Formal Means Formal

Photo Credit: www.buzzle.com

Photo Credit: http://www.buzzle.com

Although winter and fall are my favorite seasons, this time when winter turns to spring is always quite charming.  There are those March days that are full of snow and others can be so sunny that you think you may have to put on sun block. Mostly, it is a great time for a road trip.  This past weekend I took a short road trip to New England and down memory lane.  I attended a reunion of sorts, had a blast and looked fabulous while doing it! I suppose all reunions whether family, work, or college have their dress codes.  The one I attended was pretty fancy.  I know I wrote a post regarding wedding attire already, (Please see my October 15th post, “Formal Attire Requested”), but today’s post, although possibly redundant, is on the general topic of

FORMAL WEAR

When men go to weddings, proms, bar mitzvahs, christenings, funerals, and the like, they are a little more clued in concerning what to wear.  But when the only criteria for an event is  “formal”, men try to get away with the most horrible offense of all: under dressing.  Make no mistake about it; being under dressed is the worst!  I apologize if my hyperbole is jarring but under dressing should be deemed a sin.  At said reunion this weekend it was quite clear that it was to be a formal event, yet I still saw men wearing the wrong attire.  Here is a question I pose, “Why do men try to dress as casual as possible so often?”  For most men, dressing up is rare and fun

chance to radiate charisma.  Why dull yourself down when everyone else in the room is going to look like a shiny penny?  And I don’t tolerate the, “I want to be different excuse” that is absolute bullshit and pure laziness.  Below are some observations I caught this weekend that all men should never make:

  1.  It really does not matter how nice, sexy, fancy, or expensive your jeans are.  You can not pair them with a shirt, tie, and jacket and call it formal.  (Please see my January 30th post, “Change it up Cowboy”)
  2. As far as jewelry is concerned: We’ve talked about this! (Please see my December 8th Post, “The Power of Jewelry”)   Like most things, all in moderation.  But please, if you have a nice suit on, leave the ghetto chain at home!  You would not pair a rich Merlot with your Chilean Sea Bass would you?  NO! They clash…I hope you see my point here.
  3. A sweater, (Cashmere or not) over a dress shirt and tie does not equal formal attire.  Don’t be such a hippy and put on a jacket.
  4. To segue way into my next point, you must wear, or at least bring with you, a suit jacket.  Suit pants, a dress shirt, and a tie are not enough.  This would be  equivelant to a plate of food that consisted of fries, cole slaw and a pickle.  Incomplete to say the least.  Where’s the burger?
  5. You know how I feel about funky sneakers with suits so do not even get me started.  It is time to put your grown up shoes on. (Please see  my September 17th Post, “Weighing the Pros and Cons”)
  6. Also, you are an under dressed fool if you do not wear a tie.

I know I sound harsh, but the world of fashion shows no mercy.  It is the smallest mistakes that are always the most detrimental, so for your own sake and the sake of the date that has to be seen with you, don’t make them!

“A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life.”
– Oscar Wilde

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Scarves, Pashminas, Infinity & Beyond

Photo Credit: vivaglammagazine.com

Photo Credit: vivaglammagazine.com

People are so dramatic about the weather.  I often pay the weather people no mind when they say to stay indoors.  I think it is most beautiful outside when the snow is falling.  On both Friday and Saturday night  I found myself outside walking.  I did not go anywhere too exciting but I noticed a lot of cool kids walking the streets as well.  While the weather is still cold and crisp I want to review all winter accessories.  So what better time to talk about the wonderful world of

 

SCARVES

First of all, you are never too cool to wear a scarf.  Just don’t let your scarf make a mockery of you.  I know we all are tempted by those hand knitted scarves we see being sold by hippies on the side of the street or at a flea market, but I caution you.  (Just for fun-see this famous clip from “A Christmas Story” where Ralphie’s brother Randy drowns in a scarf amongst other winter gear)  Unless you are a hippy yourself stay away from extra extra long scarves with crazy designs, they are excessive and

they make you look like a fool.  Plus once you arrive at your location (ie bar, lounge, restaurant, disco-tech), you have nowhere to put your wooly mammoth sized neck warmer.  Several men have asked me about pashminas for men.  First of all let’s discuss the difference. I could not find an official definition to differentiate the two so here is my personal take on the matter.  Your run-of-the-mill pashmina is usually around 5 ½ to 6 feet long with fringe on both ends, quite thin but very soft whereas a scarf is thicker, may or may not have fringe, and is meant for keeping your neck fashionably  warm in the cold outdoors.   Both items come in a variety of colors and designs of course.  I see many men here in New York City wearing pashminas.  Some guys think it is more on the feminine side.  I think you just have to be a sexy confident man to wear one.  And what about these infinity scarves?  They are all the rage these days.  I love them and even more so I love how they look on men!  Don’t be afraid to wear a scarf for fashion’s sake only.  Keep in mind that scarves are an all year item.  When spring comes you pull out the thinner pashmina type scarves.  Much like extra add-ons on your burrito, a scarf really livens things up. The bottom line is if the scarf is for warmth it is always best to go with a simple yet sexy design in cashmere.  Cashmere is often more expensive but with the right purchase you can’t go wrong. Whatever way you sway on the topic of  scarves just do not make the three following mistakes.

  1. Never wrap it around your neck a million times or too tight.  It looks awkward and will make your extra chins bulge out and no one looks good when that happens.
  2. Once you are inside you must take off your scarf if it is a thick winter scarf meant for warmth.  I don’t care if you are at one of those funky new age bars made out of ice.  You will look like you are hiding a hickey or something worse under there and that is never going to help you score with anyone.
  3. Never wear those dopey awkward scarves that Grandma Gladys knitted for you circa 1992.  I don’t care if she gave it to you for Christmas, or shaved her alpaca to make it, or she died and this is all you have left to remember her by.  Homemade crap like that is always ugly and fits right up there in the same category as ugly sweaters.

Quick Aside:  Check out this fun link on How to Tie a Scarf so you don’t look like you are trying to choke yourself.

“Know first who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly.”
– Epictetus

2012 in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,500 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Power of Jewelry

Earlier this week I found myself at The United Nations working at an event.  The UN is not in all of the tour books but I would say it is a must see.  The last time I was there I was at a protest a few years ago exercising the hippy in me.  This visit was much different because I was able to speak to several people who worked at The UN.  There were people from all over the world working there of course, and each person more interesting than the next.  Most of the men looked pretty sharp.  No surprise there since America is so poorly dressed in general compared to the rest of the world.  While looking these foreign men up and down in a subtle manner I got to thinking about modern men and

JEWELRY

When it comes to jewelry there is most definitely a double standard.  Men absolutely can not get away with wearing as much jewelry as women.  When we look back at images of the earliest Native Americans, the men had silver, gold, turquoise and then some all over their bodies.  Times have really changed.  If you are a modern day professional man who wants to look en vogue then follow the regulations below.

  1. Only wear one item, if any, on your wrists at any time.  So if you are wearing a watch that is it.  If you are wearing a bracelet, that is it.
  2. When it comes to necklaces the simpler the better and of course only one at a time.  Women do not like it when men have too much going on around their necks.
  3. If you are a professional you should not have pierced ears let alone wear earrings.  In this day in age earrings are very popular with a lot of men.  If you want to wear a maximum of one in each ear out on a Saturday night that is acceptable but do not go overboard.
  4. If you can pull it off, and I mean REALLY, only if you can pull it off, only one ring.  (This is if you are not already wearing a wedding band) Men who wear rings for fun always seem to be weird to me.
  5. Never ankle bracelets or toe rings…NEVER.  I don’t care if your ten year old niece Chloe made you an ankle bracelet out of thread when you all were vacationing at the beach one summer.  Ankle bracelets=not sexy under any circumstance.
  6. Class rings, a fraternal insignia, family heir looms, military service pins, or athletic rings/necklaces are always touching but like I often warn, tread carefully.  It may mean the world to you but make sure that your sentimental jewelry doesn’t make you look like a hot mess.
  7. Stick to only one of the precious metals at a time. For example, if you are wearing gold, make sure all of your jewelry for the day is gold. It is gaudy and tacky to mix and match.
  8. When it comes to stones, less is more.  I hope this needs no further explanation.
  9. Know your color palette, if you are really fair or have lighter reddish hair, stay away from gold jewelry or anything with a pink or yellow hue.  It will bring out your worst color features.
  10.  As far as body jewelry is concerned, if you are a professional piercer or tattoo artist or if you work behind the counter at Hot Topic then go nuts.  But otherwise the answer is no.   No one will take you seriously if you have a face so full of metal you look like you need tetanus shot!

Jewelry is a very powerful thing, and always has been in almost all societies throughout time.  If you stop and think about it, we look at a person’s jewelry and very quickly assume age, sexual orientation, economic status, religious affiliation, race, gender, marital status, wealth, etc. It is a matter a personal style and all men have to decide the direction they want to go with jewelry.  I know men who find jewelry to be a burden and never wear any; on the other hand I know men who would not take off their gaudy gold chains even if they are on the beach.  Many businesses have stipulations in their bylaws about men’s jewelry.  It usually goes something along the lines of, “modest, tasteful or appropriate jewelry only” This is a good rule to stick to not only for work but for life as well. And, remember if you are a jewelry wearer; create categories such as every day, casual, dressy, super fancy.  Only bring out your best pieces for the poshest red carpet events.

Quck Aside: Never under any circumstance purchase jewelry at a deparmtent store.  Not for yourself, not for a gift, not for your worst enemy.  Ugh I’m getting sick just thinking about cheap department store jewelry.