Last week was absolutely brutal at work. As a matter of fact, the last few months have been tremendously rough. An office short on employees immediately translates to the undesirable workload on the remaining workforce. And I don’t want this to be perceived as a complaint, as I am extremely fortunate to have stable employment. However, increased workloads can be mentally and physically demanding. And if a gentleman is not careful, his work related stress can woefully ooze into his home-life. A man needs balance. So, as I was concluding a crappy week, I decided to put some positivity out into the universe. My wife was slightly irritated with, well, we’ll call them Person X, so I made the executive decision that we couldn’t both be in a bad mood. So, I stepped over to Costco after work and secured a flower bouquet to brighten her day. Gentlemen – don’t sleep – flowers courtesy of Costco are inexpensive and convenient. The gesture is simple. The action is simpler. And the reward – her smile – is priceless. She doesn’t require a special occasion to receive flowers. The only special occasion to be celebrated is the fact that she is special herself. Bonus Hint: Invest in a good sturdy vase to house those flowers. Because, if you take my advice, you’ll be buying her flowers on days other than February 14th. She will happily and definitely appreciate the gesture. And a happy wife at home makes that next crummy week at work more tolerable.
Zora Neale Hurston
How a gentleman thinks is paramount in shaping and defining his character. Let it be understood, the thought process is unequivocally a crucial process. How one thinks has a direct impact on reality. A consistently melancholy and glum attitude can lead to an existence that is absent fulfillment, cheer, and hope. Recommendation: Think positively. Think happily. Think victoriously. Trust, positive thought is extremely important to an individual’s spiritual, mental, and physical health. Ensure that you demonstrate caution towards people who display a propensity for negative thinking. Thoughts can be tainted, or be allowed to flourish under the right conditions and circumstances. What you require is affirmation, encouragement, and support. Now, is it possible to think positively all of the time? Perhaps not. Nevertheless, if a gentleman cultivates an excellent grade of good mental soil, any nasty weed that sprouts without welcome can be readily purged from his head. But it is necessary that you begin with good fertile ground from which positive ideas, good behavior, and honorable character spring abundantly. It starts with positive thinking. It starts with you. It starts today.
Diversifying one’s presentation is an absolutely crucial element of maintaining a fresh, handsome appearance. A gentleman should avoid becoming too comfortable with a trusted uniform, as he may unknowingly grow stale & mundane in his everyday activities. The best tactic to combat sartorial boredom is to simply alter the fine details in your attire. And that detail could be as small as changing the method of folding a pocket square. Featured in an issue of British GQ, this jazzy pocket square fold captured my full attention, so I was compelled to write about it.
The “winged puff” fold is different enough to stand out, but not too different in an obnoxious, obtrusive way. It’s quiet, yet gracefully pronounced. And it is easy to expertly execute. Start with your pocket square positioned in the shape of a diamond. Take the top point and fold it down to the bottom point- you should be left with an upside down triangle. Now, take your right & left points and fold them in and down- you should have a diamond again. Fold your left, right, and bottom points towards the middle of the pocket square. Done. For a visual illustration, please visit SAM HOBER for details. Clean. Effortless. Different. Remember, varying your look need not be overly dramatic. A gentleman can make subtle adjustments and reap maximum results – give it a try.
Granted, I could be totally and utterly wrong with this observation, but the direct translation of runway fashion to everyday, wearable style isn’t as clean and fluent as some may lead you to believe. At best, an average gentleman’s runway interpretation can be viewed as forward-thinking and eclectic. At worst, an average gentleman’s interpretation can be viewed as atrociously affected and forced. In the case of Mr. Wade, his Versace selection of a printed floral leather jacket for his post-game news conference attire leans heavily towards forced – painfully forced in fact. Look, the problem isn’t the floral pattern, nor is it the white leather jacket, rather, it’s the marriage of both in a setting that is miles away from a runway fashion show in Milan. In all of its pretentious glory, it is the classic example of the peacock, confidently frolicking in an unnatural habitat, which happens to be said news conference, post-game in front of reporters. Given the peacockish exploits of Russell Westbrook, I would suppose this scene isn’t too unfamiliar. Nevertheless, in my humble opinion, garish runway fashion is meant to inspire and highlight certain trends in style. Looking at Wade’s jacket, perhaps, I would be inspired to incorporate a floral motif into my pocket square, necktie, or even sport shirt. But, that is as far as I can take it. A white floral leather jacket, and late at night no less? I’ll pass. So, D Wade’s leather bouquet – thumbs up or thumbs down?
Undeterred by difficult obstacles in his path, the accomplished gentleman understands that he must remain true to his beliefs. Resolute in making decisions regarding his future, he does not let circumstances or individuals negatively influence his actions. Doubt can never become a factor, for doubt is a killer of faith and kidnapper of hope. Nevertheless, this gentleman is acutely focused. All challenges are welcomed. He remains remarkably steady, even in the face of naysayers. And even if success does not arrive expeditiously, he understands patience is an ally of diligence. And together, they will bring forth prosperity. Transforming aspirational dreams into reality, this gentleman never betrays his goals. He never betrays his work. And most important, he never betrays himself. Success feels so much better this way.
With respect to a gentleman’s necktie, quiet is definitely the preferred pattern of choice. Quiet being an unassuming pattern that doesn’t detract from the elegant entirety of a gentleman’s ensemble. However, a gentleman should not hastily furrow his brow at the thought of turning up the volume, if only ever so slightly, on a few selected neckties. And no time is better than the present, as plaid is definitely hot right now. Truthfully, plaid remains a perennial classic no matter what the year, but there appears to be a focused attention towards this vibrant pattern – much more than usual. Given the season, cotton and silk options are plentiful. Investing in a few would certainly be a wise decision, as plaid would most likely never drift out of style. Now, the hard part: How does a gentleman begin to incorporate such a bold pattern into his presentation? True, it can be tricky. Nevertheless, it can be accomplished. No worries, I’m currently working on a quick and dirty guide to mastering the art of rocking the plaid necktie with confidence and style. Stay tuned.
Not that this would be public knowledge, as I don’t make a habit of sharing this tidbit about myself, but I suffer from a skin condition called eczema. For the uninformed, eczema is a form of dermatitis that leaves the skin itchy, dry, and inflamed. In more severe cases, it can be even worse, including the formation of lesions, bleeding, and infection. I have been fortunate enough to avoid those worse case scenarios. Nevertheless, without warning, in no particular location, my skin is prone to erupt with an itchy inflammation that irritates me to no end. My only options for relief: some soothing hydrocortisone ointment and copious amounts of moisturizing lotion. Perhaps a month ago, I was experiencing another outbreak, and as luck would have it, I was contacted by a public relations agency whom wanted to gauge my interest in trialing Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Men. I accepted and was soon putting this updated classic moisturizer to the test. Sure, it calmed down the irritation that had erupted around my ankle, but if you are susceptible to dry skin anyway, this product could possibly suit your needs. Here is a quick breakdown.
- The consistency is suitably creamy and thick
- Still retains a distinguishable scent, but not as strong as the original formula
- Readily absorbs into the skin without being excessively greasy
- Calms irritated and dry itchy skin
- Large amounts of lotion is not necessary, as a little goes a long way
- Leaves skin feeling soft without the need of repeated reapplication
- No noticeable difference in the coloration of the darkened, inflamed area; but I am darker than some, so results may vary
- 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.
The responsible gentleman understands the principles of accountability. Ownership. Culpability. Obligation. Any attempt to avoid or avert responsibility is not entertained. If his conduct is unbecoming or offensive, he does not contort his face with surprised expressions of coy denial. No, he exhibits the correct amount of sincere compunction, and he actively searches for a viable resolution to atone for his actions. He is not seeking total absolution, as he understands the act of forgiveness is a process – a sometimes complicated process. His only objective is to acknowledge his guilt, offer an earnest apology, and establish a suitable resolution. That is the standard he abides by, as that is the only standard he knows. Ensure that you know it too.
A gentleman should not contract the services of suede during the spring and summer seasons. As a matter of fact, he is strictly forbidden from entertaining the thought. To that notion, we emphatically say: Nonsense! But, suede in the spring and summer? Why, yes my friend. Think of it as sweet & sour, or sugar & spice, or sweet & salty, or – well, you get the point. And that point is: Sometimes, opposites most certainly do attract. Marry with a pair of pressed cotton khakis or relaxed denim jeans. And if you are really feeling adventurous; rock a suede pair with one of your suits. Hey, we said opposites attract. It should be noted, I’m adventurous, but not that adventurous. Perhaps I would wear a pair with a crisp cotton suit, but that is about as far as I can take it. I just wanted to be transparent with the audience. So, check out my newest kicks – a cool pair of Florsheim wingtips – courtesy of a bonus sale at DSW. Draw the necessary inspiration and go kick it this season, and the next, in style.
My brother and I were talking one Saturday and I asked him if he ever remembered watching our father attend church service. After briefly pondering my question, he replied that he did not. Sparked by a morning conversation with my men’s church group, where my pastor stressed the importance of sons seeing their father pray, I realized there were numerous things that I never witnessed my father do. Probably because he was sparingly there. As young adolescents, we are subconsciously influenced by things we don’t see just as much by the things we do see. Depending on the argument of the week that determined if my father would be allowed in the house, the only two things I did witness, on a regular basis, were alcohol consumption & abuse. Being educated on the virtues of manhood? Well, single mother households don’t allow for such luxuries. My mother did her absolutely best, and I am blessed for it. However, it would have been nice to have meaningful male interaction with the man who played a role in my conception. So, I comprised a list of things I did not see from my father; but I will ensure my kids do see from me.
So, if by chance you were pondering the thought, yes, polka dots are still popular heading into the spring and summer seasons. Caveat: Polka-dotted furnishings for gentlemen are best utilized in small, discreet dosages. Perhaps in the form of a beautiful bow-tie, some jazzy socks, or silky smooth pocket square – such as the square pictured above. Bearing an all-over polka dot pattern and a light blue center edged by a chocolate border, this Richard James pocket square retains the right amount stylish energy without being foppish. And contrary to what GQ states in their latest guide to pocket square folding, the puff and point folds are not clownish. Pocket square does not denote the strict folding of a symmetrical or an irregular square. Trust me, the fanciful puff has been around for decades, it’s not going anywhere. True, cotton pocket squares are most likely to be folded conservatively. Then again, cotton is stiffer than silk. So, just because the square fold is the flavor of the moment does not mean other folds are antiquated. But I digress, the playfulness of this Richard James requires a whimsical toss in the breast pocket, because polka dots are, of course, playful. And with the weather warming up appropriately, this gentleman is all about play. Boom!