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2016 Fashion Resolutions

January 10, 2016

800px-New-Year_Resolutions_listHappy New Year! What happened to 2015? I blinked and it was gone. And now we arrive at 2016 and my annual fashion resolutions. Personally, I have a resolution to write more and I’m still thinking through others. If you have not set any goals for 2016, then you have come to the right place. In keeping with my annual tradition, I challenge you to set a goal or two for this year. No need to go over the top or get unrealistic. Keep it simple and achievable. To jumpstart your thinking or to just give you a resolution, I have prepared four suggestions for you. If you don’t like these, then choose something … anything … no matter how small … to achieve. So here goes. Repeat after me:

  1. 1. In 2016, I will find and wear a must-have jacket. An essential for every man, a classic jacket provides you with an easy way to instantly improve literally any outfit. For a quick trip to the store, throw on jeans, a t-shirt and your trusty jacket. For more on what constitutes the right one, read The must-have jacket.
  2. In 2016, I will buy clothes that fit. So many men wear the wrong size clothes. The epidemic has to end. It’s as simple as first understanding your proper fit and second trying on clothes at the store.
  3. In 2016, I will purchase new socks of varying styles and colors and wear them. Make a conscious effort to update your socks. This underappreciated accessory can gift your look with that extra something special. And, people do notice. I get compliments on my socks all the time. Oh, and throw away your white socks.
  4. In 2016, I will find at least one fantastic deal. I challenge you to track down something really great – of high quality – of greater worth. Then, get it for less than 30% of the regular price. Treat it like a game or a mission. Countdown to the end of the year – can you do it? For the training in how to bargain hunt, click here.

So there you have it. Now go out there and achieve some goals!

If none of these grab you, then peruse through the resolutions of years past.

 

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Bargain Season Recap

This year, I kept it simple focusing on the basics. I stocked up on quality t-shirts, socks, belts, shorts and underwear. So, I do not have any purchased show stoppers to share. Rather, I will share just a couple of my new additions, however basic they may be:

Michael Kors t-shirt – $75 down to $13.

 

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Cole Haan casual belt – $75 down to $13 as well.

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A few other deals:

Hart Schaffner Marx polo – $100 down to $20.

Banana Republic sweater – $90 down to $30.

Calvin Klein shorts – $70 down to $8.

 

For more information on how to get great bargains, click here.

Copyright Fashion for the average man 2016.

She Said Yes. What to wear on the First Date.

August 9, 2015

dateMy first date with my wife gave us some great memories, but none related to my fashion. I recently asked her about my attire at that lunch. She remembered that I wore my standard old pleated khakis and dark blue dress shirt. Not a terrible look by itself if the pants were newer than four years old and my shoes were not so scuffed. Since that day, I have had time to rethink how I would dress if I had that moment to relive.

Congrats, she said yes to a date with you. These kinds of encounters can generate plenty of nervousness; so, let’s dress you the right way to keep you from worrying about your fashion as well. First of all, make sure to let her know where you are going so that she can dress accordingly. The last thing you want is for her to feel uncomfortable about her own attire. A first date can take on many forms: nice restaurant and a movie, coffee at Starbucks, or a party. For the standard date scenario at a restaurant, try wearing dark straight leg jeans with a wild, fun and/or bright dress shirt and a khaki sport coat. No tie. This works for dinner at a nice but less intimidating restaurant. The exotic shirt says you enjoy life and the khaki sport coat tells her you have some sophistication.

I think we would agree that too formal a restaurant will scare her away – too much too soon. But, you never know when this scenario will present itself. Perhaps, your company decided to host a formal Christmas dinner and you need a date – a great excuse for asking a woman out. Or maybe, a bunch of your coupled-up friends press you to join them at the symphony and you don’t want to be the odd man out. If you do find yourself going to the symphony, wear a dark suit with a pocket square and a blue contrast-collar dress shirt with maybe a pink tie (Or you can reverse that: pink contrast-collar shirt and a dark tie).

Going to a ball game? Combine dark jeans with a grey v-neck sweater pulled over a white dress shirt and a good pair of leather loafers. It says cozy, yet refined. For the very casual date (maybe not even a date, but you are together) such as a game-filled picnic in the park with friends or the both of you helping a mutual friend move, try a good pair of jeans with a solid black crew-neck t-shirt and sneakers (give Converse Chuck Taylor’s a try in any color).

Assuming the date goes well; remember to ask her out for a second date. Have fun and make her laugh!

© Copyright Fashion for the average man 2015.

The Most Attractive Element

July 3, 2015
John F. Kennedy in a speech on May 25, 1961

John F. Kennedy in a speech on May 25, 1961

Beyond your clothes, your education, and your financial status, there is something that attracts others and women to you even more. In college, I knew a freshman who gladly flexed his tall lanky physique at every opportunity. Let’s just say that people knew him for his attitude before his appearance, not to say you would call him ugly, just not noticeably good looking. If you asked him any question about his looks, he would attempt to convince you that he possessed the most marvelous figure and face. In addition, he strongly believed that he could do anything and do it better than anyone else. To be honest, it kind of annoyed many people. On the other hand, he held inside of him the most attractive element of any man – confidence.

You can add an extra 50% to your overall appearance with a confident attitude and a smile. Good clothing can help jumpstart that confidence, but it really must come from your own attitude. I firmly believe that God placed confidence inside the heart of every man. You simply need to grab a hold of what He has given you and believe. Anything is possible if you believe. So, use your God-given confidence and start believing in yourself, your ideas, your work product, your skills, your good looks, and your interesting personality.

Take Cary Grant for example. He exuded confidence. He also smiled a lot. He would stride into a room with a graceful demeanor and without speaking tell the room, “I know I have it together, whether you believe me or not.” Now, don’t go overboard with this. The world does not need more arrogant, selfish men. Acting like a jerk will only make people hate you. Be confident and a nice, selfless gentleman. Yes, it is possible.

As far as women are concerned, many men can attest to the fact that women are generally most attracted to confidence. I said most, not only. Please don’t misunderstand and think that you can be a confident slob. Confidence simply magnifies all of your other great attributes. Think about various outstanding leaders that you know personally. What makes them stand out? In addition to many things including integrity, I would venture to say that each of them has a certain level of confidence. Look for it in the next conversation you have with one of them.

Examples of confidence exist all around us and throughout history. Take for instance, President John F. Kennedy. In the photo above he is speaking to a joint session of congress saying “…I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” Americans followed his confidence and his audacious declaration came to pass.

Be confident in yourself. After all, it may be the only thing people remember about you. A few years after leaving college, I had heard that the freshman found for himself a wonderful attractive young woman. With a smile and the right amount of confidence, any man can do anything he sets himself to accomplish.

© Copyright Fashion for the Average Man 2015.

Do polo players really wear polo shirts?

June 5, 2015

poloIn the 1920s, tennis players ran around the courts in white long sleeve dress shirts with a tie and flannel slacks. This proved to be rather uncomfortable for the world’s # 1 player of 1926 and 1927. Borrowing the concept of knitted cotton jerseys from polo players, Rene Lacoste, winner of seven grand slams and nicknamed the alligator, decided to modify the shirts for comfort and performance. So, he created a shirt made of knitted cotton (versus woven) with a soft collar. He could have hardly imagined how popular this new shirt would become. In partnership w/ Andre Gillier, he created the company La Chemise Lacoste, which today is known simply as Lacoste.

The tennis shirt, later called the polo shirt, has become a staple for men’s fashion. Personally, I love them and consider them an essential part of my casual look. They pair well with jeans or khakis and work well in almost any color. The knitted cotton allows them to breathe while adding the strength needed for everyday life or sports. Of course, my favorite polo shirts come from Lacoste and sport the famous alligator logo. But, I also like other brands such as Ralph Lauren.

Wear them while playing golf or tennis. Also, try various fabrics with less durability, but more appeal off the course or court. As always, make sure that it fits you properly. Furthermore, preserve them for future wear with a V-neck undershirt. This brings me to one of my own personal great lessons – never wear a crew neck undershirt with a polo or other open collar shirt. I can’t tell you the number of times that I see this in a given week, much less in a single day. Can you picture these men typing feverishly at their computers, popping in an out of meetings, and selling products, with a white triangle just under their chins? Very distracting. It leaves me feeling like they forgot to button their shirts or forgot their ties at home. Truth is they don’t know this concept. I didn’t know this for years. If you are guilty of the crew neck beneath the polo, start on a new path right away.

Be mindful of the collar as it tends to morph into odd shapes over time if you let it. Iron the collar to keep it from creating a folded line. You can dress up the polo with a blazer and khakis or dress it down with jeans. Buy all different colors starting with solid white and solid black. Horizontal stripes are also stylish. And, the next time you have a tennis match, round of golf, or a polo game scheduled, grab your favorite polo and head out the door with gusto.

 

© Copyright Fashion for the Average Man.

The Matching Game

May 6, 2015

color wheelEverywhere you look, color grabs your attention. In order to properly combine the colors of your wardrobe, understanding the color wheel is crucial. With the right combinations, you can portray the emotions you want. Better still, you can avoid odd looking outfits. Discovering the perfect color matches will come with time. Experiment with varying tones and colors and don’t expect to become Michelangelo overnight. Good color matching takes practice.

At a basic level, color can be organized by way of a simple six color wheel containing both primary and secondary colors. The primary colors consist of red, yellow and blue. The secondary colors (blends of the primary colors) consist of orange, green, and purple. And, tertiary colors arise from further blends. Throw white and black into each color and you get lighter and darker shades.

If you like a strong contrast, employ the complementary colors (on exactly opposite sides of the wheel). Mix yellow with purple or red with green or blue with orange. For example, pair an orange tie with a blue shirt and neutral tan trousers. These combos tend to stand out more than others. Another bold example would be light yellow pants with a purple shirt.

Probably the simplest color associations come from the analogous colors (side by side on the wheel). So, a green tie works with a blue shirt. Also, an orange tie works with a yellow shirt and so on.

If you find yourself afraid to mix colors at all, you can simply wear varying shades of the same color. In other words, compliment a light blue shirt with a dark blue tie or wear dark brown pants with a light brown shirt. Warning: Do not wear all the same shade of the same color as this generally does not look good. In college, I had an all tan outfit that I regularly walked around campus – tan shirt, tie, belt, pants, and shoes – in the same shade. It looked hideous. Someone should have pulled me aside and handed me a color wheel. Black and white may be the only exceptions in certain cases, but be careful even here.

Remember, you know the style and emotions you want to portray better than anyone else. So, use that to your advantage. Do you desire to show your passionate, warm, and fiery side? Use the warm colors – red, yellow, orange. Want to project the calm and relaxed emotions? Use the cool colors – blue, green, and purple. For neutral, pull gray and brown out of your color bag. Also, black and white go with most anything and appear classic when paired together. Black pants with a white shirt will always be in style.

As you test your color matching skills, acquire a nice color wheel and tack it to your closet door or wall. While you mull over your options, glance over at it and proceed appropriately.

Copyright 2015 Fashion for the Average Man.

7 Principles for finding great deals on eBay

January 30, 2015

burberry watchI am ever on the hunt for high quality stuff at great deals. Over the years I have found my way to eBay. Now you may be saying, “That’s just a place for people to offload their junk.” If so, you would be mistaken. Every day, you can find excellent brand new products. And, you can also find junk. It’s all there. Take the time to search for the good stuff and you could find a nice reward. I regularly scan eBay and have come up with some wonderful deals. In my last article, two of the deals I shared came from eBay: the Burberry briefcase and the Calvin Klein sweater. I love them both.

Here are seven principles to employ when utilizing eBay:

 

  1. Do your research. Know the product you want to obtain. So if you are hunting down a pair of Salvatore Ferragamo shoes, go to a store, hold a pair your hand, and examine them. Or, go to the Ferragamo website and look at photos. EBay has its share of fakes making it imperative to know the difference. Be careful with sellers having a poor feedback rating or low number of feedback responses. In addition, generally don’t buy from sellers out of the country, especially China and other questionable locations known for imitation goods. If you do fall victim to an imitation seller, notify eBay and they will help you.
  2. Go for new (or slightly used). Why pay money for someone else’s worn out stuff? Enough said.
  3. Set your search parameters. First, realistically determine how much you want to pay. Then, use the search function to narrow your search by brand, size and below a certain price.
  4. Be patient. Don’t get so emotionally attached you bid over your max pay amount to get something. Set your max and stick to it. Another listing will pop up eventually.
  5. Be creative. Think differently in your search. Look for good products poorly listed. It may be an otherwise great product with a poor resolution photo and a great description. It may also come in the form of a poor description (missing key info such as measurements or pertinent details), but otherwise looks like a winner. If you do need more info, ask the seller a question. You can also look for a perfect and new product with a correctable defect. I bought the $600 Burberry watch shown above in this way for $150. In the listing, the seller stated and showed in the photo that the new watch had a giant scratch across the front of the face. When I took it to Burberry to get it repaired, they told me it was under warranty and completely fixed it for free! Even if I had to pay for the repairs, it still would have been a deal.
  6. Don’t rule out “buy it now.” Sometimes people just want to get rid of something. Even still, don’t let a higher price scare you away. Look for the listings that allow you to make an offer. That’s how I got the price I wanted on the Burberry briefcase. It was listed at $990 to “buy it now” and I made an offer of $700 which the seller initially rejected. A few days later, the seller reconsidered and sent me a message agreeing to the $700 amount. It never hurts to throw out an offer at your price. Worst case scenario – they say no.
  7. Wait until the last 6 seconds to place your bid. This principle is the most important. Enter your bid any sooner and the other bidders can decide to pay more than they initially thought. Decide on your max, wait until the last 6 seconds, and then enter your max bid, even if you are the only bidder. With this in mind, I like to regularly stop by eBay to look at the items ending soonest trying to catch a deal.

Now that Christmas has passed, many people are jumping onto eBay to sell unwanted or duplicate products. This provides you a perfect opportunity to grab a deal right now. When you use these principles and snag a great deal, I would like to know about it. Please drop back by and leave a comment telling me about your deal. Happy eBay hunting!

© Copyright 2015 Fashion for the average man

2015 fashion resolutions

January 8, 2015

resolutionsI am amazed at how quickly 2014 came and went. Over the past year, we have talked about a lot – from pocket squares to jackets to tuxedos to smiling. And now, we embrace 2015. In keeping with my annual tradition of recommending resolutions for the new year, I have four new suggestions. As in past years, I will give you easier to implement resolutions. The first one on the list is one I plan to do for sure. So, here are this year’s fashion resolutions:

  1. In 2015, clean out of your closet at least ten unnecessary items. Step away from reading this article for a moment and take a hard look at what you own. Any of it the wrong size for you? Out of date? Worn out? Not your style? If you have not worn that item in the last two years, give serious thought to donating it to charity or throwing it out.
  2. In 2015, throw away your trashed out shoes. This especially applies to dress shoes scuffed beyond recognition. They lived a long useful life. It’s time to let go. Dress shoes in particular should look marvelous. For more on getting an excellent pair of oxfords, read Explaining shoes: The Oxford.
  3. In 2015, pitch all your socks with holes. This one is simple. Nowadays, you can find all kinds of great and inexpensive socks. Just make sure to avoid white tube socks (Read Throw away your white socks).
  4. In 2015, purchase one pair of shoe trees and use them in your nicest dress shoes. To protect the investment of an excellent shoe, the shoe tree provides a perfect help. It absorbs moisture and aids the shoe in retaining its shape.

If you set no goals, large or small, you will achieve no goals. However, if you set some achievable goals, you are much more likely to get something done. I hope you will grab ahold of at least one fashionable goal this year. If you need help, choose one of the four above or look back through my past resolution articles. And, I recommend posting it somewhere you can see it. So, if you choose number one, then print out this article, highlight number one and tape it to your closet door. Whatever you decide, do something – do anything to improve yourself in 2015. Happy new year!

 

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Bargain Season Recap

This year, I had several key things on my list to obtain during the bargain season. I got them all brand new for some tremendous deals. Anymore, I feel like I have to become a walking calculator to figure out all the additional discounts off of discount percentages. Maybe that’s a marketing strategy in itself. Here are a few of my bargain purchases:

Burberry Briefcase – I have wanted this one for some time, but did not have the money for it. So, I used the Birthday Strategy and saved up to get it. Thank you everyone who contributed. Retail $1,495. Paid $700 (53.2% discount).

burberry bag

 

Banana Republic Briefcase – For those days of heavy rain when I want to leave the Burberry briefcase at home, I found this quality back-up for a fantastic price. Retail $198. Paid $19.97 (90% discount).

Banana briefcase

 

Calvin Klein sweater – Sweaters were on my list for this year and I could not pass up this deal. Retail $89.50. Paid $8.99 (90% discount).

calvin sweater

 

Michael Kors shirt – I love this shirt. It looks great, feels comfortable and is made well. Retail $125. Paid $25 (80% discount)

MK shirt

 

Sak’s Fifth Avenue sweater – I noticed something in purchasing this one. Retailers are trying clever new ways of offering discounts. On the day after Christmas, this sweater tag was marked down from $128 to $76.80 and had a sign on the rack saying it was an additional 50% off – bringing the price to $38.40. I liked the sweater and I liked the price, but I thought I would check back on New Year’s day to see if it was reduced any more. On New Year’s, the same sweater had been marked down on the tag to $51.20 and the sign on the rack said it was an additional 25% off – making the price … $38.40. It was the exact same price reached in two different ways! Retail $128. Paid $38.40 (70% discount).

saks sweater saks sweater tag

 

A few other deals I found:

Joe’s Jeans – Retail $169. Paid $44.61 (73.6% discount).

Burberry Prorsum T-shirt – Retail $150. Paid $42 (72% discount).

J Crew plaid long sleeve collared shirt – Retail $69.50. Paid $11.99 (82.7% discount).

Banana Republic corduroy pants – Retail $69.50. Paid $22 (68.4% discount).

 

Copyright 2015 Fashion for the average man.

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