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 |
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 |

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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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Suit Lapels: What Type is Right For You?

Lapels are an often overlooked feature of a suit, but are a critical consideration if you want a jacket that is going to look good for your frame and fit your style.  Most often, men don't know how to match their lapels to their ties and end up looking out of proportion.  In this article I'll go over the three most common lapel types, how to wear them and which one is best for you.

The Notch Lapel

The most common lapel you will see is the notch lapel. Working well for almost all suit types, the notch lapel is the most versatile choice for your suit jacket lapels. Keep it in mind when you are making your first suit purchase, it will serve you well in almost all situations (also, your first suit should be navy as well. More on that in this article.)

Classic Peak Lapel from Beckett & Robb

The Peak Lapel

Most commonly seen on double-breasted jackets and dinner jackets, the peak lapel stands out more from the notch lapel but is still appropriate for almost all occasions.  You should note, however, that the peak lapel is starting to make appearances on single-breasted jackets.  I would recommend it only for those with a more fashion forward style, it takes a certain amount of confidence to pull off.

Kobe rocking a stylish Peak Lapel in GQ.

The Shawl Lapel

You might recognize this lapel from informal apparel such as robes, but is a great choice for a tuxedo.  The shawl lapel was first used in Victorian Smoking Jackets and has been adapted for suiting.  Wearing a shawl lapel anywhere but on a tux is not recommended unless you are very confident in your look and are wearing it somewhere less formal than a business setting.  In that case, go for it.

Band of Outsiders Shawl Collar Tux

How to Pick a Lapel

Rather than explain this process to you, I've got a handy flow chart to solve your lapel problems.  Follow the guide and you'll know which style is best for you in no time.

Try to keep in mind when deciding on a lapel style that your lapels should be about the same width as your ties.  Many designers are leaning towards slimmer lapels in recent years, however designers like Tom Ford are designing jackets with wide lapels as well.  I tend to lean toward slimmer lapels, especially with notch and shawl lapels.  Peak lapels will always need to be slightly wider however they do not need to be oversized.

Thanks for reading.  As always, be dapper.
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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hit the Bar: Tie Bars and How to Wear Them

If you're knotting up for any occasion, I highly recommend that you dress up your tie a bit. You may have used a tie pin before, and while there are many fine tie pins on the market, a tie bar is an undeniably more sophisticated look than the pin.  The bar is both functional and aesthetic, holding your tie back from flying all over the place but also breaking up the silhouette of your tie.  Today I'd like to give you some recommendations on what kind of tie bar you should buy and how you should wear it.

Keep it Simple, Stupid

There are thousands of tie bars on the market, plenty of them having embellishments from sports team logos to diamonds.  I recommend keeping yours fairly toned down.  That doesn't mean you can't get something to set your tie bar apart from others, there are a great variety of tie bars with different finishes, subtle striping, textures and so on.  Bottom line is that you should look for something that won't overpower your tie.

Calvin Klein Skinny Tie with Tie Bar

Bigger isn't Always Better

One tie bar isn't going to work for every tie in your ensemble, sorry it's just not going to happen.  Get one too short and you're going to look you misused a paper clip, too long and it will look like you put your pen on your tie.  I like to think that a tie bar should extend across your tie anywhere from halfway to 3/4 of the width of the tie where you are clipping it.  For skinny ties, a one inch tie bar will be perfect for most situations.  For standard width ties, I would recommend getting out to 2 inches.  See below how Jake Gyllenhaal rocks the one inch tie bar perfectly with a skinny tie.

Jake Gyllenhaal on GQ's May 2010 Cover

Where to Wear It

There really is no standard in my opinion of where to put your tie bar, but Glenn O'Brien from GQ has put it best: "Think of it as the needle on a meter or the mercury in a thermometer. Imagine the tie knot as the top of the scale, which we shall call 'ridiculous,' and the bottom of the tie as the bottom of the scale, which we shall call 'stolid.' Measure bar wearers accordingly."  I don't think much more needs to be said here.  With that, clink on the link below and head to to get your next tie bar, they have great stuff and most of it is reasonably priced.

Feel free to experiment with different colors on your tie bars. Silver will be the most versatile choice, but you can find gold, black or white tie bars that will work with select colors and patterns. Even some bolder colors might be appropriate if you're looking to make a splash, just keep in mind that you don't want the tie bar to overpower the rest of your ensemble. Are you already wearing a tie bar? Do you have one that you love? Let me know!

Thanks for reading. As always, be dapper.
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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dress Up Your Wrist with a Classic Watch

I love watches, but I'm pretty convinced that most guys are under the impression that a watch needs to be gigantic to look good.  How wrong they are, slimmed down watches are a classic look and should be a part of any man's ensemble.  I know that watches really aren't a necessity anymore, your cellphone is your time keeper and nothing is going to change that.  However they still look great with a suit and give you an added touch of sophistication.  I'll go over some things to keep in mind for your next watch in this article and where you can find them.

Ditch the Metal Band, You Want Leather

Wearing a watch with a metal band is a little like having a car that is all chrome, it's just too much. Leather helps balance out the metal accents of your watch and is much more understated. I recommend at least having two bands you can switch between (if not two watches) for black and brown leather. Match them to your shoes if you can. Also, keep the band slim, you're not trying to look like a rockstar. Below is an excellent example from Timex.

Timex Easy Reader

You Don't Need 15 Dials

Too many watches have crowded faces, which simply makes them look busy. You don't need to know what time it is in Cairo, you don't need to time your walk to the bathroom and you really don't even need the date (this one I'll accept if it's the only other thing on the face.) Bottom line: keep it clean and minimal. It will draw less attention to the watch and you are wearing a watch as an accent piece, not the focal point of your wardrobe. This watch from Calvin Klein shows off how to keep your timepiece simple.

Calvin Klein Concept Strap Watch

Keep the Case Slim

Once again, your watch is an accent piece, having it stick out an inch from your wrist doesn't really accomplish that. Also, it's going to get in the way if your watch face is gigantic and you'll end up taking it off by the end of the day. If you have any doubts, try it on with your suit jacket. Does it slip into the sleeve or make it bunch up around your wrist? If you're struggling to get your jacket back around the watch, it's too big.  The Bulova watch below is slim enough to make sure you show your watch when you want to, not all the time.

Bulova Men's Dress Watch

One of the great things about getting a slim leather banded watch is that it is so versatile. It's going to look great with your suit, and if you want to dress it down you can pick up a nylon strap with some color for less than $30. Do you have a great watch that you love to wear? If so I'd love to see it, shoot some pictures to and you might be featured in a future article.

Thanks for reading. As always, be dapper.
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Monday, June 13, 2011

How to Act and Look Like a Man When You Lose

I've decided to take today's blog in a bit of a different direction today, hopefully you enjoy reading this blog as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

We as men can be the best dressed dude in the room, have perfectly shined shoes, a neat shave and a great haircut, but it doesn't mean anything unless you're prepared to act like a man.  I was watching the Heat collapse to the Dallas Mavericks last night in the NBA Finals and was blown away when LeBron James, an idol and role model to many of today's young men, walked off the court without so much as a handshake with his opponents.  He then proceeded to carry on a hostile press conference after the game addressing his "haters" and how they are going to have to "get back to the real world" at some point.

I'll give Mr. James this, yes 90% of us got up this morning and went back to the office.  He probably got on a private jet to a vacation.  But at least those of us who are headed back to the real world are (hopefully) doing it with pride and respect, for ourselves and for those around us.  I don't think the same can be said for LBJ.  With that said, maybe LeBron will catch a glimpse of this blog and take a note for the next time he loses a game, series or championship.

Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images

Don't Make Excuses

Want to look like a child as quickly as possible? Make a list of excuses for why you lost before you even show up. Everyone will inevitably lose at something in life; whether it is not getting a promotion, getting dumped by your dream girl, crashing your car, whatever.  We will all lose eventually.  Making excuses doesn't make it look like something wasn't your fault or that you're a victim.  It makes you look like you don't take responsibility for yourself or your actions.  It also makes you look weak, because you can't stay in control.  It's easy to do too, we all want to insulate ourselves from criticism.  I've done it before and I'm sure you have too.  So next time you lose, try this: don't make one excuse.  Not one.  Own it.  When you have some time to yourself, think about the situation and try to decide what was in your control and what wasn't.  Could you have handled yourself differently?  Could you have made something in your control that wasn't?  And if something was out of your control, stop trying to make an excuse about it.  Everyone has things in their life that are out of their control, and the more you try to control them the more they will control you.  So next time you lose, man up and shut up.

Don't Attack Your Opposition

Want to look incredibly petty with efficiency? Start attacking your opposition, especially personally, and you're right on track.  You know that guy who starts up on how "bullshit" or "cheap" the other team was when he loses a pickup basketball game?  You don't want to be him.  Why?  Because when he loses, he looks like an ass.  When he wins, he's an even bigger ass.  Because even if he shakes the other team's hands after he wins, it's not genuine.   If he just walks off the court, everyone else is glad he's gone.  I'm not saying you need to be ecstatic if you lose, but you should lose with class.  However, if you are humble and respectful when you lose, eventually you will win.  And people will want to celebrate that win with you.

Great sportsmanship, and Federer is a sharp dresser.  Nadal, not so much.

Don't Keep Losing

Want to look unbelievably pathetic? Make the same mistake over and over and over.  This is especially critical in your professional life, nothing will agitate a manager more than seeing you make the same mistakes every day, week or month.  You'll never see a raise, promotion or even congratulations from your boss because it shows that you have no idea how to improve.  So, if you are constantly seeing the same results or outcome from something you do, it's time to sit down and find out why. And keep in mind the first two points here when you do think about that.  Don't worry about the things that were out of your control.  Worry about what you can control and what you can do differently or better.  Write them down.  Put it on your bathroom mirror so you see those things every day.  Seriously, writing it down is a mental commitment.  It helps your recall incredibly and you can focus through the day on those things more effectively.  I'm not going to make guarantees here, I'm not trying to sell you self help or anything, but I've seen personal improvement from this method on countless occasions and I eventually stopped losing in those situations.  I hope you'll stop losing too.

This article deviates from my normal topics, but I think that acting like a man is just as important as the way we dress.  Plus, even if you're not a father, you have young people looking up to you.  They will emulate the way you act, speak and dress.  We should show them the best.  If you'd like more articles like this, please let me know, but I promise I'll be back to talking style for at least the rest of the week!

Thanks for reading.  As always, be dapper.
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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Put a Lid On It: How to Find A Great Hat

If you're looking for an addition to your wardrobe that will define your style, look no further than a great looking hat. Seriously, this one piece of your fashion arsenal will be the thing people most remember about you. What do you see when you think of Vince Lombardi, Frank Sinatra or even Robert Duvall in the Godfather? That's right, they're wearing a hat. And you know I'm not talking about a baseball cap or a knit beanie, I'm talking about a classic fedora, porkpie or maybe a walking cap. So let's dive into some hat styles that are perfect for a classic style.

The Fedora

I didn't live in the 1920's but I think these were standard issue back then because everyone from the mob to the feds were wearing fedoras. The fedora faded in style into the 1970's but has recently made a comeback and can be worn in a variety of different ways. If you're looking for a hat to wear with a suit, definitely go with something made of felt and in a dark color. Also make sure it is a blocked hat, meaning that the hat is built around a wood block. These type of hats last forever if well taken care of and have a better structure to them, just like the dark fedora below from J.J. Hat Center. A fedora can also be a great casual look, check out this version below from Christy's. Lighter color, lighter material, a thinner brim and a contrasting woven band make this fedora perfect for the weekend.

Lexington Fedora

Christy's Crown Fedora - The Bentley

The Pork Pie

The pork pie hat is different from the fedora due to the flat top and short crown with an indentation all the way around rather than pinched. I recommend this hat for men with rounder faces (not chubby, round) because the short brim will complement your features well. The crown is not too high either and helps to balance how big your head might look with a taller hat. The pork pie can be professional, though not as much as a fedora, but still get one in felt, dark color and blocked. I prefer it for a casual look however, once again in a lighter color and preferably braided. Both hat's below are from Bailey of Hollywood, I love the feather in the black one especially.
Bailey of Hollywood Pork Pie Hat

Bailey of Hollywood Lamar Pork Pie

The Walking Hat

An undoubtedly casual look, the walking hat is one hat I can't recommend to pair with your suit. That's not to say you can't look incredibly stylish in one, quite the opposite. Get one in tweed, just do it. It will work great in all kinds of occasions and is not so stuffy that you will feel like you're trying too hard. The three variations below from Borsalino are all dapper choices.

Borsalino Tweed Walking Hat

You might be thinking "I can't pull off a hat like this." Not true, you can. I recommend going to a hat shop if at all possible and get some consulting from an expert. They will understand what shapes and styles will best complement your facial features. Once you're in one and feeling confident, you'll never wear a baseball cap again. To finish off the article, let's take a look at just how good a man with a great cap can look from the current king of classic style, Jon Hamm.

Thanks for reading.  As always, be dapper.
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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Belts Are a Choice, Not a Necessity. But You Should Choose to Wear One.

Let me lead this post off by saying that if you are wearing a belt so your pants don't fall down, you need new pants.  Belts should be an accessory you choose to complement the rest of your ensemble, not something you wear to avoid mooning the whole office.  That said, once you have some pants that fit correctly you can use your belt to add some splash to your wardrobe or to just keep your look together.

The Leather Belt

I really should not have to tell you that the leather belt is one thing that you have to have at least one of. If not two. Probably two.  Yah, you need two. Black and brown should be represented, as it's important to match your belt to your shoes when they are both leather. Some people like a white leather belt as well, I'm not one of them. I prefer to have two different widths of each as well. A belt that is appropriate with trousers and suits should be about 1 - 1 1/2 inches wide, no more. Something closer to 2 inches is more appropriate for jeans.  With your business attire, keep the buckle simple like the belts featured below from Boss and Express.
BOSS Black '9005' Leather Belt
Express 2-in-1 Reversible Leather Belt

The Webbed Belt

A killer look with jeans and shorts, the webbed belt is a stylish choice not only because it looks great but also because you can find them dirt cheap. I prefer the double ring closure to the full buckle but either can be a good look. There are so many variations of the nylon webbed belt out there that I recommend having 3 or 4 in your wardrobe, just to match and contrast with a variety of outfits. Below are two different but very classy webbed belts from Urban Outfitters and Tommy Hilfiger.

Urban Outfitters Reversible D-Ring Belt

Tommy Hilfiger Webbed Belt

The Braided Belt

Out of popularity for many years, mostly due to the fact that people wore them at functions where a more formal belt was necessary, the braided belt is something you most likely think of your grandpa wearing. However they can be a fashionable casual accessory when worn correctly. First of all, keep it thin (this is still a leather belt) and make sure that it is the right waist size. It's easy to not think about waist size with a braided belt because there are no holes for the buckle, but you should not have more than 2 inches of belt sticking out from your first belt loop once the belt is on and fitting right. I love these two belts from Land's End and Polo Ralph Lauren.

Land's End Men's Braided Belt

Polo Ralph Lauren Braided Leather O-Ring Belt

Getting the right belt for the occasion and making sure the style is appropriate is key to getting your look right. Feel free to experiment with more casual styles but when you are trying to keep a look classic and professional, keep your belt matching your shoes.

Thanks for reading.  As always, be dapper.
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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sunglasses for the Fashionable Man

There has been a huge resurgence in men's sunglasses in the past few years, reviving classic styles that had been set aside by many in favor of a line of sunglasses that were all mostly based on Oakley shapes and style.  That's not to say that many of these styles aren't high quality (though there are thousands of fakes out there) or that there aren't good uses for them, but a pair of sunglasses that were originally designed for motocross or BMX riders simply aren't something you're going to want to top off your classic style with.  Let's take a look at a few fashionable sunglasses that are great for the office or the weekend.

The Wayfarer

Though many will make an argument for the Aviator, I believe the Wayfarer is the quintessential classic frame. Originally designed in 1952 by optical designer Raymond Stegeman for Ray-Ban, the Wayfarer has come in and out of style but has always been embraced by those who avoid the trends and embrace timeless fashion. The great news is that today they are very much in fashion and there are a huge variety of colors, frame sizes and variations so you should have no problem finding the perfect pair for you.  I recommend a classic black for your frames, you'll keep them casual enough for the beach but professional enough to wear on the way to the office.

Ray-Ban Wayfarers

The Clubmaster

A variation on the Wayfarer, the Clubmaster has a trimmed down frame and more accents which make more of a statement than the Wayfarer. I recommend getting the Clubmaster in a tortoise shell frame, the pattern can be overwhelming with some other frames but with the additions of the metal accents it is very subtle and has an understated class to it.

Ray-Ban Clubmasters

The Aviator

Worn by many, worn well by few, the Aviator has so many variations on the original design that many people don't understand how great these sunglasses can look on anyone.  Make sure that you find a pair that frames your face well, they should not stick out too far from the sides and should not push down on your cheeks (you don't want to look like the Unabomber.)  Try several pairs on and see how they look, this is one frame that is truly easy to mess up but it looks amazing when it's done right.

Ray-Ban Aviators

If you're still wondering whether you should switch off the wraparound style glasses, just check out these pictures here at GQ.  I think it's easy to see how much better you're going to look in a pair of classic sunglasses.  I know I listed Ray-Ban as the only manufacturer here, but that is simply because everyone else is simply replicating these styles.  Feel free to try any brand you like, but understand that Ray-Ban is the originator.

Thanks for reading.  As always, be dapper.
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Monday, June 6, 2011

Warm Up Your Casual Style for Summer

After a weekend of afternoon walks, time in the park, BBQ's and sipping on a Gin Rickey as the sun goes down off the balcony I am finally convinced that summer is here.  If you haven't already taken a look at your summer wardrobe, I definitely suggest that you start taking a look to find out what you should keep, what you should get rid of and what you need to go out and pick up.  Here I'll talk about some staples of a well dressed man's summer inventory and where you can find some of these classic styles.

You're a man now, throw away the cargo shorts

Look, there was a time when we could get away with wearing baggy cargo shorts.  I refer to it as high school, and those days are over now.  It's time to update your shorts to something with a slimmer cut and less pockets.  Losing the extra fabric and hanging pockets will trim up your physique and gives a boat load of sophistication to an otherwise casual look.

J.Crew Microstripe Club Short
American Rag Stan Striped Shorts

Boat Shoes: No boat (or socks) necessary

Boat shoes have made a huge comeback in the past couple of years and the great news is that there are a wide range of labels now producing their own version of these classic shoes in a variety of colors and materials.  Sperry Top-Sider is the original but that's not to say that another brand isn't worth your consideration.  I recommend going sock-less in boat shoes, especially if you are going to be wearing shorts.  Below are three variations on the boat shoe that you can ponder on for your next purchase.
Sperry Top-Sider Originals

Brooks Brothers Calfskin Leather Boat Shoes

Polo Canvas Boat Shoes

The Polo: From golf course to dinner to night club in one shirt

Wearing a polo shouldn't be a moment you dread. Just because it's the weekend doesn't mean you have an excuse to throw on a nasty old t-shirt. The good news is that a fitted polo will serve you in more settings than you think during the summer. Of course you will want to wear one to the golf course, but try to avoid the sporty-style fabrics and go for a classic cotton in a light color to keep cool. Throw on a v-neck sweater over as well. Dinner at the in-laws house? Top it with a navy blazer. Drinks with friends? Just make sure that your polo fits you well and hit the bar. It's easy to see how versatile a great polo can be, here's three looks you should consider.

3 Ways to Wear Your Fitted Polo
These three additions to your wardrobe are easy ways to step up your casual summer style.  By the way, if you're having trouble finding a pair of shorts that fit well you can nominate a pair of your pants to be sacrificed into shorts.  Follow this guide here from GQ and you'll have a perfect pair of shorts in no time.

Thanks for reading.  As always, be dapper.
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Friday, June 3, 2011

Buying Fashionable Men's Shoes - 3 Tips to Find Great Dress Shoes

So you've bought that great suit, had it tailored perfectly, bought some slim fit shirts (as discussed in this post Buying a Slim Fit Shirt) and now you are wearing a pair of clunky, square-toed shoes you found at Payless.  Shame on you!  Once you've got a tailored look, you need to translate that across your entire wardrobe.  Shoes are the anchor of your style and need to reflect the choices you've made in the other elements of your look.  Today I'd like to talk about some basics you should know before you go out and find your next pair of dress shoes. I'll be comparing what you should and should not do as well as how to keep your footwear fashionable by buying classic looks.

Shoe Soles: Go Slim, Go Leather.

Chunky, square-toed shoes were in style for a while but that fashion has (finally) gone away.  When shopping for your next pair of dress shoes, check out the soles.  They should not extend out too far from the shoe and should not be too thick.  Also, invest in a pair of shoes with leather soles.  There is a common misconception that rubber soled shoes are more comfortable, however leather will breathe more and if the leather sole is too slippery, simply score it with a knife.  Below you can see the difference between a shoe with soles that are too large and rubber compared with a classic slim profile shoe with a leather sole.  The shoes on the right can be found at Brooks Brothers.

Lace-up Oxfords: The Style You Need First

There's no way around it, if you want one pair of great shoes that will work in almost any setting the lace-up oxford is your only choice.  Luckily there are many variations that you can choose from:  wingtips, cap toe, plain toe and so on.  Though black shoes are a staple, if you are just starting your shoe collection I would recommend going with a brown shoe first.  They will go with almost any suit you have besides black (which should not be one of your first suit colors, see why navy should be your first choice in this article on Navy Suits.)  Dark brown will be a bit more versatile but you can go for something lighter if you want a shoe that will make a statement.  Below are two great examples of brown shoes, both dark and light, that are a great beginning to any man's shoe collection.  The wingtips on the left can be found at To Boot New York, while the cap toes on the right can be found at Maganni.

Sticker Shock: Calm down, it's going to be ok

If you're like most men out there, you're probably going to have to take a moment to calm down and regroup once you see the price on a pair of quality made, leather soled shoes. Let's take a moment and take about being penny wise but dollar foolish. Think about the last time you bought a pair of $30 dress shoes. How often did you wear them? How long did they last before they were uncomfortable or had worn through?  The longest you can expect a pair of shoes like that to last is 6 months if you wear them even moderately often.  So let's look at the cost of those shoes over 5 years, by the end of that time you would've paid $300 for 10 pairs of uncomfortable, ugly shoes. Rather, if you spend that money upfront on a pair of well made shoes they will not only last you longer than 5 years and you will look great the whole time. Not to mention that your feet will be more comfortable and your back will probably have less strain on it.  So take some time and invest into some well made shoes that will last years rather than months on your next purchase.  While you're at it, check out this dapper pair of shoes from Allen Edmonds.  The clean lines on these are such a classic example of timeless style.

So now you're ready to buy some fashionable, well made shoes that will last for years.  Don't forget that you need to look at material labels on shoes to determine exactly what they are made of, many shoe store associates will tell you that you are buying a leather shoe when it is actually a leather blend which will not last nearly as long.  Do you already own some great shoes?  Let me know where you got them and post some pictures, I'd love to see them.

Thanks for reading.  As always, be dapper.
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