I've been looking for V-notch trousers, but all my searches seem to drag up are shorts!


Mr Dapper: Though currently associated with era of The Great Gatsby, after the recent Baz Luhrmann film, the notched waist, or V-split, originates further away in both date and geography. Generally, it is used on waists higher than the low-slung trousers of today, and adds comfort and flexibility from standing to sitting positions. (It also kindly averts unsightly bulging or "muffin tops", as the kids say.) The V-split is easily identified by a V-shaped cut-out at the back of the waistband, and it is an option on suit trousers, which any decent tailor should still offer.
Mr Dandy: Wow, really? Who knew? I thought "notched" was only used when describing jacket lapels. I have seen these waist details on the latest casual strides, such as Club Monaco's Prince of Wales check trousers in a British wool blend (HK$2,590; The Men's Shop, 1 St Francis Yard, Wan Chai, tel: 2527 7030), but I guess I thought they were new. A little online research (Dapper would be proud) threw up an awesome slim-cut pair in a herringbone check with a tab closure and hidden fly, by Asos.com (only HK$556!). Old-school chaps will probably be more comfortable with the plain-front corduroy trousers with "a two-piece curtained waist with V-notch at back" from Landsend.com (HK$615). And finally, here's a wild card: I stumbled across a site, Callisters.com selling cowboy gear, including Mens RangeWear cotton canvas V-notch trousers by Scully (HK$390).


Someone told me the only polo shirts he wears have to be mercerised. I nodded and pretended I knew what he meant, but I didn't. I later checked the labels on my shirts but didn't find that word. What am I missing?


Mr Dapper: Fabrics, usually cotton, are mercerised to increase shine or lustre. First, the fabric is put into a solution of sodium hydroxide then neutralised to expand and strengthen the fibres. It is also said to aid dye absorption and retention, and reduce pilling. Take, for example, the king of collared T-shirts, Ralph Lauren, and the label's standard polo shirts (HK$990 and up; Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2376 2881); which you may find more affordable at the Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store (Citygate, 20 Tat Tung Road, Tung Chung, Lantau, tel: 2109 1308). I've also read that Brooks Brothers does them with mercerised cotton, but could not find any information on the inner labels in my wardrobe to verify that (HK$590 to HK$750; IFC Mall, Central, tel: 2234 7088).
Mr Dandy: Is this something that should keep me up at night? I figure it's enough to know a shirt is made well with good materials. Maybe that's just me. Anyway, I sourced some cooler ones for you. Alexander McQueen jersey tees are often made in Italy with 100 per cent mercerised cotton (about HK$2,500; Harvey Nichols, Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 3968 2668). And hey, even American Eagle Outfitters has it in its polo shirts, for only HK$290 (LCX, Ocean Terminal, tel: 2730 6939).



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