Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Short Game

So we've made it through the June and July heat. There's still August to go. And realistically for us southerners, there's September and part of October too. Which means that there's plenty of time to employ this next tip; get yourself a few well-fitting short-sleeve button down shirts. You will be glad you did. Just think of them as the polo's older brother. Slightly more dressy, and you can still stay cool. But sometimes it can actually be harder to get the fit right. Why? For whatever reason, most of these shirts are made with a boxy cut. Meaning that you would almost always have to get them altered. If not, then you end up looking like one of those Geek Squad guys from Best Buy.

But I wont let you go out like that. Below I've highlighted 3 different ways to pull off a short-sleeved button down. 

Look 1.
Weekend/Off Duty
This is one of the easiest ways to do it. During the weekend there doesn't need to be a whole lot of thought that's put into what you wear. It's supposed to be a time of relaxation after a week of hustling and bustling. But don't mistake relaxed for lazy and tacky.

This should fit slim like the rest of your shirts. And the sleeves should hit around the middle of your bicep.

Gingham Shirt~Polo Ralph Lauren, Jeans~Lands End Canvas, Watch~Nautica, Canvas Sneakers~Aldo, Sunglasses~H&M

Look 2. 
To the office Monday -Thursday

Even if your office has a coat and tie dress code, you can still find these shirts useful. You will still be a lot cooler than everyone else wearing full sleeves. Just make sure the shirt is either solid or has a subtle pattern so it still looks professional.

Keep this in mind, because you have on short sleeves there won't be any shirt cuff showing at your wrists. So make sure the sleeves on your jacket are long enough to keep them covered or it will look too short.
Striped Short Sleeve Shirt~JCrew, Blazer~Higgins(thrifted), Trousers, Express, Loafers~Bass, Tie~Express, Watch~Tommy Hilfiger, Sunglasses~H&M

Look 3.
Casual Friday

After fooling all of your colleagues Monday thru Thursday with your short sleeve shirt hidden under your jacket, go ahead and let it all out.

Some offices may still be a little strict even on casual Fridays. Govern yourselves accordingly and make sure that the office dress code is still adhered to. Don't go getting yourself in trouble. Your boss couldn't give a flip about style.
Checked Short Sleeve Shirt~Old Navy(thrifted), Chinos~JCrew, Belt~JCrew, Tie~JCrew, Watch~Timex,

Thursday, July 26, 2012

For Starters...

Mike Grady
26 years old
Freelance Wardrobe Stylist, Assistant Army Wives Costume Buyer, Billy Reid Salesman
Resides in Downtown Charleston

All clothing by Billy Reid

A lot of guys who are new to learning about style always end up having the same question sooner or later. "What kind of suit do I need?". Answer...2 button navy blue suit. Why? Oh let me count the ways. Job interview, first date, 5 star restaurant, weddings, funerals, white collar jobs, etc. You can even break it up and just wear the blazer with some jeans or some khaki chinos. Or you can of course wear the pants on their own.The moral of the story is, when in doubt, go blue. 

The fit: Needless to say, keep it slim. Try and find one with a lower button-stance that will naturally accentuate a slimming "v-shape". And with the trousers, there should be very little to no break. I would say if your in the office, use a slight break. But if you're in the creative field, flash some ankle. 

Everything else: A navy blue suit is great because it's just like a blank canvas. You can pair it up with just about any shirt and tie combo you can think of. But there is one thing that should stay constant; unless you're at a funeral, keep the shoes brown. It will always look better. Trust me. 

So there you have it. So easy even a caveman can do it. Get a blue suit. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Get Your Flippin Shine Box

Ever since the beginning of time, it seems to be a fact that the more money you have, the less you do for yourself. Think about it, most wealthy people have someone to cut their grass, clean their homes, wash their vehicles, and even drive them around in said vehicles. 

In all honesty, when I get to that place in life, I will most likely follow suit. However, there is one thing that as long as I can help it I will do for myself. I'm talking about shining shoes. Now honestly, I know there are those who never shine their shoes or apply any type of protectant to them. Needless to say, that's not very good for the leather. Think about where leather comes from. It's just animal skin with the hair removed. Now think about your skin. How would your skin look if you treated it the same you treat those shoes that you never shine. Why it would probably be liable to just shrivel up and peel away. But that doesn't happen because we apply lotion multiple times a day. Now am I saying that shoes are to be shined as often as you apply lotion? No. But at least once every 2-3 weeks you should be doing this. If you refuse to do it yourself, fine. You can typically find a shoe shine man in some barber shops and most nice hotels. As for me, I insist on shining my own shoes. Not because I'm a super particular person (which I am), but because it just feels so therapeutic. I know some who pour a glass of wine, smoke a cigar, and play old Miles Davis records while completing the task. But for me, a nice quiet room, a glass of 55 degree water (warmer than ice cold, cooler than room temperature) and I'm good to go. Here's how I  get it done.

1. Shoes~Banana Republic, 2.Shoe Cream~Johnston & Murphy, 3. 100% Horsehair Brush~Johnston & Murphy, 4. Cloth/Old Tshirt~American Eagle

Step 1. 
Take out the strings.

Step 2. 
Use the cloth to remove any dirt or dust.

Step 3. 
Take your cloth and wrap it around your index and middle fingers. Make sure it is nice and tight.

Step 4.
Put about a nickel sized dollop of cream on the cloth then begin to wipe the shoe in a circular motion. Be sure to get in all the cracks, grooves, and crevices.

 The one on the right is what it should look like before you buff it. I like to let the cream sit on it for a few minutes.

Step 5.
Take the horsehair brush and buff it to a beautiful shine.

The one on the left is what it should look like when finished. Notice how it just looks "healthier" than the one on the right. Back to the lotion analogy, hink about how it would look if you only put lotion on one arm. That is what thins kind of reminds me of.

Now, in the words of Stephen A. Smith, "Let's be clear", I am no shoe shine expert. Really, I just showed you the basics. Want to see what a real expert looks like? Watch the video below and prepare to drool...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Boots and Brass

Amirah Kinlaw
27 years old
Patient Care Technitian
Resides in Summerville, SC

Striped Buttondown Oxford~Ralph Lauren Sport, Chinos~JCrew, Blazer~(Thrifted), Riding Boots~Steve Madden, Crossbody Bag~Palmetto Purse, Umbrella~Coach

This stylish woman happens to be my wife. The photo was taken moments after a monsoon-like downpour where it seemed like we took on about 6 inches of rain in a mere 20 minute span. Being that she doesn't own any rubber rainboots, she equipped herself with the next best thing; riding boots. Think about it. You can tuck your pants in them, the leather holds up well to the moisture, and you have thick rubber soles to tread those slick streets.

Those who know me, know that this is the look that I'm most attracted to. Some say boyish, I say classy. Dont believe me? Princess Diana was no stranger to similar looks. And it's for good reason.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Good Ole Switcharoo

As I continue to march through the list of essentinals a stylish guy should be aware of, I've come to my next topic; Nylon NATO Straps.

NATO straps originated in the British military during war times. It was primarily used on diving watches because it didn't rust, it was inexpensive, and there was no worry of a pin coming unfastened and the watch getting lost. NATO straps grew wildly popular when the Original 007, Sean Connery, wore one similar in the movie Goldfinger in 1964. 

Now they're offered in just about any color combination you can dream of. So if you're lookin for a quick inexpensive way to put a spark into your summer wardrobe, take heed to these 4 steps: 

1. Buy this watch
2. Go to this website
3. Buy three or four different styles. 
4. Change them out as often as you please.
*You can swap out one strap for another in as little as 45 seconds*

Polo Shirt~Palo Ralph Lauren, Chinos~JCrew, Canvas Sneakers~Aldo, Belt~Army Navy Surplus, Watch~Timex

Polo Shirt~Hollister, Madras Shorts~Polo Ralph Lauren, Belt~JCrew, Watch~Timex

Polo Shirt~Duck Head, Jeans~Lands End Canvas, Loafers~Bass, Watch~Timex

Dress Shirt~H&M, Chinos~JCrew, Silk Knit Tie~JCrew, Dress Shoes~Banana Republic, Belt~Gap, Watch~Timex

Thursday, July 12, 2012

House Calls

About a month ago I was approached with the opportunity for my family and me to be a part of a photo shoot. Now this was not your typical fashion photo shoot. It was for House Calls Magazine; a quarterly publication put out by Roper St Francis Hospitals located in the "Lowcountry" portion of South Carolina. It primarily focuses on health and wellness. So when I was told they were interested in me, a style blogger, I was a bit thrown off. However I'm always open to new opportunities and connecting with different audiences. 

So the basis of the summer issue was about happiness. Our instuctions were to simply joke around and look happy. And then they just asked us for some quotes on what made us happy. Sounds simple right? Well, it was. And we had a blast! Here are the final shots that were chosen for print.

All photographs taken by Ruta Elvikyte

Monday, July 9, 2012

Spread Em

Not for the faint of heart, a spread collar dress shirt is a simple way to amp up your wardrobe. It was made popular by The Duke of Windsor in the 1940s. The look is primarily owned by the Europeans but you don't need an accent to pull this off. All you need is a sturdy tie (skinny ties knots get lost in the bigger space, but please no muscle knots) and a little attitude.

Most of the time, you see spread collar shirts in dressed up looks like this.

Spread Collar Dress Shirt~Polo Ralph Lauren, Tie~Schein's(thrifted), Chinos~JCrew, Blazer~Max's(thrifted),Watch~Tommy Hilfiger, Sunglasses~H&M

But occassionally you will stumble upon one made from a softer, more casual material. These kinds provide a more relaxed look.

Spread Collar Sport Shirt~Express, Knit Tie~JCrew, Chinos~JCrew, Belt~JCrew, Watch~Timex, Sunglasses~H&M

Which do you think you would prefer?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Quack, Quack

After seeing a recent post by my favorite blog, I was inspired to don a similar ensamble for today involving what might be my favorite shirt: a Duck Head polo. Also, I felt it was a good time to give those who dont know a little background on the brand and what it means to me. 

Way, way back in 1865, 2 brothers decided to buy surplus army tent material. It was a heavy canvas material called "duck". Soon thereafter the brothers George and Joe O'Bryan decided to make work pants and shirts from what was left over. They wanted to trademark and name the brand "Duck". B
ut it was rejected by the U.S. Trademark Registation Office because the term was in general use. So they settled on "Duck Head" instead and the brand was officially born. 

Fast forward many moons to my middle and high school years. The brand was very popular among the hunting and fishing set. Their uniform was very simple: Duck Head polo, khaki shorts, and boat shoes. At the time, I wasn't very interested in it. I just thought it was for the "white boys" (silly me). But as you know, with age comes wisdom. And now as I previously stated, its my favorite shirt. Its got a simple logo, you don't see many people wear it anymore, and it reminds me of my childhood. And there's one thing I'm beginning to realize: the older I get, the more I appreciate the childhood memories that have shaped me into who I am today.

All Photos Taken in Downtown District, Summerville, SC

Polo Shirt~Duck Head(thrifted), Jeans~Lands End Canvas, Loafers~Bass, Watch~Timex, Belt~JCrew, Sunglasses~H&M

Monday, July 2, 2012

Thank You Beary Much

Ever since I was a kid, I've had a thing for stuffed animals. Not really sure where it came from. But its just something about the feel of them. I mean, I had a ton of superhero action figures too. But they were made out of plastic, and only a few inches tall. Plush toys were always bigger and softer. Before your minds start to wonder, no I've never done anything inappropriate with them. Grow up people, lol. Just a mere admiration.

Recently, it's gone from just stuffed animals in general, to stuffed bears. But not just any bears. Ralph Lauren Bears. Back in 1996, the Ralph Lauren company began to distribute stuffed bears wearing the brand's clothing. Typically they would release 1-3 per year. The tradition is still going strong as the lastest one that was released this year is covered with 100% cashmere. Nope, I haven't gotten around to getting that one yet. However, as of now I do have 8 in my collection. And yes I've given them all names. I'm not sure when I will make another addition though. 

Less than a year ago I stumbled upon a necktie covered in what else but Ralph Lauren bears. Of course it was a no brainer. I had to pick it up.

All photos taken at Cracker Barrel, Summerville, SC

 I chose to showcase this one because it's my all time favorite. Part of it is because I got into an eBay bidding war to get it and it ended up being the one I had to spend the most for. But mostly it's my favorite because he's wearing the iconic navy blue polo with the red pony. Naturally, I named him Ralph.

Dress Shirt~Express, Tie~Polo Ralph Lauren, Chinos~JCrew, Blazer~Max'x(thrifted), Loafers~Bass, Watch~Timex, Tie Clip~Meeting Street