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Merry Christmas

December 24, 2014

Adoration_of_the_shepherds_reniMerry Christmas! I love this time of year. I enjoy spending time with my family. Festive music fills my home and car each December. I appreciate the traditions, the yearly holiday movies, the spirit of the people I encounter each day and of course the bargain season. But most importantly, I hold a special place in my heart for Christmas because of Jesus Christ. Seven or so years ago, I journeyed to Israel to see first-hand the place of his birth and the scene of his profound life. I was struck by how small everything felt in comparison to the rest of the world. In fact, most of the country (north to south) could fit in between Houston and Dallas, TX or between Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA or between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, PA. And, Jerusalem itself was not very big in Jesus’ day. Two millennia ago it was more of a stopping off spot on the way to more prominent places like Egypt or Rome. For this reason, in consideration of Israel’s size and location, I am amazed He could impact my life half a world away and 2,000 years later. Each Christmas, I dwell on God becoming a human being and sharing his love, joy and purpose with us. The message of His life is simple: He loves all of us – so much that He died to restore our relationship with Him. Thanks to Jesus Christ, I have joy, peace and happiness. I know my contentment in life cannot come from my wife or kids – or from buying more things – or achieving more success – or from looking fantastic with great fashion. It comes from Christ. In fact, with God’s peace I enjoy everything all the more. This year, I have become very aware of the many people feeling pain, loneliness, abandonment, and emptiness during the Christmas season. There are people missing loved ones and people longing for friendship. There are people working hard to make ends meet with little time for much else. For these people, I offer up a prayer. May God touch them with His love and peace. And, may God bless you as you read this. Thank you to all who read this blog. I appreciate your visits, participation, comments and likes. Keep reading into 2015 as I am mulling over several new articles to share in the coming months. Merry Christmas! © Copyright 2014 Fashion for the average man.

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What happened to classy people?

December 10, 2014

classy people bookIn lieu of the Christmas season and my witnessing of both positive and negative behavior, I felt it proper to share a portion of my book Fashion for the average man. From page 74:

What did Cary Grant, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, and Jimmy Stewart all have in common? You guessed it – class. In particular, Cary Grant took class and manners to its rightful place of prominence. After all, opening the door for a woman can be a very sexy act. And, women do notice this. There is a famous story about Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn working together on the classic movie Charade. They met for the first time in a restaurant in Paris. By accident, Audrey spilled a bottle of red wine all over Cary’s light colored suit. In his gracious way, he treated her as if nothing had happened. The following day, he sent her a gift with a note asking her not to feel uneasy about her embarrassing moment. What a stellar model of gracious and classy behavior.

What happened to classy people? Nowadays, it seems as if our society is filled with flashy, rude and seemingly selfish people. Does no one do the right thing anymore? Where did the spry young men carrying groceries for the elderly go? The other day, I popped into a well-known restaurant grabbing an order to go. Two lights down the road, I realized that they neglected to give me the apple and bread I had ordered. I turned around and went back. While I did not yell or say much, I am pretty sure that I came across as very irritated. Later the next day, I thought to myself, “How sad, I got irritated and worked up over a piece of bread and an apple!” I made it a point to do better in the future. It gets me asking, at what point did we cease noticing the people surrounding us. I think it’s time for us to snap out of me-centered living.

We have all met beautiful people with impeccable fashion who behave so poorly that they seem ugly. On the contrary, we all know people with “humble looks” and adequate fashion that glow because of attitude and selflessness. Simply put, dress well and glow with class.

I implore you to resolve that you will act with a classy attitude and gracious demeanor. Think about others for a change. The next time you talk with a friend; better yet, the next time you eat dinner with your wife or girlfriend, ask her what makes her happy in life. Then, just listen and genuinely ask follow up questions. You will be surprised at how well your conversation will go.

This principle, living a selfless and gracious life, will make you appear better than you could imagine. You can dress well paying attention to every detail, but it matters little if no one wants to look at you.

 

I also recommend reading Where are the gentlemen?

 

Click here to check out my book.

 

To get fashionable gift ideas for men, read these articles:

40+ Fashionable gift ideas for men

13 Fashionable gift ideas for men

Fashionable gift card ideas for men

© Copyright 2014 Fashion for the average man.

Bargain season has arrived

November 21, 2014
Photo by Web Design Hot

Photo by Web Design Hot

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and with it the start of the fashion bargain season. Every year at this time, millions of bargain-hunting shoppers venture out into the cold for excellent deals. Many wander through racks of clothes or displays looking for inspiration or “something they like.” Some people don’t know where to start and others don’t know where to finish. So, let’s talk about bargain hunting during the bargain season.

Black Friday

This day marks the start of the season and generally, you can find a fantastic few door busters with everything else about 30% below ideal. Prior to heading out, do your research. Tune into television and radio commercials as well as mail or news advertisements. When you arrive to the store, avoid items with prices you can get without a sale. Focus only on the door busters and other great sales. A quick Google search of the item on your phone can assist you in assessing the value of the sale. If you can purchase that jacket for less elsewhere, set it down and move to the next deal.

December Sales

As the year ages, the deals progressively improve leading up to a grand crescendo on New Year’s Day. So if you can wait, you may find a better price. On the flip side, someone else may snatch up the item you have been watching. Mastering the art of catching an item at the best deal before it disappears can take some practice and patience. It may also cause you to miss out on a few items. If you need or really, really want those shoes or watch or whatever, you may have to bite the bullet a little earlier than you would ordinarily.
The day after Christmas through New Year’s Day

Over the years, I have found some of the absolute best deals in this time frame with New Year’s Day proving to be best of all. Prior to Christmas, businesses know many of their customers must purchase presents; so they hold off giving the best deals in order to increase profits. Once Christmas comes and goes; however, they want to clear inventory. The best way to clear the racks is with once a year kind of deals.

Marketers prepare for months in anticipation of holiday shoppers. They go to great lengths to track down the last bit of research that will get you to purchase a product. They know exactly where to place each product, how to phrase posters and advertisements, and what the sales associates should tell you. Therefore, you must have a plan headed into stores during this time. Make a list, do your research, and stick to it.

Lastly, please don’t tackle a fellow shopper for a discounted product – not worth it! Don’t stress. Take it easy. Enjoy yourself and have fun. Many wonderful deals await you. As should always be the case, treat the cashiers and associates with class and dignity. They chose to work through their holidays to bring you those deals! Happy hunting.

 

For more information about bargain hunting, read:

Black Friday strategies

Finding great bargains

Quality clothing + Bargain = Smart shopping

Be mindful of marketing

 

For ideas about how to dress for Thanksgiving, read Thanksgiving attire.

 

For men’s gift ideas, read:

40+ Fashionable gift ideas for men

13 Fashionable gift ideas for men

Fashionable gift card ideas for men

 

© Copyright 2014 Fashion for the average man.

Why suit fit is so important

October 30, 2014
The Duke of Windsor in 1945

The Duke of Windsor (on the left) in 1945

When I see a great suit walk by, I take note of all the things that man is doing right. I notice the coat that lies smoothly on his chest, the ½ inch of shirt cuff and ½ inch of collar showing, and the length of the pants extending to just above the heel. And I’m not the only one, many people notice. They may not be able to put into words why the look stands out, but it does. If you make it a point to adjust your suits to fit well, you will garner attention as well. Adjusting a suit for fit is one of the most necessary changes you can make.

Think of your camera taking pictures. You may have thought to include all the right people arranged perfectly, but if you snap the shot out of focus, you ruin the whole photo. Proper suit fit is the detail that brings everything into focus. Too tight can give the impression you are busting at the seams and outgrowing your clothes. Too baggy says you walked into a store and picked the first suit you saw. Look for the sweet spot in the middle. It’s so important because you could spend $2,000 on an awesome quality suit and look like you missed it big. In fact, an improperly fitting suit of quality appears worse than a properly fitting suit of less quality. The concept of a suit tailored specifically to you is not new. Look back through the fashion archives and you will find men like the Duke of Windsor with an especially keen eye for this.

Achieving proper fit is relatively simple. First, know your measurements. To understand how a suit should fit, read Suits 101: Elements of a properly fitting suit. Second, get a tailor involved. I am frequently amazed at how many men overlook these vital professionals. A tailor can provide you with your measurements. Just ask them to whip out a tape measure and write them down. They will also know how to alter a suit to get you to the sweet spot of fit. And most likely, you have one down the street. If you live in the city, you probably drive by a tailor a few times a week. So, search one out on google or ask a friend for a recommendation.

Pay attention to details as your suit must shine the best possible light on you – better than any other clothing purchase. When an occasion calls for something special, men wear suits. When men deal with serious business, they often break out their best suits. When they want to look their best, they wear suits. Really, anytime a man wants to show the world he addresses his affairs the way he dresses, he wears a suit. Simply put, Suit = Best foot forward. So if a suit stands at the pinnacle of a man’s presentation of himself, why not get every little detail right? Why not make sure it fits perfectly?

© Copyright 2014 Fashion for the average man.

Wear a $700 outfit for under $200

October 8, 2014

SaleIn the past, shopping intimidated me. For one, the really nice clothes sucked up so much of my money. And two, I didn’t know where to look for the really good deals. For this reason, I either bought less expensive clothes of poor quality or paid full price for a more expensive item of greater quality. Truthfully, it is possible to land some great quality clothes for tamped down prices.

In order to get the really great clothes for a steal, you need to plan ahead. Consider the following strategy:

Make a list of the items you wish to acquire.

  1. Save money through the year.
  2. Keep your eye out for sales throughout the year and pick up any items on your list that you find for a good price.
  3. Take all the money you saved and hit the key sales. The absolute best days to get the best deals are the day after Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
  4. On the key days, buy the items on your list first starting with the best deals you can find. Don’t get side tracked by the many other items you will see on sale. Once you check off your list, you can let your eyes wander into other areas.

I have really come to enjoy shopping these sales. I make a list of the clothes I want and wade through many sales to find them. I always start at the same two stores: Macy’s and Dillard’s. They usually have the best prices on the best clothes. At Macy’s, I will check out their door busters such as heavily discounted sport coats, suits or shirts. One year, they had several hundred designer ties on sale for $9.99. I then use a Macy’s card to get another 15-20% off making sure to pay off the balance at the cash register to avoid the card’s high interest charges (20%+ on my card). At Dillard’s, I look for their 50% discounting of already-reduced sale items. I have even seen a $1,000 Hugo Boss suit on sale for $175 during one of those sales.

The following is an example of a $709 wardrobe that I purchased for $188:

Clothing Article         Retail Price    Sale Price

Worsted Wool Pants      $150                    $50

Sport Coat                        $275                    $47

Dress Shirt                       $60                      $8

Designer Tie                    $50                      $10

Cuff Links                        $40                      $11

Shoes                                $90                      $50

Pair of Socks                   $9                         $2

Belt                                   $35                       $10

Total                              $709                  $188

Every man should take advantage of these kinds of deals. However, if your closet is seriously void of the necessities, then go out now and buy enough to get you through the months to the big sales.

© Copyright Fashion for the average man 2014.

Pocket Square Logistics

September 19, 2014

For the longest time, I would see men wearing pocket squares, but I did not know how or when to pull it off for myself. So, I simply opted out. To be honest, I rarely wore a sport coat in those days. Today, I reach for one as often as possible with an eye to incorporate a pocket square into my ensemble. Why? Well, it can add a dash of personality or color, upgrade a look, or signal you mean business. And yes, people do notice.

In a past era of the refined and gentile man, the “handy” handkerchief stood ready for a sudden sneeze or similar mess; thereby, allowing a man to avoid an unseemly moment. As time progressed, the work horse handkerchief went into hiding in a back pocket or within the coat while the one for display sat untouched and pristine in the upper front coat pocket. Today, it declares you gave consideration to your presentation.

Use of a pocket square does not have to be that difficult. So let’s address the three main ways you can employ this key accent:

1. Standard – I recommend starting here. This version appears as if mountain peaks rise from your pocket. You pretty much can’t go wrong with this one. To fold your handkerchief in this manner, follow this diagram:

pocket square diagram

2. Straight line – This conveys a more serious and well thought out look. It says you have everything in its place in a way similar to a tie bar. For this version, fold the handkerchief until only a quarter inch line shows above the top of the pocket.

pocket

 

3. Free flowing / Your own version – This can take the form of a more eccentric puff or rumple. It can also be a unique creation of your own. Be careful with special creations as they have the potential to drag you into Tacky Land. At least once, give a basic rumple a try. To do this, pinch and hold your handkerchief in the center allowing the ends to dangle. Then, shove the ends down into the pocket leaving the pinched center showing. You can also puff it out from there. The basic rumple conveys a more free spirit.

handkerchiefs

Photo by PocketSquareZ. Click photo for licensing info.

 

Once again, find a way to incorporate a pocket square into your outfit. Try different patterns and colors, but don’t exactly match your tie with it. I suggest coordinating both tie and pocket square tying them together with a shared color. The easiest way to do this is to wear a multicolored tie with a solid colored pocket square (or the reverse). As long as we are talking about solid colors, I should mention solid white. It provides the best starter handkerchief as it works with any sport coat and tie combination. In particular, solid white elevates a black suit to new levels of dapper.

So the next time you celebrate that special something with friends at an excellent restaurant, upgrade your sport coat with a pocket square.

© Copyright 2014 Fashion for the average man.

No losers, it’s a tie!

August 27, 2014

Colorful tie collectionThe creators of the tie introduced a fashion necessity to men everywhere. In the 1600s, it was the French who grasped the concept from observing the Croatian soldiers wearing colorful scarves. The Croats rightly knew it looked good. Quickly, it spread throughout the nobility. Over the years, it has solidified its place among the wardrobes of the best dressed and most important men. And today, it shows up in the classiest of events. I attended a college with a dress code. Every male student wore a tie to class, breakfast and lunch, and chapel. Instead of looking great, I sported some pretty lame ties. In fact, I would cut the collar out of a white shirt and wear it with a tie under a sweat shirt. Really? With all the wonderful classic ties in the world, I couldn’t find one for my collection? What a wasted opportunity.

Let’s discuss the basics of tie wearing. All ties must have a dimple. The tie should extend to the middle of your belt. Any further and it flings your ensemble out of balance. Pay attention to this in others and you will spot it more frequently than you would think. A tie that hangs into your lap draws too much focus to the tie at the expense of your entire appearance. Any shorter and you look like your belly is exposed, despite your shirt covering your abdomen. Seriously, people will look right at your stomach.

Choose a good looking versatile tie. Think about how it will work with various shirts and for differing occasions. Buy silk whenever possible for its smooth and beautiful texture. If you have the slightest feeling that a tie looks inexpensive, don’t get it. A tie should dress you up, not make you look cheap.

When mixing colors and patterns, think through the color wheel and look at the various groups. Certain colors go well together. In particular, blue matches well with many colors. Also, black and white is so classic – white shirt with a black tie. Try this combo – tan dress slacks with a light blue and white checked shirt and a dark blue and white striped tie. Brown belt and brown shoes and of course, tan socks. To top it off, wear a brown muted plaid sport coat. It’s a sophisticated look that will tell the world that you appreciate life. If you need to portray a more earnest, to-the-point attitude, hunt down a serious looking tie bar. It says you mean business and like to have everything in its place.

If you don’t own a tie, start with a solid black one. Then, slowly build a collection. Remember that a tie should flow with the whole of your look. Therefore, return the novelty ties that you receive as gifts or simply give them to someone else. With enough practice, you will be gathering a collection of more than just ties. You will collect compliments. I speak from experience.

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