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

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.

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.