A Gentleman’s Guide to Business Casual

Once upon a time, dressing for work was simple.

Blue-Collar-vs.-White-Collar

There were blue collar workers and white collar workers.  Every blue collar worker dreamed of the day his son could go to college and become a white collar worker.  The white collar signified someone with a college degree, managerial authority and a higher rank in society's pecking order.

And the white collar meant suit and tie, leather shoes, an overcoat and a hat.  The shirt was clean, the suit pressed and the shoes shined.

Now, in the jargon of today, there is a new paradigm as illustrated below:

Suit, Custom and Casual wear

You can no longer judge a book by its cover.  Our Casual man above would have been considered "a bum" years ago.  Now he just might be may be a billionaire tech entrepreneur!  I think we can all agree that the Business Formal guy still looks successful and the Smart Casual fellow looks pretty sharp. The Business guy is really the same look as the formal guy, just without a suit coat.  It all makes sense so far.

Left out in the cold is the Business Casual guy.  What is he? A copier salesman? A business school student? A clerk in a store?  In my opinion, he looks lost.  And yet it's the way most men work today in an office environment.

He looks lost because he doesn't have the nerve to say, "Screw you," which is what the Casual guy is really saying to the world.  Nor does he have enough of the white collar elements that communicate success.  Our Smart Casual guy, on the other hand,  has on a nice jacket, a tie, and a pocket square.   The jeans make a statement of creativity.  But, the jacket, tie and pocket square give him credibility.  Our Business guy has on a good dress shirt, a silk tie and good wool trousers.  They also give him credibility.

So what's the lesson? The full blown suit and tie are still the benchmark of male authority and credibility.  Consider what every sportscaster, talk show host and politician wears. There's a good reason it's still a suit and tie.

However, if you feel it's too much for your workplace culture, pare it down, but don't lose the essence of it.  Make sure you have a good number of the elements  of the Business Formal look to convey your appreciation for quality and style.

Never skimp on your shoes, shirts and trousers.  If you like to wear jeans, buy a quality sport coat to go with it.  If you're not going to wear  a tie, add a pocket square to your coat. Consider a knit tie, or a tie that's not silk-- a wool or cotton tie.

Bottom line: If you don't put some effort into the way you dress you may just end up looking like you're neither white collar or blue collar, just a cog in the wheel.  And, no one wants that for himself or his  son.

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Theatrical credits

Dear Friend of Saint Laurie Merchant Tailors—

The new Broadway musical, Bonnie and Clyde, George Hamilton in La Cage Aux Folles, and Boardwalk Empire Season II are three of the new productions in which you can see Kozinn+Sons' work.

While the story of Bonnie and Clyde is well known because of the 1967 movie, the musical version may have new relevance for the "Occupy Wall Street” movement in that the two lovers make their living robbing banks.  Shown here is Umberto Bove, Kozinn+Sons' head tailor, Jeremy Jordan (Clyde Barrow and star of Newsies, for which he got rave reviews) and yours truly.

One of the best dressed men of the 20th Century, George Hamilton was an honor for us to dress.  Here's a man who has been dressed by the finest tailors in the world and knows all the nuances of fit and style.  It's fair to say he was quite pleased with our work.

And, the second season of Boardwalk Empire is even better than the first, not just because we are custom making all the shirts for the cast.  Pictured below are two of the more interesting period shirts we made for the show: Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson, the boss ofAtlantic Cityand Charlie Cox as Owen Sleater, the IRA gunmen turned bootlegger.

The effort that we make to produce exceptional custom clothing for these productions is the same effort we put into making yours.  This theatrical work reinforces our commitment to classic menswear.  What you get from us is authentic in every detail even when the look we create for you is contemporary.

I look forward to being of service to you again soon.

 

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Buy One, Get Six Free!

Those of you who know Kozinn family well, would expect nothing less of us than to beat the competition at its own game. After seeing the promotion for Jos. A Bank clothiers on “Saturday Night Live,” I decided that enough was enough! In case you didn’t see their “commercial” click to view the video or click the image below:

hulu-saint-laurie

Not to be outdone by an inferior product, we’re going to double their offer! Buy one suit and get six free! But, you ask, how can we possibly do this (and stay in business)?

It’s easy!

1. Lower my staff’s wages.
I’ve asked them all, in the spirit of teamwork, to take one hour’s pay for six hours of work. (If you’re thinking that you’ll get only one stitch from them where you might expect six, don’t worry, I’ll be watching them like a hawk!)

Here is an early prototype using this innovative new fabric

2. Gowanus Cloth™
Building on the newfound passion for local manufacturing (Have you tried Brooklyn Gin?) and a grant from Mayor de Blasio’s new Department of Communal Gentrification, artisanal weaving comes to the banks of the Gowanus Canal. We’ll be giving the unemployed a chance for a new life by paying them to gather pet hair from the hordes of molting Park Slope cats and dogs. Gowanus Cloth™ combines the best of recycling and craftsmanship. (Only those with facial hair, wearing fedoras ironically need apply.)

While not exactly Super 100’s—the International Wool Bureau actually classifies Gowanus Cloth™ as Super 3’s— the fabric is finished with “water” pumped from the Canal imparting a unique lubricant that makes it virtually wrinkle free!

This “Buy One, Get Six Free” offer expires March 31. So hurry in to Saint Laurie!

Happy April Fool’s Day!

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Big Stars Aren’t Always Human: Dressing The Muppets

During our century in business, we’ve made clothing for clients with some unusual shapes, but none as different as the Muppets, those beloved furry creatures, many of whom wear our clothing in the film “Muppets Most Wanted” You might wonder why the producers would come to an old-school tailoring concern such as ours instead of a costume shop. Truth is, authentic human clothing is essential to the Muppets’ identity. The creative team do not want them wearing dolls’ clothing. For the Muppet suits we used all the canvases, felts, horsehairs and pads found in our regular custom jackets, trousers and shirts.

 

Here’s the suit we made for Walter. Notice the third “leg” in the middle which is for the puppeteer’s arm.

Here’s the concept sketch for Miss Piggy’s jacket and the finished jacket as it appears in the film.

This is a shirt we made for Dr. Teeth, keyboardist in the Muppets’ band, Electric Mayhem.

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The Special Challenges of Dressing a Maestro

Conductor Alan Gilbert, music director of The NY Philharmonic with yours truly and our head tailor, Umberto Bove.

Kozinn+Sons was honored to outfit Alan Gilbert, conductor of The New York Philharmonic, with a new set of tails, formal shirts, grosgrain cummerbund and bow tie. The maestro wore this ensemble for the orchestra’s recent tour of Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

If you’re interested in our processes, here was the challenge: When he is conducting, Mr. Gilbert is constantly in motion. His activity plus the glare of the spotlights can cause him to overheat. He needs to look historically correct and glamorous without an overly heavy cloth. He also needs to have a full range of motion without looking like he is wearing an elastic suit. Before coming to Kozinn+Sons, several world-famous tailors in Italy and France had failed to fully accomplish these goals.

So how did we do it?

1. First we chose a uniquely resilient English cloth in a traditional barathea weave. Baratheas are woven specifically for formal wear with a full body and a matte finish. However, the cloth we selected is woven from Escorial wool as opposed to Merino wool. The Escorial sheep is very small, with a hair that is extremely fine and uniquely crimped. These sheep number in just the hundreds and are found only in New Zealand.

2. To give Mr. Gilbert the freedom of movement he needed, we cut the arm holes higher into the armpit than we’d ever set a sleeve before. This kept the shoulder in place whenever Mr. Gilbert moved his arms.

3. We pitched the sleeve very far forward which is the position Mr. Gilbert is in when he is conducting.

4. We cut the trousers high and the coat front relatively short to create a perfect “Fred Astaire” balance.

5. Key to this complex project was Mr. Gilbert himself. He was extremely gracious with his time, returning for numerous fittings. Some successful people fail to recognize that their time, more than their money, is necessary for achieving a proper fit.

Of course, we are very proud to know that thousands of concertgoers in New York and around the world will see our work. It is even more of a thrill that such a talented artist put his trust in our artistry.

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Kozinn+Sons Merchant Tailors
22 West 32 Street, 5th floor
New York, NY 10001
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[email protected] or 212.643.1916
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