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 |
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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