Conversation between Adwin Ang & Andy Gilchrist
Good day everyone and Welcome to our Interview with Andy Gilchrist!
Hi Andy, first of all I would like to thank you for taking some time off from your busy schedule for this online interview. I have read the materials from your CD; you bet they are highly informative products. Especially you use charts and picture to illustrate. Also it is a very good and fast reference guide.
My first question is Andy, what have made you decide to come up with a website’s that focus on men’s fashion?
It was an extension of my natural and long time interest in men’s clothing. I started out at the monitor of a men’s fashion Forum that was connected to Men’s Health magazine and liked the idea. I then decided to write a book on men’s clothes, (The Encyclopaedia of Men’s Clothes) which took me two years, and the website was a vehicle to sell the book.
I have read and saw the huge number of topics which you covered on menswear both on your website and CD Rom e-Book “The Encyclopaedia of Men’s Clothes”, the information really amaze me on what I have missed out all these years.
Where or how did you develop your fashion sense? Any special training or courses one need to take?
Some of it came from my father, who living in the middle of Kansas (USA) and doing oil exploration work. But he was always interested in men’s fashion and the quality of the various brands of shoes, suits, shirts, etc.
And honestly I think it somewhat out of insecurity!! Not being born the best looking guy in the world (don’t argue!) I realized that image and looks was important and that I needed to make myself look as good in public as possible.
It occurred to me men in my country aren’t really dress to impress or know their dressing sense but dress according to what they think is suitable for the occasion.
For example: Some men would wear a polo-shirt or jeans for Wedding dinner. They find it more comfortable which is obviously
Where can we obtain the information on latest trends in men’s fashion? Any websites which are your favourites?
Unlike women’s clothing, most men’s clothing (even for the most formal occasions) are intricately comfortable. Women are always searching for comfortable shoes, while men would not stand (pardon the pun) for shoes that didn’t fit well and feel good.
There is also a world wide cultural (or sexual) mind set that men are not suppose to dress well. They are “supposed” to be unkempt, rugged individuals. But if you study every male animal species you note that the male is the more colourful!
It’s good to keep up on the current trends, but not necessarily to go crazy for each fad that comes along. The value of men’s clothing is that they change fashion rarely since the styles have been evolving down through a 100 years to something that fits men’s body types, activities and makes most men look great. Look at formalwear – every man looks exceptionally handsome in the classic (no frills, no updates, no changes) basic tuxedo.
The “acceptable” colors for business (Navy or grey suit, white or blue shirt, etc.) compliment most gentlemen’s skin, hair and eye colors.
You mention about the “Rule of Seven” a few times in your Men’s clothes Encyclopedia. What exactly must we watch out on the ‘7 rules’?
Just to restate that there is a “Rule of Seven” in women’s fashion that applies to men as well. The “rule” states that there should be no more than seven points of interest on your body at any one time!
The theory is that too much visual stimulation detracts from the total look.
Points of interest could be a watch, pocket square, bright tie, blazer buttons, braces, belt buckle, cuff links, fashion glasses, facial hair, vest, anything that could draw attention to that item.
So if you’re wearing an exceptional pair of cufflinks you don’t want to overpower them by adding too many other visual excitement.
When others are visually overloaded they tend to repel you. The mistake when you have too many points of interest is that the look is loud, busy and discordant (not harmonic). Too many patterns make you look like a clown.
The section which I find it most interesting is on casual wear.” DON’T BE A CASUAL CASUALTY!” which you mention a lot of people have misunderstood the meaning of casual dressing. I do agree and myself have always misunderstood it at the long.
What are the different types of casual wear and how should we wear to address the word “Casual wear” on our invitation card?
Part of the problem is that the person sending out the invitation has no idea what the classifications of dress are and thus confuses the guests. There are 5 classifications of dressy and 5 classifications of casual and they all depend on the occasion. It’s easy to get them all mixed up.
Ehm…Andy, as you know I am running a blog site on cuff links. My next question is in general how should we match our cuff links to the type of cuff shirts we wear, in terms of shirts and cuffs material?
You can coordinate cuff links by colour with the rest of your ensemble for that harmonic impression.
You may want to coordinate the metal colour with your watch and ring, so that everything, for example, is gold, but that’s not really necessary. Many watches contain both silver and gold and colour mixing is not scorned.
Traditionally gold was appropriate for day, and silver for evening, but with the advent of a more casual approach both are interchangeable. Silver goes with blue, black or grey, and gold is best with earth tones.
About cuff links care, how should we store them to prevent scratches and should we clean them often for cuff links made of stainless steel?
Store your cuff links in a felt lined jewellery case or use any other method that keeps the links from coming in contact with each other to prevent scratching.
If you don’t have a jewellery case just keep them in the felt lined box they were packed in when you purchased them. Of if they didn’t come in a box (where did you say you got these cuff links?) try storing them in a soft cloth in a drawer.
As you know, there are many type of cuff links in the market. For a person who intend to buy his first pair of cuff links what should he look out for? Is there such a thing as the main categories of cuff types?
STYLES of CUFF LINKS:(from most elegant to least dressy)
Double-faced are links with two identical faces attached with a metal link. You push one face through the “button” holes of the cuff. These are the dressiest.Chain links — A chain attaches the double-faced links.
Snap on are made up of two separate pieces that snap together.
Push-through — This style has a bulbous or globular end opposite the showy side, which is pushed through the cuff holes. Also see Silk Knots below.
Hinged back — This type has a bar, which can be aligned perpendicular to the link then opened parallel, after it’s pushed though the cuff, to secure the link in place.
Stirrup are cufflinks that wrap around the shirt cuff. Some consider these garish.
Silk knots have two knots linked together with and made of silk; one of the knots is pushed through the cuff hole to hold the cuff together. Silk knots are the least dressy style.
I have seen a few men’s cosmetics store in Singapore but might be catering to a small group of people. But seems to me men nowadays are more concern of the way they dress themselves and they are more willing to spend on accessories.
Do you think men’s fashion wear will continue to be more popular for the next 5 years or so?
Absolutely. Men are realizing the importance to their daily lives of looking good. A good impression helps with business, love life, family and all relationships (getting through airport security!!) There will be a boom in men’s cosmetics, quality and classic clothing (some with new high tech fabrics) and a greater willingness to spend money on items that make us look good.
Andy, having been in the men’s fashion industry for many years, what are the common problems that are face by men nowadays in term of their dressing?
The casual dressing era was welcomed by many men but then it became apparent that putting all those elements together properly wasn’t so easy. Certainly not as easy as putting a suit (one element) together with a shirt, tie, and shoe and a belt that matched. It’s more difficult to dress in casual mode and look good.
Coming back to the topic of cuff links, do you have any resources to recommend where readers here can draw information from?
There must be a good history or a book on cuff links out there. If not, Adwin, let’s write one!
From our last email exchanged, you are launching your a set of cuff links, do you intend to go into customisation cuff links for the Online community? How can they reach you?
SmartTurnout, in the UK, in the UK, One of the sponsor’s on AskAndyAboutclothes.com agreed to design a pair of chain style (double faced) cuff links with the Ask Andy hanger on one side and some nice blue tone stripes on the other. (so you could wear the ask Andy side out for Ask Andy get-together events and the other side out for day to day wear. I should have some news (photos, prices) very soon.
Adwin:Once again, thank you, Andy!, for sharing with us your knowledge on clothing’s and await to see more of your exciting tips and cuffs launches.
Take care and have a nice day!
Andy: Thank you Adwin! Really good thoughtful questions. Good luck on the great website you’ve started on cufflinks. I really like the layout and the information there is excellent.