Style Q&A: V-Necks, Finding Fresco, Hemming Jeans Instead of Cuffing, and Unusual Sunglasses

Our man Grant answers your style conundrums on doing v-necks right, finding a fresco suit, hemming jeans instead of cuffing, and sunglasses that aren’t Wayfarers or aviators.

1. I’ve gotten into v-necks recently and I was just wondering if you had any ideas on how to change up an outfit with v-necks. Colors? V-Length? etc. Also what are the best brands/stores to get v-necks from?

V-necks in my opinion have several advantages over crew necks for improving your look.  It baffles me why so many men are opposed to V-necks and cling to crew necks as if their lives depended on it. You didn’t mention whether you were looking for undershirts or sweaters so I’ll cover both.  V-Neck sweaters make you look taller and thinner while adding to the V shaped torso every man strives for and they keep you cooler by letting your neck breathe.  They also allow for the collar and tie knot to be shown properly versus being hidden under a crew neck.

This extends to V-neck undershirts as well.  V-neck undershirts create a clean look under an open shirt collar versus the bacon neck you see with crew necks which look sloppy under an open collar.

In terms of colors there is no limit.  Great colors for this spring are brick red, orange, cobalt blue and others.  Let your sweater dictate the color scheme of the rest of your outfit.  Compliment the major color of your sweater with a minor color in your suit or tie or socks.

The length should be long enough to show the nape of your neck under an open collar but short enough to hide that unattractive chest hair.  It should be long enough to show the complete knot and dimple but no more.  The best brands/stores depend on your budget.  Every store known to man sells a V-neck from Wal Mart to Saville Row.  Try the V-necks from RibbedTee.  I’ve worn them over the years and they fit like a glove.  My V-neck sweaters range from Brooks Brothers to H&M, to J.Crew.

2. This is not the first place that I’ve heard about fresco fabric for suits and jackets. Problem is, I don’t buy bespoke, and I don’t see them advertised anywhere. Any suggested sources for fresco attire?

The great thing about Fresco is that it is an exclusive fabric that most men won’t be wearing, which will differentiate you from the crowd.  The drawback is that it’s not readily available on the mass market. I am intimately familiar with made-to-measure and custom menswear tailoring houses and even thne some of these providers don’t offer Fresco due to its rarity and price point.

I’ve found a fabric manufacturer in Australia and I’m working with him to locate sources of Fresco stateside.  This looks like the first to be continued Q&A we’ve had.  In the meantime if you’re not in the position to pay for Fresco a better option may be to utilize lightweight wools, silks, linens, seersuckers, and poplins along with lightweight weaves.  Wear unlined and/or unstructured jackets with patch pockets to lighten your load.  Wear bright colors to reflect the sun and stand out in the warm weather.

3. I’ve read on your style Q&As before about getting pants hemmed to the proper length. My question is, does this go for jeans as well? I’ve seen plenty of guys walking around with their jeans rolled up, but that just looks sloppy to me.

The short answer is yes you can hem jeans.  However, the process is more time-consuming, costly, and more likely to be screwed up by a tailor or seamstress who doesn’t know what they’re doing.  The big difference between hemming jeans and trousers is being able to keep the original hem intact.  If done incorrectly it will throw off the look of the original hem.

What you’ve probably seen men doing with their jeans is cuffing them.  There is a difference between flipping, rolling, and cuffing your pants.  Flips and rolls are most common with chinos and light weight fabric pants.  Cuffing comes in with jeans where a man purposely buys his jeans longer than his standard length in order to cuff the hem a few inches.  This was born out of the desire to show off the selvedge stripe found on premium denim jeans.  Cuffing should look neat and proper.  Flipping and rolling are meant to look disheveled.

4. I need a pair of sunglasses. I want something classic, that will stand the test of time, but I want something more unusual than your standard Aviators or Wayfarers. Any suggestions?

Using classic and unusual in the same sentence is a bit…unusual.  By definition classic means adhering to a standard of something that transcends time and trends.  Unusual crosses over into the realm of fashion which changes as the wind blows.

While aviators and wayfarers are two of the most popular sunglasses frames, there are others to choose from.  Caravans and Clubmasters are two that come to mind.  Caravans are the square version of aviators.  Clubmasters combine the square caravan and the eccentricity of Wayfarers. If you’re looking for something more unique there are foldable sunglasses which can fit into your chest or trouser pocket.  Foldable sunglasses can come cheap or expensive but they are a convenient option.

When it comes to brands everyone knows Ray Ban and Persol are at the top of the list.  If you want something off the beaten path go with Blublockers, Randolph Engineering or Activist Eyewear.

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Grant Harris is Owner & Chief Style Consultant at Image Granted; a Washington, DC based Image Consulting Company dedicated to solving the complex image, style & fashion issues of today's professional man. He has a healthy obsession with socks. Follow him on Twitter & Facebook.