Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Charleston's New Class of Gentleman

Originally posted at Angel's Point of View

Charleston's New Class of Gentlemen

It's the #1 city in the country to visit, a cultural tourist destination with historical tours, cruise ships and now plenty of fanny packs. Peel back the commercial pomp and circumstance, and you'll find a passionate local community and yes, fashion. Charleston's Southern charm is well documented, as well as its perception of southern style, even with a thriving yearly fashion week, the men's style in the Holy City portrayed in magazines, blogs and TV is fairly fabricated. It's hard to swallow, but the fact is, bow-ties and long ties are still mostly only seen at weddings and other special occasions. The southern man has a "newer" long standing uniform that needs to go - Khakis, polo shirts, Costa del Mar's on croakies, sandals or the ugly version of Sperry's, visors if their super douchey, North Face fleece if cold - done.

Don't think this means you need to rush and call 911 for a fashion emergency, the men's fashion in the low country has taken a shift for the better in the past couple years which means there's still hope. Retail plays a big part in what men wear, in Charleston, newer downtown additions like Billy Read and Indigo & Cotton have brought in new collections of clothing that weren't options before. These shops with modern fitted more dapper menswear have a new class of fashion forward gentlemen dressing the part. New comer Desmond Kinlaw isn't playing games, voted one of Charleston's most stylish early 2012, he's since launched his personal style Chinos and Cheesecake and is taking on the men's style front full force. He's banded together a few fellow Charleston based dandies for the most dapper of afternoon meals followed by cocktails captured by non-other than the King of Southern Streets Style, David Verde! I'm certainly no stranger to sharp dressing, but happily made myself at home behind the camera while Kinlaw and his crew took the spot light and showed off some ankle.

It might be a short commencement this year, but often the first group of graduates are in small numbers. It's only a matter of time till more Low Country men will become alum of the new wave of men's fashion elite.

Without further ado, here's to Charleston's New Class of gentlemen, class of 2012.
All photos courtesy of Angel David Verde

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Black Friday 101

I'd like to believe in my heart of hearts that there are only two real reasons why people don't dress well. They either "A", don't want to/don't think its important (its very important actually). Or "B", cant afford to (although thrift stores kinda remove this excuse as well). If you're sartorially challenged because of the latter, then the major shopping event this week is for you. What? Been living under a rock for the past 4 decades? Or have you just been really lasered in trying to figure out a 7-letter word for The Andy Griffith Show's creator (it's Stander)?

The term "Black Friday" was originally coined back in 1869, referring to the financial crisis. Not a very festive thought huh? It wasn't until the 1961 when it was used as a shopping reference. They noticed that there was an overload of vehicle and pedestrian traffic occurring the day after Thanksgiving. People were out in droves. The police officers dreaded this day and they started referring to it as such. The reason being is because back in those times, advertisers didn't leapfrog Thanksgiving like a forgotten orphan child. They respected and addressed it accordingly. These days, Christmas ads are posted on November 1. So it made perfect sense that in those times when Thanksgiving was officially over, everyones focus then immediately turned to Christmas. And it turned into one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Another reason is because it was when most retailer's bottom lines went into the "black"(they're finally turning a profit for the year). 

Fast forward to the 21st century. Black Friday is still a huge day to score some steals. $400 iPads, large screen TVs for $150, etc. All your major department and electronic stores are cashing in. But what about fashion retailers? Yep, they're cashing in too. So as I stated before, this is one of the best times to revamp your wardrobe. My wife and I have been taking advantage of this for the past 5 years, so we'd like to consider ourselves very knowledgeable on this subject. After all, one of the mottos I live by is "Try, Fail, and Adjust". Here are some tips to maximize this week:

1. Look through your wardrobe to see what "holes" you have. It would be best to start there. Then look to see if there is anything you would like to add.

2. On the Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving, go to either your local mall or outlet. These places will be your best bet because all of the stores will be within walking distance as opposed to having to drive from point A to point B. Getting stuck in traffic, and all that other hoopla. But anyway, visit these places before Thanksgiving with your list in hand to "scout out" which stores have what you're looking for. Also take time to try stuff on now so that when the big night comes, you can be in and out and onto another store. The lines for the fitting room can be ridiculous that night. And the checkout lines will just keep getting longer and longer.

3. When you're there early, you will notice that there are things that are already on sale. Find a friendly looking employee and ask them if it will be the exact same sale on Black Friday. Believe it or not, sometimes it is. And sometimes it'll only be a matter of there being an extra 5% off on the big night. You then make a decision on whether or not its worth it to loose 30-45 minutes of your life standing in line to save an extra $10. I value my time a lot more than that. So I would just get it early. So you can just get it then and have one less store to go to. Because remember, the lines just get longer and longer. One thing to be aware of though, no matter how friendly the employee looks, they're going to say "I'm not allowed to tell you" the first time you ask. Just keep asking, But don't be a jerk about it. Use some people skills. If they look like they're getting annoyed, just drop it. But essentially, I believe that even though a ton of floor salesman in stores don't care about customers, there are some who enjoy it. Those are the ones you're looking for. And don't be afraid to check online too. There are some rare occasions where you can order things at the same sale price in the stores. Once again, creating one less store you have to go to.

4. Call ahead to find out when stores open. I've found that lately, stores have been opening earlier and earlier. To the point that its not even officially Friday yet. And whatever time the store says they will open, be sure to get there about an hour earlier. Because it never fails, if they see a long line out, they will unlock those doors 15 minutes early.

So a quick review, make a list, go early to scout, politely badger an employee for information, and get in line early on the big night. 

Being that I love new clothes, this is an exciting time for me. And if you're trying to score some high dollar pieces for the low, then you should be excited too. So happy shopping, Happy Thanksgiving, and above all be safe. There are some nuts out there.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Roanoke, VA Tweed Run: The Ride

A few days ago I did a post on the pre-ride social at the Roanoke, Va Tweed Run. Today I'll show you guys some pictures of the actual ride.

We started slightly outside the city and finished up downtown. All in all it was a little over five miles. A simple ride that any beginner could do. So for someone like me, who's normally knocks out 10-20 miles on a stationary bike 3 times a week, it was a breeze. So I took on the challenge of attempting to snap photos while riding. Well, it nearly backfired. I haven't been on a "real" bike since high school, nearly 10 years ago. So for the first 2 blocks of the ride, I was almost certain I was gonna ruin my vintage Harris Tweed blazer on the asphalt. But I quickly found my "bike legs", and soon after I was snapping photo after photo.

Right before the end of the ride, we stopped at a historic train station to snap a quick photo. Then we headed to Flanary's, an Irish pub in downtown. Apparently its a tweed ride custom to fellowship over a round of beers at the end of the ride. But being that I don't drink, I made an effort to join them and had some beer battered onion rings. Which unlike other places that offer the same, weren't overpowered by a "beery" taste. And I washed it down with a shepherd's pie. First time I've ever had it, and I was not disappointed.

So there you have it folks. This their second year putting on this event. And I'd say it turned out pretty well. I'm already looking forward to next year. I'm also contemplating taking on the task of doing this awesome event in Charleston. Anybody wanna help? Leave a comment below. Because I think Downtown Charleston would be perfect for an event like this.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Roanoke, VA Tweed Run: Pre-Ride Social

This past weekend I crossed a few borders to the north to take part in Roanoke's second annual Tweed Run. Organized by David Verde, street style photographer and writer for Angel's Point of View, a tweed run is basically where one dresses in tweed and partakes in a group ride with a predetermined route.

It was a gorgeous morning. Meet up and registration was at Too Many Books, a locally owned bookstore in Roanoke. There everyone hung out and had coffee and tea to warm their bones (temperatures hovered in the 40s) and socialized with fellow riders. Below are pics of the tweeded-out participants. Come back in a few days to see shots of the actual ride.