Target

Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world . . .

and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing. –Ernest Hemingway

Every time the Winter exits, I look forward to the Spring, the Summer & the Autumn.  Although I enjoy the Winter sans the lousy drivers when the snow begins to fall, the latter seasons offer me an indulgence I accept with open arms; vineyards.

I am fortunate to live in an area that affords me many vineyards with excellent wine.  One may ask while they read this, what does wine have to do with proper attire?  In my personal opinion, a lot.  If you have been following this blog, you understand the importance of appearance as well as creating your own style.  In my previous post, I was taken aback by the attire worn by people summoned to the courthouse.  The same holds true for the vineyard.  I do understand the laid-backness of such an environment.  A man attending a vineyard with their significant other should put effort into their appearance.  Why?  Because she is doing the same!   I’ve visited three vineyards several times this Summer.  I have seen many women beautifully dressed whether it was a bachelorette group or with their boyfriend/husband.  More often than not, it appears their partner just threw on whatever was in their vicinity.  My world didn’t come crashing down because of this.  I am of the group who believes an appearance is not truly indicative of an individual’s character.  I am cognizantphotogrid_1471094306391 this is contradictory of what I write here.  Our society dictates a good appearance is of utmost importance.  But as an individual who believes character takes precedence over appearance, in my opinion it makes sense to have a book cover that will pique the interest of all.  Let the reader make an assessment after reading and digesting the contents instead having the reader avert their eyes because the cover didn’t attract them.  With that said, make sure your book cover displays an invitation to read.

We are still enjoying Summer here so the most obvious is dressing appropriately for the weather conditions.  Cotton and linen blends make for comfortable clothing choices.  Luckily, the vineyards here are located near the ocean so there is a nice breeze. Being situated near the coastline, the temperatures will be a relaxing 5 degrees cooler than inland.  Tailored shorts are a go combined with a polo shirt or a button down with a nice pair of suede loafers.  Chinos or khakis combined with a dress shirt, a blazer, pocket square and suede monk straps is another great option.  No flip-flops.  You’re not at the beach.  No cargo shorts.  You’re not running your weapon system hot doing tactical maneuvers.  In the picture above I am wearing a Merona half-lined tailored fit cotton blazer (I paid $29.98 with free shipping from Target), an Alfani Red dress shirt (I paid $8.95 from a vendor on Ebay) and a Feather and Smith pocket square (of course Ebay for $8.95).  What you don’t see, is a pair of red Docker’s D2 khakis (Ebay again for $9.99) and a pair of Calibrate Cusano suede monk straps (Nordstrom’s brand for $64.98).moments_3_e74_f7_bd_08_ee_4571_a3_cd_aba206696_dd0_hi

If you enjoy wine and haven’t visited your local vineyards, I highly recommend it.  Taking your significant other to enjoy a day of each other’s company as well as the local fare your vineyard has to offer makes for a wonderful, relaxing occasion.  Plus, it’s nice to hear someone who works the vineyard say, “Here’s the best dressed couple again!”  Jal ga!

 

Friendship . . .

is born at the moment when one man says to another “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .” –C.S. Lewis

And this, is what will develop when one embarks on a new friendship with those two in the featured picture.  A common theme in my posts are one should take care of their clothes no matter how much one has paid or the quality of them.  Two items that will assist you are a garment steamer and an iron.  At the end of the day, one friend you do not want around is wrinkled clothing.  Wrinkled clothes are embarrassing.  Wrinkled clothes may be perceived as one not caring about their appearance.  The whole point of creating one’s style is one does care about their appearance!

A garment steamer is self-explanatory, it steams your clothing to take away wrinkles.  There is an assortment of them.  My suggestion is do your research and find one suitable for your needs.  The steamer pictured is a Conair Extreme Steam.  I paid $29.99 on Ebay for it.  The pricing varies but it is economical and it is a great piece of equipment to own.  Sometimes it is best to use a steamer because it saves on time. There is clothing that is best suited for steaming.  It is 20160619_071425important to use distilled water only in garment steamers.  The standard iron has been destroying wrinkles since the beginning of time.  As with everything, products get better, more advanced and make most things easier.  The iron pictured is a Rowenta Effective.  I purchased this on sale at Target for $39.99.  Rowenta has a great reputation.  As with the steamer, one will use distilled water.  Hard minerals in tap water over time, may ruin the effectiveness of the steamer and the iron.  While there are detractors concerning this, I would err on the side of caution.  Purchasing a gallon of distilled water will not put one at a deficit. Just as you treat your clothes well, treat the equipment you use on them just as well!  Jal ga!

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!