Style & Substance – The Black Cap-toe Oxford

A&E Park AvenueIf by chance you are an adult male, and it can be safely assumed that you are living an adult life, one can logically reason that moments will occur that demand adult, sartorial tools to satisfy the adult situation at hand. To be sure, a gentleman will likely experience a job interview, wedding, and funeral during his lifetime – which is just the bare minimum. If one factors the high probability of miscellaneous events such as graduations, formal dinners, or church services into the equation – then sir, you seriously need to equip your feet with an indispensable style accoutrement: the black cap-toe oxford.

Yes, we have been recently spoiled with contemporary footwear offerings, wildly varying from wingtips boasting a kaleidoscope of color to multiple strapped monks bearing a sweet suede armor. To present the current climate bluntly: The options are nauseatingly endless. Nevertheless, sometimes a gentleman must reintroduce himself to the basics. Because, despite the irresistible charm of blue suede monk straps, a job interview probably is not smartest venue for a stylish showcasing, or a funeral for that matter. And so, for life’s moments that beg for you to be the adult in the room, forgo the distractions on your feet and embrace the sophistication of simplicity. Black. Clear of any elaborate brogue or perforation. A simple cap stretching across the toe. Two pairs – desirable. Three pairs – outstanding. Invest well, you’re an adult, you have a lot of life to live; embrace each moment accordingly.

Nordstrom – Anniversary Sale – Now Until August 4th

Burberry Gray & Blue Necktie

Burberry

And so, the plethora of sales continues. Now until August 4th, a gentleman can take full advantage of fabulous reductions either online or at his nearest Nordstrom department store. The selection of well-respected brands is varied and plentiful. Upgrade your shoe rotation with a dignified pair of burnished cap-toe oxfords courtesy from Allen Edmonds or expand your necktie game with a choice from Ted Baker. Certainly, there is a bargain waiting to be discovered. Happy shopping gentlemen!

For more information on the Nordstrom Anniversary sale, please visit their site HERE for details.

The Standard #14

football playA successful gentleman understands that he does not approach life insufficiently prepared for what might arise. He has a carefully devised strategy. He has meticulously formulated a plan for his future. The better the preparation, the better the ability to handle adversity. No crisis or dilemma will seem insurmountable. Think about it: A coach does not haphazardly send his players into a game without a game plan. Even football audibles, though deviating from an original set play, have a purpose. Sure, a play may be broken, but an intelligent player makes the necessary adjustments and adaptations. Life will not perfectly proceed as you might imagine. A gentleman will encounter setbacks. A gentleman might face innumerable obstacles. Nevertheless, a smart gentleman has a mission. He has a vision. He has a plan. He even has a contingency plan even when the original plan doesn’t go according to plan. He has strategically placed himself in position for optimal reward. You can do the same-if you have a game plan. So, do you have one?

Paul Stuart – Spring Sale 2014

Paul Stuart SaleIf you are gentleman that actively participates in the procurement of stylish clothing, but budgetary limitations place hard restrictions on your shopping excursions, constructing a dapper wardrobe in the off-season is a necessity. Off-season meaning one season is fading into the record books, and companies have commenced with discounting old merchandise to accommodate incoming seasonal attire and accessories. Currently in the midst of their annual spring season purge, Paul Stuart has discounted select merchandise both in-store and online. Understandably, even at reduced prices, products offered at Paul Stuart may still provide monetary complication. Nevertheless, if you are a gentleman fortuitously positioned with his funds, Paul Stuart may be worth a perusal.

Check Paul Stuart out online HERE, or stop by if you are in either Chicago or New York.

Review – Cole Haan – ZeroGrand

Zerogrand PromoMy attempts at loving the Cole Haan LunarGrand were devastatingly futile. I poured over image after image of the uniquely manufactured offering from Cole Haan. I scoured the Internet, perusing press releases and reviews. I even went to a store to evaluate the shoe in person. And when presented with the opportunity to receive 30% off an already reduced price, with another 50% chopped off that total, I still could not summon the courage to relinquish my credit card to procure the goods. The issue: The LunarGrand was just far too aggressive, even for my liberal sartorial leanings. So now, newly launched globally on July 7th, Cole Haan has bestowed upon the masses their latest sneaker/dress shoe hybrid known as the ZeroGrand. Can the ZeroGrand capture my adoration in such a way where the wildly popular LunarGrand failed? Let’s see.

Zerogrand Promo 4Before I launch into how I feel on the matter, first, let’s grant some blog space to Cole Haan to explain their newest innovation. The pitch: Weighing in at less than 290 grams each, ZeroGrand is the lightest and most flexible shoe Cole Haan has ever created. Marrying centuries-old broguing details with biomechanics, modern materials and today’s manufacturing methods, Cole Haan has considered every detail in make, mass and motion.

  • ZeroGrand features Grand.OS, a proprietary new engineering and design platform which brings unparalleled style and comfort to Cole Haan products.
  • The flexibility of Grand.OS comes through the engineered insoles, outsoles, liners and uppers that move with each step.
  • Grand.OS replaces the heavy steel shanks that have traditionally been used for support with an engineered cushioning compound that is stronger, more flexible and longer lasting; reducing the overall weight and slimming down the shoe’s outsole.
  • Each shoes weighs less than 290 grams.

 

Zerogrand Promo 3To state that the preceding assertions, courtesy of Cole Haan, were not impressive would be dishonest. The extensive resume warrants an honest examination. Now, the ZeroGrand arrives in two distinct options: one manufactured with ripstop nylon as the upper, the other reverse full-grain suede. The ripstop nylon upper pieces are bonded to each other using high frequency welding, thus reducing the number of components on the overall shoe. The suede alternative is laser treated to add pinking and add decorative stitch details. A Strobel stitch construction (the upper has been stitched to the insole) offers more strength and flexibility than other techniques. Both are detailed with a functional brogue that is laser cut for ventilation, flexibility, and lightness. Available colors for purchase right now: Flint grey, black, berkshire, and blazer blue. Expect to pay $248.00 retail for the no-stitch nylon version and $268.00 retail for the reverse full-grain suede version. So, how do they look in person?

Zerogrand 3Fortunately, I was able to get out and examine a pair up close and personal. For my tastes, although I fancy this shoe more than the LunarGrand, it just doesn’t marry well with my personality. Progressing towards the tender age of 40 more swiftly than I expected, this shoe is perhaps better suited for a gentleman younger than myself. Or, maybe a gentleman that works in a creative environment that encourages fashion-forward thinking. I’m just not there at this junction in my life. However, if you think this is the shoe for you, take a gander at my findings and judge for yourself.

Gentlemanly Observations

Pros

  • Impossibly lightweight design with the appearance of a heavy brogue, yet the lightness of a boat shoe.
  • Extremely flexible sole. Seriously, you can bend this bad boy in half and it will spring back into form. Great for individuals that may spend a lot of time on their feet or have underlying foot ailments.
  • And you never know when you will have to make a run – literally. The soles are definitely sneaker inspired.
  • As the ZeroGrand is not too stuffy, yet not too whimsical, it is a perfect compromise for the gentleman that navigates a creative, business-casual environment.
  • The suede is remarkably supple and smooth – probably the winner of both versions here.

Cons

  • The cost may frighten some gentlemen – at nearly $300 for a pair of shoes that is neither a sneaker or dress shoe, this business-casual hybrid is pretty steep for a shoe to be worn most likely in a casual setting.
  • The aggressive fashion-forward design may limit its longevity; investing in a shoe that may enjoy 2-3 years of popularity is very risky, as your look may become dated sooner rather than later.
  • To achieve its lightweight stature, there are some sacrifices with the construction. While the rubber sole is solid, some gentlemen may be off-put by the delicate feel of the nylon upper. The suede may be a better option if the nylon proves too flimsy.
  • The functional brogue is a nice touch; just ensure you check the weather channel before venturing out. The functional holes probably won’t play nice with rain.

Interested yet? If you are, head over to Cole Haan HERE to check it out yourself, or head to your nearest Cole Haan location.

Cole Haan ZeroGrandStay stylish gentlemen!

Black Thought

esq-james-meredith-0113-lg“What any human being can do in life depends upon the foundation laid between birth and age five.”

 James Meredith

We are teachers – in some form or another. Now, perhaps a majority of the reading audience are devoid of the appropriate formal certification, but we are indeed teachers nonetheless. Knowingly or unknowingly instructing through our behavior, language, and actions; we shape and mold young, virginal, and formless minds. That cannot be taken for granted. We are, first and foremost, the foreman of fashioning intellectual promise, building emotional stability, and framing principled character. During those early formative years, our guidance and instruction is needed – no – it is desperately crucial to a child’s development. Their future hinges on what we teach them in the present. And that is where we should be – present; never absent from their growth and maturation. It is time for us to lead by example. We are the models of morality. We are the cultivators of character. We are the installers of integrity. We enable enthusiasm for education, and we advocate the accrual of astounding accomplishments. The foundation is ready to be laid. Let’s not wait any longer.

Review – Bevel – Bevel Shaving System

BevelFor better or for worse, the contemporary gentleman has been afforded the indispensable luxury of convenience. As we must stubbornly recognize our modern societal environment, we have been conditioned to accept that life is decidedly hurried. Every facet of life is now burdened with the absence of time. Thus, natural routines are now subjected to increasingly narrow time constraints. Our method of communication, the manner in which we prepare meals (if we even prepare meals at all), how we get dressed, and how we groom – it has to be swift, uncomplicated, and painless. At least, that is how our psyches have been molded to accept as fact.

So, speaking of said grooming, let’s examine the delicate art of it by way of sharpened blade, affectionately known as shaving. With each successive year, today’s gentleman is seductively bombarded with an array of new & improved razors that promise to deliver the closest and most comfortable shave known to humanity – in less time. More and more blades. Blades empowered with a lubricating strip. Blades that artfully pivot up & down, and now side to side. Blades that surprisingly vibrate during shaving. The gentleman’s razor has been equipped with a bevy of bells & whistles required to get him in and out of the bathroom as swiftly as possible, with the least amount of blood spilled as possible. Now, every gentleman has a preference, and with so many unproven promises monopolizing commercial airtime between games of the week, it really is a toss-up to determine which company adheres to its claims. Continue reading

Gentleman Essentials – The Art of Shaving – PreShave Oil

AOS Preshave OilWhen engaged in the gentlemanly ritual of shaving, the blade must be respected, and the proper preparation must be employed. Pre-shave oil is essential in that preparation. Ensure that your skin is appropriately moisturized and lubricated before exposing it to sharpened stainless steel. Thank me later.

The Art of Shaving

The Standard #33

mistakeTo be truthful, despite earnest attempts to uphold a gentlemanly standard, a gentleman will always be subject to the possibility of failure. Given that living one’s life in perfection is an impossibility, missteps and mistakes are almost certain to occur. It is an inevitability. Nevertheless, it is paramount that a gentleman understand his shortcoming, and it is more important that he extracts wisdom from his failure. Diligently, he must strive to apply the proper corrective measures to ensure that the esteemed, personal standard he has established is met. Don’t squander precious time persecuting yourself. Moreover, don’t grant time to individuals that want to continuously persecute and shame you. They are vulnerable to same mistakes as you, and constant reminders of your failure can negatively affect your spirit and focus. Privately and quietly – humble yourself. Admit your faults and recognize your error. A gentleman must not seek refuge in denial, instead, exhibit sincere contrition and work to prevent such failures from occurring again. You will emerge a more mature gentleman, fully knowing that you are still susceptible to making mistakes, but understanding how to try to avoid them in the future, and how to better deal with your missteps when it happens again.

Mr Porter – Sale – Up to 80% Off

Paul Smith Cuff LinksPaul Smith Cuff Links – Mr Porter

Literally, I have been patiently stalking a pair of brown suede wingtips from Grenson ever since Mr Porter launched their semi annual sale approximately one month ago. And finally, said suede pair attained the apex of their final reduction – plummeting from an out-of-reach $335 to a just-right $134. Now, if you are a gentleman that would not mind adding a few luxury pieces to his sartorial arsenal without spending an entire paycheck, it might be beneficial to afford Mr Porter a gentleman’s perusal. You just might find the perfect bargain. Happy shopping gents!

Sale Begins Here: http://www.mrporter.com/am/home.mrp

Black Thought

paul-robeson“Having been given, I must give.”

-Paul Robeson

Sometimes, when sequestered within moments of quiet solitude, thoughtful ruminations reveal how incredibly fortunate I am. Fortunate, not in regards to monetary value, rather, fortunate in regards to the many blessings I have reaped tremendous benefit. Yes, I have been given much. Now, I understand that some individuals hold fast to the belief that they earn everything with no, if not minimal, assistance required. Well, sometimes success acts as a vanity whose reflection never grows tiresome to the person looking at it. Look, one cannot be merciless, yet expect mercy. One cannot embrace avarice, yet expect generosity. One cannot espouse hate, yet expect love. Only speaking for myself, I have been granted favor and opportunity. I have been afforded mercy and forgiveness. I have been given love and grace. And because of those realities, it is of the utmost importance that I give back. Giving back – it could arrive in the form of your time, an inspirational word, a much needed hug, or an important professional opportunity. No one ever truly does it on their own. Someone, right now, needs you. And you may need someone. Go ahead, give of yourself and surely you will be given.

The TGS Gives Initiative

PrintWhen I first started this blog in 2008, I had no idea it would attract a small but loyal audience of readers. And I certainly did not expect a myriad of opportunities would be presented to me in the form of reviewing and testing products. Over the past years, I have struggled with the concept of moving beyond the current state of just being a blog. There are plenty of style websites for men in today’s Internet market, so I have made a concerted effort to mix both style and substance in my writing. But to move even further beyond that, I have decided to fuse both my passion for gentlemanly style and community. The concept is still in its infancy, but I wanted to share a preliminary logo that a friend, Mrs. Debrah King, designed for me. The TGS stands for, of course, The Gentlemen’s Standard. And the “gives” suffix is pretty self-explanatory. Well, perhaps, it is not. In an effort to champion positive self-image and foster strong self-esteem amongst young males, I plan to use the opportunities that I have been blessed with to mentor and empower said youth. I’m still trying to clean up my mission and vision statement, but that is where my heart is starting. Now, I would love some feedback on the logo, as I may be prejudiced in my affinity for it. I would love to hear from you.

Also, if you want to consult with the designer about a logo idea of your own, you can contact Debrah at thecutephotographer@yahoo.com - yes, she is also an awesome photographer too.

Review – Tommy Bahama – Tommy Bahama Compass

Tommy Bahama CompassIt has been quite the busy month here at The Gentlemen’s Standard. I have been blessed with the opportunity to examine a bevy of products and offer personal insight to the reading audience. It has definitely presented a challenge, as the luxury of time is scarce nowadays, but I am extremely thankful nonetheless. Now, today we are evaluating another fragrance that perfectly complements the progression of warmer temperatures. Allow me to frame the picture for the audience: cream linen suit, open collar dress shirt, brown loafers – no socks, and a Panama hat. That is what I envisioned upon my initial introduction to Tommy Bahama Compass. This looked like a bottle that should be sitting on top of a sharp gent’s dresser while getting attired. Flipping open the top (an interesting feature) of the diamond-shaped bottle, I was wondering if this current offering compared favorably to a previous favorite of mine – Tommy Bahama for Men. Well, let us take a gander.

Observations

Top Notes: Lemon, Grapefruit, Violet

Middle Notes: Pimento Lavender, Clary Sage

Base Notes: Cedarwood, Amber Gris, Tonka Bean, Cistus

First impressions: The fragrance is resolutely smooth and effortless. Of all three notes, none overly dominates the other. Each note cascades into the following note quietly and discreetly. This is not a fragrance that is going to commence with an abundance of loudness, rather, this is a scent formulated for more intimate quarters. So, due to its distinct lightness, a gentleman does not have to be bashful with its application. However, it is still advised that one should not bathe in it either. Depending on your preference and body chemistry, I would guess 4 sprays from the nozzle should suffice.

Tommy Bahama Compass appears to best worn indoors during the daytime. Standout notes include lemon, grapefruit, and lavender. And no, the smell is not too feminine, just soft and pleasant. The ending notes definitely won’t go unnoticed, but they won’t be in your face either. If the affair is mellow and relaxed, this may be the summer cologne for you. This scent will not go unappreciated indoors. It can probably work outside as well, but you may want to apply just a touch more if that is the case. And even with an additional spritz or so, the scent is so light, you won’t have to worry about burning nearby nostrils. This is a sure thumbs up for the summer.

Tommy Bahama 1.7 oz  $54.00 or 3.4 oz $69.00 – Available at Tommy Bahama, Macy’s, Dillards, Lord & Taylor or any fine men’s department store

Gentlemen’s Standard Approved

Disclosure: TGS was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes only. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

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