Review – Nice Laundry – Hosiery

Nice LaundryIn the interest of full transparency, I must readily and wholeheartedly disclose, socks were never a high priority when I embarked upon revamping my personal style. Socks, or if you really want to sound sartorially educated – hosiery, were never a matter of great importance. Socks, unfortunately, were the after-afterthought. And so, my sock drawer was inundated with the same monotonous collection that most likely is akin to your sock drawer: a boring medley of uneventful blacks and blues with the occasional fanciful pop of gray. Well, that situation has dramatically reversed course. My current hosiery situation: an artful potpourri of stripes, pinks, florals, greens, and almost anything your mind can conjure. What changed?

Well, as my tastes progressed, so did my willingness to experiment with various style selections. I was slowly evolving. I fondly remember when striped socks first secured a firm foothold in the American market; it was a curious and fresh departure from the status quo. My plunge into these new fashionable depths afforded an entirely new angle of style that has since become an unspoken signature of mine. Along with my troubling adoration for pocket squares and neckties, socks became an unlikely source of obsession. That being stated, I was totally elated when I was contacted by Nice Laundry to review a sample from their exquisite lineup of socks. However, before we launch into the review, let’s take a glance at their background.

Nice Laundry2Nice Laundry is a start-up business created by former LivingSocial employees – Phil Moldavski and Ricky Choi. Birthed as a Kickstarter campaign, Nice Laundry was launched with this objective: change the relationship gentlemen have with their socks. Nice Laundry aims to deliver high quality socks at affordable price points. In addition to that mission, Nice Laundry also has the environment on their radar. Striving to be green-friendly, every Nice Laundry order is eligible for a prepaid shipping label; a gentleman can simply ship his old socks in the re-usable mailer his hosiery arrived in and they will initiate the recycling process. Partnering with one of the nation’s oldest and largest textile recyclers, Nice Laundry will ensure your old socks are recycled responsibly and efficiently. A percentage will be reused and re-purposed, while the balance will be converted into recycled fibers for use such as home insulation. Cool right? Now, let’s get to the intimate details of presentation, quality, and performance.

Nice Laundry3Nice Laundry boasts a collection 13 packages containing 6 pairs of socks within. These packages are divided into three categories: Essentials, Editor’s Picks, and First Editions. The Essentials and Editor’s Picks are priced at $49.00 per package and the First Editions package is priced at $59.00. Arriving in a cool complimentary drawstring bag, it should be noted that each package has a predetermined selection of hosiery, and each package arrives with unique names such as the Chief, Visionary, and Captain. For our reviewing purposes, the Captain was sent to The Gentlemen’s Standard packaged in a complimentary reusable drawstring bag. Nice touch. And now, the observations.Nice Laundry4Gentlemanly Observations

Pros

  • Nice Laundry socks are supremely comfortable and ridiculously soft to the touch – both outside and inside. There is a sensation of fluffiness when you slide your foot into a pair. Hell, even my wife was impressed.
  • The elasticity of the cuff is incredibly strong; a gentleman need not worry about his socks drooping or losing shape.
  • The toe and heel are nicely reinforced so worries concerning premature fraying can be dismissed.
  • Socks have medium thickness, not as thin as a full dress sock, but not as thick as a standard cotton gym sock.
  • These socks are probably best suited for casual or business casual situations. However, one could probably wear a pair with dress trousers and not feel out of sorts.
  • Nice Laundry socks are composed of 80% cotton, 19% spandex, and 1% nylon – great for stretch and comfort.
  • Competing in the market for premium socks, Nice Laundry is competitively priced. Some brands, Paul Smith comes to mind, charge as much as $35.00 for a single pair of cotton socks. Here, a gentleman can procure 6 pairs for almost the price of one.
  • There is a great variety of pattern and color that offer a myriad of options for a gentleman. While there is a mix of wild patterns such as camouflage and polka dot, there are conservative packages consisting of solid colors to not only gratify a reserved gentleman’s needs, but also gently transition him into the world of Nice Laundry. Perhaps next time the purchase will be that crazy blend of zig-zag or polka dot.

Cons

  • If you have experienced years of psychological conditioning that preclude you from spending more than accustomed for socks; laying down $49 or $59 for a pack of 6 pairs may prove to be intimidating.
  • Socks are prepackaged, so a gentleman cannot assemble his own combination favorite hosiery. The variety should be enough to satisfy a majority of customers, however, a customized option would be welcome.
  • Currently, hosiery from Nice Laundry only arrive in premium cotton blends. If you have an affinity for wool or cashmere socks, you would be better served shopping elsewhere, and hopefully Nice Laundry will include these selections to their lineup in the future.

If you are looking at purchasing premium cotton socks and you’re willing to spend a little more than usual, Nice Laundry deserves your consideration. For more information and to view their entire available stock, please visit HERE for details.

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.

Nice Laundry5Stay stylish gentlemen!

Black Thought

WEB DuBois“Let us realize too that even we disenfranchised have our duties.”

-W.E.B. Du Bois

Responsibility. Every gentleman owns a select portion of this in his community. Regardless of his limiting socioeconomic circumstances, a gentleman must deliver the very best of his talents for the improvement of his neighborhood. I definitely understand that this may be difficult for some gentlemen. One may feel that their status in society does not meet acceptable or suitable standards. However, I say to those individuals who may feel as if life has dealt a cruel poker hand; you still have much to offer. Do not sit idle and allow your gifts to waste and rot. Your community patiently awaits your arrival. Waiting for the “right” time when everything is correct in the world is not an option. What if the “right” time never arrives? The only right time is right now. Do not hesitate. Do not second guess. You are stronger, more intelligent, and more talented than you might realize; it is your duty to improve the environment around you. You possess the necessary tools to make a difference. Act now!

Style & Substance – The Casual Nubuck – The Safest Way to Get Buck During the Summer

IMG_0174Woe unto the gentleman that stubbornly relegates his footwear collection to sneakers and, well, yet more sneakers. To shun and deprive oneself from a much-required element of variety borders on unforgivable sartorial sin. Sneakers cannot sufficiently satisfy every occasion in a gentleman’s life, and truthfully, neither can a formal dress shoe – although it comes tantalizingly close. The solution: seek comfortable middle ground. Enter the casual nubuck shoe. Nubuck is the outer layer of cattle hide that has been buffed and sanded to achieve a soft nap and light velvet touch. Similar to suede, it is actually a little tougher, and theoretically, should last longer. Perfect for casual work days. Perfect for a relaxed dinner on the weekend. Perfect for easygoing cookouts in the backyard. For all intents and purposes, it’s probably the perfect casual shoe that you are not wearing. Here are 5 reasons why you should be wearing them, like, right now.

Click pictures below to enlarge

Five reasons to wear some bucks

  • A distinguished pair of nubuck shoes can handle almost any casual environment that a gentleman may encounter during long summer months when fun is inevitable.
  • Because, when dress shoes are too strict and sneakers are far too lax, a clean pair of denim jeans require the appropriate middle ground – the laudable nubuck. And that includes khakis as well.
  • Colored dress shoes, perhaps, are too garish for an average gentleman’s sartorial palate. Colored nubucks, on the other hand, afford the slightest of flexibility for experimentation. It’s a low risk, high reward circumstance. You can’t lose.
  • Maintenance is crazy simple. Yes, shoe trees are still recommended. However, a gentleman need not worry about shoe polish and the like. Invest in a suede & nubuck protector. And invest in a brush and gum eraser. Touch up the obligatory scuff or stain as needed.
  • Nubuck shoes are relatively inexpensive. In fact, they can be readily purchased at discount spots such as DSW on the regular.

Heritage – Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou

  • Marguerite Annie Johnson was born April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Attended George Washington High School
  • Poet, Novelist, Civil Rights Activist, Educator
  • Actress, Producer, Historian, Filmmaker
  • Over 50 honorary degrees
  • Album – Miss Calypso – 1957
  • Actress – The Blacks – 1961
  • Northern Coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership
  • Autobiography – I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – 1969
  • Poetry – Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water Before I Diiie – 1971
  • Award – Coretta Scott King Honor – 1971
  • Screenplay – Georgia, Georgia – 1972
  • Actress – Look Away – 1973
  • Poetry – And Still I Rise – 1978
  • Autobiography – The Heart of a Woman – 1981
  • Poetry – I Shall Not Be Moved  – 1990
  • Award – Langston Hughes Medal – 1991
  • Award – Horatio Alger – 1992
  • Poetry – On the Pulse of Morning – 1993
  • Poetry – Phenomenal Woman – 1995
  • Director – Down in the Delta – 1996
  • Award – Presidential Medal of Arts – 2000
  • Award – Lincoln Medal – 2008
  • Autobiography – Mom & Me & Mom – 2013
  • Maya Angelou passed away on May 28, 2014 at the age of 86

For more information about Maya Angelou, please visit http://mayaangelou.com/ for details.

Gentleman Essentials – Kirby Allison’s Hanger Project – Wooden Suit Hanger

Hanger ProjectYour suit jacket rightfully deserves a support system that mimics a gentleman’s shoulders when it has been retired to the closet. Wire hangers are too meager to provide the proper drape. Maintain the body of your suit jacket, upgrade the hangers in your closet – if you have not already. You will be pleased with the results.

Kirby Allison’s Hanger Project

Standard Recommendations – Tend Skin

tend-skin-liquidMy first introduction to Tend Skin occurred during my college career at Michigan Technological University. A close friend was experiencing a severe case of acne along with razor bumps, and he was desperate for a solution to remedy his skin woes . During one summer – myself along with a few friends remained up North to work – my friend stayed with me and my roommate as he commuted back and forth to work in a nearby town. One morning, I quietly noticed my friend’s grooming ritual as he was applying a clear, pungent liquid onto his face in the bathroom. When I asked him about the product that he was liberally administering to his face, he informed me that the tart liquid was called Tend Skin. Now, I am not sure how it came to pass that he knew of its reputation, but he swore that it was working wonders for his skin. And after a few months, the appearance of his skin was quite noticeable. Tend Skin had cleared up his acne and razor bumps!

Now, if you take a gander at the Tend Skin website, it clearly states that their product is a solution for unsightly razor bumps, ingrown hair, and razor burn. Nonetheless, I am here to inform the audience that this product also works magic for acne as well. Just a week ago, I had an unusual breakout across my brow. I summoned my bottle of Tend Skin from the medicine cabinet, applied a few drops to a cotton ball, and addressed the area of concern during the morning and at night. And at the conclusion of approximately 5 days, my minor acne eruption was vanquished.

Again, this product is marketed for razor bumps, but another added benefit is it relieves acne and breakouts just as well. Of course, results may vary, but Tend Skin has never failed to resolve the random bout of acne during my adult years. I say adult, because Tend Skin (if the smell is any indication) appears to be a pretty strong product, so I would not recommend it for adolescents. So, if your skin is prone to breakouts or you experience an occasional bout with acne, I strongly recommend Tend Skin. It’s tough to find in stores, so ordering direct from the merchant may be the best course of action. You won’t be required to order a ton of product, as a little really goes a long way. I think I bought my bottle nearly 5 years ago. But then again, I don’t have ongoing issues with acne, so you will have to gauge your needs and order accordingly.

Tend Skin now sells their product as a gel, lotion, and roll-on. I haven’t used Tend Skin in these varying forms, so I cannot attest to their effectiveness. I am surmising that it cannot be any different from the liquid form. Nevertheless, Tend Skin does offer a small liquid sample at only the cost of shipping. Take a visit to their website HERE and judge for yourself. You probably won’t be disappointed.

Review – Lacoste – Lacoste L!ve

Lacoste L!veOnce again, I have the distinct pleasure of reviewing a new offering from the Lacoste brand – Lacoste L!ve. Launched in July 2014, Lacoste L!ve promises to deliver a fragrance that embodies an irresistible energy that bustles with creativity and uniqueness. Housed within a six-sided, multicolored cube; the modern design is intended to compel the user to step aside, step back, and see life from a different angle. Now, before I humbly submit my opinion regarding Lacoste L!ve, I must first state that the flacon’s presentation belies its fragrant composition. Sure, the design appears to be playful and jaunty, but the scent is actually more serious than one might anticipate. So, with that bit of information on the record, let’s dive into details shall we?

Observations

Top Notes: Lime, Saffron

Middle Notes: Green leaves, Aquatic accord

Base Notes: Guaiac wood, Sandalwood, Dark licorice

The top and middle notes are very light and gentle in nature, as they seamlessly transition, almost unnoticeable, from the top note to the middle note. The lime is the most distinct scent during this introduction, as the citrus stands out without being too overbearing. The base note is definitely the strongest as it arrives at its destination swiftly and remains anchored to the wearer for a good portion of the day. The hints of wood are very pleasant, although I do solemnly swear that subtle notes of cinnamon are tucked away in there as a surprise note. I could be mistaken, and it is simply my body chemistry working in tandem with the base notes to produce the sweet notes of cinnamon. Nonetheless, the results are most welcome. As previously mentioned, the overall scent is more sophisticated than the bottle might lead you to believe. Lacoste L!ve would probably work best during the afternoon and evening times. It is very understated, so one can be liberal with the application – test and gauge what best works for you. If you are in the market for a new summer cologne, Lacoste L!ve deserves your perusal.

Lacoste L!ve 40 ml $42.00 and 100 ml $69.00 – recommended retail price at Macy’s, Dillards, Kohl’s, Sephora, Lacoste boutiques, and http://www.lacoste.com/

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.

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

%d bloggers like this: