Monday, December 8, 2008

When the economy is down, dress up. In a challenging economy, people want to look their best, perform their best, and give themselves every competitive advantage. Dressing up, and dressing well, is akin to keeping one's chin up and maintaining a positive perspective in turbulent times.

Dressing well gives one a sense of confidence and professionalism. Appropriate attire communicates both to the wearer and those with whom we associate, that we are competent, credible and capable. It's that great feeling that comes from putting on a well-tailored suit or even a new shirt and tie.

Recognizing both the need to stand out in the workplace and an overall push in the marketplace to raise the standard by dressing up, package yourself for maximum benefit. We're happy to assist you in presenting yourself in tailored clothes that are dressy and understated.

Elegant suits and jackets with modern silhouettes and styling details are the foundation of today's executive-friendly wardrobes. Classic, not trendy styling is the order of the day. Accessorized with fresh, crisp shirts and ties that provide the perfect professional look without dandyish decoration, and you have boardroom-worthy attire. Call them recession-proof wardrobes.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

How many suits should I have?

by Alan Vinson

The answer to this question depends of course on how often a person wears a suit, however there is a pretty good rule of thumb to follow also. Most any professional clothier would suggest that a gentleman have a minimum of a two to three week rotation of suits. What does that mean? That means that during your busiest time of year, you could function as you normally would without having to wear the same suit more than once every two to three weeks - i.e. three days a week in a suit = no less than 6-9 suits at the ready. Keeping a 3 week rotation of suits is no easy task, and is even tougher if one is subject to weight fluctuations since we tend to over-wear the clothes we have that fit best.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

What do men wear when they meet with the President??

Jacksonville's Rick Ferrin and Dick Morales with President George W. Bush during his recent visit to JAXPORT.

Both Mr. Ferrin and Mr. Morales are pictured here with, you guessed it, JT Vinson designed custom suits. When the occasion calls for your very best, what else would one wear.

-published with permission from Mr. Ferrin and Mr. Morales. I probably should have checked with the President also.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

New - Unconstructed Jackets

The newest tailoring grade - light as air - we call it the "Arietta" is new for Spring '08. Many years in the making this jacket is gorgeous, and feels more like a shirt, yet has the outward appearance of a fully constructed coat. You have to experience the featherweight comfort that is created by combining tropical weight silk/linen/wool blend fabrics with the ultimate in lightweight construction. Light, airy, and perfect for summer suits and sport coats. Try a summer blazer in linen, matched with cotton/microfiber slacks for an ideal casual yet sophisticated look. The coats feature a French "open facing" an unconstructed (no shoulder pad whatsoever) shoulder, book-folded inside seams, and minimal lining. The "Arietta" is the ultimate in lightweight comfort and style. If you naturally sweat a lot, this is the coat you'll never mind wearing even in the heat of summer! I am having my first suit made in this construction, so just ask and I'll show you mine. Or better yet, just order one for yourself.

Live and Dress Well,

Alan V.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

On the Great Wall of China

Watch the Video of my walk on the Great Wall of China:

Monday, March 17, 2008

Chamber Leadership trip to China

Mayor John Peyton and myself at the entrance to the Summer Palace in Beijing
(Click on image for closeup)

Last week I was in China with the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce for the International Leadership trip. It was extremely positive 10 day trip from March 7th - 17th. We travelled with a 35 person delegation including the Mayor of Jacksonville, and were treated like absolute royalty while we were there!! I especially gained a great deal of knowledge from the trip in as well as some connections there that could prove invaluable to me in the clothing business, not to mention 34 great new friends! China is very impressive with some of the most massive cities I have ever seen. We visited Beijing, where this Summer's Olympics will be held, and climbed the Great Wall of China. We then spent three days in Shanghai where the size and scope of the city boggles the mind. You can buy anything you want in Shanghai, and it is manufactured right there. We then visited Hong Kong for three days and I must say it is the most beautiful and efficient city I have ever seen. I spent some time with a few of the famous Hong Kong Tailors, and learned quite a bit while I was there. Hats off to the Chamber here in Jacksonville for creating one of the most memorable trips I have ever had, and one that promises to pay great dividends for me (and my clients), and an experience I will never forget! - AMV

If you would like to see all my pictures Click Here for Album

Monday, March 3, 2008

Why you should buy every suit with two pair of pants

In short, because you can! The idea of two pair of pants with each suit is nothing new. It used to be that having two pants made with your suit was always an option. These days many places don’t even offer the option, or if they do, they do not suggest it. Because of cloth utilization advantages, and because so little extra work is required to make an additional pant while already making a coat and pant, it has always been fiscally sensible to order one extra pant with your suits. And just think of all the advantages:

One of the great parts of having two pants for a suit is the ability to travel wearing the suit, and bring along the second pant. It’s like bringing two suits! You also will essentially double the life of your suit if it has two pants, as the wear and tear is greater over time on the pants than the coat. You will dry-clean the coat less often, therefore you will dramatically lengthen the suit’s life span by having two pants. You can always have one pair of pants at the cleaner’s being pressed and the other pair at the ready, fresh and pressed and good to go. The effective impact upon your wardrobe is like adding two suits to your rotation in terms of wear and tear, yet only costs an additional 25-30% more than the suit cost with just one pair of pants. It’s really a no-brainer when you’re going to the expense of having a nice suit made to get that extra pair of pants cut when you order it. And besides, think how glad you’ll be if you tear a hole in one of the pants accidentally.

by Alan M. Vinson


Saturday, March 1, 2008

Actual Cloth Bolts - A new wrinkle in our business

While I was at the clothing show in Las Vegas I picked up 7 (particularly nice) bolts of cloth to bring back to Jacksonville with me. So, now I have 4 bolts for suits and 3 bolts for Sport coats at my office. These fabrics were just too good of a deal on too nice of a piece of cloth to pass up. Here's what it means to you. If you were to have a suit or sportcoat made from one of these that I own the cloth for, you would get an incredible value. These 7 cloths are available at a 30% discount from their regular price. If you have any interest, contact me and I will come to your office or you can stop by to see the actual bolt of cloth. What this also means is that you can see a very large piece of the fabric rather than the usual 5" x 7" swatch. I anticipate ordering more fabric this way in the future. It allows customers to see a large piece of the cloth before ordering and I can give a better price on these fabrics which I have already "landed". Stay tuned for more details.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The 5 Tips

Every Man Should Know

July 2008 Issue of Men's Vogue

The Short Man
Apolo Ohno

5’8’’ 165 LBS

1 - Don’t wear a longer suit jacket. It just makes your legs look shorter.

2 - A pant leg with very little break will help you look taller.

3 - Show some cuff to lengthen the look of your arms.

4 - A peak lapel helps elongate your physique.

5 - A lower button stance creates long lines, and that essentially stretches you out.

The Large Man

Horatio Sanz

5’9’’ 250LBS

1 - Wear a pocket square. It brings the focus to your chest, not your gut.

2 - Keep your jacket buttoned unless you’re sitting down.

3 - Wear a simple, elegant shirt. Avoid plaids and checks.

4 - You can wear flat-front pants. They are engineered to be comfortable, even without pleats.

5 - Avoid super skinny ties and lapels. Proportion with your torso is key.

The Tall Man

Raja Bell

6’5’’ 210 LBS

1 - Lighter Colors add width to a narrow frame.

2 - A Two-Button Suit works great on a tall man-as long as the suit has relatively high-cut lapels.

3 - Just because your tall doesn’t mean you need an extra-long suit size. Try On a Long First.

4 - Keep The Amount of Cuff you show to a minimum

5 - Ask for A Decent Amount of Break in your trousers, so your long legs don’t look too long.

The Athletic Man


6’2’’ 205 LBS

1 - Don’t wear peak lapels. Your chest and shoulders are broad enough; no need to accentuate them.

2 - Two-button jackets sync up with the V shape of your torso.

3 - Low-collar shirts work well with a thicker neck.

4 - Yes, you can wear narrow-cut trousers. It’s your chest that needs room, not your ankles.

5 - Strong man, solid shoe. You don’t want anything clunky on your feet, but you also don’t want to look like you’re wearing ballet flats.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Just returned from Clothing Market

I have just returned from this years Las Vegas Clothing market which included MRket and Magic. I had an opportunity to look at the men's neckwear that is all the nicest stuff out there. I emerged having made one or two large buys and with some fresh ideas on my mind for the spring summer season. This years' tie selections I liked best will consist of many variations on stripes and paisleys. It seems like the old patterns on ties have been brought back with a fresh look. When it comes to tie patterns without a doubt the neatest stuff at the market were the patterns of old, but they have been "enlived" and fused with rich colors, especially in colors like copper, orange, light blue with brown, and lots of purple. In just a few days I will begin receiving some of the very nicest ties I've ever had! Plus we will have great new stuff arriving each month for the next two months. If anyone out there wants me to come by with some ties, just let me know. I'm your man! AV

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Slim Is In

by Alan Vinson

Suits are taking on a decidedly slimmer look both in the pants and jackets. Today's updated suit has a trimmer overall look, with clean lines and natural shoulders rather than the bit more padded extended shoulders that have been the look for so many years. Some men are even opting for plain front pants, however we still recommend pleated pants for your suits. Having said that however, you would do well to have your pants made a bit less full through the leg/thigh area to reflect todays updated styling. An updated suit should have a closer fit while still having great comfort. Also, two button coats with slimmer lapels and a higher button stance are now solidly more popular than three button suits. Last year we made more two button jackets than three button coats for the first time in several years. Side vents are still a popular style, however the center vent has regained popularity even with the most fashion forward designers. As a designer myself, for years I have been a "side vents guy", but the suit I have on order for myself right now is styled with a center vent. It is probably the first center vent coat I've made for myself in over 10 years! And, of course, don't forget the features. Make sure you ask for working buttonholes on the sleeves (surgeon's cuffs), and pic-stitching on the lapels and pocket flaps. These details really add a little something to the suit, and shows that it was made well enough to warrant the extra details. I also recommend doing a little something with the lining inside the coat. You don't have to get crazy, but give it a little thought next time you have a suit made. A burgundy, or gold lining with herringbone or paisley can add character, and I have some very beautiful new choices with which to to line your coats. Of course I hope to create something for you soon. Nothing lifts a man's spirit, and puts a pep in the step like sporting a new suit of clothes!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

More Choices than ever in the New Year

These days when you buy a suit from J.T. Vinson Co. you have more choices than ever. For example, you might want to try our made-to-measure suits from $500-$1,000 each. This suit is made by machine and will compare favorably to suits purchased for MORE off the rack. Next, we have custom clothing from the classic American tailoring houses, which have been making the best clothing in the United States for nearly 100 years. I have built my business, and my name quite literally on these finely made garments. This range of suits sell for $900-$2,400 and include the fabrics from brand name mills such as Zegna, Holland and Sherry, Loro Piana, and others. And finally, we also make a “Hand Sewn” garment. This is a suit that is custom made for you and sewn completely by hand. You could not find a superior garment for less than $4,000 in a retail store. Brands such as Brioni and Kiton come to mind, however I would put a “Hand-Sewn” from JT Vinson up against a Brioni any day. Our “Hand-Sewn” suits start at $2,500 each and go up from there depending on the fabric. These are reserved for gentlemen who desire the very best the world has to offer when it comes to their garments.

In the tie department we still offer all the latest choices from old favorites like Vineyard Vines, Peter Blair, Thatcher Spring, as well as our own JT Vinson private label ties. Plus I am always on the lookout for up and coming tie designers that are “breaking out”, so you’ll always be able to see some things that are really starting to catch on before they do. If I do say so myself our own private label collection just keeps getting better. In this line you’re always guaranteed to find a great assortment of high quality ties from $55 - $75 each, and I know you’ll love the way they tie.

With custom shirts, we are adding new swatches constantly. There are always new and interesting variations on white and blue shirts that will add some variety to your staple colors. Striped and checked shirtings are always present in interesting variations of color and pattern. Shirts like these are great for making more interesting dress shirts or sport shirts. I highly recommend an order of 6-8 new custom shirts at a minimum each year to add freshness and life to the clothes you already have, and JT Vinson will always have plenty of great options to choose from when it comes to beautiful shirts!

With all of these choices, and a professional planner to help guide you in your personal decision making, you simply cannot do better than J.T. Vinson Clothiers when it comes to looking your best with the utmost conveneience, quality and value added. As a small family owned business, we certainly appreciate your business, and look forward to each and every opportunity we have to serve you. We wish you every success in the new year and beyond!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Recent Wardrobe tips

Use Brass Collar Stays in Your Shirts
It's not good to send your shirts to the cleaner with the stays in. Over time, the collars will not look as good as if they are removed each and every time. We've all had the drycleaner melt them into the collars of the shirts before, and it seems that you always run out of fresh collar stays for your shirts. You might try a set of the brass stays for a better overall looking collar and to change your routine a bit. I liken it to having a better pair of sunglasses. You seem to care more about them, and therefore take greater care with the brass stays. That has certainly been the case for me. I have found that the brass collar stays for your shirts look better in the shirts than the plastic ones. They definitely keep the collar looking proper and the added weight seems to give the collar a more impressive look all day long. I have also noticed that I am far less likely to leave them in my shirts, instead I tend to be more careful in removing them from my shirts at the end of the day. Or if they are still in the shirt from the previous day, I get them out when I am dressing the next day because I am looking for a specific set of collar stays rather than getting more (disposable) plastic ones from a large supply to put in my next shirt.
If you would like a set of brass stays just let me know. They come in a very nice little box and are very inexpensive for a nice set of 6 in various lengths. OR I have plenty of the plastic ones, They're free; just ask and we can send you out a dozen or two anytime you like.

Drycleaning Tips
Here is a quick tip on the care of your better dress shirts. Tell your cleaner that you would like your shirts “hand finished”. Also, if you are prone to getting dirty collars, then ask them to “treat the collars” (for stains) every time. These days almost all shirts are done entirely by machine (operators) and the best way to make sure that the shirts look well-pressed every time is to "hand finish" them. Now this is different than asking to have them “hand pressed”. Hand pressed means that the shirts are done entirely by hand rather than just touched up by hand after coming off the line. Most cleaners will charge you twice the price if you want your shirts “hand pressed” but only a negligible amout more (if at all) to “hand finish” your shirts. Any wrinkles that might normally be visible in the shirt are smoothed out while the shirt is still "warm". As far as “treating the collars” goes, don't assume that your cleaner will treat your collars for stains just because you hand him your nice shirts. This is a case of “If you don't ask, you don't get it”. I now have a standing order with my cleaner: “hand finish – treat the collars – no starch”.
If you follow this advice your shirts will come back looking much better, and will last quite a bit longer, as starch isn't great for the life of your shirts. As far as cost, it shouldn't be any extra to have the collars treated every time they do your shirts. They may or may not charge you extra for the hand finishing. If you are a good consistent customer with some decent volume every month, your cleaner should have no problem making sure your shirts receive this extra step when they come off the machines, but be prepared to possibly pay an extra 20 or 30 cents per shirt for the hand finishing. You should see a dramatic difference though in the way the shirts look when they come back. If they tell you they can't do it, or that they don't know what you mean - you may want to look for another cleaner.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

What is a good mix of Sport coats and Blazers?

Any professional clothier will tell you there are five basic sportcoats that everyone should have:

A navy blazer with blazer buttons. This is used for the most formal of your business casual events, i.e. dinner with that major account at the club etc ...

Tan camel hair or cashmere blazer for the fall/winter, as well as its equivalent in the summer, a tan plain weave or linen blazer.

Black blazer with a contrasting brown crushed horn button, or antique silver/pewter buttons. This is a great garment to travel with, as it does everything. You can wear it with everything from blue jeans to a nice pair of wool trousers and a silk shirt or a shirt and tie.

An earthtone houndstooth or glen plaid, your choice. This can be worn with a variety of tans, olives, and taupe colored trousers.

A black and white houndstooth, Prince O' Wales glen plaid or herringbone, your choice. Wear it with black or grey trousers.