Style & Substance – That ’70s Necktie

Wide Width NecktieDelicately marinated in a bath of unabashed smoothness; this outfit emerges with a distinct ’70s flavor that only a connoisseur of cool could comprehend. Boasting a necktie width that would make Ron Burgundy burn with envy, this chosen piece of neck wear is a far departure from the emaciated slivers of silk that dangle helplessly around the throats of aspiring fashion-forward gentlemen. Sure, this striped beauty is a touch wide…okay…it’s pretty humongous. But, to that I declare: Whatever man. In a day and age where peacocks frolic to and fro with constricted trousers, Picasso print tops, and height challenged hems; I hereby endorse that ’70s necktie. I understand I may reside in the minority, and I may not be able to locate a necktie that matches the width of a lobster bib, but I am definitely incorporating neckties with broader proportions into my collection. Now the challenge: finding some good stock.

The Standard #26

elevatorsTo the audience, and I can’t stress this point quite forcefully enough, regardless of a gentleman’s level of employment, absolute professionalism is a must at all times. Seriously. Because, and this is more times often than not, an individual will start a chosen career at ground level. Nevertheless, it is incumbent that a gentleman take responsibility for his own career growth. Entry level should not be tantamount to the “only” level. Embrace a positive attitude, maintain a diligent work ethic, strive to learn continuously, and exude professionalism. Now, that is the second time I have referenced that word – professionalism. It is important. Really important. It could determine how far you travel down your respected career path. You may possess the intelligence, wit, and drive to get the job accomplished; but being a poor professional at your job can undermine your efforts, especially at entry-level.

First rule: Steer clear of childish office politics, or in other words, avoid office gossip. You are at a place of employment – not high school. A gentleman should never speak ill of his supervisor or even co-workers to other people in the workplace. Why? Because, gossip travels. If you have a critique or issue – say it to the individual’s face. No one likes a person they cannot trust. No one likes a two-faced, sneaky, passive aggressive louse that smiles in your face and stabs you in the back. Don’t be that guy in the office. There are already too many count. Stuck in place. Stuck in a rut. But not you because you are above it all. You arrive at work and perform your duties above and beyond what is required. And you do it with a positive attitude. You gain the respect and trust of your peers. You’re moving up in the world like elevators – like a true professional.

Style & Substance – Suit Supply Map Pocket Square

Suit Supply Map Pocket Square Suit Supply Map Pocket Square2Now, I am fully on board with wearing quirky and fun accessories, but I try not to stray too far from the sartorial farm, as my tastes deliberately sway conservative. True enough, pocket squares afford a greater expanse of fashion freedom, but these nifty pieces of colored cloth are still subjected to a traditional selection process – at least in my world. However, that fact could very well change, and it could be changing pretty soon. Thanks to Suit Supply, with whom I have procured some fantastic squares in the past, they are now offering some unique pocket squares adorned with various map motifs. One such motif that caught my attention arrives with a cool map of Africa. Fabric: a spring/summer blend of cotton and silk. Color: a spring/summer of light blue. Definitely a conversation starter without begging for conversation; this pocket square has landed on this gentleman’s wishlist. Yeah – like I need another.

Gents Hints – The Gift of Flowers

Steph BouquetLast 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.

Black Thought

zora neale hurston“His road of thought is what makes every man what he is.”

 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.

Gent Hints – The Winged Puff

Winged-PuffDiversifying 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.

Style & Substance – Beware The Peacock…Again

D Wade FloralGranted, 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?

The Standard #5

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.

Style & Substance – The Plaid Necktie

IMG_0759With 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.

Gentlemen’s Review – Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Men

palmers_cocoa_butterNot 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
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