Style & Substance – The Floral Lapel Pin

Flower Lapel

Lanvin – Mr Porter

So, the idea has been dancing around in my head for the past year. Floral lapel pin or no floral lapel pin? This simple, yet elegant gentleman’s accessory has existed for seemingly centuries, but contemporary utilization had relegated it’s purpose to weddings or other formal occasions that begged strict dress attire. That is, however, until Nucky Thompson expertly demonstrated the debonair art of pinning a floral accessory to one’s lapel, and then proceeded with business as usual, ignoring the ornate touch that meticulously placed it there. Absent any signals that would predict a downward trend in popularity; the floral lapel pin is literally everywhere now – casual or business. Pin or button version; arriving in an array of materials from silk to wool. And so, regretfully, I have procrastinated and not jumped on the bandwagon. The bandwagon seems full. Seriously, it appears that every gentleman is wearing one on every Tumblr page I come across. Last month, I was going to make the plunge, and then my wife spotted Jalen Rose rocking one on ESPN. She thought it was ugly. And truthfully – it was. Too big. Too garish. Color didn’t complement any of his ensemble. It was kind of bad. Nevertheless, I believe my selection process will result in better choices. Spring is officially here – granted it does not feel like it – and the weather is going to necessitate the need for lively color. No time will be better than now to add a floral flair into the mix. Right? So, happy hunting I go. Stay stylish gentlemen.

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?

The Standard #18


Jesse OwensFirmly standing upright under an unrelenting, blistering storm of vitriolic contempt and caustic distrust, the successful gentleman remains undeterred in his journey towards triumph. Triumph – born of an unwavering resolve and complete assurance in his abilities; this gentleman cannot be denied what he has tirelessly striven for. And despite ardent attempts to trivialize his work, undermine his legitimacy, or boldly question his intellect; ignorance and hatred will be trumped every time. Believe it. No amount of mockery can shake his confidence. He is resolute. He is intelligent. He is courageous. More importantly, he recognizes that there exists individuals consumed with hubris and guided by conceit, which ultimately hastens their downfall. So, he stays in his lane and does what he does best – win. Are you a winner?

The Standard #31


MountainIt is wise for a gentleman to avoid an ascension that strays him amongst mountains of hubris; an ascension that betrays his remembrance of the ever distant valleys beneath his feet. Gentlemen, be not thoughtlessly mistaken, your climb towards success does not preclude the possibility of an agonizing fall. Depending upon the heights that one rises, arrogance may silently corrupt your character, and thus the descent could be resolutely sharp, steep and abrupt. This is not say that a gentleman should not achieve or strive for the greatest heights of success or prosperity. To be certain, a gentleman can certainly ride amongst the highest clouds of accomplishment, and yet remain grounded in modesty and humility. It is the appreciation of the valleys that makes the view from above that much more beautiful. It is the appreciation of the valleys that assuage any fear of falling. Because, if a gentleman so finds himself in the midst of a certain plunge, his spirit is steeled with the knowledge that he will rise again. Conversely, a successful gentleman may never experience any affecting gravity upon his achievements. Nonetheless, the underlying message is steeped in consistency, never lose sight of your origins and appreciate the valleys of one’s life that have transformed into triumph. And if you are not there yet, don’t worry, you will be. See you at the top.

Gentlemen’s Review – Swiss Stays – Collar Stays

Swiss StaysFor the discerning gentleman that appreciates the unspoken sophistication that an unobtrusive accessory may grant; the patented adjustable collar stay from Swiss Stays is under TGS’s microscope today. Birthed from sartorial necessity by custom clothier and founder of Astor & Black, David Schottenstein, the adjustable collar stay was invented to mitigate any frustrations that may arise when trying to coordinate the correct collar stay with the correct shirt collar. Now, for the sake of definition, a collar stay is a small shirt accessory, fashioned in the shape of shirt collar tip, designed to slide into specifically cut pockets beneath the shirt collar. The purpose is to provide much-needed stability and weight to a shirt collar that can that may be prone to floppiness and slackness.

Now, a collar stay may arrive in the material form of brass, stainless steel, titanium, plastic, mother of pearl, horn, etc. Some shirts may already possess collar stays upon purchase – most likely of the plastic or brass variety. They are also designed with varying lengths for the differing collar styles that may be on the market. With Swiss Stays, the available materials for purchase are as follows: plastic (PVC), stainless steel, brass, and titanium. For review purposes, TGS was shipped both the PVC and titanium versions. Pertaining to length, the offerings from Swiss Stays have four adjustable positions for a gentleman’s preference as demonstrated below.

Swiss Stays 2

So, let’s jump into the dapper details of these unique collar stays. As mentioned above, the uniqueness of these collar stays reside in the function of adaptability. The titanium collar stays are decidedly sturdy and strong – almost to a fault. It is going to take a little finger strength to adjust your stays into the desired positions. I’ve found that the easiest method is to use your thumb to push apart the two moving parts, and then push them together simultaneously to move back into the starting position (visual #1). With the passage of time, perhaps the moving parts will loosen sufficiently for the various configurations. One thing is for sure, these collar stays won’t break anytime soon.

Now, the PVC collar stays were much more flexible than its titanium associate. It should be noted that although the material is plastic, it still feels stronger than the plastic stays one might find in a newly purchased shirt. This plastic version from Swiss Stays would probably suit the gentleman who isn’t particular about floppy collars, but may be intrigued about the possibility of keeping them in check.

Housed in a metal package that closely resembles a vintage Zippo lighter, three pairs of any collar stay of choice sit neatly arranged in two rows of three. Each version of collar stay must be returned to its original folded position to be placed back into its case. I should also add – as a gentleman who has misplaced a few collar stays over time – the metal storing case is a nice touch. It allows a gentleman to smartly keep track of his stays.

Swiss Stays 3And now – pricing: Available in four different materials and price points (PVC $8; Stainless Steel $20; Brass $30; and Titanium $50), they come in packs of six and fit all 24 different styles of shirt collars on the market. Also available, a sterling silver leather gift set ($150). Depending on your sartorial lifestyle, a cool set of these unique collar stays could be the solution you have desired to tame that undesirable case of runaway collar. If you’re already an owner of a few collar stays, this offering from Swiss Stays may be worth your attention. If not, they may afford a fresh approach to how you handle your shirt collar. Stay stylish gentlemen.

The Standard #3

harlemThe knowledgeable gentleman comprehends that his image does not begin with how society views him. Rather, the gentleman’s image begins with how he sees himself. He alone determines and dictates the manner in which he is presented to the world. When he gazes into the mirror, the reflection of greatness should readily greet him. It does not begin with the clothing he chooses to attire himself in, nor the vehicle he selects to navigate city streets. Not the place of employment where he makes a living. Not the amount of money presently residing in his bank account. Why? Well, because character starts with his self-worth. His esteem is not erected upon a mountain of biodegradable materialism – subject to decay and waste. No, the gentleman’s image is based on gentlemanly fundamentals that are concrete and certain. Virtue. Honor. Principle. Forthrightness. The Gentlemen’s Standard.

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