Gentlemanly Review – Paco Rabanne – Invictus

I’ve read the reviews online – the good, the bad, and the indifferent. And my conclusion was not a surprising one. Paco Rabanne Invictus is, without a shred of doubt, a polarizing scent. Not exactly sophisticated or intricate, it is a fun scent nonetheless. Perhaps the ubiquitous nature of its smell is what draws so much discontent. The notes have a common and familiar feel to them, nothing really stands out. Now, there is a saying: You can’t judge a book by its cover. Well, I was judging Invictus by its cologne flask. Opportunities have presented themselves many times for me to sample Invictus, but the presentation struck me as gaudy. Therefore, I associated tackiness with the potential of a cheap scent. Until finally, I surrendered and decided to give Invictus an honest assessment. Love it or hate it. Check out the details below.

Observations

Top Notes: Mandarin Orange, Grapefruit, Sea Notes

Middle Notes: Jasmine, Bay Leaf

Base Notes: Patchouli, Guaiac Wood, Oak Moss, Ambergris

  • The presentation of Invictus is, well, quite flamboyant. In Latin, Invictus means undefeated. Drawing inspiration from that translation, the flask is fashioned in the shape of a trophy. I cannot state that I am thrilled with the design, as I prefer a cologne bottle not be a showpiece. Nevertheless, evidently, the intent of the flask is to make a statement. Mission accomplished. The cologne is dispensed by pressing a button centered on the top of the bottle. The projection is forceful and distribution is even. Don’t go too crazy – more on that below.
  • As many people will attest, the top and middle notes of Invictus are notably sweet. Some gentlemen may fiercely argue too sweet. If you are searching for a cologne that boasts a complexity of layered notes, Invictus is not for you. Fresh and citrusy sweet, Invictus starts strong and does not lose momentum until many hours later. It’s simple and straightforward; maybe a little too generic, but it performs well. I actually prefer the dry-down because the sweetness mellows out a bit. Personally, I don’t detect any strong woody notes at the end, but it does lean on the slightly spicy and floral spectrum.
  • This fragrance can be worn casually during the daytime or evening. If you operate within a casual work environment, it may work there as well. I strongly advise 3-4 applications around the neck/shoulder area and abdomen. I will caution again, do not go overboard with your applications. This is a strong cologne.
  • Paco Rabanne Invictus is intended for the gentleman that prefers a casual, sweet, and aromatic fragrance. There isn’t anything groundbreaking here, but a gentleman will benefit from a workhorse cologne that will deliver 8 hours or more of performance. I applied a few spritzes after a late-night shower and my wife loved it. In a strange way, I could almost categorize this cologne as unisex. Perhaps that is why she was drawn to it, as it was something she could probably wear herself. That may deter some gentlemen, but that should not be a dealbreaker. Trust me, you won’t smell like a woman.
  • Paco Rabanne Invictus can be purchased in the following sizes: 1.7 ounces at $70.00 or 3.4 ounces at $90.00 – Available at Macy’s, Nordstrom, Sephora, Ulta, and other fine men’s department stores.
Gentlemen’s Standard Approved
Disclosure: TGS was not financially compensated for this post. Item was purchased for personal use. The opinions expressed are completely my own based on my experience.

Review – Tommy Bahama – Tommy Bahama Compass

Tommy Bahama CompassIt has been quite the busy month here at The Gentlemen’s Standard. I have been blessed with the opportunity to examine a bevy of products and offer personal insight to the reading audience. It has definitely presented a challenge, as the luxury of time is scarce nowadays, but I am extremely thankful nonetheless. Now, today we are evaluating another fragrance that perfectly complements the progression of warmer temperatures. Allow me to frame the picture for the audience: cream linen suit, open collar dress shirt, brown loafers – no socks, and a Panama hat. That is what I envisioned upon my initial introduction to Tommy Bahama Compass. This looked like a bottle that should be sitting on top of a sharp gent’s dresser while getting attired. Flipping open the top (an interesting feature) of the diamond-shaped bottle, I was wondering if this current offering compared favorably to a previous favorite of mine – Tommy Bahama for Men. Well, let us take a gander.

Observations

Top Notes: Lemon, Grapefruit, Violet

Middle Notes: Pimento Lavender, Clary Sage

Base Notes: Cedarwood, Amber Gris, Tonka Bean, Cistus

First impressions: The fragrance is resolutely smooth and effortless. Of all three notes, none overly dominates the other. Each note cascades into the following note quietly and discreetly. This is not a fragrance that is going to commence with an abundance of loudness, rather, this is a scent formulated for more intimate quarters. So, due to its distinct lightness, a gentleman does not have to be bashful with its application. However, it is still advised that one should not bathe in it either. Depending on your preference and body chemistry, I would guess 4 sprays from the nozzle should suffice.

Tommy Bahama Compass appears to best worn indoors during the daytime. Standout notes include lemon, grapefruit, and lavender. And no, the smell is not too feminine, just soft and pleasant. The ending notes definitely won’t go unnoticed, but they won’t be in your face either. If the affair is mellow and relaxed, this may be the summer cologne for you. This scent will not go unappreciated indoors. It can probably work outside as well, but you may want to apply just a touch more if that is the case. And even with an additional spritz or so, the scent is so light, you won’t have to worry about burning nearby nostrils. This is a sure thumbs up for the summer.

Tommy Bahama 1.7 oz  $54.00 or 3.4 oz $69.00 – Available at Tommy Bahama, Macy’s, Dillards, Lord & Taylor or any fine men’s department store

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.

Standard Recommendations – Forsyth of Canada Neckties

Forsyth 2Contrary to popular belief, a good gentleman’s necktie does not have to be terribly expensive. Nor are they mandated to bear the name of an esteemed luxury brand. Trust, many quality neckties fly silently under the radar, as they are overshadowed by larger companies with better advertising and wider distribution. True, material and construction are key components that should not be ignored, and both components ultimately determine the asking price by the designer. So, it is not unlikely to encounter a necktie that is well above the $200.00 mark.

Nevertheless, there is level of diminishing returns as one pays more and more for a necktie. Sure, an expensive necktie may knot better and drape better than most economy level neckties. And some individuals may even try to shame you for wearing one that costs less than most affluent brands. But that is just silly. For an average gentleman, neckties that clock in at the price of a car payment is not sensible. If you want to treat yourself every now and again – go for it. However, if you plan on paying $200.00 per necktie on the regular, then prepare to have 5 neckties in your closet – maximum.

Now, I am not a devout follower of any particular brand, as I am willing to give any company a legitimate chance. And so on a shopping excursion at the mall, I discovered Forsyth of Canada wool neckties. They were pretty impressive. Beautiful patterns. Great weight and thickness. Soft, yet incredibly resilient. And the price was respectable, retailing at approximately $60.00 – a fair asking price for a quality wool necktie. The department store of choice was Lord and Taylor, so they were pleasantly on sale. Combined with an online coupon for 15 percent off (almost always available on their website), the retail price was effectively reduced to around the $25.00 mark. So, as you can see, a gentleman can score a well-made, stylish necktie at a very affordable price.

If you are in the market for a few new neckties, I humbly suggest you check out Forsyth of Canada, as they are high quality and reasonably priced. Von Maur and Lord & Taylor carry a variety of selections, so I suggest you begin your search there. Lord & Taylor in particular has what seems like a perpetual sale going on, and combined with an online coupon that you can either print or use on the website, the savings can be substantial. Happy shopping gents.

The Gentlemen’s Ten – Suit Yourself – Details Every Gent Should Know About His Suit

Canali Suit

For seemingly decade after decade, wayward gentlemen of color have haphazardly eschewed clothing measurements that constitute the stark divide between stylish and slovenly. And nothing illustrates this point more than an ill-fitting, badly tailored suit. Baggy, shapeless silhouettes have long dominated the sartorial landscape in the urban theater, but thankfully, more gentlemen are starting to favor more streamlined proportions – and we are not talking obnoxiously skinny suits either. No, we are referring to suits that fit you and only you! Here are a few words on proportion, fit, maintenance, and everything in between that will assist you in looking your best. Continue reading

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?

Sounds of Blackness – The Whispers – In The Mood


I am not exactly sure of the precise moment; that moment when popular mainstream rhythm and blues became crude and crass. Lyrics that once championed affection, devotion, and good old-fashioned intimacy have been supplanted by sexual vulgarity masquerading as love. And I cannot, at least totally, berate the youth today for their selection of music. Not when they are presented with images of rap & blues crooner Drake on the cover of Gentleman’s Quarterly, and with the media constantly anointing dubious celebrity figures as role models. Seems like today, one has to exhibit an offensive, coarse attitude and demeanor to be a contemporary gentleman. Seriously, men, do you really want another man referring to a female family member as a bitch/hoe and holding aspirations of “beating that up”? That being said, please disabuse yourself from the sad reality that is the current state of rhythm and blues. A gentleman can still be rakishly charming, unabashedly sexy, and effortlessly smooth  – without calling a woman out of her name in the process. Fact: Being a gentleman is not mutually exclusive with being boring. And so, I remind the audience today, with the help of The Whispers, that there are gentlemen still in existence that believe in proper manners, treating a lady respectfully, and loving her as she deserves. Trust me, every lady wants that.

The Standard #19

The sharply styled, contemporary gentleman is fully cognizant of his immediate surroundings. He surveys the landscape around him and makes intelligent sartorial decisions. Once assigning himself to the notion that people do not notice what you are wearing, this gentleman has experienced a maturation process that speaks quite to the contrary. He is wiser and more seasoned now. He understands that people will take a snap mental inventory of his presentation. One’s appearance can be a subtle indicator of social status and character. Yes, your attire is a non-verbal form of communication; your clothes articulate a message and people readily listen.

Well, who comprises the audience that is so attentive observant? Your current or potential employer certainly notices. Man is not judged by resume alone. No. Sophisticated attire could be that extra 10 percent you require to differentiate yourself from the next applicant. In this economy, you might need it. Your first impression should be a lasting impression.

Speaking of impressions, observe your lovely lady’s eyes widen and the corners of her mouth curl into a sly smile when she sees your effortless elegance. Yes indeed, every woman loves a sharp dressed man; never underestimate that fact. Ponder the impression you leave on the youth and especially your own children when they absorb the gentleman’s confidence and class.

There is power in your presence, wield it wisely. Your peers even record mental notes. Please. Men are all about competition. Females usually take flack for their ritualistic judgment of each other, but do not be fooled; men want to bring sartorial A game to the table too. We are just a little more disguised with our attitude. We attempt to act like we don’t care, but we do. Employer. Spouse. Co-worker. Sibling. Son. Daughter. No matter the person, recognize that they recognize what your style articulates about you. Dignified. Confident. Masculine. Intelligent. Trustworthy. Definite characteristics the contemporary gentleman should exude.

Style & Substance – The Wool Necktie

Stylishly inconspicuous. Fashionably unobtrusive. Quietly entering the room, its presence is announced by its reserved elegance. Sometimes in a gentleman’s life, he is required to exude a sober & restrained presentation. The solid wool necktie is there for his assistance. Set against the background of an immaculate white dress shirt, the gentleman displays great grace and aplomb in his excellent execution of elegance. And given the eventual transition into autumn and winter, neckties arriving in wool are an intelligent choice. Wool provides some serious visual depth to the usual dress shirt & necktie combination. Don’t worry about any difficulty knotting your necktie either. Given wool has exceptional resilience, knotting a perfect four-in-hand is quite easy. And the fabric returns to its original shape just fine. Opt for dark hues such as navy, brown, or gray. Pair with a fine merino sweater or tweed sport coat for a discreetly handsome ensemble. Every gentleman’s closet should maintain a few in circulation. You won’t be sorry.

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