Thursday, July 10, 2014

Suited for summer: Bonobos Spring/Summer 2014


Fifteen weeks ago, I had chanced upon one of the back catalogues of Bonobos at Booksale. Noted tons of colors and the attention to fit – plus, of course, my favorite cougar-inspired editorial – from the thin magazine-like booklet. I remembered thinking while flipping through that the ensembles looked very well put together and that there was a great deal of choice when it came to fabrics and patterns. I bought the catalogue then thought nothing more about it.

Then come end of June, and out of the blue I get an email from Bonobos introducing their men’s summer suits, particularly their Spring/Summer 2014 collection. I happily agreed to write about it, but then while thinking out this post, there came yet another coincidence. This time in the form of an article by The New York Times. I had a feeling it was more than just kismet.

The suit above (in blue stripe) looks very lightweight. Something that I could perhaps consider as part of a uniform, given that I had a job that required me to look as streamlined as a shark, yet not appear (or even feel) stiff as a banker. Something to wear at a warm wedding (my cousin happens to be getting married this month) or other less formal occasions.


As I had mentioned in my previous post, if I did have to wear suits on a regular basis, they would have to be in cotton, like the navy one above. I’d also probably wear ties less often (given the tropical heat).


Something else I immediately noticed about Bonobos was their pants: the very slim and tailored fit. Perfect for short guys like me. (Who also have a habit of ditching socks.)


Bonobos also has apparel in seersucker: what better way to welcome summer? In the west, that is, because it's already the rainy season here in Manila (though, yeah, that has never stopped me from wearing anything).


If you notice the tailoring of the seersucker pants above, the cut doesn’t just give an illusion of more height, also, how should I say it, more pucker to your bubble? Quad-friendly trousers that make your behind more grab-glad? Okay, I should stop…


But seriously, Bonobos really did find early success selling pairs to clients whom its founder, Andy Dunn (above), described as “athletic dudes, guys with with big quads relative to their waist size”.


But I digress. This dust-kicked picture may inspire trickles of sweat from someone like me in Manila, who may think deserts are worse than the tropics. But what better way to show the ruggedness of blazers (here also paired with jeans). The more I look at tieless suits the more tempted I am to get a set for myself. Stat. 


It doesn’t matter if my job requires it or not. It’s how great I bet it would make me feel about myself.


The last time my measurements were taken for a suit was for my brother’s wedding, which was years and years ago.


And that was in black. Now I want something in blue micro-stripe, like this Foundation Slim jacket. Or top three suits above!


Who says I have to wait for another wedding to be outfitted for one? I’d go to church in a linen set!


By the way, Bonobos also offers denim (the one dusted above), shorts, swim and outerwear – and not just suits and blazers. As well as, of course, ties and pocket squares. Am just glad that it sells bow ties that one actually has to tie (I’m finicky like that).


I’m really their cotton linen set, especially when casually worn tieless, shirt unbuttoned, and with sunglasses. (Oh spectacles! Why do you torment me? Always reminding me that I need to get a decent pair and not just rely on what I got from Chatuchak.)


Pocket squares are also uncharted territory for me. I mean after buying a suit for the sake of it, I’ll know pocket squares will be next!


Especially if I don’t want to wear a tie and wear my set with sneakers. It would definitely be downhill from there. (Just think about all the different ways you can fold your square into your pocket…)


And bow ties! (I only have a formal white one.) These would definitely dapper up any old shirt-and-jeans combo for the weekend.

But before you get carried away with getting your own summer suit, here are three simple tips from Bonobos, specifically from Dwight Fenton, its vice-president for design to finding the right fit:

• Fit starts with the shoulders: the jacket should grab your shoulders snuggly but not be overly tight. If the shoulders fit, pretty much anything else can be adjusted.

• Length matters: to determine the appropriate length, you should be able to cup the bottom of the suit with your arms by your side.

• Show some shirt: a flexible but general rule of thumb is to have a quarter-inch of your shirt cuff showing. If you’re wearing a heavier cuff, like a French cuff, you may want to show a little more.
Makes sense, right? 


Now back to weddings and slick-back events: it has often been said that not everyone can carry a DB (double-breasted suit). I wonder…


At least I can say I’ve worn a tux (the reason why I bought my first bow tie), though I ended up ditching the tie and wearing it with a silk burgundy scarf. 

Happy suit hunting! Now if only Bonobos delivered to the Philippines. Though I’d very much want to drop by a Guideshop (where you can fit items then have them delivered to your doorstep) next time I’m in the US.

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