Category Archives: Fabrics Essentials

Everything you need to know about Denim; types, fit and styles

Difference between Denim and Jeans?

It's like Flour and Bread 🙂 Denim is the fabric which jeans are made of.

Before there were ripped jeans, believe or not there were not ripped ones, and that's just the beginning. Known as the casual of the casual fabric, today available as jackets, shirts, pants and more, jeans have become at an insanely fast pace the everyday staple we can't escape or live without. Jeans popularity may come from the fact it can be produced to fit any budget, whether it is much or not.

The 2001 American Music Awards may have graced us with the most memorable denim outfit of all times when Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake both wore denim from head to toe. The iconic moment took place in what was probably the most relevant denim moment there was in this century, and since then, denim have been becoming mostly synonym of pants with the occasional come back as jacket piece trend.

None the less, jeans are to this day one of the only items of clothing to reach every demographic. Keep reading this article to immerse yourself in the fabulous world of denim history, differences and how to shop for the most flattering one.

 

 

What Is Denim?

The material itself is made of a resistant thick twill's warp-facing. If you look at it closely you will get the idea behind the production that consists basically of passing cross-wired threads of yarn under the warped threads. In denim's fabrication, the only threads dyed are the warped ones, the cross-wired one are left white giving it its known colored aspect difference between denim clothes on the inside (mostly white) and on the outside (mostly colorful). This method is known as the "Indigo Dyeing Process" and it is what gives jeans fading capabilities, diversifying it from most other fabrics.

 

 

The History of Denim

Denim was originally designed in the 1800's by a Swiss banker called Jean-Gabriel Eynard who was the one in charge of dressing the Massena's troops who were arriving at Genoa. His first creation was a pair of blue jeans called "Bleu de Genes", made with a fabric closer looking to corduroy cotton than today’s denim, as this was the main fabric his town at the time. Once it got known by the people in Nimes, they tried to copy it but ended up creating a similar looking product they named denim. At its creation time, it became a hit between the working class of France and Italy, until a higher quality improved version was produced and hit the higher-class costumers.

The product didn't hit the USA market until the German Levi Strauss moved to San Francisco, after 2 years working with his family at a dry good business in NYC, and realized the market opportunity there, which led to the opening of the first Levi Strauss & Co. Wholesale House, at first to sell high-quality fabric to tailors, much like his brothers. It wasn't until one of his customers, Jacob Davis, talked Strauss into partnering with him in a new company to create products to the workers working to build the San Francisco skyline that the Levi jeans were invented.

To start the collaboration, Strauss patented a model, which was used to the creation of many pants made by the duo in their quest to find the best working fabric to suit it. After trying every fabric at Strauss store, they decided denim to be the best option for working pants, able to sustain rivets at all stress points of the product which was then marketed to contractors. The first Levi "waist overalls" for sale was made in 1873. The product wasn't called jeans until 1960's and was working clothes, until the release of the movie "Rebel without a cause", back in the 50's when James Dean character wore the famous blue loose pair.

As a direct response to James Dean wearing such item, the youth became very fond of it, becoming a popular trend after the movie release, but just as fast as it became a trend, the trend got banned from places like restaurants and schools until the 60's "flower power movement" started. By the 80's most manufacturers already produced their own version of the product.

The first washed effect jeans were created by Limbo, an NYC manufacturer, to give a worn-in effect to the product. The same manufacturer was also the first to sell patched ones and ripped jeans. In the 80's, a Canadian created the stone-wash method. In the 90's the item began to be used as a casual attire at offices which still is nowadays (most fridays in corporate America).

Merits of denim

  1. Denim fabric creases easily.
  2. It is very strong and durable.
  3. Provides warmth during cold weather.
  4. Lasts for years when handled properly.
  5. Resistant to tears and snags.

 

 

Cut and Fit

When it comes to jeans, the cut and fit is basically what gives the item its shape. A man must always choose looser formats for work situations (if your workplace allows such a casual piece). When it comes to social situations, a man finds his freedom to follow the latest trends in the market, but it is important to find within the trends a fitting that works with your body. In the end, it all comes to personal preference and your ideal fit.

To find your ideal fit, you must keep track of both waistband placement and leg cut. The first is the location the waistband sits while you are wearing it, nowadays the most usual is mid-rise jeans, which stays at the waistline, seen as high-rise ones are vintage and low-rise are mostly hard to wear, the natural position of the mid-rise seems to work for most body types, flattering its users. The second is as talked about as jeans colors, and just as perceived. The cut of the jeans leg happens to have a lot of variety, the most used currently being:

 

1.    Skinny jeans

Preferable to men with slim to medium thigh size, this type of jeans seem to be the favorite of the decade. This style fit is tight from the top to the bottom of the leg making your natural shape shine.

 

2.    Straight jeans

This cut is a classic that works best for men with bigger thighs, having the same size from top to bottom. When shopping for it keep in mind it should hug your upper thigh and follow the same sizing to the bottom.

 

3.    Slim cut jeans

Looser than the skinny jeans and tighter than the straight ones this cut is a great in between, closer to the skinny side of the scale. This cut starts a little loose at the upper leg and gets tighter on its way down.

 

 

4.    Tapered jeans

These jeans are the in-between of the slim cut and straight cut. The best shape for people with bigger thighs that wish to look stylish, as the cut is like the skinny ones.

 

5.    Bootcut jeans

This kind of jeans are tight in the upper thighs and gets looser once past the knees, making it basically this century usable bell bottoms. This look works for most body shapes and is a particularly clever idea if you have bigger calves and have a tough time finding a style of jeans that don't over accentuate it.

When it comes to length keep in mind you can never go wrong with the classic one, as it is the most proportional one to date.

 

Color and Wash

When it comes to color you can find denim in every single color there is but remember a few of them get very limited use, unlike the classic blue jeans which are appropriate to every situation jeans are appropriate. The wash is also an important thing to consider when it comes to the final jeans color as not only it fades its original color but also can age the pants fast. Levi's CEO advises people to never wash their jeans to keep it as good as new, but as a dapper man, this idea just sounds repulsive.

 

Types of Fades

Every jeans color will eventually fade with every wash, it's the natural thing to happen, but a few companies have taken it upon themselves to fade jeans from the factory to give it a more expressive look and try to have control over how the jeans will wash out. To do so, they find vintage jeans and analyze its fading and try to recreate it in their factory. A few of the fading being replicated include:

 

1.    Honeycomb Fade

The natural knee fading usually from used jeans are now also factory made to give the item a broke in aesthetic.

 

2.    Train Tracks Fading

Before being made at factories, this type of fading only happened after a lot of use, mostly due to the pressure the legs inside the jeans make on the outseam.

 

3.    Whiskering fades

Also known as hige, these are the fading lines created from creases formed in the front pocket area of jeans.

 

If you are looking to purchase long lasting jeans, choose one with the least fades as possible as not only it will go out of style quickly, as every trend always do, but it will also become sloppy looking much more quickly.

 

The Different Types of Denim Material

Believe it or not, there isn't just one kind of denim, they may all look similar but there are several types of this fabric being produced due to high demands.

1.    Raw or Dry denim

Denim made from 100% organic cotton, meaning no mixture whatsoever. This is the normal denim which you can treat in many different ways to create the different styles. This fabric is very durable, hard wearing and versatile. This kind of denim isn't pre-washed before being sold, which means the way you use it and wash it will have a much bigger effect on how it fades. 

 

2. Sanforized Denim

This is denim fabric which is processed so that it does not shrink after being washed. Most of the denim which is not raw is Sanforized.

 

3. Selvedge denim 
The most expensive type of denim made from a continuous cross yard that creates an unraveled edge. This denim is known for long durability. 

 

4. Tretch denim 
The most wrinkle resistant type of denim, it's also the dressier one. This type of denim is used in the process of making casual wear, being also a lightweight type. 

 

5. Slub denim 
The rarest type of denim, also known as crosshatch, made with an uneven yard. 

 

6. Printed denim 
This type of denim usually has a pattern printed all over it which can be stripes or flowers.

 

7. Reverse denim 
The denim made to be reversible, in which both the outside and the inside are the same, so you can't easily say which one is which. 

 

8. Marble denim 
Also known as acid wash denim, due to the use of strong bleach in the production. 

 

9. Bull denim 
This type of denim is "as resistant as a bull", being both heavy and durable. 

 

10. Colored Denim 
This type of denim is a twill. Made by dyeing the weft or warp the desired color. Basically any color that is different from the traditional blue dye.

 

11. Crushed Denim 
Made with a fabric containing an overtwist yarn at the weft giving it a permanent wrinkle look. Be careful when buying this type as it shrinks when washed.

12. Vintage Denim

For achieving old and worn outlook, a denim treatment that applies heavy stone wash or a cellulose enzyme wash with bleach or without bleach is called vintage denim.

 

How to look dapper in Jeans?

A classic look warrants darker and solid looking jeans. Might be slightly bleached or distressed but not shreded or crushed, as they are able to pull off a more elegant look. The inverse approach is recommended to achieve a casual look, perfect for going out with friends. Remeber, Denim as a garment fabric, whether in solid color or fade; whether raw or distressed; whether organic or bleached, remains a signature that never goes out of fashion!

What do you know about jeans that I missed in this article? Drop a comment

 

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Guide to Suit Fabric Types, Patterns and When to Wear them

Why Wear Suits?

Suits are a must have for every gentleman. I have often head guys saying they don't like suits. Truth is you don't need to like suits, you rather need to wear suits every now and then. Before I unriddle suit fabric types and patterns let's see why you need to wear suits;

  • Suits make you look smart. Whether your intelligence is near zero, people tend to perceive and describe you as smart and charismatic based on your suiting attire trait.
  • Suits boots your confidence. They say when you look good, you feel good and when you feel good your confidence is hyped and that goes a long way to determine how the rest of your day goes.
  • Suits portray gentlemanliness in you. You may be a jerk or whatever but your appearance in suit completely presents you as a Mister nice guy and give you the sir title.
  • Suits open doors. You will be easily granted audience when you appear dressed in suits than any other attire. Even older folks will offer you their seat on a public bus or train, bouncers or security guards will take it easy on you simply because you appear in suit, unfairness huh? Keep on buying red bottom sneakers while I'm stocking my wardrobe with more suits :).
  • Suits makes you look expensive for less. I am not saying suits are cheap rather. All I can assure you is that suits imposes your presence without noticeable designer brands and command the respect and recognition which is farfetched to a t-shirt and sneakers guy.

Suits should be thought as making new best friends. You first must know its qualities and learn everything about it until you have reached friendship. It is said one must always research when it comes to buying a mattress as it tends to last around 10 years, think of your suit of the same way. This is because they are supposed to last you a good amount of time and you don’t want to be reminded of a bad decision every time you put it on.

Dapper men know their suits, that’s even a qualification to being one. To know how to identify high-quality suits, which fabrics work together and which pattern should be used, you must have a certain knowledge of it. If not your outfit can be composed by extremely expensive designers’ garments that don’t work in perfect harmony together. Keep reading, as I think it’s time I break the basics of suiting; fabric types and pattern to you, my readers.

 

Suit Fabrics and When to Wear Them

When it comes to the type of suit fabrics, you must choose based on the occasion and weather condition you intend to wear it. Choose lighter weight materials if you tend to perspire a lot and heavier if you intend to wear it mostly at winter. This type of discernment must come from within according to the determined use and one’s conditions.

 

1.    Wool Fabric Suits

Wool is to suits as Scotch is to liquor, you can never go wrong in a finely tailored wool suits. If your wardrobe hasn't got a pair of wool suits, I'm afraid to tell you are NOT a dapper man. Wool is a breathable and moth-proof fabric that resist time. This fabric can be found in a big variety of weights, meaning you get to pick a lighter weight one if you usually feel too warm and sweat a lot, and the opposite if you mostly feel cold. Wool has an upside which is associated to luxury signature and aesthetics. The downside being they can cost a home monthly mortgage in Washington DC. Another downside is that they must be taken drycleaner for cleaning (additional costs) and the finer and lighter ones must not be worn too often. Wool suits usually have a higher price range than others, but it’s worth it. Wool is often qualified with the Super xxx's keyword which can go up to Super 200's. Many people belief a higher number commands a better quality but that's not true.

Demystifying the Super xxx Myth

It's important to understand the distinction between the terms associated with wool fineness before purchasing a good suit. ‘Super 110s’ signifies fabric that's moderately fine and spun entirely from wool. A number without the ‘super’ prefix means the suit is made of wool blended with other composites (elastane%, polyester% etc.), even though the fineness requirements are the same. Worthy of note is that due to its weight-to-fineness origins, this measurement is completely different from the thread count used to qualify the fineness of other fabrics, like cotton. The modern range of wool used in good suits ranges from Super 100s to Super 150s, with lower fineness grades being practically unheard of. Higher grades exist, though, and they command skyrocketed prices. Hence before you look at the suits label, remember the finer the fabric, the higher the price and the lighter the wool and the lesser its durability (Watch out for the crotch area disentanglement in less than no time:).

 

2.    Polyester Fabric Suits

The man-made fabric is the one most suits are made of. This suit is the best option in cases you don’t have to wear it on a daily basis, as it isn’t a breathable material, meaning it can get really hot. It’s resistance to time is good, just like wool, being a mothproof material. As a dapper man, it is ok to buy a suit with some polyester in the mixture, but not a 100% one, as this type of suits just looks like a bad quality product, due to its lightweight and shiny appearance. With polyester, you basically get what you pay for, which is usually on a cheaper scale.

 

3.    Cotton Fabric Suits

Cotton is one of the best options of suits there are, the material is breathable and once properly tailored it looks not only comfortable but elegant. It can be found in both lightweight and heavier ones, but the material is mostly a summer staple, as there are more appropriate ones for colder days. This fabric is appropriate to either casual or semi-formal events, making it one of the most versatile. Plus, it is the best option for separate pieces wear, as a well-tailored one can be used all throughout summer not paired. A big pro when it comes to this kind of suits is the material is not stretchy, so you must look around a little bit more to find a well fitted one. Cotton suits are best looking in light color, so leave the darker duty to the wool suits.

 

4.    Linen Fabric Suits

Linen is summer's best friend. Linen’s breathable material makes it just like cotton, a great looking comfortable summer staple. The fabric is great for most casual events and can be found mostly in traditional colors. The material can be used in formal events, but do give preference to daylight ones. The biggest con of this material is how much it tends to wrinkle, so you must be extra careful not to look slobby. If your wardrobe hasn't got a pair of linen apparel please get one ASAP. Connaisseur Paris is a place to look for a couple.

 

5.    Corduroy Fabric Suits

The material used in most “winter at an ivy league school” type of movies and TV shows and also in “boarding school in the UK” ones. This heavyweight fabric is mostly used on the winter season and you most likely won’t see someone sporting a full Corduroy suit because of the material weight. The fabric is a tough one to pull off, as it can easily make you appear older within’ seconds, if not worn properly. As it is a soft material, caution must be taken at all times to avoid it looking slobby. To go with it, you may need to get the Chelsea boots out of your closet, but we all know how much you love having the opportunity to wear them out anyway.

 

6.    Velvet Fabric Suits

Definitely not an everyday wear suit, velvet suits are best suited for winter, as the high-quality ones will be made of a heavier material. This casual wear suit can look great just as it could end up looking cheap and inelegant depending on the situation. The best time to wear it would be when you are hosting a party or at occasions such as new years’ eve, but you may be able to get more use out of it if you use its separate pieces, but remember not to wear it out when it’s snowing or raining as the fabric will be ruined, probably to a point of no return.

 

7.    Tweed Fabric Suits

One of the poshest materials a suit can be made of. You may think of Sherlock Holmes outfits when you think of tweed suits. Tweed fabric market has grown exponentially to derivatives that fit every taste so you don’t have to associate it to the naphthalene smell on old men who were wearing it at the movies by your side. Get over this trauma by researching the modern ones, because once you fall in love with it, you won’t even remember it was the first black and white silent movie you ever watched, and how you never did it ever since. For the cold months, pair it with a nice and warm cashmere sweater for the ultimate look, and for a vintage feel, light up a tobacco pipe in front of a fireplace with nice classical music playing in the background.

Suit Patterns

When it comes to a suit pattern it is always a good idea to not go over board, as they may be fun for a while, but once the thrill dies down you will be left with a way too over the top suit that will most likely sit in your closet forever due to its limited use.

 

1.    Prince of Wales Pattern (Glen Plaid)

Also known as Glen plaid, this pattern is a formal one that is not plain nor is it overwhelming, it’s just right. It is made of a few large and small checkers made of 2 light colors and 2 dark colors lines. Light colors are preferred for daylight use, but its use is not restricted.

 

2.    Stripes

Stripes are the most accepted of patterns. There are many patterns of stripes but the most popular are pinstripe and chalk stripe. 

Pinstriped suits, particularly navy, can showcase a dapper elegant look. Pinstripes are very narrow and are most often white or grey. Wearing colored pinstripes are only recommended for casual events because they portray a casual look. Endeavor to make sure the stripes on your suit match from top to bottom to look decent especially if you had to alter the suits or trousers to fit perfectly- that might alter the stripe pattern especially if the alteration was done by an amateur tailor.

Chalk stripe pattern on the other hand is made of a large solid color stripes followed by a chalk looking strip (usually in white) and so on. This is a classy and elegant pattern that can be worn at dinner parties at full and formal events (trousers only). The cut is just as important as the quality of the material as if the lines don’t match perfectly in it, the look just won’t end up nice. Variety of stripped suits available at Connaisseur Paris.

 

3.    Windowpane

Check Pattern Named after the window squared pattern, this bold fabric is made up of tiny grids put together meticulously. The multiple lines when well-tailored make the suit become a look of its own, This pattern is making a comeback recently and to not look like a big Christmas ornament out on the streets, make sure to pair it with smaller patterns suck as strips.

 

4.    Houndstooth

The pattern resembles checkers but isn’t, is actually made of a very specific geometric figure that needs a really good tailoring not to look messy and confusing, being mostly used during the cold months as it is made out of wool. From a relatively large distance you can badly tell there is a pattern, but to those who want the pattern to be well noticed, there are larger scales designs, but they aren’t as used. It is an easy way to make your outfit look more thought out and stylish, especially if you choose the ones with a bolder color mix, such as red or blue. This fabric pattern is very suitable for evening jackets.

 

 

5.    Herringbone

The fish spine looking pattern is a perfect match to every gentleman, the pattern is made out of intercalated rows giving it a visual movement very distinct. The scales in this pattern vary to badly able to be seen to very “in your face”, used by fashionable men worldwide.

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6.    Birdseye

The dotted pattern is known as a conservative look. Its simple pattern makes up for a simple touch of style when used instead of a plain suit. To tone it down, even more, pair the suit jacket with plain colored pants and a pair of lowtop leather sneakers.

 

7.        Floral Pattern


The floral patterned suits have been becoming each time more casual. Big brands such as Gucci have been heavily investing in the floral pattern to this summer season. A few of the Golden rules when wearing one is to allow the floral to be the statement piece of the outfit by not adding different patterns to the mix. Need a floral pattern sport coat or evening wear? You know where to look

 

 

8.      Paisley Pattern


The pattern is known for its curved teardrop shape. This ornamental figure is the one to choose if you want to get attention, as even in its most normal form it still stands out. With this pattern, keep in mind the most colorful the most fun your outfit will look. For elegance points, using the same color as the suit print is the best idea. Checkout Connaisseur Paris Paisley options. 

 

 

9.        Polka Dot Pattern


Having been one of the staple patterns of the 60’s, this pattern is always fun to use because of its vintage feel. Being usable year around polka dot patterns are always a good investment. If you aim to use it for semi-formal events, go for smaller dots, as the bigger the dots, the more casual this pattern gets.

 

 

10. Tartan

This fabric pattern consist of crisscrossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colors. Tartans originated in woven wool, but now they are made in many other materials. Tartan is composed of bands of colored threads woven in visible diagonal lines where different colors cross, which give the appearance of new colors blended from the original ones. The resulting blocks of color repeat vertically and horizontally in a distinctive pattern of squares and lines called sett. In America tartan patterns are commonly referred to as Plaid but in Scotland, plaid represent an incorporation. Burberry for example is recognized by the Scottish Tartan Authority (WR1239) as an authorized brand.

 

 

11.       Plaid

Traditionally, Plaid meant a specific type of garment worn by the Scottish people as a shield against cold during harsh winters. The word plaid is derived from the Scottish Gaelic word Plaide, which means blanket.

Nowadays, the term Plaid refers to patterns inspired by original traditional tartan patterns, and the term tartan now refers to a specific type of plaid. Plaid replaced Tartan once the patterns became popular with British and American textile manufacturers who would recreate fabrics inspired by crossed horizontal and vertical bands in two or more colors. The main difference between traditional tartans and other types of plaids has to do with the pattern's repeat. In regard to plaids, the pattern of the vertical stripe does not necessarily have to match the pattern of the horizontal stripe like tartan patterns. Plaids have many variations of band width, repeat and/or color.

 

 

12.      Gingham 

Even though it looks like plaid, gingham is woven cotton or linen fabric that is mostly often consist of symmetrical, overlapping stripes of the same color that creating a checkered pattern. The main difference between gingham and plaid is simply the symmetry and single color.

Conclusion

Contemporary fashion has tons of suit fabric styles (virgin and blends) and patterns. Illustrated above are just a handful of the most popular. These patterns can be very confusing at times and the wit of a fashion and style enthusiast to pullout the best dapper looks. Also note that expensive designer suits don't necessarily mean that expensive fabrics are used, you may be either paying for the design (in very few cases) or for the name of the designer. Reach out if you need help with shopping, styling or just recommendations for your dapper looks in the appropriate fabrics.

Still in not very clear? check the dress code etiquette article or reach out via the Contact Us form below.

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