If You Make A Mistake . . .

Do not be afraid to correct it. -Confucius

I read a variety of subjects quite regularly.  I mostly indulge Eastern philosophy.  The above quote resonated with me and I reason it should with the reader as you decide which direction you are going in creating your own style.

For decades, I have always attempted to dress well and dress age-compliant.  I’ve seen & have partook in some trends.  I recall the late 80s and early 90s when over sized polka dot shirts, Mandarin collar dress shirts, baggy dress pants, Georgio Brutini shoes, designer jeans as well as track suits were in play.  But in the end, I have always had to ask myself, “will this work for me?”

Whether you’ve been out of the game for a while, are looking to improve your appearance or just starting out, you will make mistakes.  Whether it is sizing down when you should have not, purchasing skinny jeans when you have no business wearing them or ordering clothes from the UK or Asia and not taking into consideration their sizing charts, the list goes on.  This isn’t a shit happens moment. Most mistakes can be avoided and be kept to a minimum.  As I stressed in an earlier writing, research!  With the technological advances bestowed upon us, there is no excuse for not doing a thorough sweep on-line for recommendations, reviews, comparisons, forum boards, etc.  Even though the world wide web has provided us with such shopping delicacies, visiting brick and mortars is still relevant.  When shopping in person, think of it as forging an interpersonal relationship with a well qualified salesperson juxtaposed to having an on-line relationship with a website customer service rep.  We, sometimes overanalyze.  If we do this, we miss some things that never required so much thought.  Think bout it.  Jal ga!

*Featured picture: Jacket by Mossimo, shirt by Tommy Hilfiger, pocket square by The SquarExtraordinaire, pants by Banana Republic, socks by Van Heusen, watch by Invicta

*Supplemental picture: Jacket by Merona, shirt by Geoffrey Beene, pocket square by Feather And Smith, jeans by Levis, socks by Perry Ellis, shoes by Allen Edmonds, watch by Stuhrling Original

Color Me Bad . . .

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The look on your face when someone’s colors are not coordinated!

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).  Hypothetically speaking, if your colors are badly coordinated, you probably won’t be getting sexed up.  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).

 

For 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:

Having a feel for what goes well together is important.  Through trial and error, you will be able to see what colors are sugar and spice and what colors are oil and water. Another consideration is your skin tone.  Some are lucky and can wear every combination of color under the sun. Others should enlist and review resources (books, a tailor, magazines, and even a lady friend) that explain in great detail the advantages of wearing colors in conjunction with one’s skin tone to accentuate your overall appearance. Learning about what works for you and the style you are creating doesn’t cost a penny.  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 and that’s Hangul on it!) and it cost me $6.99 on Ebay.  The pocket square is from my one of 3 of vendors I go to for pocket squares on Ebay, The SquarExtraordinaire 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 (in my opinion) on my trousers.  I was wearing a full break.  My preference is a quarter break or no break.  I will discuss pant break in detail on a future post.

The final piece that completes the ensemble in the photos 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.  Accessos_l1600ries (watches, 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!

 

*Featured picture: Socks by Cole Haan, tie by Tallia, pocket square by Ted Baker

Fashion Is Not . . .

Necessarily about labels.  It’s not about brands.  It’s about something else that comes from within you.  Ralph Lauren

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 game-plan to make sense of everything.  If one is not looking to pay top dollar, what you can do is search on-line as well as off-line 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.

Allen Edmonds‘ reputation speaks for itself.  The quality is unsurpassed and for many men, it’s the paramount of shoes. The Allen Edmonds Shoe Bank sells factory seconds for a price in my humble opinion that are still too high.  Of course it depends on the style of shoe you are looking for.  The not-so-popular styles will sell for under $200,  The model in the feature picture is the McTavish.  It was discontinued and I’m going to speculate in 2014. It was resurrected with some tweaks then discontinued again in 2016.  I found these at Burlington Coat Factory late in 2014 while getting in touch with the feminine aspects of my astrological sign, Scorpio.  I scored these for $90.  Yes, $90.  This version originally sold for $325 and rebirth was sold for $295. Also on this trip, I scored a pair of Cole Haan Kiltie Tassel loafers in oxblood (burgundy) for $80.  These were originally priced at $260.  I did pump my fist repeatedly upon exiting after spending $170 opposed to handing over $585!

The spring of 2015 I began to search for suede loafers.  My favorite style is the tassel loafer.  With your best interests at heart, I want to inform you that suede shoes are a Spring, Summer and Autumn staple of choice.  The versatility of this shoe involves styles, colors and the way they can be coordinated with an outfit casually as well as not so casually.   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).  We established Allen Edmonds as a top tier shoe.  Cole Haan, in my opinion is a tier lower with Johnston & Murphy a hair behind.  But what if these brands are too high for your current bank account?  Gentlemen, I present to you JC Penney’s.  Yes, that JC Penney’s.  The one that just closed 138 stores nationwide.  I must be michin to suggest this place!  JC 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 $120 leather boot.  You can find similar for much higher.  These boots came out in September of 2015 at an introduction price of $100.  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.

I have couple of points I want to make before I conclude.  First and foremost, have knowledge of your shoe size as well as width.  It is very important.  Remember?  Look good, feel good!  One can look good but if your shoes don’t fit well, well you won’t feel good.  Lastly, go to a brick and mortar if possible.  As you are creating your style, you need to see first hand what works for you and if it’s the look you are trying to achieve. Some brands of shoes run small, some brands run large.  Sometimes this will occur with shoes from the UK (e.g. Clarks).  When you are faced with a situation when an on-line shop has something you want ridiculously in your price range, you know it will fit!   Also, read reviews.  Sometimes you can get the gist how a shoe will fit by the reviews that are given.  This has helped me on more than one occasion when a brick and mortar wasn’t within my immediate area.  If you see something that suits your taste and it is out of your price range,  research.  I cannot stress this enough.  The Johnston & Murphys score is only one of example of several I intimated in this writing.  One can find high end shoes at discounted prices but you have to do some recon(naissance).  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 on-line and off-line.  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!

 

*Featured picture: Allen Edmonds McTavish

Creating Your Own Style . . .

Is easier than one thinks.  Absorb what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own.  That my friend is a quote by the great Li Jun Fan better known as Bruce Lee.  His quote 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 are timeless and will never go out of style!  In no particular order you should acquire the following: 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 photograph to the right, 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 some lovely friend?

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!

 

*Featured picture: Jacket by Ermenegildo Zegna, shirt by Geoffrey Beene, pocket square by Windom Finery. glasses by Uniqlo