Gent Hints- Fun in the Details

Neumok GreenSure, as burgeoning gentlemen of style, we are instructed to carefully adopt a safe, conservative aesthetic to lay the framework for a future wardrobe draped in sophistication. And that is most certainly understandable; learn the basic rules first, and then smartly implement the necessary modifications that best characterize your individuality. Suffice it to say, I am at that stage of personal expression that sometimes eschews the convention from which my style was erected upon. Hence the spinach green wingtip lace-ups. And the mossy socks sprinkled with sunny yellow polka dots. And the cobalt blue shoelaces. So, even those gentlemen with a predilection for tradition, shaking up your style every now and again should be welcomed. Style shouldn’t be too stiff; style should be fun. Here are a few pointers to help you achieve that goal.

  • Don’t divorce yourself from the basics. Yes, my shoes may be green, but for all intents and purposes, they remain true to the natural aesthetic of a classic brogue wingtip. Embrace tradition, but remix it a little.
  • Color, color, and yes – color. Now, I cannot fully endorse wearing blinding amounts of it, but adding a smidgen here or there can be very beneficial.
  • Have fun with the details. Begin injecting life into your presentation by way of using accessories – socks, neckties, pocket squares, belts, shoelaces, tie bars, etc.
  • Of course, a polka dot suit (sorry Mr. Wade) is far too garish. Save the polka dots, paisley, and other unconventional patterns for small venues like the accessories mentioned above.
  • Confidence. If you are going to rock a pocket square adorned with cute little butterflies, a gentleman better have a copious amount of confidence oozing from his pores.

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.

Gent Hints – Necktie Maintenance

Drake's Madder NecktieRitual: a detailed method of established procedure that is faithfully or regularly followed.

Now, with respect to a gentleman’s wardrobe, maintaining a set of rituals can be greatly beneficial, especially with regards to preventative maintenance. Nothing can subtract years off the life expectancy of a particular item in your closet more than neglect and ambivalence. A gentleman must adhere to a rigid, set rule of practices that ensure proper upkeep and preservation, or he may witness a wardrobe that prematurely succumbs to irreversible disrepair. Today, we are focusing on the necktie. In the following paragraph, you will find a tried and true method that will definitely extend your necktie’s longevity. Every evening after work, I follow the same ritual as I remove my necktie. Trust, it works.

Now, neckties are delicate creatures to begin with, and the continual knotting process can administer a brutal toll on its fabric. Therefore, it is paramount that a gentleman develops the habit of rolling his necktie after he has finished wearing it. First, it is wise to loosen your necktie and carefully reverse the knotting to return it to its untied form. Next, and this is the important part, start at the narrow end and tightly roll along its length. Given that I have enough neckties to endure until the following week, I usually leave my neckties coiled until I unroll them, smooth out the remaining wrinkles, and either hang or place in my dresser drawer. The timetable is up to you. Nevertheless, the key is rolling your necktie nice and tight to hammer out those wrinkles. And never, and we mean never, leave your necktie knotted when you’re not wearing it. You’ve been warned.

Gent Hints – Sport Coat Coordination

PS- Autumn 2012

Phineas Cole

To be sure, some gentlemen absolutely abhor the notion of wearing a suit, as they would sooner employ a sport coat as a viable alternative. So, when an occasion begs for a discreet level of business attire, said gentleman promptly retrieves his sport jacket of choice from the closet. Pretty simply – right? Well, not quite that simple. The sly substitution of a sport coat arrives with a curious dilemma of its own. Unlike the complete business suit, the sport coat quietly resides, draped around its wooden hanger without the devoted companionship of a matching trouser. Thus, the critical mission of expertly coordinating a pair of trousers becomes not as simple as previously imagined – that suit doesn’t look so terrible now. No worries, may we present to the audience, a quick and dirty guide to find the right pair of trousers for your sport coat. Continue reading

Gent Hints – The Loafer, The Suit

To be sure, pertaining to matters of a gentleman’s suit, its style, more specifically how it is worn, has slowly transformed over the decades. What was generally unacceptable decades past is now being passionately embraced by a younger demographic; and they have vigorously applied their own spin on the gentleman’s standard uniform. Take for instance the gentleman’s dress shoe and how it is married to the aforementioned suit. The dress oxford, be it a cap toe or wingtip option, has long been the widely accepted choice for proper footing. No more. Over the years, the loafer has been welcomed as a viable selection. Initially frowned upon by the establishment, the loafer is now being actively recruited to fill the shoes of, well, your regular dress shoes. And the look works – extraordinarily well in fact. Tassels, metal bit, or maybe just a plain vamp; rocking a pair of clean, chiseled loafers with a suit just isn’t right – it’s right now. However, here at The Gentlemen’s Standard, we endorse wearing some socks to complete the look. But hey, we’re based in Michigan, so the weather doesn’t grant many days of sockless aplomb. So, go ahead, rock your loafers with confidence gents. Boom!

Gent Hints

  • By default, the black loafer is the quintessential favorite for occasions that demand more business, formal attire.
  • However, brown is perfectly fine, especially if they arrive in the darker variety with a mirror-like gloss.
  • High vamp = formal look.
  • Short  vamp = casual look. Wear these with a sports coat.
  • No socks, no problem. Dust the insole with some trusty Gold Bond powder to absorb moisture and funk.
  • Alternatively, if dusty white feet isn’t your preference, a stick of antiperspirant works great too.
  • Plain vamps are welcome to all ages.
  • Tassels are a little more mature. Kiltie loafers are really, really mature.
  • Metal bits are welcome to all age groups as well, and they exhibit a little more charm.
  • Business meeting? Walk carefully. Loafers may or may not be appropriate. Use your best judgment.

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.

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.

Gent Hints – Deodorant…On Your Feet?

Dove-Mens-Care-deodorantFirst, allow me to offer an earnest apology, as the following statement can probably be filed under “too much information” – I’m sorry audience. Really, I am. So, with that bit of written remorse on the record, I want to tell the audience this: Sometimes, my feet perspire. Yes, sometimes, they can get downright sweaty if the weather aids and abets the process. Now normally, a little baby powder proves to be an easy remedy for this problem. However, there exists another solution for this bothersome dilemma. And that solution, wait for it – deodorant. More specifically, an antiperspirant, of course, to deter sweat. Thumbing through my newly purchased Big Black Book Spring 2013, I came across this nifty problem-solver in one of the articles. Intrigued, I retrieved a stick of Dove deodorant from my dresser drawer after a hot shower, and I put Esquire’s advice to the test.

I didn’t use gel because the thought of gel on my feet didn’t seem at all appealing. I wanted something that would roll on dry. Starting at the toes, I applied the deodorant the length of both feet with extra attention granted in the middle. And so, after a few days of my experiment, it really worked. And when I really think about it, why wouldn’t it? It functions the same way as if it were under your armpits – reducing sweat and neutralizing odor. So now I have two sticks of deodorant: one for the pits and the other for the dogs. So, if your feet have the propensity to generate undesirable amounts of sweat, I highly suggest re-purposing a stick of deodorant to combat the problem. You won’t regret it!

Gent Hints – Sport Coat & Trouser Coordination

Phineas Cole Green Sport JacketTo be sure, some gentlemen absolutely abhor the notion of wearing a suit, as they would sooner employ a sport coat as a viable alternative. So, when an occasion begs for a discreet level of business attire, said gentleman promptly retrieves his sport jacket of choice from the closet. Pretty simply – right? Well, not quite that simple. The sly substitution of a sport coat arrives with a curious dilemma of its own. Unlike the complete business suit, the sport coat quietly resides, draped around its wooden hanger without the devoted companionship of a matching trouser. Thus, the critical mission of expertly coordinating a pair of trousers becomes not as simple as previously imagined – that suit doesn’t look so terrible now. No worries, may we present to the audience, a quick and dirty guide to find the right pair of trousers for your sport coat.

  • A few years ago, popping one’s collar on a polo top was quite the popular trend amongst preppy circles. And now, you have probably noticed that trend has migrated to the sport coat. Well, that popped collar actually yields a subtle hint regarding the color of your trousers. The collar of your jacket is lined (well, it should be lined) with fabric that should provide a nice color contrast. Take note of this color when searching for trousers.
  • Likewise, the lining of the sport jacket itself may offer clues as to what hue your trouser should be imbued with; so open it up for dutiful inspection and match your pants accordingly.
  • And don’t forget to take a look at the buttons; they also have the tendency of being fastened in a coordinating color that can be quite suitable for your bottoms.
  • If you’re lucky, perhaps your sport coat is embellished with a colored pattern, and said colored pattern can be smartly synchronized with the color of your trousers.
  • Or, a gentleman may opt for a monochromatic presentation. For example, a navy sport coat can be paired with a lighter shade of blue. Not that adventurous, but sartorially correct nonetheless.
  • When in doubt, a solid colored pair of trousers is the best option to select. And combining two different patterns, meaning a checked sport coat and striped pants, that is a big NO. Of the two elements involved, being your jacket and pants, one should be solid and the other patterned – if you so choose to introduce pattern into the equation. This rule can be ignored if your name is Russell Westbrook.
  • Take notice of the fabric. An autumn corduroy sport coat paired with summer linen pants is just wrong. Stick with fabrics that are appropriate to each season. For example, a cotton sport jacket wisely matched with linen trousers. Or, a corduroy jacket married to a pair of fabulous flannel bottoms. Boom!
  • And when all else fails – ask your wife or girlfriend. Trust, her coordination skills just may be better than yours.

Gent Hints – Breaking In My Shoes

Grenson BrogueIt is not unusual for a gentleman to liberate a pair of newly purchased oxfords from its box and discover that they are a little snug. Of course, it would be wise to try said oxford on in the shoe department before you submit payment. However, say, you are in a rush, or you ordered a stylish pair from an Internet site. Well, taking your kicks for a sartorial test drive really is not an option. In those circumstances, “breaking in” your footwear may be required. Now, your brogues may not be excruciatingly tight, but a little room or flexibility would be welcome. And so, I have employed a little routine that I utilize for fresh kicks out of the box. For the record, I am referring primarily to dress shoes for this blog entry. So, before I even think about sliding into my leather soled purchase; I retrieve a nice, moderately thick pair of white athletic socks. As best I can, I carefully put on my shoes and walk around the house – as if they were slippers. Now, as they are new with the sole being untouched by the outside elements, I don’t have to worry about transferring dirt to the carpet – or getting admonished by my wife. So, I walk around a bit to afford them a little ease, a little give to the leather. And by the time I wear thinner dress socks at a later date, the fit is just fine. Alternately, you can visit a shoe cobbler and have them stretched professionally. I prefer my method – it’s cheaper.

Gent Hints – The Double-Breasted Suit Jacket

Denzel Washington – GQ – Nathaniel Goldberg

This past Saturday, I had the distinct honor of speaking and presenting at the 2012 Man of Style & Scholarship Weekend Conference, which was held at Marygrove College here in Detroit, Michigan. Speaking to a group of young African-American students; my presentation focused on image, dress, self-esteem, and behavior. After the conference was finished, a few young men stayed afterwards to pose a few questions. One question that stuck out pertained to the double-breasted suit jacket. Now, this young gentleman was all of 17 or 18 years old. And I understand that style is all a matter of taste. But, if there is one particular item in a gentleman’s closet that screams age appropriate, the double-breasted suit jacket would be it. When executed properly, the resulting presentation can be incredible. If there is a crucial misstep, one could be viewed as a pretender. Look, double-breasted jackets can be hard to pull off. A gentleman runs the risk of trying to look older when he really isn’t, or trying to convey power when he has none. Nevertheless, if you have the power and confidence required for such a task, go right ahead young Jedi. Just make sure you keep these tips in mind.

  • Double-breasted jackets are meant to have a dynamic fit throughout the mid-section, extra material will only make you look boxy and frumpy.
  • Button options: contemporary tastes favor 4 or 6 buttons. If you are wearing a 4 button, fasten the top right button; or button the middle right button if you are rocking a 6 button jacket.
  • And speaking of buttons, keep the darn thing buttoned! It’s not designed to wear open. You diminish its swagger if you do.
  • But, if you must, open it up from time to time for a rakish, casual flair.
  • A dark jacket is always classic for business occasions, while lighter alternates move into more casual waters.
  • And if you are venturing into casual waters, don’t be afraid to pair your double-breasted with a pair of dark jeans. Now, that’s a gutsy move right there!
  • Watch the peak lapels, the tip of your lapels should approximately reach the middle region of your shoulders.
  • A double-breasted jacket is a bold statement enough, so don’t get too wild with the patterns. Keep the scale subtle and discreet.
  • Investing in a skilled tailor is a given, and this fact is double underscored if a gentleman packs a little something extra in his mid-section. Buttons may have a gentle tug when fastened, but they should not be over-stressed to the point of popping loose.
  • For the gentleman that is short of stature, the tail of his suit jacket should hit just below his rear. A longer suit jacket will only accentuate his modest height – not exactly what you want.

Gent Hints – The Watch Battery

Timex

I readily admit my shameful guilt for the following offense: leaving a dead battery inside one’s timepiece. Be it negligent forgetfulness and inexcusable sloth; abandoning your timepiece with its deceased life source inside can be risky, and perhaps expensive, business. In the deep, far crevices of my mind, I knew this fact. And yet, I continued with my neglect until certain circumstances necessitated the need for usage. I had long fallen into the nasty habit of simply retrieving my cell phone for time consultation. However, now I needed, for appearances, to have a watch on my wrist. So, I visited my neighborhood watch store to replace the battery. Side note: always go to a certified watch store. In my early days, I went to, I think, Target to replace the watch battery. And as I watched in terror, customer service began to fumble and pound on the underside of the watch, futilely attempting to open the casing. I vowed – never again.

Anyway, as I strolled into the store, there was another gentleman at the counter who was also guilty of leaving a dead battery inside his watch. Overhearing the conversation, I listened to customer service tell him that the battery was corroded and had leaked inside the watch – it was destroyed. Nervously, I watched as my salesperson disappeared into the back to change out my battery. Would she return with the same diagnosis? Sure, the watch was inexpensive, but that wasn’t the point. My careless procrastination could cost me a perfectly good watch nonetheless. Alas, she returned with a healthy, ticking watch – with instructions to return in a year or so when it is time for a change. I’ll be there like clockwork.

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