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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.

What I Actually Wear: Hamilton Watches

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.

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

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.

Street Fusion Fashion Watches

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

Alas, Poor Yorick

Jeffery West death's head cufflinks

Today’s New York Times contains an disappointing article about the current widespread use of skulls in fashion. Although the paper is right to note the trend, one Izzy touched upon a while back, it fails to give any recent history of the death’s head as decoration, including its use on Nazi S.S. uniforms or its place in the iconography of heavy metal, something the British shoemaker Jeffery West tries to market. The article claims that the skull has largely lost its edge as a symbol, but Izzy thinks its connotations depend upon the sex of the wearer. It’s one thing for a woman to borrow style cues from pirates or Hell’s Angels; she is clearly playing dress-up. But when a man does the same, he is liable to come across as threatening or uncivil, far from a good thing in Izzy’s estimation. As for me, I’ll stick with more traditional cufflinks from Alfred Dunhill.)

Hauteur Theory

The author of books such as My Life Among the Deathworks and The Triumph of the Therapeutic, Philip Rieff was a formidable conservative cultural critic and a formidable conservative dresser. Here he is in a custom pinstriped peak-lapelled single-breasted suit, pocket square, fawn waistcoat, watch fob, and homburg hat. They don’t make professors like that anymore—for which lazy, fearful students should be thankful.

Fender Bender

Fender guitar pick cufflinks

These cufflinks from Fender, one of the most famous makers of electric guitars, should pluck the heartstrings of any would-be rock star.

Bowling for Voters

Barack Obama in bowling shoes

Whichever of Barack Obama’s campaign staffers found those sleek black-and-white bowling shoes, the least objectionable pair possible, ought to get a raise, even the promise of a cabinet post.  (Izzy notices that Obama is a lefty who wears his watch on his left arm, the political connotations of which are…?)

Pre-Gifting

Thanksgiving is here, which means that the collective madness known as holiday shopping has already begun. In no particular order, here are some gift ideas for inspiration. Of course, it’s the thought that counts, but some thoughts are more valuable and stylish than others.

Up first, some simple, classic Brooks Brothers ties.

Brooks Brothers bar stripe tieBrooks Brothers silk repp dot tie

On the formal bow tie front, there’s nothing blacker than velvet, which isn’t seen much nowadays.

Thomas Pink velvet bow tie

And for a change from the usual cufflinks, how about silk knots, which, unlike ordinary cufflinks, are never stuffy? They’re so inexpensive that you can collect them in every color. Also, they’re easy to put on, even if you don’t have a manservant.

Thomas Pink woven silk cuff knots

Another interesting alternative are these woven cufflinks from Thomas Pink, which have a delightful feel.

Thomas Pink woven cufflinks

Speaking of formal wear, it might be worth experimenting with these Frenchback boxers, which look like just the thing to wear under white tie and tails. They’re perhaps the only undergarments that deserve to be starched.

Brooks Brothers Frenchback boxer

Not exactly the tallest man in the world, Izzy, like Tom Cruise, is a sucker for dressy boots.

Peal & Co. Chelsea bootsPeal & Co. wingtip Chelsea boots

And as for boots that will keep your feet warm and dry on an Arctic expedition or merely a schlep to the mailbox, Sorel is one of the brands to count on. The company was founded in Canada, after all.
Sorel Mounty II boots

These are totally off-season, Izzy knows, but why where white bucks when you can wear white buck wingstips?

Peal & Co. white buck wingtips

For that special someone who thinks he has everything, surprise him with this Brooks Brothers sportcoat made from “Coarsehair,” a custom Loro Piana blend of cashmere and goat hair.

Brooks Brothers Coarsehair sportcoat

Happy hunting.

Another great gift idea is getting the latest 4g phones as a gift, where you can find some great discounts.

Untimely Tux

Nick Cannon in tux

With the gape in his shirt collar, the 1970s-sized bowtie, and industrial-sized watch, musician Nick Cannon is ready for the prom, not an awards show. 

Although few still follow it, there is a hoary rule that a gentleman never wears a watch with formal wear—after all, on those occasions he would never need to take notice of the time.

Internal Affairs

watch cuff links

Modelled on the guts of vintage watches, these cufflinks put a different kind of jewel on display.

internal watch

On the other wrist, this “internal watch” is perfect for the man with all the time in the world.  Either that or smothering fantasies.

Father’s Day Gift Ideas from Thomas Pink

Some novelty cufflinks for the World Cup fan.

football cufflinks

A power tie for the paterfamilias.

Thomas Pink red power tie

Or one for the dandy in the family.

Thomas Pink Andros stripe

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