confidence

I Love Dressing Up . . .

Around the holidays!  My friends also really like to get dressed up.  It’s an excuse to get fancy. –Beth Riesgraf

I speculate about half the people look at the holiday season with great disdain.  You have the nonsense of Black Friday and any other hopped up Christmas sale event.  You have the obligation of buying gifts for relatives they may see once a year as well as receiving gifts they wouldn’t give to their worst enemy.  You have the displeasure of sitting at the dinner table with relatives with differing political, racial, religious, academic or whatever views.  But at least when you go 636007535808318874_1917013326_fireover to that relative’s home for dinner, you can dress in sweatpants and an ugly Christmas sweater.  Wrong!   Burn that ffffffin thing!  I don’t know when it happened and quiet honestly couldn’t care less why it happened.  People stopped caring about their appearance during the holidays.  We’ve heard the “I want to be comfortable after gorging myself with enough food to feed a third world country” excuse.  Babo sekkiya . . .

If you are part of the other half of people who enjoy thephoto_grid_1480029334426 holidays, you most likely have a game plan in how to deal with the distractions of the holiday season.  You are ready for the relatives you see once in a blue moon and their pendulum-like views on any and everything (Maybe a shot of sambuca or soju will make it easier).  But most importantly, you will dress your holiday best and will be comfortable as you decide whether it’s bulking season or not.  As an individual who has been creating their own style, you are well aware one needs to constantly be on top of their game.  The holiday season is perfect time to experiment.  There is a desire to be comfortable, functional as well as the best dressed person in the room.  And if your relatives criticize the way you dress, are they really your relatives?

One should always go seasonal when picking out the color scheme you choose to wear.  Burgundys, greys, browns, greens are the basic foundation with all of the variations of the aforementioned.  For example, the picture above combines camel overcoat, grey wool trousers, purple and blue paisley tie, navy blue waistcoat, contrast collar blue/grey striped shirt, light blue IMG_20151225_131920pocket square and cedar/plaid brogues make for an appealing Thanksgiving outfit.  In the picture to the left, olive green blazer, hunter green gingham shirt, burgundy polka dot knit tie, poinsettia lapel pin, and a double sided pocket square to pull the Christmas outfit (from last December) together.  As the picture dictates, do be afraid of adding a splash of color to bring your ensemble together.  Creating your own style involves “walking like you own it!”  Confidence in what you wear and how you wear it is paramount.  Your efforts to stay the course as well as stay away from appearing most substandardly should never wane.  As with all things in life, we should always look to learn more and improve our overall being as well as those around us.  No matter who you are or what you believe in, enjoy the holiday season and strive to be better next year.  Until next time, 메리 크리스마스!

 

It’s Weird, When Autumn Comes . . .

I can never reason with myself. –Verbal Jint

As Labor Day Weekend signifies in the States the end of Summer, the Autumn smell, I could smell it, Autumn smell, it smells like Autumn.  Depending where one lives in the USA, you either look forward to the Fall or have no problem living The Endless Summer.  Although there is still some Summer left, it’s always nice to get a jump on the next season.  I look forward to the Fall.  I enjoy the balance of the four seasons we have in the Northeast.  But with the Northeast comes weather patterns that truly have a mind of its own.  Today may be 85 and sunny.  Tomorrow may be 65 and sunny.  It smells like Autumn.

20160905_155227aWith the changing of the seasons comes the changing of 10487585_10204899801827551_1587235641674637137_nattire.  Tailored shorts, polo shirts, Sperry Top-siders and most Summer-oriented clothing should be placed into hibernation.  The color palette fades from bright to not so bright.  You can unleash some of those shoes that were put away for the Summer again.  Your skill set to mix, match and layer will be on display!   Browns, blacks, darker blues, burgundy, oranges, purples, greys, greens, darker yellows or any color that brings a sense of warmth to your wardrobe is the flavor for the season.  Materials change too.  Wool, tweed, corduroy, suede and flannel should be ready to go.  Don’t be afraid to experiment with different combinations.  And don’t be afraid to do something out of the ordinary style-wise (stay away from the pumpkin latte nonsense).  For a simple example of layering, in the pic to the right, I am wearing a Club Room lavender stripped slim-fit dress shirt (Ebay, $13.85), a Tricots St. Raphael chocolate brown half-zip sweater (BCF, $19.99), a Chaps tan corduroy sport coat (Kohls, $29.99 clearance) and a pocket square ($6.24) from The SquarExtraordinaire on Ebay.  The outfit is simple, warm and exudes the season of Autumn intertwined with a little bit of my personality, the pocket square.  What you don’t see, I am wearing Urban Pipeline dark indigo jeans (Kohls $15.99) and a pair of G.H. Bass saddle shoes (BCF $29.99).  Remember when creating your own style to incorporate your personality.

Something of pertinence I want to speak about is purchasing off-season.  The Chaps sport coat was purchased in Summer of 2014 hence the ridiculously low price.  I recently purchased 2 more Chaps sport coats (brown suede and black corduroy with elbow patches) from Kohls online a month ago.  Both were on clearance for $35 (original price $175).  While some may say the Chaps line is of a lower standard, I couldn’t care less.  My tailored executed her magic and I am content.  Firstly, I wouldn’t invest full price photo_grid_1473112197353for the sport coats.  I know better now that I am older and hopefully wiser.  Secondly, I wouldn’t wear these particular sport coats every day.  In addition, I treat these coats as if Iimg_20160217_190835 purchased them at a Brooks Brothers brick and mortar.  I am aware of clothing deemed cheap because they do use cheaper materials and quality control is not up to par as well as other factors that come into play.  But I will say it emphatically in my best version of The Rockit doesn’t matter where you bought them!  You treat each piece of clothing with care regardless of price.  Same for shoes.  I cannot stress this enough.  If we were channeling Demi Moore’s character in Indecent Proposal, rolling around half naked in a million dollars, we would be heading to Brooks Brothers ASAP!  I saw some Edward Greens I want for a cool $1720!

It shouldn’t be a problem switching over one’s seasonal wardrobe.  In fact, it should be fun.  Keep to the fundamentals and add on accordingly.  If it fits your personality, have the confidence to wear it and wear it to perfection.  Before I conclude, keep in mind to put your Spring and Summer clothes away with care.  Appropriate care will have them ready to go once the season change again.  Take care of your suede shoes too.  Give them a good once over and have them nap with cedar shoe trees.  Until next time, jal ga!

A Respectable Appearance . . .

is sufficient to make people more interested in your soul.  Karl Lagerfield

And a nice dress/casual shirt helps too.  There are so many designers of shirts and so many different styles one can choose from you may suffer from a case of vertigo.  At the end of the day, most designers will have something you are looking for when building your wardrobe and creating your own style.  There are a few kinds of shirts one should be interested in. I’m not speaking of the classic, modern, and slim fit.   I’m speaking of tab collar, collar bar/pin and flip-cuff shirts.  The latter is of the casual flavor.

In the featured pic, I am wearing a collar bar shirt.  Eyelets in collar accommodate a collar bar as well as a collar pin.  It is truly a classy look that will up your overall appearance.  The main idea behind the collar bar/pin is to accentuate the tie one is wearing by pushing it up from the shirt.  Its genesis is from the 1920s and has been around for many decades.  20160305_184134_bFinding collar bars and collar pins are easy.  Finding a collar bar/pin dress shirt is not as easy.  The price point is high.  In addition, having them custom made may be the way to go which may also be pricey.  But, if you keep searching you may end up lucky as I did.  The  J. Todd dress shirt was purchased on Ebay for $16.99.  It’s a regular fit shirt but it fits like a slim.  Apparently, it was a Marshall’s, Inc. brand and it was made in South Korea (daebakiya!).  The shirt fits perfect so to say I 20160305_182125was rather impressed is an understatement.  Although I would have preferred the standard white dress shirt, burgundy is very versatile.   The tab collar shirt eliminates the need to wear a collar bar or a collar pin.  Also, they are easier to find!  The picture to the right is to show what one is dealing with.  I might as well consider Ebay my go to from this point on.  I won the Robert Talbott dress shirt for $19.  It is grey and has a very small checkered print.  And I basically stole the Oscar de la Renta tie for 99 cents.  Yes, 99 cents.  Robert Talbott‘s shirts range from $195-$425 on Nordstrom’s so I will not state the obvious on this one.

The next style of shirt one should add to their respective repertoire is the flip-cuff.  The flip-cuff is self-explanatory.  It’s an added dimension to one’s style.  If you are a fan of the show Modern Family, you are aware Eric Stonestreet’s character Cameron fancies the flip-cuff shirt.  Traditionalists may will find them rather unattractive and abhor them.  20160305_190647_bI do not go crazy with some of the patterns but I do like them very much.  As I wrote about in a previous post, I have a unstructured blazer with functional buttons.  Flip-cuffs solve the problem when going very, very casual.  The standard seems to 20160305_185815_bbe the oxford blue when flipping the cuff as seen in the picture to the left.  I own a few flip-cuff shirts such as Alexander Julian, Nautica, Van Heusen, and Calvin Klein.  I recently added an Egara, a Jhanes Barnes, and a Robert Talbott.  Egara, pictured to the left, is a Men’s Warehouse brand.  It is a slim fit, made of Egyptian cotton and I purchased it for $15 on Ebay.  The picture to the right is a Jhane Barnes slim fit flip-cuff with some avant-garde designs that was purchased for $20 on Ebay.  Although she is no longer doing menswear (her final collection was the Fall of 13), her clothes are still out there and can be bought at a nice price.

Flip-cuffs are nice if you like to roll up your sleeves.  I rarely roll my sleeves up.  When I do, it will most likely be when I am wearing a waistcoat.  What you are searching for depends on whether you desire to go conservative or wild with the color palette, roll up your sleeves or solve the problem of functioning buttons on your unstructured blazer.  Until next time, keep doing your research and keep experimenting to find your ultimate style! Jal ga!

A Pocket Square Must Always –

always – be white and a bit wild.  If it is too prepared, it is tacky.  Lapo Elkann

I respectfully disagree about the pocket square always having to be white.  But, you should own at least one!  It is obvious I will be touching upon an accessory, in my humble opinion, every man should use to its full advantage-the pocket square.

The pocket square’s origins can be traced back to Egypt, the Greeks and the Romans.  Most notably, King Richard II of England was the first to use the pocket square as we (should) do in modern times.  A pocket square can make your ensemble go from nice to wow20151010_204916When one has taken the steps to have to have a solid foundation, look to accessories.  What is indispensable to creating your own style is incorporating your individualism.  Personally, when it comes to my pocket squares, I adore lots of color as well as floral patterns.  I know it comes from my Korean heritage.  I often wonder how I was dressed for my 100 day celebration, baek-il.  Once again, I digress. Pocket squares come in cotton, seersucker, silk as well as polyester blends.  When shopping for pocket squares, keep in mind the color palette of your wardrobe as far as dress shirts, causal shirts, t-shirts, and ties.  Depending on the material of your blazer, sport coat or suit jacket, this will determine the pocket square material.  In addition, the formality of the event will dictate the style you integrate as well as the fold of the pocket square you will use.  Another consideration to 20160207_084832add is this: when wearing a tie, never match the pocket square.  There are pocket square/tie sets that can be purchased everywhere.  Avoid them like negative thoughts.  This isn’t something one has to acquiesce halfheartedly to.  You just don’t do it.  For example, if your tie has some highlights of blue contained within its respective pattern, use a pocket square that has a shade of blue that is not similar.  It also, may or may not incorporate a subtle/not so subtle pattern.  Again, be cognizant the color wheel comes into play for your entire outfit.  Now, when one is not wearing a tie, match the shirt whether it is a dress shirt, a casual shirt or a t-shirt.  A pocket square transformed me from bouncer to 20151104_112400casual gent in roughly 5 seconds.  As far as where to purchase pocket squares, I wholeheartedly advise Ebay.  If you have been reading along, you are aware I have an online crush on it.  I have been fortunate enough to find not one, but two vendors I recommend.  The featured pic spotlights pocket squares from The SquarExtraordinaire.  They frequently run specials and are quick with their deliveries.  Those are just some of the pocket squares I have purchased from their store.  I have paid roughly $4.50-$6.00 per square.  They are of great quality.  They have assortment of styles to choose from.  The second vendor I found recently as of December.  Feather And Smith make their own reversible pocket squares.  The second pic features 4 of their pocket squares I purchased.  They sell for $8.95 per square.  They ship quickly and are of great quality too.  I liked the style and the versatility of their pocket squares.IMG_20151225_131920  Having a pattern on both sides makes for a definitive conversation piece.  Although I am certain those of a conservative style will roll their collective eyes at them.   But who cares?  You shouldn’t.  Remember, once you are fundamentally sound, you will be able to evolve your own style.  At the end of the day, this is what you desire.  A look and a feel you are most comfortable with, confident with, and secure with.  You’re poor, broke and handsome not rich, prosperous and handsome.  At least for the interim.  Of course, this goes without saying, if you can get your hands on some high end pocket squares for a good price, do it!  You can find these gems on . . . wait for it . . . Ebay!.  I currently am bidding on a Tom Ford silk pocket square under $50.  It is second hand and if one takes a gander at Tom Ford.com, they sell brand new $165-$175.  As mentioned in a previous post, second hand stores and the like aren’t anything to turn your nose up at.  Locate them in your city and go spend some time there.  What are you waiting for?

Sae Hae Bok Manee Badusaeyo!

 

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!