Shop the Store: Van Heusen
Ridiculously comfortable clothes for work you’ll actually want to wear
Van Heusen is one of those brands that’s become basically synonymous with men’s business corporate and business casual wear—their dress shirts, pants and sweaters are a staple in menswear departments around the country. If you think really hard, you’ll probably even remember walking past a whole neatly arranged stack of Van Heusen button-ups the last time you were strolling through your favorite department store.
With a heritage brand like this (they’ve been around for more than 100 years), you might be wondering why we at SG think you need to know about it now. As it happens, Van Heusen introduced a whole new line called the Flex Collection, a capsule of workplace essentials that have actually—yes, truly—breathing some much-needed innovation into garment design. But more on that later…
HOW IT STARTED
Allow me to regale you with a little history! This is a company that has been around since 1881—a whole five years before we got the Statue of Liberty. Before namesake John Manning Van Heusen entered the picture, Moses and Isaac Phillips were selling woollen shirts to coal miners in the Appalachian country of Pennsylvania, and business. was. booming.
In an effort to capitalize on their success (how American!) in 1910 the father-and-son duo moved their business to New York City to expand their offering and reach more customers.
Isaac Phillips met Mr. Van Heusen in 1919 when he arrived in New York from Europe—he had just invented a way to fuse fabric together on a curve, which allowed for the creation of a “soft-folding collar.” Most shirting at that time was stiff and uncomfortable—this design feature maintained the fashionable look of the era but made the shirts infinitely more wearable. Phillips and Van Heusen struck a deal to work together, and launched their shirt featuring “The World’s Smartest Collar” in 1921.
Flash forward to today, and Van Heusen is perhaps the most recognizable name in the dress shirting game. Over time, the brand expanded to include suiting, separates and accessories, and continues to be many a working man’s favorite source for affordable office attire and off-duty stuff, too.
WHO IT’S FOR
After more than a century in the business, Van Heusen has stayed true to its early roots as brand that is constantly considering the lifestyle of their customer. Once upon a time it was guys working in coal mines, then the jazz-age gentlemen of New York City (we like to imagine that the more comfortable “soft collar” shirts made it easier to do the Foxtrot with their favorite gal).
As for Van Heusen’s contemporary customer? He’s, well, all of us. The brand has totally democratized office style, making polished, timeless pieces affordable for everyone. Most of the company’s pieces—including the new Flex Collection—retail for under $100 (and plenty for under $50), which means that you can build a varied, stylish wardrobe for work (and weekends) without going for broke. We’ve always believed that great style doesn’t have to come with an insane price tag, and love that you could go head-to-toe Van Heusen and look great, or mix in their stuff with your investment pieces, especially when you need a seasonal refresh or don’t want your boss to see you in that same blue shirt you wear to every big meeting.
The Flex Collection—Van Heusen’s latest innovation—is ideal for guys who hustle, both literally and figuratively. Chad Kincaid, Senior Fashion Director at PVH Heritage Marketing says the Flex Collection is designed in mind “for every man who wants to look his sharpest without sacrificing comfort or style.”
Maybe you commute to work on a bike. Perhaps you’re a teacher that spends six hours a day on your feet or a freelance consultant who travels for work constantly. Van Heusen understands that the modern guy’s work day doesn’t always start or end sitting at a desk. And even if it does, looking professional and being comfortable shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.
The reality of most guys’ day-to-day is that the clothes you work in aren’t just the clothes you work in—they’re what you live in. It makes sense then, that the pants, shirts, sweaters and jackets you wear while on the clock are also what you wear on dates, to dinner with your parents, and probably when you get home from a long day and fling yourself on the couch immediately because you’re too tired to change.
The idea (and the fancy fabric technology called Tekfit) behind this collection isn’t so far off from the innovation that first put Van Heusen on the map way back in 1921. Once again, it all started with a collar. The Flex Collar shirt is exactly what it sounds like—a shirt that incorporates stretch into the collar, which, like the “soft collar” before it, maintains the sharp look of a normal dress shirt but is secretly so much better.
Not surprisingly, guys went kind of nuts for this shirt, and Van Heusen has now grown the collection to include casual shirts, suit separates, and neckwear as well. The Flex Pant might be the most genius piece of menswear in a minute, featuring four-way stretch fabric and an elastic waistband that has a full 1 ½” inches of give. (That’s basically like getting away with wearing sweatpants to work.) As a finishing touch the Flex Pant also has a “shirt gripper” in the waistband to keep your look tidy and tucked. Think about how handy that would be when you’re literally running late, reaching for the bar on a crowded subway or busting some sweet moves on the dance floor at your next wedding.
SHOP THE STORE
This time of year we love layering up dark but interesting colors. Try tucking a black and white micro-gingham Flex Shirt into the slim-cut navy Flex Pant, and add the Flex Tie in a rich cranberry hue. Layer up with a soft grey quarter-zip for a finishing touch. From there just pull on your favorite patterned dress socks and brogues and you’re good to go.
All together this look is perfect for taking you from your desk to the after-hours holiday party, and on their own these pieces are ideal for mixing and matching for dates and weddings, interviews, and you know, just hanging out at home making yourself a sandwich… Or something. You get the idea.
WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO ENSEMBLE FOR AN IMPORTANT DAY AT WORK?