Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How to Dress Business Casual: The New Dress Code

One of my good friends sent me this question yesterday: "I have a meeting this Thursday, and the dress is business casual. This event, however, is usually exclusive to MBA students. In other words, a professor vouched for me, a brilliant undergrad, and I don't want my professor to regret the decision.  How do I optimize my first-impression potential?"  Well first off, it's a good sign that you're putting some thought into how you'll dress to the event.  Not only for your own benefit, but to ensure that someone who put their neck out for you will be glad that he did.  First impressions count and people will be judging you by the clothes you wear, whether you (or even they) know it.

The rules of business casual have changed in the past 20 years, sometimes not for the better.  While some people consider it appropriate to wear a polo and jeans or even a t-shirt (yikes) to work every day, upgrading your style is the first step towards upgrading your career.  Unfortunately the fact that business casual has no fast rules means that it can be difficult to decide what is really appropriate.  I'm going to show you three great options for a "business casual" dress code that make you look like a professional without going for a suit.

The Navy Blazer

A navy blazer is essential to any man's wardrobe, but to really pull off a great business casual look you'll want to make sure it is tailored well.  Make sure that when you button it up it tugs slightly around your waist, the sleeves should show about a half inch of shirt cuff and make sure it is not too long.  Notice that the man in the picture below isn't wearing a tie, but he still looks professional.  They key is in the details: brown leather shoes, a white pocket square and smart grey wool slacks make this look impeccable.
Navy Blazer with Grey Slacks | GQ

The Business Sweater

If you haven't had the chance to invest in a well tailored navy blazer yet, a merino wool v-neck sweater is your next best option.  Go for a muted color such as navy or grey, you can get a little bolder with the shirt underneath as all that will be showing is the collar and cuffs.  Notice the similarities between this picture and the previous one.  Once again, the keys are in the details.  It's imperative that you pay attention to all pieces of your outfit, particularly shoes.  Fashionable, well-made shoes that will last for a decade or more are a worthy early investment and should be part of your wardrobe as soon as possible.
V-Neck Sweater with Grey Slacks | GQ

The Chino Pants

Khaki pants get a bad rap thanks to poorly fitted options that flood the marketplace but chinos with a trim fit and proper break over the shoes are a great piece for business casual.  Go for something that has a flat front (no pleats), slight to no break over your shoes and a crisp crease on the front.  If you're not willing to throw a blazer, sweater or vest over your shirt you should probably throw on a tie.  Layers are sophisticated and signal that you take the time to consider your appearance rather than just throwing on whatever is available to you.  Don't forget that a leather strapped watch is the best looking accessory you can own.
Khaki chinos | GQ

As usual, the imperative of great fit is more important than anything else.  Note that all the options shown fit the man in the picture perfectly with no bunching, folding or rolling on any of the fabric.  Ensure that your fit is perfect and all else will fall into place.

Thanks for reading.  As always, be dapper.
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Sweaters to Keep You Warm and Stylish This Winter

Sweaters have received a bad rap for a long time as the less sartorially inclined have only considered the crew-neck sweatshirt their only option.  However, a sweater is one of the smartest and most versatile pieces of a man's wardrobe for fall and winter.  Today, I want to show you three stylish sweaters that you'll want to add to your lineup immediately.

The V-Neck Merino

This is an absolute necessity for any man.  Really, if you don't own one yet you need to make sure you buy one today.  Don't go for the cotton option, they're a little too thick to use all year round (which you can with merino wool).  The v-neck merino sweater will become your go to layering option, especially for the office.  Pair it up over a shirt and tie and you will be amazed at how much your look is elevated.  Also, throw a blazer over it as well.  The great thing about merino wool is that it is thin enough to have additional layers over the top without turning you into a fountain of sweat.

Extra-Fine Merino Wool V-Neck Sweater | Banana Republic

The Cardigan

Equally appropriate at work and at home, the cardigan is a great look for a guy who is looking for something that makes a bit more of a statement than the v-neck.  While some would not consider the cardigan a professional look, I dare you to don a shirt and tie below one and ask yourself if you don't look good enough for the office.  Don't be afraid to go with a bold color if you already have a few other more subdued options in your wardrobe, cardigans are a great way to pop some color into your winter wardrobe.

Tom Ford Cardigan Sweater | GQ

The Shawl Collar

More of a casual look but still stylish, the shawl collar is very much in style right now.  While there are many options for a shawl collar sweater, I like to go with something a little thicker.  Layering over the shawl collar can get a little too busy around the neck so I prefer this style stand on its own.  You can go for a pullover, but I like the look of a buttoned front (really it's still a cardigan but the style is so different it deserves separate mention.)  If you go for something thick, you'll look equally appropriate chopping lumber as you would out for an evening stroll.  By the way, the sweater below is only $19.95.  What are you waiting for?

Shawl Collar Sweater | H&M

Thanks for reading. As always, be dapper.
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How to Wear A Scarf as a Fashionable Man

Scarves are a great accessory for men, just as much as they are for women.  Many men hesitate to don a scarf, but scarves are a great complement to your outerwear and are a perfect way to inject some color and bold style into the mostly drab colors of winter.  Not only that, but scarves keep you warmer than you might think, so they are just as utilitarian as they are fashionable.  After you've found yourself a great men's winter coat, it's time to top it off with something that you can make a statement with.  Today I'll show you three ways to tie men's scarves (and some great buying options) that will keep you warm and stylish through the winter.

The Tie Knot

Anytime I am wearing a jacket or outwear with lapels, I use the Tie Knot.  While not particularly difficult to tie, the hardest part of perfecting this fashionable scarf knot is to make it look like you really didn't even try to tie it.  That said, the Tie Knot makes a bold statement as it is much more chunky and noticeable than the Parisian or the Once-Around.  To make a Tie Knot drape the scarf around your neck and cross one end over the other, pull the front end of the scarf up through the crossover and let it hang.  Voila, you've made a Tie Knot.  It's even bold enough to pair up with a stylish men's hat.

Burberry Cashmere Men's Scarf | Neiman Marcus

The Parisian Knot

My go-to knot for scarves, the Parisian Knot is easy to master.  Simply fold your scarf over itself length wise, wrap around your neck and pull the loose ends through the loop.  The key to getting this knot to look great is to knot have it flat around your neck as you tie it.  Let the scarf pile up and create some texture.  Also, this knot is easy to tuck inside a jacket on extremely cold days.  This knot looks great over sweaters and is also a great choice over a slim-fit shirt.

Armani Wool Men's Scarf | Neiman Marcus

The Once-Around Knot

The Once-Around is a great choice for extra cold days where you really need to warmth provided by a scarf.  Easy to make and here's how:  hang the scarf around your neck with one end longer than the other, then take the long end around your neck and let it fall over your chest.  That's all.  You can also do a Twice-Around by wrapping the scarf around your neck twice.  A great choice for crew-necks and Mandarin collar jackets.
Brunello Cucinelli Rib-Knit Scarf | Neiman Marcus

Thanks for reading.  As always, be dapper.
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Friday, September 16, 2011

The Coats & Jackets You Need This Fall

Fall is almost upon us and it's time to start getting your fall/winter wardrobe out.  I love this time of year and what it allows me to do with my wardrobe.  Between the layering options, different textures and fabrics available and the seemingly endless amount of accessories available to you, fall is the best time to make a statement about your own personal style.  Of course, with the cooler weather you're going to want to keep warm and a classic, stylish jacket is the perfect way to do that.  Today I'll show you 3 timeless jackets that are a perfect addition to any man's wardrobe.

The Peacoat

The peacoat has its roots with 19th century European sailors, originally cut from a fabric called p-cloth.  The fabric was coarse and was designed to repel water and keep the sailors dry and warm.  However the style took to land and has stuck ever since.  Peacoats are always double-breasted, have big collars and usually bold anchor buttons.  It's all part of what makes the peacoat so recognizable.  Keep in mind that this is not a jacket to wear with your suit, peacoats are cut short and your suit jacket will pop out of the bottom.  These days peacoats are available in a huge variety of styles, colors and fabrics but I like to stick to classics.  Now normally I'm not an Old Navy fan but I picked up this wool blend peacoat for only $50 last season and it is great.  The cut is surprisingly fitted and it is incredibly warm and comfortable.  It's available again this season so jump on this one when you can find a discount deal, Old Navy has them all the time.
Men's Wool-Blend Peacoat | Old Navy

The Trench Coat

Similar in style to the peacoat, the trench coat was originally designed by Burberry for officers of the British Royal Army.  The trench is recognizable by being cut longer (sometimes all the way to the knees), including a belt, epaulets, a button yoke on the back shoulders and a buttoned flap over the right shoulders.  Trench coats are also generally made of a lighter material than peacoats, with modern versions incorporating many synthetic fabrics into their construction.  Often the biggest question of style when wearing a trench coat will come down to your belt: do you tie it? buckle it? hang it in the back?  I see it as a matter of personal preference, experiment and see what you like most.  If you really hate the belt, take it out and cut off the loops.
Shades of Grey Tan Trench Coat | Piperlime

The Leather Jacket

I've already gone in depth into How to Buy a Leather Jacket, but it's worth another mention in this article because the leather jacket is an essential addition to any man's wardrobe.  If you're really too lazy to go read that article, I'll give the short version here: make sure it fits snug, keep it simple without a lot of embellishments and try out a brown jacket before settling on black.  That said, I think the most classic leather jacket look for fall is a bomber style, pictured below.  Just rebellious enough to get a second glance, but conservative enough to take to the office.
Burberry Leather Bomber Jacket | Nordstrom

Thanks for reading.  As always, be dapper.
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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tweed: Not Just for Your Grandpa Anymore

I feel the need, the need for tweed!  Ok that was a little cliche, but I couldn't resist.  I love tweed jackets, pants, suits, hats; everything really.  And my obsession for the rough looking fabric is finally justified.  I popped open this month's issue of GQ and was stunned by the plethora of designers incorporating tweed into their modern fits and styles.  With fall right around the corner, the time is now to start checking out some tweed additions to your wardrobe.  Today I'll go over three patterns that you can consider and how this new generation of tweeds is not your grandfather's fabric.

The Tweed Sports Coat

"Yah that suit's pure herringbone. Yah, that's a suit I'd like to own." The Coasters had it right when they crooned their song, Shoppin' for Clothes.  Herringbone is probably my favorite pattern, next to Glenplaid.  I currently own a herringbone tweed sports coat, and it is easily the most versatile piece of outerwear in my wardrobe.  It works in summer as much as in winter: during the hot months I roll up the sleeves and show off some of the lining, and if I can see my breath outside then I don some fingerless wool gloves along with it.  I love matching a sports coat with a polo as well, and there are few better fabrics that will complement a polo as well as tweed does.

Billy Reid 'Rustin' Herringbone Tweed Sportcoat | Nordstrom

The Tweed Suit

I know we've all seen the goofy college professor who wore head-to-toe tweed every day of his life, but modern tweed suits are all about trim cuts and comfortable fabric that will redefine the way you think about tweed.  Now, it's not a suit you will be wearing to a black tie event, but nonetheless is an appropriate choice for most offices.  The best part of a tweed suit is that you can pair it with bold accessories: think plaid shirts, boldly colored ties, bright socks and so on.  The trick is to use one or two eye catching pieces, not all of them together.  The last thing you want is to stack them on top of each other in a seemingly endless fashion, unless you're trying to be photographed by The Sartorialist, that is.

Tweed: Always Outmanned, Never Outgunned | GQ

Tweed Pants

Now you could buy a full tweed suit and only wear it with the jacket, but that seems like a waste. Whether you utilize the pants from a suit set or buy a new pair, tweed pants are as versatile as they are fashionable. Again, bold accessories will be a great accessory for tweed pants.  As usual, make sure the fit is perfect and you have only a slight break on your shoes.

Tweed Pants for the Modern Man | Express
Thanks for reading.  As always, be dapper.

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Monday, August 8, 2011

What to Wear to an Interview: The Be Dapper Way

The interview: one of the most dreaded and intimidating moments in most men's professional careers.  Whether you're out of work and trying to immediately find a new job or are just exploring options, the interview is most likely the only face time you will get with a hiring manager before they decide on who will get a position.  Generally you're going to get between a half hour to an hour of time to speak with a prospective employer, which is why this first impression will be so important.  In my experience, I've known whether or not I wanted to hire someone within 5 minutes of speaking with them.  My guess is that most hiring managers would agree.  As such, it is incredibly important that the person you are interviewing with has a good first impression of you.  That first impression will be how you look, for better or worse.  And believe me, if you show up underdressed or look like you just bought a suit off the $99 rack, your chances of landing that job will drop like a rock.  Today I'm going to go over what you should be wearing to an interview to give a stunning first impression.

Leave the Black Suit at Home

First off, always wear a suit.  Always.  Even if the workplace is casual or the job is not in an office environment, no interviewer is going to look down on the fact that you dressed well.  However, showing up in slacks and a button up with no tie might send the wrong impression or not be appropriate for that position.  Moving on: black suits are great, they are bold without even expressly being so and work with a variety of colors and patterns.  However, your black suit is not your interview suit, not even your business suit.  Save your black suit for evenings out or dinner parties.  For an interview, you should be wearing a navy or charcoal suit.  I recommend navy, as it displays a refined level of style sense and professionalism.  Keep it single breasted, with a notch lapel and preferably two buttons. Patterns, if any, should be subtle.

Navy Suit with Brown Shoes | Freshly Educated Men

This is an Interview, Not a Fashion Show

You may have a very extensive wardrobe with many fashion-forward pieces and accessories, however this is not the time to wear your lime green knit tie and boat shoes.  If what you're wearing is getting noticed by an interviewer more than what you are saying, there is a huge problem.  For your shirt, go with white or light blue and no french cuffs, you're not an exec (yet.)  Your tie should be dark and muted, no bold patterns or colors, and include a tie bar.  Wear simple lace-up oxfords, preferably brown if you're wearing a charcoal or navy suit.  No accessories beyond a leather strapped watch, if even that.

The Perfect, Simple Accessories

Fail to Prepare and You Can Prepare to Fail

Just as you would research a company, their history, look at their website and prepare otherwise for a job interview, you should be preparing your wardrobe the day before as well.  Prepare your outfit, make sure it is what you want so you're not scrambling for a new tie in the morning.  Shine your shoes, there is a lot you can tell about a man by his shoes.  Remove any stray strings or thread from your suit and use a lint roller to remove any hair, dust or other debris.  Looking your best takes preparation, and there are few days more important than an interview to do so.

Charcoal Topman Suit | City Society

Thanks for reading.  As always, be dapper.
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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

3 Ways to Wear Your Suit Jacket

I love suits. I wear suits to work even though I don't have to, they just put me in a frame of mind that I am ready to work (really it works, I talk about in in this post: Why Dress Above the Dress Code.) However, there are times when wearing a suit to the office sticks out more than others, mainly casual Friday. Even so, I still like to get a lot of use out of my suits. As such, today I'll show you three ways to wear a suit jacket so you can still show off your well tailored wardrobe without looking out of place.

With Jeans: From 9-to-5 to Night Out

A well tailored suit jacket looks great with jeans and it is a great combination for casual Fridays or less formal offices. The trick here is to pair up your wardrobe correctly so it doesn't look like you just grabbed whatever jacket was in reach as you were walking out the door. First, your jeans should be dark and simple. No tears, patches, rhinestones or bedazzling. Also, I would opt for a straight or slim cut over boot-cut. As with any other time, your jacket should be well tailored. The best part of this outfit is that it works for occasions outside of the office as well, so you don't need to stop home before hitting the bar after work.

Jeans and a Suit Jacket | rachaelshaynestyle.blogspot.com

With a Polo: Not Just for the Country Club

Ok this can be hard to pull off, especially if you don't want to look like this. However, it's all about keeping the rest of your outfit as trim and well fitting as your suit should be. I prefer a contrast brightness, whether dark on the suit or the polo, but the guy below pulls off a full dark hue masterfully. Having a great beard certainly doesn't hurt either.
Polo with a Suit | thesartorialist.com

With a Sweater: The Sophisticate

Tie or not, rocking a 3 layer look with your suit jacket is a huge style upgrade for the fall. It works on so many levels and for so many situations. The biggest thing to remember here is to not try and match colors (i.e. do not wear a navy jacket with a navy sweater.) Go for contrast and inject some bold colors into your wardrobe. This yellow sweater below might be a little too bold alone, but with the tweed jacket over it the whole outfit just works.

Sportcoat and Sweater | omiru.com

Thanks for reading.  As always, be dapper.
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Monday, August 1, 2011

How to Buy A Leather Jacket: A Simple Guide

A well made leather jacket can be an expensive proposition, luckily you can make a leather jacket last for years if you invest well.  Not only that, but a leather jacket is one of the most versatile pieces of outerwear you can own.  They look great over t-shirts, polos, oxfords, and anything else you can think of.  The trick is finding one that doesn't look like it's swallowing you.  Today we'll talk about how to find a leather jacket that you'll love to wear for years to come.

Size it Down

My guess is that most leather jackets are made too big.  Not a scientific fact, just my observation from trying on leather jackets over the years.  Due to this, if you simply abide by the sizes you are buying for t-shirts, you are going to end up with a jacket that is too big.  When you're shopping for your next leather jacket, try on one that's a size smaller than you would expect.  You should still be able to zip it up, but it should be snug.  The armholes should be a little higher than you might be used to and the sleeves should fit tightly as well.  It may be slightly uncomfortable, but the beautiful thing about leather is that it will stretch and conform to your body over time.  Plus, you don't want this looking like your dad's bomber jacket, this should be a jacket with a modern tailoring cut.  One more thing, make sure the jacket ends right at the waist of your jeans, any longer and the trim look of the jacket won't be noticed.

Think He Needs A Large?  Think Again. | GQ.com

No Patches, Stripes, Extra Zippers, etc.

Many designers like to add all kinds of embellishments to their clothing in an effort to make them stand out (Express, I am talking about you.)  Sadly, all these extras do is get in the way of what could otherwise be a great looking piece of clothing.  If you find a leather jacket that fits you perfectly, the jacket will do all the talking.  So avoid the "Honor" patches, the racing stripes up the side and anything that generally is unnecessary to the look of the jacket.

Schott NYC Vintage Motorcycle Jacket

Give Brown a Chance

Yes, black is the ultimate go-to color for leather jackets, I know.  However, that does not mean you shouldn't look into brown.  I actually believe it is a more versatile color than black, same as I believe with shoes (as I talked about in this article: Buying Fashionable Men's Shoes.)  You are able to inject many more colors and palettes into an outfit with a brown leather jacket than black.  And if you intend to wear a leather jacket often (why wouldn't you?) then you will want something versatile.  Bottom line, just TRY a brown leather jacket before you decide on a black one.  You may be surprised at how good they will look on you.

All Saints Recluse Biker Jacket

Thanks for reading.  As always, be dapper.
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Monday, July 11, 2011

Polo Perfection: The Shirt You Can Wear (Almost) Anywhere

The polo shirt is just business enough to be business casual and just casual enough to wear to a beach-side bonfire.  The trick is making sure you get one that doesn't make you look like a balloon.  I love wearing polo shirts all the time, in fact I wear them more often than t-shirts.  My wife even comments on how strange it is to see me in anything without a collar anymore.  Don't be afraid, it really is a good thing.  Today I'll show you how to find a polo that you'll look great it and will be as versatile as brown shoes (which you should read about in this blog: Buying Fashionable Men's Shoes.)

Keep it Trim

One day I will write a blog that doesn't include something about fit...actually, probably not.  But in this case, the fit of your polo will be the biggest thing that determines whether you look great or look like another guy wearing a polo 2 sizes two big.  The sleeves should be a little short, just above the biggest part of your bicep.  The sleeves should also be tight, not cutting-off-your-circulation tight but tight enough that they stretch a bit.  Make sure that the fabric around your chest and waist is tailored well and does not bellow out.  Tuck it in and look at the back in a mirror: does it puff out like a marshmallow?  If it does then it's too big, get a size smaller or move on to a brand that knows how to cut a shirt correctly.
Perfectly Fitted Pique Polo | Express

A Logo Does Not A Great Shirt Make

Everyone knows the Lacoste and Polo logos that get slapped onto countless polos, but these logos only mean one thing: you are wearing a billboard for that company.  That's it.  Just because something is made by a certain company does not mean it will fit you well, last long or look good.  Simply, don't be impressed that there is an alligator on your shirt.  And the bigger that logo is, the more you should avoid that polo.  No one is impressed by the dude with the gigantic horse plastered across half his shirt.  And if the polo that looks great doesn't have a logo, who cares?  You certainly shouldn't.
No logo?  No Problem. | GQ

Pop?  You Should Not.

Okay, there is an argument that some would like to make about popping a polo collar coming from a tradition of sailors who wanted to keep the sun off of their necks.  Great, next time you're at sea go ahead and flip your collar up.  Otherwise, do everyone a favor and don't.  It just makes you look like an east coast frat boy who's looking to show off his "killer keg stand."  For an alternative point of view, check out this post from Of Rogues and Gentlemen: To Pop or Stop.  Let me know who you agree with!
Just imagine that collar shooting skywards... | Nordstrom

Thanks for reading.  As always, be dapper.
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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Why Dress Above the Dress Code?

If you were to take a snapshot of a modern office and compare it with one of 50 years ago my guess is there would be, without fail, two big things that you would immediately notice are different between the two. The first is, obviously, computers. The second would be a conspicuous lack of suits, ties or even button up shirts in some offices. The general trend of office dress codes are most definitely on a more casual trend, which is fine until it gets taken a little too far. And if you're wearing shorts and a t-shirt to the office, it's definitely gone too far. Even if your office has a very lax dress code (or none at all), that doesn't give you an excuse to throw on whatever clothes you happen to pull out of the closet. Today I'll tell you why, even today, it's important to look your best at all times

First Impressions Count

Whether it's on the agenda or not, you never know who is going to show up on any given day at the office. It might be a valuable client, the president of the company or maybe even a local politician. No matter who it might be, the first thing that person is going to see when you introduce yourself is how you look. If you only managed to throw on a t-shirt with some wrinkled jeans that morning, how do you think you will come off? Dressing well displays a level of confidence and professionalism to those around you and will give those you meet a more positive impression of who you are and what you stand for. Take a look at the guy below and ask yourself: "Would I want to do business with him?" Didn't think so.
Oversized shirt & pants, exposed undershit.  Yikes. | GQ

Rituals Change Your Mindset

If you've ever been a part of a sports team, you've done warmups. Warmups are important for you to be physically ready to perform, but warmups also affect your mindset. Warmups signal to your brain that it's time to focus, play hard and win. I see taking the time to dress well for work as a warmup for businessmen. When I throw on a tie and suit, I know that it's time for me to be working my hardest, putting on my best for clients and making my way towards that corner office. Believe me, you will start feeling and thinking differently when you dress well to work. A big part of that is feeling confident in how you look, as such you won't worry about it and can focus on your work.

That's more like it | Beckett & Robb

Image Influences Everyone

Whether you are leading a staff, reporting to multiple managers or flying solo; those you work with are going to notice how you look and will adjust their expectations, attitudes and results based on what they see. While most will not be able to exactly pin down what it is about you that makes them expect more (or less) of you, they will subconsciously be sizing you up. After that, they will create expectations of you in their mind based on the references they have of others who look or act like you. So who do you want them to be referencing you to, their stoner college roommate or that dynamite account exec they used to work with?
Navy Blazer and Jeans, perfectly tailored | GQ

Keep in mind that dressing well does not have to mean dressing up. You can look great in jeans and a blazer, a polo and khakis, or a button up and slacks. While I love to suit up, the key to looking great is putting some consideration into what you wear to the office. Make sure your jacket and pants are tailored well, take the time to iron a shirt, whatever it takes. People will notice, and you will too.

Thanks for reading. As always, be dapper.
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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Traveling in Style: No More Sweatpants!

I hear stories every once in a while from my father and grandfather about the long lost days of airplane travel, rolling off their tongue as if it was a myth passed down through generations of travelling businessmen. Gone are the comfortable seats, friendly staff and free food. Now we are packed like sardines into a tin can and forced to pay $5 for a pack of peanuts after begging for a pillow. Sure, the airlines are to blame for part of this decline in luxury but I believe travelers need to accept some responsibility as well. How many people do you see wander onto a plane in sweats or, dear God, pajamas? Does anyone honestly expect to be treated well if you can't even manage to pull on a pair of clean jeans?  I've seen my fair share of this and I think it's time to take note of how to fly in style. And yes, you can be comfortable doing so.

Take your Jacket for a Ride
If you're traveling with your suit, pack up your pants so you can keep the crease but don't throw your jacket in that suitcase to get wrinkled. Wear it with you to the airport, you can take it off when you get on the plane to have hung up and it will still be fresh by the time you land. Pair it up with some jeans and a polo or oxford and you'll have plenty of comfort and style, even if you're heading overseas.

Suit Jacket with Jeans and Shirt | GQ.com
Layer Up
When traveling for pleasure, or if you simply don't pack a suit for whatever reason, the v-neck sweater is your best friend. Not only can you find one in any thickness from nearly paper-thin to braving-an-arctic-storm thick, a v-neck sweater looks great on almost everyone. If the plane gets too muggy, peel it off and toss it in the overhead.

J.Crew Cotton-cashmere V-neck sweater
Lose the Laces
No one enjoys getting caught in airport security, I seem to be notorious at it though. I've learned through many instances of having to get scanned and questioned that it's best to be able to slip those shoes on and off with ease. Believe me, your beautiful lace-ups will slow you down. Slip on a pair of loafers when you head out and you don't have to find a spot to sit or bend over to re-tie your shoes after getting questioned over a bottle of mouthwash.  Driving shoes are a great choice if you'd like something a little less formal.
G Brown 'Tobago' Driving Shoe

I think we all understand the pains of airline travel, however it's no excuse to dress like a slob. Maybe if we all took a moment to look a little better when we hit the skies we would get a little better treatment. Probably not, but a man can dream right?

Thanks for reading. As always, be dapper.
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Monday, July 4, 2011

The 10 Commandments of Style from GQ

Today is the 4th of July and I'm going to be celebrating with a BBQ, beers and fireworks. As such I won't be writing a proper original blog today but will be providing you with a great article from GQ that I think every man should read.

1. Honor thy tailor

Even the best suits need altering. Pants need to be shortened, jackets need to be brought in, sleeves need to be narrowed (yes, you can ask your tailor to slim down your sleeves), and buttons need to be realigned with buttonholes (most guys’ shoulders aren’t entirely even, meaning your jacket often sits a bit askew). You should always buy your correct size, but you then need to have a tailor customize it to your body. It’s the difference between being appropriately dressed and being stylishly dressed.

2. Thou shalt wear sneakers made for a man

It’s fine to own crosstrainers and running shoes and hightops. But save them for the gym. When you’re on the street, keep your sneakers simple and classic. Go for ones like Stan Smiths, Jack Purcells, and Sambas. They work with everything, including suits.

3. Thou shalt invest in the right timepiece

Buy a high-quality stainless-steel watch. It looks as right with jeans as it does with your best blazer.

Read the rest here: GQ's 10 Commandments of Style

Thanks for reading.  As always, be dapper.
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Friday, July 1, 2011

How to Pick a Cologne: What Scent is Right for You? - Part 2

Yesterday I talked about three cologne notes you need to know in order to pick out your next favorite scent. Today I'll finish with the other three you need to know and give a few recommendations on colognes in those notes as well. One thing I want to stress before we begin today is that when you go to pick out a cologne, don't judge a scent by the first smell. Get a few samples sprayed onto the paper pieces they have at the counter, smell them and then walk around for a few minutes. Give the scents a chance to air out and then try them again, you might be shocked at how much the scent changes in that short amount of time. Also, always use the sample pieces, don't let them spray the cologne on you. By the time you're done you'll be bathing in cologne and really won't be able to discern which scent you enjoy most.

While I wouldn't recommend something that screams "roses" or "jasmine", there are some good floral scents out there.  Most of them really are closer to a fresh scent, but I think it's worth putting floral as its own category because most men will run at the mention of any flower in their cologne.  Bottom line: cologne is marketed to men so we will feel better about spraying scented water onto ourselves.  It's all perfume, so go with what smells good.
D&G '18 La Lune' Eau de Toilette
I don't believe in cologne that have supposed pheromones in them, but if there is anything close to it I would say that gourmand scents are it.  With notes of chocolate, coffee, wine and others, the gourmand scents are a great way to have a familiar scent to your cologne that draws a woman in.  There is a lot of variety here too, so expect many wildly different notes to hit your nose.
Ralph Lauren 'Polo Black' Eau de Toilette Spray
These are what I would classify as traditionally masculine scents, not necessarily musky but they can be.  Aromatic scents can be tricky because it is easy to underestimate how powerful they can be, making it tempting to over-apply and end up stinking like a skunk.  Just keep it light and you'll be impressed with how long lasting an aromatic cologne can be.
BVLGARI pour Homme Eau de Toilette Spray

Thanks for reading.  As always, be dapper.
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Thursday, June 30, 2011

How to Pick a Cologne: What Scent is Right for You? - Part 1

Walking into the cologne section of your local dispensary can be daunting for most men.  The sheer number of options available is overwhelming at times and often you'll find yourself gazing at bottles wondering why you even tried to find a new scent.  The good news is that all these scents really filter down into 6 different categories of scent.  Today I'll show you the first three scent categories that you can consider and which is best for you.

A great summer fragrance, citrus colognes have notes of fruit, flora and sometimes wood. Citrus scents are generally lighter and can seem to lose their power quickly, but that is generally only the case with inferior products. Try to avoid lemon scents as they will smell more like wood polish than anything, lime is a better choice.
Tom Ford Private Blend 'Azure Lime' Eau de Parfum
Wood notes often have more of a "musk" scent traditionally associated with your grandpa's cologne. But you don't have to smell like an old man when wearing a woods scent, most modern, quality cologne's have updated profiles to avoid a dated scent. If you are working in a very conservative office, a woody cologne should be your choice of work-time scent.

Yves Saint Laurent 'La Nuit de L'Homme' Eau de Toilette
Another note that is perfect for summer, fresh notes are light and often have an "ocean air" quality to them.  I'd associate it with how you would smell after a swim in a river and an afternoon sipping drinks on the porch.  I'm going to show you Acqua di Gio as a recommendation but it comes with a caveat: only choose this if you really have no confidence in your ability to find your own scent. This is a great cologne but it is incredibly popular, meaning that you will smell like many other men who wear it.  Remember, scent is the sense most closely tied to memory, and if the girl you're dating had a bad ex who wore this, it will remind her of that ex very distinctly.  If you feel confident in finding your own fresh scent, do so.
Acqua di GiĆ² Men Eau de Toilette Spray

Tomorrow I'll go over the remaining three cologne scent types you should know. If you have a scent you're currently wearing that you love, let me know!

Thanks for reading. As always, be dapper.
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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How to Wear a Double-Breasted Suit

The double-breasted suit is back, in a big way.  Gone are the boxy shoulders and overdone lapels that dominated the double-breasted suit back in the 80's.  Now the lines are trimmer, the lapels are thinner and all kinds of guys are wearing them (not just your stockbroker.)  Today I'll go over how you can rock a double-breasted suit with confidence without looking like a bad Gordon Gekko impersonator.

Fit Trumps All
You should be used to me stressing fit by now, but really: fit trumps all.  With a double breasted suit you're going to want to keep it short.  If you're already used to shorter jackets then you'll know what to look for, if not then you need to ignore the old "grab the bottom of the jacket rule."  I'd recommend the jacket hit an inch or two above the crotch of your pants.  Your lapels shouldn't be so wide that they're flapping in the wind.  If you like Tom Ford, you can embrace his take on lapels but I prefer something a little more toned down.  Between 2.75" to 3.5" wide is a good rule of thumb.  Lastly, the shoulder pads should be slim and nearly non-existent.

A perfectly fitted double-breasted suit | GQ.com
Keep It All Together
There is a "jigger" button inside the left side of your double-breasted jacket, please use it!  If you don't button it up the jacket will sag and look poor.  I prefer to also have all the working buttons on the outside of the jacket buttoned as well.  A spread collar shirt will a full-windsor knot is going to look fantastic with your double-breasted suit, so don't be afraid to knot up with a thick, classic tie.

David Beckham in a Double-Breasted Suit | GQ.com

Like a Boss
Even though the double-breasted suits I've shown you are updated and modern, at their core the double breasted-suit is still a power look.  If you are wearing a suit and the rest of the office is wearing chinos and a polo, reconsider rocking one in the workplace unless you're managing all those khaki-clad minions.

The "Tom Ford" Look: Wide Lapels, Bold Stripes

The double-breasted suit is a great addition to any man's wardrobe. If this is your first foray into the doubled up world, keep the suit simple with a dark color and subtle (if any) patterning.

Thanks for reading. As always, be dapper.
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How to Buy Jeans for the Fashionable Man

A friend of mine recently got in contact with me and presented me with a dilemma.  He's been reading the blog and has picked up on a few of the ideas I've presented here, but still has an issue with finding jeans that look good.  The biggest problem with finding great jeans is that there is such a variety out there, it's hard to sift through the mountains of denim available at nearly every retailer.  Well I think I can help with this quick guide on how to find great jeans.

It's All About Fit

The great thing about denim is that it stretches and forms to your body. Notice how when you pull on a pair of year old jeans they feel better than when you bought them? That's because the denim has had time to contour around your hips and ass to fit perfectly. However this only works if your jeans actually fit. Hence, you should be buying your jeans just slightly tight. You should still be able to button them up, but they should be snug. After you buy them, wear them relentlessly.

That said, with the countless variations of "fit" that retailers advertise it can be hard to decide which to go with. Try them all on. There's no one "right fit" because everyone has different shaped legs. However try to avoid anything with "relaxed", "baggy" or "loose" names. I tend to stick to fits that say "classic", "straight", "slim" or something along those lines. Boot cut is a source of contention for me, I think they look terrible unless you are wearing boots but there are plenty who would disagree with me.

Express Slim Fit Rocco Jean - Dark Rinse

Don't Wash them Every Week
In fact, you don't need to even wash them every year. I'm guessing the germaphobe readers are cringing right now, but let me present to you Exhibit A. In the article, the amount of bacteria between a pair of jeans that were worn for 15 months straight and one worn for 2 weeks was compared. Guess what? It was about the same. So get over thinking that you need to wash denim every week, month or 6 months. Plus, washing your jeans is going to kill that fit you've been working for and you'll be right back at square one. If you spill something on your jeans, just try to spot clean the area as well as you can before resorting to the machine. If the denim is getting a little stinky you can spray it with some Febreze and you'll be in the clear.

Gap 1969 Skinny Fit Jeans - Raw Indigo

Should My Jeans Have Jewels?
No. Your jeans should not have jewels, crosses, diamonds, pyramid studs, or any other accent that makes you look like a model out of an Affliction catalog. Your jeans shouldn't have pre-made tears, rips or holes in them either. That will come with time and when that time comes you should be tossing those ripped up jenas. Keep your jeans simple, with a standard 5 pocket design. If you want your jeans to be versatile, I recommend going for a darker wash like original blue or dark denim. You'll be able to wear them on casual friday, out on the town and everywhere in between.

Levi's 511 Skinny Jeans - Clean Dark

Don't let fancy brand names fool you, you don't have to spend $200 on a pair of jeans to get something that looks great. All of the choices above are under $70, easy on your wallet. You'll be able to pair any of these witha leather jacket, a shirt and tie, loafers, oxfords, sneakers, navy blazer, almost anything really.

Thanks for reading. As always, be dapper.
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Friday, June 17, 2011

Nordstrom's Half Yearly Sale for Men: This is the Weekend to Upgrade Your Style!

We all know Nordstrom's carries some of the top brands in the world, but it seems like they also usually have the highest prices in the world as well.  Good news: the Nordstrom's Half Yearly Sale for Men is going on from June 17-19, so this weekend is the time to upgrade your style.  I'm going to highlight 5 picks from this sale for you to consider because they are nearly impossible to pass up.

1901 Saddle Up Oxford

I love saddle shoes and these are the definitive style of these bold shoes.  Made from geniune suede, these are a steal at $65 and are a perfect look for the summer (especially when going sockless.)

1901 'Saddle Up' Oxford - $64.90

Salvatore Ferragamo 'Loris' Oxford

Still pricey, coming in at $329.90, but these lace ups are a master made pair of full leather shoes.  If you've been looking for a pair of shoes that will last you a decade or more (like I talked about in this article) you should be picking these up.

Salvatore Ferragamo 'Loris' Oxford - $329.90

Ibiza Collection Grey Strip Linen Blend Sportcoat

I love this jacket, but don't wear it if you're looking to blend in.  This jacket is bold and makes a statement, perfect for the summertime as a linen cotton blend that you can keep cool in.  You're going to need to get it tailored, most likely, so don't expect it to fit perfectly off the rack.

Ibiza Collection Grey Stripe Linen Blend Sportcoat - $229.90

Boss Black 'Slim Fit' Dress Shirt

You're getting a high quality dress shirt for under $100, so count yourself lucky.  There are a smattering of other brand, color and pattern options available, just make sure that you are looking for "slim fit" or "trim fit" in the title.

BOSS Black 'Slim Fit' Dress Shirt - $62.90

1901 Stripe Skinny Knit Tie

It's no secret that I have a thing for knit ties, I talked about them in this article, and this one is no exception.  Classic prep style and colors, this is a great pick to match up with chinos or lighter slacks.  Even jeans will look great with this tie, it's so versatile that it works for most any situation beyond formal and uber-professional.

1901 Stripe Skinny Knit Tie - $32.90

You're going to have to move fast if you want some of these deals, the sale only runs til Sunday so make sure you make it to a Nordstrom store or to their online store this weekend. If you're looking for a great father's day gift this would also be the perfect time!

Thanks for reading. As always, be dapper.
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