Stylepedia

Mr Porter's Glossary of Men's Style

The relationship between the length of a jacket at the front and the length at the back, which ought to look the same. This is dependent on the jacket fitting properly on the shoulders.

Balenciaga

The legendary Spanish couturier Mr Cristóbal Balenciaga (left) founded his namesake house in 1918. Drawing on the founder's clean aesthetic, the men's collections are both understated and sophisticated.

A loose overcoat with raglan sleeves that takes its name from an estate in Inverness, Scotland. It is often what people mean when they talk about a trench coat, but technically a trench is a belted affair à la Mr Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca.

Balmain

Balmain, founded as a couture house in 1945, has recently been given a new lease of life by French designer Mr Olivier Rousteing, whose high-octane glamour has won him legions of fans. Balmain menswear has a less opulent aesthetic, but is equally luxurious in quality and finish. Think military-inspired fashion with a sophisticated edge.

Band of Outsiders

When Mr Scott Sternberg struggled to find a shirt that he liked to wear for his job at a prominent talent agency in Los Angeles, he created his own, making the fabric softer and the fit closer but less rigid than that of existing dress shirts. Mr Sternberg's clients began to take note, and soon started requesting the shirt themselves, with the actor Mr Jason Schwartzman among the first. From there, Band of Outsiders was born, and in 2004 Mr Sternberg quit his job to focus on the label, which has since become a byword for modern classics, inspired by nostalgic Americana but consistently updated with offbeat twists. Named after Mr Jean-Luc Godard's film Bande à part, Band of Outsiders values the nerdy and the obscure (the label's New York offices are in an old fortune cookie factory, which retains the original sign and store front), but it's Mr Sternberg's win at the 2009 Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards that demonstrates the label's serious style credentials. Read more about Band of Outsiders


A simple but sophisticated tie pattern in which two different coloured yarns are woven together into a checkerboard pattern - resembling a basket.

Beams, which started as a small shop in the Harajuku district of Tokyo in 1976, has since grown into a significant retail force in Japan. Beams Plus, which was launched in 1999 (inspired by classic American casual clothes and the style of President John F Kennedy in particular), is the heritage- and workwear-inspired range from the company. Read more about Beams Plus

A lapel- and collarless jacket made famous by the Fab Four that was originally known as a Cardin, named so after its designer Mr Pierre Cardin.

A puffy pocket often found on country jackets.

Belstaff

Legend has it that Mr Steve McQueen cancelled a date with his beautiful girlfriend Ms Ali MacGraw to stay at home and wax his Belstaff jacket. That's serious brand loyalty. Founded in England in 1924, Belstaff is famed for high-performance jackets, worn by motorcyclists and pilots. (When Sir Richard Branson made his inaugural tourist space flight in March 2010, he wore a specially-made Belstaff jacket.) The brand's owners have forged connections with Hollywood and keep its heritage alive with sleek collections that are strong on stylish outerwear and rugged boots.

Belts have been documented as parts of clothing since the Bronze Age, but became part of modern dress after WWI when men became accustomed to their military-issue belts and started wearing them instead of braces or suspenders. Although you don't have to match your belt to your shoes, a brown belt with black shoes (or vice-versa) is definitely a look to avoid.

In judo, karate and other martial arts, different coloured belts are used to indicate rank or skill. This came about because belts were economical to dye and were already an integral part of the outfit, so no additional rank markings, such as patches, would be needed.

The term "buckle" comes from the Latin buccula, which means "a little cheek"; they were used to fasten helmets in the Middle Ages, hence the name.

A high-end rayon used in suit and sleeve linings.

Alternating stripes in a shirt fabric. Usually white and another colour such as blue or pink. In terms of width, Bengal is a happy medium between thinner "pencil stripes" and the fatter "candy stripes".

Above-the-knee, tailored cotton shorts that were originally part of the British Army's desert uniform. They first entered the civilian wardrobe in Bermuda, when fabric shortages during the WWII prompted men to ask their tailors for shorts (based on the ones soldiers wore) rather than trousers. As they were so appropriate for the climate, people continued to wear them after the war, and they have since gone global.

While this, legally speaking, merely refers to a garment made to order, the essence of bespoke is that the item is designed and created exclusively for the customer. Real bespoke requires each garment to be created from scratch, made individually, largely by hand (even if sewing machines are used on long seams) and with the customer's specific requirements in mind.

Although based in New York, Bespoken is inspired by the traditional outfitters on London's Savile Row, as the name suggests. The two sets of brothers who founded the brand aim to create clothing for today's man with the same level of fit and craftsmanship as the largely bygone bespoke era. The aesthetic is distinctly rock'n'roll, and shirts are a speciality.

Read more about Bespoken

Specialising in authentic American workwear with a Southern dandy twist, Mr William "Billy" Reid launched his eponymous brand in 2004. Mr Reid grew up in Amite, Louisiana, where his mother ran a clothing store, while he operates his label out of Florence, Alabama.

A short jacket that came into vogue in the late 19th century as something to toss on after rowing or playing tennis. The blazer is not just the preserve of the preppy: from legendary hellraiser Mr Keith Moon to Mr Kanye West today, it has been adopted by a vast array of men who have courted controversy. Even the origin of the garment garners a certain amount of debate. Some maintain it was named after the jackets created for the crew of the HMS Blazer in 1837, while others argue it was christened after the oarsmen of Cambridge University's Lady Margaret Boat Club, who appeared to set the water "ablaze" with their red jackets when they raced. The commonly held belief, however, is that it was named after the 19th-century upper class practice of "emblazoning" crests onto breast pockets for school and family events. Whichever story floats your boat, the blazer is still one of the most versatile items a man can own and every good wardrobe should include a wool model for winter and a hopsack one for summer.

Casual, rubber-soled leather shoes with a moccasin construction and leather laces. However, they now come in every possible shape and form and are best identified by the fact that the laces go all the way round the top of the ankle and behind the heel.

Not just one of Italy's leading tailors, Boglioli also likes to be characterised as a family, indicating the traditional approach and rigorous standards maintained by the company. Based in the Brescia region of Italy, Boglioli's signature is lightweight, unstructured tailoring with a neat cut. Read more about Boglioli

In the days when aircraft cockpits were unheated and open to the elements, pilots required specially adapted jackets that would keep them warm without restricting movement. The resulting design, which was first developed by the US Army Aviation Clothing Board in 1917, marks the origins of the bomber jacket. Endlessly versatile and rather flattering thanks to its shape, the humble bomber can be dressed up with a preppy shirt and tie just as easily as it can be thrown on with jeans and sneakers. Read more about bomber jackets.

Since 1857 this revered Italian firm has specialised in high-quality hats, the most famous of which is its felt fedora - a style imbued with timeless masculine elegance, and which we are pleased to stock this season. Don't miss the wool flat caps either, which are also made in Italy to exacting standards.

Bottega Veneta

Founded in 1966 in Vicenza, Italy, Bottega Veneta translates into English as Venetian atelier, or workshop. Craftsmanship has always been at the heart of the brand and is a value which is preserved today, with all Bottega Veneta's leather goods made in Italy to exacting standards. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Bottega Veneta became known for being discreet but unmistakably luxurious; it famously eschewed logos, advertising with the slogan "When Your Own Initials Are Enough", and in the early 1980s produced a short promotional film by Mr Andy Warhol, who was himself a fan of the label.

Since taking over as creative director in 2001, Mr Tomas Maier has continued to promote Bottega Veneta's core values of innovation, quality and craftsmanship, while imbuing the collections with his signature aesthetic, which is unerringly sophisticated and assured. Although the range has grown to include fine clothes, shoes and furniture, leather goods remain the speciality, particularly its signature woven intrecciato leather. In 2006, Bottega Veneta opened an artisan school in Italy to train a new generation of craftsmen in the precise art of hand making the products. Read more about Bottega Veneta

Based on designs from the 1970s by the legendary German product designer Mr Dieter Rams, Braun's stylish, understated watches are backed up by high-quality quartz movements and 50m water resistance. While they make great gifts, we can't wait to slip them on for a sleek, streamlined look.

High-quality materials and serious attention to detail make up Bresciani's philosophy, which has made this Italian brand one of the leading manufacturers of men's socks since Mr Mario Bresciani founded it in 1970. The firm produce its socks exclusively in Italy, not far from Milan.

Post-war Rome was the centre of Italy's dolce vita, and Brioni - founded in the city in 1945 by local tailors Mr Nazareno Fonticoli and Mr Gaetano Savini - became an essential part of the scene, dressing the likes of Mr Clark Gable and Mr John Wayne. Superb Italian tailoring has been the core of Brioni's continued success, and the unmistakably Italian jackets and expertly tailored shirts are a brilliant choice for the workplace. But Brioni's story is much bigger than this: with a selection of fine cashmere knits and casual trousers, the label carries its classic look into your off-duty wardrobe just as well.


Broadcloth was originally a tightly woven, dense woollen cloth but these days the term also refers to a high thread-count cotton shirting material that is tightly-woven from fine yarn, resulting in an almost lustrous finish.

A sturdy lace-up shoe whose seams and toes are punctured and stitched to form decorative elements. Just like shortbread, whiskey and Sir Sean Connery, the brogue is a Scottish creation that has proved popular the world over. Originally developed for outdoor use by our Gaelic ancestors, the distinctive perforations were designed to allow water to drain out of the shoes. Wingtips are a brogue with a decorative detail on the toe. Cap toes are brogues with a plain toe. Brogues can be either Oxfords or Derbies. See also: shoe styles.

Brooks Brothers has been a US style institution since 1818, when Mr Henry Sands Brooks established the venerable outfitters on the junction of Catherine Street and Cherry Street in New York City, not far from where the Brooklyn Bridge now stands. Today, the brand's Manhattan home is on Madison Avenue, but little has changed over the past 190 years by way of the superior quality and innovative spirit which initially made Brooks Brothers famous. The founder's guiding principle, "to make and deal only in merchandise of the finest quality, to sell it at a fair profit and to deal with people who seek and appreciate such merchandise", still rings true today.

American presidents from President Abraham Lincoln through to President Barack Obama, movie stars including Mr Cary Grant and Mr Clark Gable, and countless other men of style and substance have been dressed by Brooks Brothers, while the label is credited with inventing the button-down collar shirt, now a wardrobe staple. Read more about Brooks Brothers.

Brushed cotton is a high-quality cotton fabric, which, as the name suggests, has been brushed to remove all lint and impurities, giving a smooth, soft finish. A similarly treated cotton is lisle.

A rubber-soled suede or buckskin shoe with American origins. The classic form is a derby with a brick-red rubber sole in off-white (AKA "dirty") or navy suede, although they are now commonly available as brogues.

Burberry

Burberry started life in 1856 when 21-year-old Mr Thomas Burberry, a draper's apprentice, opened a small shop in Basingstoke, England. Burberry quickly gained a loyal following for its high quality, innovative outerwear, and the rest is history. Milestones of the brand's 155-year heritage include the invention of gabardine, a durable outerwear fabric, outfitting the first man ever to reach the South Pole, and developing the now-iconic trench coat. These days, under the directorship of Mr Christopher Bailey, the men's collections are sophisticated and sleek, while remaining true to the brand's heritage. Burberry has three menswear lines: Burberry Prorsum, which showcases fashion-forward collections on the runway; the classic tailoring label Burberry London; and the less formal Burberry Brit brand. Refine your wardrobe with pieces from all three labels for a supremely stylish look. Read more about Burberry.

Mr Christopher Bailey, chief creative officer of Burberry, talks about the trench coat


Burberry Brit

Burberry Brit is the more relaxed range from Burberry, interpreting the brand's heritage in a sophisticated yet casual way.

Burberry London

Focusing particularly on outerwear and tailoring, the Burberry London range provides an elegant, modern interpretation of the Burberry heritage, with well-cut suits and shirts, sumptuous cashmere knits and, of course, several variations on the iconic trench coat.

Burberry Prorsom

Since becoming chief creative officer at Burberry in 2001, British designer Mr Christopher Bailey has won widespread acclaim for his Burberry Prorsum collections, which feature elements of the house's heritage updated for the 21st century.