Update to the Minimalism Challenge

minimalism typography hd wallpaper 1920x1200 6093 Update to the Minimalism Challenge

Source: HDW

I’ve been neglecting this blog for far too long my friends. If you’re still with me God bless you- and yes I agree, I am the worst. But let me at least give you guys an explanation on my absence… And I think it’s legitimate to some extent.

January of this year, I proposed a challenge to myself. A challenge that I shared with all of you during that time period. If you’re not up for reading that entire post, the gist of it was that I decided not to buy anything (outside of the essentials, like toothpaste) for the entirety of 2014. It’s now been a healthy 10 months into the year, and I’m happy to report that I’m still somewhat on track with that challenge. The reason “somewhat” is in that last sentence is because I think I might have found a loophole that I violated to some extent (cough, I bought a motorcycle for the “experience,” not proud of it).

I’m a little backlogged on the giving away one thing everyday part of that challenge, but for the most part, it’s been pretty liberating to depend less on material objects. You almost forget how much your possessions start to own you more than the other way around. True, the hardest part of the year is still ahead of us (the holidays), but I’m confident I can weather the storm.

130327 CBOX MinimalistCraze.jpg.CROP.article568 large Update to the Minimalism Challenge

Source: Slate

Now to the main point: why I haven’t been writing in this blog as often.

It turns out that when you block yourself off from buying any new clothing for the year, you stop thinking about clothing on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis. And when you’re not thinking about clothing, oh how much harder it becomes to write about it.

Okay, it’s an excuse, but the good news is that I do have some things to report as a result of this experience so far, and I thought it would be a good reason to write a post. In case you’re curious, here are a couple things I’ve learned from not buying any clothing for the year:

1. You are forced to be more creative with your current wardrobe.

So you don’t own a leather jacket that would have been perfect for a particular event. So what? Because you’re forced to work with what you have, you become a bit more creative in how you choose your outfits. You “shop your closet” more, if you will.

2. You end up discovering your “go-to” outfit far more easily.

I didn’t expect this part, but when you don’t shop as regularly, you gravitate towards your tried and trues more often than you think. I’ve realized black jeans, brown boots, blue oxford shirts, and olive green jackets have more usefulness than most of my other pieces.

3. You save a bunch of money / are more generous with it.

As a result of your reduced expenditures, you really do see your bank account gain a little health, but more importantly, you’re more generous with how you use the extra money. I don’t hesitate as often to pay for another person’s dinner or dessert!

4. You don’t write in your blog as often.

Lame.

Anyhow, I’m not finished yet but I think that this challenge is something that everyone should attempt at some point. Maybe it’s not for an entire year, but rather for just a couple of months. Or even just one month for the shopaholics out there. I swear it’ll make a difference in how you live, even if it’s a just a little.

A simpler kid

You know, when I was a kid, I wore strictly second-hand clothing. Goodwill, Salvation Army, Thriftway, you name it. Our family didn’t have much money, and I was going to be growing out of my clothing anyway, so why bother with fashion?

Personally, I think it was a good thing. Shopping that way helped me really appreciate buying a new shirt or pair of jeans when I got in high school. I hopefully plan to raise my future kids the same way.

That being said, there IS something awesome about kids who look as fashionable (if not more fashionable) as their adult counterparts. I came across a Buzzfeed article this week where a toddler’s mother dresses her kid like a walking GQ advertisement. This kid looks amazing! Check out some of his pictures below. And follow him on Instagram if you want more:

 A simpler kid

 A simpler kid

 A simpler kid

 A simpler kid

 A simpler kid

 A simpler kid

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Little guy’s making me look like an incompetent dresser. Props to him and his mom for keeping up with the Instagram account. We all know it takes discipline to keep these things going icon smile A simpler kid Happy Friday folks.

 

Wristwear

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Source: Midnightcool

Wristwear has been all the fad lately. More and more, I’m seeing guys wear stacks on stacks on stacks of bracelets extending from their wrists up to potentially their mid forearms. It’s become, to some extent, commonplace.

How do I feel about this trend? Well, I’m a bit torn. Do I like the aesthetics of a wristband or two on a guy’s arm? Yeah I do. Do I think that men of class (a la George Clooney, Don Draper) would choose to wear a wristband (apart from their watch)? Probably not. Would I ever wear a colorful wristband to a board meeting? Absolutely not.

Mens Woven Friendship Bracelets Wristwear

Source: Itsnotforgirls

As many of you guys know, I’m a huge fan of wristwatches, and feel that all men should go out right now and purchase a watch if possible. However, wristbands/bracelets are a bit more flashy and/or casual, since they serve no functional purpose. They’re purely for aesthetics, and for this reason, I don’t find them to be essential in anyway.

That being said, they do add a bit of spice to any outfit, and you can especially benefit during the Spring and Summer when your arms are exposed. So here’s my advice. If you don’t always need to look professional in your day-to-day, and enjoy the aesthetics of a bracelet or two, go for it! But here are my suggestions.

1. One or two : Don’t be one of those guys who wears fifteen bracelets on both wrists, trying to make a giant statement about how you’re the most fashionable guy this side of the Mississippi. Stick with a single bracelet or two. I personally like wearing just one on the wrist I wear my watch on.

2. Leather + metal : I think fabric bracelets are cool, and they often come in a multitude of colors and patterns. However, they’re not all that versatile. Unless you have a giant wristband collection, I would stick with a solid colored leather bracelet with maybe some metal accents.

3. Brown , gray, black : Again, there are tons of colors out there for wristbands. However, if you want to stick with owning only a couple, then I suggest going for a bit of a mute color, like brown, gray, or black. This way, whether you’re dressed up or down, your wristband will remain appropriate.

Put This On has a good list of some wristbands for you if you’re interested. Personally, I like Miansai or Tod’s bracelets the most, but they can be a bit prohibitively expensive.

Anyhow, cheers, and happy Monday!

 

 

V-neck or Crewneck shirts?

white tee V neck or Crewneck shirts?

Source: GQ

People often ask me whether they should purchase V neck or crewneck T-shirts, as if one is clearly superior to the other.

In all honesty, my answer to this question has changed again and again. Five years ago, I was all in on V neck T-shirts. They simply looked better, no doubt about it. You ask me that same question today and I’ll probably switch my answer over to crewneck, unfortunately without a good reason as to why.

Just like anything in fashion, perspectives change, and there are times when crewneck shirts are “in,” and times when V neck shirts are “in.” I think right now, we might have landed on a time where crewneck T-shirts are more popular.

This being said, I believe that you should absolutely own both V neck and crewneck T-shirts at any given time. First off, neither will ever go out of style, since they’re such staples in any man’s wardrobe. I just ask that you keep your V necks at a more conservative depth – deep Vs can look ridiculous.

Secondly, both serve distinct purposes. For instance, crewneck T shirts look better with crewneck sweaters. V neck T shirts can work better with dress shirts. Etc. etc. etc.

So the next time you’re choosing between crewneck and V neck, just know you’ll likely end up having to get both in your wardrobe, so just flip a coin…. I say that half jokingly.

PSA: 7 years is too long to keep your boxer shorts

David Beckham Boxer Briefs Image PSA: 7 years is too long to keep your boxer shorts

Source: Underwearexpert

I was listening to an episode of NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me last week and they came across a story that compelled me to put out a public service announcement on Simpler Man.

Turns out that men are wearing their underwear for 7 years on average. At first I said, what the hell? 7 years?

Then I got to thinking… I probably have a pair or two that old, and I didn’t even notice. Gentlemen, I’m sure most of us have the means to replace our underwear every couple of years, so after work today, let’s toss some of our ol’ trusties, and keep our drawers fresh.

Sleeve length importance

Screenshot 2014 05 09 16.05.00 Sleeve length importance

Something I’ve been noticing a lot lately is the importance of sleeve lengths on suits, jackets, shirts, and/or any sort of outerwear.

We all know that proper fit is of the utmost importance when it comes to looking good in your clothing. However, I will admit that there are certain aspects of fit that are more important than others. For example, shoulder fit. I believe that having the right fit at the shoulders is more important than 90% of other fit types, mainly because the correct shoulder fit can reduce alteration costs substantially. Also, aesthetically it’s just very pleasing when the shoulder hems hit at the right spot on your body.

Meanwhile, in my opinion, a little excess fabric in the torso area, or too much height in a collar, or puffiness in a jacket can all take a step back as tertiary concerns when thinking about the overall fit of your clothing. These are alterations that can and perhaps should be done, depending on how bad the fit is, but they don’t matter quite as much.

Sleeve length though, is starting to really creep to the top of that list for me… Why?

tumblr n50a7fg2Xl1qa2j8co6 500 Sleeve length importance

Source: putthison

Take for example this jacket above. I think there are several issues with the fit on it, but to me, the thing that really catches my eye and makes this jacket look ridiculous is the sleeve length. If the sleeves on this jacket were about 3 inches shorter, I might even forgive the bagginess of the rest of the jacket, but as it stands, I just can’t respect the fit.

I have two coats that were actually a little long on the sleeves. There were a multitude of other fit problems (body was a bit long, armpits were tight, etc.), but the moment I altered the sleeves, I honestly forgot about the rest of the issues. Before the alteration, these coats looked gigantic on me, as my arms were drowning in the extra fabric with just my fingers peeking out. After the alteration, everything just looked… right.

So here’s my ask of you. If you have a jacket, shirt, or any other top with extra long sleeves, go to a tailor right now and get them cut a bit shorter. Believe me, even an inch or two can make the biggest difference. The difference between you looking like you’re drowning in your jacket, versus looking completely meant for it.

Top 10 trendy staple pieces

A long time ago, I wrote down a list of what I thought was the man’s “essential wardrobe.” You see, the great thing about pieces on that list are that they are timeless in every way.

You could have worn a navy blazer or pair of dark blue denim jeans the same way 15 years ago as you can today (albeit with a bit of a different fit). However, I will admit that it can be boring to wear the same “essential” clothing day in and day out. Maybe that’s why there are trends coming in and out every five, no, two years.

Well, in honor of these trends, I’d like to show you my top 10 trendy staple items. These are pieces that could or could not be in style 15 years from now, but look damn good today:

1. Olive green field jacket : Seems every person I know (girls included) is wearing the olive green field jacket right now. For good reason too – it looks good with everything.

2012 11 19 Field Jacket Top 10 trendy staple pieces

Source: onthestreefashion

2. Gray sweatshirt : This rather simple piece has gone from lazy to stylish in only a couple years. Some reason I’m all for it.

 Top 10 trendy staple pieces

Source: lifestylemirror

3. Naval stripe shirt : Love this for layering purposes. Oh, and in my opinion, Saint-James does it best.

peacoat3 Top 10 trendy staple pieces

Source: manfront

4. New Balance suede sneakers : New Balance hit a home run with these retro-styled shoes. Can’t live without my pair.

new balance jcrew 1400 fall11 1 Top 10 trendy staple pieces

Source: highsnobiety

5. Henley long sleeve shirt : I don’t know if this counts as a trend, since henleys have been in forever, but I feel like I’ve been replacing all my normal tees with henleys for the past several years.

Henley 1 Top 10 trendy staple pieces

Source: Primermag

6. Denim jacket : I was against this trend for quite some time. Maybe because I used to associate denim jackets with bikers and bullies. Anyhow, my thoughts have clearly shifted. (Don’t wear it like the guy below though, gotta have some contrast from the pants).

Nordstrom Mens Shop GQ Trend Report Denim Jean Jackets 1b Top 10 trendy staple pieces

Source: Nordstrom

7. Pocket crew neck tee : Simple but stylish. Kind of like that gray sweatshirt above.

 Top 10 trendy staple pieces

Source: everlane

8. Braided belt : Leather or fabric, doesn’t matter. Braided belts go amazing with any casual outfit.

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Source: urbaneclub

9. Colorful socks : You all know how I feel about colorful socks. They’ve been in for a while now, but I still like ‘em. Adds spice to any getup.

bold sock with gray suit Top 10 trendy staple pieces

Source: Maurilioamorim

 

10. Varsity / baseball jacket : So random to me that a varsity-styled jacket has become trendy. I can’t help but think they look awesome though.

4c47b68ee1f64de285a977d3f502f811PTetEj Top 10 trendy staple pieces

Source: glossi

 

So there you go, my top 10 trendy staples. If you’re wearing one, two, or any combination of these pieces, I guarantee you’ll get a compliment or two throughout the day from coworkers or friends. They’ll all suddenly think you’re in the know.

Go get ‘em.

Altering old baggy clothing

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy image 36 Altering old baggy clothing

Source: collider

A lot of my friends ask me for advice on what to do with their old clothing that just don’t fit anymore. The process usually goes a little something like this:

1. I peruse my friends’ closet.

2. I’ll see a piece of clothing that looks God-awful and ill-fitting.

3. I’ll say “toss” without a second thought.

4. I move onto the next piece.

At this point, my friends will stop and cringe, hesitating to move on. And of course I get it. What if the piece I’m tossing is actually a $175 shirt? Or what if it’s the most comfortable piece of clothing in the entire closet?

As a result, we get hung over the piece for several minutes, trying to decide whether it stays in the closet or goes away to Goodwill.  Then we ultimately have to come to a compromise. And almost always, my compromise is this – get it altered so that it doesn’t look ridiculous.

5eUmmdc Altering old baggy clothing

Source: Trunkclub

So I wanted to quickly speak about this compromise. “Getting it altered” is an easy way for someone to make a piece of clothing look better without having to spend a ton of money. Why replace an entire wardrobe when you can go to your local tailor and have them stitch up your current wardrobe to look perfect on you?

Now, I’m all for tailoring your clothing to look good, but I will say right now, sometimes it just doesn’t make sense. Here are the situations that I come across where you shouldn’t bother.

1. Dress shirts that are simply far too big.

Dress shirts are usually the easiest pieces of clothing to alter. However, if the original shirt being altered is two or more sizes too large, it may be a bit of a challenge. Here’s why: it is very difficult to alter the shoulder hems on a dress shirt, and the shoulder hems are the most important part of the dress shirt fit. If the shoulder perforations are hanging at your mid triceps, you’re likely going to encounter baggy sleeves, baggy mid sections, and too large of a collar as well.

First off, there are just too many alterations. Second, if the shoulders don’t fit, no matter how well you alter the shirt, it won’t look good. Toss it.

2. Boxily (is this a word?) designed clothing often cannot be altered to look fresh and fit.

Boxy clothes are often designed to give you a more relaxed fit. Take for instance a boxy blazer. You know, the one where it feels like you’re swimming in the extra space? No matter how good your tailor is, the boxy nature of the blazer will make it difficult to get it to a trendy and form-fitting spot. It’s not just about the extra fabric, but it’s also about the balance of the jacket from top to bottom design-wise, and making a couple cuts here and there won’t work. Toss it.

3. Some pieces just aren’t meant to be altered in certain ways.

Think about a coat that is too long. Or a pair of jeans that are too baggy. Both of these could technically be altered to match the fit you want. However, let’s say there are a bunch of pockets on that coat from top to bottom, and the jeans are baggy in not just your legs, but also your butt and crotch regions as well.

In these cases, it’s likely that the tailor won’t be able to alter your clothing to look better. Instead, you’ll end up with a warped and unbalanced look that will force you to toss the pieces anyway. Make sure to look at your clothing holistically before making any alterations, and decide whether it makes sense. If not, toss it.

7897024 orig Altering old baggy clothing

Source: Acconinteriors

Okay, this is making me sound like I don’t recommend people to go to a tailor. Not true in the slightest. I go to a tailor all the time, and it’s invaluable having a good one.

All I’m saying is that sometimes it’s just not worth it. It’s all a cost/effort battle. Are you willing to take the financial hit by tossing the piece, or would you rather work hard and pay a lot of money to get it to look decent? Sometimes it’s worth it, but I’m saying that sometimes… just sometimes, its irreparable and not worth the effort. In those cases, be okay with donating your clothing. Perhaps someone with a more suited body-style can inherit your clothing, and wear it the way it was supposed to be worn.

The Wristwatch – Part 2

Ages & ages ago, I wrote a fairly long post about wristwatches. It was originally supposed to be part of a 3-part series, but as many of you may know, I’m a lot worse at keeping up with these things than I hope to be. Sorry!

Well, today I aim to continue that series… better late than never right? Just to recap, the last post was about answering the question: what do I need a watch for?

Today is question #2: Which watch should I get? A loaded question if there ever was one.

iwc big pilot The Wristwatch   Part 2

Source: lushbling

There are many different types of wristwatches out in the market today. In fact, it’s a bit ridiculous how many different styles there are to choose from. Think about it: small, big, dark, bright, on steel, on leather, square, rectangle, gold… you get the point.

Well to me, I think the question of “which watch to get” depends on several factors.

1. How many watches do you intend to have?

2. What is your lifestyle like?

3. How much are you willing to pay?

These three questions will shape what watch you could/should end up with if you ever decide to buy one. So let’s venture a bit through these questions.

1. How many watches do you intend to have?

I personally am a 1-2 watch person. The simplicity is nice. I will say, I do know there are giant watch collectors out there that want to have 20 different types to match any given situation. In the case that you’re a big watch collector, I can’t really help you as much, mainly because you should just get what you like, and whatever fills the holes of your collection. Don’t have a chronograph yet? Get one. Have a white faced watch but need a black one? Done.

Well, for the rest of you who don’t own any watches, first think about simply looking for one all-arounder. There’s something nice about having just one, especially because you don’t have to really think about what you’re going to strap to your wrist every morning. Now if you already have one watch, I will say that there’s something great about adding just one more to the collection, keeping one for more dressy occasions, and one for more everyday situations. This way, all bases are covered.

2. What is your lifestyle like?

If you live a rough and tumble lifestyle, where you’re constantly putting your hands and body in dirt, then your watch will need to be rugged. For others where the most rugged activity you engage in is a boardroom meeting, perhaps your watch doesn’t need to be waterproof to 300 meters and able to take a massive beating.

This factor will usually determine what band you wear (rubber, steel, leather) and what the overall style of the case will look like (slim and streamlined vs chunky and solid).

3. How much are you willing to pay?

As you may know, watches can range from anywhere $5 to $500,000.  Absurd, I know, but it’s just the nature of the game. Only you can decide what you’re willing to pay for a wristwatch. I personally would spend more than the average person because watches are like a hobby of mine. I respect the work that goes into a nice wristwatch, and the significance of a good timepiece, so I’ll probably be willing to splurge a couple grand on a watch I can have forever.

On the other hand, there are those who aren’t comfortable with spending over $50 on a watch just yet. The choices between me and a person like that are completely different.

jaeger lecoultre master ultra thin reserve de marche watch The Wristwatch   Part 2

Source: watchalyzer

Now, all of that being said, it basically leads me to the conclusion that I cannot make everybody happy when it comes to answering the question: which watch should I get? However, hopefully it helps you think about what type of watch you’re in the market for, and what you’re willing to spend to get it.

Just so that I don’t leave you hanging though, I will say that I do have some favorite watches in particular price ranges. All different use-cases (some are dressier, some are more utilitarian), but they are awesome in design and function from my perspective. Here they are, in a ton of different price ranges:

$25-$75 : Timex Easy Reader Black ,  Seiko 5 , Timex Weekender

$75 – $150 :  Timex for JCrew , Casio G Shock 7900 , Orient Mako

$150 – $300 : Citizen Nighthawk , Seiko Diver

$300 – $600 : Hamilton Khaki Field , Tissot PRC 200

$600 – $1200 : Archimede Pilot , Tag Heuer Aquaracer , Stowa Antea

$1200 – $3000 : Nomos Tangente , Cartier Tank Solo , Baume et Mercier Classima

$3000 – $6000 :  Omega Speedmaster Professional, Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso

$6000 – $12,000 : Rolex Submariner , IWC Portuguese , Rolex Daytona

There you have it. Watch out for the 3rd part of this series in 2016! Just playin’.