Month: January 2016

Color Me Bad . . .

But you can’t sex me up!  Just some lyrics from an Ice Cube song (in reference to the R&B group Color Me Badd’s song I Wanna Sex You Up) and hypothetically speaking, if your colors are badly coordinated, you probably won’t be getting sexed up.friday_quotes  Color coordination  is of the utmost importance!  It can absolutely make or break your outfit no matter how expensive or inexpensive it is.  Put together the right combination and you can command a room (along with other factors).  Put together the wrong combination, Bob Ross will flunk you no matter how abstract you believe your artwork is.  Now it may sound complicated but it isn’t.  Having a little bit of knowledge concerning colors will assist you when purchasing clothes that are complimentary.  When one observes the basic color wheel, you will note five categories.  These are primary (red, yellow & blue), secondary (a color resulting from the mixing of two primary colors), tertiary (a color resulting from the equal mixture of a primary color with either of the secondary colors adjacent to it on a color wheel), complimentary (colors directly opposite each other in the color spectrum) and analogous colors (are groups of three colors that are next to each other on the color wheel, with one being the dominant color, which tends to be a primary or secondary color, and a tertiary).

img_20150406_210017For me to elaborate on how it is advantageous for one to know these colors well, how to incorporate them into one’s arsenal and to touch upon the importance of expanding your boundaries when it comes to using an array of colors would probably stretch me out five post worths.  I rather not drone on but instead I will provide the following links for your study time:

By the way, the outfit ran me $176.01.  It’s a little steep for my liking but the Stacy Adams weren’t much of a sale price at $92.99.  But the tie is by Art (apparently a defunct company & that’s Hangul on it!) and it cost me $6.99 on Ebay.  The pocket square is from my go to on Ebay, The 20150405_125636SquareExtraordinaire for $4.99.  A Perry Ellis Principles waistcoat for $7.99 on, guess where?  Ebay!  A Calvin Klein slim fit French cuff dress shirt for $22.45 on Ebay (you are seeing a pattern, yes?).  A pair of Van Heusen trousers purchased at Kohl’s on clearance for $15.00.  I apologize for the lousy break on my trousers.  My preference is no break or half break but I will discuss in detail on a future post.

The final piece that completes the ensemble to the right and above for which you cannot see are cuff links.  The cuff links are from South Korea and cost me $25.60 on Ebay.  The design is called DanCheong (단청).  There are thousands of years of history on it but I digress.  Accesso-s_l1600ries (jewelry, cuff links, tie bars, collar bars, etc.) can also make or break an outfit.

The key with anything in life is balance.  A little bit of Yin-Yang has never put anyone or anything in an uncompromising situation or position.  Harmony is something we should all look to obtain and maintain in our lives as well in our attire.  Moderation with a splash of style, your style is the way to go!  As you further your studies on men’s fashion, you will proceed to be more comfortable and you will want to experiment.  Once you achieve the look you desire, the sky is the limit.  Arraso?  Jal ga!

Advertisements

Blazing A Trail . . .

Is something one can literally do when when deciding the right combination of shoes, trousers, shirt and blazer.  The blazer beginnings originated with the Lady Margaret Boat Club  – founded in 1825 – at Cambridge University’s St. John’s College adopted a gentlemanly sporting jacket with which to row in, in a vivid scarlet cloth to distinguish themselves as part of a team. Thanks to the bright shade, the term ‘blazer’ evolved; not quite a suit jacket, designed as a stand alone piece that can be worn to add a dash of formality. By the time the annual Henley Royal Regatta rolled around in 1839, lavish stripes as part of the uniform had become part of the blazer’s DNA, each team’s outfits designed to be easily distinguishable from one another.  Just as lexicon over the decades has experienced a semantic drift, the blazer, one may say has experienced a fashionistic drift. 

As previously stated in my first post, Creating Your Own Style, one the of the classics 20160124_072603every man should own is the navy blazer.  In addition, once comfortable with the navy blazer, look to expand your color palette.  For starters, search for colors that are synonymous with a particular season.  Secondly, there are materials that are most suited for these seasons.  Cotton, linen and seersucker are the go to for Spring and Summer.  Corduroy, flannel and tweed are the go to for the Autumn and Winter.  I currently own 7 blazers as well as 4 sport coats.  It sounds as if I spent a decent amount of currency but I didn’t.  I spent a total of $374.88.  There are 7 retail store brands, 2 (what are considered) low end brands and one high end brand in the group.  Roll call as follows:

  • Stafford Collection cotton sport coat (pink) $44.99
  • Stafford Collection cotton/linen blend sport coat (windowpane khaki) $44.99
  • Merona cotton blazer (khaki) $29.98
  • Merona cotton blazer (olive) $29.98
  • Merona cotton blazer (navy) $39.99
  • Mossimo flannel blazer (charcoal) $45.00
  • Jach’s NY wool blazer (herringbone brown) $34.98
  • Croft & Barrow hopsack blazer (navy) $59.99
  • Chaps sport coat (grey plaid) $29.99
  • Chaps corduroy sport coat (tan) $39.99
  • Ermenegildo Zegna wool/silk blazer (grey plaid) $14.99 (Moya?!)

Yes, JC Penney’s again.  Kohl’s.  And Target?  Surprisingly, Target has improved their quality of clothing.  The 3 Merona blazers are half-lined and unstructured.  The khaki and olive blazers fit perfect.  I am aware the chances of purchasing off the rack and having it fit sans alterations is a Buddhasend.  Of course the navy blazer has two problems.  The sleeves are a bit long and it has functioning buttons.  Having this tailored would most likely cost more than the $40 investment.  So what is one to do?  Improvise, adapt and overcome.  I wear this very casual. copy And what I did with the sleeves in some many circles is frowned upon.  But for me, it works well and it may work for you.  I am not attending a formal gathering.  I’m indulging a vineyard atmosphere where the patrons dress whatever they are feeling.  What one will gather by having your fundamentals down, you will be able bend the narrative to suit what you are trying to stylistically achieve.  It is high risk, high reward.  If you are a go-getter, do the same with the way you dress and adjust accordingly.

copy2In this low quality pic, one can observe how I rolled the sleeves of the blazer and folded the shirt sleeves over the them.  I’m attending my friend’s baby shower (Yes, apparently men can do this nowadays).  Simple, very casual and it works.  There will be no formal wear time for this blazer.  I have a structured Croft & Barrow (Kohl’s brand) blazer for such occasions.

Ten of the purchases above were made with coupons and sales.  The Ermenegildo Zegna, I found on Ebay and it is second hand.  I won it for $2.99 so who cares about $12 shipping?!  Not I.

ezegna

Designer clothes as well as cars, exercise equipment & houses (to mention a few) are merchandise one can purchase used.   There are thrift shops all over the world housing high end clothes just waiting for someone to have their Master’s in Frugalnomics bring them home.  This blazer fits me well but I will have proper alterations done.  And, this is one thing you will need and I will discuss down the line, you need a good taylor tailor.

The options I have presented will help boost your dress game.  I am cognizant there will be individuals who will express their displeasure in some of the aforementioned brands.  Quality is important.  The Target brands I touched on briefly are of good to great quality and most certainly not a tier or two below high end.  You want the opportunity to wear your clothes for all occasions, often or not so often.  Taking care of your clothing regardless of the price point is very important.  It cannot be stressed enough.  At the end of the day, only you are aware of your spending limits.  Listen to everyone who has suggestions but remember, they won’t making any purchases for you.  Jal ga!

Fashion Is Not . . .

Necessarily about labels.  It’s not about brands.  It’s about something else that comes from within you.  Another fine quote, this one from Ralph Lauren (I like quotes that emphasize relevant points).

We are inundated with images everyday from all types of media sources concerning fashion.  It can be chaotic.  In order to create order out of disorder, one must have a gameplan to make sense of everything.  If one is not looking to pay top dollar, what you can do is search online as well as offline for deals.  This, of course is contingent on how much you have to spend or are willing to spend.  Whether you are looking to purchase something high end or something comparable, the deals are out there!   You may have to conjure up your best Roy Ayers impression and keep searching.  If you know how to use Google, Bing, Yahoo or any of the several search engines the world wide web has to offer, you can find anything.  For today, anything is the first thing (and it is up for debate) a woman notices on a man, his shoes.

 

img_20150709_1805551Suede loafers are a staple for spring, summer & even autumn time wear.  I saw a review on a site I follow (Dappered) on a pair J. Crew Kenton suede tassel loafers.  I liked them a lot so I did a search for something similar but at a lower price point.  I came across these $140 Johnston & Murphy Ellington Moc Toe tassel loafers that were on sale.  The total price with shipping offered by the Sierra Trading Post via UPS was $52.10 ($48.13+$3.97).  I would like to state this is some major SCOREBOARD!  I saved $47.90 (Economy shipping offered by J. Crew is $5).  As for the featured picture, the Allen Edmonds McTavish, this was a lucky find.  I wandered into a Burlington Coat Factory to window shop.  The men’s shoe section at this particular site was rough.  But, I did find my diamond in the rough!  The McTavish sells for $295 on the Allen Edmonds website (These were originally discontinued I recall and the price was $325) and as high as $200 on Ebay for a pair of used ones.  I purchased these for $90.  Allen Edmonds is obviously top shelf.  Johnston & Murphy in my opinion is a tier lower.  But what if both brands are too high for your current bank account?  Gentlemen, I present to you JC Penney’s.  Yes, that JC Penney’s.

20160110_114003JC Penney’s offering is their Stafford Collection which is comprised of dress shirts, suits, suit separates, underwear, socks, pjs, robes, accessories and well the topic of this post, shoes.  Their shoes, in particular, the Stafford Gunner cap toe always receive good reviews.  It is a $100 leather boot.  You can find similar for much higher.  The wonderful thing about JCP is they always run some kind of offer.  Free shipping, coupon codes, and percentages off a set amount, etc.  I waited until just before Christmas to press the trigger.  Free shipping and a $10 off coupon brought these to my door for $49.  These shoes are not on the level of the other two but with some TLC and a small rotation of shoes, these can last a few years.

The total of these shoes at suggested manufacturer’s price: $535.  With a bit of patience, some research and luck, I saved $348.

One can find high end shoes at discounted prices but you have to do some recon.  One can find shoes of very good quality that are the retail chain’s brand for an excellent price.  This is a small representation of what one can find online and offline.  Now apply this to sport coats, blazers, dress shirts, chinos, wool trousers, selvedge jeans, etc.  I’m certain you have got the picture. Jal ga!

 

Creating Your Own Style . . .

Is easier than one thinks.  Absorb what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own.  That there my friend is a quote by the great Li Jun Fan better known as Bruce Lee.  This phrase is applicable to just about anything as well as men’s fashion.  If you are like I am, you observe, you study and apply.

An important aspect (and what I feel in my humble opinion is most significant) of fashion is having a solid foundation.  A solid foundation means having your fundamentals down to a science.  If you ever played (dis)organized sports, there were always those guys who liked to hot dog everything.  What did these show-boaters have in common?   Zero fundamentals.  If you take short cuts, more often than not, everything crumbles like a house of cards.  It’s the same with how you dress.  It is absolutely no question, when you dress well, you will be treated positively.  By being fundamentally sound, you will be able to evolve your own style.

The genesis of your wardrobe should be based on the classics (the fundamentals).  These being the following in no particular order: navy blazer/sport coat, white dress shirt, light blue oxford, v-neck sweater, polo shirt, v-neck and crew neck t-shirt (white, grey or black), Henley (short & long sleeve), grey trousers, chinos, indigo denim jeans, a tailored suit (preferably grey or navy).  As for shoes, one should invest in black dress shoes, brown casual/dress shoes and casual/dress boots.  A quick surf through the world wide web and what I have presented above is close to what most invite you to indulge save for a few more or a few less.

From this starting point, when you are comfortable, confident and have a grasp of what you desire in your look, you can expand from here and experiment.

The aforementioned list appears it could end up being rather expensive and it could be if you go high end with everything!  But metaphorically speaking, you’re poor & broke.  Many of us are always searching for a deal and they are out there.  For example, in the featured picture, I am wearing a Perry Ellis waistcoat ($28), an Alfani slim fit stretch dress shirt ($13), an Orsini Surrey Collection knit tie ($7) and a pocket square ($6) from a vendor on Ebay known as TheSquarExtraordinaire.  What you can’t see, I am wearing a pair Ralph Lauren chinos ($20) and a pair of Joseph Abboud suede monk straps ($60).  Total price: $134.  The vest, dress shirt, knit tie, pocket square and chinos were purchased from Ebay.  The monk straps from Sierra Trading Post!

Now for comparison’s sake, I chose Nordstrom because it is considered high end.  I took the average of the first 9 waistcoats, white dress shirts, knit ties, pocket squares and chinos listed on the respective site.  For the monk straps, I chose the first 9 suede because this style of shoe is what I wore and is great for summer wear!

  • Waistcoat, $86
  • Dress shirt, $55
  • Knit tie, $63
  • Pocket square, $36
  • Chinos, $68
  • Monk straps, $268

Total price: $576.  That’s a lot of cake.  If you can afford it, go for it!  But if you cannot, there are great, economical alternatives.  My outfit saved me $442.  You are aware a portion of what I saved was used for a day at the vineyard with my better half?

The points I wanted to introduce are from having sound fundamentals, you can expand and create a style suitable to your tastes without working 4 jobs.  Next time, I will elaborate a little further on where to search for deals.  Jal ga!