Tchotchkes and Knick Knacks

Photo Credit: www.etsy.com

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

I hate tchotchkes and knick knacks.  I try and toss stuff out all the time.  We are definitely living in a society that is obsessed with stuff.  Whatever happened to less is more?  Our appearances really are true indicators of what are personal lives are like.  People who look like slob kebobs all the time are usually hoarders and those who look perfectly put together and aligned all the time are probably way too anal-retentive.  This is not an exact science but it is often on point.  So to get to the issue of the day I want to talk about the somewhat ‘off- the beaten path’ topic of

KEYCHAINS

A few days ago a friend of mine returned from a trip from Las Vegas.  He brought me back a keychain with my name on it as a souvenir.  I was grateful that he thought of me but in my typical snob manner I said, “Maybe now is a good time to go over my policy on tchotchkes….”  I’m such a bitch, I know!  I tell this story only to segue into another.  I was once on a date many years ago and it was going really well.  He was neat, clean, good on paper, paid the check, the usual.  But when it was time to leave, he pulled out a mammoth bunch of key chains and claimed they were his car keys.  I almost puked up my duck l’orange.  Although this was a few years back the guy was in his later 20’s at the time.  Yet his keychain, first of all, had way too many keys.  What are you a janitor?  Then it had souvenir key chains from every island in the Caribbean and Cancun of course.  Then there was the sports paraphernalia.  Yuck!  He had a keychain from each team he was a fan of in every sport.  I even saw a rabbit’s foot hanging off of there.  I mean taxidermy = not sexy.   And for the love of all things holy, I think I was most offended by his Honda key chain.  I wanted to

scream, “Bro! Unless you drive a Bentley, a Ferrari or the like you don’t need the key chain.”   And let’s not forget those little plastic membership cards for the A&P or the gym he probably never goes to.  Let’s just say he had everything on there but the kitchen sink. I was beyond appalled.  I remember this like it was yesterday.  If I went on a date with a guy who rocked all of these colossal key chain mistakes today, I would sneak out before dessert, however back them I was young and naïve. So, I wound up going back to his apartment with him to hang out with some other friends.  And what do you know his apartment had Nintendo, movie posters covering the wall and was an absolute and utter mess.  We never went out again and I hope he is reading this right now and knows it’s about him. Moral of the story: Keep the key chains classy and to a minimum.

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Mind the Gap

Photo taken by Carmen Andino

Photo taken by Carmen Andino

On any given day I take several rides on the subway.  It is by far and away where I do my best people watching and fashion criticizing.  Today I was on and off a few times, uptown, downtown and back home again: always minding the gap as diligently instructed.  Lately, not just today, I have noticed what I think is a fairly newer mess of a trend.

SHORT PANTS or HIGH HEM PANTS

I do not mean long shorts or Capri pants/pedal pushers/3/4 length, or clam diggers for men( that is an entire other story of wrong doing). But pants that are just too short with a huge a gap between the shoe and the hem.  I know in this day in age socks are sexy and all the rage, but I am sorry you can not wear short pants to show off your socks, I do not care how cute they are. Stop flashing those ankles bro!  In fact, people will not even notice your socks, they are just going to whisper behind you back, “What is with that guy’s pants, why are they so short, he needs a good tailor.”  Do you really want to be the guy people are talking about in this manner?  Seriously, pants that are hemmed too short are a nightmare for you and everyone who has to look at them.  Do not let your mom or whatever other amateur you have on call hem them.  Shell out the extra money to have your pants tailored correctly.  You can walk

Photo Taken by Carmen Andino

Photo Taken by Carmen Andino

into just about any dry cleaners and ask for the alteration.  Hems speak volumes about a man.  If they are too short you look like an uptight mess who can’t even handle getting himself and his wardrobe to a decent tailor.  If they are too long then you just seem like a lazy bum who does not know how to shop for the correct size pants.  Whether you wear jeans, Chinos, corduroys, dress/suit pants or what have you, make sure the hem touches the middle of your shoe please.  When I was growing up you would be associated with Steve Urkel if you had your socks showing with a high hem…If you were a 90’s kid you know what I mean, if you don’t then just trust me you do not want that nerd look.  Cover those ankles, short pants are not cute and rather emasculating.

“‘Tis hell to a man of spirit to be contradicted by his tailor.”
– Richard Garnett

Un-Tucked

Never_Tuck_Knits2Oftentimes when I am pointing out a no-no within men’s fashion there are exceptions.  There are, as we all know, exceptions to every rule.  But with today’s topic that is not the case.  One of my favorite aspects of wintertime is men looking fabulous in sweaters.  We all love them. (the sexy sweaters I mean ;-))  Sweaters are often thick enough to cover up the flaws of our body we are desperately trying to hide.  However, under no circumstance can a man look good wearing a

TUCKED IN SWEATER

Gross!  I mean you may as well tie it around your waist! (please see my January 15th post titled “Coat Check” to read about how I feel about men who tie jackets, coats, or shirts of any kind around their waists…Nerd Alert!)  In fact tucking in your sweater is not only a major nerd alert, but pretty much makes a man undateable and if you are not dateable your are definitely not going to get play of any kind in the near future.  Men do not tuck their socks into their pants do they?  So why on earth would a man ever tuck in his sweater?  Some may think that tucking in a sweater looks more neat and tidy.  Bravo to those men who do not want to look like a sloppy mess.  Those people who feel that a tucked in sweater is the cleaner look would be wrong; it just makes men look uptight and like their mother still dresses them every morning.  Most all shirts on men need to be tucked in but sweaters are an entirely different animal.  They need to be left un-tucked.  If for whatever reason you feel a sweater needs to be tucked in because it is too long, then get a new sweater don’t commit fashion suicide.  Sweaters should rest right over your belt line.  If you are overweight, tucking in your sweater will make you look worse, if you are super fit and want to show off your hot bod as much as possible then just don’t wear a sweater wear a fitted shirt.  Tucking in a sweater is a lot like putting ketchup on chateaubriand… you are ruining a perfectly wonderful thing.

Quick Aside:  Some old timers and maybe a few golf players may feel that at one time men tucking in their sweaters was “the look”  And maybe it was.  (See image on upper right.)  But now men tucking in their sweaters is just disgusting  and no longer en vogue!

“When I started in fashion, I had already adopted the sailor-striped sweater as my uniform; that way, I wouldn’t have to drive myself crazy trying to figure out what to wear.”

~Jean Paul Gaultier

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

Misleading Appearences

Recently an old co-worker of mine that I have not seen for a few years reached out to me for some fashion help. He reads this blog and really enjoys it. (Or at least that is what he tells me.) He asked if I would go out shopping with him and said he was looking to purchase several new pieces to spruce up his wardrobe. He told me that he had not been shopping in forever so I said of course! To be honest,  the pleasure was all mine and I think I had more fun than he did. I always get a thrill out of massively spending other people’s money. After catching up over dinner at Saigon Market (great place by the way!) we headed into the concrete jungle. We visited all the usual culprits: J. Crew, Zara, Banana Republic even Nordstrom Rack.  I definitely took something away from this shopping experience that I want to share with all of you readers out there. Sometimes, no matter how much you may want an article of clothing, some apparel

 
LOOKS BETTER ON DISPLAY

The lesson here is you must try on, try on, try on! I know a lot of guys that despise trying clothes on. I sympathize. Trying clothes on can seem like a waste of time, sometimes you have to wait in a line which is always obnoxious, dressing rooms these days often leave much to be desired and let’s face it, the lighting is always atrocious!  However, we all see clothes and accessories that look like a million dollars before we try them on.  You must keep in mind that you are not an anatomically correct/perfect mannequin, that flawless folded sweater may not look so flawless on your body, the sales associate may rock those hot pants but that does not mean you will too or just because you saw an ad with the most stylish jacket on a model that probably eats celery for dinner does not mean it is going to be sexy on you. I hope you are seeing my point here, no matter how good a garment may look on the hanger it may look awful on your body so you must never assume.  As they say, “appearences are misleading” so you must try on!

Photo Credit: http://hypebeast.com

Photo Credit: http://hypebeast.com

Quick Aside:  Take a look at this fun article I stumbled upon about affordable men’s wear…Where to Shop: The 10 Best Stores for Finding Affordable Men’s Style

“Buy what you don’t have yet, or what you really want, which can be mixed with what you already own. Buy only because something excites you, not just for the simple act of shopping.”  ~Karl Legerfeld

Coat Check

Photo Credit: Shula Mann Photography, GQ.com

Photo Credit: Shula Mann Photography, GQ.com

Everyone had on their dancing shoes this past Saturday night at a subterranean joint called Home Sweet Home.  Corny name for a bar if you ask me.  If was a fun time had by all at this speak-easy like establishment.  While I was downing what turned out to be way too many cocktails I scanned the room for potential fashion blunders to write about.  I had almost settled on the fashion faux pas made by the idiot sitting next to me when my gal pal pointed out that a dancing fool of a man right in front of us dared to

TIE HIS JACKET AROUND HIS WAIST

It reminded me of late 80’s cult classic “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.” Even Keanu Reeves barely got away with this look in the film.  I laughed out loud. Fortunately the jams were pumping at a mega high volume so this clown did not realize I was almost in tears laughing at him.  This was not just a shirt either, this guy had his winter jacket tied around his waist and he was dancing like he wasn’t committing a fashion crime! I know I may say this often, but who does that?  I mean really, think about it guys, when was the last time you wrapped your jacket around your waist?  I know I can be cruel and I was also a little tipsy but I could not stop laughing/shaking my head at this character.  This is New York so obviously it gets cold in the winter and you can’t venture out without a coat or jacket of some kind. But for crying out loud you have so many options other than tying your jacket around your waist. Your first and best option is to check your coat.  However, not all venues have a coat check.  In that case find a corner, bench, chair, coat rack, hook, or anything of the like and put it down.  It’s not rocket science.  Some people fear if they place their coat or jacket down they may never see it again.  In fact my friend put her sweater down that night and when we left her sweater was gone and she wound up with an upgrade from Barney’s.  I guess a word to the wise here is, if you think there may not be a coat check, don’t wear your most expensive coat; especially to a dive.  It is not always what you are wearing but how you are wearing it that can make or break you. I do not care which celebs are bringing back the retro 90’s look or what flawed body part you are trying to cover up, just do not do it; you are not fooling anyone anyway. We don’t wear underwear on our head or socks on our hands so do yourself a favor and the next time you are considering wrapping your coat/jacket/shirt around your waist, don’t.

Quick Aside:  A few celebs have been seen sporting this look lately.  I’m warning you, it doesn not look sexy no matter who you are.  Read this article about this very subject matter. Shirt Around Waist Trend?

“Style is the answer to everything. A fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous thing. To do a dull thing with style is preferable to doing a dangerous thing without it. To do a dangerous thing with style is what I call art.”
Charles Bukowski   

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.