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Ask The Tailor: New Year's Resolutions and Casual Fridays

Out with 2014 and in with 2015, and not a moment too soon. It’s time to flip the calendar and set our sights on a new year.

Do you have any resolutions for ’15? The Tailor does. I’m finally going to shed those extra 15 pounds that Mrs. Tailor has been nagging me about. It would help if she’d stop making my favorite dish --- Lamb Goulash. But there’s no treadmill in my future, The Tailor is going to cut back on the portion sizes and also embark once again on my favorite physical activity --- swimming. Watch out for my swimcap-covered head in Chesapeake Bay, my friends. Happy New Year to all of you!


Why is the lining of my suit important?
— Les in West Chester, PA

You should work with your tailor to select a material to line your sites that fits your needs, but there are practical reasons for a lining as well. The lining we add to your suits helps to give your jacket a formed structure and it also assists in prevention of wrinkles. Also, a good lining will save you from catching the interior of the jacket on anything sharp that may cause damage to it. Suit jacket linings are also a way to express your personality by choosing a material that shows off splashes of color. Silk, for example can be very comfortable and stylish. Lastly, a heavier lining will make the jacket warmer in the cold months.

As it gets colder and icier it gets more dangerous to wear slick-bottomed dress shoes. Can you give me any advice on how to avoid falling on my backside?
— Kenny in Stafford, VA

Be careful my good fellow! No one wants to see you break your bottom. Which reminds me of my father’s favorite joke. He would slap me on the butt and ask me “Did you break your butt? Because you have a crack in it.” And hardy har har he would go. I miss dear old Pops.

Your best bet is to avoid wearing dress shoes in icy and snowy weather. Invest in a sturdy pair of walking boots with a durable rubber tread. Slip your dress shoes in your briefcase or messenger bag and change into them when you get to work. You may also elect to use crampons or some sort of grips that slip over the bottom of your dress shoes. They can be found in most shoe stores but I wouldn’t suggest using them with your good dress shoes because they can cause damage. The Tailor often uses a walking stick to help stabilize myself as I trudge through snow and ice. You can find compact walking sticks that will fold and fit into any bag here. Step lightly and remember the penguin waddles on his flat feet because it’s safer and he’s less likely to fall on his beak.

I have a lot of resolutions for 2015 (learn Portuguese, travel more, clean out the garage), but none is more important than shedding a few extra pounds. What’s the best way to lose weight in a healthy way?
— Big Al in Washington D.C.

Glad you asked, Big Al. I’ve had experience in this area since I’ve long been blessed with a body best described as “husky.” Mrs. Tailor likes to wrap her arms (nearly) around my waist to give me one of her famous bear hugs, but she also helps keep me in check when I get a little too plump. I’ve had the best success at losing weight by moderating my caloric intake of such things as sweets and sugars while at the same time increasing my aerobic exercise. That means fewer chocolate bars and sweet tea and more walking, hiking, and my personal favorite --- swimming. I also love to hop on my classic three-wheel bicycle for a ride through the Virginia countryside. The key is to partake in vigorous exercise for at least 40 minutes a day. Do that while also reducing the bad calories in your diet and you’ll see the pounds and inches fall off. Then you’ll have to visit The Tailor for a refitting. Good luck!

How long does it take for a custom suit to be made?
— Stephen in Richmond, VA

A nice custom suit made from good materials and fit expertly to your frame will take 6-7 weeks to create. Properly cared for, it will last a lifetime.

What do you think of Casual Fridays?
— Drew S. in Lancaster, VA

I’m not very bully on what they have evolved into. Originally, the Casual Friday was created by the clothing industry to give folks a chance to express their style in a different way. The thought was that people would wear jeans or khakis but still wear a nice dress shirt and/or a jacket. Instead, employees have taken to wearing almost anything they want to the office, including worn jeans, tee-shirts, and tennis shoes. If you’re in a professional workspace, “stylish” casual clothes are a preferable option. Break out your best khakis and wear a nice leather dress shoe with a leather belt and a dress shirt. Try bolder colors than normal or wear your best jeans with a sport coat. But don’t go to the office looking like Shaggy from Scooby Doo.

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