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Entries in guide (23)

Tuesday
May242016

normcore.

normcore - "A fashion movement, c. 2014, in which scruffy young urbanites swear off the tired street-style clichés of the last decade — skinny jeans, wallet chains, flannel shirts — in favor of a less-ironic (but still pretty ironic) embrace of bland, suburban anti-fashion attire. (See Jeans, mom. Sneakers, white.)"

"Normcore is safe. Normcore is same-y. The normcore look is a knowing piss-take of the heterosexual male’s desperate desire to be sartorially unremarkable. Normcore is not brave or butch or swagger-y. Normcore is about dressing like a mild-mannered mental patient or a bewildered Icelandic exchange student circa 1984."

This is the worst. Don't fall for it. This isn't fashion, it's just lazy. 

Don't.

Just don't.

Seriously.

 

- james


Monday
Jun292015

10 travel tips.

1. Hang your jacket when seated -- If driving, you should take a couple hangers with you and utilize the hooks in the back so your jacket(s) won’t be pressed and wrinkled when seated.  On a plane – I usually wear my jacket to my seat and then take it off and fold it / store it right before sitting.

2. fold, then roll -- folding your clothing means you're probably going to end up with wrinkles and creases. Wrinkles and creases mean you're either going to havr to iron your shuff, or look like a giant fool. bundle 2-3 items of clothing together, fold them into a rectangle and roll them up. This will cut down on wrinkling and creasing, and actually save space in your luggage. 

3. Shoe Storage -- Underwear, socks, and belts can be rolled up and placed inside your shoes to save space and prevent the tops of your shoes from caving in and losing their shape. I also recommend putting your shoes into bags within your bag, to prevent the soles from dirtying your clothing -- shower caps work perfectly for this purpose.

 

4. Pack light -- If you're telling yourself, “I want to make sure I have some options,” you’re really just being indecisive and convincing yourself it's okay to bring 3 extra shirts, 4 pairs of jeans, and both of your "good" running shoes which means you should probably just bring another bag. Translation: you're being ridiculous. Traveling in style means being able to move around unencumbered just as much as it means looking good while you do it. At most, you should be bringing a duffel and a backpack.

 

5. stay healthy -- as a traveler, your propensity to get sick isn’t just linked to hygiene; you’re also changing your diet, breathing in new air, and, most likely, ditching your exercise routine. Pack vitamins to keep your immune system on track, and running shoes so you can still go for that morning jog. Ask the flight attendant for a full bottle of water, rather than having to beg for refills in that tiny plastic cup. 

6. playlists -- make sure you've got some killer jams to pass the time while you fly or drive. If you're going to be driving through nature, make that playlist cater to the scenery like a soundtrack. Not only will you enjoy the music, but the music will make you enjoy the scenery and experience even more. If you need help with this, ask us and we'll make sure you're covered. 

7. Be Flexible -- give yourself some cushion between planned activities instead of trying to cram a millon things into one day. Don't underestimate how tired you may be, and don't force it. This is a vacation, so give yourself some time to take it all in, relax, and enjoy it. If you see something incredible that you just can't pass up, allow yourself the flexibility to move things around and explore. This will cut down on stress, and allow you to really enjoy your trip(s). 

8. Sunglasses, breathmints, and wet wipes -- just trust me on this one.

9. Dress well -- "Opportunity awaits the traveling man who dresses in style." Seriously, they don’t offer that unexpected opening in first class to a man who looks like a bum. Unless you're traveling to Sportstown, USA, where they wear running shoes and mesh shorts all day everyday, you should look good, and dress appropriately to your surroundings. 

 10. Travel Often. Travel with the right people. Have fun. Make it memorable. 
 

 

- James

Monday
May182015

how to find a quality barber.

We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get a good haircut, and rightly so. A good haircut can give you surprising bumps in confidence. Don't act like you've never had one of those amazing hair days where you feel like "oh man, people need to see this." The key is finding a barber you like, and sticking with them long enough to get into a groove. They know what looks good with your hair type and skull shape, and they know what you like. And in return, you trust them. This can be a difficult thing to come by, as well as a stressful trial and error process. So I came across this article (from everyguyed.com)on finding a quality barber and added some of my own thoughts. 

*side note, if you're in southern california, the only barbershop you need to know is Danckut's. No joke. 

 

Look for a Place that’s Busy

If you’re passing by a shop that’s empty most of the time, it’s not a good sign. Sure, it might provide the convenience of right-here, right-now service, but it’s probably going to result in a cut that you’re going to need to hide under a cap for a few weeks.

If you see a guy with a haircut you like, ask him where he got it. We know that may sound like a strange prospect to some, but we’re proponents of guys actually talking to each other about style and grooming. Enough with awkward stoicism; he’s not going to accost you complimenting his cut, and it’s a simple way of finding a new shop to try.

 

Cost doesn’t always translate into quality

A decent men’s haircut (for relatively short, classic styles) should cost you between $20-40 [not including tip] in most cases. Of course, this changes slightly depending on the city, and even the neighborhood you’re in, but a man shouldn’t have to choose between paying his rent or growing dreadlocks.

A good way to ensure you’re not overpaying for a cut is to go to a barber. This article is titled ‘How to find a quality Barber’ for the specific reason that a salon probably isn’t where you need to go. Unless you’re getting layered highlights [don't ever get layered highlights], all you need is a man or woman who’s skilled with scissors. [Okay, a beard trim and a hot towel on your face is nice, but maybe take a pass on the Tahitian cucumber water or simultaneous pedicures.]

*This isn't to say that all salon-type "hairstylists" are unskilled, but let's face it, a salon is designed to pamper a woman and [in the old days] provide a forum to share juicy gossip. A barbershop is dedicated to men's grooming and style.

 

You should never feel rushed by a barber.

If you notice a barber pushing through clients before you, and feel like he’s going to give you the same bum-rush treatment, don’t be afraid to just make an excuse and get out of there (a fake phone-call works wonders). Yes, it’s not the course of action, but a rushed cut or a surly barber is something no man should be paying money for.

A good barber should be attentive, interested, and engaged: asking you what you want, and taking the time to confirm the details or suggest new options. 

*A haircut at a barbershop is an experience, not a task on a checklist. The process should be give and take--you get to know each other and communicate until you're both on the same page.

 

You get the cut you ask for

If you’re not crazy about your cut when you walk out the door, remember that barber’s will cut your hair to maximize your value, so it will be about a week before it has a chance to grow-out and take it’s shape. Unless he has clearly done a complete hack-job, tip him fairly, and wait to see the true results of his skill emerge in time. 

*Worst-case scenario: you wear a hat for awhile and find a new barber in a couple weeks to try again.

If you’re getting a haircut within a week of a specific function or event, ask the barber to cut it to look a little grown in and more natural. Ideally though, you should time your cut a week or so before an event in order to look your best. If the haircut never ends up meeting your standards, you don’t have to return.

*My own experience has taught me that the best way to achieve the right "look" you're going for, is to bring in a few pictures on your phone. Chances are, your spur of the moment description of this haircut you saw in a magazine may not translate into your barber's mind the way you've intended. So take some pictures off the internets to talk through with them. 

*find a shop that fits your style. 

I'm pretty sure that 99% of barbershops can handle your basic fade or whatever cut you're looking for. Yes, certain shops will specialize in certain types of cuts, or certain types of hair; but a barbering license is supposed to mean that your barber can do it all. What's more important is making sure that you're confident in your barber, and that you feel comfortable in their barbershop. Find one that fits your own style. Find one that you think looks cool. Find one that makes you pumped to get a haircut. If you go to a dumpy shop in sketchville, USA, chances are you're gonna hate your haircut no matter what it looks like. 

 

- James

Wednesday
Apr222015

belting.

Originally, the purpose of a belt (and suspenders/braces) was to keep your trousers from falling off your body. Now granted, in those days, when this was the entire purpose, pants didn't come in quite as many styles, and so they also didn't always fit too well. 

Today, if you're a grown man, you should be capable of buying a pair of pants that fit yourb ody and do not require a belt to stay on your body. This is one of the reaosns we still don't consider Justin Beiber a man. 

So what is the purpose today? While there may still be some requirement to making pants stay put, given minor fluctuations in wheight and whatnot, the main purpose is to pull an outfit together, and give it a more finished and complete look. So here are some tips:

Sizing: a belt's size is "measured from the buckle to the mid hole – which is where it should be fastened, allowing for slightly higher or lower waist trousers and the natural variations in waist circumference we all go through"


Color: Whenever dressing formally, and often in casual attire, your belt, shoes, and watch band should coordinate colors. Obviously, when wearing a metal-banded watch, I wouldn't suggest weating a metal belt or boots made of steel. There is a bit more leeway in casual wear here. Feel free to wear off-color (generally brightly colored) D-buckle belts or webbed belts as an accent item. 

Side note: is it just me or does the guy in this picture ^ in the middle, on the second-to-bottom row look like a young, smirking, bearded Jim Carrey?

 

Moving on.

Suspenders: Don't you dare wear a belt in conjunction with suspenders or braces. You can't trust a man who can't even trust his own pants.

 

going beltless: if you think you can pull it off, go for it. Just keep in mind that a beltless look works best on a slender build, with well-tailored trousers. Beltless is always better than a belt too much. I recommend steering clear of heavily branded belts, belts with a lot going on, or anything that looks like it was made by the people makking Affliction shirts. 

 

- james

Wednesday
Apr152015

wardrobe care.

Once you’ve collated the perfect wardrobe, it’s essential to keep it looking as good as new. Hardy Amies asked the experts for their tips

 

David Hellqvist, menswear writer and stylist

Anyone can be good at shopping; buying sweaters and trousers isn’t that difficult. We all do it on a regular basis. What you have to remember, though, is that clothes, like puppies, are for life – at least the good-quality ones. It’s fair enough to get off on the chase, as I do – finding the seasonal highlight from your favourite designer can be a thrill, I know, and wearing them for the first time is a treat… but what about the day after? Where do you put it? How do you treat it? These are the questions that matter when it comes to garment care.

Granted, they’re not the sexiest words around. I, too, have been known to build a tower of worn T-shirts next to my bed, but that doesn’t make it right. Who are we to underestimate the sartorial value of a garment? What we wear has as much cultural import as art and music. Fashion, truly, is the fabric of history. Hence this call to arms: take care of your clothes, pay your respects to the wardrobe and honour the lineage of your favourite pieces…

So, how do you do that? What’s the procedure when caring for clothes? Well, there are a few key rules to remember: hang up as many tops as possible, but never cashmere knits, which should always be folded. Double up summer coats on hangers during winter to save space and buy rails with two ‘floors’ so you can have two racks of tops. Hang your ‘top tier’ stuff on the top rail – your best bits, the pieces you’re most likely to wear at the moment. This will change, of course – not so much due to seasonal fads, but more with your mood. I do the same with coats: I have a few on hooks by the door, the rest on a rail. Pieces come and go on rotation.

The washing of clothes is a boring necessity, but one that is topped only by the ironing of shirts. If possible, get a job that doesn’t require ironed shirts. I wear lots of shirts and work hard on trying to cut out the ironing process. The best way of doing that is this: having washed a shirt or tee, hold on to the shoulders and flap it to straighten out the garment. Repeated a few times and then hung up to dry, this will save you lots of ironing time. Please note, though – if it’s a proper dress shirt, it will likely still need to be shown some steam, in which case, it’s best just to get it dry-cleaned and ironed in one go, saving you the bother.

 

Keep your suits ship-shape

 

Joe Butler, apprentice cutter at Hardy Amies

In order to keep your work and eveningwear looking at its very best make sure to have your suits sponged and pressed rather than dry cleaned. You might assume it gives the best results but the dry cleaning chemicals actually strip the natural oils from the wool, damaging the garment.

 

Charlie Teasdale, fashion writer for Man About Town and Brummell

Don’t underestimate the power of a lint roller: It might just be a psychological thing, but a quick waft over one’s clothes between meetings/client lunches/evenings out will have you feeling your sharpest once again.

 

Peter Howarth, editor of Times Luxx Report: Men’s Style

I store all my suits in garment bags, so they are protected and keep their shape. But I never store them in plastic, as this can damage the suit, and I make sure the garment bag is ventilated to stop the suit from getting musty.

 

Keep your shoes in peak condition

 

Tim Little, CEO of Grenson

There are two golden rules with shoes that will make them last a very long time if you adhere to them. First of all, don’t wear the same pair of shoes two days running. They need time to dry out after every wear, as leather is more vulnerable when wet. Secondly, always feed the leather uppers with good quality shoe cream, not just polish. Shoe cream feeds the leather and keeps it soft and supple whereas polish just protects it from the elements.

 

Josh Sims, fashion writer and author of Icons Of Men’s Style

There’s no great shine for your shoes than a military shine. Apply a mix of standard polish and water – and yes, it’s true, spit works even better – using a dry cloth. Work it into the leather’s grain with fingertip. Allow the wax to stand overnight. Then with a brush or, better still, a lambs-wool glove – the longer and harder, the shinier the result. If you can get a ‘parade gloss’ stick and melt that straight onto your shoes using a hot spoon, you really will get a mirror finish. But perhaps that effort is why you’re probably not in the army.

 

Other indispensible tips

 

Charlie Teasdale, fashion writer for Man About Town and Brummell

Over washing can be as bad as under washing: Your favourite shirt will lose its lustre if you stick it in the machine or take it to the dry cleaners too many times, so just wear it less.

 

Peter Howarth, editor of Times Luxx Report: Men’s Style

I make sure to clear out my closets fairly regularly to make sure my clothes are stored loosely so they can breathe. And I use chalk or something that absorbs moisture to make sure my closets stay dry.

 

- hardy amies

 

- james

Monday
Apr132015

dripcult x hillandsyd

the extremely talented and fashionable babes from hillandsyd.com came to visit me in San Francisco. Naturally, I had to show them san francisco from a new perspective. Did we eat delicious foods? of course we did. did we see some touristy stuff? of course we did. did i have to say "I wouldn't touch that if i were you" frequently? of course i did. but did we go on adventures to find hidden gems? you better believe it. 

- james 

Thursday
Feb052015

abc's of men's fashion - 59. 

 

accessories.

 

In principle, your accessories, such as ties and shoes, should be more expensive than your basic suit, which in this way can achieve some reflected glory from them.

This gives more than a chance to play dress up. Certainly, it gives men access to what women, with their famed love of shoes and bags, have always known: that a single accessory can be worth a thousand shirts, or at least several suits. A good bag is more than something to carry stuff in; a hat – once customarily worn by any and every man of good breeding, remember – more than a way to keep the rain off; the significance of solid, well-buffed shoes (as mothers traditionally tell their daughters) more than a means of protecting one’s pretty feet.

That’s not simply because, unlike a shirt or suit, an accessory is harder to wear out and so better value. It’s because an accessory gives newness to otherwise everyday attire, a touch of flare to an otherwise pedestrian or conservative mode of dress. And for all that menswear has moved on in leaps over the last 20 or so years, it remains largely conservative – refined in the way Hardy Amies identified as at the heart of good dressing.

More than economy, freshness and colour, however, is the accessory’s real power: to provide individuality. Of course, this can go very wrong indeed: there is a fine line between accessorising with character and wearing a Daffy Duck tie, even if it’s a seven-fold silk number. No amount of novelty hosiery will make its wearer the dapper dandy he hopes to be. It will make him look, to say it straight, like a fool. Wear it well, however, and the accessory in all its 21st-century variety – something Amies would have appreciated – will belie its smallness with its power to transform.

 

- Hardy Amies, Josh Sims, 
  and James 

Monday
Feb022015

diy tailoring

As you already know, I'm a firm believer in tailoring your clothes to find the perfect fit. I'm also a firm believer in not spending all of my money. These DIY tips are my jam. Thanks Men's Fashion Basics

All you need is a sewing machine, some cotton thread and a handful of fabrics to practise sewing in a straight line on.

Of course, the machine is going to set you back an initial outlay at first, but once you realise the extent of alterations you can do with just a basic understanding, it will more than pay for itself in the long run.

Most instruction manuals are really straight forward and easy to understand when it comes to setting it up, and once you’ve practised a bit you would be surprised how quickly your skill level evolves. I’d recommend picking up some spare needles (you’ll break a couple, trust me), some pins to take the clothing in and a picker to unpick any mistakes that you make.

Here are just a few of the alterations that I’ve started doing myself after owning a sewing machine for only a couple of weeks…

Change The Buttons

One of the easiest alterations to make, and it doesn’t even involve a sewing machine!

About.com have produced an excellent guide for beginners, entitled ‘how to sew on a flat button’, whilst you should also remember that the existing holes left from the old button provide guidance as to where your needle should be going.

So, read up on the above and then try it out on some of the old pieces you don’t wear any more (shirts, jackets, chinos, polos – the list is endless). You will be pleasantly surprised at how that old work shirt can be instantly transformed with something as simple as contrasting coloured or higher quality buttons.

I personally like swapping the buttons on my jackets for lighter shades in the summer – just another step in developing a truly seasonal wardrobe. However, many of you will want to alter the often cheap, bright white plastic buttons you find on many high street pieces (we are looking at you, Topman chinos), which will instantly make them appear more expensive and subtly separate yours from the mass-produced crowd.

Taking In A Shirt

Here you have two options: putting in darts or taking it in at the side seams. Personally, I like both methods but feel that a dart works better with a shirt made from a lighter material such as broadcloth or linen, not an Oxford cloth or flannel.

My preferred method is to turn the shirt inside out, put it on and then have a friend – that you trust – pin two darts into the back of the shirt. You then use your sewing machine to sew along the line the pins form. When you are happy with your work, simple steam the darts closed with an iron.

For an even easier way of taking in a shirt look no further than this threadbanger video:

Hemming Trousers

Again, this is super easy to do and there are plenty of videos online that will take you through the process, step by step.

Why not breathe new life into old jeans, trousers or chinos by taking them up to ankle height and treating them as your new go-to spring/summer trousers? Wear them sockless with loafers, of course.

Fabrics For Pocket Squares

The great thing about creating your own pocket square is that you can pick the EXACT fabric, colour and pattern you want, usually for a pretty low cost, from any fabric shop. Then simply follow this great guide by Eight-In-Hand for putting it together.

I tend to make mine from old shirts that have started to fray or wear in awkward places.

 

Final Word

So there you have it, a few alteration tips that you can start doing yourself for a lot cheaper than a tailor. Like I said, the sewing machine will set you back initially but once you look at it as an investment and see the amount of money that you’re saving, you’ll reap the rewards.

If you become passionate about it then it could potentially lead to you making your own clothing; I’m currently toying with the idea of making a waistcoat. Aside from the savings, it also gives your clothing an individual stamp – a stamp that you’ve done yourself. Which is sort of what style is all about.

 

- james

Wednesday
Jan282015

abc's of men's fashion - 58. 

fashion vs style.

money talks, fashion doesn't have to. Fashion is what you buy, style is what you do with it. 

we can tell you what we like, what we think is fashionable, and what styles we dig, but we can't spoon feed you your own style: you have to create that part on your own.

 

- james

Tuesday
Jan202015

pyramid.

there are three basic factors to any piece of clothing that must come into play:

fit                                           fabric                                   style

 

Fit

It doesn't matter how nice your clothing is if it doesn't fit you well. Talk to a tailor or a suitor (suiter? maker of suits?) and find out how certain pieces should fit. Do an dang google search for crap's sake, it's not that hard. Make sure you're buying the right sizes and that those sizes are fitting you correctly and helping you look as good as possible. A nice piece of of clothing that fits like garbage will look like garbage and cost too much. 

 

Fabric

you'll want to ensure your clothing is made of quality fabrics and put together with care. One of the biggest problems I have with H&M stuff (not all of it but a majority of it) is that the fabrics are all lightweight poly blends that don't breathe or stay together well. Yes, a piece can look amazing even if it's made with cheap fabrics, but A) it won't last very long and b) it will often wrinkle or fade extremely quickly and look cheap right away.

 

fashion

Find your own fashion sweet spot. Don't [only] rely on other people to tell you what's "in" and what's not. Find out how current and trendy or how classic you want your style to be and purchase pieces accordingly. Just because a celebrity is wearing some outlandish and cool jacket, doesn't mean everyone should rush out to buy something similar. In fact, in most cases this is a terrible idea. Find your style, your fashion zone, and be comfortable with it.

 

find the best way to do you.

 

- james