Tuesday, August 30, 2011

In A Simple Mood

I like slightly ostentatious cufflinks as much as the next guy.  Okay, maybe more.  But austerity can be fun, too.  Chromed tie bar (gift) and chrome cufflinks from JAB.  This trio is simple, elegant, and absolutely universal in a way that gold is not, provided my belt buckle is chrome as well.

Come to think of it, all of my belt buckles are chrome.  I should get a brown belt with a gold buckle for a little variety.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Word On MMA-Themed Graphic T-Shirts


Image credit: tapout.com

Monday, August 22, 2011

Summer Dressy Casual: Kennedy Center Kit

Saw Wicked's final Kennedy Center performance at the Opera House last night.  (Hat tip to my girlfriend for graciously taking me.)  Merits of the musical notwithstanding, let's talk about dressing for the Kennedy Center.

Another hat tip to the GF, who had a trenchant insight as we people-watched on the veranda overlooking the Potomac after the sun set and left only the humidity to bedevil us: the Kennedy Center is one of the few places where guys have a harder time than girls in picking what to wear.

The KC is a populist venue.  Tourists come to shows.  You wouldn't wear black tie unless maybe it was opening night at the opera.  Nor would a townie wear shorts and a T-shirt to the KC; we all understand that something more is required.  But how much?

I went with my APC New Standards, a moleskin blazer from JAB (had on clearance for $70), Welsh ties from Wales, white linen shirt from Gap, and the white bucs.

Of course, you'll be totally safe, albeit just a touch dressy, in a suit and tie if you're well tailored.  My jeans-dressed-up-with-jacket-and-tie-which-are-then-dressed-down-through-use-of-texture approach was also popular.  But I thought the folks wearing summer-weight suits had the best of it.

So dress up a bit at the KC, and take it as a chance to challenge yourself a little.  You'll be in good company.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Summer Casual: Espadrilles

Espadrilles are having their moment in the sun.  They are somewhat like slip-on deck shoes but with a woven-straw sole and a canvas upper.  These, in navy, were $26 at Soludos.  Even after espadrilles are no longer "in style," they will be stylish.

Be wary, though.  Shoes of this style have to be small enough so that your heel sits firmly in the heel cup; otherwise, the shoe will fall off when you step.  Consider buying a half-size smaller than you normally do, especially since Soludos says that their shoes are likely to stretch.  They suggested a size 43 for me; after I got burned on an overly large Asos pair last year, I went with a 42.  Perfect for my right foot but almost too big for my left.

Pablo Neruda wore espadrilles to the beach.  What more reason do you need to buy a pair?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Shoe Horns, Part 2: A Cautionary Tale

Here's why you should have a shoe horn.  I got these Allen Edmonds wingtips on ebay for a song, and they're mostly in great shape except for the .5cm chunk I gouged out of the toe when I caught it on an uneven sidewalk.

However, their previous owner failed to use a shoe horn, and you can see the effects right around the flash reflection.  Wrinklation.  Creasimilitude.  Deteriorifaction.

Barely noticeable now, but over the years, unhorned feet would split the leather in that spot.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tools Of The Trade: Shoe Horn

This...is a shoe horn.  The last time you saw one was probably in the hands of the shoe salesperson at Macy's when your parent took you there to get dress shoes in middle school.  See, when a shoe gets put on by the hornless, the upper edge of the heel tends to get stepped on or otherwise yanked out of the way or wrinkled in the process.  (It's all very passive-voice; no one is to be blamed.)  This creates unwanted leather deterioration over the life of the shoe or, in the case of the salesperson, the shoe's pre-sale life and, thus, marketability. 

No need to shell out for a horn made of ivory or actual horn or something.  If luxe is your thing, go for it; I got my black plastic one for $3.99 at an Off-Broadway Shoes.  I like that it's long because I don't have to bend over to operate it in the mornings when I am still half-asleep and not inclined toward gymnastics.  It even has a little loop at the end for hanging on exactly the sort of hooks which I do not have in my closet.

$5 now saves you years of wear on the heels of your shoes.  Invest.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Collar Space: Photo-Recycling Edition

This shot demonstrates the reason that I greatly prefer spread collars. The Brooks Brothers spread collar, which this is, is actually slightly less spread than I prefer, but much more so than a point collar.  Handy collar-style guide from Paul Fredrick here. 

The tips of the collar should just brush the edges of the jacket's lapels.  The right-hand lapel in the photo shows a gap only because I had to use my right hand to hold the camera, and that pose shifted the jacket a bit. 

With a point/straight or button-down collar, you're likely to get collar tips that sit half an inch away from the lapels.  They look orphaned and the opposite of the organic lines you see in this photo.

Dapper District's trend-analysis forecasts indicate that the space between jacket lapels will remain substantial.  Therefore, invest in spread collars (or dare to wear a cutaway, only if you're also wearing a tie).