Monday, June 27, 2011
As you might imagine, other than the undeniable European influence within the larger urban areas of the country, Uganda offers very little in the form of inspiration for style blog posts. However, what did manage to recharge my interior fashionista (or is it the masculine "fashionisto"?) was my time spent in London, England, both in Heathrow Airport and during my short time touring the legendary city itself.
Now ashamedly I must confess that my style-ometer was running almost completely on the opposite side of "refined" during my time in the European hub. As a friend of mine who has been to England more times than Madonna told me, "You'll know you're in London when you look around and you're the worst dressed person in the entire country." Now granted, I had just returned from a small village in Eastern Africa where hot showers are a luxury that last little more than 30 seconds, but looking around, I was astounded at the impeccable style of the average business man strolling through the terminal. Conversely, I stood drenched to the bone after a painfully ignorant decision to wear canvas espadrilles and a t-shirt to the coldest, wettest island on the planet. I therefore still find it inexplicable that the good people of Britain actually allowed me to set foot in any establishment at all without immediately calling the Bobbies to come and remove the unfortunate-looking American transient standing in their doorway.
Rock the Euro-Casual
1. So Where Do You Keep Your Legs?
You've already got a go-to fitted blazer, right? Good. Now the next step is ditching the chinos and reaching for a perfectly trim pair of jeans, which absolutely make or break this look. Those shredded, wide-legged JNCOs from junior high, have no place here, or anywhere outside of a toxic waste disposal site for that matter. Your jeans should be slim, low rise, in a dark wash. But don't buy into the lie that good jeans cost a year's salary. My absolute best fitting slim jeans came from Old Navy for under $30. I know...I was surprised too.
Old Navy, Men's Premium Skinny Jeans, $39.50
2. Get To The Point
TOPMAN, Decon Summer Plimsoll, $64
3. Don't Blend In Too Much
Once you've got the basics down, don't be afraid to punch it up with your own personal swagger. Add a tie, a pocket square, a belt, a beard--whatever fits your style. Just keep it simple. If you start adding every accessory you can think of, you'll be cursing yourself as you sit unable to move throughout the duration of your 8-hour flight. One of the easiest ways to punch some life into this look is to play with the color or pattern of your dress shirt. Bright, solid colors like blue and purple can do wonders and pinstripes and plaid give you a decidedly American look. But just in case you were wondering, floral-patterned dress shirts (like those from the 1970s) are coming back in Europe in a big way (although very slowly), so perhaps you can take the initiative and be a frontrunner in getting the trend back to the States. Whatever you decide, rock it with that American confidence we used to be famous for. With any luck, maybe you can make up for any damage I did last week to the global perception of American style. Here's to hoping.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
But as a parting gift, I leave you with some absolutely beautiful photography taken by a friend of mine when she was in Cote d'Ivoire, Africa a few months ago. Her work is absolutely stunning, so please give it a look. Other than that, God Bless you all and I'll see you soon. Cheers.
(Click Each to See Larger)
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Edward Cullen, who? I'm talking about the real relationship killer--Ryan Gosling. And while my wife will tell you I've chosen Ryan as this post's Man of Inspiration because I was once told I looked like the dashing heartthrob by a near-sighted, college freshman girl, my actual reason for choosing Mr. Gosling is simple: the man is absolutely unstoppable. With over a dozen films under his belt, ranging from box office giants like Remember the Titans and Fracture to greats such as Blue Valentine and Lars and the Real Girl, which provide him with some serious indie cred, Gosling has become one of our generation's best leading men at barely 30 years old. Add to that, his eery, folk indie band Dead Man's Bones and his uncanny ability to grace the best dressed list of any awards show in the universe with his impeccable style and you truly begin to see why I've had a completely heterosexual Man Crush on this guy for a great while.
But with all that said, let's break down one of my absolute favorite looks from the epically suave Mr. Gosling, pictured here with his Blue Valentine co-star Michelle Williams:
1. The Rugged, Wicked Cool Leather Jacket
If you've got the cash, invest in a quality leather bomber jacket that'll last long enough to pass on to your grand kids. Gosling masters the look here by pairing it with a much more "dressed-up" ensemble rather than the usual AC/DC shirt and chaps. If you're like me and it's perhaps a bit out of the budget range, you can also go with the much less expensive, and still very cool beat-to-heck jean jacket in a dark wash like this one from Levi's.
2. The Endlessly Versatile Cardigan
Urban Outfitters, Hawkings McGill Classic Cardigan, $39
3. The Scarf
Without a doubt, Gosling's scarf is what makes this look exceptional. While many men would surely steer clear of one this....elegant, the confident cool and rugged good-looks of the dapper Crazy Stupid Love star somehow lets him pull it off with unbelievable swagger. But if you're a little apprehensive, try a more "manly" (although less punchy) option.
4. The Kicks
|*Consulted Source: The GQ Eye|
Stacy Adams, Men's Madison Cap-Toe Spat Boot, $116
Or the cheat: White Spats - Adult Size, $16
Friday, June 3, 2011
Anonymous asked: What are the core, basic, essential, elements that make a gentleman a gentleman? More inherent than purchased.
This, dear readers, is an excellent question...and yet, simultaneously, a nightmare to answer. And while I'm not entirely sure, I believe its elusiveness may derive from the fact that it single-handedly summarizes the entire purpose of this blog--which of late (to my shocking revelation) may have began to focus on a single area of gentlemanly "style" disproportionately to the others. And although I certainly agree fully with the words of the legendary William Shakespeare when he said, "The apparel oft proclaims the man," the modern gentleman is exponentially more than the mere shards of fabric he chooses to wrap around his body. Mannerisms, honor, courage, swagger--these are the marks of the refined, civilized man on which no price tag may be pinned.
And so it is, with great questions, must come great attempts at plausible responses--and quite frankly, this type of questions commands more than a mere few dozen words and Google pictures to do it justice. Thus, I would like to answer this question more comprehensively through a mini-series of posts in which the essentials to gentlemanly character are presented in a more detailed, step-by-step manner--much like a coaching of sorts in the ways of civilized people. It is therefore without further ramblings, my fair gentlemen, that I present the first two essentials for gentlemanly character:
1. The Confident Stride That Suits Any Occasion
One of the absolute first things people notice about a man is his demeanor--his posture, his expression, all working together to form an undeniable glimpse into the character behind the mask. For a gentleman, this is extremely important. If your posture makes you appear as a passable member of an African baboon colony with the added bonus of a demeanor to match those still furious at nature for bestowing them with bright red bottoms, you might need some work. Take a note from the king of gentlemen--James Bond in this clip from the film, Die Another Day:
While this movie as a whole was far from the crowning achievement of the British spy's franchise, I specifically love this scene because every time I see it, I'm reminded of my grandmother's words (who was sitting next to me in the theatre) when the dashing Mr. Brosnan strides into the hotel lobby:
Take it from my nanny...it's all about the swagger."Goodness Gracious, how can he still look so dang sexy even when he's dressed like a homeless man?"
2. A Gentleman Always Makes an Entrance
The key to the gentlemanly entrance? Effortless cool, sharply dressed, inexplicably knowledgeable, and irresistibly mysterious. But if you're like me and you've still got some room for exponential expansion in one or four of these areas, don't panic. It's the charisma that counts. Whatever you do, DO NOT be the guy in the corner of the room glued to his pathetically unimpressive smart phone eying anything with more curves than a pear with a look of insatiable hunger. Instead, be the guy who talks to anybody and everybody, but never too much. Be the man who offers to pull out a chair for a lady and is keen enough to spend more of his time gleaning from the wisdom of the elder gentlemen in the room than standing idly around with the arrogant, self-important 20-year-olds by the punch table. Act the gentleman. Before you know it, you'll be the IT guy at every function imagenable.
Check back soon for more! Cheers.