A wise gentleman understands that while he may be incapable of altering certain burdensome circumstances that surround him, he is certainly capable of changing the manner in which those circumstances are handled on his behalf. It is true, there are just some realities and eventualities that stretch beyond the scope of a gentleman’s ability to resolve. However, sometimes it is not the situation that requires resolution, not at all, it is a gentleman’s spirit that demands an internal resolution to properly engage the matter at hand. Trust, the way a challenging circumstance is viewed and managed can dramatically refashion its complexion. If your mind and heart have predetermined a situation to be hopeless and lost, it should not be surprising if that reality remains unchanged. However, a positive and constructive approach can have a meaningful influence and substantial impact. Do not expose yourself to unnecessary stress in an attempt to change what cannot be changed. Instead, focus on strengthening yourself with patience, perseverance, integrity, thoughtfulness, and love. Empowering oneself with the proper tools for positive growth, both mentally and spiritually, is the best remedy for any adverse event you may encounter.
It has become painfully apparent that the winter season is delicately moving in closer and closer as the weeks drift lazily away. Bright and sunny Michigan mornings have gradually regressed to cold and dreary. Blackened skies, usually associated with late evenings, are arriving a smidgen earlier in the afternoon. The road ahead is clear. Soon it will be the season of heavy overcoats and snow plows. So, with a complete understanding of the reality ahead, I finally decided to liberate a suede pair of Florsheim wingtips from its box underneath my bed. Yes, before the sidewalks become inundated with snow, slush, salt, and whatever wintry debris is present, I broke out the suede while the streets are still clear of cold mush.
Now, out of the box, the wingtips arrived with a standard set of unspectacular grey shoe laces. However, I wanted to jazz up the presentation a little, so I eagerly retrieved a pair of bright yellow, polka dot Happy Socks and yellow 1901 shoe laces that I also had tucked away from a summer purchase. Sidenote: If you don’t have a pair of colorful socks or shoe laces in your life, I highly recommend procuring a few pairs. It’s an adventurous venture from the norm, but it’s a venture worth taking. Here, I selected a more aggressive polka dot to pair up with my wingtips. It’s not often that I get too wild with color and pattern, but I thought pairing some loud socks with an understated wingtip would be nice. However, some may argue that a grey suede wingtip is pretty rakish as well. Perfect for a casual office settings, I received plenty of compliments over the course of the day. Unfortunately, I may have to return these suede beauties back to their box – at least until spring arrives. That is months away, so I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I have to deal with this winter first – oh joy. Stay stylish gentlemen.
Now, before I launch into my latest review featuring Robert Graham’s first ever men’s footwear collection, I must extend a sincere apology to the public relations agent that presented the opportunity to trial two offerings from their newly minted, 14 style collection. Fatherhood has reached a whole new level; complete with morning trips to daycare, last-minute scrambles for babysitters, and my little one experiencing her first bout with a cold. Baby snot sure is fun.Therefore, my attention has been seriously diverted from my usual blogging duties. Nevertheless, here I am, writing, hoping to put the finishing touches on this post while my princess is soundly asleep. So, let’s get into some background details first shall we?
Grounded in New York, Robert Graham was introduced to the masses as a luxury clothing brand in 2001. Founded by Robert Stock and Graham Fowler, the clothing brand is widely recognized for its aggressive utilization of bold color and pattern. Up until recently, that rakish signature was relegated to dress shirts, sport shirts, knit-wear, polo tops, etc. However, Robert Graham is now bringing that eclectic charm to footwear. Yes – footwear. Honestly, I have encountered Robert Graham clothing in the past, but I never purchased any of the merchandise. The clothing was a tad busy for my personality. I am a little low-key with my style. So now Robert Graham is delivering that same vibe with their shoe collection. So, let’s dice in and see what they are offering the public.
- Pebble-grain Cowhide Leather
- Medium Width
- Stained tooled floral sole
- Embossed Signature bowler logo in shank
- Hand sewn box stitching
- RG Gerard print on tongue lining
- Cushioned foot-bed for comfort and support
- Retail – $328.00
The pebble-grain leather loafer is definitely the standout amongst the two shoes up for review today. With a robust sole and rugged exterior, this pebble-grain offering is the perfect complement for the fall season. Instantly, this became the casual workhorse of my loafer rotation. This particular loafer should be worn during informal occasions, perhaps with a pair of corduroy pants or woolen odd trousers. Pairing them with denim jeans would be a great combination as well. The loafer is pretty stocky, so a casual setting is probable the best environment to showcase its form.
The calf leather is reasonable supple and pliable with very minimal creasing. Of course that would depend upon the amount of usage. I will estimate that I wear these at least twice a week. The stiching is pretty tight and it has maintained its form pretty well. Still – use a shoe tree gentlemen! Now, upon sliding into a pair, it took a few strides to and from work to sufficiently break them in to a comfortable level. Adhering to the signature Robert Graham aesthetic, one can find a whimsical splash of color and pattern hidden underneath the tongue. Nice touch for the gentleman that appreciates discerning style.
- Calfskin leather
- Medium Width
- Double buckles with elastic goring
- Screen-printed leather lining
- Argentinian buffed leather outsole
- V-cut leather stacked heel
- Retail – $328.00
Now, I am a definitely a fan of a good monk strap, however, this particular monk was a little ornate for my tastes. I am also a fan of brogue detailing, but the pattern presented here did not suit me well. I think this monk strap is best equipped to be worn in creative work environments where sartorial freedom is embraced. Again, the calfskin leather here is standard issue, and it will need a few trips around the neighborhood to adequately break them in, but that should not be a huge problem. As I mentioned in the beginning of this review, a gentleman has 14 styles to select from the collection. Some are definitely more funky than others. Actually, there is a wingtip laden with a floral print that caught my attention. It certainly does not mesh with my personality, but I admit that the design is pretty ballsy. As per usual, the pricing may place a fright in the customer; both shoes clocking in at $328.00. Nevertheless, it is a luxury brand, and the price point isn’t far off from other brands. Your decision may ultimately hinge on your lifestyle and profession if you choose to part ways with your earnings. Once again the choice is yours. Stay stylish gentlemen.
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.
We must recognize the possibility. In the absence of possibility, we run the great risk of aborting our own aspirations. We must realize that through Him, our Lord and Savior, that no goal in accordance to His divine plan is unattainable. Now is the time to stop reciting the word can’t. Self defeating attitudes act only as obstacles erected by our own fears. We cannot make the mistake and believe we can’t accomplish whatever task that we bring into mental focus. Your dreams do not have to lie prone on the bed of dreams deferred and goals deterred. I implore you to stir yourself from your current state of self hindrance. Sometimes in life, we as people can be our own greatest brick wall. The moment is now to scale that wall and introduce yourself to the possibility that awaits you on the other side. Talk to you later.
Let’s be honest, of the myriad of health concerns an individual may possess, eye health is probably towards the bottom of the list. Unless one is born with refractive errors, like astigmatism, which makes vision blurry, healthy eyes are generally taken for granted. As long as one’s vision is reasonably well, regular check-ups with an eye doctor are often ignored. And even when a person’s vision slowly declines, much-needed medical intervention is delayed still. Unfortunately, by the time someone finally decides to have an eye exam, there may be issues that could have been prevented, or at the very least suitably managed. Check out these statistics courtesy of the Centers of Disease Control & Prevention:
- An estimated 61 million adults in the United States are at high risk for serious vision loss, but only half visited an eye doctor in the past 12 months.
- Approximately 14 million Americans aged 12 years and older have self-reported visual impairment defined as distance visual acuity of 20/50 or worse. Among them, more than 11 million Americans could have improved their vision to 20/40 or better with refractive correction.
- African-Americans have a higher risk of developing glaucoma after the age of 40.
- 1,600,000 Americans aged 50 years and older have age related macular degeneration
- As of 2004, blindness or low vision affects more than 3.3 million Americans aged 40 years and older
- 2.2 million people have glaucoma (about2% ) among Americans aged 40 years and older
- 20.5 million people have cataract (about 16%) among Americans aged 40 years and older
- Early detection and timely treatment of eye conditions such as diabetic retinopathy has been found to be efficacious and cost-effective.
- Approximately 8.2% of Americans with self-reported vision problems did not have health insurance. Only 4% of Americans without health insurance reported having optional vision insurance, compared with 58% of Americans with private health insurance, 44% of Americans with public health insurance, and 54% of Canadians.
- American without health insurance had the lowest age-adjusted rate of use of eye care services (42%) compared with Americans with private health insurance (67%) or public health insurance (55%) and Canadians (56%).
Understanding just how important eye health is, Rickey Smiley has joined with America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses to not only increase eye health awareness, but also offer 12 stylish eyeglasses at an affordable cost. The new Rickey Smiley frames are eligible for America’s Best’s two-for-$104.95 deal which includes single vision plastic lenses and an eye exam. The Gentlemen’s Standard had the distinct honor to discuss the new Rickey Smiley eyeglass line and eye awareness campaign with Mr. Smiley himself. Check out our conversation below.
The Gentlemen’s Standard: What was driving catalyst that prompted you to collaborate with America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses to initiate this campaign for eye health awareness?
Rickey Smiley: I’ve worn glasses since third grade and it quickly became a huge part of my personal style and who I am. I already had an established partnership with America’s Best, so it was a natural evolution for us to campaign together on this very important cause.
TGS: What are some of the projects you will be involved in to help spread awareness?
RS: I’ll be telling my story, talking up my new frames and spreading awareness on the importance of eye health through news and radio programming and my social media pages (@Rickey Smiley on Twitter and Rickey Smiley Official Fan Page on Facebook). I’m also excited to be hitting the streets with #FramedWithSmiley events in various cities. We’re having a great time meeting some of my fans and introducing them to my eyewear and talking about their eye health.
TGS: Will this campaign involve any community outreach in major cities?
RS: We’re trying to reach people of all ages because eye health is important at any age. The Rickey Smiley Eyewear line is designed for men, aged 25-54 — but they can also be worn by women. Basically, I’m hoping to reach anyone who is looking for a cool style, but doesn’t want to break the bank.
TGS: What are some of the goals you hope to accomplish with this campaign?
RS: Yes! I believe people shouldn’t have to sacrifice style or seeing to save a buck and that everyone should have the opportunity to see well and look good, too. Partnering with America’s Best makes complete sense for me because their business is also committed to giving people quality eye wear and eye care at an affordable price.
TGS: Are there any plans to expand the Rickey Smiley eyeglass line?
RS: Well, the line is still brand new, but I can tell you that the frames have been doing very well so far. It’s been great to hear how much people love them. I know that the America’s Best team is always thinking about the future, but they aren’t ready to share any specific plans about the line just yet.
Tips for Healthy Eyes
- Visit your optometrist or ophthalmologist yearly – especially if you are over the age of 40.
- Eat a well-balanced diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E. We’re talking green leafy vegetables, salmon, tuna, nuts, blueberries, strawberries, and citrus fruits.
- Glued to that tablet or computer screen? Ensure you grant your eyes adequate rest by utilizing the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes you should look away at a distance of 20 feet for 20 seconds.
- No smoking! It can lead to macular degeneration, hasten the development of cataracts, and can cause optic nerve damage.
- Rock some shades to block out harmful ultraviolet light. You want shades that block out 99 percent of UVA and UVB radiation.
For more information on Rickey Smiley’s new eyeglass lines, please visit HERE for more details.
Gentlemen, it is quit remarkable that autumn has officially commenced, and before you can blink your eyes, winter will be touching down shortly as well. Now, I understand that is a conversation many gentlemen care not to entertain, but the reality is inevitable – winter is coming. Now, with these truths proven to be self-evident, fine department stores are bolstering their inventory accordingly with cold-weather appropriate menswear. Therefore, anticipate that the usual regiment of seasonal woolen offerings will inundate your local shelves. And speaking of woolen, again, I have to endorse this year’s wool pocket squares from Suit Supply.
Offered a few months ago, I recklessly procrastinated, and the result was a stock that was instantly depleted within weeks. To clarify, the wool pocket squares in question were a dynamic tandem, both light blue squares edged with a cream hue and speckled with either burgundy or navy dots. In affairs of the pocket square, Suit Supple stays winning. Luckily for me, both became available once again a month or so ago. And as a treat for myself, on my 38th birthday, I scooped up both pocket squares. Lightweight. Soft. Impeccable design. I cannot complain. I understand some gentlemen may scoff at the $45.00 price-tag, but I’m a pocket square lover, and sometimes one has to pay for style and quality. Once again, I am a satisfied customer. Stay stylish gentlemen.
Admittedly, the gentlemanly art of dressing well can be deceptively simple. So simple in fact, there are a certain number of gentlemen that mistakenly oversimplify the exercise. For example, coordinating one’s necktie with its accompanying pocket square should be relatively painless, but some men choose to make the task painfully less painless than is warranted. Suspect department stores traffic prepackaged necktie & pocket square sets; both accessories consisting of the same fabric and pattern. The objective is to make the selection process mistake-free and thought-free. And therein lies the problem – the fact that gentlemanly thought in regards to attire will ultimately result in mistake-laden, sartorial disaster. So, thank you T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s for looking out for the brothers. However, your prepackaged box sets are not really necessary.
Gentlemen, you can select your own necktie and pocket square, and furthermore, they certainly do not have to match. Coordinate – yes. Complement – yes. Straight up match, pattern for pattern, color for color – no. Coordinating both can be simple and fun, just keep in mind what your primary and secondary colors are in your tandem. If your necktie is primarily navy, select a pocket square whose secondary color boasts hints of navy. Alternatively, one can choose like colors (like the Paul Stuart example above), but with differing patterns to create some visual separation. And yet another option is to smartly choose a complementing color. Burgundy necktie – try a lavender based pocket square. If colors stump you, perform a Google search of color wheels and allow them to be your guide. It’s not as hard as you might assume, or be allowed to think. The holidays will be upon us and the box sets will be out in force. Resist the temptation brethren, let the world know you can coodinate your own necktie and pocket square – and even knot or fold either as well!
Granted, the concept of actually owning a belt keeper, especially one that rotates, can be perceived as slightly anal. Yes, a gentleman may cast a gaze of appreciation from a safe distance, but surely he would not dare own one. Well, I am here to roundly proclaim: There is absolutely nothing inappropriate with being orderly and organized. It’s just an intelligent practice. Hurried mornings rife with frenzy and panic – perhaps heightened by the unfortunate circumstance of a misplaced belt – can be tempered via the employment of a belt keeper. Now, maybe, you only own 1-2 belts maximum, then a belt keeper probably would not be feasible. However, if you are a gentleman with an unspecified (a lot) amount of belts, this smart accessory will definitely serve as a smart addition to your closet. Eliminate the search and rescue for missing belts; this inexpensive investment (the Woodlore offering above retails for $14.95) will reduce time allocated for getting dressed, and possible negate headaches related to hunting down your gentlemanly accoutrement. Next – securing the location for those pesky, wayward socks. Those bad boys can be anywhere.
The military inspired gentleman’s field jacket has witnessed a noticeable reduction in popularity this season, which is quite surprising given its ubiquitous presence last autumn. Nowadays, options are particularly scarce with the venerable pea coat standing tall once again. And that is an unfortunate turn of events, as the field jacket is probably the most underrated piece of outerwear that many gentlemen don’t have in their possession. Primarily based on function, sexy aesthetics are not of tremendous importance here. Nevertheless, let’s be frank, when the temperatures gradually drop to long john appropriate levels, sexy is the furthest concept from a gentleman’s mind. Sometimes what is required is a burly, no-nonsense type of coat to handle the dwindling digits in the forecast. Please don’t misunderstand, pea coats are up for the task as well, but they are a little more refined and dashing. Here, with the field jacket, what is needed is a coat that is constructed for active duty – welcome punishment that inclement weather may bring. So, if you can still locate one on the market, I highly endorse its procurement. I purchased two field jackets last year, and I love both of them. Stay stylish gentlemen.
The most wonderful thing about authoring a blog is it allows an individual to project a voice that otherwise may not be heard or recognized. I blog because I strongly feel that I have something constructive, positive to share; and I also enjoy writing and interacting with the reading audience. Now, let us be perfectly candid, there is a bevy of warm garbage circulating around on the Internet right now. Some of these individuals who write need their laptops and computers immediately confiscated and discarded into the nearest incinerator. Words should have a meaning. Words should have a purpose. Instead of adding to the gluttony of mindless, destructive Internet banter; choose to use your voice as an instrument that imparts wisdom, uplifts the spirit, and encourages thoughtful dialogue. And you can certainly have fun doing so. Right now, the landscape is wide open, anyone can create a website nowadays. If you just happen to be that one, just ensure that you add something positive to the conversation. We have more than enough trash out there, please don’t add to the pile.