Style & Substance – Brooks Brothers – The Medallion Necktie

Generally, the corporate work environment requires a standard code of professional dress, and generally its employees are bound by that code. Now, companies rarely venture into the tiny specifications regarding work attire, rather, a broad overview is presented as a guideline. For example, companies that welcome the presence of neckties won’t necessarily dictate the parameters it must abide by; such as its color, fabric, or pattern. Sure, common sense is a fantastic guide to certain unwritten rules within the office. Meaning, an office environment boasting a variety of stripes & solids; a Disney themed Donald Duck necktie may be slightly out-of-place. However, among that sea of stripes & solids, other designs are perfectly acceptable, save your favorite Disney character. Enter the medallion print necktie – your new go-to necktie in the workplace.

Simply, a medallion print consists of a repeating pattern of detailed, decorative emblems. Patterns and shapes can be symmetrical or asymmetrical, complex or straightforward, large or small. Certainly, a medallion necktie can interrupt the visual monotony induced by over usage of striped or solid selections. Sure, the latter choices are safe options, however, medallions afford forward style without breaking any corporate dress protocols – written or unwritten. Illustrated above is a necktie courtesy of Brooks Brothers. In fact, I actually own the necktie above. A Brooks Brothers necktie tends to lean decidedly conservative with solid construction. However, I highly recommend purchasing their neckties in person, as the weight and feel can be hit or miss. The material of some neckties are robust and thick – excellent attributes for knotting purposes; others are a little dainty and thin – workable, but not my preference.

A medallion print necktie works with solid, striped, or checked dress shirts. A gentleman should be mindful of the scale between the patterns of the necktie and dress shirt. A large medallion print should be balanced by either a small stripe or check pattern. Conversely, a small medallion print will work best with a larger stripe dress shirt pattern. Solid shirts, of course would be negligible. Gentlemen’s Standard approved, an array of medallion patterned neckties in your rotation is an intelligent investment for the professional gentleman.

Men’s Designer Sale – MR PORTER

Sure, the winter season is underway. However, in the arena of style and fashion, brands are gearing up to stock shelves with spring clothing & accessories. Therefore, serious sales will be plentiful as we head into the new year. That being said, one of my favorite websites – Mr Porter – have commenced their annual round of discounts. Over the next few weeks, discounts will climb as high as 80 percent of retail price, but stock will surely be slim pickings at that point. In some regards, it is a game chance, anticipating a price drop before your object of desire is scooped up. Notable brands are stocked such as Ralph Lauren,Timex, Burberry, and Hugo Boss. Likewise, brands that are not household names, yet still boast superior quality such as NN07, Richard James, and Grenson are available. Personally, I’ve been able to find some insane deals during this time. So, Happy New Year shopping!

https://www.mrporter.com/en-us/mens/sale/all?cm_sp=homepage-_-P1-_-campaignsaletakeover1stmd-_-26-12-1

Style & Substance – J. Crew – Cashmere Seedstitch Beanie

So, here we are again, yet another winter season in Michigan. Wait, well, technically winter does not commence until December 21st. Nevertheless, Michigan weather is never one to strictly adhere to a specific calendar day, so wintry temperatures arrived early this year. Fortuitously, Black Friday generally coincides with the impending falling temperatures, offering a wide variety of cold-weather accessories for the gentleman seeking a bit of warmth. This year, I was able to score a cozy, 100% cashmere beanie, courtesy of J. Crew at an outstanding 50% off the $79.50 retail price. And even at full retail price, the quality is exceptional at that price-point. However, J. Crew seemingly remains in a state of perpetual discounts, so you’ll be hard-pressed to find an item that isn’t on sale. Given my previous experience with their woolen hats, a gentleman simply cannot go wrong when selecting from their inventory. Much like my previous purchase, J. Crew offers a hat that exhibits a comfortable fit without burdensome tightness, great warmth and protection from the elements, and just enough nuanced styling to distinguish it from standard beanies on the market. Currently, the model above is available in dark honey (pictured), navy, and heather oatmeal. And yes, it is on discount, 35% to be exact, courtesy of the code WINTERSALE. Bundle up and happy shopping.

https://www.jcrew.com/

Style & Substance – Dents of England – The Leather Glove

For better or for (mostly) worse, in the affairs of varying dress, men tend to gravitate towards simpler options. Now, do not be mistaken, simple can produce an air of unexpected sophistication and elegance. Conversely, the preference for oversimplification can lead to a presentation bordering on pedestrian and uninspired. An explanation for this gentleman’s retreat to simplicity is fear; fear that one’s sartorial choices may lead to a foolish appearance. And the last thing a gentleman wants is look foolish. Personal experience and experimentation has guided me toward making bold selections, initially on a relatively small-scale, and then building on my confidence to construct more complicated ensembles. The easiest commencement point – an accessory. It is low risk that can produce a high return.

Sartorial trial on error is the best instructor. The accessory of choice? Well, despite what some individuals may perceive regarding gentlemanly accoutrements, the selections are plentiful. In the interest of recognizing the current and upcoming season, cold weather accessories suits this post perfectly – specifically gloves. In the past, I would gravitate toward the standard issue glove, unremarkable and disposable, generally arriving with a black or blue color. However, as I began to take more risks with my style, I welcomed selections with small embellishments that elevated it above your regular gentleman’s glove.

The glove above is an offering from Dents of England – an English manufacturer of stylish accessories including fine knits and leather goods. I purchased this glove for a few reasons. Functionality: a combination of leather and flannel to provide proper insulation from the wintry elements. Aesthetics: a beautiful contrast of black leather and grey flannel exterior; combined with a sharp, adjustable snap closure around the wrist. Incorporating such small details into your presentation will instantly infuse an otherwise lackluster appearance with maturity and class.

Because, when protecting your hands from continuously plummeting temperatures, a gentleman should employ a pair of sophisticated gloves to get the job done. Now, I want to be totally transparent with the audience, this of gloves will deplete your bank account to the tune of $90. I was the beneficiary of a sale, so I secured mine for half that price. If you are patient, Mr Porter typically has a winter sale in January. Stay tuned to this space for updates.

Style & Substance – Duffle Bags, Briefcases, Backpacks & More

Duffle bag. Briefcase. Messenger bag. Backpack. Generally, this assortment of gentlemanly accessories would be categorized under leather goods & travel bags, and they would be dignified with their appropriate name. However, since the public seems to believe that only a woman can own a stylish travel companion, it is necessary to differentiate a bag being carried by a woman versus one being carried by a man. And that is accomplished by simple attaching the word “man” as a prefix to the word “bag“. I don’t know which word I hate more, man-bag or metrosexual, but both are equally ridiculous. So, why am I exploring this topic today? Well, after JR Smith’s monumental mental collapse in the waning seconds of regulation in the NBA Finals (Game 1), the only other topic that has garnered more lattention is Lebron James’ post-game attire – specifically his alligator man-bag (Thom Brown bag, pictured above) that accompanied his ensemble.

Gay. Homosexual. Fag. Those are some of the words I read around the Internet used to describe James’ presentation. To be sure, I am not a fan of gentlemanly interpretations of style that go above and beyond to appear effeminate, but upholding the ever-enduring trope of being sartorially masculine can sometimes border on foolishness. In a desperate attempt to eschew the slightest hint of homosexuality, we practice behavior that is downright stupid and has nothing to do with sexuality. Holding an umbrella – what, are you afraid of getting wet from a few raindrops? Wearing a coat – what, a few drops in the temperature have you shivering? Rocking a man-purse – what, you can’t carry your lipstick in your pocket?

So, let us have a discussion about the “man-bag”. Selecting one is simply a means of function. Yes, a gentleman needs a carryall to house some of his odds & ends that he cannot carry on his person. Sure, a gentleman may possess less small accessories that require storage than a woman, but he still requires storage nonetheless. Prime example: I purchased a lunch bag from Target to carry, you know, my lunch. Over time that lunch bag has transformed into a storage space for my wallet, checkbook, car keys, cell phone, cell phone charger, eyeglass cleaner, eyeglass cloth, Bayer aspirin, Motrin, various vitamins, hand lotion, lip balm, and whatever else finds its way into the Bermuda Triangle of lunch space. And before you ask – no I am not stuffing my coat pockets with all those items, and I would have no luck in the summer anyway. And no, all those items (varying shape the items being a contributing factor) cannot fit into my briefcase. Therefore, for my lifestyle, I need a bag of some sort to provide refuge for my accessories.

Alternatively, I can walk around with low energy, smudged eyeglasses, chapped lips, ashy knuckles, a stiff back, and a headache – because damned if I look gay walking around with a bag to hold all my stuff. But I do – it’s just a lunch bag that does the heavy lifting because I’ve just been too lazy to invest in a smooth, stylish bag. Again, it all depends on lifestyle, but as I have grown older, I find myself carrying those little odds & ends that I choose not to stuff into my outerwear or pants’ pockets – which distorts the shape of the clothing over time anyway. Trust, there is nothing gay about Lebron James. So, man-up and go get a man-bag. Just kidding. Whether it is a medium duffle, messenger, tote, or just a stylish carryall; I believe every gentleman could benefit from owning one. I’ll be sure to post a picture of mine when I scrap together enough coins to do so. Although it won’t be anywhere near the $41K James dropped on his alligator companion. Respect.

Style & Substance – Ford Motor Company – 2018 Ford Mustang

And then there was that time that I discovered myself, apparently slightly off-course, somewhere in Allen Park, Michigan with a 2018 Ford Mustang. Hello good people, today I will be detailing part two of my test-drive adventures with the 2018 Ford Expedition and Mustang. You see, that faithful morning at Ford World Headquarters – lovingly referred to as the Glass House – instructions were distributed among our media group directing all drivers to follow a predetermined course around the immediate area to induce a familiarity with each vehicle. Well, everything was proceeding as according to what was planned until Interstate 94 was introduced into the test-driving equation; along with a few indiscriminate semi-trailer trucks to make the situation more interesting.

Suffice it to say, I missed an exit and unexpectedly discovered myself separated from the group. Instead of lamenting and panicking about the situation, I resolved that this was a prime opportunity to examine the speed and agility of the 2018 Mustang. I did not want to stray too far away from Ford World Headquarters, so I needed to get back on track – and in a hurry. The 2018 Ford Mustang is well-suited to perform such a task. Equipped with a turbo-charged 5.0 liter V8 engine, 0-60 miles per hour in 4 seconds flat is possible. The 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine boasts 310 horsepower and 350 pounds of torque while the 5.0-liter V8 engine kicks out 460 horsepower and 420 pounds of torque.

The 2018 Ford Mustang has four active exhaust (equipped with quad exhausts) modes that a gentleman from which a gentleman can select. A beautiful, illuminated 12-inch instrument cluster displays the options: quiet, normal, sport, and track. The all-digital LCD instrument offers varying screen layouts, 26 color options and displays for up to eight gauges. The gentleman can take note of his favorite preferences regarding suspension, steering, and exhaust by saving them in the MyMode settings. New to the world of sports cars, I opted to drive in normal mode. First driving through residential streets, some concrete that had seen better days delivered a bumpy ride. It was not until Interstate 94 afforded the opportunity to unleash this beast on the (nearly) open road.

The Mustang did not have any issues responding to my request to swiftly accelerate around the semi-trailer truck in front of me. The handling was responsive and agile as I dipped around and emancipated it from the obstacle ahead and bolting for the nearest exit to turn myself around and get back on track. Despite its power and speed, I never felt as is I wasn’t in total control of the vehicle. I remained gripped to the road with each acceleration and nimble turn. Eventually, aided by the GPS on my cell phone, I was able to find my way back to Dearborn and Ford HQ.

2018 Ford Mustang Standard Specifications

  • AutoLamp Headlamps (automatic on/off)
  • Dual Bright exhaust with rolled polished tips
  • LED Headlamps with LED signature lighting – LED front park turn lamps – LED sequential tail lamps
  • Mirrors – body-color with integrated blind spot mirrors
  • Rear-window defroster
  • 2.5″ front brake rotors with 2-piston calipers
  • 12.5″ rear brake rotors with single-piston calipers
  • AdvanceTrac® with Electronic Stability Control (ESC) – Electronic Line-Lock (track use only)
  • Independent rear suspension – Selectable-effort Electric Power-Assist Steering (EPAS)
  • Vented 4-wheel disc brakes
  • 2.3L EcoBoost®
  • 3.31 limited-slip rear axle – 6-speed manual transmission – Standard 17-inch EcoBoost®Wheel
  • Air extractor hood vents
  • Launch control (track use only; requires manual transmission)
  • P235/55R17 A/S tires
  • Tire Inflator and Sealant Kit

2018 Ford Mustang Standard Specifications

  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Manual climate control
  • Active Noise Cancellation
  • Satin Chrome Instrument cluster, register vents and cup holder surrounds
  • Carbon zag instrument panel applique
  • Cabin air filter – Center console with full armrest – Map Light
  • Chrome-accent 4-gauge instrument cluster
  • Cupholders (2) – Driver footrest
  • Easy Fuel® capless fuel filler – Floor mats – carpeted, front
  • Illuminated, locking glove compartment – Intelligent Access with push-button start – Interior trunk release
  • Leather-wrapped parking brake handle – Leather-wrapped steering wheel with cruise and audio controls and tilt and telescoping steering column
  • Map pockets – backside of driver and front-passenger seats (N/A with optional RECARO® seats)
  • MyKey®
  • Power driver and passenger windows with global open
  • Powerpoints – 2
  • Dual Illuminated Visor Vanity Mirrors
  • Track Apps™
  • 6-speaker sound system, AM/FM Stereo with single CD
  • SYNC®
  • Two smart-charging USB ports
  • 2-way manual front-passenger seat
  • 4-way adjustable front head restraints – 4-way manual driver’s seat – 50/50 split folding rear seat – Cloth front bucket seats

Mark Schaller – Mustang Brand Manager

Gentlemanly Pros

  • The 2.3 and 5.0 liter engines both pack enough punch that will satisfy any lover of sports cars. The Mustang handles well and excels in speed effortlessly when presented with a clean, unobstructed terrain.
  • The all-digital 12-inch LCD instrument cluster is next-level technology that grants a personalized feel that is unsurpassed and does nothing but heighten the driving experience even more. It is definitely eye-catching and engaging.
  • Customized option to program your Mustang to start utilizing one of the four exhaust modes: quiet, normal, sport, and track. Be nice to your neighbor and start it up in quiet mode.
  • Beautiful interior and exterior. The exterior is sleek and confident in its appearance while the interior is modestly handsome with its approach to styling.

Gentlemanly Cons

  • Without the upgraded performance package – MagneRide – rugged streets could possibly reduce the smoothness of the ride.
  • If you are a novice in the arena of muscle cars, it would behoove you to become intimately acquainted with the owner’s manual. Given its high customization, a rookie – such as myself – will find the controls a little complex.
  • For a gentleman my size, the cockpit was a little tight. The plush interior certainly provided a measure of comfort, however, a brother such as myself could benefit from some elbow room. And no one over 5 feet would probably be able to be seated behind me, as my seat would most likely be as far back as possible.

The 2018 Ford Mustang is designed for the rakish gentleman that appreciates power in presentation and is unafraid of announcing his presence with an assertive, bullish selection for his transportation. With the ability to incorporate a customized touch with bold new technology, the aforementioned gentleman will truly be capable of making the 2018 Ford Mustang uniquely his own. The starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $25,585 is honestly quite modest given the intricacy of control and power. The price stars to climb as more customization packages are added. If you are a muscle car enthusiast, the revamped Mustang arrives with all the sexy, chiseled, and aggressive features the performance-minded gentleman would desire.

For more information, please visit https://www.ford.com/cars/mustang/ to learn further details.

Style & Substance – Ford Motor Company – 2018 Ford Expedition

Sheer, utter disbelief is perhaps the best way to describe the emotions that welled inside me as I opened an e-mail correspondence regarding a personal invitation to join Ford Motor Company at an exclusive media drive program. The focus of the event: an up close and personal viewing of the all-new 2018 Ford Expedition and new 2018 Ford Mustang. The 2-day event entailed a private media dinner at The Henry in Dearborn, Michigan; presentations from the chief program engineers for both vehicles; and the opportunity to experience both vehicles on the road. And what an opportunity – a truly unique opportunity – this proved to be; driving around metro Detroit during winter would surely place both vehicles under detailed scrutiny.

Fortunately, for the event, Mother Nature was merciful and blessed the day with temperatures in the 40 degree range. If the event had been two weeks prior, we would have been in serious trouble. Nevertheless, copious amounts residual slush and unforgiving potholes still remained to present a suitable challenge. But, with an opportunity to network, capture my experience with some cool photographs, learn about these two new additions to the Ford family, and test them on the urban landscape – I could not help but accept the invitation. So, lets dive directly into the experience.

First impressions of the 2018 Ford Expedition: It is simply a behemoth, and an elegant one. Nevertheless, despite its massive body, the all-new Expedition sheds nearly 300 pounds because of a redesigned high-strength steel frame and aluminum-alloy body. The sexy result is a fuel efficiency that delivers 17 miles per gallon in the city and 24 miles per gallon on the highway. A combination of both yields approximately 20 miles per gallon for the gentleman. Now, such a reduction in weight does not equate to diminished power, actually, quite the opposite. The Expedition’s new 3.5 liter EcoBoost® engine and 10-speed automatic transmission is capable of producing up to 400 horsepower and 480 foot pounds of torque. Towing capability boasts up to 9,300 pounds that can be hauled around the countryside if required.

Now, being a father of one handsome son and one beautiful daughter (much love to Ava & Miles), my natural gravitation towards the Expedition was unsurprising. An aficionado in all things concerning car seat installation & removal, diaper bags, stuffed animals & baby dolls, and any other children-related accouterments; the spacious interior teased a comfort and ease that every parent wantonly covets. And clocking in at 6’1″ and 250 pounds, the Expedition affords space that any robust gentleman can truly appreciate, especially when climbing into vehicle and securing the aforementioned car seats. The doors even open at nearly a 90 degree angle. The second row tip & slide seating allows the seat to move at a slanted pivot to grant access to the third row without removing the car seat entirely – excellent!

With pleasing interior ergonomics & aesthetics, the 2018 Ford Expedition is designed for the everyday gentlemen that appreciates utilitarian luxury. A user-friendly console provides an intuitive touch that neither confounds or confuses the gentleman. And for the technology-savvy crowd, the 2018 Expedition features wireless phone charging, a 110 volt outlet, four 12 volt power points, a 360 degree camera system, a Wi-Fi hot-spot that supports up to 10 devices simultaneously within 50 feet of the vehicle, and an entertainment system that accommodates an effortless smartphone integration. Optional: dual front row headrest entertainment system that can play Choo Choo Soul for Miles or PJ Masks for Ava.Again, a gentleman can drive this vehicle right off the lot without detailed instructions.

So, speaking of driving the Expedition off the lot, I decided to take it into the city to test the urban terrain. The model I selected was the Max XLT 4×4. With its partially plowed side streets and punishing pot holes, I wanted to gauge the smoothness of my commute when faced with a brutal landscape. Powered by their Terrain Management System (4×4 only), a gentleman can select between 2-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive depending on your preference and the road. There are seven special drive modes between 2WD and 4WD for your selection: normal, sport, tow/haul, eco, grass/gravel/snow, sand, and mud/rut. As for my travel, the ride was surprisingly smooth. Surprising, because if you have not visited inner city Detroit, the pot holes and even road can be vicious. Nevertheless, the big-body Expedition confidently absorbed every jolt that was thrown its way. It also handled the slush and snow very well with no sliding or slippage at all.

2018 Ford Expedition Standard Specifications

  • 8 person seating capacity – 3 passenger rows – front cloth bucket seats – Second-row 40/20/40 split bench manual reclining fold-flat seat with CenterSlide® and Outboard Slide Seats -Third-row 60/40 split bench fold-flat-to-the-floor seat
  • Miles per gallon – up to 17 city/24 highway – 3.5 liter EcoBoost® engine – Transmission – 10 speed automatic
  • Best-in-Class 9,300 pounds maximum towing capacity
  • ABS with Brake Assist and EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution)
  • Auto Stop-Start Technology
  • Rear-Wheel Drive
  • Fully boxed frame
  • Suspension-Multilink Independent Rear suspension
  • Electronic Power-Assist (EPAS) rack-and-pinion steering
  • Front and rear stabilizer bars
  • AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control (RSC® )
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Non-limited-slip 3.15 rear axle (4×2 only)
  • Selectable Drive Modes
  • Traction Control
  • SYNC® – Enhanced Voice Recognition Communications and Entertainment System – Audio-AM/FM Stereo, Single CD Player, MP3 Capable, SiriusXM® Radio and Nine (9) Speakers

Todd Hoevener – Chief Program Engineer – Overall Cool Gentleman

Gentlemanly Pros

  • Expedition: A journey or voyage undertaken by a group of people with a particular purpose. The 2018 Ford Expedition is household comfort mounted on 4 tires. Your commute is not merely travel from Point A to Point B, it is an experience in understated class and convenience.
  • Despite its large frame, the 2018 Ford Expedition is pleasantly nimble and agile when cruising on the highway. And because of its large frame and Terrain Management System, bruising roads are handled with confidence.
  • Bold & robust presentation without appearing too bulky and boxy. Its lines are clean and tailored; resulting in a handsome, refined appearance.
  • Large cabin for occupants in all three seating rows. The second row tip & slide seating is especially useful for access to the third row (the third row also reclines as an added bonus). In cases of installed car seats; they do not have to be removed. The LATCH System is available in the second and third rows. The dual moon-roof is a beautiful finishing touch.
  • Seamless and smart integrated technology with Wi-Fi hot-spots for up to 10 devices within 50 feet. I loved the touch screen functionality and ease of navigation.
  • Automatic lift-gate with generous cargo and storage space. With the push of a button, the 2nd and 3rd row seats fold flat, offering ample space to accommodate a gentleman’s bulky purchases from Home Depot, 60+ inch flat screen television sets from Costco, or just about any bulky item that requires transport. Groceries are kept secure from both forward and backward motion. A rear bulk head folds out and up to prevent items (basketballs, watermelons, etc.) from rolling out. And rear camera spray wash to clear obstruction from the elements outside.

Gentlemanly Cons

  • True to form, the 2018 Ford Expedition is quite massive. For the uninitiated, wielding such a large vehicle could prove to be a daunting objective. Smaller vehicles on the road may go unnoticed, however, the Blind Spot Information System can be helpful. However, the driver assist feature should not displace attention to one’s surroundings and judgement. As a personal preference, I would have loved the inclusion of integrated blind spot mirrors, as it is my instinct to look first.
  • Narrow stretches of road could also prove to be a challenge, especially in spots where vehicles park roadside. A gentleman must be totally cognizant of his spacing while driving. Navigating 6 Mile was an exercise in caution because one must be aware of individuals parked roadside and exiting their vehicle before waiting for traffic to clear.
  • As far as parking goes, it would be wise to park far, or at least moderate distance away from concentrated areas of parking. Maximizing parking lot real estate, I can imagine other vehicles swinging their doors open haphazardly and denting your doors.
  • The manufacturer’s suggested retail price, even at the most base level, may be slightly stressful on the bank account. If a gentleman begins to add options, the sticker shock may trigger a cardiac arrest. Advice: Exhibit some financial self-awareness and proceed wisely.

To be perfectly certain, the 2018 Ford Expedition will decidedly resonate with the professional gentleman that values performance & functionality in tandem with grace & sophistication, appreciates comfort, recognizes that the amalgamation of entertainment & technology affords a premium driving experience, and most importantly, demands a vehicle that satisfies the many facets of family life while commuting. Sure, the MSRP, approximately $51,695, will give momentary pause, but this full-size sports utility vehicle should grant many years of service and grow with a family. If you are in the market for a large SUV to accommodate the daily travels of your busy family, and you can do so in style without monetary stress; I strongly recommend the 2018 Ford Expedition for your consideration.

For more information, please visit https://www.ford.com/suvs/expedition/models/expedition-xlt/for details.

Style & Substance – J. Crew – Cashmere Cable Beanie

To be perfectly honest with the audience, I simply cannot understand how some gentlemen are capable of confronting the elements, of course referring to bone-rattling glacial winter temperatures, without dutiful protection of some form of headgear.  I quietly, painfully observe my fellow gentlemen commute across frozen, urban tundras; their cranial follicles crying out for a warm, merciful intervention. Alas, toasty relief is but an unfulfilled dream of comfort. As a bald gentleman, venturing into frosty weather is definitely not – and I passionately repeat –  is definitely not an option. I can vividly hear my late grandmother now: Boy, put something on that head before you catch pneumonia! Therefore, my winter wardrobe is stockpiled with the necessary accessories to combat plummeting temperatures.

In the more recent years, I have heavily favored beanies, generally cotton, to shield my head from cold, unsavory conditions. This winter, I wanted to switch it up and experiment with woolen fabrics. Enter the J. Crew cashmere beanie. At the time, I did not own any J. Crew merchandise, but their cashmere offering was on decidedly tempting discount, so I embraced the risk and purchased a burgundy selection to complement a pea coat I favor during this time. I was not disappointed. The delicate reputation of cashmere may elicit trepidation in some gentlemen, but the J. Crew beanie offers a heavy, robust knit while retaining the signature softness of this chosen woolen fabric.

The weave is suitably tight enough to deter chilly, sneaky wind from penetrating through the surface. And the fit allows for a slight stretch without losing its body and allowing for a cozy hug of the cranium. It grants warmth without being unnecessarily clunky. Now, the cable knit is a departure from the plain weaves of my cotton beanies, but it is a welcome change that affords an elegant presentation. Simply stated: This hat is a winner and J. Crew will certainly be added to my list of preferred brands. The quality of the beanie at the current price-point is fantastic. And if you are fortunate to take advantage of a sale – as it is currently – you will not regret your purchase. Your head will thank you later.

Style & Substance – Magnanni – Jamin

With excited preparation for the fall season, I have dutifully embraced the task of scouring the gentleman’s marketplace for the perfect pair of monk strap shoes. Currently, I own two pairs: the standard, traditional black and brown pairs. Nevertheless, my heart’s desire begs for an elegant selection that falls outside of the usual boundaries of accepted style. Enter a Magnanni monk strap – the Jamin. Chiseled. Rakish. Red. Sexy. However, its sex appeal gives way for a momentary pause due to the asking retail price – a not so modest $435.00.

So, unsurprisingly, the Magnanni Jamin won’t secure a slot in my footwear rotation until Nordstrom is merciful enough to lower the price. I hope it is sooner rather than later, as this monk strap possesses all the style required to round out a well-heeled presentation. The reddish hue adds just enough pop to separate itself from pack without being too obnoxious, and the extremely sleek silhouette dressy enough for workplace, but rebellious enough for after-hours excursions. Definitely keep this shoe, or perhaps a similar style with a scaled down price tag, on your sartorial radar.

Style & Substance – Drake’s – Donegal Lambswool Beanie

drakes-beanie-greyYes, dear gentlemen, the time has finally arrived, cooler temperatures are upon us and no head is safe from the nippy elements outdoors. And especially true for gentlemen dealing with the circumstance of barren scalp follicles, it is paramount that some form of protection be employed to negate the cold as much as possible. Options are plentiful, however, a gentleman must display caution and intelligence when choosing a hat. Trust my word, athletic caps fail to deliver the level of sophistication required for a gentleman of your stature. A felt fedora may regretfully boast a grandfatherly feel to it. And a beanie embellished with a playful pom-pom on top – maybe best worn during one’s middle school years. Now, an investment in a fine knit beanie will lend a touch of elegance without hindering your presentation with a dull, boring feeling. This particular beanie, delicately woven with lambswool, showcases an array of fanciful, colored wool flecks that infuse visual character and uniqueness. Whether married to a formal, navy double-breasted overcoat or ruggedly handsome shearling bomber jacket; the selection of a luxurious woolen beanie is but a natural choice to a measure of warmth and style to your cold season wardrobe.

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