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How to Recreate and Restyle Your Wardrobe to Cultivate or Enhance Your Image

21 Aug

It has often been said that the way to a man’s heart is mainly by way of his stomach.  The way to a man’s image, however, is heavily linked to his appearance.  This article will be in the format of big steps and small descriptions in order to avoid dullness or redundancy.

Cultivating one’s image is like pruning a rosebush, it takes effort, vision and reality.  By trimming too much, the appearance becomes empty, bland and without personality, whereas making no effort to nurture is apparent when the image is unpolished, confused and without the deliberate, dignified appearance that exudes certainty and acute perception.  It is important to understand that no matter how many roses one may remove or how loudly they may call it a plum tree, the nature of it cannot be changed; merely embraced and ameliorated.

The first step is therefore to ask oneself what image is realistic for them.

Many men grew up watching James Bond movies and perhaps even reading Fleming’s original Bond novels.  Bond, especially in Connery’s portrayal, proved an archetypal pattern for polished masculinity.  While role models and mentors are a terrific thing to have, it is important to acknowledge that what one wears, does, says and has  expresses his personality, it does not form his personality.  Remember that Fleming had no one but himself after which to model 007, Clint Eastwood used his own image and talents to form his characters, Clark Gable never saw Clark Gable in Gone With The Wind until after its release.  It is important to find one’s own individuality and work to develop and form it as it should be formed.

Having covered the background for Step One, we will now begin our list:

Step One: Define the genre of “You”

Ask yourself if you are comfortable wearing dressier clothing than jeans.

If you are then ask yourself what your options are.  Colours, shades and styles vary greatly, but are limited to the garments available in your locale and in your size.

Why is ‘size’ in bold?  Because if it doesn’t fit, you should not even touch it, that is part of picking what works for you.  ‘Skinny Pants’ are ill-advised to everyone, but all the more if you are pear-shaped.

If you want to look like an upside-down beaker, right-side up funnel or ‘Tweedle-Dee’ from Alice in Wonderland and are bottom heavy, skinny jeans can help you achieve this look.

Step Two: Don’t Rule Anything Out

Not just in relation to clothing, retailers too.  Vintage shops carry up to 100 years of different styles, some of their clothing is barely touched and not all of it is obsolete.  Designers grossly over-state how progressive fashion is because they are trying to sell you their version of someone else’s ancient design [Simply stated: Designers do to fashion, what Dane Cook does to comedy], it is only a matter of time before togas are back in style.

Step Three: Action is eloquence

Three rules about ‘pulling it off’:

If you have to ask, then you cannot.  If you say you can’t, then you never will.  If you know you can, then do not say it, do it.

Vintage or antique is not the only option, department stores sometimes carry something perfect for you, you never know until you try.

Step Four: Do not live beyond your means, but do not count the pennies

It is important to note that just because you feel that a $3,000 Armani suit with $1,000 Ferragamo shoes and an extra $1,000 dollars of accessories would define you perfectly, that does not mean it is a buyer’s market.

People do not drive Fiat or Opel cars because they were their first choice, they drive them because a Bentley costs more than a small house or a giant cottage.

As with all things balance is necessary.  See a suit that is a little more than you had planned to spend?  Do you like it more than the one you initially had in mind, how does it look on you and is it really worth it?

Focus more on value than price; if the material is good, it is not made in a sweatshop, it is not costly enough to make your eyes bulge out of your head and you really like it, then by all means, enjoy your new garment.

If it is polyester, made in china, on the lower end of the price spectrum but your face is puckered in uncertainty when you consider the way it looks– Do you really need to hear more?

If you are mature and responsible and you have money saved up, it may be time to take that step.  Stop buying yourself $200+ trainers, stop wearing trainers altogether unless you are exercising and make some responsible purchases on your own behalf.  Being financially responsible does not mean saving every penny, it means investing rather than buying.  This is clearly one of the smaller investments you will experience in a lifetime, but it may just be the first step you will take toward bigger and better investments.

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Feature: Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governors Island 2012

21 Aug

Thousands grabbed their waistcoats, donned their seersucker suits and held onto their hats as the annual Jazz Age Lawn Party hit Governors Island yesterday.

Tickets were available at the front or by prior acquisition online.  VIP tickets included a small three course meal and unlimited alcoholic, but only alcoholic, beverages.  Segregated, but equally long lines were also available for those who laid out the extra few dollars.

Many songs circa 1920 were performed by Michael Aranella and his Dreamland Orchestra, including The Sheik of Araby and Cole Porter’s classic, Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall In Love.

Vintage shops, hat shops and various other vendors came out to peddle their wares, creating an overall prodigious marketplace for the antique or retro-style connoisseur.

Though some guests appeared minutely cautious to perfect their roaring twenties retro threads, some toned it down a touch.  Some guests who stood out in appearance included a rather ponderous tranny-flapper and a group who brought along vintage dishes and cutlery, wooden chairs and a fold-out wooden picnic table.

In attendance were not only local residents, but visitors from Germany, London, Atlanta and various other locations.

Among the guests were Elle, , and Sara residents of London, Philadelphia and Atlanta respectively, who are currently in college in Ohio and felt that the event absolutely lived up to their expectations.  “We got a late start today, but we finally got here and it was definitely worth it.” Sara confided after the three tipped a young boy dressed as a “newsie,” who agreed to pose with them in a photo.

Though the event was confined to a rather small section of Governor’s Island, those who were not in attendance could not help staring if not laughing at the archaic characters in attendance.

Their laughter, however was cut short when they saw the tired,  poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of the teeming shore, these, the homeless, tempest-tost, the several thousand lined up to the ferry door.

How a Behave Properly in Public as a College Student

7 Mar

Our first real etiquette article, this will discuss how one should conduct himself, or herself, in public.  This article will challenge many of the, “norms,” for a New York City college, but, believe it or not, many of us raised outside the Big Petri Dish- I am sorry, “Big Apple,” do not see these behaviours as normative.

Foremost is appearance. Yes, we should never judge a book by its cover, but we do; whether or not this is ignorant behaviour, it is human behaviour, an inherent quality that we cannot change and that, if changed, would make the world a much different and perhaps more boring place.

Fashion and necessity rarely overlap. Especially wearing, “trendy,” outfits which, to begin with are in poor taste. If you wear a sideways baseball cap in a court room, the judge will, if he has any sense at all, slap a fine on you and hold you in contempt. If a police officer, “sags” his pants and wears his cap sideways, he will clearly be out of uniform and not look like a person of his vocation with his level of professional responsibility.

A young adult may indulge in absurd fashions, this is your right and it allows you to express your individuality; these are very redeeming qualities. Public exposure, sloppiness and poor hygiene, however, are not respectful and appear more a cry for help than a style.

Music, we all love it. Why shouldn’t we? However, some prefer calf thymus and those of these individuals who do, will not likely walk over to the urinal next to you and force it down your throat. The point is, keep it in your ears.

People who blast music rarely blast anything worth listening to anyway, I do not want to hear anything rap or hip-hop related while standing at the urinal unless it is the theme from, “Shaft.” Zing.

Back on an apparently serious note, loud music pumped directly into one’s ears is a direct cause of tinnitus, which is a real pain, if you don’t believe it just look on wikipedia!

If you must swear like a sailor, try at least to sound like an educated one.

If you must use your cellphone, try not to do so in the hallway outside a class.

If you must use it in the hallway outside of class, try not to use it in the library.

If you must speak on the phone while you are in the library– You are a liar, leave school forever.

Do not watch pornography on school computers, this one seems obvious, but is apparently not.

Do not look at cartoon pornography on school computers, this is a step beyond poor-taste.

Do not– You know where this is going and yes, people do that in the library.

Do not wear high heels to any gym classes, especially swimming.

Try to maintain some semblance of intelligence, it is hard but you are so very smart, you can do it.

Do not push, shove or curse at people you don’t know; if nothing else, they may have a shank.

Do not rap along with your iPod, you are not as good as you think.

Be respectful, be courteous and keep reading articles. You are off to a good start.

What Type of Dress Shirt Suits You?

16 Feb

As Promised in:
“How to Choose a Suit”

Dress shirts come in all different types, there are different fits, sleeves and collars, different designs, cuffs, nicknacks and embellishments.

A shirt is a shirt, a lot of things don’t matter about your shirt, what matters is that the shirt works on you.

The main things are:

Face Shape

Neck Size

and Body Type

Colour-complexion matches and considerations are a universally important factor, it is not only a consideration for shirts but for everything, we will therefore discuss it elsewhere.

Your face comes into play because despite what the adult industry tells you, it is the thing first noticed. You want to leave a good impression, don’t you? The idea is to deviate from extremes, an extremely round face should be made to look longer, a long one should be shortened, this is why oval is seen as the ideal.

Your body plays a role because too loose looks sloppy and too tight, well, you’ve seen for yourself what that can do.

Standard shirt fits in descending order are:
Traditional Fit
Regular Fit
Athletic
Slim
Extra Slim
and combinations of the preceding.

Also know your measurements, every man should be able to call in an order to a good tailor and get a perfect fit having never met the tailor. If you cannot do that now, have that skill down by next Tuesday. Or at least get started on it by then.

Middle-Pleat, no pleat and side-pleat are options that come with a shirt too, we are just being thorough, these are inconsequential and are only a preference, they hardly affect the look of the shirt and will not change how it looks on you.

Cotton is the preferred material, there are always arguments as to which cottons are of the most superb quality, the top three are generally considered to be Sea Island Cotton, Egyptian Cotton and Pima Cotton. Pima Cotton is the rarest of these and they are in descending order for average price.

Weaves Consist of the Following types:
Broadcloth-A thick, durable, plain design
Oxford(pinpoint is thinner, Royal Oxford is thicker)-A basket-weave design
and Twill-Parallel diagonal ribs, this often looks triangular

Collar:
Forward Point-A traditional design with origins in military uniform, this will work well if you have a round or oval face
*Ainsley Collar-Softens face, good for those with pointy faces or features
*English Collar-Wider than Ainsley, popularised by the Prince of Wales
*Londoner Collar-As wide as it gets.
Snap-tab-Basically envelopes your neck, this is good if your neck is long
Polo-Often refers to a short, button collar, this is more casual, which by nature should not be worn with a suit and which will probably accentuate the width of your face
Golf Collar-This collar, rounded, much like American, “golf polo shirts,” is best for men with angular or chiseled features. This is part of the Eton school uniform, it is thus often referred to as the, “Eton Collar.”
Tennis-This collar has long points and is meant to balance a round face. It was once very popular and worn by the likes of Cary Grant.
*If your face is wide, round or square, avoid this collar.

Which pretty much leaves the cuffs:
French cuffs use cufflinks, these are completely optional and annoying to put on and take off at times. Like anything nice they take maintenance, polishing, putting away, not losing, not scratching etc.
Barrel Cuffs look like barrels, they have one button and two button varieties. This too, is all a matter of preference.

Now you know all the basic concepts of shirt-matching. The real focus is on the collar, the spread of which dictates tie knots. My one suggestion is that you keep an open mind, try out a few things and do not go to a low-end store. You needn’t purchase Turnbull and Asser or Ted Baker, but do not go for the Walmart brand.

If you work too hard to control your wallet, your wallet will control you; think of your relationship with it as a partnership, give a little, take a little.

If you have any questions about this article please feel free to ask.

How to Choose a Suit

15 Feb

If you are looking to purchase a new suit there a lot of considerations to make.  Staying with the idea of personalisation, we are not going to give general advice.  We are going to give advice in order for you to match your suit to yourself and your occasion.  Accessories will also be discussed herein.

Part the first: Suit types, your body and which one you should wear:

Remember, not everyone can wear the same thing, you must honestly evaluate yourself, as difficult as this may be.

Are you robust in figure?

Do you have wide shoulders or a narrow build?

Are you short?

Are you tall?

There are two main jacket designs:

Single-breasted and double-breasted.

A single-breasted suit is more a staple design, it is the design you find in blazers, uniform jackets and standard suits.

Double-breasted is a classic English design, it is adapted often in contemporary fashions but is considered a bit more risky to wear, whether the contemporary or regular.

A single breasted suit is good for everyone as long as it is not too wide.  Wide gap single-breasted jackets work for tall, broad people.  Single breasted jackets should be fitted so that you are wearing the jacket, only in Soviet Russia, does jacket wear you.

Double-breasted works for thin, tall people because it will give you a wider look and make you look short and stubby.  If you are short and slight, you may be able to pull off a double-breasted suit, just keep in mind that you have to be honest with yourself and it must be proportionate with your neck width.  This is not a suit for a pencil-neck.

Everyone should own a black suit, any other colour would be nice, but it is not as necessary.

Until you start developing your own style, stick with black suit, white shirt and absolutely no novelty ties.  There are no excuses for those.

Ties are worn in many styles, but we will cover the two primary ones.

The Windsor is a large, triangular knot.  It is seen by many to be obnoxious and impertinent and according to some traditional English views, people who wear a Windsor knot in their tie are untrustworthy.

The four-in-hand is small, basic and part of the traditional Eton uniform and is the official knot to be worn with a tuxedo.

This blog does not advocate the Windsor, and therefore will not be diagramming the steps to tie one.

Remember to stay within a budget but think of this as an important, one time purchase and spend accordingly.  If you have more than 1000 USD get a custom tailored suit.  If you have closer to 350 USD go for an off-the-rack and get it tailored to fit you better.  Do not break the bank but do not cut corners.

There will be another article on shirts and collar types, but we will discuss cufflinks in this one.

Cufflinks are an ornate adornment, they are elegant and can elicit many “ooh”s and “ah”s.  They are useless.

Disappointed?

Don’t be, most good decorations are useless.

Cufflinks are a tasteful addition, try to get a pair that you feel represents you as your main set, perhaps even get them monogrammed.

Tie clips are a little bit better than pins in that puncturing good clothing is rarely a good idea, but a nice tie bar will add some dress-finesse to your outfit.

Which brings us to a related topic:

Short people, stay away from horizontal lines as much as you can.

This means, if possible, eschew the cummerbund, replace belt with suspenders, and possibly stay away from the tie bar.

Tall people, opposite, unless you want to look taller.

As for lapel pins, do not wear one that represents something you are not apart of.

If you are not in or an alum of Yale or a military lapel pin if you never served, then that lapel pin will make you look like you are a tasteless, pretentious, bore who tries to overstate his achievements; and the fact that you chose to read such a fine web publication proves that this is clearly not the case.

Your formal tie should always be silk and not too flamboyant, invest in at least one nice one and never purchase from people sell them off the back of a truck, you will look like what you spent.   By the way, the answer is yes, that DKNY replica sold in Marshall’s for fifteen dollars is lesser quality than the nearly identical, forty dollar DKNY tie in Macy’s.  This is a fact.

When possible try to purchase leather-sole shoes over rubber-sole.

Your pants should cover the top of the tongue of your shoe, any higher and you better fire your tailor.

All things considered, a decent suit and all the matching parts could be had for a reasonable price, if you can afford to spend more then do so, but the important thing is not the price, it is how you wear it.

Tie:
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