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“The Difference Between a Man and a Gentleman”

“A man tries to make his mark.  A gentleman strives to leave a mark.  A man accepts a favor.  A gentleman returns the favor.  A man gives orders.  A gentleman inspires.  A man fits the mold.  A gentleman tries to break the mold.  The differences are many, but it all comes down to this: a man takes the necessary amount of steps.  A Gentleman takes the extra step.” – (Gentleman Jack) – Jack Daniels Ad

The Cinematic Orchestra

It has been a while…was out saving the XY chromosomes from massive sartorial extinction.  My sincerest apologies.  BUT what a better way to get back into the swing of things than to talk a little bit about a band that I cannot stop listening to:  The Cinematic Orchestra, combining jazz and blues with a definite classic and yet electric feel, is an awesome aid for the creative thought process.  This British band founded in 1997 has been on my radar for sometime, so sad I’m just now realizing the awesomeness. Check out this video they did a while ago with the AMAZING Ms. Fontella Bass on “All That You Give.”  A new Pandora channel for sure.

 

Man Jewelry – *Ahem* – (Wrist-Pieces)

For most guys, the personal jewelry collection is limited to a few watches and… well that’s it.  (MAYBE that skull and crossbones necklace that you got a few years back when you were rocking Ed Hardy. -> Please say “no”).  Men have embraced other means to wear jewelry and still be masculine and show-off individual style.  Welcome to the new bracelet.  Although not so “new” now, the bracelet is a huge hit for many guys who want to give a little “oomph” to their personal style.

Available through a variety of designers (some of my favorites are the ones by Burkman Bros, who Kanye West unashamedly sported at Coachella this year), the wrist-piece is usually made from hemp, yarn, leather, and rope.

 

My absolute favorite, and probably a little more “dressy”, is this black onyx David Yurman bracelet (drools).

I like how you can sport these with jeans and a tee, or even a suit to show some individuality and non-comformist defiance.

Check out this NYtimes article highlighting the trend.  Oh, and notice how we used “wrist-piece”, instead of jewelry.  If your manhood is compromised, you’ll gain it back this way.

Gilt-y Pleasure, Summer Deals

One of my favorite things to do at 12:00pm (noon), besides working *ahem*, is to check out Gilt Groupe.

Founded by Kevin Ryan, the genius behind DoubleClick, Gilt Groupe puts the fun and spontaneity back in the shopping experience.

Everyday at 12:00pm, Gilt launches a stream of sales for men, women, kids, food (Gilt Taste), home decor, city deals (Gilt City) and awesome vacation destinations (Jetsetter).

Of course this is the ultimate excuse for compulsive shopping, but consider what you’re getting: designer brands, luxury deals, and exotic destinations for a great price.  Very much worth the 12:00pm mad rush to your computer.

Gilt Man was founded in 2009 as a separate site devoted to menswear.  Designers like Deisel, Calvin Klein Collection, Jack Spade, Levi’s, Antonio Maurizi, John Varvatos, Michael Kors, Theory, Paul Smith and Surface to Air mix and mingle for sales considerably lower than retail.

You have to be ok with the rapid shopping experience (as you only have 10 minutes to keep items in your cart before they are released back to the public), and you must register and be “approved” on the site first (takes only a few hours usually), but past that it’s a great way to stock the closet.

Here are some summer grabs I found from a past sale:

 

If your struggling to find some last minute summer grabs from retailers, sign up and save!

The Ego Has Landed: An Exercise in Peacocking

I have only been writing for YGS for a short time but I’m already going back and re-reading what I’ve written previously.  Partially it’s to make sure I’m not repeating myself (I’ve got a bad habit of repeating stories to the same person about two or three times but my record is four) but it’s also to see if I’m being as honest as I feel like I need to be.  Looking back on it, I don’t think I’ve been exactly that.  My first post was about dressing to be remembered and that is perfectly true but there’s another side to that.  To have a place in everyone’s minds for years to come has always been the long term goal but on the morning that I put on a suit or something equally as dapper  and for the day that I wear it, I’m not overly concerned about that.  Rather, I’m more immediately satisfied with the thought that I’m probably putting you into some sartorial corner of shame.

A very slight dash of ego is rarely a bad thing (does saying I just put you into a corner of shame count as a slight dash of ego?).  In fact, in the right dosage, it can prove to be quite beneficial.  In college, a couple of friends and I began wearing suits to class every Friday.  To honorably justify our bold break from the collegiate norms (sweatshirts, gym shorts and flip flops), we told ourselves and those who asked that we were promoting some kind of elevated standard of college-kid living and style.  Frankly, I don’t think we were kidding anybody.  In hindsight, I’m pretty sure we were doing it for the reasons that freshman boys with hormones resembling a Viagra® factory would do it.

As this sartorial Sabbath persisted, it became something else.  Whereas before it was just a show for everyone else, we began to do it for ourselves.  Suddenly, we just got a joy out of being suited up and softly barging into a classroom like some barbarian horde coming to pillage the small tribal village.  You couldn’t help it as you fought the urge to smirk while you absorbed the gazes of everyone.   Was this the feeling of… well, maybe the word “conquest” is a little dramatic.

I’m willing to admit now that there is a certain satisfaction in successfully peacocking, to enter a place and be the ruling aesthete.  I might even dare to say it is something of a high and once a week we would get our egotistical fix.  It’s still the same for me today and I can appreciate the desire to show off a little but do keep it tasteful.  Having said that, I’ll end with some imploring:  I’ve heard it said that the clothes make the man and to that I’d tell you to be sure to have some serious substance underneath what you’re showing off.  I’m just being honest.

GMahoney, Andrew Zaleski, Mark Meleka (Suit Fridays, Loyola University, November 2010

The Little Black…Blazer?

Yes, you are in the right place and no, there are no typos here.  Our female counterparts have managed to pull off amazing style on their own for many, many generations.  The lesson here is to take what we can and make it our own.  The good news is we have, and not only are we doing well, but we are truly on to something here.  That something happens to be the Black Fitted Blazer.  Attention, Attention…This is a staple, so listen carefully.

Just as the crisp white shirt, fitted trouser, and brown brogue should already be in your wardrobe, the black blazer is classic, as it is timeless.  Any tailor can ensure you leave with the proper fit, but the “when” to wear and “how” to wear it is just as important.  There are multiple options that will keep you in compliance all year-round with velvet, corduroy, and cotton options.  Not only do you have several fabrics to choose from, but the style of the jacket will also lend to the versatility as you can toy around with the vents (side or single…Yes it should be vented) pockets, buttons (one or two), and the lapels (notch, peak, etc.)

Another area you’ll want to pay close attention to is the sleeve of the jacket.  With this fashion excursion, make sure the sleeves are slim fitting (Again, your tailor will know what to do) and slightly shorter than your average business suit.  Why you ask?  Because we are the experts and we know what we’re talking about…No, but seriously.  The fit should be slim and showing a little cuff on your favorite shirt is highly encouraged.  As versatility goes, feel free to pair with denim in multiple washes (White is always a good choice) and t-shirts or collars complete the look.   In earlier posts you may remember me making reference to the “cool factor”, and this is one of those opportunities to turn the volume all the way up…

The Essence of Cool…

People ask me all the time about fashion and what makes great style. Much of the time I find that I answer in musical terms. No, no, no, it’s not what you think. I don’t respond with humming a song from the top 40 or belting out something crazy, but I do make reference to the way great style has a musical component to it. Think about the last fashion forward or sartorial laced ensemble you checked out and I’m sure there was a song or musical genre that popped into your head. Fashion shows aren’t set to music just to keep the style icons awake. Well maybe, but the idea here is to understand that great style often takes it’s cues from both timeless musical icons (Miles Davis, The Beatles, The Ramones, etc.) and local bands you can find at any dive near your zip code.  The reason music and fashion are so closely related is that each is borne of the same foundation; individual expression.

As you can find on any of our blogs, individual style and expression are paramount to nailing the perfect look. Regardless of your musical preferences, take care to listen to the sounds of your favorite outfit or that great look you spot on the street.

 

If pulling together a classic look is a challenge, you may be best served in expanding both your fashion and musical horizons. Music often serves as the inspiration for many a fashion icon and surprisingly, they happen to get it right on this one. Style icons rarely have anything in common with the rest of us, but most will concede that music plays a major role in their fashion decisions. Happy Listening!

 

Father’s Day Shout!

To the man that taught me how to dress amazing, speak well, and offer the firmest handshake in all the land… Happy Father’s Day pops!

Shameless plug… Most of the pics from the website and blog were done by him (Arthur Hawkins Photography)

Off The Street

The street is the modern man’s catwalk.  For those living in places where higher style is in scarce abundance, God made the internet (and it was good).  Growing up, most of my ideas and inspiration came from cool cats I saw and/or met out and about.  While fashion shows are good to see new designs and new interpretations of older looks, try to copy them thread for thread and you’ll just look like… well, I don’t know what you’d look like but it’d be bad.  Anyway, my apologies and condolences to the fashion victims.

Absorbing the aesthetic details of those around you is a means by which you can generate your own ideas and stylistic interpretations and apply them to your wardrobe (or if you want to take the thought and fun out of it, you can just steal whatever you notice and call it your own).  Maybe you notice a color combination you wouldn’t have originally thought of or a style of shoe that would be a nice addition to your collection.  Whatever it may be, the key is keeping an open eye for these things.

At the same time, I can’t say there is anything necessarily wrong with scanning a magazine or a catalogue.  However, there is something to be said in not blindly following the styles and fashions presented in these mediums.  I have never taken much flattery in being told I look like I walked out of the pages of GQ or that I look like a J. Crew model.  Rather, I prefer my own style to come from my own sense of expression and creativity as opposed to treating magazines like the technical manuals you get with your printer.

My advice?   Well, there’s no real “normal” way to say this, but you may want to consider taking up a little people-watching.  In our modern age of social media and institutionalized “creeping”, people-watching has to be socially acceptable, right?  Either way, seriously, kids, keep it subtle and to the bare minimum.  If you’re caught doing this in Jersey, I am not here to save you.

Anyway, taking notice of an element of someone’s outfit or making a note of it entirely with the intention of copying it later on is a great way to develop your wardrobe.  Most likely, you’ll end up formulating something of a list in your head of what you’ll need to acquire.

In short, when it comes to style, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with stealing someone’s ideas.  It’s done wonders for me.

 

Be Remembered

I’m often asked by friends and those who see me around why I wear suits so often just for the hell of it and my initial inclination is to remind is them that the question answers itself: just for the hell of it.  Now I will admit that that is what you might call the SparkNotes version of the answer that I technically should dish out but unless you’re ready to give a lecture and like to see the ears of a curious inquirer bleed, it’s better to have a short and satisfying (though maybe slightly untruthful) little quip to appease those who ask.

Sir Paul Smith, sartorial great and creative genius, essentially described the process of discovering one’s personal style as a process of self-assessment and questioning.  In simpler language, we call this a pain in the ass but we always hate to admit that a pain in the ass is usually for our own good.  At any rate, Sir Paul is right.  Growing up, I was told by some pretty stylish people (my family no less) that style was a means of setting impressions.  Take that advice a step further and style becomes a badge of identity.  Work it and tweak it enough and your style becomes you.  Style, when done correctly is a life-long declaration of who you are.  Who you are is not exactly something you want to be unclear about or create some kind of misconception over.  Be clear on your style and be sure it’s you.

I’ve always preferred the word “style” as opposed to “fashion” Style is from you, for you and something that is, dare I say, soulful.  Another thing I love about the idea of style is that there is a timeless quality to it (when done properly).  Guys like Paul Newman, Steve McQueen and any of boys from the Rat Pack would still look great today because there was little about their style that was truly dated.  Furthermore, these men dressed in a way that was reflective of themselves and you can easily see what kind of man each of them were.

So are the suits still just for the hell of it?  O.K., I’ll admit I’m not being totally honest when I say that.  Similar to what I’ve been preaching here so far, the suit is meant to tell you who I am and to make damn sure you remember it.  Be remembered.  Isn’t that always the game?