By Megan McDonald October 21, 2011

In many ways I think guys have it easier when it comes to style and dress. In others, it takes some thought and a little creativity with accoutrements for the modern man to increase his fashion bandwidth.  

Here, the founder and chairman of Paul Smith, Sir Paul Smith, shares 1:39 of insight on how to do just this:


Then there’s the tie extremes: Wide or skinny?  I’m drawn to both and like what each says about the man wearing it. There’s something innately handsome about a wide knot, still loose at the neck, like the Italian guys pull off, while the skinny tie sends the cool yet suave signal. 

Whatever your preference, we have short instructional videos for you below on both with a Sarasota sartorial veteran and co-owner of The Met on St. Armand’s Circle, Geoffrey Michel.  


How to tie a wide-knot tie


How to tie a skinny tie

But what about those dastardly hand-tied bow ties that so many men avoid?  Look, if Sinatra could get it right every time, then so can you; just need a little help from Geoffrey. Good news is that this video has a replay button.


How to tie a bow tie

Let’s not overlook the overlooked, though:  The socks.  It’s time to pull up those trousers and have a look down because they are not just a necessity anymore. I’m here to tell you that if they are grey because they used to be black, it’s time to shop, fella.

Trust me, if you up the ante you’ll be surprised at how often you’re complimented on a stylish pair of socks.

Inspired by Sir Paul Smith’s video above – a few examples from his line:

Paul Smith classic multi-stripe socks. I’m kinda crazy about this stripe!

Paul Smith Mononuke socks

Paul Smith three-stripe socks

While I was sussing out the latest in menswear I took the liberty of doing of a Q&A with Geoffrey. I hope you find something in here that you didn’t know before. (And ladies:  there may be a few pearls of gift wisdom in there for your upcoming holiday shopping….)

1) Tell us, what’s on trend for men at the moment?

Men’s suiting and sportswear is crisp and tailored, a modern spin on true classics through very well tailored fits. 

Tailored navy blazers and classic button down shirts are also on trend. The art is making this look work for all types of men, not just the Ryan Goslings of the world. We have a great tailor that sculpts a garment, just right. But, pass on using old closet items; make the investment in true classics such as well fitting denim, crisp white shirts, a leather moto jacket and a few well fitting suits or sport coats. 

2) What is the simplest way to put on cufflinks?

Load up your collar stays and cufflinks before you put the shirt on while you are cooling from the shower.  Like a good chef, the difference in great presentation is in the prep work.


3) What do most guys overlook when it comes to an outfit?

Once again, preparation is vital.  I do best when I plan my clothing in advance.  I set out my clothes before an early long distance run, or a black tie event. 

The mental checklist should be similar to a fishing trip…do I have all my gear, and is it ready for an event/night out?  For instance, you make sure your car is detailed, yet did you polish your shoes? Did you get a haircut?  Is your tux fitting well?  Our tuxedo purchases tend to be rush alterations.

 4) What's the best way to care for a tux?

Treat it as well as you would golf clubs or your favorite fishing reel.  Pull it out this weekend, and try it on with your significant other.  Make sure it fits well -- think James Bond.  If it doesn’t, come and see us for a fitting. 

As for wearing it at the event, keep your coat on.  If James Bond can run in a full tuxedo and dive into an Austin Martin, then we can wear a tux jacket for a night out.  And of course, hang it up at the end of the evening. 

Dry clean it after wearing, and store it in a breathable garment bag.  We have these, if you need one.


5) The holidays are around the corner, we'd love some gift ideas.

If you think he is the guy who has everything, think harder.  We love thoughtful ideas and personalized items are a nice touch. 

I like the idea of replacing some of his classics that need to be renewed, like a navy blazer.  The navy suit is the new black suit…and you can order some monogrammed white linen pocket squares. Think about using a high contrast color, like Regal Purple thread, for the monogram to modernize the classic item.

A closet reorganization and makeover is a great idea, too.  We reorganize, repair and refit items so he can walk in with everything fresh and updated.

We can also order monogrammed wood hangers for him, or replace his basics with all new boxers, new socks, new white dress shirts, etc…

Lastly, a year of gift certificates for a scheduled haircut, manicure and massage, once per month. He will be reminded of your thoughtfulness and will look and feel good without you telling him he needs a haircut.


For even more fashion news and notes, follow Heather Dunhill on Twitter @heatherDUNHILL or on Facebook.

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