Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fall/Winter Checklist: Denim Jacket

During this transitional period, the weather can do crazy things. In the mornings it's in the 50s. By 11:00 it's in the 80s. So you need something that will keep you warm, while still being lightweight so as you don't melt when the temperature rises. Enter my next essential item; the denim jacket.

Denim Jacket~Levis, Camp Shirt~Gap, Chinos~Dockers, Belt~Army/Navy Surplus, Desert Boots~Aldo, Watch~Timex, Sunglasses~H&M
They come in many different cuts and washes so there's something for everyone. Treat them like you would a pair of jeans and wear them with everything.....except a pair of jeans. It can be done, but it can be tricky. One has to be light and the other has to be dark. Break this rule and you'll be rocking what's known as the Canadian Tuxedo: not a good look. And if you get one slim enough, you can use it as a layering piece and wear it under your blazer or wool coat. Also, if you're up for the challenge, you can buy one in raw denim and break it in yourself.

Lastly, the awesome thing about denim jackets is that you can save a ton of money and go vintage/thrift and get one used. There are a plethora of 70s-80s era jackets that seem to just pile up in secondhand stores. Just be sure to take it to the tailor to get the fit right. It should have high armholes, slim through the sleeves and body, and it should stop right around the waiste. Because otherwise you'll just be walking around in a denim blanket, and random strangers will subconsciously hand you quarters.

$210                                                                                                                                                                 $595
Levis (Raw denim)                                                                                                                                Chimala

$240                                                                                                                                                                                    $40
Rag and Bone                                                                                                                                                                Forever 21

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fall/Winter Checklist: Socks

Over the next few weeks, I will be highlighting all of the important Fall essentials that you need to be equipped with to get you through the next 6 months.

Seeing as how it's pretty much the most inexpensive thing you can buy, I figured that socks would be a good start. With the exception of the occasional formal event, from about late February to late September my socks collect dust. Living in the south, there's really not much logic to wearing them during the Spring/Summer months. But now, there's a crisp feeling in the mornings,  followed by a post 6pm airiness that all of a sudden makes wearing socks a little more reasonable. These are the socks you wear with your grown man shoes. You know,  laceups, loafers, and monkstraps. For heavy duty sh**-kicking boots, I'll tell you which socks are for those a little later.

So go out and grab yourself a few pairs. Below I have some suggestions for everyone from the plain Daves of the world, to the more eccentric gentleman. Me personally, with socks I err on the side of eccentricity. It's a great opportunity to show some spunk. And don't get too hung up on being so matchy, matchy. In the words of John Witherspoon, "You got to coooordinate".

$13                                                                                                                                 $35                                                                                                        
JCrew                                                                                                                            Paul Smith

$9                                                                                                                                               $12
Sock It To Me                                                                                                                          Happy Socks

And for the plain Daves of the world, a 3-pack of go-with-everything navy.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

C&C Style Club Vol.2: Mike Grady

Allow me to reintroduce you to Mike Grady. You may remember him from an earlier post. I felt it was a good idea to reconnect with him to do a full photo shoot and interview because I was really interested in what he had to say about fashion and his style. But this meeting was extra special for me because I've actually known Mike since the second grade so we go wayyy back. So it was great catching up with him. In this interview we'll cover everything from woodworking, finding jeans that make your butt look good, and his wardrobe malfunction from hell.

Mike Grady
26 years old
Billy Reid Salesman, Freelance Wardrobe Stylist
Resides in Downtown Charleston

All clothing throughout is by Billy Reid

Chinos & Cheesecake: Who inspires your style and what inspires your style?
Mike Grady: I don't think there was one particular person. Its funny, growing up, my mom always encouraged me to express myself however I wanted to. I had every haircut possible as a kid from a rat tail to a mohawk. She always just let me wear whatever I wanted to school and she never really placed any parameters on me. And I feel like that's really what set the groundwork for me having my own taste and my own style. I remember I used to flip through Vogue and other women's magazines with my mom and we had this game every September when the September issue came out I would make her hair look like the cover of the magazine. And it was so much fun. And I think my mom instilling that creativity in me is what lent itself to expressing myself in fashion. My mom made a lot of clothes growing up. I was always really inspired by the matching outfits my grandma used to make. My mom and her brother and sister would always take photographs together and their outfits would be matching and i used to love that. And I really got a lot of inspiration from handmade homemade and it's funny I didn't even really like it at the time. I always wanted stuff bought from the store. But the older I got the more I appreciated that I learned how to sew as a kid.
That I knew all these things and that's really what lent it to the inspiration behind the way I dress. I'm really into American work wear. I love handmade things just like the next fashion guy.

C&C: In your opinion, what are the top 5 essentials that every man should own?
MG: Every man should have a suit. I think it should be a navy 3 button or 2 button. Preferably a 2 button just because its easiest for most guys to wear. But a nice fitted navy suit is really important. I think that every man should have a pair of jeans that he feels awesome in. Because there's nothing....and I don't care what any guy says, straight or gay, but when you put on a par of jeans that make your butt look good, you feel good about yourselve. And every man should have a pair of jeans that make them feel that way.
C&C: They shouldn't sag by the way.
MG: No. Pants are meant to be worn around the waist. Not halfway, like my grandmother would say halfway down your a$$. Pull your britches up.
C&C: Well not talking about the waist but I mean, around the seat area.
MG: Yea, I mean, you should be able to see your legs. Why would you want to walk around in a tent of fabric. It makes you way hotter, you move slower, and if zombies are chasing you, you wont be able to get away. You can get away much faster from zombies if you're wearing fitted pants. On that note, I think every man should own the zombie survival guide. It's the most hilarious book I've ever read. I thoroughly enjoyed theorizing how to escape zombies during the apocalypse. I just think every guy should own that book. I think every guy should have a grooming routine. And I know that's a lot of items. But you should get one that fits you. If you don't like fragrance on your face, there are a lot of great products out there. There's a company called Every Man Jack. It's all organic fragrance free facial care products. And I think every guy should have a good shaving cream, a really good razor. Nothing disposable. You should be using a razor that's good for your face. It shouldn't be hurting you. Every guy should have a really comfortable pair of loafers because there's nothing more universal than a good pair of loafers. You can wear them with jeans, you can wear them with a suit. Its just a really important part of your wardrobe. And depending on where you live the fifth item could be one of two things I think that every guy should own a really great overcoat. It protects your clothes from the elements depending on the region you like in. If you live in a warm region you're not going to need one. But in New York I thanked God every day for my grandfathers naval pea coat that he gave me before I moved there. It just protects you from the elements. And the other fifth one should be a good bag. Get one that fits you and that's functional.

C&C: So is there any type of special routine you have to getting dressed?
MG: You know that's kind of funny because I was thinking about that getting ready this morning. The older I've gotten, the more methodical my routines have gotten. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is let the dogs out. And the whole time that I'm laying in bed while I'm thinking about getting out of bed I'm thinking about what I wanna wear for the day and I'm putting outfits in my head. So that's probably my first step. Sometimes when I go to sleep at night I'm thinking about what I wanna wear the next day. Depending on what I'm going to be doing with my day. Get up let the dogs out. Come upstairs. I definitely have a routine for my face. I can't stress that enough for guys. If you wanna look young and you wanna take care of yourself, moisturizing your face is so important. I put on my StriVectin eye cream after the shower. I use Aveeno on my face. Depending on my mood I might shave or I won't shave. I think the most important part of my day when I'm getting ready is definitely that little bit of time you spend laying in bed before you get up where your thinking about what you wanna wear. That's definitely my favorite part. Because my mom used to give me the hardest time as a kid. She would be like "Get out of bed!" and I'm like "I'm up!" and shes like "No get up, get out of bed!" and I'm like "I'm thinking, I'm working while i lay in bed!" and to this day I've never changed. That's how I've always been and it will always be that way.

C&C: Name one time you've gotten dressed and you already left your house and whether it be when you get to your destination or your on your way to your destination or just anytime during the day after you've left. Name a time when you've had a second thought about what you had on and you're like I messed up. I really don't like this. This is wrong. But I gotta just roll the rest of the day.
MG: Oh my goodness! Just one time?
C&C: Apparently, by your laughing you've had that moment.
MG: I've had that moment more than once.
C&C: Well just tell me about the worst one.
MG: The worst one I ever had....I was living in New York. And once you leave the house you have to commit. Because once you get on that subway, and you're on your way to work there's no going back home. It takes an extra hour to get back to your apartment. And I was on my way into the city, and it was snowing. And everything had turned to gray sludge. That's what happens when it snows in New York. Everything is pretty for about 5 minutes and then when the cars start driving through it turns gray. And I was like "You know what, I'm wearing all black today." So I got dressed. I put on my black jeans, and I have a lot of denim, a lot. And it was really dark in the house that morning. I put on my black jeans, I put on a black shirt, I put on my black cowboy boots, and I put on my black pea coat. And these big crazy Armani glasses that made me look like I belonged on a spaceship in some crazy post-apocalyptic world. And my hair was platinum blonde. When I lived in New York I just went nuts. And I got on the subway and I was playing on my Ipod and I looked down and I realized my pants....... had no crotch in them.
C&C: Oh wow!!
MG: They were a pair of black jeans that I had busted the crotch out on months before when I was out. So I looked down and my first thought was "Well, $#!*, what am I gonna do about this?". And my second thought was "Well, at least I wore black underwear." It was awesome! So I went to work looking like Invader Zim, or some crazy cartoon character with crotchless jeans on. It was pretty embarrassing. I caught hell for it at work all day. And that same day I got splashed by a car and was covered in dirty water. So I not only looked like a ragamuffin, but I smelled like a hobo too.
C&C: Wow! Looking like a ragamuffin and smelling like a hobo. That's a quote. I gotta remember that.

C&C: Say your house is burning down and you have one duffel bag. Pick 5 things, anything, not just clothes. Pick 5 things in your house that will hold you over for a month. 
MG: Excluding my dogs who are very important to me. My Macbook. ummm, 2 pairs of shoes. Probably a pair of boots, and I have so many. But I would grab a pair of boots and a pair of loafers. Fingernail clippers. A toothbrush because you can't have a mouth full of funk And probably 2 of my favorite button downs. I don't think I put any pants in there. I guess I'll be walking around with shirts with boots on. Well lets scratch one of the shoes and throw a pair of jeans in there.
C&C: Or maybe we'll just say you're wearing jeans as this is happening.
MG: Yea, yea, we'll just say I'm wearing a dark pair of jeans.

C&C:When you get dressed is there a certain piece that you build around?
MG: Shoes
C&C: Whys that?
MG: I've always just started from the ground up. I always start with the shoes and then I think about that outfit I'm gonna plan around the shoes. I just love shoes. I've always loved shoes as a kid. I probably have about 45-50 pairs of shoes in my closet. Including sneakers. Because I went through a sneaker phase for a while. I had a sneaker fetish. I've got alotta sneakers. I just think you can have the simplest outfit and throw on some really nice shoes with them and it just looks awesome.

C&C: You spoke about how you went through a sneaker phase. How long ago was that? 
MG:4 years ago?
C&C: Since then, have you just gotten the urge and pulled a pair out for a day.
MG: Absolutely, absolutely. I have some really cool ones. I don't like to get them messed up. So I'll pull them out every now and again. I wore a pair about 2 weeks ago. But I definitely pull them out every now and again.
C&C: Yea I'm similar because I went through an Air Force 1 phase about 5-6 years ago. And actually a few days ago I pulled out a pair. I haven't worn them in years. I mean the shoes are older than my son. It's funny he hasn't even seen them before. And I just keep them up in my closet and I refuse to sell them.
MG: Oh I wont get rid of mine.
C&C: I wear them maybe twice a year. But it's just something about like you said holding on to what you had. Just bringing back those memories from the older pieces.
MG: Oh for sure

C&C: Speaking of going back, go back to high school.
MG: Ha, that's something we can relive together.
C&C: How has your style changed from then to now?
MG: I haven't worn American Eagle in so many years. You know, back then I was so worried about keeping up with all the kids who I thought were the popular kids and it was totally the most warped frame of mind. I feel like I could have blossomed so much more creatively in high school if I wasn't so obsessed with that. But I wanted to fit in. That's what everybody wants to do. So I was obsessed with wearing American Eagle and it was all about the brands you were wearing and kids are still like that. It's all about the brands you're wearing and I hate anything with logos on them. I can't stand it. The polo logo is the only thing that I find acceptable to wear. My style has completely changed. My pants actually fit. It's crazy how things changed. I don't wear puca shell necklaces anymore because I definitely had some of those. Or hemp necklaces. It was a shameful time for my fashion sense. I wish, I wish that being gay would have been more acceptable when I was in high school and I could have come out in high school because I feel like I would have dressed differently and had more fun. This isn't to say that I didn't enjoy high school. Because I did enjoy the experiences I had there. I just wish I would've done a few things differently but doesn't everybody?
C&C: Same thing here. Looking back, you always hear people say I wish I knew then what I know now. But at the same time, through all those experiences, through all those screw ups.
MG: It made us who we are now.
C&C: Absolutely. It shapes you.

C&C: Hobbies and interests?
MG: I work so much. I mean, I'm really into building furniture. I've been building a refinishing furniture in my house since I moved there in November and that's something I've been interested in. I love working with my hands. That's something that a lot of people don't know about me. They see fashion guy and the first thing that comes to mind isn't building furniture. I've been re-sanding and refinishing a lot of antiques that I've collected. My dogs are a huge part of my life. I have two Alaskan Malamutes. Athena and Atlas and they are my babies and they take up a lot of my time. I  love television and I love movies. And I don't care if people think that sitting around for 5 hours watching TV is lazy. I love to do it on my day off. Someone put a lot of hard work into making that television show. Some wardrobe stylist worked really hard to style those looks. And coming from working on a television show and working on films, I know how much work goes into it and I appreciate it that much more. I love it. I love watching movies. My netflix is always rolling. I've got a DVD actually, I have Walking Dead season 3 disc 2 waiting at my house when I leave here and I'm staying up all night and I'm finishing that disc because I don't have to work tomorrow and I'm really looking forward to it. I love to read. Currently I'm rereading The Great Gatsby. I really love magazines I love flipping through magazines and getting inspirations. I love taking walks. I love hiking. I love the mountains. I go a lot. Recently I've been spending a lot of time hiking in the swamp in Francis Marion national forest. I get a lot of inspiration from the world around me. I try to participate in everything. And you cannot not be obsessed with food when you live in downtown Charleston or Charleston in general. The food here is so incredible. I love wine. I love good beer . I love socializing with friends. I love going out. I'm a very social person. That pretty much covers the basis of my hobbies. I don't collect spoons, or coins or anything weird like that. I like gardening. I did my own herbs this year, I'm planting some winter vegetables next weekend. I'm really into working with my hands.

C&C: Before I get to my next question you said you were rereading The Great Gatsby. This Christmas a new version is being released and in the blog world, whenever that trailer got released there was this loud outcry that they just took this classic and they made it too modern. They made it too Hollywood, if you will, and a lot of the old school guys really, really hate it. What do you thing about it?
MG: Here's my take. If they truly understood The Great Gatsby then they're being completely hypocritical when they say they made it too Hollywood and too modern. Because the book itself is about the indulgence into that lifestyle. It's about excess. That's what the whole book is about. You look at the roaring 20s when all these people where throwing these huge parties and spending all this money on clothing and wearing the most absurd things. That's what that time period was about before the great depression. when my great grandmother was alive that's what I talked to her about growing up. She was my age in the 20s. She was in her 20s in the 20s. It was really cool to talk to her about it a hear all the things she got to be a part of and that's what the books about. It's just about complete indulgence. The movie from what I understand still expresses the themes of the book and that's what important. No book is ever gonna translate perfectly into a film. I don't know any film in the history of mankind that's based on a book that mimics the book perfectly. And there's always gonna be somebody that's pissed off. But if it brings people entertainment and people enjoy it, I don't see a problem with it. And I was looking forward to seeing it .And it got postponed. It's not coming out until next Summer. They pushed the release date back. I was looking forward to seeing it on Christmas Day and i just found out it got pushed back. But I think it's gonna be a great film. I think people are gonna love it. That's why I'm rereading it just because I wanted to get my bearings to see what's different from it. The people who are obsessed with the book won't go see it. and the people who see it who haven't read the book aren't gonna care. They're gonna just see the movie. And the people who have read the book who go see the movie they're just gonna appreciate it for being something other than the book. Someone else's visual interpretation of the book. And I think it's wonderful. It's reminding people that the book exists. In a time that we live in where the classics don't exist anymore. I mean, lets think, what novels have come out in the last 10 years that's gonna be a classic? Twilight? Harry Potter? Like Walden or The Great Gatsby or any of the classics, Mary Shelly's Frankenstein. We don't live in an era where classics like those are written any more. And I think that it's great that its gonna remind people of a different time.

C&C: In your opinion, whats the most stylish movie?
MG: Marie Antionette. Hands down. I love the costumes in that film. That and Edward Scissorhands. They're two of my favorite films to watch when I'm feeling uninspired or I just need to be blown away visually and every time I watch them I'm like holy $#!*. Every time. Incredible costumes. Almost any Tim Burton film. His costume designer shes amazing. shes so talented. I've always been impressed by her. Definitely those two films. Marie Antoinette is just beautiful. And people hate on that move so much. It got so many bad reviews but i love it. i love the costumes in it.
C&C: It's funny you say that because I grew up watching Edward Scissorhands but I haven't seen it in 10-15 years.
MG: Watch it. It will blow you away.  And I got to see the Tim Burton exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. I was there for work when I was there and I saw it. And I got to see all the costumes from it. And it was incredible. Tim Burton never lets me down. That was definitely an easy question.

Friday, September 7, 2012

About Last Night: Fashion's Night Out With Billy Reid & Rogue Wave Surf Shop

Remember last week when I went on a rant about how unacceptable the Fashion's Night Out scene was in Charleston? Well, last night was the big night. So I decided to go to what really was the only event in town that tickled my fancy. The Billy Reid Store (150 King St, Charleston, SC) was hosting an event to show off their new Fall/Winter stuff and also to showcase somewhat of a newer brand: Rogue Wave Surf Shop. RWSS (69 Spring St, Charleston, SC) was founded nearly 2 years ago by Rhett Boyd Jr. who I met during my "Charleston's 10 Most Stylish" feature earlier in the year. His brand specializes in offering the highest quality hand made surf craft and skateboards, along with vintage clothing and accessories. So of course I had to go support my buddy, Rhett, and also show love to the reigning CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) Menswear designer of the year Billy Reid. And in true Billy Reid "fashion" (pun is blatantly intended), there was Bourbon, Food, Music, and Clothes. Which I think is the best combo besides cream cheese, flour, sugar, eggs, and heavy cream (figure it out). Here are some pics from the event. Hopefully the rest of King St decides to join in on the fun next year.

Music by Ryan Bailey

Bourbon mixed drink. 7 minutes after this picture was taken, it was empty

A look in Billy Reid's downstairs basement

Billy Reid' s Bow Tie Display

Me and Rhett

Table of goodies from RWSS available for sale that evening

Closeup of on e of RWSS Floral Pocket T's