Buying shoes, Presidential drinks, and pork pie hats

We’re gearing up for summer and The Tailor’s mail bag is overflowing with questions. This time he tells us why custom made shoes are more comfortable and what type of man looks great in a pork pie hat, and he reveals JFK’s favorite beer.

I‘ve stopped buying “off the rack” and never looked back. I look great in my custom-made suits and I get compliments all the time. Thank you. But I buy my shoes “off the shelf”. Should I have them made especially for me too? – Clyde in Cooperstown, NY

The short answer is “yes.” But there’s also a second answer which is “not always.” Custom shoemaking was the only way to get shoes up until the mid-nineteenth century when mechanized manufacturing processes were developed and perfected. Suddenly almost anyone could get quality shoes easily and much cheaper. But that doesn’t mean their feet were happy. Custom-made shoes fit your feet better, provide better support and are more comfortable. Because they wear better, they last longer. They will cost more, but you’ll have them for many more years. Just like a great bespoke-tailored suit.

Having said that, in some cases you’ll be fine getting a pair of shoes “off the rack”, especially if you have a fairly normal foot size and shape. Shoes are made on a “last” --- a shaped design of the human foot that serves as the template. The vast majority of people have fairly common feet, but there if you have unusually narrow or wide feet or shaped toes, you’ll be far more comfy in a custom pair of shoes made for you by a “cordwainer” --- that’s a chap who makes shoes by hand. You have to keep your piggies happy.


Ask The Tailor: Do Your Pants Fit?

How do you stay cool and stylish while wearing a suit in the summer? When is the perfect time to take a European vacation? Why do the collars of my dress shirts bend and fray? Do my pants fit? The Tailor is here to answer your questions once again.

I have several formal events this summer in warm climates. How do I make sure to stay cool?
– B.J. in Alexandria, VA

Have a suit made from Crispaire, a traditional plain weave from Holland & Sherry. It’s lightweight and perfect for a summer fabric suit. You may also ask about Mohair, another light wool that’s excellent for summer. Both of these suits are wrinkle-free and they come in vibrant patterns and colors for suiting and jacketing.


25 Books Every Man Should Read

25 Books Every Man Should Read

It was the French author Gustave Flaubert who said: “Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live.”

We read in order to live. You want to live, don’t you?

Here are 25 books every man should read.


Ask The Tailor: The Wedding Edition

It’s April and if you’re getting married this June or July, you’re in crunch time for your wedding plans. We asked The Tailor to answer nuptial-related questions this month.

I have a quandary: I want to ask my father to be my best man but I fear that my best friend will be offended. How do I handle this delicate situation?
-- F.X. in Scranton, PA

Sit your buddy down and have the talk with him. If he’s any sort of friend, he’ll understand. Your father must be very important to you if you’re considering him being your best man. Bravo to you! It’s something your Pop will remember forever and he’ll appreciate it.



Ask The Tailor: Wine Stains, Sockless Fashion, and Bright Colors

Yes, spring is here, and that means warmer weather (doesn’t it?), more daylight, and brighter clothes. It’s time to take the white and light blue clothes out of storage. Let’s show some panache. You remember panache, don’t you? You better.

How do I remove red wine stains from a white shirt?
-- Clark in Murfreesboro, TN

What are you doing over in the Volunteer State, getting a little crazy with the wine? Or did someone splash it on you? Either way, you have options, my friend. There are four (count ‘em, four) common household items that can help you get a nasty wine stain out of your clothing. The first is milk: simply soak the milk into the stain immediately while the clothing is still wet. The stain should be gone in an hour. The second is salt: cover the spill with table salt immediately after the spill and then proceed to brush the salt off the fabric. Next, you can use shaving cream if the stain is dry: cover it with the cream and then wash the garment in hot water. Lastly, if you have cat litter in your home: apply a half-inch thick layer of the litter on the stain and rub it into the fabric, then use a vacuum to remove it. Presto!