Manolo for the Men Fashion and Lifestyle Advice for Men

December 17, 2013

Cufflinks, Ties and Pocket Squares as Part of Pop Culture

Filed under: Cufflinks & Watches,Men's Fashion,Ties — theMaterialist @ 11:04 am

Cufflinks and Ties

The renaissance of the dapper look is one of this year’s biggest trends in men’s fashion. On the city streets, you may have noticed young, contemporary chaps who are not only suited and booted, but are also adorned with accessories that haven’t been à la mode for decades. As is often the case, the younger demographic are turning to popular culture for their style inspiration. An increase of retro-inspired shows, dashing celebrity style icons and the resurgence of heritage brands have all played a part in this polished trend.

Today pocket squares are adorning the breast pockets of all types of men, from city slickers to creative chaps. Originally they grew out of necessity and were used as handkerchiefs. According to British shirt maker Hawes & Curtis, who has been dressing discerning gentlemen since 1913, pocket squares were extremely popular a century ago. Recently pocket squares have redeveloped into a must-have accessory for fashionable, modern men.

Ties and Cufflinks

A tie is a classic accessory that will pull the whole tailored look together. Please note that you should avoid matching your tie to your pocket square as it will look overly calculated. As a general rule, ensure your tie is proportionate to your suit – narrow ties are currently in vogue because gentlemen are opting for slim cut suits.

Cufflinks have been around since the 18th century but have recently seen a rise in popularity thanks to evolving designs which have helped to keep this accessory fresh and on-trend. There has been a move away from the traditional ball and chain cufflinks to more unusual, eye-catching and sometimes tongue-in-cheek designs.

October 3, 2013

Golf Clothes for the Autumn of Life

Filed under: Men's Fashion,Sweaters — Harry X @ 10:01 pm

There was a time in my life when I found golf to be the most engaging and therapeutic thing in the entire world, when 18 holes, four times a week, mostly healed what ailed my soul. I won’t go into the details what went wrong in my life–you can imagine well enough on your own–I’ll just say that golf got me through.

I bring this up, because I haven’t played a real round of golf in nearly a decade, after having gone through an eighteen-month stretch where I played multiple times a week , where I was so obsessed with golf that when I wasn’t on the course or the range, I was reading about golf, watching it on television, or talking about it with equally golf-mad friends.

This is an odd regret, but one thing I wish is that during this period of obsession I had acquired more golf clothes. Perhaps I’m betraying my bourgeois pretensions, but I think looking like you’ve just come off the course is cool, especially because so much of the current crop of golf wear is stylish and athletic.

For example this Puma golf sweater…

Puma  V-Neck Golf Sweater

is a perfect example of masculine casual golf wear, suitable for an October round, or an easy evening out with friends. (It’s from Function Eighteen, a specialty golf retailer that has a great range of Puma golf clothing)

Of course, not all golf clothing is so smart, and there’s plenty of trash out there, but the best of it projects a desirable image of cool prosperity, something every man should want. When I look at the wider selection of golf clothes from F18 I see plenty of stuff I would like to wear.

In fact (and this is very strange) I find myself frequently thinking about getting some plaid golf pants.

Galvin Green Plaid Golf Pants

It’s probably a sign that I’m getting old, and like the honey badger I just don’t care any more, but I say any man who wears plaid golf pants is man who has come into his own.

September 4, 2013

2013 Fall/Winter Hoodies for Men

Filed under: Outerwear — theMaterialist @ 11:13 pm

Hoodies are a popular wardrobe among men. It is one of the must-haves aside from pants and t-shirts, especially when anywhere in the world there is winter or cold weather. Hoodies can provide warmth and comfort that other apparel can do during winter. This 2013, hoodies that are knitted would be the trend. Hoodies are made with cotton or wool material to be stretchable in width and length.

Thus, no matter how big your body is, you can find a hoody that is suitable for you. Today’s hoody style is accentuated with different designs and details. Some may come with embroidery, with collars, button up, or with a v-neckline. It now depends on your personal preferences when picking a couple of hoodies to complete your winter outfit. They also vary in prices as there are cheap hoodies for men and those that are crafted by popular fashion designers.

What most people do not know about is that hoodies are one of the many varieties of jackets and sweatshirts. So the term hoodies can be used interchangeably with said clothing articles. Some hoodies are not particularly designed for the rainy season. Since most hoodies are made with cotton fabric, staying under the rain with your hoody on is not advisable. However, on a lighter note, hoodies are a perfect outfit for working out. You can sweat a lot just by wearing a hoody; thus, it can help you burn those calories that you wanted out of your system. This is also why most hoodies are styled as long sleeved sweatshirts and it fits your body suitably. It adds an appeal to your physical built without trying so hard to be so fashionable. As a sweatshirt, you can use it as a casual wear for going to school, to the mall or to anywhere you like. No wonder even educational institutions let their students design college hoodies to provide them an option for casual wear besides their normal clothing routine.

Hoodies can be worn by men of any age. Some fashion designers create hoodies that specifically target the oldies as the potential customers as well as for those who are considered a plus size. Good thing there are plenty of cheap hoodies for men available so you won’t find it daunting to shop for hoodies this year. It is also important to know that there are different types of hoodies such as short/long sleeves, hoodies with drawstrings, zipper and varsity hoodies. These types are all the conventional ones though. This year’s hoodies would be quite different as they are styled with v-neckline, convertible, and with large graphic prints.
You can pair your hoody with a baseball cap, sunglasses, pants and sneakers. Fit hoodies would look good on men who have well-built body, particularly those hoodies that are knitted. Obviously, designers are seeing the popularity of gym and working out as one of the opportunities to design sweatshirts and hoodies. This can help men feel good about their own selves as they are able to highlight their fit physique.

August 29, 2013

The Converse Revolution

Filed under: Shoes — theMaterialist @ 8:11 am

Converse All Stars in Olive Drab

I can never decide if Converse All Starts are fashion or anti-fashion. They’ve been through so may cycles of in and out that I can’t tell where we are any more. In fact, at this point, they seem to have transcended the usual considerations and have, like blue jeans, motorcycle boots, and Ray-Ban sunglasses, simply become American classics.

Converse, the company, started out life in 1908 as a rubber manufacturer, adding its famous shoe line in 1917, after which, thanks to the efforts of its star employee, basketball player, coach, and super salesman Chuck Taylor quickly became a household name.

You can regularly see these shoes on the feet of celebrities and they have fast become a staple part of any man’s wardrobe. There are a great range of Chuck Taylors available from Liquor Store Clothing, who specialize in on-trend men’s fashion.

Most people go for a classic color like navy or black, as these are guaranteed to never go out of fashion, but because the shoes are relatively inexpensive, I prefer to keep a number of them in my closet, including a pair in olive drab like the ones shown above. Another great thing about Converse is that the more used and worn they are, the better they look, making them a shoe that will last forever.

The newest collaboration Converse has landed is with international rap star Wiz Khalifa. Described as rebellious and fashion-forward, expect a modern reworking of the classic Chuck Taylors.
Sleek designs, bold patterns and funky printed soles define the collection which has been designed with Wiz’s own personal style in mind. These shoes are a definite must-have for any fashion-conscious man.

Having already spanned over 100 years, the popularity of Converse shoes is continually growing and is showing no signs of stopping just yet.

August 27, 2013

My Rugby Career

Filed under: Uncategorized — Harry X @ 9:51 pm

England - Rugby Ball

Short and violent, that’s how I would describe it.

Rugby was something I played only briefly, in college on an intramural team, but then, For an American growing up in Northern California in the 1970s and early 80s, that wasn’t unusual at all. We played American football, baseball, basketball, and a few other miscellaneous and manly sports like track and wrestling. Soccer, it should be noted, was a sport for foreigners and girls, not something that an American of my generation would have taken seriously, in fact, something that an American of my generation would have mocked, and did mock, mercilessly.

Rugby, however, was another matter. Of all the foreign sports we knew about, Rugby was the only one sufficiently violent enough to appeal to our primal desire to smash another human in the teeth, all in the name of good fun. So, I joined an intramural rugby team my sophomore year of college.

It was a disaster.

In the first place, only three of the fifteen players on our team had ever really played the sport before, an Irish exchange student, and two Anglophilic Americans who had lived in the UK, one for only a single semester in a study abroad program.

In the second place, the rest of us had played high school football, but not college football, which meant that we saw rugby not an organized sport with rules and coherent plays, but only as an outlet for all of the violence and testosterone that had built up since we had left the gridiron behind.

And so, despite the best efforts of our lone Irishman and two England-loving wankers, ours was an unorthodox and dangerous style of play; rugby with downfield blocking and below-the-waist tackling, with blind-side hits and illegal chop blocks. And that was just in practice. The bad news was that none of the other intramural teams we played were any different, a smattering of real rugby players of low ability, and a heaping of thugggish American twenty-year-olds who delighted in knocking each other down in the most dangerous way possible.

I was lucky I didn’t break a leg, or fracture my skull, and looking back on it now, at the distance of thirty years, I know I should have stayed with flag football. But those were simpler, stupider times, and we didn’t know just how dangerous things were, and we loved every minute of it.

(Image courtesy of Tony Pryce Sports.)

August 21, 2013

I’m Thinking About Buying Some Two-Toned Shoes

Filed under: Men's Fashion,Shoes — Harry X @ 12:23 am

A fellow at church is by far the most dapper man I know. He shows up each Sunday morning in a three-piece suit of antique cut, his hair slicked-back, looking like it’s 1927 and his extensive holdings in American Trolley Car have just hit an all-time high.

Jaunty and prosperous, that’s how I would describe his look and his personality, a bit eccentric, but only because the rest of us are so drab and conformist. Did I mention he’s an artist, a very successful painter of portraits for very important people, a fact which explains much. His clothes are a bit of a pose. He dresses like one imagines an artist would have dressed back in the day, playing the role to the hilt.

This last week, he wore a black jacket (with boutonniêre in the lapel), grey vest, cream-colored trousers with a wide cuff, and a pair of black-and-white spectator shoes. Because he pays close attention to cut and fit, and because he has an excellent eye (he’s an artist, afterall) he always manages to pull off looking like a million dollars from back when a million dollars was a whole lot of money.

So, now I’m thinking about buying some two-toned shoes. Not the attention-grabbing black-and-white spectator shoes, but something a little subtler, like these…

Stanley Brown Leather Brogue from Grenson

The Stanley wingtip leather brogue from Grenson, an English shoe maker of some renown. (Via Stuarts London.)

I think it’s time for me to be a little more adventursome in the matter of footwear. I needs something cool, that going to shake things up a bit, without going too far afield.

August 20, 2013

What I Actually Wear: Hamilton Watches

Filed under: Cufflinks & Watches — Harry X @ 11:51 pm

Yes, my current dream watch is a $20,000 Breitling in rose gold, but that’s not what I wear everyday.

My everyday watches are both Hamiltons, a fifty-year-old Hamilton GI-issue, military watch, worn mostly with a nylon NATO strap in OD green for the weekends , and an eighty-year-old Hamilton Webster, with a dark leather strap for wearing with suits and tweeds to work. The latter is an Art Deco-ish tonneau watch (meaning, the case is barrel-shaped, vaguely rectangular with a bulge in the middle) that I picked up without a strap, at a second-hand store for $65 in 1987. It has to be wound, which by modern standards is a frightful inconvenience, but it keeps perfect time and it looks good on my wrist without being overly ostentatious.

If I had an extra $650 that I wasn’t saving for a $20,000 Breitling, I would probably get this Hamilton Khaki watch…

Hamilton Mens Khaki Watch

It’s a direct descendent of all those hundreds of thousands of Hamiliton military watches produced since 1941, attractive, durable, manly, and ready to roll.

Like I said previously, I’m a man of simple, traditional tastes. Old fashioned watches and boxer shorts, that’s me.

August 19, 2013

Boxers or Briefs?

Filed under: Men's Fashion,Underwear — Harry X @ 9:18 pm


Next question.

Actually, I should expand on this a little, since it’s apparently a question of world import.

Boxers are for grown-ass men. Briefs are for boys and Southern European gigolos.

I don’t even know why we should regard this as a serious question, except we live in profoundly unserious times, when people who’ve reached the age of majority no longer wish to act as if they’ve become adults.

Personally, I regard the day I stopped wearing briefs and started wearing boxers as being one of the major landmarks on the road to adulthood, on a par with getting my drivers license at 16, and having my first legal drink at 21. It happened the summer between junior high and high school, when I demanded my mother go to K-Mart and buy me some boxers, so that I would not have to be seen wearing tighty-whiteys as I changed for football practice. In my teenaged clique, in 1976, boxers were a symbol of manhood.

Otherwise, except to say that boxers are a)for grown-ass men, b)should be made of cotton, c)in either a festive plaid or a solid color (blue, white, or military green only), I have few opinions about underclothing for men. Pick your style of underwear (as long as it’s boxers) and stick to it for the rest of your life.

Underwear is simple. I hate those online underwear stores (like this one Vocla) that treat underwear shopping like it’s bellying up to a smorgasbord of butt-hugging, nut-hugging styles. It’s all briefs and tight boxers, in a profusion of colors and cuts. Although, judging by the photos of the models it’s clear I, a middle age straight man of conservative tastes, am not their target audience.

So, to conclude:


August 18, 2013

Top of My Current Wish List: Breitling Rose Gold Tansocean Chronograph

Filed under: Cufflinks & Watches — Harry X @ 3:51 pm

I tend to be a man of modest desires. A pint of stout, a good book, an evening of spirited conversation with close friends, and a Mercedes CLS550 Coupe in Iridium Silver Metallic paint are all I require to be well and truly happy. And now, add to that list a $20,000 watch, this one…

Breitling Transocean Chronograph in Rose Gold

The Breitling Transocean Chronograph in rose gold (as seen at The Branded Watch Shop).

I should mention that I’ve never been a fan of the Rolex. This is true of me even thirty years ago, before it become completely associated with douchebags and short-fingered vulgarians. I never particularly cared for the styling of the Rolex, too industrial for my tastes, even though I know the Rolex is a fine piece of Swiss precision watch-making. Even though I know there’s actually nothing wrong with Rolex, per se, except for people who buy and wear them, a category that is restricted largely to wannabe rich men who wanna show every bellhop, busboy and bar hostess just how would-be rich they are. It’s sad when that happens to a brand.

Breitling, by comparison, has retained much of its high-end cachet, probably because it’s associated with the glamour of flight (Breitlings are aviator watches) and because Breitling was never adopted as a Jersey Shore Guido status symbol. But cachet isn’t what’s drawn me to this watch. It’s that rose gold and leather strap combination, but especially that rose gold. I usually think of rose gold as a feminine metal, but in this case it seems warmly masculine, something that would be worn by a sophisticated middle-aged man, who’s part of the thinking class, which pretty much describes me exactly.

So, there you go, Breitling Rose Gold Tansocean Chronograph for me.

August 17, 2013

Suits and Sneakers

Filed under: Men's Fashion,Shoes — Harry X @ 9:49 am

Once upon a time suits and sneakers sat on opposite sides of the fence; one was the darling of the fashion world while the other seen as an outcast and relegated to casual attire. However, this Romeo and Juliet love story has got the happy ending that it wanted and the pair work together in perfect unison to create a unique and very alluring style. But it’s not a look that can be achieved by wearing a grotty old pair of Nike Airs and your favourite suit, only good, clean sneakers complete this ensemble properly and turn heads with good reason.

Converse Shoes are a great go-to brand when pulling off a suit and sneakers combo thanks to their low profile sole and assortment of colours available, but it’s the pure white Converse trainers that can really make an outfit pop. Granted, you could opt for a more vibrant shade such as orange or turquoise but it’s worth remembering that you don’t want your sneakers to clash with your suit. Converse trainers work brilliantly with slim fit suits thanks to their lace up design which hides comfortably and undetected inside the trouser leg, and with a choice of both canvas or leather fabrics you can buy Converse Shoes for your suit in different levels of smartness. The chances are that most people have a pair in their wardrobe but the likelihood of them being crisp clean is slim to none; investing in a new pair is always best and with them being so cheap they’re not going to put you massively out of pocket.

If the fit and form of Converse is not for you then another good choice is a pair of Vans such as the Vans Classic or Slip On Shoes. Due to the chunky style of these shoes they do tend to work better with a looser fit trouser and as such, they do look a little more casual than their Converse counterparts. Available in neutral and wearable shades as well as their iconic chequerboard design, the Vans footwear range ticks all the boxes – durable and comfortable as well as stylish beyond any others. (Info from ExtremePie)

Years ago if you’d have walked into an event in a suit and sneakers the chances are that you’d have been ridiculed out of the door, nowadays, you’re pushing fashion forward and showing the rest how it’s done.

August 16, 2013

Street Fusion Fashion Watches

Filed under: Cufflinks & Watches — Harry X @ 8:42 am

There’s nothing particularly brilliant or stylish about pulling out your phone to say ’half past four’ when someone asks you for the time, it’s much more impressive when you can effortlessly flash a fantastic piece of wrist wear instead. Watches are a Marmite thing for most people, some love the feeling of an obnoxiously lavish piece of bling on their arm and take every opportunity to show it off, but for others the restrictive feeling is a no-go and so opt out. But let’s be honest, there’s a bit of an exhibitionist in all of us so for the sake of the fashion watch lovers, this one’s for us.

There are some great new fashion watches available on the market now in all manner of designs to suit everyone and some of the best comes from leading street wear brand Nixon. If you’re looking for an everyday watch to wear that’s neither heavy nor brazen their best-selling Nixon Time Teller is a superb choice. Particularly stylish is the Pinstripe strapped number which doesn’t look out of place on a suit or with casual chinos.

Nixon Pinstripe Time Teller

This style is also available in a number of different fabrics and materials such as PU and brushed stainless steel.

Nixon does manufacture more outlandish designs but if its eye-catching green-mist inducing wrist wear that you want, the iconic Nixon 51 30 is the Goliath of the brands repertoire. Its 51mm case adorned on a thick strap in an assortment of material options boasts 300m water resistance, rotating bezel and double locking clasp among a host of other chic and sophisticated features.

Nixon 51 30

A watch can make or break a look so treat it like you would any other accessory – with precision and careful selection. Nixon Info from StreetFusion

August 13, 2013

Weekend Offender: It’s a UK Thing

Filed under: jackets,Men's Fashion,Shirts — Harry X @ 11:57 pm

What was it George Bernard Shaw said? Two countries divided by a common language?

Consider the case of UK urban fashion brand Weekend Offender, a clothing company that’s exploded out of no where (technically known as Wales) in 2004 to become one of the hippest UK youth brands. They’ve done it by sticking to basics, with high-quality material, sharp, no-nonsense styling, and an attention to British youth culture past and present. The results speaks for themselves. Weekend Offender is now being worn by celebrities like Tom Hardy and Liam Gallagher, and is about to make the jump to North America this fall.

As with any urban youth brand, there are a lot of t-shirts in the Weekend Offender collection, but what separates them from the rest of the pack is the way they craft garments that make reference to the historic British fashion trends without seeming kitschy.

For example, look at this button-down gingham shirt, the Dhanni.

Weekend Offender Dhanni Gingham Shirt

Or this cotton beeswax jacket in green.

Weekend Offender Beeswax Jacket

Waxed cotton and button down gingham are both explicit references to the early Mods, the 1950s English youth movement that gave us scooters and anoraks. But the cut of the shirt, and the color of the jacket make these more than slavish copies of Mod originals. These are actually items that can be work by men who are a little older than “youth”.

So, bravo to Weekend Offender, you’ve made the transition from being just an “urban youth” brand into to being a clothing mark with wider appeal. That’s a pretty good trick.

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