Monday, April 22, 2013

Spring Essential/Trends Pt.5: Unlined Blazers

This last essential will most likely end up being one of your more expensive purchases of the season. However, its one that will stay with you for quite some time. It will become your best friend when daily highs begin to live above 85. It will keep you looking and feeling cool as a cucumber while everyone else is begging for mercy. I'm not talking about an in-ground pool. I'm referring to the unlined blazer; the secret weapon of Summer Style. 

An unlined blazer is simply a blazer with no inner lining. If there's no lining then that's one less layer that keeps the heat in. And that makes it much more bearable to wear, especially when its made out of a highly breathable fabric (like most of these are). And they will normally cost you a little more than a regular sport coat will because there has to be more attention to detail in the finishing. Normally you can do just a quick stitch job because the lining will cover it up. But with no lining to hide it, it takes more man hours to manufacture clean finishings. This $40 version from Target above? It's a freak of nature. I don't know how they can afford to make it so cheap.

Even though the use of olive isn't as widespread as navy or khaki, it's just as versatile. If you don't believe me, I dare you to try to find something this doesn't go with. It will be a lot less than you think. 

Every season, this Japanese brand is one of the runway shows I look forward to seeing most. Especially their Spring shows because there's so much color. It would make you think that these guys grew up on the beach. This seersucker will feel right at home in Charleston too. 

Billy Reid is headquartered in Florence, Alabama, so you knew they were gonna figure out how to look cool in the heat. This one is made from linen which is one of the lightest, most breathable fabrics there is. 

The pattern on this one is nuts. Pure geezer style if you ask me. If a trip to Italy is in your plans for this Summer, take this with you. I promise you'll fit right in and people will be asking you for directions like "How far is the Uffizi from here?"

This is the unlined blazer for the boardroom. Your colleagues will wonder why they're miserable and you look cool and refreshed. If they ask, just tell em its because you're more awesome than they are. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Spring Essentials/Trends Pt.4: Floral Ties

After six months of seeing lifeless, bare trees, this next trend helps remind everyone that blooming season is here. Looking to add a little punch around your neck? Cop yourself a floral tie. 

From GQ

It is THE accessory of the season. Extremely fun to wear and youre bound to get a ton of compliments.This one is pretty much strictly for the weekends. But if you get one in with a dark base shade like the one above, you may be able to get away with it in the office. Many brands have jumped on the bandwagon so there's plenty to choose from. But I'll help narrow down those options.

The all-around-go-to-for-inexpensive-perfection does it again. 

Even though I've never been to Hawaii, this tie just gives me a Hawaiian feeling. Actually, thats what the brand calls this model; Hawaii Skinny Tie.

Upon further review, this is another one that you could possibly get away with in the office. Just always be sure to check the "climate" of your office's dress code.This one is simply beautiful to me. This British brand has definitely hit the mark with this one. Such a lovely shade of blue.

One of Charleston's local designers, Chelsie Ravenell has 4 different versions of floral ties to his name. "The London Floral Tie" as he calls this one, is my favorite. It's like a bouque on your chest.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Spring Essentials/Trends Pt.3: White Canvas Sneakers

After wearing boots and wingtips all Winter, it's time to give the feet a break. Let them enjoy a change of pace and lighten the load a bit. How do you do that? If your answer is flip flops then I'm going to kindly ask you to walk off a steep cliff into a river of man-eating crocodiles ala' Indiana Jones. I'm talking about getting yourself a pair of white canvas sneakers. Canvas is much lighter than leather. And with them being cut at such a low profile, plenty of breeze is allowed to circulate around your ankles. By the way, no socks with these please. Last point of emphasis; you can wear em casually or you can dress them up (as seen in the split shot). Wear them to everything (outside the office) except a funeral. Scroll down to see the top picks of the season.

I'm wearing a pair from Aldo and the Gant Rugger model looks to be wearing Converse Jack Purcells

Keds are classics. They've been around forever. You've probably had a pair when you was in elementary school. The stripes on the sole give them a little character. And the suckers are dirt cheap checking in just under a Grant (that's a 50 dollar bill)

These are another pair of classics. Originally made famous on the tennis court, I believe. They come in an array of colors but the colorway that they call "white & pea coat" is my favorite. 

The reigning Menswear Designer of the year has collaborated with K-Swiss to put out a small selection of understated wonders. They used to be the butt of a lot of jokes when I was in school. Mr. Reid has helped to give them more stylish credibility.

If I had my pick of the litter it would be these elegant babies from Maison Kitsune (pronounced Kit-soo-ney). The French brand is relatively new on my radar as I've really only started paying attention to them over the past year. But they put out some really good looking stuff. I love the script on the back and the gold eyelets are a nice touch. 

Final Note
The biggest thing to remember about white canvas sneakers is to forget what you learned when you were younger. It's no longer necessary to keep your white shoes blindingly white. I say ''wear without care''. They tend to look better to me when there's a little life shown on them. And it makes you look less stuffy. I only wash mine once a year. And then I run em in the ground during the Spring and Summer, put em up when it gets cold, and I start the cycle all over again. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Spring Essentials/Trends Pt.2: Man Trunks

For part 2 of this series I'll be shedding some light on what I like to call "Man Trunks". The way things work in the Southeast is that we kind of skip the 70 degree weather days. It's just a satanic transition from the 50's to the 80's. That basically means we're now in beach season. Hopefully you guys have been taking care of your bodies during the Winter. I know it's tough and extremely unfun. But there are grand dividends and one of them is being able to properly pull off this next essential. 

You don't have to be ripped to the max, but it does help if you're in decent shape like this 35 year old Sean Connery. And even if you have a few soft spots around the midsection then I think these can work for you as well.

A few important keys to keep in mind. 
1. Don't be afraid to show some leg. Trunks that stop around mid-thigh are perfect. They make your legs look longer which makes you look taller which makes you look leaner....which is a pretty good combination.

2. At all cost, avoid elastic waistbands. They do this whole parachute thing that is extremely unflattering. Especially if you've got soft spots. The elastic band just squeezes everything in at the wrong spot. Can you say instant muffin top? What about super back fat? Instead you should look for one that are cut in a straight line, almost looks like a pair of pants would; like all the ones I picked out.

3. Lastly, try to kill two birds with one stone. It's not a must but if you can find one in a neutral color like navy or khaki, then they could double as walking shorts. It would help to cut down on packing if you could wear the same trunks in the ocean and at the seaside restaurant and not have to change. 

JCrew, the place to go to find simple examples of everything and a relatively affordable price. These 5''portofino trunks are the perfect start and they come in about 5 different colors. If you're on a budget and don't know where to look, these would be your best bet.

A surf shop born in Manhattan? Sounds crazy but these guys do a jam-up job at it. The company is only about 4 years old but they've already made a strong name for themselves in the swimwear industry.

I was turned onto Sundek a few years ago. They had their hayday back in 70's are relevant again delivering shorts in the same rainbow stripes that made them famous over 40 years ago. If classic retro design is your thing, then these are for you.

If money is no object then your search should begin and end with Orlebar Brown. These guys really get it. Extremely simple design and a tailored fit. Made with 100% polyamide, an extremely quick-drying material that absorbs less water and dries up to 6 times faster. You know how you normally feel about 40 pounds heavier when you first step out the water? Well, you wont feel it with these. And in this Navy color, they can pass as regular shorts so you can wear em all day long ala tip#3.

And Lastly....
**No basketball shorts!!! I repeat, NO BASKETBALL SHORTS!!! You're an adult now. Act like it**

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Spring Essentials/Trends Pt.1; Novelty Shirts

The skies have finally opened up for us in Charleston and spring is finally here. Time to break all the fun clothes you had stored away since September. Its also time to do a little refining of the wardrobe. I'll be doing a quick 5-part series on my 5 top essentials for the Spring of 2013. First up; Novelty Shirts.

Photo Courtesy of GQ

What the heck is a novelty shirt? Simply put, its just an ordinary buttondown made not-so-ordinary by getting covered in a zany, in-your-face pattern. Could be florals, geometric shapes, animals, just about anything. As always, my motto remains when wearing something that commands so much attention as these shirts, you must keep the rest of the look understated.

Below I've found a few in a range of prices. Don't be shy, have a little fun. Add one of these to your warm weather wardrobe see how much you love it.

If you're still a little wary about jumping on this trend, then this is the perfect starter shirt. Something with a tonal design isn't very in-your-face but it still packs some character. And It's one of the least expensive ones I found.

Everyone's heard of Brooks Brothers but I'm pretty sure a lot less have heard about their coked-up younger brother that they keep in the closet. Black Fleece has been around since 2007 and is headed up by the highly touted Thom Browne. If you know anything about his namesake line, then the analogy makes perfect sense.

Paul Smith is one of the biggest names in British Menswear. Known for his very lively aesthetic, he provides many opportunities to buy into this trend. 

So these were just a few options. If you would like to see more then check out the rest of the feature GQ did with Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook.