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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.

Golf Clothes for the Autumn of Life

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.

I’m Thinking About Buying Some Two-Toned Shoes

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.

Boxers or Briefs?

Boxers.

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:

Boxers.

Suits and Sneakers

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.

Weekend Offender: It’s a UK Thing

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.

Robert Owens Tailored Skirt (FOR MEN) – The Review.

Now, I am as fashion-forward as the next man (actually I am not, but let us engage in willing suspension of disbelief here) but when I look at the Rick Owens tailored skirt for Men (On incredible sale-marked down from $1457.79 to 499.00 on Gilt) I am struck by the exclamation, “Wuck?”  I challenge you to look at this picture and not say “Wuck?!?”.

Seriously?  Radical Islam has gone too far, now.

Seriously? Radical Islam has gone too far, now.

 

This begs a lot of analysis. First, who thought up $1457.79? $1458 is just too high for a skirt? Second, why would a man need a skirt? Especially a maxi. I can tell you from my travels in San Francisco that men’s hem lines are moving up, not down. And it doesn’t even have a decent slit. This is a serious problem as you are going to have to do some fast running to get away from the people with decent taste that are going to try and pummel you to stop the rot. Did he get the idea from watching kids do sack races?

My best guess is that this is some kind of publicity stunt. I bet they don’t even have any stock to sell. Probably all photoshopped. I dare one of the Manolo’s readers to try and buy one. I bet they tell you it is out of stock. Here is the Gilt link to the skirt.

Postscript: Not knowing much about Rick Owen’s and his work, I googled up some stuff. After looking over the pictures of his “creations” I am now convinced that he is a clever hoax who doesn’t even exist. Clearly his creations are the work of some kind of fashion prankster. Kudo’s to you, interweb humorist!

Men’s Stud Earrings

Men’s stud earrings will make you look charming and definitely put you in the spotlight. Why should women be the only ones who look fabulous all the time when men have the option of accessorizing with something as beautiful as men’s studded earrings and stand out from the rest? For many, studded earrings not only offer an opportunity to look different but also to look handsome at the same time. One of the most popular styles among diamond earrings are diamond stud earrings. Available in different cuts, these earrings are a must have. The variety makes them well suited, according to the different requirements, and provides the potential buyers a wide range to choose from to look absolutely amazing.

The different men’s stud earrings designs include diamond stud earrings, diamond cluster earrings, prong diamond earrings, and funky designs such as the skull head studs. These earrings are classic, elegant, and are an essential part of a startling wardrobe. The earrings are available in various cuts such as the round cut. Since they are made of gold and silver, they prove to be a sound investment for your future as well, thus not letting your money go to waste. Also, the diamond makes your earrings look even more appealing and magnificent, adding charm and personality to the jewelry. Along with being beautiful to look at and leaving others in awe, diamond is one of the toughest materials on earth. This makes diamond earrings very strong and virtually unbreakable.

Choose the size and design that would suit you most and make you look extraordinary. Available in all shapes, colors and sizes of diamonds, these earrings can be made of gold and silver. The price range also varies according to the intricacy of the earrings, the value of the diamonds used, the amount of gold or silver used, the craftsmanship, customization and various other factors. For most satisfied buyers, stud earrings tend to become a staple, a glittering and valuable item added to the individual’s jewelry repertoire which can be used to accessorize almost any outfit and worn anywhere.

For a wide variety of diamond studs for men in a number of different designs, you can check out traxnyc.com; a company that gives you the option of either choosing from their collection of earrings or ordering a custom made earring according to your needs. Their specialization in jewelry over the last few decades and experienced craftsmen, gives them an edge and allows them to make it worth the money for the customer. The studs not only add charm and variety to your current jewelry collection but essentially serve as an investment, considering the rise in prices of precious stones. TraxNYC has served celebrities like Akon and Ludacris, and will surely be able to provide the perfect stud earring to go with your style and tailored to your liking to complete your look.

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.

The Sport Jacket

What is the well-dressed man wearing today?

On the streets of New York today, increasingly you see men wearing something different from a worsted wool, tailored two-button coat with well-turned lapel. Instead you find weather-resistant jackets deriving inspiration from diverse sources – military, mountaineering, and cycling.

First, the urbane man lost the necktie. Next, he shed the sport coat. The well-dressed man’s windproof zippered jacket speaks not of adherence to royal and ancient country club rules, but of working-class insouciance, big-city nonchalance, and no-nonsense practicality, men’s simple fashion Instead of a suit coat, the modern man chooses technical outerwear.

To those interested in the history of fashion, mention must be made that, like so may other fashions originating as actual sportswear, the modern suit jacket originated as a hunting coat for riding to the hounds. The seat vent allows the jacket to drape elegantly astride the saddle.

Most sport jackets today appear to have devolved from military uniforms, specifically the flight jacket and the motorcycle jacket.

Even on beautiful autumn days when air is crisp and leaves are turning, Mr. Henry does not ride motorcycles. Consequently he finds the motorcycle jacket to be an unnecessary accoutrement.

With extra zippers, extra belts, and metal studs, the motorcycle jacket strikes an aggressive, predatory pose. Its ethos of violence is sartorial overkill.

Though the wearer may think he is saying, “I am Marlon Brando as Johnny in The Wild One.”

In fact he says, “I flunked the entrance exam for the Highway Patrol.”

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.

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