Dandy & Dapper
I usually wear socks my wife buys in Europe to go with my suits. But here wool is just too hot. What are the alternatives?
Mr Dandy: Ditch the socks, roll up those trousers and enjoy the cool (OK, hot and humid) breeze on your ankles. I even had some suit trousers shortened to show off a handsome pair of shoes. Think about it. It's a great look and office style has come far enough to make it cool there, too. Don't try to fake it with those supposedly "invisible" little socks. I'm always embarrassed for the guy who wears them.
Mr Dapper: Thank you, Dandy. I have thought about it, however, and a well-dressed gentleman should always wear socks. Truncated hems and rolled-up trousers certainly have their place in the repertoires of hip young men on casual occasions. However, in serious places of business, the look would affect a level of disrespect or disinterest. Socks are also more hygienic. But wool is not your only choice - I recommend the beautiful cotton knee-high socks by Italian specialist Sorley, which are available in a variety of colours at The Armoury (HK$270; Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Central, tel: 2810 4990). Respected German brand Falke offers good formal socks in black, navy or grey cotton, or Egyptian cotton (HK$210 to HK$430; UM Undergarment; The Landmark, Central, tel: 2522 0198). Marks and Spencer is still incredibly affordable for such things - HK$229 for seven pairs of cotton mix FreshFeet and HK$279 for three pairs from the higher end Collezione line (22 Queen's Road Central, tel: 2921 8323).
I never know whether I'm supposed to tuck in my collared T-shirts or leave them hanging out. I know a lot of guys think it's cool to leave all their shirts hanging out. What do you advise?
Mr Dapper: This truly is a modern-day conundrum, so thank you for asking. The golden rule is that shirts with tails must be tucked in. Polo shirts are inherently casual, though infinitely more presentable than the average crew-neck, and may be worn un-tucked, if you will. Your polo shirt should hang just below the waistband of your trousers; otherwise, tuck it in to avoid looking scruffy. A search for pictures of real-life polo players reveals that the vast majority of them do tuck in, including the royals. In addition to Ralph Lauren's famous shirts, I would also recommend those by Faconnable, Paul & Shark and Lacoste.
Mr Dandy: Hello? How many of us look like male models/athletes? Tuck in your polo shirt and I'm likely to mistake you for a member of a religious cult, a salesman or a total dork. Would you tuck in a McQ by Alexander McQueen or an uber-cool Scotch & Soda (HK$500 to HK$1,200; Lane Crawford, IFC Mall, Central, tel: 2118 2288), for instance? I hope not. Dude, there are so, so many awesome polo shirts out there, I don't see the point in wearing them like an old man. John Smedley solves the problem with 50s-style ribbed waistbands on his Sea Island cotton collared tees (HK$2,090 to HK$2,190; Harvey Nichols, Pacific Place, Central, tel: 3968 2668). There. Now you'll look cool.
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