Friday, October 30, 2009

A Key is Contrast

Another way to put the "odds of looking good" in your favor is to play the card of contrast. The more contrast you put into a look, the more powerful or impactful the impression. Conversely, more monochromatic looks tend to come off as soft and gentle.

Think of it in terms of a suit - for your dressiest occasions, and ones where you want to be perceived as powerful, you will generally lean toward wearing a white shirt and a dark suit. The contrast between a dark exterior (suit) and a bright white interior (shirt), along with a textured solid tie of similar tone to the suit results in a look that is confident, competant and full of impression.

When guys wear a dark suit (think charcoal) with a dark shirt (think gray or even worse, red), and an even darker tie; the end result looks like your high school prom meeting the business world. You've grown up, start dressing like it.

If you want to put a good foot forward and have a look that is remembered, use contrast to your advantage and include a minimal number of colors.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


The correct lapel shape on your suits and sport coats can make all the difference in terms of appearance. Without a doubt you have had some suits that you feel great in, the ones that make you walk a little taller and smile a little wider. And unquestionably you have some suits that you wear on rainy days because they simply aren't up to snuff with the others.

A contributing factor, and one you may have never thought about, is the shape and height of your lapel. Every lapel has a gorge on it - the seam that intersects about halfway through the lapel. The higher that lapel is "set" (by higher, I mean closer to the shoulders), and the more horizontal the seam, the longer, leaner and more powerful you will appear. You gain instant presence. (See sketch at bottom right).
Conversly, If your lapels have a low gorge, with a seam that is angled more vertically, you will have a drowned out and outdated appearance. The suit shape will make you feel dumpy, sloppy and less than impressive. (See sketch at bottom left)

Have a look at your lapels.....if they are low and angled, it's time to put your money to use and invest in something more current and empowering. After all, you're wearing a suit for a reason - to impress......let your lapels work FOR you, not AGAINST you.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Shorten Up

When tying your neck tie, be careful not to fall victim to the methods your Dad taught you 20 years ago. Aside from being tied with a tiny little peanut of a knot, the tip of the tie falls below your belt line, doesn't it? If so, you are sadly mistaken with something far out of style.

What you need to do is shorten up your tie length. Start by donating all of your thin ties, the ones with geometric airbrushings on them. Next, aim at having a tie length that finishes at the TOP of your belt buckle when standing straight up. If it's a little shorter, no problem. If it's a little longer, re-tie. The shorter tie will give you a longer silhouette, and also net you a slightly wider knot....and that is a good thing.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mix'n it up......

Individualism, through clothing, is much more than simply buying what you don't already have.

Digest that for a moment and ask yourself if this applies to you.... I bet it does.
Instead of being a robotic dresser, one who is incredibly predictable in everything from his shirt to his trousers to his shoes, decide to have fun with clothing by being unpredictable.

Buy something bright green, wear a sportcoat with elbow patches, put a pocket square in, buy flat front pants, add big patterns, 2" trouser cuffs. Anything from your norm! Ask yourself "is this normal for me?" If the answer is no way, you're on the right track.

It will be a nice change of pace from your gray trousers, light blue shirt and black know the outfit, it's the one you wear everyday and the one that every one of your co workers does as well. Do yourself a favor and fail at being boring.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Opposites Attract

If you have ever been bored with the way one of your older (or newer, for this matter) suits looks, you should consider adding another element.

A vest can be worn with a suit to give it more of a layered look and doesn't necessarily have to match your suit identically to be appropriate. If you have the option of getting matching cloth (generally in custom clothing), the look is very formal and buttoned up, certainly an elevated way of dressing.

If you don't have matching cloth, be sure to choose something that is noticeably contrasting so you don't look like you're trying to match your suit to your vest.....this is the equivalent of wearing non matching trousers with a suit coat: amateur hour.
Sweater vests and cardigans work best for sportcoat outfits while tailored vests look stunning for suits. Give it a try and add another element to your wardrobe; you're almost a guarantee to get compliments if it's done right.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Suede Thinking

When wearing fall and winter clothing, nothing finishes a look off better than suede details such as shoes, gloves, belts and coats. The reason it makes your outfit look so rich is because the textures of suede coincide perfectly with the textures of heavy weight clothing.

Think of how a flannel suit looks and feels: it is textured, "fuzzy" and full of depth in the same manner that fine suede is. Wearing a calf skin shoe with flannel is fine, it still looks quite elegant, but it doesn't add the element of "that guy takes it to a different level" that suede would.

Invest in classic items like shoes and a matching belt (start with brown) and you will find yourself wearing them with anything from jeans and cords to flannels and cashmere.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Seal of Approval

My favorite gift that I have ever received from my wife is something a little off the beaten path, literally. It's an item with a story, a history and undoubtedly something that has survived through generation upon generation of use.

Though recently outfitted to more appropriately reflect me, I think of where this item may have been when it was with it's first owner each and every time I use it....which is daily. It's worn, beat up, made of cast iron, and shows no signs of age when put to use. It works as well now as it did the first time it was used.

I'm referring to an antique embosser from ages passed, retrofitted with an embossing disk bearing my initials. I use it for something very simple - to stamp stationary. It's personal, it's unique and it sends a message to the receiver....

To me, stamping stationary yourself is more fun than having someone else do it for you.... it's lasted this long, why not continue to tradtion.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How to Mix Pattern

If you have ever wondered if you can wear a stripe on top of a stripe, or a plaid with a stripe with a check, or a check with a check with a check, the answers are all yes.

Don't be afraid to mix patterns, they all go together....the key to getting this correct is mixing with the right sizes. When mixing pattern, be sure that the patterns are of noticeably different sizes or widths.

For example, wearing a suit with a 1.5" stripe is excellent when paired with a striped shirt width of 1/16" because the stripes are noticeably different in size. Throw on a solid colored tie, and you are good to go.

If you keep your sizes different, feel free to mix whatever you'd like.

Notice in the picture, the windowpane on the suit is much larger than the print of the tie. That allows the eye to focus on the look overall, as opposed to having difficulty figuring out where to focus; a common problem when pairing several pieces of similar size.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Man Purse = Murse

Is he carrying a man bag? Is that dude wearing a "murse?"

If you have ever said one of those two statements to yourself or some of your friends, you should be ashamed. A man carrying a bag is one of the most logical ideas if you actually take a second to think about it, and making fun of those who do is simply a cryout of insecurity.

There are reasons why women never leave home without one (it's fucntional), and reasons why we, as men, are always clammoring for the right place to put that phone, gum, pen, wallet or whatever else you find yourself using on a daily basis (we can be illogical).

Bags hold things of size or of odd shapes, and allow you to carry lifes necessities without looking like you have your pant pockets stuffed with socks; so the next time you find yourself saying "I wish I had my (fill in whatever you find yourself missing regularly), consider purchasing a tote of some sort, and using it regularly....just be ready for the "man bag" comments and defend your position with pride!

Friday, October 2, 2009


Is there a better place than the golf course to showcase bold patterns, bright colors, and ridiculousness in general?

Ian Poulter has this down maybe more than any other golfer in the world. He expresses his personality through clothing, and could care less what others think of him. His willingness to step WAY outside the box has given him the attention that his golf game couldn't provide.

Have a look at his latest venture: Ian Poulter Design.

They are a company that is purely influenced by the way Ian wants to dress. Though these patterns may appear bold and progressive, they are actually archived type fabrics from decades past when everyone on the course was wearing similar things. The only difference now is the amount of people willing to express themselves.....perhaps we have become too self conscious? Sad but true.