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To pleat or not to pleat

May 1, 2014

pants 2If you were to take the place of a fly on the wall in an average department store for a day, you may hear hundreds of conversations between men and their wives. You may also witness unmarried men in deep thought holding up various pairs of pants. Or you might catch a fleeting glimpse of the speed mission shopper with the motto “In, out, and on to my next stop.” Each one of those men share a common need – they all want to carry home the right clothes. Once those shirts or pants make their way into the various closets, they still must find their way into an outfit.

Throughout my life, I found myself standing before a closet asking what I would wear. Many times, I grabbed a shirt attempting to match it with different pairs of pants. In the end, I walked out the door in what I considered an acceptable look. I realize now that my closet lacked the variety of pants that I really needed. Back when, I owned maybe one well worn pair of pleated khakis, a brown pair of pants, and a black pair of slacks. The khakis took the brunt of wear along with a pair of jeans because I could never seem to match anything with the brown pants. And, I would wear the black pants half as much as the khakis. For some reason, it never dawned on me that I should gather a variety of good pants. Today, I am proud to confess that my closet is now full of great pants, mostly flat front.

In the world of men’s fashion, you will discover many types of pants including khakis, cargo, tweed, cuffed or not cuffed, wool, flannel, corduroy, jeans, pinstripe, and herringbone – just to name a few. Your wardrobe demands a lot of good pants. Therefore, if your selection suffers as mine did, buy some great pants right away. Start with a pair of gray wool dress trousers.

When it comes to pleats, I prefer flat front. They slim your figure and add a modern feel. Pleats add volume to your lap area making you appear larger than you should. In general, stay away from pleats. This does not apply if your stomach is more robust. In order to add balance (and room) for your body, wear pleated pants. If your frame falls into a more fit category, flat front pants are ideal.

When deciding on cuffs, keep a few things in mind. Cuffs bring the end of your pants to a solid end while un-cuffed pants have an open and ongoing look. If your legs are short, buy pants without cuffs. On the other hand, if you have extraordinarily long legs, offset the length with cuffs. In general, I say to go without cuffs as it looks more modern.

Right now, you should have at least two good pairs of dress slacks. For the best durability, feel, and appearance, search for 100% wool pants. Some polyester / rayon blend pants look nice as well; however, be very careful with polyester as it can look cheap. Durable tweed also makes a nice choice. On the casual side, you can’t go wrong with a good pair of flat front khakis. And, throw on cargo pants for a stylish laid back alternative. My wife loves it when I wear tan cargo pants with a plain black crew-neck t-shirt.

As you hunt down the perfect pants, your path will cross many patterns. For me, check and herringbone have a certain classy, almost nostalgic, image drawing from my mind pictures of gentlemen from the past. My favorite pattern would have to be pinstripe. I own several grey pair and get a lot of wear out of them. I find it easy to match them with many colors and usually look more dressed up because of them. I imagine the lines place the pants in the same category with a uniform. They seem very proper. Of course, solid colors will provide you with the most options and ease of morning outfit preparation. Every man should own black trousers. When starting out, stay away from loud and bright pants. Consider pants to be the choir, not the solo singer.

Once you fill your closet with options, you will no longer dread having to decide on an outfit for the day. You will jump out of bed with birds singing outside your window. With a smile on your face, you will relish in the fact that you get to make yourself look fresh and timeless for the day. And, you will be able to do it in any variety of ways.

© Copyright 2014 Fashion for the average man.

Dress codes: Black tie (Tuxedo basics)

April 16, 2014
Reagans with Rock Hudson

Reagans with Rock Hudson

In a bygone era of formal evening dinners for the wealthy, the dinner jacket appeared on the scene. In fact, since the 1890s the dinner jacket has remained the de facto formal standard. And, thanks to Edward Bulwer-Lytton, a writer in 1800s Britain, black became the color of choice for the formal occasion. He wore black so often it caught on to solidify a look of refinement and distinction. Over the years, the combo of dinner jacket and slacks came to be known as the Tuxedo, a name connected to the upper class of Tuxedo Park in New York around the turn of the twentieth century. Some say one of the wealthy residents returned from a visit with Edward VII in Britain with a copy of his dinner jacket. Regardless of how the look migrated throughout the western world, it is here to stay.

1890s Vanity Fair cover featuring Edward Bulwer Lytton

Vanity Fair cover featuring Edward Bulwer Lytton

Edward VII

An official portrait of Edward VII of England dressed in a formal manner.

For a black tie event, you should wear only a Tuxedo. Leave your classic black suit at home. Black tie optional implies you can choose either a Tux or a dark suit, but I suggest you opt for the Tux every time. It demonstrates elegance. When you find yourself ready to don a Tux, here are several points to keep in mind:

1. The Tux must be perfectly tailored to you. Otherwise, you may find yourself taking a drink order. For more on the proper fit of any suit including the Tuxedo, read Suits 101: Elements of a properly fitting suit. I recommend having a tailor make one to perfectly fit you. For a reasonably priced one, check out http://www.indochino.com.

2. Black is the standard color. You will discover an assortment of colors, many of which will throw your look out of place. Stick with classic black and you can’t go wrong. If it was good enough for the rat pack to look outstanding, it is good enough for you. At some point after you have mastered the Tux, you can check out a dark blue version. This is not a time to get cute – so no camouflage, bright pink, or yellow.

3. You have three main options for the collar and lapels. While some purists say peak lapels sit at the top of the list traditionally (especially for dinner clothes), I prefer the trimmer look of shawl and even notched. While some frown upon the notched putting its place with the standard suit, you can make it your own as well. Really, choose one you like best.

4. Choose wool for the fabric. Some cheaper Tuxedos will use other fabrics, but worsted wool works so well. For summer events, you may look into lighter weaves, but with most black tie events being held in climate controlled indoor venues, a medium weight should do just fine. As it can look cheap, steer away from Polyester.

5. Single versus double-breasted. I recommend starting with a single-breasted Tuxedo with one button (or two) for a more modern look. Double-breasted can also present you in a good light and remove the need for a cummerbund. A traditionalist would tell you to leave the single-breasted unbuttoned to display the cummerbund, but it has become more acceptable in recent years to button it.

6. Wear a black bow tie. The event after all is named for the “black tie.” While a pre-tied clip version may be tempting, take the time to learn to tie your own. It presents a much better statement about your understanding of formality. And, match the tie to the lapel – grosgrain or satin silk.

7. Wear a formal white shirt. This means one with a bib front or pleats and French cuffs. Both the wing collar and turndown collars are appropriate. Make it one of high quality pique cotton.

8. Don’t leave out the cummerbund. It provides a clean transition from the shirt to the pants. The pleats should be turned upward.

9. Wear a pocket square. White linen or cotton is safe and standard, but other patterns and colors can work too.

10. Black patent leather shoes match best with a Tuxedo. If needed, you can also wear a standard black oxford. Lace-ups or slip-on forms both work.

Makers of Tuxedos have taken liberties over the years, so look closely at the details I describe above. As a Tuxedo should present you in the best possible way, focus on the details. This would be the part of your wardrobe collection to splurge on and get right.

Once you obtain that excellent Tuxedo, I would love to hear about it. Please drop a comment after your purchase.

© Copyright 2014 Fashion for the average man.

Photo of Matt Damon taken by Nicolas Genin

Photo of Matt Damon taken by Nicolas Genin

Photo of Tom Ford taken by Nicolas Genin

Photo of Tom Ford taken by Nicolas Genin

A wedding is no time for casual

April 2, 2014

wedding suitLike many of you, I have attended many weddings. From page 60 of my book, here are my thoughts on dressing up for weddings:

I know people who do not own a suit or even a sport coat. In fact, the thought of it makes their skin crawl. I remember having a conversation with a bride-to-be who felt concerned that her future in-laws would arrive in jeans. She could not believe what she heard. “It doesn’t matter,” they said, “you’re the one getting married.” To her great relief on the big day, they arrived as they should – dressed up.

A wedding is no time for casual. The bride and groom will not be saying casual vows. Their love for each other is a serious thing. They value the moment. When you show up like you stopped by after a couple hours at the mall, you are telling them that their marriage ranks a little lower on the importance list. Tell them that their wedding is of great value and that you care in an excited, not casual, way. It is always disappointing for me to witness someone wearing jeans or a t-shirt at a wedding.

You should always wear a suit to a wedding (a tie is assumed). There are a few rare exceptions such as the beach and certain outdoor weddings; but, for the most part, do not deviate from this principle. It is better to show up to a hay ride wedding in a light suit than to show up to a more formal wedding where you look like you are headed to a hay ride – standing out as much as the wedding party, but in the opposite way. If you have any doubts, then ask. If the invitation notifies you that it is a black tie event, then you need a black tuxedo. If you lack one of your own, you can rent one for the day or you can buy one. Nowadays, you can have a custom-made tuxedo delivered right to your door for under $500 (i.e. http://www.indochino.com). Black tie optional means that you can either wear a tuxedo or a dark suit and tie. Add a white shirt paired with a black tie and polished shoes to complete the look. If your wife, girlfriend, date, mother, or any random woman at the wedding comments on your sharp appearance, then you are headed in the right direction.

Overall, bring you’re A-Game of social behavior. Make sure to bring a gift. Congratulate the bride and groom telling them that they put together a beautiful wedding and that they truly honored you with their invitation. And one more thing, brush up on your manners and etiquette. No stuffing your napkin into your shirt collar. No elbows in the table. No chewing with your mouth open. Imagine that you are dining with the president of the United States. With all that in your mind and a smile on your face, you can’t help but have a warm-hearted, classy and fun time.

For more information about dressing for a black tie event, read Dress codes: Black Tie (Tuxedo basics).

© Copyright 2014 Fashion for the average man.

The power of a smile

March 19, 2014

smileA funny thing happened on my way home a couple days ago. I was jamming on the air guitar listening to my car radio. As I pulled up to a stop light, I glanced to my right mid-strum. A woman had noticed me jamming and responded with a smile. It made me smile in return. Then, we drove our separate ways. It was a funny moment. No doubt, she recounted the story of the budding air guitarist when she reached her destination.

Smiles replicate themselves.

What do we know about smiles? They improve spirits and bring you more friends. With a smile, you appear more likeable, fun, and enjoyable. More people want to be around you. Think about it. Everyone desires happiness and joy. So when they see it in you, it attracts them.

Smiles make you feel good.

I think about joy at times. Whenever I speak to a group, it is the characteristic I most desire to exhibit. When a new acquaintance walks away from me, I want a smile on his face. And when I interact with my friends, family, and coworkers, I wish to share some joy.

Spread some joy.

Joy is attractive. Consider a few famous men exhibiting a consistent smile. Every time I see Tom Cruise in an interview, he has a big infectious smile. I see it and feel like smiling. Jimmy Fallon is another one. In the few times I have seen him, a smile takes center stage. How about Ryan Seacrest? He smiles a lot and exudes positivity. For these men, a regular smile has become a part of their personas.

This simple addition to your life can improve your style. More than clothes, style consists of presence, attitude and appeal. It’s an overall way of life. Joy adds so much to it.

Be intentional about it.

My joy flows from my relationship with God. It gives me strength as a man, husband, father, friend and employee. The next time you find yourself walking into a tough scenario, take a moment to stop and smile. When you bust out your best suit, bust out your best smile too. Headed into a first date? Bring a smile. Interviewing for a job? Smile. Literally, train yourself to default to smiling. If you dress well, but come across as a sour fellow, then no one will notice your fashion. Throw a smile into an already great presentation and you win. Adding a smile to your routine is one of the best actions you can take to benefit your life and style.

Copyright Fashion for the average man 2014.

Mind the mid-section: Tips for managing the transition from shirt to pants

March 5, 2014

Brown beltWithin the last week, one reader recounted his experiences wearing and not wearing belts. After receiving negative comments about a dress belt paired with jeans, he settled on no belt. Personally, I rarely thought to fill a set of pant loops with a nice belt in my earlier years. In fact, I constantly overlooked my mid-section, the very center of my body; and honestly, I put forth a jumbled fashion effort because of it. I can still recall the day a friend asked me a simple question in my junior year of college: “why don’t you wear a belt?” My college required a tie for class. So I wore a dress shirt and standard khakis with a tie and you guessed it, no belt!

“What’s the big deal,” I thought to myself. But, the more I looked in the mirror, the more I realized my glaring omission. You know those little rope borders dividing the grass from the sidewalk. They stand about a foot off the ground with the rope running through a loop at the top of each stake. Now imagine no rope, only the stakes evenly lining a one hundred foot stretch of your walk. That feeling of missing something – that was me without the belt. When you step in front of that mirror, I want you to remember my mistakes. Here are four main problem areas to avoid with your mid-section:

1. The crazy untucked shirt – I’m not referring to an intentional untucking, rather a tucked in shirt where the tuck has released about 50%. This badly yanks your smooth lines out of place. Couple it with a too-large shirt and you might as well order a pair of wrap-around-your-head grandpa sunglasses.

2. The tucked in t-shirt – There is really only one time I would advocate for this – when you have another layer over the t-shirt. This means a half-zipped jacket, sweater or collared shirt. No layer, no tucking.

3. No belt – I know there are those who would say it’s okay to go without a belt. I disagree with them. If you have belt loops, find a great belt. It creates an excellent transition from shirt to pants. And, you have so many options – dressy, casual, sporty, leather, thin, wide, bright colors, muted colors, and much more. Please keep in mind that every outfit requires a certain belt. For example, a wider more casual belt fits better with jeans than a slimmer dress belt. I plan to write more about this in the future. On the other hand, pants with no belt loops such as tuxedo trousers require no belt and look great as well.

4. Too large pants with a tightened belt – Let’s say your waist measures at 34 inches. Don’t wear a size 36 and cinch up your belt. I see this and it puzzles me. Doesn’t the constant pulling up of pants get old? Throw in a pair of overloaded pockets and several descriptive words start heading your way such as “sag” and “wobble.” Not good.

Like a frame transitioning a Van Gogh masterpiece to the room around it, your mid-section should create the perfect flow from upper to lower body. So often, I see men missing the mark. The point at which shirt and pants/shorts meet should look fluid, not abrupt – complimentary, not distracting – aligned, not disheveled. Much of this can be achieved through properly fitting clothes and a good belt. Lastly, don’t walk out the door without paying attention to your mid-section.

© Copyright 2014 Fashion for the average man.

Explaining Shoes: The Oxford and Derby

February 19, 2014
Oxford shoe

Photo of a Derby shoe

In earlier years, my tattered shoes reminded the world more of an old dog leash than a shoe displaying fine craftsmanship. Almost literally, as long as they covered my feet and somewhat matched my outfit, I paid no attention to them. In fact, as I think back beyond a certain point, I cannot visualize any single pair of shoes I ever owned. In more recent years, I have collected a number of excellent pairs. Now that I am aware of the details, I can picture most of my shoe purchases.

The Oxford appeared in Europe somewhere around the mid-1600s, stepped into the spotlight in England in the late 1800s, and increased in popularity heading into the early twentieth century. As you may have guessed, it garnered its name from Oxford University students sporting the classic shoes. What made the shoes an enduring classic? Primarily, its functionality – They created a necessary shoe progression from the more cumbersome buttons to simpler laces. The Derby is similar to the Oxford with some variation in how the shoelace eyelets are attached to the shoe.

When worn in the right way, they can add so much to your outward expression. Here is what to know about Oxford and Derby shoes:

1. Quality – Pay attention to the leather, stitching, and construction. Leather, the most important factor, varies greatly in quality. Predominately made from cow hides, the ideal pieces display no blemishes, scars, or markings of any kind. This ideal leather looks better and lives longer in the form of a shoe. Why? Well, the marked up hides must be heavily “corrected” with chemicals and a coating to hide impurities. The correction makes them show wear sooner and breathe less. Next, look at the stitching or glue holding the shoe together. Glue alone will not hold up as well as a quality stitch connecting the sole and other parts. Years ago, my cheaper glued-on soles would eventually separate from the shoe. In the same vein, review the shoe for a clean construction. Do the parts of the shoe line up? How’s the symmetry? Any frayed stitching? Sloppy glue showing? I tend to gravitate toward the higher quality Italian or British versions.

2. Toe style – Your main options consist of cap toe, wing tip, and plain. I like each of these and achieve a certain feel with each. Cap toe reminds me of a more proper presentation such as for a serious business setting. Plain fits well with most any necessary outfit. Finally, the more ornate wing tip adds an elegance and flair. Oh and one other point, a round toe as well as a narrowed toe are generally more dressed up than a square toe.

3. Overall style – Shoe designers have upped their creativity. Nowadays, you can find fun colors, stylish two-tone options, patent leather, suede, and even plaid. As with other style areas, the more wild the shoes, the more difficult to incorporate in your look. If you do opt for an awesome pair of bright two-tones, draw down the intensity of your remaining ensemble. I recommend starting with black, then brown. Those two will get you through most anything.

4. Fit – Make sure to achieve the right fit for your feet. No tight squeeze. No super loose fit. Who cares if you find a great deal in another size? It’s not worth the pain. Besides, most experienced shoe departments will gladly measure your feet to avoid any confusion.

To get a good idea of how a classic pair of Oxford or Derby shoes should look, I recommend a visit to Nordstrom or Saks Fifth Avenue. Search out a pair made by any of the following: Salvatore Ferragamo, Bally, or Bruno Magli. Admire the leather quality, look closely at the stitching, and appreciate the artistry. To acquire this kind of quality will cost $400 to $600 at retail, but don’t let that scare you (to learn more about getting these at a better price read Quality clothing + Bargain = Smart Shopping). If you can afford it, I highly suggest you own at least one pair from these brands. They will last a lot longer than a cheap pair. If this is too pricey, give Cole Haan a try. Last point – polish them regularly!!

For more on shoes, read Your boss pays attention to your shoes.

© Copyright Fashion for the average man 2014.

How to make a bad impression – Ten fashion don’ts

February 5, 2014

akwardAnother excerpt from my book Fashion for the Average Man:

I attended a college with a dress code – the school required all male students to wear a shirt and tie to class, breakfast and lunch, and chapel. They handed me a wonderful opportunity to dress well and I blew it big time. For example, I frequently sported an all tan outfit – tan pants, tan shirt, tan tie, tan shoes, tan belt, and of course white socks. I looked like a young collegiate Jack Hanna. Anyone see any lions? My friends would tell me that they could spot me walking across campus. I did not appropriately understand the concept of matching. Fortunately, no pictures of the tan outfit have survived. Unfortunately, I botched up other outfits – some of which captured in photos to remind me of my exodus from terrible fashion. One more example, I wore decent black slacks with a white shirt and an okay tie, but torpedoed the look with brown wilderness hiking boots!

To keep you from stumbling through the same fashion mistakes, I have compiled a short list of fashion don’ts:

1. Don’t wear all the same shade of the same color – so, no all tan, all red, all blue, or all green outfits. There are exceptions to this, but we are talking about the basics.

2. Don’t go without a belt. If you have belt loops showing, fill them with a nice belt. I disobeyed this rule in college too many times. And, it was not until a friend pointed it out that I started regularly wearing a belt. Now you know – buy a belt if you need one.

3. Don’t wear the wrong size – find out your size and wear it. If you fit well in a medium shirt, don’t buy a large or extra large. I see men swimming in shirts more times than I can count. This will probably improve your fashion the most.

4. Don’t wear wrinkled clothes – iron them.

5. Don’t wear scuffed shoes – polish them regularly. At an absolute minimum, polish once a month (preferably, twice a month).

6. Don’t wear the wrong kind of shoes. Each outfit has an appropriate shoe. For example, avoid wearing tennis shoes or hiking boots with slacks.

7. Don’t wear a white short sleeve hard-collared shirt – it only looks good when paired with a name tag and paper hat.

8. Don’t wear white socks with anything besides white pants. Your socks should match your pants. Black pants = black socks.

9. Don’t mismatch your shoes and belt. They should always match. Black shoes = black belt.

10. Don’t go without an undershirt. Avoid soiled underarms and protect your wardrobe investment.

If you make the list of fashion offenders, then forget it and relax. Today is a new day and the past is behind you. I certainly wish that I could go back and advise my old self about white socks, but it’s gone now. Besides, I can share my mistakes to help others. For you, start changing the areas that need improvement one at a time. Whatever you do, start today.

© Copyright 2014 Fashion for the average man.

The must-have jacket

January 22, 2014

 

man in leather jacket passing his hand thorugh his hairThink for a minute about the jackets you own. How do you wear them? Do you wear one with everything? Several kinds? Different colors? Do they fit well? Are they new or old? Good condition or tattered? If you have not taken thought to your jackets, now is the time. This one item can instantly up your style gauge.

Now think about the “cool” men you see in the movies and media. You find them cruising on that motorcycle, fighting crime, or performing some heroic act in an awesome jacket, right? How about a television show host or reality-TV judge? Wearing some sort of jacket? Probably. That jacket can be similar to the one I describe below, but can also be a sport coat. Look for it and you will notice it often.  Why a jacket? It adds respectability and a classic style. It tells the world you took an extra step to elevate your outfit. Now to the details. The must-have jacket for every man has these characteristics:

1. Slim fit – Not baggy. I cannot tell you how many times I pass a man sporting the poofed-out jacket with baggy sides and arms. When zipped up, it should allow for comfortable breathing room, but not a lot more. In addition, the arms should hold a more fitted construction. As I have said in past articles and will continue to say, wear the correct size! If a medium-sized jacket fits you well, don’t wear a large one! Too many men wear jackets that engulf them.

2. No bulky pockets – For the kind of jacket I have in mind, stick with pockets that do not add bulk.

3. Light weight – You can achieve this through nylon, polyester, a lighter leather, cotton, or even a faux leather.

4. Darker color – If you have any doubts about the color, start with black. You pretty much can’t go wrong with black as it compliments everything.

5. Classic style – You can tap into so many styles for the must-have jacket. Urban, military, denim, leather, quilted, and even windbreaker can work if the other characteristics are met and it presents you with classic style. Remember to keep it simple for this jacket. So, no fancy embroidered designs up the back or crazy pictures all over it. Think classic. If you possess a wild hair, try this classic jacket with the wildest exotic t-shirt in your dresser (An image just popped into my head of an animal print t-shirt peeking out from under this jacket. Burberry Prorsum t-shirt?).

My closet holds several varieties of this jacket in various colors and styles. My favorite has to be a black Michael Kors leather-panel nylon jacket I found at a 70% off sale at Saks Fifth Avenue. It instantly upgrades even the most basic outfit – a pair of jeans and a gray t-shirt. And, its versatility helps me look fantastic with a wide range of other wardrobe choices. And, I have one more suggestion. Once you own one, please do not let your shirts drop below the bottom of the jacket. So tacky. The jacket should conceal the layers beneath.

With a great jacket, your style will graduate like Luke Skywalker’s transition to a Jedi. Well, maybe not that extreme. Okay, so graduation ceremonies are not in order; but with this tool in your sartorial toolbox, you will find it easier to spice up your presentation at a moment’s notice.

© Copyright 2014 Fashion for the average man,

2014 fashion resolutions

January 8, 2014

Goals 2014In keeping with my desire to start the year with a few goals, I give you my third annual resolutions article. Like everyone else out there, I have tried and failed to keep New Year’s resolutions through the years. Running 30-40 minutes every day? Sounded great on paper, but never fully materialized. Even though I love running, my schedule and a new found hip pain overcame my ambition for a consistent jog. As a person who dreams big, it has taken time for me to fully appreciate dreaming small as well.

That’s where these resolutions come in. Instead of setting grandiose out of reach goals this year, create a few simple and achievable goals. For this year’s resolutions, I decided to include several items to add to your wardrobe. So, if you need ideas for resolutions, give these a try:

1. Obtain and wear a fashionable watch. You do not need to empty your bank account for a Patek Phillipe or Breguet watch. I said fashionable, not expensive. In fact, you can own a stylish watch for less than $200. Try a watch from Burberry (on ebay you can find a reasonably priced new one), Kenneth Cole, Diesel, or Fossil. These are watches you wear for style, not because they represent horological masterpieces.

2. Attend a dressy event. I mean you should get all decked out in a suit (or even a tux). If you can’t think of anything, give the symphony a try. Or look up the fanciest restaurant in town and phone in a reservation. And, in my opinion, this kind of thing is best appreciated with a date.

3. Own at least one pair of excellent shoes. I’m talking about shoes that force people’s eyes to your feet. Shoes hold such a vital spot in your wardrobe. Don’t go through life without owning at least once an awesome pair. Since you look your best sporting a suit or nice dress slacks, I recommend hunting down an excellent pair of oxfords or monk straps (see the photo of my recent purchase below). Really, it’s up to you as the world holds many phenomenal shoes for you to discover. Oh, and please take care of them. If you do buy Italian leather oxfords, don’t wear them while working on your car, climbing into the attic, or pulling those weeds (even if it’s just for a minute).

4. Own at least one excellent sport coat. This must have item remains in the top ten essential purchases for every man. Where is the perfect place to start? The navy blue blazer minus the brass buttons (a dark button looks better). Take your time and pick out one that truly lights up your style meter. Think quality and good fit. It may take a tailor to achieve the best fit.

So, there you go – a few resolutions to help you for the new year. If these don’t catch your fancy, look through some of the ones of past years and adopt one of those. Happy New Year!

Here are the past articles:

2013 fashion resolutions

2012 fashion resolutions

 

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Bargain season recap

Lastly, I wish to share with you three of the bargains I found over the past few weeks.

Salvatore Ferragamo Rosso Calf Loafers – I am a big fan of Ferragamo as their Italian made shoes continually exhibit the very best of quality and refinement. Retail $540. Price paid $170.10.

red ferragamo loafers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magnanni cognac antiqued leather monk strap shoes – It was love at first sight with these. Retail $350. Price paid $175.

brown monk strap shoe web

 

Vince linen shorts – I especially like the muted and slightly eccentric design. Retail $135. Price paid $10!Vince shorts

 

 

If you are wondering how found these deals and those of past years, read these articles:

 

Finding great bargains

Quality clothing + Bargain = Smart shopping

Black Friday strategies

Be mindful of marketing

 

© Copyright 2014 Fashion for the average man.

Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2013

nativityI write to you today from a bench in the largest Houston mall – the Galleria. It boasts many high-end stores with large numbers of visitors each year. Step into the mall and you will notice people dressed well. And, you will also find people dressed poorly. Malls stand out to me as unique places in the world. They hold stores proudly displaying rows and rows of “stuff.” It feels like materialism on full display. As I walked through the shops today admiring excellent clothes and brilliant craftsmanship, I couldn’t help but think about a tendency toward the superficial. Anymore, it seems like people care more about perceptions than reality. They care more about how they look to others than how they really are inside. It also feels like gift-giving and gift-receiving are overtaking the very reason of Christmas.

I am not saying to abandon your fashion sense to create poor impressions. If you read this blog, you know that to be true. In addition, giving gifts do add something special to Christmas. I am saying “the guts” of life hold more importance. Who are you? What do you believe? What puts fire in your belly? Do you possess inner peace?

Every year as I jump into the shopping frenzy with everyone else, my thoughts always flash back to the true meaning of Christmas. I think about God deciding to explain the big questions in person. After generations of people forgetting about Him, ignoring Him, knowing nothing, having confusion about Him, or earnestly trying to know Him, He became a man born as a baby like you and me. And, He spent that life to rescue humanity. The more I contemplate this, the more profound it all sounds. Because Jesus lived His life on earth, people can see how God wants us to live. After all, He did have something in mind when creating all this. Moreover, all people can see God up close. Jesus gives us a better understanding of God.

After hearing this story and many others of the Bible, I chose to live for Him. That’s where I found the power of Christmas. That’s where I discovered “the guts” of life. I found my purpose and my fire through the life of Jesus. He showed me the right way to live.

Christmas gives us more than “stuff.” In fact, this powerful story answers the “guts” questions for me. In this time when gift-giving and gift-receiving have risen to such prominence, it is so important to come back to center. Christmas tells us that life means more than accumulating wealth and prestige – more than fame and recognition – more than getting “stuff.” It presents us with a time to reflect on what’s important.

I must also take this moment to say thank you. In 2013, many of you have read my articles and contributed comments. I appreciate your thoughtfulness and regular visits to Fashion for the Average Man. Stay tuned for more interesting articles in 2014. If you have a topic you want to read about, please drop a comment. Thanks and Merry Christmas!

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