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.

Gifts that Keep on Giving

black giftWell, it is that time of year again.  I am the biggest ba humbug on the planet.  As mentioned in a previous post I can’t stand holidays.  But on the contrary I love giving gifts.  I like to think of myself as a gift whisperer.  Some people don’t possess the gift of great gift giving. And when it comes to gifts for men or men buying gifts there is always a challenge. Maybe you are a man getting your dad, brother, uncle, boss, best friend, or lover a gift.  Or perhaps you need to advise someone on what gift to get for a man close to you.  Either way the holidays are a good time to get guys…

FASHIONABLE GIFTS

First let me go over which items should never be given as a gift for a man.

  • Sunglasses- men must make sure they look right themselves. See former blog post titled “Shades”
  • Anything too personal- which means clothes from the waist down. Unless the guy is so clueless then in that case: dare to do it but be conservative, don’t go get a chilled out guy an expensive pair of jeans with a lightning bolt on the crotch.
  • Cologne- This is a personal choice every man has to make for himself, I don’t care if you get him the hottest new scent and he tells you he loves it, I promise it will either collect dust or be re-gifted.
  • Cheap Crap- Nothing is worse than a cheap gift, you are better off saying you couldn’t swing a gift for everyone this year than insulting someone with a gift you had to put on K-Mart lay away.
  • A fancy overcoat, he should have one already and that’s a different post.  If he doesn’t own one then he has big problems and isn’t a grown up.
  • Anything red or green/holiday colors.  People will know your Aunt Hildegard got this festive gift for you and put it under a tree not to mention these colors limit the times of year they can be worn.

One thing men get year after year is either gloves or a wallet.  These are nice gifts but tread carefully before giving them.  Find out if these are items a guy really needs.  Maybe go with a cashmere scarf instead.  Men always look like a million dollars in them but usually will not buy one for them self.  It is definitely a gift that keeps on giving.

A few more fashion friendly suggestions:

  1. Appropriate workout clothes or cold weather gear for running. This way the gift receiver doesn’t look like Rocky chasing a chicken when he is out jogging in his high school sweats. Also, it will motivate to exercise if he doesn’t already.
  2. A Puma gym bag, because stuffing your sneaks and/or racquet in your briefcase until after work is not cute.
  3. An appropriate brief case is an excellent gift as well because a man going to work in his suit and back pack from his study abroad program is also not cute…ever.
  4. Ties, belts, and cufflinks are the type of gifts that men (who wear suits) can’t get enough off.  Just stick to simple, sleek and sexy design as to not impose your taste on anyone.

Check out a few more fun ideas by clicking on the below links

Ernest Alexander Flask Set

Shaving kits from The Art of Shaving

The Working Man’s Hygiene Kit

Coach Gloves

Elliot Dopp Kit _ Men always need these bags

Artsy Cufflinks

Cashmere Burberry Scarf– a little pricey but worth every penny

Pocket Squares– You can purchase less expensive ones at a department store but I love Mr. Porter

Unique Umbrellas

Super fun eyeglass holder

Turkish Bathrobe – ahhh Heaven!

A masculine apron by Hedley & Bennett (every man I know cooks these days and all the best chefs are men. )

Just keep in mind when shopping for a gift for a man, get them something they want not something they need. Don’t condone their bad habits by for example getting them a video game, and electronics are always a cold cop-out of a gift.  And if you can get something that they will like but would never get for themself, you truly will get bonus points.

Happy Shopping & Ba Humbug!

Excess Cargo

cargo-pantsJust a few nights ago I found myself working at a charity event.  I don’t have time on this forum to explain further but I was in Brooklyn working said event and I began talking to a young man.  I was supposed to be listening and advising but I was so distracted.  This college coed was talking to me and all I could think about was the fact that he was sporting an insane amount of…

POCKETS

It was like pocket palooza.   This guy was killing me! What was he thinking?  He had so many bells and whistles going on with his jacket; frankly it was reminiscent of a straight jacket.  There were so many pockets all over his shirt that it almost looked as if someone just tossed shards of fabric together without any thought put into it.  And the amount of pockets on his pants gave cargo pants a whole new meaning.  I almost reached out and started touching this kid’s pockets to see if they had anything in them.  From what I could tell they were all empty.  When did pocket covered clothing become acceptable?  The pocket is an amazing invention.  It allows us to carry things that we do not want others to see. But this guy was just way over the line.  Two pockets on your jacket, maybe one on your shirt, and four on your pants should be the absolute maximum.  Let’s be honest unless you are filling all of those pockets, ditch the excess Cargo.  An exorbitant amount of pockets covering your body will only make you look bulky and not in a good way.  You always want to strive for a sleek neat design, not an “I just returned home from a hunting trip” look.

Shades

For me, flavored coffee from Dunkin Donuts is a real treat.  This morning I decided I deserved this hot indulgence.  There is nothing I love more than hot coffee on a cold day.  As I was waiting for my coffee I observed the men around me, all wearing…

SUNGLASSES

I am truly a believer in wearing sunglasses all year long.  Your eyes are the first part of your face to age so you want to avoid those crow’s feet as long as possible.  I asked a few men I know to tell me what their take on sunglasses was.  Which are the best, which are worth the money, when to wear them, etc.  Here is the feedback that I absolutely agree with.

The sporty sunglasses you just bought for close to $200 are of good name and probably have amazing polarized lenses. Good for you. They are probably block white, or black with blue mirror lenses, and cover half of your face. Therefore, you need to only wear them when you are out on the beach, boat, playing a sport, or on patrol in Kandahar Province.

Too many guys these days think because they sprung for the awesome glasses they can wear them with their suit, or in just any situation. This is not so. If you have a facebook friend who recently got married and posted the groom’s party pictures where they do the iconic and common “let’s all line up in our tuxedos, fold our arms in front of us, and wear bulky black, shiny Oakley’s…because we are a bunch of bad-asses!!!” The shiny mirror sunglasses are OK if you are sitting at the final table at the world series of poker, if you are pitching the last inning of a no-hitter at Yankee’s stadium, or if you are Lance Armstrong. But while wearing formal wear or business wear for that matter, put on a more delicate pair of shades. The bulky Oakley’s are made in the USA and they sure are cool but not made for every scenario.

While wearing a suit, where do you put your sunglasses when you go indoors? They don’t fit right in your suit pocket. And a little etiquette here: you better take them off while inside! Even if you are dining alfresco, in many cultures, it is very rude to hide your eyes. My fashion expert learned this in Eastern Europe…the hard way.

If another pair of glasses stretches your wallet, ditch the Oakley’s and get a pair of Smiths; they are a little cheaper but just as polarized. Then you have some extra bucks to pick up a nice pair of Maui Jims which look amazing with anything and are very durable for the money. If you insist on a pair of Serengeti’s please tread lightly, it has been a long time since “Top Gun”, and the word Maverick now has a whole new meaning…just ask Sarah Palin.

 

Quick Aside:  A nice pair of sunglasses is an amazing investment and most of the time worth the money.  But, if you are anything like me and you go through several pairs of sunglasses per year due to damage, loss, or lending without return, then do yourself a favor and go for the less expensive pair.

Totally Retro

As we grow up we see styles come and go. It is always the most fun to see a look, love it or hate it, then come to find out it is totally retro.  We see our parents wearing articles of clothing in old pictures and swear we’ll never dress that horribly, only to wind up wearing the same thing when it comes back in style.  It was only a few years ago when I saw the super cool dad of one of my gal pals wearing a …

SQUARE TIE

At the time I remember I was thinking, “What clearance bin did he dig that thing out of?”   I forgot all about square ties until just the other day.   I was assisting a friend of mine buy a black Ralph Lauren sweater for her boyfriend at Bloomingdale’s when I saw the display of ties.  They were all so sexy and amongst them I saw several square ties.  The sales associate assured me that they are back in style and very popular.  I was shocked.  After asking around to a few men from an older generation I found out that square ties used to be very well-liked and they are absolutely making a come-back.  It turns out they became widely fashionable in the 50’s and 60’s and are often referred to as flat bottom ties.  Unlike typical pointed tip ties, square bottom ties look good woven, crocheted or machine knitted. I love it!  Very Mad Men if you ask me.  Of course these square ties only look good if they are skinny.  These ties give a fun and flirty vintage look that can be dressed up or down.  In summation, square or flat bottom ties are an outstanding contribution to your attire.

 

Quick Aside:  I know I already wrote about the topic of ties once before, so just to reiterate check out The Tie Bar for all the best tie information.

Lasting Impressions

Personally, Holidays are not for me.  I am not much of a birthday/anniversary person either but that is a story for another day. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am not one for tradition and definitely not what one might call traditional. I just can’t stand forced celebration and mandatory gatherings.  The whole thing stresses me out.  I always just want to stay home alone in my apartment and hide under the covers during holidays, but like most people I feel a sense of obligation and often wind up going to a family member’s home so that I can roll my eyes and hope the meal goes quickly and painlessly.  So, here I present the sometimes controversial topic of…

HOLIDAY ATTIRE

I have been to many holiday meals in my day and people treat holidays differently from family to family.  The thing is guys; you have to get dressed on the holidays.  Some men feel that if they are the ones hosting the holiday they are allowed to dress down, and they are dead wrong.  If you are hosting a holiday gathering you should be the best dressed one there.  Over the years many men have told me, “I just want to wear sweats and watch football.”  This is so barbaric to me and absolutely not sexy.  As much as we want to treat holidays like any other Sunday afternoon, we can’t.  So do not just toss on an outfit from the hamper that you would wear on any Sunday afternoon.  A lot of men like to wear softer pants so that there is room for more food.  Gross! Wear normal pants and don’t eat like a pig! At the very minimum, (and I really mean minimum) you should wear a fitted sleek polo shirt and your nicest pair of jeans.  Holidays are not the time for sweats, T-shirts, and white socks.  So don’t be such a lazy piece of shit and get dressed.  For some people the holidays are the only time of year that they see family.  Make a good impression that will last all year.

Quick Aside:  Holidays are not the time to be fashionably experimental.  You don’t want people saying for years to come, “Remember that Thanksgiving years ago when cousin Joey wore that outfit that made him look like he owned a chocolate factory…hahahahahaha”  Families have a way of reminding you of your most embarrassing moments and poorest choices… FOREVER, so don’t give them any ammunition.

Carte Blanche

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

On any given day I’ll walk by a dozen gyms/yoga studios/fitness centers and the like.  Of course I always promise myself that one day I am going to be one of those people avidly working out day after day.  But alas, I am more the “order take-out and bitch about being out of shape” kind.  Although I do get myself to a yoga class every now and again, I don’t work out nearly as much as I should.  But there was a time in my life when I did.  Where is this rambling going?  Where else, but the topic of…

WORK OUT WEAR

In late September a reader, “Shirtless in the City” asked me about this very topic in response to my post about which clothes need to be retired and when.  He said he creates a gym pile for clothes that are no longer suitable for outings and/or work.  I will almost always say that when it comes to clothing you get what you pay for so spend your money wisely.  On the contrary however, when it comes to work out attire you don’t have to break the bank.  Just make sure you are comfortable and wearing breathable material.  But of course try to wear something that accentuates your best body features. When it’s time to sweat you still need to be cautious.  It is ok to wear and older T-shirt and a pair of worn sweats or shorts.  However, in terms of gym clothes; holes, rips, stains, and wrinkles need not apply.  Just because you are at the gym and getting sweaty does not give you carte blanche to look like hell.  And let’s be honest, what kind of people go to the gym?  Usually young, fit, sexy, tan people, (the fat pieces of crap are at home on the couch just thinking about how they wish they had the discipline to work out).  So you never know who you might meet.  You wouldn’t want to unexpectedly run into your boss or a crush looking unkept or dare I say gauche.

Quick Aside:  Please don’t wear spandex pants unless you are a runner, a cyclist or have a body that could be seen on the cover of Men’s Fitness