Monday, January 30, 2012

Girl Look at That Body

Today we break from clothing to take a quick dive into an equally important facet of overall fashionliness, men’s health. 
It might be a warm winter, but it can still be dry and windy, which saps your skin of an essential element: moisture. If you’re going to start dressing better, make sure your body starts looking better too (I have a body like chiseled marble, in texture and color, so if there’s any interest in a fitness piece from an unqualified professional, let me know). And so, some tips on winter grooming. 
To be fair, it was a cold day & I had just gotten out of a pool.
Most guys pride themselves on how quickly they can shower. This is not something to be proud of. Like making love to a beautiful woman, a shower should last longer than five minutes. Anything less that that, and everyone ends up disappointed (not that I’d know). That being said, don’t stay too long in a hot shower. A hot shower in the middle of winter really dries out your skin, so stick to lukewarm as much as possible. Yes, it doesn’t feel as good, but it’s better for you. Kind of like a cardio workout or a colonoscopy.
Use a scrub brush or a loofah of some sort. Do you wash your car with your hands? No, so don’t be that way with your body. A loofah sloughs off old, dead skin and stimulates blood flow to your outer layers (this is not a cure for erectile dysfunction though). 

These go for as low as 25 cents on Amazon

Also, invest in some good soap. Like I’ve said, cost usually equates with quality. That drugstore body wash you’ve been using smells like a high school locker room and dries your skin out as much as anything else. Try one of the soaps below. They clean well, smell great, and don’t suck your skin dry. They’ve also got small pieces of crap in them, like oatmeal or pepper corns, that help exfoliate and taste pretty decent if someone shoves the bar in your mouth because you said a naughty word. 

Made in the US, so you will stimulate the economy!

I'm a big fan of this. Don't worry, you won't smell like fresh-ground pepper.

Lastly, lotion up every time you get out of the shower. Your skin needs it. 

More news as it develops,


Friday, January 27, 2012

Watch Yourself

Wrist-wear accessories are another big trend that’s continuing on into 2012. I really want to rock a Miansai hook or anchor bracelet, but unfortunately the West coast, “surfer” vibe I get from these is hard to pull off when you’re literally 1,000 miles away from any ocean (Unless you’re counting Oceans of Fun). If you’ve already got a good grip on the basics of accessories, check out GQ’s selection of bracelets for ideas on where to shop here.

Most readers here though are just breaking in to the fashion game, and as such need to first start with the building blocks of their wardrobe. The essential menswear accessory is the wristwatch. Their popularity took a hit when cell phones started including clocks and calendars, and the same guy who thought it was cool to wear his phone in a holster on his belt also decided he no longer needed a watch.

Ready for everything, including being socially awkward. Note the poor quality jeans and tucked in t-shirt.

First off, don’t listen to that guy. He’s a nerd and has no friends. Secondly, direct him to my blog.

Thirdly, the watch is a menswear staple. It will never die (Thank God), and so if you’re just starting to piece together a wardrobe, this is a good place to start punching things up.

A watch can dress up formal attire or add a splash of color to something more casual.
There are several watch types out there that you should first be familiar with before heading to market. 
Sports Watches: the words “Sports watch” can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. Personally I don’t care about those other people. To me, a sports watch is traditionally metal (in either silver or gold). The watch pictured here meets my definition of a sports watch. It’s completely metal (stainless steel actually). This is the watch type I’d recommend for first time buyers. These types of watches skirt the line between casual and formal, and can generally be worn in just about any setting. They come in a wide variety of designs and colors. This chunky Michael Kors watch can be worn with almost anything I throw on. 

The plain, neutral face doesn’t distract from anything else I’d be wearing. Another example:

Available here
This watch is more slim; it fits better under shirt sleeves, so it’s my go-to metal watch for formal settings. When looking for a watch, try it on, considering what you’d wear with it and how it will look/feel on you.

Some people call these sport watches:

I don’t really see a need for owning something like this, unless you are into crazy sports where you do need to know the time but are nowhere near a clock. Otherwise if you’re a normal person, you WON’T need to know the time in zero-gravity or 1,000 meters under the sea or anything like that, and so you should forgo these ridiculous watches.

Formal Watches: Pretty much anything with a leather strap, I call a formal watch. Obviously some watches give off an air of formality more so than others (something with gold and an alligator strap, à la this JFK Omega).

A square-faced is a much more vintage look, but it’s still elegant today.
There’s a lot more at play with formal watches because the color and texture of the strap can be mixed up along with the watch itself. I’d recommend sticking to something with a brown strap. Brown is a more versatile color (remember, brown with anything but black, and black only to parties or funerals. But you can wear brown at those too so it’s really a go-to color).
Apart from that it’s really up to you in terms of texture and colors. These are great watches if you want a refined look. Just keep in mind that they are leather, and won’t stand up to the elements as well as a sports watch (which is why I ranked those first for someone on a budget). 
Pictured below is a Marc Jacobs watch I received as a gift from an ex-girlfriend with a good sense of fashion (It’s the only kind I date):

Again, a plain face in a neutral color-scheme. The one cool thing about this watch is that it says “BY MARC JACOBS” instead of having numerals. I get a lot of compliments on it and it’s a great conversation piece with the babes who notice it, but it doesn’t clutter the face of the watch. It’s still clean looking. 

Casual Watches: For me, a casual watch is dictated by its strap more than anything. I think leather is the most formal, while a metal bracelet is (depending on the watch) just a step under. Things like grosgrain or canvas straps are fun to wear, but they’re not something you pair with a suit. It doesn’t really matter though, because any capable jeweler can switch out your straps, giving you unlimited possibilities (check out the vintage Rolexes here at Park & Bond to see what I mean).

I am writing this blog for the man that’s just beginning to find himself in the fashion world. The same principles of shopping I’ve tried to espouse should apply here, as always.


Go analog, not digital. No excuses, no exceptions.

Stick to neutral colors and plain faces (devoid of any moon calendars, chronographs, altimeters, or menstrual cycle calculators); neutral watches can be worn with most any outfit, so they’re your best bet if shopping on a budget or making a first-time purchase. Go crazy later when you have the cash. 

Expensive watches are expensive because of their parts and the labor-intensive production process. Brands like Rolex, Omega, and TAG Heuer use gold, diamonds, and hand-made Swiss-quartz precision, and so cost more. If you want to splurge and have the money to do so, be sure to buy from a reputable dealer so you don’t get screwed on the price or quality of a look-alike.

Keep in mind the ratio of the size of the watch to your wrist. You don’t want to look like Soulja Boy. Find something that looks good; not too big, not too small.

A lot of designers are making a push for rubber, or ceramic or enamel-like bands. I don’t recommend these solely because I think they look cheap and I don’t think they’d stand up to the elements. You want something that will last and that you’ll be proud to wear in any situation.

Don’t be afraid to splurge if you can! Spend within your limits, but menswear is really one of those places where you get what you pay for. If you buy from a reputable store or dealer, higher-end items will generally be of higher quality, which means they look great, last longer, and save you money in the long run (if you properly care for them!)

A discussion of watches can get pretty in-depth and technical. For more info, feel free to contact me. My watch game is comparable to Jay-Z. 
More news as it develops,

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wardrobe Ideas

If you’re looking for a place for inspired wardrobe ideas, the Street Style Photos collections from GQ are a great resource. 

These are the guys you should aspire to dress like. Guys that left the house looking so good that a random photog decided they were worthy of GQ endorsement. Remember that every time you step out. You never know who you’re going to run in to, so it never hurts to look your best.

I completely disagree with this pick. To me, this looks like Moby wearing a burlap sack. But the guy's got balls for wearing it in public I guess.

Slim, dark jeans, suede bucks (similar to these, and a post on dress shoes in the works), a plaid shirt, and a shearling jacket. Probably took 5 minutes to pick out and put on. It’s not hard to go from wearing clothes to wearing an outfit.

More news as it develops,

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Welcome Men

My dad bought me this book for Christmas, and despite being swamped with reading assignments from school, I have made a solid attempt to read a bit every night (For me, that’s saying something). It’s a collection of short stories, letters, vignettes, etc. about what it means to be a true man (that is, a gentleman). 

Available here
I got this picture off Google, and I don't understand how someone took a crooked picture of a book.

The author notes troubling social trends that seem to be the result of an ever-increasing population of boys who never seem to mature into manhood. Our society, as he sees it, is now faced with an entire generation of grown boys, unwilling to marry, work hard, and commit themselves to the realities of life in order to find spiritual, familial, and financial success.
I highly recommend this book. This blog is my attempt to revive the lost pride men once had in their clothing. Menswear blogs abound on the web, and my goal is to serve as a stepping stone for those guys who want to change how they look but don’t know where to start. For those who truly enjoy my blog, pick up a copy of this book and see if it isn’t just your closet that could use a punch-up.

More news as it develops,


Sunday, January 22, 2012

What Not to Wear vol. 1

I’m going to make an effort to do a quick and dirty "what not to wear." Sometimes there are things men are wearing that need to be addressed. And I feel like the humiliation and shame I can bring to someone via my blog is the best way to condemn these fashion faux pas. 
Men’s leggings: Guys, don’t wear leggings. I never thought this would have to be addressed until I saw a guy on campus wearing them. There is no justifiable excuse for a man to wear leggings as pants. 

This picture is from Fuck Yeah Menswear. It’s a fun Tumblr to read if you find yourself with some down-time, pooping or stuck in an airport or something like that. 

If you think this is a good look, you’re wrong and you’re an idiot. You should subscribe to my RSS feed so you can turn your life around. Everyone will thank me. 
Animal Head Beanies: these are stupid. Just look at them. They might be acceptable headgear for a young child if that child has no personal sense of dignity. I sure as hell wouldn’t let my kid wear one. 

That being said, they are definitely not acceptable for a man to wear. As a young man, what you wear is especially important. You want people to know when they see you that you’ve successfully made the transition into adulthood. A well-dressed guy seems stable, looks successful, smart, and handsome. A hat like this makes you seem like a maladjusted adolescent who has enough money to buy one of these stupid hats but not enough sense to do just the opposite. 

Girls shouldn’t wear these either. They’re not cute. 

More news as it develops,

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sneaker Sensation

Just got some new shoes in from Barneys. Yes I am a grown man, but I’m still on a strong sneaker kick. I tend to think they’re acceptable as a knock-around shoe if they’re in a nice canvas or leather. You know, something classy looking but still says, “Hey, I love to party.” It’s a mullet for your body if you dress up the top. 
Available here since I bought the last pair at Barneys
These shoes are definitely fresh to death. Light brown canvas with white sole and green trim accent. Also the mids are a good middle-ground  (excuse the pun) if you aren’t ready for high tops. I don’t really care what people say, I’m rocking these like I’m Run DMC. And they were only $30.

Sidenote: Barney's is a LEGIT place to shop online. They ship for free and since their store is in NYC, there's no sales tax (unless you live in NY).

I recently paired them with this shirt and some dark jeans. The color scheme would normally be pretty loud, but it’s down-played by the almost pastel-like wash, and the heavier cotton is a warm, sweater-alternative (almost like flannel):
J. Crew
Again J. Crew. I won't apologize, it's a solid place to shop.

These sneakers add a youthful and almost urban quality to an outfit. I was inspired by “How to Make it in America,” which HBO is STUPID for canceling. That show was the cat’s ass. 

Whether or not this is your personal style, again the trend is to make the look work. Balance the vibrant and youthful shoes with something a little more serious upstairs (These shoes could be paired with an OCBD or tipped polo, which are still going strong on into the spring). Another important point is to balance the colors. The shirt is light, the pants are dark, the shoes are neutral.

This is Fred Perry, NOT Chaps. The logos are similar but there is a big, big difference. 

If there was a fashion bible, its #1 mantra would be balance. It’s okay to rock sneaks, but don’t make it look like you’re going to middle school. You’re an adult for God’s sake. 
Verdict- confident purchase. And on sale? What a steal!
More news as it develops,

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

J. Crew Coupon Code

Save an extra 30% off factory sale items with coupon code “MUSTHAVE.” Valid until this Friday. Your welcome.

Another good place to snag a scarf.

More news as it develops,

Scarf It Down

I apologize in advance for the picture quality. I'm currently working on upgrading my camera capabilities, but as it stands my $0-a-month income makes it hard to splurge on the niceties. Hence the importance of shopping well, making good purchases, finding good deals, etc. Plus, they don't accept food stamps at Best Buy. 
This winter has been unseasonably warm. That's a good thing for multiple reasons, one being that potential outfit possibilities are limitless. Layering is key (more on this as we head into spring), but generally the weather has afforded the ability to mix and match fabrics and garments. That being said, quick lesson on scarves.
Scarves are under-used and under-appreciated, especially by guys. Maybe they think they're too feminine looking. I assure you, they're not, and most girls appreciate a guy who chooses to stand out and wear one. I got complimented today on mine, with an added, "You're the best dressed guy here." If you can't take pride in your own appearance, don’t leave the house.
Scarves also do a suprisingly good job of keeping you warm because they trap heat in your neck/head, where a lot of heat can be lost. I wore this ribbed knit one today with only a waxed cotton windbreaker and survived 25 degrees and wind easily. 
This scarf is long (longer than me). Tying a scarf knot can be approached as you would tie your shoes. You want a good knot size to protect you neck, but not something crazy big. And you still want some scarf left hanging.

Long scarves work best with a pulled-through knot because a good knot can be made with sufficient fabric left to hang down. You simply fold the scarf in half, then take the two free ends and pull them through the looped end. Knot too hard! 
For shorter scarves, I'd recommend a simple knot like the one pictured here using this vintage Burberry (tied like you would start a knot on your shoes):

Or you can go with a casual wrap-around. As the name implies, you just wrap it around your neck one or two times. I prefer the wrap-around because I generally find a knot like the one above hard to deal with. But it's ultimately personal preference.

First-time buyers should stick to neutral colors like browns and grays because they work well with almost anything (shopping well can stretch even the thinnest of budgets). 
Fabric is more of a personal choice. I've got scarves in cotton, wool, and cashmere, and I generally choose between them based on the temperature outside. As always though, balance your colors and fabrics. If you're wearing a gray cotton cardigan, don't also wear a gray cotton scarf. Mix things up! Just make sure it's not too crazy. A scarf is a good place to accent your look, but it should either compliment/play off the rest of the colors in your outfit, or stand alone on its own. 
Style tip: The feng shui of fashion is to achieve balance with accents. I'll discuss more in an upcoming post.
A lot of places are having massive sales to get rid of fall/winter stuff in order to make way for spring collections. Berg & Berg has 40% off their fall/winter collection, while Barney's has 75% off select designer wear. It's a buyer's market for winter clothes, but as always, buy smart. 
More news as it develops,

Monday, January 16, 2012

Turtle Power

Turtlenecks are trending right now. TheStyleBlogger recently had a great spread on them and GQ featured a turtleneck montage from the runways in Europe.
I personally am not a fan of turtlenecks because I feel like I end up looking like this. 
That’s not to say it can’t be done, and done well. Check out TheStyleBlogger’s piece here.
"America's Best Dressed Real Man"
The first thing to note is that this isn’t a look you can pull off using a vintage piece. Designers are refurbishing the turtleneck to fit better in a multitude of fabrics like fine gauge, merino, and cashmere. If a turtleneck is your thing, update your wardrobe and donate all those old ones you wore shoveling your driveway. A turtleneck is a type of sweater, and should be worn and styled as such. If it looks like a piece of long underwear, get rid of it. 
Uniqlo has a good selection of turtlenecks at reasonable prices. In fact, Uniqlo itself is a solid store for guys who want to upgrade their wardrobe but don’t have the disposable income to splurge on truly high-end pieces. Uniqlo is like a trendier version of the Gap. Unfortunately they don’t have a store nearby (unless you’re in NYC), but you can order online. Check it out next time you’re on a shopping spree.
More news as it develops,

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Badass Boots

Snow fall in the midwest= you’re going to need a quality pair of boots. I inherited these from my late grandfather about two years ago and have been wearing them ever since.

They’re vintage (no idea what brand) and well-worn, which is a great, rugged look for brutally cold days. When you step inside, you look and feel like you can kick someone's ass. They’re also waterproof and have a chunky rubber sole, so they stand up well in the elements and are actually useful. 

Style tip: functionality should match fashion. Don’t buy something you’d never use or wear, but also buy something that looks good. These boots are too worn in to wear to the office, but I’ve still gotten laid in them. And these were free. 
Red Wing makes a great classic here 

while Florsheim is a guaranteed go-to for brogues. I’m a big fan of the wingtip trend that’s resurged in the past year. Rock these with confidence and you’ll be rocking someone’s world later that night. 

GQ also recently featured a small spread of black boots. I’d recommend first time buyers going with brown since it’s more versatile. Remember, black with black or gray. Brown with everything but black. And I only wear black to funerals or parties anyway. 

Once you’re wallet has bounced back, you can spring for a black pair. Here is a guide to properly buying shoes. Don’t be afraid to run around in them before leaving the store.

More news as it develops,



“That’s what I think everyone should aspire to in life—being shameless.”  Marc Jacobs

Read this

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Swimsuit Standards

Just got back from a much-needed vacation in Cancun. It may be a bit early to start talking swimsuits, but Spring Break isn’t too far away. More importantly though, there were some things I saw that I just had to address now. 
First style tip today (It has nothing to do with swimsuits): never pop your collar. You don’t look cool if your collar is popped. You look like a tool. If you are only doing it because you saw someone who you thought was “cool” doing the same thing, then you have poor taste in role models. 
Don’t you want to punch that kid in the face?
Second style tip: wear it with confidence. No matter what you’re wearing, always rock it with confidence. You want to give the impression that you know what you’re doing and you know you look damned good doing it. Since this was a solo trip, I tried experimenting with new styles away from the judging eyes of my friends and family. I was hoping to make the switch away from a pre-teen pair of board-shorts and more towards a volley short like the one here:

Unfortunately, I failed miserably. My Celtic lineage blessed me with the power to drink inordinate amounts of liquor, but it also cursed be with mankind’s palest skin. Seriously, I’ve seen darker sheets of paper. 
I knew as soon as I put them on that they weren’t for me, and I spent the whole day close to the bar, hoping I could drink some confidence into myself. I couldn’t. I’m not saying these shorts aren’t viable options, because I think they’d work well for most. But when you make a bold fashion leap, make sure you have the cojones to pull it off. Look like you know what you’re doing, and you’ve won almost half the battle. 
Bonus tips: Don’t wear a swimsuit that could be confused as underwear. It’s gross and no one wants to see it. 
-Also, wear appropriately sized clothing. A swimsuit should not be so tight that it rigidly defines the outline of your crotch. 
More news as it develops,

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Derby Days

The return of winter's chill signals the end of the beautiful, pseudo-winter we were having. I'm glad because my pasty pale skin is always at risk of a sunburn, and now long pants can be comfortably (or necessarily) worn. That being said, I’ve decided to break out my derby shoes. Everyone I know with a penis has given me crap about these shoes at one point or another. However, almost every girl I know has complimented me on them. Style tip #1- express your sense of style. Don't let it be dictated by haters. Chances are they don't know what they're talking about anyways.

Available here
The ones pictured here are leather. Mine are suede. The brown is a good for any fall/winter wardrobe. Brown fits in well with the earth-tones often favored for fall, but it can still be dark enough to pull off all winter and even into the spring. Suede is also a great way to mix fabrics, balancing well against denim or cotton. With something heavier like wool or tweed, I'd go with the leather version. Leather, of course, is always a go-to shoe material.

The shoes here are pretty lightweight, so be warned when wearing them in the winter. Suede doesn’t stand up well to the slush and sludge of a midwest blizzard, and I’d recommend a good silicone spray to prevent any damage if you decide to wear them during or after a fall or spring rain. My pair has taken a good beating, but it gives them that kind of worn-in patina that can’t be reproduced (unless you fork over the extra cost for a foreign child-worker to painstakingly reproduce it for you). 

Nevertheless, style, and history for that matter, is about the trends. These shoes strike a good balance at a good price point. They aren't as dressy or casual as other pairs and styles, but the idea is that the color and texture do strike that interchangeable balance. They aren’t Florsheims, but people will at least notice that you looked in a mirror before leaving the house. And they’re a damn sight better than the space-age type tennis shoes most men opt for (except for the Nike Back to the Future shoes; those are fresh to death). 

Bonus tip; these can be worn sockless in the spring or summer if you’re that kind of classy, hipster guy. 

Blog is still in the infant stages, but more news as it develops,