Style & Substance – 5 Menswear Trends We Can Leave In 2013

the year 2013Soon enough, we will bid a bittersweet farewell to the year 2013, and in turn we will welcome in the new year with open arms. Arriving with the new year, we will surely witness new style trends and perhaps even a resurrection of a few forgotten classics. Now, it has been firmly established that sartorial options for men have increased exponentially over the last few years. A painful dearth of viable choices for sophisticated gentlemanly attire is no longer the reality we face, instead, we have become inundated with options galore. And as the year 2013 proved, that can be absolutely fantastic or regretfully painful. Sometimes the limits of style were pushed to the extremes of ridiculous. That being stated, I have compiled a short list of 5 style trends that should remain in 2013 and never enjoy any future renaissances. If you are guilty of rocking some of these looks, don’t worry dear friend, I just humbly request you reevaluate your current sartorial state of affairs and proceed wisely. Now, let’s go to work, first up…

The Standard #22

Malcolm+in+hatI am perfectly cognizant of the reality that traditions change as time progresses with each successive decade after the last. Behavior and culture from, say, 1950 is decidedly different from that of 2013. Nevertheless, there exists a few key behavioral attributes that have weathered the ever-transforming landscape of gentlemanly conduct. Whether referred to it as displaying the correct etiquette or possessing proper manners; there are certain standards that are resolutely non-negotiable. For instance, it is widely assumed that a gentleman should remove his hat when entering a home, a restaurant, an institution of worship, or any venue that demands deference. Walking into a funeral with your cap twisted to the side? Stop it. Wearing an over-sized cap at the dinner table? Absolutely not! Now, if this is common knowledge to you, I would highly recommended forwarding this post to any guy that is oblivious to this fact. Seriously, you would be surprised, or perhaps not, at the number of men who are unaware of hat etiquette. Now, will the world implode if you rock your hat indoors. Certainly not. But that is not point. It is paramount that a gentleman display proper form, especially in the presence of lady. And it also silently communicates to a young, impressionable male that you have code that entails dignity, respect, and tact – never a bad thing to have.

The Standard #29

successHumility. The act of possessing a modest opinion of one’s importance, understanding the complex context of life, and respecting the reality that other individuals may be better at some things than you. Gentlemen, please don’t be mislead by the boisterous musings of silly folk; so enamored by their own greatness that they cannot recognize their own shortcomings. Sometimes a man must recognize his faults and limitations. There is no shame in that. One must understand that embracing humility does not make a gentleman weak, actually, humility strengthens you. It keeps you grounded. It keeps you focused – on the important things in life. It is brazen arrogance that renders a gentleman vulnerable. Trust this: Keep living and life will eventually happen to you. And life can be the greatest administrator of humility. Recognize your position in life, and even if your station ranks well above others, discipline yourself in humility, as the folly of vanity can ultimately become your undoing. You don’t want to discover this bit of wisdom the hard way, but I am sure that you won’t. Maintain the standard my friends; catch you later.

Black Thought

frederick douglas“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard on incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and incur my own abhorrence.”

Frederick Douglass

At the close of the regular business day, a gentleman is who he has to live with. If he constantly compromises his ideology for the appeasement of others, he is at risk of losing his identity. He is at risk of losing his credibility. Remaining true to your character is what makes you unique. Authenticity is paramount. It is essential, it is vital to a gentleman’s character. While it is often terribly difficult not to follow the crowd, you will receive the respect & admiration from people for standing on your principles. Most important, you will respect yourself. A gentleman should never acquiesce, he should never tacitly sacrifice his core beliefs because he is fearful of public derision. Stand firm. You are a gentleman of strong character and substance. You may incur differing amounts of ridicule, however, rest assured that those individuals admire your strength and resolve. And they should.

It’s Official…I’m Going To Be a Daddy!

IMG_1493Well, my wife has officially granted me the green light to announce: We are going to be first time parents. Now, if you have been following my blogging exploits, you know the subject of fatherhood has been touched upon on more than a few occasions. From my volunteering efforts in kid’s ministry at my church to my mentoring adventures in the community; I have been primed and ready for this moment. And now it has arrived. Late January or early February 2014, I am going to become a proud father of a baby girl. I can’t even fathom the thought right now. I am extremely excited about becoming a dad. I just wanted to share the exciting news. I plan to write a top ten list of things I can’t wait to do with my daughter. Wow, how crazy does that sound? My daughter…music to my ears.

Style & Substance – Harris Tweed Gloves

Harris Tweed GlovesThe incremental resurgence of interest in menswear has not been without some miscues and missteps. The elasticity of sartorial boundaries have been rigorously tested; stretched to the extreme limits of creativity without total rupture, the contemporary gentleman has enjoyed a dandy of time with a myriad of newly minted options. Nevertheless, it would be wise to eschew said options that are unabashedly a gimmick, a sartorial device only utilized to elicit a look-at-me reaction. Instead, embrace the basics – with just hint new age flavor that doesn’t straddle the lines of the ridiculous. Such as the cadre of gloves above. Here we have a basic staple (the gloves) combined with age-old cloth (Harris Tweed) to produce a stunning, fresh reinterpretation of an old classic. No gimmicks, just freshness all around. Sometimes…that’s all a gentleman requires.


Man of Substance – Jason Marshall – The Love of Jazz

Jason Marshall

  • My name is Jason William Marshall Sr.  I am 30 years old. Married. Father of two children. I was born in Washington, D.C. – raised in Silver Spring, MD.
  • Undergrad from the New School. Masters from the Aaron Copeland School of music. I’m a professional saxophone player, arranger, composer and wardrobe consultant.  I’ve given talks on jazz, black history and menswear on a high school and college level. I live in Manhattan, NYC.
  • I remember jazz for as long as I remember hearing music. I did not gravitate towards it. It was always there.
  • I play the saxophone because that was what appealed to a 9-year-old kid in the 4th grade when we all chose instruments.
  • The only setbacks I’ve faced professionally was taking too long to realize that ethical behavior in the this business largely in effigy.  I wised up, though. I have been better for it every day since.
  • The most memorable experience as a professional would be the first time I played the Playboy Jazz Festival in LA. – 10,000 people, celebrities EVERYWHERE, Roy Hargrove and a ROTATING STAGE. I was 20 years old.
  • My favorite artists are Cannonball Adderley, Stanley Turrentine, Dexter Gordon and Grover Washington.  They all had an unmitigated joyousness and grace in their playing, and were very articulate in their presentation.
  • In the future, I see myself as wealthy beyond measure, successful beyond any logic, a blessing to anyone within earshot, and the husband, father, son and brother to a healthy, happy and whole family.

Black Thought

Nelson Mandela“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.”

“A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamed of.”

“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”

Nelson Mandela

Without a doubt, it is more than safe to assume that there will never be such a gentleman as Nelson Mandela, or at least none anytime soon. Nevertheless, that indisputable reality should not deter the contemporary gentleman from embracing Mandela’s indomitable spirit.  To be sure, if the contemporary gentleman were to extract but a modicum of wisdom from Mandela’s life, it would be this: Conduct your life appropriately with a meaningful purpose that serves humanity. Sure, you may not reach the stratospheric heights of a Nelson Mandela – that is a pretty lofty objective. However, you can definitely make an impact upon your surrounding community. And perhaps, your service can inspire a future Mandela; or a future Malcolm X or Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. You just never know. Trust, the world begs for more stewards of charity and service. You would be a welcome addition.

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