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Posts Tagged ‘Style’

Stocking Stuffers and Small Gift Ideas

Friday, November 26th, 2010

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone the gift giving holidays quickly approach.  Today being black Friday I thought it fitting to offer some suggestions for those of you whom may need some small gifts for your fathers, brothers, sons or friends.

It is my feeling that too often stocking stuffers end up being items that do not find much use or purpose after their after initial duties of filling a sock are complete.

These stocking stuffers are intended to compliment a man’s wardrobe by having value in their style and finding frequent use.

Wardrobe:

-A shoe horn is an important item for any man who wears leather dress shoes.  While many men may already have some type of shoe horn it is often a cheap plastic version.  For these men or men without any type I would suggest a fine shoe horn made from horn or brass.

-A suit brush is another addition to a man’s wardrobe that helps him properly care for his investments.  Used to clean a suit by brushing away dirt it also can be used quite effectively as a replacement for the adhesive lint roller which can leave behind a residue.

-Everyman can use a package of simple white linen pocket squares.  To add a bit of a personalized touch get them monogrammed with their initials.

-An assortment of silk knotted cuff links is a welcome addition to any man’s collection.  Being inexpensive means quite a few can be purchased.

Accessories:

-As I have written before a decent pocket knife is a welcome addition any man’s daily carry.  They can be very simple and find many uses throughout the day.  Some good deals on knives can be found on Ebay.  Case XX knives are quality knives that can be found for reasonable prices with a little searching.  For online retail I suggest Deadwood Knives.

-A great socking stuffer for a cigar smoker would be a leather cigar case.  These come in a range of styles from the number of cigars they hold to the type of leather.  An added advantage is the ability to be monogrammed to add bit of personalized style.  

This list could go on for some length so at the very least it is intended to sparks some inspiration and help you to get the right items for those who will appreciate them.

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Personal stationary on the cheap

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

In today’s environment of Blackberries, iPhones, and Email it has become more and more common for individuals to simply send messages though text or email.  This might be all fine and good for most mundane messages but I adamantly believe that anything that is more formal (aside from business correspondence) or shows appreciation should be hand written and on good paper.  Often times this means it must also be expensive,  this is not always the case.

I enjoy the benefits of personalized stationary without the obscene costs of printing that would be charged by a firm such as Crane.  The answer is very simple and I would assume that many of you are already thinking it.  You simply purchase some quality paper (Crane offers packages of 40 sheets and 20 envelopes for under $20) and create your own layout on your computer.

This ultimately offers you more freedom in your stationary than would be afforded by a stationary company.  You can select any font you want and become quite creative in your layout.  Depending on your field of work or the nature of the note or the recipient this offers you the opportunity to finely craft your stationary to have the most impact.  I have a few basic versions saved on my computer and when it comes time to write a letter I slide the paper guide on the printer to to correct position and print out what I need.

Note: Good paper will most likely have a watermark.  I prefer to have mine in the correct position to be read if the recipient were to hold the paper to the light while reading.  In order to have your paper print correctly it is important to understand how your printer feeds and to insert your stock accordingly.


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Matter of Opinion: The simple gastronome

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

If ever you need, or want, to cook for another individual I feel every man should be able to offer something of quality.  What I mean is that every man should have a handful of dishes that they can cook by memory or close to it.julia-child

There are few things that can impress or satisfy people more than quality food.  As I have never met someone who doesn’t enjoy eating, having a small catalog of recipes that you can draw from provides you with the ability to satiate your guests or guest in a variety of scenarios. roast chicken

If throughout your life you have consistently failed in your culinary endeavors I still say, “push on”.  There are dishes that require very little skill and those that cannot be learned without a little trial and error.

As far as what sort of dishes you should learn, try and learn some dishes in different categories.  For example: a few things I pride myself on being able to cook are barbecued ribs and pork shoulder, German pretzels, a great piece of salmon, a roast chicken, and molten chocolate cake.  Knowing a variety of dishes allows you to provide for a more diverse collection of situations and people.pretzel

It is also important to note that I have learned all of these recipes and techniques myself by simply doing some research and practicing them.  Some great resources to find and learn recipes and techniques are the Internet and cooking shows.  Much can be gained through the collection of cookbooks but I recommend exhausting what you don’t have to pay for first.

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Send the right message

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

I’m sure that most (if not all) of you own a cell phone and almost as many of you that use a cell are avid users of texts, email, web browsing, etc.  Today it is common to see people totally engrossed in their phones.  They will be clicking away oblivious to the world around them.  I have even experienced people walk right into me because they were too busy with their phone to look ahead of them.  These habits, while not auspicious, pale in comparison to the committing of these acts while conversing or interacting with others.

I’m sure many of you have been in a conversation with someone and there is a ring, beep or buzz that has caused the other side to inadvertently remove their phone and click away in response to whatever form of communication they just received.

This may not seem like much of a transgression, and to many it may not be, but done habitually only shows those around you that they are not important to you and/or you have little interest in the interaction.

Due to the growing importance of staying connected to those in our lives it is inevitable that at some point you will receive a message while conversing with someone.

For those moments I recommend the following:

Set it to vibrate: If neither you or the person you are talking to hear the alert and only the person the message was intended for is aware of it then there is no harm done.  If your ringer has been left on then quickly silence it and then apologize.

Ask Permission: If you are expecting some sort of important news (loved one in surgery, oncology test results, call from potential employer, etc.) then ask the person you are talking to if they mind if you answer/respond.  Any reasonable person will not be insulted with a quick and general explanation.  I feel that this should be done before the fact and not as a sheepish apology after.

The flip side to being courteous and respectful of other peoples time is that in a world where interruptions such as these come more and more frequently it becomes a powerful statement to those you interact with that your time currently belongs to them.

These few points may seem obvious to many but it still is such a common occurrence.

By doing little things to show that you value those around you shows good style and from good style comes class.

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The Value of Tweed

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Tweed sport coats have in the past been associated with academics or old men but today I feel they are ready for their due redemption.  Tweed was first produced in Scotland and Ireland and its durable and warm nature makes it ideal for country wear while shooting or hunting.  The best tweeds are Harris and Donegal manufactured in Scotland and Ireland respectively.  The ability of tweed  to add true character to any mans wardrobe makes it invaluable and no man should consider theirs complete until it includes at least one piece of tweed.  These days good tweeds can be a little harder to find off the peg, requiring some searching or some tailoring. tweed jacket One British clothier known for their country wear is Cordings.  There catalog includes numerous tweeds in addition to other fine items.  I personally prefer a tweed jacket with leather buttons as I feel this adds additional character to the jacket.

Best worn during the fall and winter and when paired with cords your tweed will help seal out the biting wind.

Because tweed tends to have a considerable amount of visual texture, consider how busy the other articles of clothing you are wearing are in order to achieve a proper balance.

While tweed is not appropriate for a formal occasion it will always work well on the weekend or during a casual encounter.

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Wearing a tie with jeans

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Wearing a tie with jeans is a curious trend that seems to regain limited popularity every few years.  It tends to follow the cyclical nature of fashion, returning in some form but still looking just as confused.

This confusion comes from the fact that jeans are unmistakably casual, conversely ties are not.  This may have been originally devised as a clever way to seem ironic but in most cases it only causes the person to look silly and juvenile.  A dark pair of jeans may feel more formal but you will never negate the fact that they still jeans.  This gentleman below has many pieces of his outfit well coordinated above the waist but detracts from its overall potential but confusing the common theme with the addition of jeans.jeans with tie

If one wishes to dress up jeans I would suggest starting with darker jeans, that aren’t “stressed” or otherwise discolored, and pairing them with a casual jacket, such this one below.  I feel that this example below is more successful at dressing up jeans than the above example.  This still would only be appropriate for the casual situation.casual jacket and jeans

In all cases when looking at someone wearing jeans and a tie, no matter how attractive it may look or what goals they may be trying to achieve,  the same can be accomplished to a higher degree with a nice pair of trousers.  Don’t get me wrong jeans are a important part of a man’s casual wardrobe but leave the jeans-tie combination to those who like to follow men’s fashion trends.

Thanks for the question Brian.


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Style Icon: Gianni Agnelli

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Gianni Agnelli was a successful Italian businessman who became president of Fiat in 1966 and was involved in some way with its operations until his death in 2003gianni agnelli cars

Agnelli was never associated with loud colors or patterns but rather with a simple elegance.   He took advantage of the perfection of an immaculately cut suit and his own points of style to create a look that was his own.  Agnelli’s most recognizable style trademarks included his watch, which he wore outside his sleeve, and his tie, which he wore slightly askew.  These subtle points elevated Agnelli to the status of style icon in a country and culture known for its style.gianni agnelligianni agnelli in chair

This is the challenge of all who strive to achieve the pinnacle of style (no feat to be taken lightly).  While many are content just to achieve a well put together wardrobe, others like Gianni take certain aspects of style and make them all their own.


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A Matter of Opinion: The Bow tie

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

In the past few decades the bow tie has unfortunately been reduced to the mark of an eccentric or dandy.   This I feel is an unfortunate fact that has been bred from the slow decline of the average man’s sense of style and the promotion, by films and TV, of the bow tie wearer as an “uncool” or “nerdy” individual.

I am comforted by the fact that there has recently been resurgence of bow tie wearers in younger men.  This I feel is partly a backlash to the common notion of bow tie wearers as being a little odd and the fact that they give the wearer the opportunity to stands out from the crowd.bowtie

That said it is my opinion that more men should find the courage to work bow ties into their tie rotations.  If tying one poses a problem, practice some, it is not much harder than tying a necktie.

city bowtie

Just like neckties, bowties come in a variety of widths and shapes.  If the mere fact that you are wearing a bow tie is a stretch for you then start with more conservative colors and shapes and work in more variety as your confidence increases.

Break away from the pack and stand out as an individual by increasing the versatility of your wardrobe with bow ties.

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“My Guggenheim grant” – An interview with journalist/author Gay Talese

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Interview with Gay Talese about his life and style.


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The Pocket Square

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

The pocket square is an item that I feel some men have trouble getting into as they reach the age where they begin to dress more formally.  Reasons for this could be anything from the wearer thinks them to be flamboyant, to they simply don’t know how to fold them.  As for as pocket squares being only for the flamboyant, nothing could be further from the truth.  A pocket square can be as understated and conservative or as loud and exuberant as the wearer wants them to be.

When trying to decide what color pocket square to use remember that you cannot go wrong with white.  A simple white will add another piece to your over all style without taking any risks on putting patterns or colors together.  PocketSquareBy simply folding his white pocket square, creating an thin crisp line above his pocket, this gentleman succeeds in adding interest appropriate for even the most conservative and formal event.

Colors and patterns can also be used with great effect but fight the temptation to buy prefolded or matching  tie and pocket square sets.  These may seem to be ideal but they create a boring look and are best left to the novice dresser.

Choosing a pocket square that you like with your ensemble can be difficult partly because there are no real rules.  Some men will coordinate colors with their tie or shirt but contrast patterns while others will do the opposite.  Some may pull out a minor color in their shirt or tie with a pocket square, while still others may pair it with their socks or cuff links.  Just put some thought behind it experiment a little if you need to.  Before long you will fall into a combination that is all your own.  pocket-square-10This gentleman succeeds in creating an memorable style by contrasting patterns and some color in his shirt, tie and pocket square.  He allows this combination to really stand out, without looking over done, by pairing it with a subdued cream jacket.

Materials can be anything from silk to linen to cotton but its not for wiping your nose.  That is what the handkerchief is for and you keep that in another pocket.

For some basic pattern and color mixing guidelines see Mixing patterns in your suit, shirt and tie.

Here is a great resource for folding pocket squares from Sam Hober.


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