The Standard #34

MountainA wise gentleman understands that while he may be incapable of altering certain burdensome circumstances that surround him, he is certainly capable of changing the manner in which those circumstances are handled on his behalf. It is true, there are just some realities and eventualities that stretch beyond the scope of a gentleman’s ability to resolve. However, sometimes it is not the situation that requires resolution, not at all, it is a gentleman’s spirit that demands an internal resolution to properly engage the matter at hand. Trust, the way a challenging circumstance is viewed and managed can dramatically refashion its complexion. If your mind and heart have predetermined a situation to be hopeless and lost, it should not be surprising if that reality remains unchanged. However, a positive and constructive approach can have a meaningful influence and substantial impact. Do not expose yourself to unnecessary stress in an attempt to change what cannot be changed. Instead, focus on strengthening yourself with patience, perseverance, integrity, thoughtfulness, and love. Empowering oneself with the proper tools for positive growth, both mentally and spiritually, is the best remedy for any adverse event you may encounter.

Dress Code – Florsheim – Suede Grey Wingtips

Grey Suede FlorsheimIt has become painfully apparent that the winter season is delicately moving in closer and closer as the weeks drift lazily away. Bright and sunny Michigan mornings have gradually regressed to cold and dreary. Blackened skies, usually associated with late evenings, are arriving a smidgen earlier in the afternoon. The road ahead is clear. Soon it will be the season of heavy overcoats and snow plows. So, with a complete understanding of the reality ahead, I finally decided to liberate a suede pair of Florsheim wingtips from its box underneath my bed. Yes, before the sidewalks become inundated with snow, slush, salt, and whatever wintry debris is present, I broke out the suede while the streets are still clear of cold mush. 

Now, out of the box, the wingtips arrived with a standard set of unspectacular grey shoe laces. However, I wanted to jazz up the presentation a little, so I eagerly retrieved a pair of bright yellow, polka dot Happy Socks and yellow 1901 shoe laces that I also had tucked away from a summer purchase. Sidenote: If you don’t have a pair of colorful socks or shoe laces in your life, I highly recommend procuring a few pairs. It’s an adventurous venture from the norm, but it’s a venture worth taking. Here, I selected a more aggressive polka dot to pair up with my wingtips. It’s not often that I get too wild with color and pattern, but I thought pairing some loud socks with an understated wingtip would be nice. However, some may argue that a grey suede wingtip is pretty rakish as well. Perfect for a casual office settings, I received plenty of compliments over the course of the day. Unfortunately, I may have to return these suede beauties back to their box – at least until spring arrives. That is months away, so I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I have to deal with this winter first – oh joy. Stay stylish gentlemen.

Gentlemen’s Review – Robert Graham – Footwear

Robert GrahamNow, before I launch into my latest review featuring Robert Graham’s first ever men’s footwear collection, I must extend a sincere apology to the public relations agent that presented the opportunity to trial two offerings from their newly minted, 14 style collection. Fatherhood has reached a whole new level; complete with morning trips to daycare, last-minute scrambles for babysitters, and my little one experiencing her first bout with a cold. Baby snot sure is fun.Therefore, my attention has been seriously diverted from my usual blogging duties. Nevertheless, here I am, writing, hoping to put the finishing touches on this post while my princess is soundly asleep. So, let’s get into some background details first shall we?

Grounded in New York, Robert Graham was introduced to the masses as a luxury clothing brand in 2001. Founded by Robert Stock and Graham Fowler, the clothing brand is widely recognized for its aggressive utilization of bold color and pattern. Up until recently, that rakish signature was relegated to dress shirts, sport shirts, knit-wear, polo tops, etc. However, Robert Graham is now bringing that eclectic charm to footwear. Yes – footwear. Honestly, I have encountered Robert Graham clothing in the past, but I never purchased any of the merchandise. The clothing was a tad busy for my personality. I am a little low-key with my style. So now Robert Graham is delivering that same vibe with their shoe collection. So, let’s dice in and see what they are offering the public.

RG LoaferProduct Specifications – The Worth Pebble-grain Loafer

  • Pebble-grain Cowhide Leather
  • Medium Width
  • Stained tooled floral sole
  • Embossed Signature bowler logo in shank
  • Hand sewn box stitching
  • RG Gerard print on tongue lining
  • Cushioned foot-bed for comfort and support
  • Retail – $328.00

The pebble-grain leather loafer is definitely the standout amongst the two shoes up for review today. With a robust sole and rugged exterior, this pebble-grain offering is the perfect complement for the fall season. Instantly, this became the casual workhorse of my loafer rotation. This particular loafer should be worn during informal occasions, perhaps with a pair of corduroy pants or woolen odd trousers. Pairing them with denim jeans would be a great combination as well. The loafer is pretty stocky, so a casual setting is probable the best environment to showcase its form.

The calf leather is reasonable supple and pliable with very minimal creasing. Of course that would depend upon the amount of usage. I will estimate that I wear these at least twice a week. The stiching is pretty tight and it has maintained its form pretty well. Still – use a shoe tree gentlemen! Now, upon sliding into a pair, it took a few strides to and from work to sufficiently break them in to a comfortable level. Adhering to the signature Robert Graham aesthetic, one can find a whimsical splash of color and pattern hidden underneath the tongue. Nice touch for the gentleman that appreciates discerning style.


RG Monk StrapProduct Specifications – The Madison Double Monk Strap

  • Calfskin leather
  • Medium Width
  • Double buckles with elastic goring
  • Screen-printed leather lining
  • Argentinian buffed leather outsole
  • V-cut leather stacked heel
  • Retail – $328.00

 Now, I am a definitely a fan of a good monk strap, however, this particular monk was a little ornate for my tastes. I am also a fan of brogue detailing, but the pattern presented here did not suit me well. I think this monk strap is best equipped to be worn in creative work environments where sartorial freedom is embraced. Again, the calfskin leather here is standard issue, and it will need a few trips around the neighborhood to adequately break them in, but that should not be a huge problem. As I mentioned in the beginning of this review, a gentleman has 14 styles to select from the collection. Some are definitely more funky than others. Actually, there is a wingtip laden with a floral print that caught my attention. It certainly does not mesh with my personality, but I admit that the design is pretty ballsy. As per usual, the pricing may place a fright in the customer; both shoes clocking in at $328.00. Nevertheless, it is a luxury brand, and the price point isn’t far off from other brands. Your decision may ultimately hinge on your lifestyle and profession if you choose to part ways with your earnings. Once again the choice is yours. Stay stylish gentlemen.

Gentlemen’s Standard Approved

Disclosure: TGS was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes only. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

Black Thought

maejemison“Failure to recognize possibilities is the most dangerous and common mistake one can make.”

-Mae Jemison

We must recognize the possibility. In the absence of possibility, we run the great risk of aborting our own aspirations. We must realize that through Him, our Lord and Savior, that no goal in accordance to His divine plan is unattainable. Now is the time to stop reciting the word can’t. Self defeating attitudes act only as obstacles erected by our own fears. We cannot make the mistake and believe we can’t accomplish whatever task that we bring into mental focus. Your dreams do not have to lie prone on the bed of dreams deferred and goals deterred. I implore you to stir yourself from your current state of self hindrance. Sometimes in life, we as people can be our own greatest brick wall. The moment is now to scale that wall and introduce yourself to the possibility that awaits you on the other side. Talk to you later.

Man of Substance – Rickey Smiley – Eye Health Awareness Campaign

Rickey SmileyLet’s be honest, of the myriad of health concerns an individual may possess, eye health is probably towards the bottom of the list. Unless one is born with refractive errors, like astigmatism, which makes vision blurry, healthy eyes are generally taken for granted. As long as one’s vision is reasonably well, regular check-ups with an eye doctor are often ignored. And even when a person’s vision slowly declines, much-needed medical intervention is delayed still. Unfortunately, by the time someone finally decides to have an eye exam, there may be issues that could have been prevented, or at the very least suitably managed. Check out these statistics courtesy of the Centers of Disease Control & Prevention:

  • An estimated 61 million adults in the United States are at high risk for serious vision loss, but only half visited an eye doctor in the past 12 months.
  • Approximately 14 million Americans aged 12 years and older have self-reported visual impairment defined as distance visual acuity of 20/50 or worse. Among them, more than 11 million Americans could have improved their vision to 20/40 or better with refractive correction.
  • African-Americans have a higher risk of developing glaucoma after the age of 40.
  • 1,600,000 Americans aged 50 years and older have age related macular degeneration
  • As of 2004, blindness or low vision affects more than 3.3 million Americans aged 40 years and older
  • 2.2 million people have glaucoma (about2% ) among Americans aged 40 years and older
  • 20.5 million people have cataract (about 16%) among Americans aged 40 years and older
  • Early detection and timely treatment of eye conditions such as diabetic retinopathy has been found to be efficacious and cost-effective.
  • Approximately 8.2% of Americans with self-reported vision problems did not have health insurance. Only 4% of Americans without health insurance reported having optional vision insurance, compared with 58% of Americans with private health insurance, 44% of Americans with public health insurance, and 54% of Canadians.
  • American without health insurance had the lowest age-adjusted rate of use of eye care services (42%) compared with Americans with private health insurance (67%) or public health insurance (55%) and Canadians (56%).

Understanding just how important eye health is, Rickey Smiley has joined with America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses to not only increase eye health awareness, but also offer 12 stylish eyeglasses at an affordable cost. The new Rickey Smiley frames are eligible for America’s Best’s two-for-$104.95 deal which includes single vision plastic lenses and an eye exam. The Gentlemen’s Standard had the distinct honor to discuss the new Rickey Smiley eyeglass line and eye awareness campaign with Mr. Smiley himself. Check out our conversation below.

The Gentlemen’s Standard: What was driving catalyst that prompted you to collaborate with America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses to initiate this campaign for eye health awareness?

Rickey Smiley: I’ve worn glasses since third grade and it quickly became a huge part of my personal style and who I am. I already had an established partnership with America’s Best, so it was a natural evolution for us to campaign together on this very important cause.

TGS: What are some of the projects you will be involved in to help spread awareness?

RS: I’ll be telling my story, talking up my new frames and spreading awareness on the importance of eye health through news and radio programming and my social media pages (@Rickey Smiley on Twitter and Rickey Smiley Official Fan Page on Facebook). I’m also excited to be hitting the streets with #FramedWithSmiley events in various cities. We’re having a great time meeting some of my fans and introducing them to my eyewear and talking about their eye health.

TGS: Will this campaign involve any community outreach in major cities?

RS: Our first #FramedWithSmiley event was in Miami. We’re currently looking at where else we can go next.
TGS: Whom do you plan to reach with this campaign?

RS: We’re trying to reach people of all ages because eye health is important at any age. The Rickey Smiley Eyewear line is designed for men, aged 25-54 — but they can also be worn by women. Basically, I’m hoping to reach anyone who is looking for a cool style, but doesn’t want to break the bank.

TGS: What are some of the goals you hope to accomplish with this campaign?

RS: My number one goal is to increase the number of eye exams that Americans are getting each year. The “Eye Health Awareness and Access” survey – commissioned by America’s Best –found some surprising stats, which reveal that most people (84 percent) understand the importance of regular eye exams, but 40% have not had an eye exam in the past year. Plus, 10% have NEVER seen an eye doctor (African-Americans were the least likely!)
TGS: If you can, please detail any personal involvement in the design of the Rickey Smiley eyeglass line from America’s Best.
RS: I worked with the team at America’s Best to look at different style options and pick the bold color combinations in the line. I’m excited because the glasses also have unique textures and wood-like finishes, which make them really distinguished. My glasses have always been a part of my personal style, so I’m excited to give people more choices to match the look they are going for. 
TGS: Are there any plans to continue with this eye health awareness campaign in the future?

RS: Yes! I believe people shouldn’t have to sacrifice style or seeing to save a buck and that everyone should have the opportunity to see well and look good, too. Partnering with America’s Best makes complete sense for me because their business is also committed to giving people quality eye wear and eye care at an affordable price.

TGS: Are there any plans to expand the Rickey Smiley eyeglass line?

RS: Well, the line is still brand new, but I can tell you that the frames have been doing very well so far. It’s been great to hear how much people love them.  I know that the America’s Best team is always thinking about the future, but they aren’t ready to share any specific plans about the line just yet.

 Tips for Healthy Eyes

  • Visit your optometrist or ophthalmologist yearly – especially if you are over the age of 40.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E. We’re talking green leafy vegetables, salmon, tuna, nuts, blueberries, strawberries, and citrus fruits.
  • Glued to that tablet or computer screen? Ensure you grant your eyes adequate rest by utilizing the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes you should look away at a distance of 20 feet for 20 seconds.
  • No smoking! It can lead to macular degeneration, hasten the development of cataracts, and can cause optic nerve damage.
  • Rock some shades to block out harmful ultraviolet light. You want shades that block out 99 percent of UVA and UVB radiation.

For more information on Rickey Smiley’s new eyeglass lines, please visit HERE for more details.

Rickey Smiley Asks People About Eye Health & Style from MultiVu Video on Vimeo.

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