If you’re looking for the most powerful hair dryer or handiest chef’s knife, those things can be easy enough to find. Other objects of desire are a little more taste-based. What’s the next status water bottle or hand wash, for instance? Regular readers of the Strategist will know that we’ve turned to resident Cool Guy Chris Black (he’s a partner at brand consultancy Public Announcement) to help us answer both of those questions, and to get more of Chris’s advice, he’s now answering reader questions for us in a regular column. If you have a burning question about the next fanny pack or Noah rugby shirt, drop us an email with the subject line “Ask Chris” at email@example.com.
Question: What would you wear to a wedding (formal but not black tie)?
Funny you ask. I recently attended a very chic wedding on Harbour Island in the Bahamas. I caught a wild hair and decided to wear a Thom Browne shorts suit. (Full disclosure: I work with them at Thom Browne.) It got some interesting looks and inquiries, but overall it was a hit.
When I’m not going to a Bahamas wedding, I also have a comfortable navy wool Calm Twist suit from Ring Jacket. I would suggest J. Press or Sid Mashburn as well — two strong, timeless options.
The rest of the outfit I keep pretty classic: a fun tie from the masters at Drake’s, a crisp white shirt from Sid Mashburn (or Charvet if you have it like that) and vintage Alden longwings.
As you can tell, I tend to stick to navy suits (black suits can feel a bit waiter-y), but I always add some ~cool~ accessories to make it fun. An indigo dyed pocket square from 45RPM, a colorful lapel pin from RTH (which of course you can’t get online), or maybe just a vintage plain-Jane (plain Jack?) Cartier Tank with a croc strap. If you are feeling wild and flush, make a call and get something custom from Bode.
Question: What are the best black jeans?
Lately, I have been seeing some anti-jean rhetoric online. I, for one, will NOT stand for it. I wear (and will continue to wear) jeans all the time. I like a classic fit — slim but not skinny, button fly, no accoutrements. That’s not necessarily what everyone wants to wear, but it gives you an idea of where my tastes lean. The best advice I can give is to avoid pre-distressing, paint splatters, or a frayed hem. Unless you have a Hot 100 Billboard single featuring Drake, you will look like you are trying too hard.
Levi’s are a time-honored staple, a pillar of any man or woman’s wardrobe. Levi’s basically invented jeans; they make so many versions that everyone can find one that works. The 501 is my choice (mid-rise, button fly, straight leg), but maybe you would prefer the 505 (mid-rise, zipper fly, straight leg), just gotta go try them all on.
I don’t really stray from vintage Levi’s, but A.P.C. makes a really good pair, too, if you prefer something skinnier. RRL (not online!) also.
This version from The Row is really speaking to me right now, but I would have to get special permission from my financial institution to spend $650 on jeans. Oh well.
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