wardrobe

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!

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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 Well-Tied Tie . . .

is the first serious step in life. –Oscar Wilde  Ties are sometimes, a necessary accessory.  But it often depends on the occasion.  What if you want to indulge a tie but find you may have some that could be deemed too formal?  Introducing the knit tie.

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The knit tie history is rooted in the American “Ivy League” style dating back to the 1950’s.  The flexibility of this neckwear is something to behold.  Knit ties usually have a squared bottom unlike the standard tie.  In addition, some knit ties have the pointed bottom too.  The former being of the most casual effect.  They come in cashmere, cotton, linen, silk, wool, as well as different blends.  Knit ties are four seasons.  There is a subtle difference to keep in mind, the width of knit ties will be smaller and these are most appropriate for the Spring and Summer months.  There are wider width creations and these are best suited for the Autumn and Winter months.  The same rules apply concerning collar width of the dress/casual shirt and lapel width of the blazer, sportcoat or suit.  This goes without saying but I will address it, you must remember to be color appropriate for the respective season.  There are a variety of styles as seen in the featured picture above.  Keep your color palette in mind when looking to purchase them.  Because of the material, a Four-In-Hand knot should be used.  As with all men’s fashion, the price ranges are up and down the knit tie spectrum.  They can be purchased as high as $325 on Ebay to as low as a $1.46 from Hong Kong also on Ebay.   I purchased all of my knit ties 20160214_112304through Ebay ranging from $5.99 to $8.95.  Some second-hand and most new.  The J. Crew silk knit tie was purchased for $6.95, second-hand.  The knit tie that is most horizontal in the featured picture is a Giorgio Armani cotton knit tie that I purchased for $7.99, second-hand respectively.  Both are in like new condition!

If you have doubts about wearing a knit tie or what to combine them with, run a Google images search or open a Pinterest account.  Be prepared to be optically overloaded with endless possibilities of dapperism.  Because this is what you want!

The focal point of Poor, Broke And Handsome is to assist you in your search for clothing that will stretch your dollar and not your stress levels.  As with anything in life, what I present to the reader is not gospel.  It’s a packing list, a guide, a map, a template, etc.  Also, it is my humble opinion.  It is entirely up to you to put in the research so you can reach your apex of what you are looking for fashion-wise.  Jal ga!

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!

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.

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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!

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!