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Cufflinks, Ties and Pocket Squares as Part of Pop Culture

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.

2013 Fall/Winter Hoodies for Men

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.
hoodie

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.

The Converse Revolution

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.

The Growth of Men’s Fashion

For many years, fashion has been the domain of women. The major fashion shows around the world were geared towards women with designers creating extravagant haute couture dresses and clothes for females. In the past, men’s fashion always seemed to take a back seat but with demand increasing, things are slowly beginning to change. The fashion industry has finally discovered the huge marketing potential in men’s fashion and at the same time, more males are becoming increasingly style-conscious. Even men, who may not appear to be so interested in clothing combinations from the outset, grumble at the limited selection of options they have in stores that cater for both male and female fashions. Sociologically, this could be due to a whole range of reasons, from urbanization to the glamorization of top sport stars.

Business fashion and accessories
There is, in fact, one exception within the fashion realm in which men have always played a dominant role and that is the business suit. In the corporate world, dress codes are geared towards men and there are clear and precise guidelines on what that includes. For many years, the sector has been and in a certain way still is a male dominated sector. This is a trend which has found its way into the business fashion world. For men, this brings the huge advantage that one always knows exactly what to wear. Even if the dress code for a business invitation is not precisely stated, one can be sure to always be on the safe side with a suit and a tie. After all, in more corporate sectors it is always better to be slightly overdressed than the other way around.

While the streamlined business fashion for men has the advantage that not much time and effort is spent on finding the right outfit, it also makes it somewhat difficult for the style-conscious man to set himself apart and create his own unique style. Here is where stylish accessories can come into place and create that unique look that will get the wearer noticed. The most stylish and popular accessories are, without a doubt, stylish luxury watches. For example, sophisticated men’s watches by Ulysse Nardin match almost any business suit and are a statement of style and confidence. It is the unique combination of fine craftsmanship, art, technology and functionality that make high-end watches the perfect accessory for the business world.

Spring Essentials

It may not seem like it at the moment, but spring is definitely on the way, which means you’ll need to take a look in your closet and see if need to update any part of your wardrobe. Macy’s men’s department has a few options that will stand you in good stead in during the coming change of seasons.

Ralph Lauren Mock Pullover

One thing that will make spring proceed more smoothly is this mockneck cotton sweater from Ralph Lauren. For my money, the best colors are derby blue (shown above), buff, and if you’re under 25 and willing to stand out, chrome yellow.

joes-jeans-wilkes-brixton

As for what you should put on your legs, traditionally I’ve been opposed to anything that not a button fly Levi’s 501, however, I’ve been warming up lately to Joes Jeans, especially to these straight-leg, Wilkes Brixton coated jeans in black. They’re both in style and sufficiently understated so as to appeal to my desire for tradition.

BOSS gaberdine blazer
Finally, with a change of pant, jeans or slacks, this tan gaberdine blazer BOSS Black could do double duty at work, or for a more casual occasion.

How to Wear Your Knitwear

The guys at Northern Threads took some time to share their thoughts on knitwear and how the modern gentleman should be wearing his:

So it’s that time of year, you’re making, (or at least should be) the transition from those nice bright tees and short chinos, right? Maybe not but I’m sure you get my point – it’s time to put the summer wear to one side and move the knitwear/ sweatshirts to the front of your wardrobe. But as seasons and trends change it can be difficult to make such a transition, read on for some pointers on what’s hot, what to wear and how to wear your knitwear and supporting garments this season.

The Classic Fair Isle Crew

It’s essential to have a quality Fair Isle Crew in your wardrobe and this season is no different, the reason they’re essential is because they’re timeless, classy and the options are endless with a crew neck. This season it’s all about the print so grab a Fair Isle crew neck a sharp shirt – possibly a classic check pattern. Go for darker colours and your set for the winter.
I’d definitely say Barbour’s new collection is one of the best places to start when it comes to searching for a classic Fair Isle crew neck with a print.

A Good Cardigan

If you’re reading this section, great – those who seen the title “cardigan” and moved on to the next section will certainly be missing out this season. So cardigans have had a rough time in the past but it’s different now, they’re cool. Throw on a chunky cardigan (open or fastened, depending on your mood) with a checked shirt and there you have it – the new redefined cardigan look is yours to show off.
Mix It Up

Go wild and go for printed, chunky knitwear, Fair Isles or even knitted shirts, whatever you’re using to warm up this season – go wild. Printed fair isles are common this time of year but this season in particular patterns are in and they’re great, no matter what your age.

A Knitted Jacket

The weather’s unpredictable in the UK so the combination of a warm knit that doubles up as a jacket seems like the perfect solution, so why not give it a go? There are some great knitted jackets around at the moment so you’ll certainly be spoilt for choice but be sure to grab a well crafted one. To style it up you can throw on a checked shirt and a stylish pair of jeans and the look is complete.

When it comes to looking for trendy knitwear in general I’d say here is a good place to visit – just remember a classic Fair Isle crew, a good cardigan, a knitted jacket and DON’T FOGET TO MIX IT UP! Stick to these tips and you’ll look the part this season.

Choose The Right Coat This Winter

Choosing the right winter coat is a notoriously tricky task. It is the first item anyone will see when you walk into a room, so you have to get it right. Ensuring it will match everything from your ironic Christmas jumper to your purple-suede Clarks, while still being on trend, makes things even more complicated.

Fortunately for you, the high street is your friend again this year, with Debenhams in particular faring well with their selection of men’s coats for the colder half of the year.

The blue vs black battle continues to rage on, with blue the undisputed victor this time around, especially in darker navy shades. Nautica’s navy lightweight duffle coat ticks all the boxes, will provide you with ample protection from those icy winds and pesky snow showers while also being very much on trend.

One of the more controversial hits of the season is the puffa jacket, and it is unsurprisingly causing quite a stir online. Although they are viewed by many as an abomination best left in the nineties, designers such as Ralph Lauren and DKNY have featured the much-maligned puffa heavily in their 2012 collections. Whatever your preconceptions are about the puffa, it is difficult to deny that they provide a welcome splash of fun and colour to the usual proliferation of identikit pea-coats doing the rounds at this time of year.

At the other end of the spectrum, military styling is in its ascendency again, possibly as a homage to the guardsman’s jacket-toting Libertines, whose debut album Up the Bracket is celebrating its tenth birthday this month. The notched collars are perfect to keep out passing gales.

Despite all this, without doubt the biggest winner this season is leather, with Hermes, Belstaff and others pairing leather coats with trousers and even shirts in a move that makes the double denim fad seem tame by comparison. One of leather’s greatest selling points, however, is that it can be worn all year round, so no need to consign it to the wardrobe again when the clocks go forward come spring. A well-fitted leather jacket is a staple that everyone should have in their collection, with its current popularity ensuring that you have plenty of options to find the perfect version for you.

Most people only purchase one winter coat, so it is imperative you need to choose the right garment for you that provides versatility and protection from the elements at the same time. Ensure it is something you will not get tired with quickly as the winter weather will mean you will be pulling it on for many months yet. Be it a statement puffa or a sophisticated trench, you have a huge variety to choose from, so be sure to make the right choice.

Manly Man Cross Branding

It used to be that an old-school agro-industrial company like John Deere or Massey Furgeson would be satisfied with producing farm equipment, and maybe a line of promotional gimme caps, something their sales reps could give away to corn farmers, which could be as as a badge of allegiance to their favorite brand of tractors.

John Deere Gimme Cap

John Deere Gimme Cap

Nowadays, things are different. Now the modern multinational industrial conglomerate feels the need to cross-brand itself into a variety of markets. Witness how Caterpillar has used its position as one of the world’s preeminent brands–the most storied and best-known maker of earthmoving equipment in the world–to cross-sell us boots and shoes.

At first glance, this would not appear to make sense, Caterpillar D-9 bulldozers and ladies shoes don’t seem like a good fit. But if you follow the progression in this market, it makes perfect sense.

Caterpillar has a brand famous for toughness and reliability, and nearly 100% name recognition among working men. So, sell tough and reliable work CAT boots (available at Uttings Outdoors) to working men

Colorado Boot from Caterpillar

Colorado Boot from Caterpillar

Not only does this make perfect sense, but it turns out, it’s a big money maker for a brand that suffers when construction goes into a slump, as it has over the past four years.

Much more interesting than work boots, however, is something like this…

Zachary Chelsea Boot from CAT

Zachary Chelsea Boot from CAT

The Zachary Chelsea boot from CAT, a moderately priced casual boot with a distressed urban flair.

This sort of boot above would seem to have almost nothing to do with this…

Caterpillar D-9

Caterpillar D-9

And, yet, here we are, crossbranded from heavy equipment into vaguely metrosexual footwear.

Shoes Worth Getting Excited About

Clarks Originals Mens Suede Desert Boots

Big Ben, Stonehenge and Buckingham Palace are usually recognised as the biggest destinations in the British tourism guidebook. But this summer, coach-loads of tourists will be descending on a little village in Somerset to marvel at another British sensation.

Clarks Village stands on the site of the old Clarks factory – the place where these legendary shoes were made for so long. And this summer, thousands of Chinese tourists will make the pilgrimage to purchase a pair of classic British style. It seems that this elegant British shoe has become an icon halfway around the world.

Shoes that last a lifetime

Clarks are probably the biggest name in footwear in the UK and are also a major player around the world. Popular in the USA, Australia and across the globe, these are shoes made with the hallmark of quality. Shoes you could wear with blue jeans, good pants, or even fashionable shorts.

Clarks shoes – as you’ll know if you’ve ever owned a pair – are made to last. They aren’t the kind of shoes that start disintegrating after a few months, but, given the right care and attention, will last a lifetime. And when you think about the strain that your shoes endure on a daily basis, that’s a remarkable feat of design and manufacture. It’s what makes them such good value for money.

This is almost certainly why the Chinese love them so much, although the trademark Clarks style has definitely got something to do with it too. Some brands don’t need to follow trends. With simple and classic designs, Clarks shoes stand apart from fashion – timeless and reliable. Buy a pair of Clarks men’s shoes and they’ll be just as stylish in ten years time. After all, this is the company that designed the Desert Boot – a shoe which is often imitated but never bettered.

So, as the thousands of tourists make their pilgrimage this summer, think about how lucky you are that you can simply go online and buy a pair of Clarks shoes. It might be an unusual destination for tourists, but when you think about it, it does make sense.

The Fashion Show: Might It Die Soon?

invitation.jpg

I quite like Cathy Horyn, the fashion writer for The New York Times.  She writes things like, “Anyone who complains that fashion is like high school is quite correct” in her column from yesterday, which is partly about the news that Mr. Armani has banned her from his fashion shows.

Writing so much about one simple rejection might sound bitter from someone else, but Ms. Horyn framed it very well, moving on to question the very existence of the shows (and the dramas within), especially considering how quickly photos and videos can now be distributed to everyone.

I have never been to a runway show, and am not in a rush to go.  Perhaps I am just bitter.

Pre-Tied Bowties: Why Not Just Wear Sweatpants?

I think pre-tied regular ties (four-in-hands) are now only found on uniformed security guards, doormen, and other rental outfits. They seem to have correctly assumed the social stigma of a teenager wearing velcro shoes because he hasn’t figured out how to tie shoe laces. Are you a child?

It is indeed sad state of affairs, then, when the same knot used for your shoelaces cannot be successfully duplicated on the necks of dozens of grown men at an event known for its clothing and televised for millions of viewers.

Dear John Travolta, I ask you. I ask your stylists. I ask the designer who probably gave you that tuxedo. How did you decide on a pre-tied bowtie? And how did you decide on the most awful, symetrical, perfect, bowtie the world has ever seen?

For comparison, last year Peter O’Toole, a proper old fart, most certainly got it right.

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Gucci Now Open (Again)

Gucci Gucci goo!

I missed the ribbon-cutting at the new Gucci store on Fifth Avenue about 10 days ago, but still stopped in during their first day of business. Three notables from the visit:

1) Gucci used to mean Florentine leathergoods. I think that age passed long ago, and they no longer let such a singular designation limit their scope. But what is their specialization? Pushing the concept of luxury, for sure, whether it means luggage, handbags, evening gowns, men’s suits, shoes, sneakers, key chains, belts, et cetera ad infinitum. The rent is reportedly $1.33 million per month for the new space, so they have to earn the money any way they can.

2) The suits were cheap! We knew you could buy into the Gucci loafers for about $400, but a suit for $1500? Internationally recognized design and luxury pedigree for so little?

3) I used to think that half of the Gucci-labeled stuff I saw on the street was fake, because really–Gucci doesn’t make stuff that looks like that. My mistake! It’s all there. The moonwalk boots, the white sneakers . . .