Articles Tagged with fundamentals

Traditionalists often study what is taught . . .

Not what there is to create. –Ed Parker

When a traditionalist attempts to school up and comers the tenets of true art, more often than not the traditionalists show they are not pliable in thought.  While it is important to understand the foundation, it is just as important to build, evolve and manifest a better way.

I love waistcoats (vest). The waistcoat’s history is an interesting one that began in the Restoration Era. The were declared by King Charles II as proper court attire and dare I say, the rest is history? The versatility they can bring has to be seen for one’s self.  So when I see some of these traditionalists go high makamaka and say never wear a pocket square with a waistcoat, I know some may be coming from a good place of stringent standards.  The others may need to hit the local pharmacy for Ex-Lax. Preferably the 48 count box. Some individuals will never deter from the standards. That doesn’t mean you have to velcro yourself to the same standards.  I don’t believe I have to reiterate my sentiments on creating your own style, yes?  A waistcoat can truly make you stand out.  If that’s what you desire.  Depending where you reside in the world, a waistcoat can take the the place of a blazer or be worn under a blazer.  Also keep in mind the varieties of styles there are for you to add to your possible confusion.  From the different materials (tweed, wool, silk, etc), the different patterns, with or without a pocket and double breasted, you could end up with something resembling a modest watch collection of sorts. I own 8 plus I ordered two more that are the double breasted kind.  As always, fit is important.  Different makers will fit differently so focus on makers who fit your body just right! And while I have never had a waistcoat tailored, I venture to say it can be done. In addition, if one is a bit startled on how to wear them whether it be casual or formal, I hope you have a Pintrest. It can keep the headaches to a minimum. If you were to ask my personal opinion on wearing waistcoats with a pocket square, in my very biased opinion I would hit you with an oh hell yeah! Until next time, jal ga! 

*Featured picture: Waistcoat by Perry Ellis, shirt by J. Crew, bow tie by unknown, pocket square by Windom Finery, watch by Timex, sunglasses by Miu Miu

*Supplemental picture, left: Blazer by Croft & Barrow, waistcoat by Allen Edmonds, tie by The Museum of Fine Arts, pocket square by Santostephano,watch by Seiko

*Supplemental picture, right: Waistcoat by Merona, shirt by Haggar, tie by Legal Limit, pocket square by The SquarExtraordinaire, jeans by Uniqlo, socks by Perry Ellis, shoes my Stacy Adams, watch by Timex

*Music vibe: Gold-OFFONOFF 

 

Rules Are Mostly Made To Be Broken And . . .

are too often for the lazy to hide behind. –Douglas MacArthur

I usually don’t rant as much as I did in my younger days. When I reminiscence, because this is what older people do, I will pat myself on the back and state they were epic! Now is my lack of ranting attributed to me becoming wiser? More tolerant? Or the fact I am all set with doing such a thing? Whatever the case may be, I feel a slight compulsion to go on a, ahem, dare I say? Rant. I am a member of a couple of Facebook forum boards that deal with men’s style and fashion. Relevant questions will be posed time to time about wearing something in particular in conjunction with something else that is not the standard.

These questions always pique my interest because there is the fine line of following the rules of style and the desire to deviate from the rules of style. I can’t help but notice people who are so tight with rules, you couldn’t stick a pin up their ass with a jackhammer. It would be nice if the tone was helpful but more often than not, it is done dismissively. “You can’t do this, you can’t do that. The rules for style say this, the rules for style say that.” Hey, why not take all of those little style rules, shine them up, turn them summabitches sideways and you should know the rest!

Now that I have your attention, rules are meant to be broken! And how one breaks it is up to the individual. I have, time and time again, stated the importance of creating your own style. First, one must have a foundation and from that foundation expand your horizons. Secondly, there will be times you feel something isn’t flowing right. It’s OK. It will always be OK because as people we should be always striving to be the best version we can be day after day. This includes the amenities. Last, it’s your show. You are the one who has to be comfortable with it. No one else. The quote above is something to ponder when making your decision to honestly expressing yourself.  Until next time, jal ga! 

 

*Supplemental picture: Fisherman cardigan sweater by Eddie Bauer, shirt by Brooks Brothers, tie by Seigo Katsuragawa, watch by Movado 

*Music vibe: Clouds On You-Dis Perado

A Turtleneck . . .

Is about sophistication. –Dwayne Wade

I wouldn’t go so far to say sophistication but one can look to bring some panache to the evolving creation of your own style. While it is frowned upon by those who may be afraid to drink something outside a Budweiser (or maybe they just don’t understand turtles), it is in my humble opinion, a garment worth adding to your wardrobe.

Turtlencks or roll-necks as they are called in the UK, have a history that allegedly goes back as far the 15th century. If it piques your curiosity of what class of people wore it or how they were worn, I invite to reader to quench their thirst through research. As far as this writer is concerned, I am simply pointing one in the direction of a piece of clothing that can and will make a difference in your look. The turtleneck offers many different styles and one will be tasked with making a decision. A common theme I have instilled into this blog is for one to do their research. While a chunky turtleneck may look like a home run to you, put it on and find out if it truly suits you, accentuates your appearance and of course doesn’t break your bank account into pieces.

Seigo KatsuragawaMy personal preference when I do wear a turtleneck is with a blazer instead of an OCBD or dress shirt.  Mianhae, no Seigo Katsuragawa limited edition ties today!  The turtleneck does bring an air of classy and is almost James Bond-like.  But you and I know, only Daniel Craig can play Bond and we’re just quiet observers in the world of espionage he brings to justice!  But I digress.  You can experiment to see what suits you best. If there is one piece advice (and I really don’t like to give advice) to remember is to guinea pig yourself.  What works for me, may or not work for you and so on.

Besides the obvious name brands that are high end, one will be able to secure one or more turtlenecks (depending if you become obsessed), for a very reasonable price point.  I bought both turtlenecks pictured for under $25.  Where you may wonder?  Ebay remember?  Where dreams come true unless you absolutely screw up and do not read thoroughly!  Until next time,  jal ga!

 

*Featured picture: Blazer by Austin Reed, turtleneck by Alfani, pocket square by Feather And Smith, watch by Stuhrling Original

*Supplemental picture: Blazer by Chaps, turtleneck by Express, pocket square by Feather and Smith, sunglasses by Miu Miu

*Music inspiration: Like The Sun By Crush

Nothing Makes A Woman Look So Old . . .

as trying desperately hard to look young. –Coco Chanel

Although the quote is about women it is most certainly applicable to men. Rules for women are different from us and in some cases are much more flexible. I’m not an expert on the rules pertaining to women but I do have some idea on what pertains to men.

In my younger days (think early 20s), I used to see males who were obviously 15 to 20 years older than me that dressed just as I did!  I always said to myself, it looks cool you’re older and dress this way but something just ain’t right!  I think back to my leaving the 20s and hitting my 30s.  I ditched some clothing as well as accessories I felt in my opinion, I had no business wearing.  No one instructed me nor did I read it somewhere.  I just did it as I did when leaving my 30s entering my 40s.  For example, 7 days out from my 40th, I ditched my earrings.  In my opinion, no man should be wearing them after 40.  I know.  I know. Morgan Freeman wears one.  But I’m not Morgan Freeman and although I have a great voice for narration, I’ll never beat his voice.  I also decided tank tops were only for gym time or the beach.  Taking an inventory of their wardrobe and adding and subtracting accordingly is something men should be doing anyway.  There is always an overlap of clothes and accessories that can still be worn from ages 20 to 30 and 30 to 40.  But as you get older the overlap dissipates.  There are plenty of resources on the world wide web that describes in great detail during these age-compliant windows, what one should add to their wardrobe and what one should subtract.  The world won’t end in a nuclear fury if you’re in your 40s and put on a pair of jean shorts and a Da Hui tee shirt for a Walmart run.  Full disclosure: I’ve done this recently and I’m not ashamed!  I think.  But if it becomes a habit, an intervention by your friends who have a sense of style may be required.  Now, not going out in gear suitable for someone in their early 20s doesn’t mean you should throw on a blazer, tie, chinos & monk straps for some good old weekly food shopping.   A polo shirt , shorts and some foot apparel that are not flip-flops are most presentable, classy and you won’t look like you are searching for the fountain of youth where the range free eggs are located.  A balance should be of the utmost importance! Take a look at your closet and your drawers and then ask yourself, is it time for an age compliant make-over?  Only you have the answer.  Until next time, jal ga! 

 

*Featured picture: Waistcoat by Perry Ellis, shirt by Alfani, bow tie by The Tie Bar, pocket square by The SquarExtraordinaire, watch by Invicta, sunglasses by Miu Miu 

Supplemental picture, left: T shirt by Da Hui, jean shorts by Nautica

Supplemental picture, right: Polo shirt by Sonoma, shorts by Burnside, shoes by Muk Luks, watch by Timex

 

How Do I Look?

Always looking fly, all day!  어제 새로 산 청바지 핏 look good on me! Swag 24 hours! -Beenzino

This, 어제 새로 산 청바지 핏 roughly translates to the fit on my new jeans I bought yesterday (look good on me!).   Denim jeans are a rock solid choice when building your clothing foundation.  They are a classic go to that can be dressed up and of course, dressed down.  Most importantly, it is necessary they look good on you!   While there are many different brands and many different styles, my personal favorites are dark indigo denim jeans and selvedge jeans.  While there is flexibility concerning jeans, in my humble opinion as well as others, the aforementioned is the way to go.  But as you are figuring out and experimenting, you will eventually settle on a style that suits your needs and a style you can call your own.

Dark indigo are prewashed and it is highly suggested one does not wash them often because the color will fade.  There are different ways to wash them.  My advice is to research and figure what is best for your jeans.  Selvedge jeans refers to the self-edge.  In the featured picture, you can see how clean the edge is on the Uniqlo and Gap 1969s.  The indigo jeans are Urban Pipelines from Kohl’s.  On standard jeans, the material isn’t tightened-up.  When one cuffs a standard jean, you’ll see what I am writing about.  It is strongly suggested one does not wash your selvedge jeans regularly.  But if you do, The Art Of Manliness has a video.  FYI, I paid $29.99 for the Uniqlos and $27.19 for the Gap 1969s both on Ebay.  The former runs around $50 & the latter runs over $100.  I saved close to $95.  The Urban Pipelines fit me perfect (I paid $9.99 for them thanks to coupon codes).  The shoes are by Allen Edmonds and Cole Haan.

Always take care of your clothing regardless of the price-point.  Think of your investment in clothing as an investment in your body.  You train hard, consume the proper nutrients and get the proper rest.  In other words, you take care of your body clothes. Now, the break on your jeans is a matter of personal preference.  I wear a 32 inseam juxtaposed to the 29/30 inseam I wear with dress pants and suit pants.  Obvious by the picture above, I indulge a cuff to show off not only the self-edge but the shoe.  The picture to the right, I am wearing Urban Pipelines cuffed.  I want you, the reader to observe the difference of cuffing selvedge and standard jeans.  With both styles of jeans, I am still showing off my shoes.  And hoping some yeppun yeoja sees them and likes them!  Remember what I said a woman notices first?  I digress.  Experiment!  Before purchasing jeans, try them on.  Cuff them.  Do they look good on you?  Or maybe you should try a pair with a shorter inseam so you can go with a slight break or no break sans the cuff?  Depending on the size of your legs in conjunction to your body, should you wear skinny, slim or straight fit?  Remember, at the end of the day, you are the one who has to be happy with your look and your respective purchases.  Once you find jeans that fit you perfect, the easy part is pairing them with a dress shirt, a t-shirt, a Henley, a waistcoat, a blazer, a sport coat and so on.  The versatility jeans afford you can be summed at quite simply as like being a kid in a candy store.  Jal ga!

 

*Featured picture: Jeans by Uniqlo, Gap and Urban Pipline

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

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