Dandy & Dapper

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 May, 2011, 12:00am


I'm looking for a blue sports coat to wear with khakis or jeans for the summer, but not the old double-breasted one with brass buttons. Sorry for my ignorance, but what's the difference between a suit jacket and a blazer anyway?

Mr Dandy: Don't be sorry. Most men would be hard pressed to answer the blazer-versus-jacket question. Suit jackets will typically have trousers in the same, usually finer fabric to go with it, while a blazer is made to be worn with trousers of a different material. These days, it's mostly semantics, especially as men are wearing conservative suit jackets, such as those with pin stripes, with jeans. Stop obsessing and have fun with what you wear! For hot weather, we like relaxed fits, often unlined, and in lighter fabrics. Armani Collezioni is a master of summer styles (HK$6,900 to HK$9,300; Lane Crawford, Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2118 3668); and younger brother, AX Armani Exchange has cotton blazers in more modern black, instead of blue (HK$1,890; Pacific Place, tel: 2537 3118). Even if you stick with traditional navy, you can play with the fabric choice, as Etro does so well. This season, that includes a sports coat in a nylon-silk mix (HK$8,200; IFC Mall, Central, tel: 2234 7338), and in cotton with contrast piping on the lapels (HK$13,900). Also consider the textured self-print cotton blazer with grosgrain trim by 3.1 Phillip Lim (HK$7,600; Lane Crawford). Altea has gone with knits this season, including a great cross between a blazer and a cardigan, in blue or grey cotton, with white piping for a boating look (HK$1,995; The Landmark, Central, tel: 2537 9246), and in a soft but structured jersey (HK$6,795). We love how Costume National has taken a basic blue blazer in a ramie-cotton blend and then intentionally crumpled it up (HK$7,800; 32 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, tel: 2526 2777). By the way, as I've written in the recent past, there's been a resurgence of the double-breasted jacket, so there's no need to shun it any more. In general, go for slimmer cuts over traditional boxy shapes and look for white or other buttons in place of the usual brass ones.

Mr Dapper: No. A basic navy, single-breasted blazer should be a staple of every man's wardrobe, and will faithfully take you from business meetings to casual gatherings for years. If you want to 'play', then be creative with what you wear it with. Anyway, the real distinction should be made between a sports coat and a blazer, both of which can be traced back to the 1800s. A sports coat has its roots in hunting and is therefore traditionally made from sturdier stuff such as tweed and comes with flapped pockets. The classic blazer is more naval in character, made from blue wool or hopsack, with brass buttons, and has patch pockets. In addition to the usual suspects, we like the contemporary tailoring of blue blazers by Hart (HK$8,500 to HK$8,900; Lane Crawford) and Nicole Farhi (HK$9,550; Harvey Nichols, The Landmark, tel: 3695 3388).

Where can I find a nice fitted (close to the body) long-sleeve casual (not sports) T-shirt, either with round or V-shape collar, in solid colours. Calvin Klein had them in grey, black and white a few years ago but, unfortunately, ceased the line.

Mr Dapper: It sounds like you need help on several counts. First of all, Hong Kong is full of great casual brands that offer no-nonsense, logo-free basics. Don't tell me you've never been to Giordano. Second, it's torturous to wear long-sleeved T-shirts in the Hong Kong heat. That's why brands such as the aforementioned have cleared out the long sleeves in favour of climate-appropriate short sleeves. Cotton On is one of the few still carrying them in white, black, light grey and beige (HK$99; 2 D'Aguilar Street, Central, tel: 2537 4279). You might also like the nearby Henley shirts in white, white with thin grey stripes, and khaki green (HK$129).

Mr Dandy: Yawn. Why go with plain, non-descript clothing when you can make a subtle style statement with everything you don? Check out modern alternatives to the boring old T-shirt by contemporary brands such as Yigal Azrouel. The Israel-born, New York-based designer has done some this season in solid grey with cool elbow patches or devore, meaning with interspersed holes (HK$2,580 to HK$3,080; Seibu, Pacific Place, tel: 2971 3888). Or check out the 0044 label, which has gone with avant-garde, extra-long silhouettes (HK$2,580; Seibu). Other brands worth visiting include Rick Owens, Yves Saint Laurent, Maison Martin Margiela and multibrand stores such as I.T. I could go on ...