Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Do You Get it?

I am a big believer in there being two types of people; those who "get it" and those who dont. What that means in a whole sense, I simply cannot explain. It's instinctual, it's the way they go about their day, the way they handle situations, the way they treat people. Anytime you are around people who get it, you can learn something that will inevitably benefit you in the future.

In style, as in life, there are those who get it, and those who don't. Maybe more than anyone I know of, Lino Leluzzi (of Al Bazar) "get's it" spot on, every time with the way he dresses. Be willing to be influenced by his style and you will find yourself understanding sooner than later.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Put a lid on it....

Trilby, Bowler, Stingy Brim, Porkpie, Homburg and Derby: Sound familiar? I'm guessing not....

Let' try another one: Fedora?

Correct, these are all names of different types of hats that gentleman (traditionally)can don on the tops of their heads. It used to be that men and hats were synonomous; they simply wouldn't leave the house unless they had the appropriate headwear to accompany the days attire.
Gone are those days, but thankfully the millinery scene is making a comeback of sorts. The last few years have paved way for it to be cool to wear proper headwear. Many celebrities, politicians, fashionistas and nobodys have all given a nod to the throwback stylings of yesteryear by making a statement with their hats and opting for a look that is both current and classic.

Traditionally made of fine felt, the world's best hats (in my opinion, and many others' as well) come from a local Chicago milliner and friend named Graham Thompson. His shop is called Optimo Hats ( and they are located on Chicago's south side. He crafts all of his products by hand in the old world ways of manufacturing; one piece at a time, as if they were art. Pick one up, and you will likely care for it as if it were.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cost Per Use

Think about the last time you bought something that cost "a little more than you planned on spending." I'd venture to guess that you wear or use that product a lot, and every time it comes out you appreciate it as much as you did the first day you bought it.

Keep your splurges confined to items of timelessness; things you will be able to use over and over again. If you can look at your purchases in terms of a "per use" cost, you will find that the things you pay the most for, end up being the cheapest in the long run because you use them until worn out.

That navy solid suit that you know, the one you wear every week when you have the big meeting? the same one you painfully paid $3,000 for?? Well, it was worth it because you use it and feel great in it. It raises your level of confidence and gives you an edge when you need it. (Cost Per Use over 2 years at 1x/week: $28.84)

That purchase makes a heck of a lot more sense than the $4,000 purple suit you picked up on clearance for $ know the one.....stuck in the back of the closet, dust on the shoulders, you've tried it on at home infront of the mirrow 11 times, but it's never made it outside of the house..... (Cost Per Use: $650 )

When you splurge, splurge on things that you will always makes justification a lot easier!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Show it Off

If you have ever gotten your jacket sleeves tailored in a department store, the odds are they are far too long. Your sleeves should go no further than the break in your wrist, where your hand meets your arm..... Do this test: relax your arms straight down the side of your make a "thumbs up."

Your shirt, if properly fitted, will go about a 1/4" below that break in your wrist. The jacket sleeve should be cut about a 1/4" above the break in your wrist, allowing you to show 1/2" of cuff when your jacket is on. Anywhere between a quarter inch and a full inch of cuff is common and appropriate looking. The more cuff you show, the more european the flair.... the more fitted the suit, the more cuff you can get away with showing off.

Remember these simple rules for sleeve length, and you're one step looking closer to decent.

Monday, September 21, 2009

More than a pair

Most men, unfortunately, fall into the trap of wearing the same 1 or 2 shoes every single day of the work week. Not only is it monotonous, boring and tasteless; it is taking away from what should be a lengthy lifespan for your footwear.
By investing in quality goods and developing a rotation that has versatility, practicality and logic - you will do justice to the rest of your clothing by allowing each to be paired up in more ways than your previously imagined. You shouldn't ever have to wear your shoes 2 days in a rown, unless of course, you are on a short business trip and packing more than 1 seems unattractive.

The truth is, footwear needs to relax after each wear to allow the perspiration to dry out properly. By inserting a cedar shoe tree into the shoe, you will maintain the shape, and pull the moisture away from the leather properly, thus eliminating any odor that may have existed otherwise.

You wouldn't wear the same suit, pant of shirt 2 days in a row (we hope) so there isn't any reason to do so with your footwear. Build a rotation slowly, and you will eventually find yourself with shoe options to fit every occasion. If you actually do 'wear a shoe out' in less than 2 years, you dont have enough.

As with anything, build it logically by adding these shoes first: Dress Lace shoes in black, cordovan and medium brown. Dress Loafers in Chestnut and Black. Casual loafers in brown, black and chestnut. After those - go with what you love.....until then, add logically.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Most people tend to overcomplicate a look and get too creative -They think too hard and it usually ends in a train wreck. To avoid that inevitability, just keep things simple..... 2 or 3 colors is more than enough and is a sure fire way to look fresh, feel sharp and have people notice that you are a person of taste and distinction. The people who look great with the most consistency are minimalists....they know when to stop.
Try using noticeably different shades of the same color (ie: a deep navy cardigan with a carolina blue button up) and you will find yourself looking sharp with very little effort. Keep your emphasis on fit and simple accessories...... you will undoubtedly be noticed without being over the top.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


What do you do when you look into your closet and say "I have nothing to wear?"

We have all gotten to this stage, whether you dress in business formal (suits) or business casual (different things to different people) on a daily basis.

The good news is, I have a simple solution that works everywhere from the office to the evening, and even into the weekend. It will have you looking trim, feeling as comfortable as if you were in your jeans, and will keep your overall appeal up because you wont look like every other robot on the street (see: good thing).

My suggestion is adding what is called a 5-pocket trouser. It is the ultimate pant -- cut like a jean, but constructed of dressier fabrics like wools, flannels, corduroys and even cottons. It is a little more unique than your typical jean, and a little less formal that the standard wool trouser.

Give em' a shot, I think you'll end up pocketing a few more than 5!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What Would Grandpa Wear?

If you are the type of person who asks themselves "what's in right now?" you should immediately answer your own inquiry with "whatever grandpa would wear." It's true, the older archived fabrics like Flannels, Donegals and Harris Tweeds are staging a comeback of true force right now. It isn't limited to just tailed jackets and trousers either.....
The sportswear lines from several designers at all pricepoints have re-introduced some of their earliest designs in updates fabric finishes. You will see a lot of shawl collared sweaters, covered leather button details, vests in every cloth imaginable, toggles, suede shoes, plaid everything, shorter trousers hems, chunky cropped (leather) jackets and an elevated interest in leather goods (yes, including "the man bag").
Each year, men are becoming more and more interested in accessorizing and taking a serious interest in the way they present themselves to the world. The majority of men feel the need to make themselves feel good through image......those who refute that say it because they simply don't know how to execute. One thing they can't argue is that everyone likes to feel good about how they look, and our grandparents' generation always knew how to do so.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Perception is everything.....

Whether you like it or not, everyone who you come into contact with on a daily basis forms a perception of who you are and what you are about, based on what you wear-how you accessorize and the way you carry yourself..... it cannot be argued and it isnt necessarily fair, but it is the truth.

How you dress instantaneously influences the way that you are treated by strangers because they have no other grounds to judge you on. The visual image you put forth precedes anything you can say or do to the people who see you....thus, it is the most important factor in making your first impression.

Look at the picture below - without knowing any of these people you are already forming an opinion about each. You have thoughts, both positive and negative, about what each of these people stand for. We do this same exercise several times a day without even realizing it.

Think about the way you tie your tie; it speaks volumes about the person you are or the person you want people to think you are.
  • Four-in-Hand: Very conservative, could care less about trends, wants to just fly under the radar.

  • Half Windsor: Interested in a little bit of an edge, but not quite sure he wants to be noticed everywhere.
  • Full Windsor: Wants to be noticed, likes attention, interested in clothing.

Always remember, a first impression is just impression......after that it is up to you to act like the person you are trying to express. Impressions are on the surface. Who you are at your roots is most vital because at the end of the day, you will be remembered for what you do and not what you say (verbally or through dress)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Pay it Forward by Influencing Others

You have it, your parents have it, your teachers have it, the woman behind the counter at your grocery store has it and the UPS delivery man has it.

Do you wear your belt a certain way? Do wear your hat on a slight angle? Is your hair styled differently than your friends? Do you drink a certain drink? Are the shoes you're wearing the exact same as everyone elses? Of course not! The reasons you buy what you buy, walk how you walk, or wear what you wear is because you want those things to say something about who you are..... Each is a part of your individual style and is a reflection of how you want to be perceived by others.

It's "your style" but really you picked up those cues from seeing it somewhere else....unfortunately the only ones you recognize are the ones whos style appeals to you. If you're looking for some individuality or perhap some inspiration, take note of how people package themselves. You will find some things you admire and learn to appreciate people for who they are in the process!

Next time you see someone who's image you appreiate, recognize why and duplicate it the next time you want to get noticed.... who knows, perhaps it will influence another onlooker. It's a way of paying it forward.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Feeling Fall

It's still 75 degrees outside, but the cooler mornings have me wanting to wear fall clothes! Those will have to wait for now, but the good news is that all of the magazines, stores and talk is about tweeds, flannels and weightier wools.

Most men are year round dressers - meaning they wear the same things regardless of the season....except for a short sleeve shirt here, or a heavy sweater there....

With the return to classic clothing and 40's/50's era dress, seasonal clothing is getting more attention than it has for several years.

Do yourself a favor and try a few outfits this year in season specific finishes. As usual, stick to more basic patterns for your firsts additions; it will allow you to mix and match with multiple pieces and also wear more regularly than some more patterned pieces you may be tempted with.

How to wear it? Think Classic American.... Cary Grant & The Kennedys....

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Watch Out..... The time is now

Men only have a few options when accessorizing... and a watch - or timepiece - is generally the most comfortable way for one to do so. The reason is because a watch is consistent with what most men seek out:

1. Functionality and purpose

2. Common amongst their peers
3. Indulgent
Watches can be incredibly cheap or incredibly expensive. Regardless of how much you pay for it, the overall purpose of it remains the same: To keep us on time for whatever we are doing..... and of course to tell our onlookers a little something about who we are.

These are some of the watches I love most. Each has an element of timelessness to it but with a dash of character that sets it apart from something more pedestrian.
Do yourself a favor and invest in a time piece. If you're anything like me, it will give you a sense of pride and satisfaction everytime you put it on.

Timelessness goes on forever

You could spend your entire life trying to keep up with the trends that designers and celebrities promote on a daily basis, but I think you'd get bored of it after a while. Rather than consuming yourself with 'who is wearing what now,' I suggest always staying classic with your overall look. For a splash of individuality, use your accessories to mix your look up a little bit. This will help keep the budget down, and the overall appeal up.

Buy classic pieces for your wardrobe first (core pieces), and build your closet around that foundation.

You will undoubtedly get more value from your investment, and find yourself using your core pieces (usually solids and simple textures) in ways you never before imagined.

Just wear it with confidence

I have always maintained that regardless of what you wear, the most important thing to remember to put on is a level of confidence! Have you ever seen someone wearing something so outrageous, but somehow, someway, it looks incredibly good on them? The next time it happens, look atAdd Image them for a second longer.....almost without a doubt, you will realize that the reason it works is because they believe in it! They love it, they feel good in it and they know it.

Conversely, have you ever seen someone who looked great, but you just couldn't figure out why? It wasnt the clothing, it wasn't even the fact that they were necessarily great looking....but they had it, an aura that spoke so loudly you could't not be attracted their way.

Be confident in who you are and what you stand for.....that never goes out of style!