Review – Tommy Bahama – St. Kitts for Men

Tommy Bahama St KittsCurrently, here in my home state of Michigan, the temperatures have commenced their annual descent into chillier territory. Nothing drastic mind you, but apparent enough to remind local residents that cooler days are indeed on the foreseeable horizon. Such is life in states with frosty temperatures during the span between late October and early April. Therefore, on occasion, a mental respite can be summoned by way of a relaxing cologne to serve as much-needed distraction – there is subtle psychological element to wearing cologne that cannot be dismissed. That being stated, allow me to direct your attention to the latest, limited-edition offering from Tommy Bahama: St. Kitts for Men. With wintry conditions ahead, let’s gauge the performance of St. Kitts for Men, and then we can decide if it provides the mental getaway that a gentleman requires from time to time when the weather outside is frightful.

Observations

Top Notes: Kaffir Lime, Mandarin Orange, Star Fruit (Carambola)

Middle Notes: Cedar, Sea Salt, Watery Accord

Base Notes: Driftwood, Ambergris, Creamy Musk

  • After a departure from its signature curved bottle – departures being Tommy Bahama Compass and Tommy Bahama Island Life – St. Kitts is a return to its unique style, arriving in a deep cobalt blue container with a very soft texture. If I were being picky, the presentation would be beautifully topped off by a brass top instead of the brass colored plastic that arrives with the product. It slightly detracts from the overall visual, but that is only for the gentleman that obsesses over details. Minor, but worth mentioning for those that care about such nuances.
  • From its introduction to its middle act to its conclusion, the transitional phases are steady and smooth. Each note flows into the other seamlessly without overpowering each other. The highlights of the top and middle notes are the mandarin orange, star fruit, and watery accord. In tandem, a gentleman enjoys a mildly sweet opening that lasts for a generous amount of time.
  • The closing notes are slow and sustained. Again, it does not dry down with a strong presence, so there is a risk of being overpowered in an environment of competing scents. So don’t trot off to the casino where the cascading smoke will negate your efforts to smell great.
  • A gentleman will surely benefit from generous applications, nothing over the top, but 8-10 sprays from the bottle should suffice and last a decent portion of the day.
  • Tommy Bahama St. Kitts for Men is not strong by any means. And actually, because of its soft notes, I could imagine a woman wearing this. Therefore, if you’re the type of gentleman that prefers a more rugged scent, this offering from Tommy Bahama may not be for you. Definitely a spring and summer cologne, St. Kitts for Men can be a welcome change of pace as the days become duller and gloomier. St. Kitts for Men is consistent. From beginning to end, its identity never changes, sweet and fruity, it affords a gentleman a softer approach to fall and winter while conjuring up thoughts of more pleasant temperatures to come.
  • Tommy Bahama 3.4 oz $65.00 – Available exclusively at Tommy Bahama locations or online at http://www.tommybahama.com/TBG/Men/Mens_New_Products/PRD_200420/Mens+St+Kitts+34+oz+Cologne+Spray.jsp
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.

Style & Substance – Fear of the White Dress Shirt

J Crew Cotton Linen

J. Crew Cotton-Linen Button-Down

In all seriousness, when employing the services of a white dress shirt during moments of formal dress, well, the exercise should be relatively  foolproof. Given its blank slate demeanor, a gentleman would be hard-pressed to unearth complications when coordinating varying elements of his ensemble. However, there are some gentlemen that opt for the most unusual colors when selecting a dress shirt. Burnt orange. Neon green. Hot pink. Well, perhaps the white dress shirt is overwhelmingly too simple. So simple in fact, a gentleman can be misled into a train of thought wrought with complexity. And then again, perhaps, a simple white dress shirt screams boredom. Allow me to present this appeal: Step away from the loud dress shirts and embrace the unspoiled benefits the white dress shirt has to offer. It is a clean canvas that a gentleman can practice his sartorial art upon without fear of a fashion calamity. It’s safe. It’s readily available. It’s timeless. It should play a vital role in your wardrobe. Gent Hint: Since we are approaching warmer weather, select a lightweight fabric such as poplin, linen, or a cotton/linen blend would be just what Mother Nature ordered. Gent Hint II: Skip the necktie and opt for a button-down dress shirt without the neck apparel.

Review – Vince Camuto – Solare

Vince Camuto SolareWell, it is certainly that time of the year. It is that time of year when spring is well underway, summer is right around the corner, and Father’s Day is on the horizon. Therefore, this perfect storm of events have given rise to a prominent influx of grooming review requests from my friendly public relations connections. This month has been especially busy, as two unexpected trips to the emergency room with my daughter, all within a 2 week span, have accelerated the rate of gray hairs growing in my beard. Alas, the life of a parent. Nevertheless, between trips to Beaumont and still fulfilling my employment duties at Trinity Health, I was able to carve out some much-required time to shower, groom, and test products. And thus, let the reviews begin! Today, we are placing Vince Camuto Solare under the examination light. Launched this year as a follow-up to Vince Camuto Homme – which I enjoyed immensely – Solare arrives with the promise of introducing creativity and vitality into a gentleman’s grooming lifestyle. Let’s see if it delivers on that promise.

Observations

Top Notes: French Lavender, Juicy Mandarin, Red Apple

Middle Notes: Cardamom, Wild Sage, Pimento Leaves

Base Notes: Sensual Musk, Tonka Leaves, Cashmere Woods, Creamy Blonde Woods

  • Vince Camuto Solare swiftly commences with a sharp burst of citrus that is unabashedly sweet and fresh. The notes of sweetness endure for a surprisingly extended length of time before finally settling down into the middle portion. Fleeting hints of apple will be the last distinct note you will be able to discern before the top notes are finished.
  • Now the middle section of Solare shares the same sweetness as the introduction, but not as sharply defined. Its temperament is slow and steady. Nevertheless, the tandem of the top and middle notes work in concert to comprise a majority of the scent’s dominant smell.
  • Given its sweet nature, Solare appears slightly fade over the course of the day. And given that fact, a gentleman can be seduced by the thought of dispersing additional applications – please don’t. Solare will adhere to your clothing far longer than it will to you. Therefore, I recommend addressing your pulse points – the neck and wrists – with a spritz of 4-6 hits. Depending on your body chemistry, a gentleman could perhaps apply a little more. I would steer clear of spraying your body unless you don’t mind the scent sticking to your clothing.
  • Now, as sweet as the top and middle notes were, the bottom notes carried the same theme, but with darker undertones. There is a faint woody flavor present, but not really overt. And if a gentleman decides to bathe himself in Solare – as I previously warned against – those undertones will be overwhelming and haunt you – and your clothing – for the rest of the day.
  • Vince Camuto Solare is best suited for light casual affairs where a gentleman might find himself around a pool or body of water. The atmosphere should be as clean as possible, as heavy scents, such as the smoke from a barbeque grill, will surely overpower Solare. Solare is a fun fragrance; energetic, yet sublimely subtle.
  • Vince Camuto Solare 3.4 oz $70.00 – Available at Vince Camuto, Macy’s,Von Maur or any fine men’s department store.
Gentlemen’s Standard Approved
 

Style & Substance – Eton – The Floral Pocket Square

Eton Floral PSTo be absolutely certain, the much-anticipated arrival of pleasant weather will necessitate the process of temporarily jettisoning apparel indicative of fall and winter seasons. And with that short-term separation, a gentleman will surely divert his sartorial selections toward men’s accoutrements that welcome the sensibilities of spring and summer. Assuming that the venerable necktie will be rarely beckoned for professional utilization – depending on your lifestyle – a pocket square is a viable alternative that lends unique character to the dapper gentleman’s breast pocket. Now, extending beyond the mere practice of rocking a standard pocket square in lieu of a necktie during the summer, I want to take the time to endorse the pocket square bearing a floral design. Fun, lively, and charismatic; a floral pocket square pops with gentle personality. It is an understated way to inject some softness into a masculine demeanor. Stock up on a few and employ when needed.

Style & Substance – The Medium Brown Oxford

Edward Green Brown OxfordBecause, when the severity of a black oxford threatens to compromise the sanctity of a fresh spring day, an alternative pair in a warm shade of brown will enable a gentleman to properly complement the day in style. Trust, as a gentleman’s presentation gradually adapts a lighter hue, the loyal employment of the black oxford will lessen more and more. Now, this is not a call for a complete excommunication from your shoe rotation. Rather, this is a thoughtful regulation of your trusted pair of somber kicks to specialized duty: overcast mornings, job interviews, funeral services, special events during the evening, etc. So, in other words, with the exception of moments that beg darker attire, a sprightly pair of brown shoes will marry perfectly with almost any lighter shade of trouser. Light to medium gray. Of course varying shades of brown or khaki. Earthy sage. And even softer hues of blue can coincide beautifully with your brown shoes. Now, whether you rock a cap-toe or wingtip, the selection is solely your own. I humbly suggest adding two pairs – more if you can afford it – to your footwear arsenal if you haven’t procured said pairs already. And with that – happy spring gentlemen!

Style & Substance – Spring & Summer Suede

IMG_0174A gentleman should not contract the services of suede during the spring and summer seasons. As a matter of fact, he is strictly forbidden from entertaining the thought. To that notion, we emphatically say: Nonsense! But, suede in the spring and summer? Why, yes my friend. Think of it as sweet & sour, or sugar & spice, or sweet & salty, or – well, you get the point. And that point is: Sometimes, opposites most certainly do attract. Marry with a pair of pressed cotton khakis or relaxed denim jeans. And if you are really feeling adventurous; rock a suede pair with one of your suits. Hey, we said opposites attract. It should be noted, I’m adventurous, but not that adventurous. Perhaps I would wear a pair with a crisp cotton suit, but that is about as far as I can take it. I just wanted to be transparent with the audience. So, check out my newest kicks – a cool pair of Florsheim wingtips – courtesy of a bonus sale at DSW. Draw the necessary inspiration and go kick it this season, and the next, in style.

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Standard Recommendations – Ted Baker Polka Dot Necktie

Ted Baker Polka DotGranted, spring may have officially arrived yesterday, but the temperatures have retained a wintry feel that echoes early January. Nonetheless, the season has technically shifted, and the gentleman would be wise to prepare his spring attire for the upcoming heat wave. Okay, perhaps that is a stretch, but it would be intelligent to get the proper gear ready. Now, despite the warm weather that will soon be arriving (we hope), it might be a little premature to emancipate the shorts and tee shirts from the closet. That being said, plenty of gentlemen will still hold fast to their suit attire. However, the dreary days of winter will soon be forgotten, and a lighter touch will be required when we decide to get suited and booted. And usually that lighter touch arrives in the form of playful, whimsical accessories that temper the seriousness of your standard business suit. That being said, I came across this fun Ted Baker necktie being offered online by Von Maur. Yes, polka dots are still popular; and the boldness of those dots, along with the vibrant colors, are just enough to loosen up a stiff suit – if just a little bit. Bonus: Currently it’s on sale for $39.00, which is reasonable given the brand and design. So, check it out. Von Maur offers free shipping with a no hassle return if it doesn’t tickle your fancy. For more purchasing details, visit Von Maur HERE for more information.

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