Black Thought

“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.”

-Booker T. Washington

Sure, it would be easy enough to become enamored by the seemingly authoritative, accomplished status of a wildly successful individual. The mere presence of seductive visuals such as expensive status symbols have tremendous influence as they elicit, sometimes, misguided deference from the admirer. However, I challenge the reader to momentarily ignore such material objects. Instead, please divert your attention to the process that granted such accomplishment possible. What did that individual experience during their journey to success? Trust this: The strength of a gentleman’s character is forged on the anvil of adversity. Through weathering distress or difficulty, prosperity is procured by he who believes a challenge is an opportunity. An opportunity to steel your will and seize achievement despite any obstacles you might encounter. Don’t be impressed by person’s materialistic results. Those are nice and fine to look at. Nevertheless, be more impressed with the vanquished adversity that withered in the face of impending success. And then go forth and forge your own.

Gent Hints – The Necktie Dimple

Phineas Cole

I completely understand that all gentlemen may not favor a sharply creased dimple residing in the middle of their necktie. Every gentleman has his own unique signature style. And of course a beautiful necktie will remain a beautiful necktie-regardless of whether or not a gentleman decides to embrace the finishing touch of a dimple. Nevertheless, I remain a staunch proponent of utilizing this perfectly placed cleft because I believe in the nuanced details that make a man well-dressed. Now, I know I have probably tackled this subject before, but at the behest of my father-in-law, I have decided to cover the topic once again. So, just how does a gent execute a distinctive dimple cascading down from a taut knot? Well, there are a few key factors that a gentleman should take into careful consideration.

First, your necktie’s fabric must be resilient and robust-nothing lightweight or flimsy. I am not suggesting that your necktie be excessively heavy. What I am suggesting is the material be sturdy enough to hold a crease. If your necktie cannot hold a secure knot; chances are it won’t hold a deep dimple. Second, you simply cannot expedite the knotting process. You just cannot hurry style. Allow yourself enough time to properly knot your necktie. Third, your technique has to be excellent. After you have formed your knot and you are beginning to pull the long end through the loop…stop there! Most men just pull the tie through haphazardly and tighten the knot. This is what you should be doing: As you pull down on the necktie to tighten; do so with your pointer fingers and thumbs. As you are pulling, you want to secure the sides of your necktie (with both pointers & thumbs) and fold the fabric slightly forward, thus making a small crevice in the material.

Wait, you are not done. Your necktie should be relatively loose around your collar. The key is to form your knot and dimple before you fully tighten your necktie around your neck. Carefully begin to shape your knot and dimple. The best way to achieve this is through the process of tightening & loosening your necktie until it is formed to your satisfaction. Give your knot a slight pinch to accentuate the dimple and you are good to go. The whole process sounds a bit meticulous, but it really does not take long once you have done it a few times. And once you have done it, it is like learning to ride a bicycle-you will never forget. Maybe in the future, I can take it to another level and actually shoot a demonstration video. Until then, I am available for house calls if you require further instructions. Just kidding.

The Standard #1

An honorable gentleman fully comprehends the concept of exhibiting class, sympathy, and compassion. During episodes of great tragedy or human misery, the humane gentleman believes in charity and generosity. It is second nature. The considerate gentleman does not greedily seize upon the opportunity to criticize, politicize, or monetize unfortunate realities. His moral fiber is fortified with virtue and humility. He understands that the weight of life may prove too great for some individuals to bear. Alas, he has been blessed with robust shoulders that can bear life’s burdens, and that fact is not lost on him. He is blessed to be a blessing to those in need. Because, benevolence is a character trait that is not foreign to him, nor is it casually minimized. It is far too easy, agonizingly too simple to take what life has pleasantly afforded us for granted. Sometimes, perspective becomes distorted when the lens has become clouded with prosperity. Allow your wisdom to correct your focus. Your current situation could be dramatically different-and not in a good way. Be thankful. And always remember to assist others who may be in need. It could be you that requires the empathetic generosity of a stranger one day.

Style & Substance – The Polka Dot Pocket Square

Richard James
So, the gentleman’s word on the avenue is polka dot will be a popular pattern in accessories when autumn arrives in a few months. Which is terrific news for me because I started procuring a few polka dot neckties and pocket squares a couple of years ago. Classic patterns, when utilized properly and smartly, will never fade into obscurity. The fact is: Some patterns are simply more popular than others during varying moments in time. Now it is time for polka dots to receive a little shine. And as coincidence would have it, this chocolate and blue beauty caught my eye over at Mr Porter just yesterday. Sure, some gentlemen may be apprehensive about pairing blue and brown. And sure, the polka dot pattern is a little pronounced here. Nevertheless, this is the kind of visual flair that can elevate an otherwise serious sport coat or suit jacket. If the gentleman is careful in keeping any pattern in his dress shirt, his necktie, or even his jacket in check – there shouldn’t be any reason why you cannot rock this pocket square with reckless elegance. I see this handsome square brashly tucked in the breast pocket of a medium gray suit.  Yes – I said gray suit. Topped off with some chocolate oxfords. Killer!

Style & Substance – The Gentleman’s Slipper

Charles Philip Shanghai

I could be totally mistaken here, but I have always held the assumption that slippers are to be worn within the confines of one’s humble abode. However, with greater and greater frequency, I am noticing that slippers have gravitated beyond the walls of the household and onto the concrete walkway. And I am not referring to the casual stroll down the driveway to retrieve the daily newspaper either. No, gentlemen are rocking slippers as if they are your standard pair of loafers. With denim jeans. With khakis. Even with dress trousers. Now, take the example above, these slippers by Charles Philip Shanghai are definitely a handsome spectacle to beyond, but I am fearful that the construction will not sustain a repeated beating against the hard pavement. Consisting of a suede upper, cotton lining, and rubber sole; perhaps these puppies are meant to be worn around the office on a casual Friday. It just seems like these are designed for a flair of rakish eccentricity and not serious pavement pounding. But again, I could be wrong. Nevertheless, at $175.00, I’m not willing to take a chance.

Black Thought

“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!

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