Style & Substance – Man Purse or Portfolio Bag?

Suit Supply Collage

Suit Supply

For seemingly decades, the conversation pertaining to a gentleman’s style, in regards to sexuality and masculinity, has always been a topic subject to much speculation and conjecture. In the contemporary world, the progressively blurred sartorial lines within the realm of men’s style has produced an ambiguity between femininity and masculinity that confounds many and drives trepidation. An ambitious gentleman who strives to dress elegantly will almost always bear the distinction of being too affected or ostentatious. For a brief moment, society was so confused by the return of the well-dressed gentleman, a cute label was christened to identify him – the metro-sexual. Frankly, I think that is one of the silliest monikers ever invented. So, what is all of this rambling for anyway? Well, an interesting picture danced across my Facebook timeline yesterday. It was a photograph of a dapper gentleman of color; holding what appeared to be a hybrid of a book bag and satchel, it arrived with a caption: Man purse – yes or no for your man?

Honestly, in my humble opinion, it didn’t look like a purse. However, I think the term “man purse” prejudiced the viewer to think of it as such. Without the caption, I think people would surmise the guy was just carrying a small duffel bag. The responses were overwhelming decisive – the look was too feminine for guy, leave the small bags for women. And so, I searched the Internet for similar bags for a reference point. I came across a cadre of bags offered by Suit Supply – they really have some sweet bags in stock – and amongst the group were a few selections referenced as portfolio bags. In an age when a gentleman is inundated with small gadgets and accessories, is it a stretch to understand why he may require a small bag to house his belongings, without calling into question his sexuality? Or, is this one of those cases where fashion is straddling the line between being a man and being effeminate? Your thoughts?

Black Thought

james baldwin 2“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

James Baldwin

The knowledgeable gentleman is reconciled with the reality that anything worth the attempt of transforming could ultimately result in failure. Nevertheless, the very real possibility of failure does not deter or dissuade him from focusing his efforts to bring about change. He understands that change is not fully realized when absent an active catalyst. Please note: Fruitful, bountiful harvests are not born to barren soil. Work must be done. And so, if a gentleman desires to see a difference, he must ultimately commit himself to making a difference. A gentleman must steel his resolve and confront what needs to be confronted, failure be damned. So, the question for you is: What do you want to see changed, and just exactly what are you doing about it?

Gentlemen’s Review – Tieroom – Notch Wool Neckties



With supreme and impeachable confidence, I can publicly declare that the season of summer has quietly departed, and the arrival of fall has summarily taken its place. Here in Michigan, it commenced with a few heavy rainstorms, which effectively cooled the humid, hot weather to a respectable level of comfort and relief. Valiantly, summer attempted a final stand of sorts, as a couple of 90 degree days made surprise appearances throughout the last couple of weeks. Nonetheless, it was all for naught; fall was here and the temperatures reflected that reality. Steadily, early mornings and late nights have become appropriately nippy. Thus gentlemen, it is officially time to switch up the sartorial gear accordingly. So, let us begin with a favorite accoutrement of mine – the necktie.

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The Standard #28

CloudsThankful. That is how I feel today – really thankful. Thankful for my health. Thankful for my family. Thankful for my job. I am even thankful for my 2000 Nissan Altima; which is finally starting to show its age. Those miles are steadily starting to weather my primary mode of transportation. First it was my knock sensor. Then a screw worked its way free from the hinges on my driver’s door, thus preventing it from opening all the way. Then came the entire replacement of my brake system. And now, when I attempt to pump gasoline, the nozzle clicks continuously as if my tank is full (it is not), and oddly there is a little gas spillage underneath the bottom.

So Monday, I sat at my desk in disbelief, it appeared that more repairs were on the way. And for a little bit, I was bummed. But then I heard news of the shooting at the Washington, D.C. Navy Yard. Suddenly, I was snapped back to reality. Seriously, I didn’t have anything to be bummed about. So what, I have an old car that is going to be subject to wear and tear. It’s supposed to happen; it’s an old car. The Washington, D.C. Navy Yard – that’s not supposed to happen. Sandy Hook Elementary School – that’s not supposed to happen. The mass indiscriminate shootings that currently plague cities such as Chicago, Flint, and Detroit – that’s not supposed to happen. And so I sit here today…thankful. Because, a blessed gentleman understands that even if his own reality seems glum, there exists a truly somber, horrid reality that he has not experienced. And for that, he is thankful for the miniscule, insignificant worries that he has of his own.

Style & Substance – Breaking Plaid – The Ubiquitous Pattern of the Season

A. Olch Plaid Pocket SquareAlexander Olch

Please gentlemen, do not be mistaken, this isn’t your great grandfather’s plaid. Embarrassingly fusty. Slightly stodgy. Obliviously dated. No, this contemporary rendition is different in every facet imaginable. To be certain, gone are the days of grumpy and grouchy checks, and in its place we have at our disposal something brazenly hip, something resolutely ballsy. Trust, the tradition remains intact, but do not confuse tradition with antiquity. Today’s plaid does not break from tradition, it merely turns up the volume. The intersections of vertical and horizontal lines are more adventurous; blazing a path of varying widths and lengths. The color choices are plentiful and unconventional; anything from eggplant purple to forest green is confidently on the table. And the instruments for which a gentleman can demonstrate his sartorial expertise: sport coats, neckties, pocket squares, dress shirts, etc. Again, any and everything is on the table. This autumn, the department stores are stocked to capacity with plaid offerings. So, a gentleman might as well dismiss his visions of those nightmarish plaids from yesteryear, and instead select at least one bold plaid furnishing to add to his inventory. It could be as subtle as a pocket square. Or, it could be as showy as a sport coat. Either way, the most ubiquitous pattern this autumn begs for spot in your closet.

The Standard #25

responsibilityThe 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.

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.

Global Projects – Jordan Clemons – Mission Campaign

Hello everyone, today we are going to take a brief break from the usual sartorial and inspirational articles. Instead, I would like to call attention to a beautiful young lady that attends my church. Jordan Clemons has a vision and a mission. And simply, it is to spread the word of the gospel throughout the world. For her first international mission trip, the 16-year-old Clemons hopes to travel to Uganda to spread the good word. Seriously, at the age of 16, how many of us were willing to travel abroad to a foreign country, venturing into the unknown, for the sole purpose of making a difference in someone’s life? That’s serious business people. And commendable. So today, let’s help Ms. Clemons attain her monetary goal of $3800.00 by October 20th, 2013. Please donate what you can afford, every bit helps. Share on your Facebook wall. Tweet it out to your peeps. And hopefully, we can make it happen. I will be sure to provide updates. So, what do you need to do?

Update: The deadline has been extended to October 20th

  1. Click the following link to the right:
  2. Click the secure PayPal button towards the middle of the page under One Time Donation
  3. Fill out all pertinent donation information
  4. After completion, click the Review Donation & Continue button
  5. Click Add Special Instructions To Seller, and then type JORDAN CLEMONS -2013 Uganda in the box
  6. Boom, you’re done

Again, thank you to everyone that is able to assist with this goal. You are truly appreciated.

Gentlemen’s Review – Modern Renaissance Man – Vintage Accessories


Leather Brooch

Back in late July, we featured an in-depth profile with a small independent company called Modern Renaissance Man. A company that specializes in classic gentlemanly accessories; the co-owner, Tracy Xavier, was kind enough to share the genesis of her small business, as well as her vision for the future and the current state of menswear. So now, today, we are taking a closer look at the merchandise. First, let’s address our favorite piece amongst the varied selections – their leather brooch. Absolute winner. During my interview with Tracy, I wondered aloud if brooches were something a contemporary gentleman could sport with confidence. And then this weekend I saw retired Baltimore Ravens linebacker (turned NFL commentator), Ray Lewis, rocking one on television. So, okay, that answered that question! That being said, let’s jump into the review.

Click here for the rest of my review and more awesome pictures!

The Tie Bar – Dwyane Wade – The Gentleman Collection

d wade tie barOkay, despite my personal feelings for the Miami Heat, the impending collaboration between Dwyane Wade and The Tie Bar is actually pretty cool. Launching this November, Wade will assist in designing the requisite cadre of neckties, bow ties, pocket squares, tie bars, etc. I have always been a fan of The Tie Bar, as the price versus quality dynamic has always been favorable for any well-dressed gentleman who is budget conscious. Being the fashion-forward gentleman Wade is, it will be quite interesting to see what the eventual line looks like. I sincerely hope there are some moderately conservative selections offered for us gents that don’t follow the Russell Westbrook code of sartorial dress. Let us hope. For more information, check out the release over at GQ and sign up for exclusive updates directly over at The Tie Bar. Stay tuned.


The Tie Bar:

Gent Hints – Suit Jacket Sleeve Length

Phineas Cole Fall 2013

Phineas Cole Fall 2013

Depending on certain details, the expanse lying between simply dressing and being well-dressed can be great, or it can be small. Again, that is largely dependent upon the quiet details that are contained within a gentleman’s presentation. Today, we are going to take a quick glance at the suit jacket sleeve. Sometimes, a gentleman’s sleeves will either be too short or too long. A majority of the time, the sleeve is too long. Generally, conventional advice from credible style aficionados dictate a sleeve length that exposes 1/4 to 1/2 inches of your dress shirt cuff. Now, a reputable tailor should be able to eyeball the appropriate measurement and tailor accordingly. However, to provide some visual assurance to yourself, there are two anatomical guides that should ensure the proper sleeve length. First, the cuff of your dress shirt should extend all the way to the base of your palm. Second, locate the bony, circular knobs on the outside of both wrists – that’s a part of your carpus, the cluster of bones that comprise the wrist – this is where your suit sleeve should hit, depending on your tastes and anatomy. Utilizing both of those physical markers, a gentleman should be able to achieve the correct length of his suit jacket sleeve.

4 Influential Black Bloggers You Should Know – One Is Me!

InfluencersApologies. Some people may be unaware, but aside from my writing and blogging escapades, I actually maintain regular 9 to 5 employment. On occasion, time quietly evades me. And so, apologies. I have not been able to share some fantastic news with the audience. That news: I have been named as one of four influential black bloggers that the public should know, as deemed by AT&T The Bridge. Truly, I am humbled. This blog occupies a fairly miniscule portion of the Internet universe, so to be recognized as an influential blogger of color is awesome. Yes, awesome. And in other awesome news, I have been selected to be a contributor to the Details’ network of fashion writers across that same Internet universe. Perhaps you may have noticed my Details badge at the bottom of the page. August was a great month. Up next…presenting a workshop at Covenant House Detroit that will focus on the importance of dressing well for job interviews. I am excited and I will be sure to share with the audience after the presentation ends. I promise.

Check the AT&T The Bridge article here.

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