Articles Tagged with jcpenneys

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 every 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.  If I told you how many blazers and sport coats I owned, you probably believe there is a disorder for people like me explained in detail in the DSM-V.  For the purpose of this particular writing, I will speak of 7 blazers and 4 sport coats I purchased.  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.  And what I did with the sleeves in some many circles is frowned upon.  Flip-cuff dress shirts are perfect for this situation.  For me, it works well and it may work for you.  I am not attending a formal gathering.  I’m indulging an 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.  In the the photo to the right, one can observe how I rolled the sleeves of the blazer and folded the shirt sleeves over the them.  This is the outfit I wore when I was 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 as well as a Christian Dior double-breasted blazer (with brass buttons) 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. And as seen in the featured picture on the debut post of this blog, looks pretty damn good!

ezegna

Designer clothes as well as cars, exercise equipment and 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 because I had the proper alterations done.  And, this is one thing you will need and I will discuss in the near future.  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 very good 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!

 

*Featured picture: Jacket by Christian Dior, shirt by Van Heusen, tie by Gucci, pocket square by Santostephano, watch by Stührling Original 

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