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.

Plaid Fad

Photo Credit: tumblr.com/tagged/plaid-shirts

Photo Credit: tumblr.com/tagged/plaid-shirts

Such a great Saturday night this past weekend.  I attended a birthday party for a fabulous pair of twins.  At first, I was hesitant to attend.  I could not convince any of my friends to go with me, it was all the way down town and to top it all off it had begun to rain that night.  But alas, I headed south to Delancey Street and I am glad I did because I had a fabulous time!  We partied until the wee hours at a club/bar called The DL on the lower east side.  This was one of those places with many levels, so you could look down at the crowd.  While I was scoping out the eye candy I realized I was feasting on a sea of

PLAID SHIRTS

I feel that these days plaid shirts are a real “go to” staple for men and that is absolutely acceptable.  Plaid shirts are trendy, stylish and look good on almost all men.  It is hard to go wrong with a plaid shirt as they can be worn for a dressy night out or to a casual afternoon outing. However every once in a while I see a plaid shirt that looks more like a Christmas tree skirt or the knitted blanket that has been on Nana’s couch since ’82. Sad but sometimes so true. After I started thinking about the plaid shirt phenomenon while sipping my cocktail, one of my friends at the party/one of the hottest guys there said to me something along the lines of, “What do you think of my outfit, I went with the plaid shirt/ printed tie combo?” He looked outstanding.  Men need not be afraid of wearing a tie with a print on it in combination with a chic plaid shirt.  It is often hit or miss so do not attempt this combination unless you know what you are doing.  Like I often say, just don’t go nuts.  You would not want to wear a super complicated plaid with many colors with an over bearing print on a tie.  It would not be aesthetically pleasing to the eye if you know what I mean.   Also, I have known men that go over board and wear plaid shirts so often they become known as “the plaid shirt guy”  This is not a nickname you want, so make sure to keep your wardrobe in full rotation at all times.  Check out some of the shirts at Express Men or Lucky Jeans.

Quick Aside:  Please do not confuse plaid with flannel.  They are cousins but not twins. Plaid is for sexy guys who get laid a lot, know how to dress and want to make a good impression.  Flannel is for keeping warm in front of the refrigerator and cowboys who belch out loud in public.

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!

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.

Formal Attire Requested

Photo Credit: Taken by Alicia Hemerlein

There’s nothing like a good wedding!  I was in attendance at my fourth wedding of the year this past weekend.  (Needless to say I have heard Corinthians 13:4 enough for a lifetime!)  This last wedding was a ton of fun but once again my critical fashion critiquing sense was in full effect.  There is no better time than now for me to write a blog post about wedding fashion etiquette.  So here it is men who are not always sure what to wear on a wedding day, my take for men on

WEDDING ATTIRE

First and foremost you must look for guidance from the invitation and take into consideration the time of day and year for each wedding event.  I can not stress how crucial this instruction is.  Make no mistake; this is not a suggestion it is a rule.  If the invitation states that the wedding is “Black Tie ,” “Black Tie Optional,” or “Formal Attire Requested” you better put on your Sunday Best.  If the invitation does not indicate any of the three aforementioned options, you may want to ere on the side of caution and ask the bride or groom what they recommend.  (Do not call them up the day before or even days before and ask them what to wear, they will be too busy to talk to you!)  The most important aspect to consider is that you do not want to in any way upstage the bride and groom.  You need to dress appropriately and conservative.  If you show up under dressed or over dressed you will be directly insulting your hosts.  Below are a few simple rules to consider when preparing your wardrobe for a wedding.

  1. Don’t be afraid to match your date.  If your date is wearing a red dress maybe you want to wear a red vest or tie and so on.
  2. Unless you are the groom you are not wearing a tuxedo or black suit before 6PM
  3. No one wears cumber buns anymore so don’t even think about it
  4. Whether you are the groom or not, white jackets are only for the summer, dressing seasonally inappropriate is a major fashion Faux Pas
  5. While you never want to take away from the happy couple, have fun with vests, cuff links, and suspenders.  These pieces will allow your personality to shine through without making a spectacle of yourself.
  6. If you wear a silk or satin scarf with your suit, you are a real class act
  7. Never wear a short sleeved collared shirt under your suit jacket…NEVER
  8. If you get hot and want to take your jacket off or roll up your sleeves a bit at the reception, that is OK, but that’s it.  Do not take off your shirt or do anything drunk and funky like that.  Remember you will be looking at the photos taken that night for the rest of your life and the photographers catch everything!  Don’t do anything you’ll regret.
  9. Unless given to you by the hosts, do not take it upon yourself to wear a boutonniere
  10. Don’t even think about wearing jeans, sneakers, or hats, I don’t care how much you can dress them up
  11. Although I understand that servicemen have a dress uniform, if you wear it you are going to stand out and take attention away from the groom.  Save your dress blues for the next Military Ball.
  12. Other people’s weddings are never the time for you to be fashionably experimental.  You may not be invited to another event from the new couple again if you do so.
Formal Daytime Evening
Morning   suit; conservative shirt and tie. (Ascot Optional) Tuxedo   or Black suit.
Semi-formal Daytime Evening
Dark   suit or Dark Blazer with grey or light colored dress pants. Dark   suit.
Informal Daytime Evening
Sports   jacket or blazer paired with a dress shirt and slacks (tie optional) Sports jacket or blazer paired   with a collared button down shirt and dress slacks (tie optional)

The above chart is a short and simple breakdown.  If all else fails, get yourself over to a Men’s Warehouse, Brooks Brothers or even a Jos A. Bank and let the sales people guide you. And for you New Yorkers out there, check out this link.

Quick Aside:  Special thanks to RM and RJM for their guidance and input for this post

Make or Break

There are a lot of things that can make or break an outfit.  It always amazes me how a certain great look on one man can look horrible on another.  Sometimes it is the smallest accessory that makes a man look like a real class act or on the opposite end of the spectrum, a real hot mess.  For today’s post I would like to explore the wonderful world of…

NECKTIES

Recently I was amidst a conversation with one of my fashion experts and he gave me some very funny and very helpful commentary about ties.  I found it difficult to paraphrase so the below 5 rules are his words and in my opinion rules to live by.

  1. Your tie needs to in some way match your shoes, your cufflinks and/or your belt.
  2. When tying the tie, the knot you know may not be the knot you need.  If your neck is fat and your face is huge, and you need the tie to snake over your stomach full of pasta, use a larger “Full Windsor Knot” if you are long in the body and face, like Barack Obama, use a “Half Windsor Knot” like he does.  It is understated and still thick and powerful.
  3. The tiny knots that were used in Molly Ringwald movies need to stay in Molly Ringwald movies.
  4. If you are fat, do not wear a bow tie!
  5. Skinny ties are clearly back. But they are not for job interviews; they are for Kanye West and “Mad Men,” or maybe a cocktail party.  If you work at an internet start up in the Silicon Valley, then by all means wear this to work. But if you wear a skinny tie, you better have a tie bar or else people will insult you to your face.

The tie is sometimes a man’s only way of showing emotion, attitude and style.  Do not be afraid to be daring with your tie design.  And as far as the knots are concerned, go online and try out some new ones.  I recommend thetiebar.  Be aware, the worst mistake you can make is having a tie that is too short. Like I stated earlier, you will look like a real hot mess.  Consider it fashion suicide.  Also, if you do not know how to tie a tie or do not even own one, you need to get over to Bloomingdale’s, buy a few and learn how to tie them immediately. Check out tie a tie easily for simple direction. I recently went out on a date with a guy and it came out that he didn’t know how to tie a tie, and let’s just say there was no second date.

Quick Aside:  Special thanks to my personal men’s fashion expert, RJM,  who contributed to this post.