend building your man-drobe on a base of solid colour dress shirts, as their classic nature will ensure they stand the test of time in the style stakes. This will also extend your outfit options, as a simple solid color can be worn with almost any outfit to a range of occasions, making it the best choice if your wardrobe dollars are not limitless. Knowing this, Ron Bennett stocks a huge range of CEO 100% Cotton business shirts, woven in Italy from the finest 100’s two ply cotton for your comfort. Creating a luxurious super fine crisp cotton shirt to be worn with a suit and tie, or why not wear it on its own with a pair of cotton pants and a sport coat for a relaxed yet sophisticated evening out.

The Fit

Much like a suit, getting the correct fit for a business shirt is essential. For the big and tall men, finding a shirt which is the appropriate white shirtsleeve length, and collar size are often trials in themselves, as many of the off-the-rack clothing stores use a “standard sizing” which is not inclusive of today’s modern mans needs. However, getting the right fit can be easy. If you have a special occasion on the horizon which requires that extra special touch, why not have your item Custom Made? Bespoke Business Shirts are made to your exact body measurements allowing you to choose the style, cut and design of your item. Have a perfectly fitted, one-of-a-kind garment, designed by you, just for you with Ron Bennett‘s recently launched Made to Measure service (Sew253) which allow the big and tall man to have any outfit tailored for any occasion.

The Cuffs & Collar

As the proverbial workhorses of the average business shirt, the cuffs and collars see their fair share of wear, taking a lot of the shirt’s buttoning load and movement stress.

Therefore, finding items with thicker fused cuffs and collars will ensure longer-lasting wear and extra durability. Removable plastic or metal collar stays are also a huge plus as they help maintain collar stiffness and can be taken out for easy washing and ironing of the shirt.

All else fails, you can always find a use for a trusty business shirt, be it impressing in a meeting to re-enacting scenes from the Tom Cruise classic, Risky Business. Inspiration below!

tom cruise

Blog Writing by Alexandra Jones-Best 

 

Mistakes All Big Men Make

There are some mistakes we are all doomed to make, like getting screwed over on rent because you don’t know a thing about the rental market in your new city, but it is the choice not to repeat the same mistakes which truly defines us. sox

For the Big and Tall men of the world, there are a few key style mistakes which we are all bound to make. However if you are one of the lucky few who are yet to hit these milestones, we have saved you the trouble below:

Mistake 1: The Clumsy Leather Jacket

GQ said it best when they stated: “There’s nothing modern—or even retro-cool—about a leather jacket that fits like a rain poncho.”

We have all either been in the position ourselves, or witnessed a poor sod donning what they thought at the time was the height of ” fonz” cool. But if your jacket is not the right cut or bought 2 sizes to large, this will only serve to make you appear bigger than you really are.

Solution: When trying on a new leather jacket, the general rule of thumb is to keep going down a size until you can’t get it on, then buy the next size up. It should feel snug but don’t stress as it is designed to take your body’s shape over time.

If you’re not a fan of the leather jacket trend, we cannot recommend a classic sports coat or blazer highly enough.

obama-dad-jeansMistake 2: The Ill Fitting Dad Jeans

High-waisted whitewashed jeans are not just socially unacceptable, for the Big and Tall man they also emphasize all the wrong parts of your body.

Solution: Unless you are the president of the United States of America, who can count Jay-z and Clint Eastwood as your close and personal friends, these jeans are best left back in the 90s where they belong.

Replace them with a pair of Medium-rise raw denim jeans (we are fans of this Blazer pair) which sit on your hips and follow your legs (instead of saddlebagging out from your waist).

If you are a serial re-offender of the jeans and sneakers combo, it may be time to replace the Seinfeld-esque running shoes with some boat shoes or casual sneakers.

We personally cannot get enough of our new pair of Ferracini casual shoes, which essentially serve the same purpose as the Seinfeld runners except these combine comfort with style effortlessly.

Mistake 3: Right Shirt, Right Pants, Wrong Beltbelts

There is a time in every man’s life when he feels the need to purchase a gaudy, overly large or just plain ugly belt buckle. But the real issue lies in the habit formed around this item, as its sneaks itself into the natural rotation of outfits until it has become an essential part of life.

If your guilty of this, then it is time to allow your cherished eye-sore to retire to a life better served on Tiger Woods (the only man capable of pulling off these belts on a regular basis).

Solution: Invest in a high-quality leather item that’s an inch to an inch and a half wide. As a rule, it should smell and feel like buttery goodness. And the buckle should be subtle. R.M. Williams make classic, reliably high quality belts which will serve you well for many years to come.

But as they say, mistakes are a part of life, but that will still never excuse wearing socks with sandals, no matter how dam comfy it is.

Blog Writing by Alexandra Jones-Best 

Entertainment Monday: André Leon Talley

It’s Monday, so time to celebrate a big man of style and today we have chosen the former editor in chief of Vogue; André Leon Talley.andre

In 2010, shoe kingpin Manolo Blahnik told Vogueapedia “André doesn’t have fashion. André himself is fashion,” of the high-flying contributing editor to Vogue.

Talley represents the very edge of style, making the call’s which can make or break labels and designers every day. As a man of considerable presence, dressing to suit his height and size could have been an overwhelming challenge for some, but Talley has always dressed with pleasure.

As of 2013 big and tall men are no longer forced to return to their homes frustrated and empty-handed after unsuccessful shopping trips. Stores selling stylish and elegant options for the bigger man have now become widely available, stores such as Ron Bennetts Big Mens Clothing, which are also available online, allow men to shop from the privacy and comfort of their own homes.

These developments can be traced back to the influence of Andre Talley, bringing big and tall men to the forefront of the fashion industry.

Short History: Born in 1948, Washington, D.C André Leon Talley was the son of Alma Ruth Davis and William Carroll Talley (by day a press operator at the U.S. Patent Office and by night a taxi driver).

As a teenager of above average height—which eventually will reach six feet seven inches—his father had entertained hopes he would someday become a basketball player.

Instead, in 1974 Talley moved to Manhattan with a letter of recommendation from the father of a friend from RISD, he obtained a volunteer position at the Met’s Costume Institute.

From this point, his career truly snowballed. From the Paris fashion editor for WWD to 1983 when he joins Vogue as fashion news editor, then his promotion in 1988 to be named Vogues creative director, Talley embodied the style and grace of the big and tall man proudly.

andre-leon-talley-fashion-bhm-450a0124081His career continues today, shooting a regular video column called Mondays with André for Vogue.com, with talk of his own late-night talk show.

As Talley exhibits on a daily basis, big and tall men can make their appearance with only the confidence to wear it with pride.

Blog Writing by Alexandra Jones-Best 

Michael Jordan: Big Men’s Style Icon

With the exception of David Beckham, the majority of sports stars are not renowned for their style icon status.

Tending to focus their talents on their sport of choice rather than concentrate on off the field appearances, athletes are usually demonstrative of the age old ‘money can’t buy you taste’ line. Add to this, the fact most these men are taller and broader than the average off-the-rack sizes allow and there lies the problem.michael-jordan-6001

However, one man has set himself apart from the rest and that man is the great Michael Jordan.

Over the years, MJ has cut an individual style path for himself, with his attention to detail and dapper approach to dress making his 6’6” frame work for him, commanding attention wherever he goes.

Professional basketball player, entrepreneur, and majority owner and chairman of the Charlotte Bobcats, MJ is widely regarded as one of the most successful sports stars to date, with his biography on the National Basketball Association (NBA) website affirming, “By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time”.

Disregarding this, Jordan was unique in the sense that he was one of the most effectively marketed athletes to date and was considered instrumental in popularizing the NBA around the world during the 1980s and 90s. 

With five MVP awards, ten All-NBA First Team designations, nine All-Defensive First Team honour’s, fourteen NBA All-Star Game appearances, three All-Star Game MVP awards, ten scoring titles, three steals titles, six NBA Finals MVP awards, and the 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, you would think he could do no wrong.

And then, you see the full leather suit. This should teach us a valuable life lesson: we all make mistakes.

leather suitLast year, the basketball legend famously refused to change out of his cargo shorts while playing golf at a Miami Beach country club.

They come to me on the 11th hole and say I can’t wear cargo shorts,” Jordan told ESPN Chicago by text last week. “Wow! The round is almost over and you want me to buy shorts now? Yeah, right!!”

Much like MJ if you are a big or tall man, dressing to your frame can occasionally present some hurdles. Getting ready for any occasion requires attention to detail and a close relationship with a talented tailor to assist with custom bespoke clothing is also an advantage.

To achieve a look like MJ you won’t need an NBA player’s salary. Ron Bennetts Big Mens Clothing has recently stocked up on classic essentials such as casual leather men’s shoes by Ferracini, Kent & Lloyd Sports Coats and a range of 100% Cotton business shirts by CEO.

When the occasion calls for it, why not take a note from MJ and reach for a button down sports coat and classic white shirt and of course, learn from MJs mistakes and never, ever, commit to a full leather suit. Ever.

Blog Writing by Alexandra Jones-Best