Q I still see people like Huey Lewis wearing the Don Johnson, "Miami Vice" look -- a T-shirt under a jacket. When the series was canceled, wasn't the style?
A: While I would hesitate to advocate wearing a regular undershirt under a blazer for anyone over 20, still the T-shirt in its more polished form is a growing trend and can be a handsome look layered with a blazer. These days men are wearing jackets over T-shirts for weekend dressing and some even in the office on getaway Fridays.
"This is a street fashion that caught on," says Chip Tolbert, fashion director for the Men's Fashion Association.
"Message" T-shirts do not fit this category. For under a blazer, choose a solid color or a handsome pattern. Some shirts come with detailing on the pocket; most have a slightly higher crew neckband to conceal the collarbone and prevent chafing at the neck from the jacket. Jackets range from navy wool to the new washed silk styles.
Many men have adopted this new look for reasons beyond fashion: for cost considerations, comfort, and ease of care. Those who like the comfort of cotton next to their skin can enjoy it without the fuss of ironing or expense of professional laundering.
Q: My husband cannot find ready-made "full cut" shirts that fit him properly. The "full cuts" that are available in his neck size, 15, are too tight across the stomach. His is very "generous."
A few years ago stores sold inexpensive shirts that fit him well. They have since discontinued the size 15 neck. Do you know of any company that makes ready-made, size 15 neck, and extra full across the stomach?
A: It is unusual for a company not to make shirts in a size 15 neck. The standard men's shirt sizes begin at 14 1/2 and go up in half-inch increments to size 17 or 17 1/2 . It is not so unusual for manufacturers to make a less-than-generous full-cut shirt. Many younger men seem to favor slightly slimmer shirts to show off their work-out developed trim waists.
Nevertheless, the most elegant men's shirts have always been cut on the full side. Several companies still make them that way. The one best known for its full "gentleman's cut" is Brooks Brothers. Their typical shirt has several more inches of fabric across the middle than most. Hathaway and Kenneth Gordon shirts also allow more fabric than the standard.
Send your questions or comments to Lois Fenton, Today in Style, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278. Ms. Fenton welcomes questions about men's dress or grooming for use in this column but regrets she cannot answer mail personally.
Ms. Fenton, the author of "Dress for Excellence" (Rawson Associates, $19.95), conducts wardrobe seminars for Fortune 500 companies around the country.