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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.

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.)

Pastelevision

Miami Vice

In honor of the Miami Vice movie (which, in Izzy’s opinion, makes the terrible mistake of not being set in the ’80s), the New York Times’ Guy Trebay penned an interesting article about the original TV show’s influence on fashion:

When he orchestrated the look of the original show, [the director Michael] Mann was venturing into stylistic territory already staked out by Italian designers, people like Gianni Versace, Gianfranco Ferre, or Giorgio Armani, the man generally credited with introducing the world to the unconstructed suit ? that is, without padding, a lining or internal stiffening. This might be as good a time as any to amend the old canard about Mr. Armani being the inventor of the floppy suit. It was long a staple of Neapolitan haberdashery, developed by tailors sent to London by wealthy patrons to apprentice on Savile Row.

Oddly, Trebay’s otherwise detailed account of the show’s style fails to mention footwear. How can one think of Crockett except in a pair of Espadrilles, like those you’d find at Pretty Green from Red Square Clothing?

Espardilles

Old School Kicks for The Men

Manolo says, the Manolo makes no secret of the fact that he likes his tennis shoes old style, indeed, he believes that where the kicks are concerned the tried-and-true is still the best. Here are three classic tennis shoes of which the Manolo approves.

Converse Ox Leather

What could be better than the classic Converse Star Player Ox in white leather.

Puma Clyde

Perhaps the Puma Clyde, in the classic black.

Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66

But, wait, here is the Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66 in blue for when the Manolo feels the uncontrollable urge to rock it Japanese style.

These and other such handsomely classic shoes are available from Size Mens Clothes.

Costello & Tagliapietra: Among The Most Stylish New Yorkers!

Jeffrey Costello & Robert Tagliapietra

Jeffrey Costello & Robert Tagliapietra, Stylish Bears

Manolo says, finally, there is hope for ordinary American men!

While their clothes they design for others are beautiful, no one would accuse the fashion designers Robert Tagliapietra and Jeffrey Costello of being anything other than burly gay bears, but they are good enough

But, perhaps if you were the burly, big-bellied straight man who wished to claim the mantle of stylishness, you could do worse than emulate these two.

(more…)

Quest for Perfect Jeans

Finding a decent pair of denims can become a quest for the holy grail, a foredoomed pursuit of glories past.

On their website you can buy Levi’s 501 button-fly “rigid rinse,” the ur-jeans, for a mere $36 – forgiving to the wallet but not to the body. They are guaranteed to chafe your inner thighs.

Or you may elect to buy the same cut 501’s (“XX” made in Amsterdam) from a slightly higher quality dark-wash denim for $268 at J. Crew. They are a little more comfortable than the originals, but at that price you don’t want to wear them when weeding a thorny garden.

Choices in between are limited to streaky, over-washed, greasy-feeling, thin-weight, distressed jeans that look as if a homeless person had traded them for a cup of coffee.

First off, stop looking for the cup of everlasting life. Jeans don’t have to be perfect (which is a relief to know because you will probably fail to find perfect ones anyway). Jeans need not be the repository of your essential being or the sacred vessel of your singularity. Grand hopes and dreams will overstuff a pair of humble denims. Anyway, aren’t denims the most conformist of clothing choices?

Blue jeans were born in the 19th-century as cheap work pants. Above all they are supposed to be sturdy. After a requisite breaking-in period, they may become comfortable, too. However, in the good old days comfort was second to their ability to withstand a season of gold-panning without ripping.

Ballad of a Thin Man

Last month as recompense for a year of toil and strain Mr. Henry went shopping. The time had come to buy himself a present, and a new line of super-120 wool at J. Crew were cut perfectly for Mr. Henry’s eye. Unfortunately they were not cut perfectly for his seat. Five extraneous pounds of winter fat preserved around Mr. Henry’s central section barred his admission into the skinny urbane world of the millennium’s second decade.

Did he walk away in despair? Not at all. With courage, hope, and full faith in a slim future, he bought pants that were too tight.

Of course, he did not share this little affair with Mrs. Henry. She would not have understood the complex series of decisions leading up to a decision, seemingly rash, which turned out to be a battlefield command of remarkable vision and precision. How else could he have forced himself to endure the sufferings of self-control necessary to shed five pounds?

Today, after a month of swimming, walking, and dinnertime deprivation, those pants fit just fine (so long as Mr. Henry does not wear them out to a big dinner). Once again Mr. Henry may sidle down the sidewalk dressed in his new super-120’s and looking like the metropolitan mondain he truly is.

Man in Uniform

According to a profile in The New Yorker, the most influential person in American fashion believes that a man needs a uniform.

Every day J. Crew’s Mickey Drexler wears a heather-gray T-shirt, a striped “Thomas Mason” blue-and-white button-down with long sleeves rolled up and shirttails out, aged Swedish jeans, and Alden cordovan wingtips. Sometimes he adds a plain black blazer.

That’s it, guys, the new-millennial uniform for aged hipsters. It’s a good look, casual yet savvy. At least it’s not black – the default fashionista uniform.

Straight cut blue jeans on a guy in his sixties? After a certain age, don’t men need a little forgiveness in the seat, waist, and thigh?

Speaking personally, Mr. Henry finds that whenever he spends an entire day wearing pants that pinch his privates, his mood suffers.

Consistent with the hard-driving CEO personality, Mickey Drexler is short-tempered. Could this be a symptom of tight pants syndrome?

Let ‘em loose, Mr. Drexler. Your underlings will appreciate it.

Do you know this man?

Mr. Henry asks, “How good is your eye for famous men?”

The American

In “The American,” George Clooney’s clothes are understated. He carries himself with confidence and alertness, but without macho swagger. He looks like a thoroughly decent guy.

This is a problem because he plays the role of an expert in assassination.

Aren’t bad guys supposed to be dandies? Where are the lilac pocket square, shiny suit cloth, and gaudy finger ring?

No matter how despicable his actions, Clooney wins you over by his clothes, his forthright demeanor, and his chiseled, grizzled, but charming American visage. (Is this an implicit comment about American foreign policy?)

The American” is a post-modern gunfighter western. It even has a hooker with a heart of gold.

So, what does the modern American cowboy look like?

For most of the film Clooney wears a grey-green canvas jacket. It may provide less than adequate protection from wet Italian weather, but like most every other article of clothing the jacket looks very good on George. Underneath he layers a sedate sweater vest or plain gray tee shirt – practical and unostentatious. After all, he is supposed to be lying low.

In the final scenes he wears a dark suit of impeccable cloth and cut, a funeral suit for himself and others.

In the modern western, bad guys look good. More confusing still, in “The American” the real killers are Swedes!

Socks with shorts

Each summer morning before deciding on his day’s choice of footwear Mr. Henry scans the weather report, looking in particular at the temperature. The question he poses himself is not whether he will wear shorts and a polo shirt, his default hot weather costume, but whether the temperature will climb so high that his poor feet will boil in closed shoes and as a consequence he must wear sandals.

If sandals are the day’s choice, a more ticklish problem arises, namely, whether to wear socks. If the temperature will reach 90 and above, the decision is clear. Sockless sandals are the only choice. But what if rain is predicted? What if he plans to spend time in gelid air-conditioned interiors? What if he plans to be outdoors among bloodthirsty mommy mosquitoes? Aren’t socks necessary, even with sandals?

Mr. Henry wears socks proudly. With the confidence of a Scandinavian giant gamely navigating the avenues of midtown, Mr. Henry remains blasé if hipsters with tattoos and slouched trousers should cast derisory glances at his stockings.

In defense of socks:

  • When hiking Manhattan’s valleys, you need expedition footwear. To protect against chafing on long walks, socks are a must.
  • Sandals that expose bare footflesh cannot protect against scrapes and scratches, vectors for the introduction of exotic, antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Save yourself, man!
  • The mosquito is the most dangerous animal in the wilderness, and she adores your ankles.
  • Chilled air sinks to the floor. Half an hour of such temperatures and your arthritic toes – old soccer injuries – start barking, not to mention your plantar fasciitis.
  • Who admires your knobbly, hairless, vein-riddled ankles, anyway?

Bulge in the pocket?

Stepping out on a warm summer evening looking sleek – face tan and stomach more trim than it’s been since last fall – will Mr. Henry ruin the line of his trousers with a bulging wallet in the pocket?

Since he doesn’t need a jacket in hot weather, why would he carry a fat wallet?

In addition to paper billets, his wallet bulges with credit cards (three), driver’s license, health club card, Metrocard transit pass, pictures of Little Henry (three), museum membership cards (four), insurance card, AAA card, business cards (three), and assorted restaurant receipts.

When headed for the local eatery with every intention of ordering a full allotment of two drinks before stumbling home a crooked mile, does he really need to carry so much back-up?

Not at all. Leaving the house in the evening, he pockets a slim card case sparely rigged out with driver’s license (in case of terrorist emergency), a Metrocard (in case of taxi strike), one credit card (VISA), and a business card. He then collects about $100 in assorted denominations – just enough clobber to cover any likely eventuality – and folds the bills into the front pants pocket next to card case and house keys.

Voilá. A flat front pocket. With this Spartan kit he is as prepared for battle as any knight of yore, better prepared, actually, because if he should take a tumble he won’t require the assistance of a page boy to remount.

Eexamsheets – http://www.examsheets.com/exam/640-554.htm
Realtests – http://www.realtests.com/exam/CISSP.htm
Test-inside – http://www.test-inside.com
Passguide – http://www.passguide.com/642-874.html
Selftestengine – http://www.selftestengine.com/SY0-301.html

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