Friday, March 28, 2008

Selling Out

We are preparing for the Chicago Indie Designer Market this summer. It will be the first time that, as a company, Dept728 is available in person to the public. In the beginning we had attempted to start our business in stores, but with the difficulty of guaranteeing that the customer would be assured the right fit (since men have 10 sizes to choose from) we decided to hold back and opt for a web based operation where we can ask all the questions we need in order to make sure that each customer gets the best fit for his body type. The Indie Market will give us face to face interaction with customers who have never heard of us before. I am very excited and a bit nervous. For one, Sean and I will have to guess what would be best to cut and sew for the market. What if we sell out of a certain size and miss out on sales? I know that I can offer customers custom sewn garments sent to them, but most people want to try it on and take it home the same day. I think that getting the feedback from customers feeling, seeing, and trying on our clothing will be so helpful in going forward with the best fit possible. Hopefully this will be a great success.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Throwdown

I am so excited that the weather is changing. I am finally able to break out some of my peep toe shoes and sleeveless tops that have been waiting patiently in my closet all winter. My favorite thing to do is rediscover my own closet before shopping for new pieces. The method is really fun as long as you have made your bed, otherwise it is just a big mess. One at a time, take each of your favorite pieces of clothing and lay it on the bed. Then look at your closet and find something that has the same color and throw it on top. Sometimes the two pieces won't work together, but sometimes they are fabulous combinations that you wouldn't have put together otherwise. When one piece doesn't work replace it with another that will. Keep switching until you have had enough. I can be there for hours. It is essentially playing a "six degrees of separation" game with your wardrobe. The jeans that go with the pink top and brown jacket, the brown jacket that goes with the orange shirt and khaki trousers, the khaki trousers that look great with the red wrap top, etc. This exercise also helps you realize exactly what might be missing from your closet and also gives a better idea of how many uses it may have. Grab a friend, if necessary, to give an outsider's view of the situation. Sometimes it's hard to be objective with clothes you are used to wearing all the time in the same way. Another pair of eyes is always useful.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Neutral Subject

Any of the colors below are great along side saturated colors in your wardrobe:

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Can't Take The Heat

Cold water is your wardrobe's friend. Warm or hot water is great for cleaning white clothing made of natural fibers, but outside of that there is no place for it. Colored clothing or garments made from rayon, nylon, or spandex will last longer when washed in cold water. Not only does the cold water keep the dyes from bleeding and transferring in the wash, but heat is what breaks down the delicate fibers in the clothing. Using cold water in the laundry allows the fibers to stay intact longer which will give longevity to your wardrobe.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Grip Muscles

Ladies and gentlemen: I would love to expound on the many issues surrounding style and fashion that run through my mind on a regular basis but I have been cutting fabric all day. There are 9 waitresses and 3 bartenders on staff at the Underground club in Chicago on Thursday nights, and I have the distinct honor of clothing them. So for now I am intensively cutting, painting, and stitching these garments together in the hopes of having all 12 items finished by this coming Thursday night. If I have extra time the two VIP hosts will also have cool tops to wear that night. As it stands I should be right on track. Wish me luck.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


When it comes to preserving the state of your wardrobe nothing is more important than properly caring for your clothes. The place that most clothing starts to deteriorate is in storage. Improperly storing clothing will allow pieces in your wardrobe to lose shape much quicker than wear and tear. The rule is that clothing is made to be hung on the body only, so hangers must mimic the shape of the shoulders or else the garment will not be in good condition for long. Wire hangers are something to be avoided, especially on sweaters and other knits. Knits that are not kept on padded or rounded hangers will stretch through the neck and shoulders, not to mention that the wrong hangers leave those bumps at the shoulders which just look silly. Even dress shirts kept on wire hangers will start to fall awkwardly on the upper body because they are not supported correctly during storage. As for structured sport coats and overcoats, these should be kept on fuller wooden or plastic hangers that are broader through the shoulders. All the interfacing and padding on the inner structure of these garments needs to be supported in the closet just as it is on your body when you are wearing it. Allowing the inside to lose shape will make even the best fitting jacket look strange on your body. So take stock of you supply of hangers, and remember, mommy dearest was right, wire hangers are not for you.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pull It Together

Subtle themes can take an ensemble to the next level. For instance, a gray jacket with a subtle purple pinstripe can be mixed with a pair of solid black flannel trousers and a deep purple sweater vest over a lavender dress shirt. The jacket has a pattern, the vest mimics the color of the pattern in the jacket, the dress shirt is another shade of the same tone of the vest, and the pants are solid but introduce a subtle texture. Outfits like this give the eye something to play with in every element. They do not look busy or overdone, but simply add a unifying theme. Had all the pieces (jacket, vest, shirt, trouser) been used in another ensemble, but without having the colors and textures add interest, the outfit would have been a major yawn. Even a simple track jacket, jeans, and t-shirt combination is more interesting when it is pulled together with a unifying theme. Suppose the jacket was a deep green with an orange stripe on the shoulders. The t-shirt could then be a camouflage print with a small orange graphic, and paired with a pair of dark denim jeans with an interesting wash. What would have been an outfit that looks thrown on now looks like a put together ensemble. It is no less comfortable, nor is it much harder to do. All it takes is an awareness of color and detail. With that sensibility there is nothing that will look boring no matter how simple it is.

Monday, March 17, 2008

I Know What Boys Like

When I was in design school my construction-oriented design sense was considered somewhat subdued. Now, it is a reflection of my design sensibility that appeals to lots of men. Menswear is generally an area where a little bit of designing goes a long way. Overly complicated clothing is too much of a hassle for men, and overly designed pieces can be overwhelming. The simple updates to classic pieces work well to update a guy's closet. Well used details give a lot of style to a basic ensemble which is what Dept728 has come to be synonymous with. Who knew designing basics would be so much fun?



Sunday, March 16, 2008

Wardrobe Essentials

Every woman needs:
1. Sexy black patent heels
2. Nude seamless bra and panties
3. A little black dress
4. Basic leather tote bag

Every man needs:
1. Black leather dress shoes
2. A belt
3. Wool sport coat
4. Dark wash denim

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Pockets are tricky little buggers. Sometimes they help out in other ways than just giving you a place to put your stuff. On denim, in particular, pockets are important for the rear view. Bulky cargo pockets on smaller, flatter bottoms can actually give a little shape to an otherwise low profile rear. Those with ample rears, however, should avoid them for the same reason. For larger rears pocket placement is key. A centrally located, simple pocket can highlight the right part of the butt for shape. Pockets that are set too wide make even the roundest bottoms look flat and wide. Small pockets on a larger butt will also not work in your favor. As in style as the larger, lower pockets have become, it is important to find jeans with pockets that suit your backside since most people will have to see you from behind. No matter how good a jean looks in the front, the back must also be taken into consideration for a 360 degree look.


There is a golden ratio for bodies. Longer legs and a somewhat shorter torso is ideal. No matter what the actual proportions of the body are it is possible to visually suggest the more ideal scenario. Dropped waist dresses, for example, are a great idea for girls with short torsos and long legs. Empire waist dresses, in contrast, help shorten a longer torso and add visual length to the leg line. For men, shirt length is the most important consideration. Shorter men (or tall men with long torsos) should always make sure to have their shirts end just below the belt line. Long legged men can correct their shorter torsos by extending their shirts to the hip level instead. Ideally, the clothing will make the body actually look as if it is proportioned correctly, and always looking good is golden.
P.S. Dept728 will cut extra length or shorten the length on shirts ordered on the website. Just email me to request adjustments.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Big V

V-necks are not all created equal. Some are up high and straight, some are low and curved, and lots of others are somewhere in between the two. I think that all of the v-neck t-shirts out there have a place in the closet, but there are a few guidelines to follow:

1. Know what is too low: Men don't really need to enlighten the general population as to the landscape of their entire chest (so wear them layered with other knits), and women should follow this same rule (the only exception is when you are in a nightclub and all other body parts are appropriately covered).

2. Landscaping is key: Men should have their chest hair trimmed in order to avoid a tufted look, and women should be sure to conceal any splotchiness or acne on the decolletage for a clean look.

3. Less is more: When in doubt go for a higher v-neck in order to avoid having to consider rules one and two.



Monday, March 10, 2008

Looking Good

Colors that look on everyone:
1. Eggplant
2. Sage green
3. Gray
4. Medium blue
5. Pink
6. Rust

Colors to avoid if you are fair
(wear them if you are darker):
1. Beige
2. Yellow
3. Orange

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Cotton Condom

Somehow I never tire of talking about the cotton condom. Let me explain exactly what this is: Men with truly fantastic physiques who only seem to wear t-shirts that are entirely too small for them. The t-shirt is so tight, in fact, that the fabric is pulling underneath the armpits in an attempt to stretch itself across the buff wearer's chest. So essentially, the garment is no longer considered a t-shirt, it's more like a cotton condom. I used to think it was amusing, but now I just want to shake the guys wearing them and tell them to get a clue. I am sure that with all the hard work that they do at the gym they deserve to show off their physique, but enough is enough. Fit is something that everyone needs to find. Sometimes it's harder to get clothes to fit correctly when you are shaped differently than most of the population, but that is no excuse. Dept728, for one, created an athletic fit specifically for the gym rats so that they can wear something that shows off their v-shaped torsos without pulling too tightly in the chest or being too loose in the waist. Other lines do have some sort of athletic fit shirt as well. So sometimes it takes a little more effort to find something that fits, but wearing a t-shirt that looks like it's from the kids department is not the answer.

Saturday, March 8, 2008


It used to be that argyle was reserved for only stuffy older gentlemen in navy sport coats. Nowadays even Wyclef Jean will wear an argyle sweater. The tricky part of sporting an updated look with argyle is in the context. A basic argyle sweater worn alone over jeans looks more modern than a sweater vest over a button down shirt. A screen-printed argyle hoodie can be worn under a sport coat for a more funky look, or an electric aqua argyle sweater will look modern with a flat front trouser for something more traditional. The interest will lie in the details with argyle. It can be in the color, the method, or the application. As long as it's a new interpretation of a classic the look will not draw any associations with being stuffy.



P.S. Looking for some funky argyle? Check out Dept728's argyle
t-shirt vest at

Thursday, March 6, 2008


When every major magazine has models looking flawless and barely made-up (unless, of course. they are doing some crazy shoot with feathers and sequins applied to the models' faces) it seems silly for women today to apply their makeup with a palette knife. New technology has made foundations air light, powders so fine they are undetectable, and mascara that never clumps. I can tell when most women are wearing makeup (and thankfully most of them are), but most men can't tell at all. Yesterday, however, I came face to face with a face full of makeup. Aside from the clear line along the jaw where the foundation ended, there was a scary pinkish hue and a layer of foundation on her face so thick it looked like a rubber mask. Frankly, I thought that she would probably be a pretty girl if she just got out of "Halloween mode." My mother always said "less is more," and I think that, in this case, she was definitely right.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Small Man, Big Clothing

I receive many questions regarding sizes for men. For those that are big and tall there are many options available (though skinny jeans are not one of them). For smaller men, however, it gets a bit harder to find clothing that fits correctly. Most designers start at a 38 or 40 jacket, and go up from there. For those that are 36 jacket and below it is even more important to find close fitting clothing. Loose clothing on a small frame looks a little like a boy his dad's clothing. Swimming is a great sport, but not something that should be done while a person is dressed. Finding clothes that fit closely to the body make a narrower man look broader. Obviously, tailoring will also be necessary on most clothing in order to really suit the smaller man's build. Darting in woven shirts, hemming on pants, and a little shaping on jackets will make everything look custom made.



P.S. For any style questions of to get custom made t-shirts from Dept728 email me at

Monday, March 3, 2008


Shiny things are the first things to catch my eye. Most babies are responsive to shiny objects from an early age. The funny thing about metallic clothing and accessories is that there is a very thin line between glam and garish. For women, it is best to keep metallics to a minimum. A simple metallic shirt under a cute jacket, or a great metallic shoe can make any regular outfit pop. As for men, metallic clothing is bound to look like you are channeling an early Elton John. A little metallic in a tie, shoe or belt, however, can add interest to any man's look. Patent leather is also an alternative if you are looking for the gloss without the metal. For the most part, though, it is safe to say that if you are a man adverse to incorporating metallics into your own wardrobe, buying some for your girlfriend instead is an acceptable course of action.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


Socks are a strangely important part of a man's outfit. Here are a few necessary guidelines for socks and the modern man:

1. Dark trouser socks are the best bet when you can't tell what to wear

2. White tube socks are never appropriate (unless you are in the movie Juno)

3. Low cut athletic socks are great as long as they are paired with casual clothing

4. Themed trouser socks are only good for a laugh (do not wear them to serious functions)

5. Going without socks is very European, but not appropriate for more formal occasions