Coordinating certain colors

I think that coordinating colors can be a great way to indicate to the world that you understand how style works. A simple matching of the belt to the shoe, or socks to the sweater can be a refreshing aesthetic for all to see.

Today, I want to talk about coordinating colors a bit more subtly, and little techniques you can use to showcase your fashion knowledge.

For example, I just shot this picture right now (sorry for the shoddy quality), but this particular shirt has an interesting detail to it. It’s charcoal all around, but the front pocket is actually navy.

pocket Coordinating certain colorsNow, why am I showing you this shirt? I’m showing it to you because it’s a great example of a type of shirt that I can use to start matching colors around with. For me, that little hint of navy gives me a great excuse to add another navy piece to this outfit. Perhaps it’s a pair of blue jeans, or my navy Vans.

In this case, I’m using the secondary color (navy), not the primary one (charcoal), to build my outfit around. And trust me, this isn’t limited to a shirt with a mismatching pocket, I mean who really wears this type of shirt anyway?

Take a look at accessories, or pieces that have multiple colors in it (like a striped or plaid shirt). I think that matching up other parts of your outfit to the colors that are on that accessory, stripe or plaid just makes sense. If there’s some light blue in your shirt, why not wear a light blue shoelace? It’s those types of details that help ME know that YOU are in the know.

Below is an awesome example of why matching certain colors can make a huge difference in the aesthetic appeal of your outfit. In this picture, there is one guy who stands out to me. The guy with the pink flower on his lapel. Why? Because it works with the socks he’s wearing. Sure, his socks won’t be visible for most of the day, but the moment he sits down, that subtle detail of the pinks matching will make a huge difference.

socksmatchingties Coordinating certain colors

Source: Suitupdressup

 

So really, all I’m trying to say is that you should look at colors with a bit more intentionality. The subtle details can make a huge difference, and it’s worth thinking about. Is your watch band olive in color? Try putting on some olive colored shoes. Got some red in your plaid shirt? Time to take your red wristband out. Purple jacket? Oh hi purple socks.

We all know it’s good to coordinate colors overall, but take it to the next level and start complementing / matching some of the subtle parts of your outfit. Trust me, I’ve been complimented on some of those details even when I felt like there’s no way anyone would ever have been able to notice.

 

Taking decent care of your appearance

hangover 3 Taking decent care of your appearance

Source: Athenacinema

There is a person that I see every now and again who makes me think to myself “What’s this guy’s deal? He needs to get it together.” Unfortunately though, I’ve never really had a conversation with this guy before, but honestly, I wouldn’t have wanted to even if I had the chance. My shallow impression of him was that he was dirty, socially inept, and uncomfortably odd. And before you go guns blazing and harshly judging my inconsiderateness, let me first explain why.

I often see this gentleman on my daily commute to work. To paint the picture, imagine a 5-foot-10, brown haired guy in his late twenties with a slight beer belly. What looks like an oily, dandruff-filled handlebar mustache dons his face, and the hair on his head is equally as unkempt, shagging out in any which direction. Now that’s all fine, but as you go below his neck, it starts to get a bit weirder.

From what I’ve seen, this guy rotates between only two T-shirts. One with a graphically drawn tuxedo on the front, and one that is bright neon green, and far too small for his body. The tuxedo shirt has literally started to yellow at the pits and stomach (why the stomach, I don’t know), and the neon shirt seems to get tighter and tighter by the day… oh yeah, did I mention it’s neon?

Now when you get to his pants, he’s always in the same pair of jeans, and they’re a pair of light skinny jeans. Probably okay right? Wrong, they’re clearly three sizes too small, and I can not only make out the full shape of his manhood, but there happens to be a small hole right around there for all to see.

Okay, so I’m sorry for being so harsh. I mean I don’t even know this guy! Maybe these are the only two shirts and pair of jeans that this guy can afford, who am I to judge? Also, I’m cool with unique personal style and signature looks, and clearly this guy has his own thing going on here, so, respect right?

Well, one day on the bus, I got a slap in the face telling me just that. I happened to be standing pretty close to him while he was chatting on his iPhone, talking somewhat discreetly to a family member, and I not only learned that he had a fairly prestigious job, but was also an incredibly interesting person, just based on that phone call. He was eloquent in his speech, starting a non-profit food business on the side, and financially helping his family with some medical problems they were going through. I didn’t expect “that guy on the MUNI who wears the dirty tuxedo shirt,” to be so awesome as a human being. Suffice it to say, I felt like a terrible person for judging the way I did.

The moral of the story here: 1. Don’t be so judging, like me, you’ll make a fool out of yourself. And 2.  Whether fair or not, you will likely be judged by those around you just by the clothing you wear.  By stepping out into the world, you’re sending a certain message to folks by donning an oily mustache, unkempt hair, pit-stained T’s, and jeans that look like they’ll rip to pieces at any given moment, even if on the inside, you are the exact opposite of what you look like on the outside.

So, as awesome as you may be as a person, please take care of your appearances as well, at least to some extent. Put on some decent clothing, groom up a bit, and look somewhat respectful if you have the means. People will interact with you under a more favorable pretense, which I think is always helpful in life.

Rapid Fire Questions #3

31479 logo Rapid Fire Questions #3

It’s that time again. That time where I answer a bunch of random menswear-related questions as briefly as I can. Sorry for the brevity, but it’s also kind of the point. Most of these are based on emails I get, but some of them are based on people just asking me from time to time in person.

Purely my opinions, but hey, why not put them out there. Here are my last two rapid fire question sessions: 1 , 2. Without further ado:

How many sunglasses do you own? Just 2.

No show socks or no socks? No show socks. Hygiene matters.

How do you organize your shoes? I have a shoerack on my door. It’s this one.

J.Crew or Banana Republic? J.Crew, mainly for their partnerships.

Any celebrity’s fashion you hate? Yes, Russell Westbrook.

Best inexpensive watch brand? Timex for quartz, perhaps Orient for automatic.

You like Fall fashion or Spring fashion? Definitely Fall. Way more interesting pieces.

Shoes or boots? Boots are great, but definitely shoes on this one. 

Most coveted watch? Patek Philippe Nautilus, too bad it’s about a thousand times what I’m willing to pay at the moment. 

Any piece of clothing on your mind now? I need a pair of khaki shorts. It’s 82 degrees in SF right now.

Best brand gone bad? Hugo Boss. Poor decision to outfit the Nazi Party. 

Argyle socks or striped socks? Striped- the more colors the better.

Favorite type of dress shoe? Brown calfskin wingtips.

What is this tech company that you work at? I don’t know why I get so many emails about this one. I work at Google.

What’s a good way to find out if your shirt sleeves are the right length? Check this out.

Wallet advice? Keep it minimal. Money clip, card holder, or small bifold. 

Alright fellas, there’s my 3rd Rapid Fire. These are kind of fun actually. If you ever have questions, don’t hesitate to ask! Here’s my ask me page.

Till next time. Enjoy the weather out there if it’s as nice as it is over here.

The art of getting dressed

 The art of getting dressed

Before work, school, or just going out in public, we all stand in front of our closets and make a conscious decision on what we will be wearing for the rest of the day. This process fascinates me, as each and everyone of us is faced with the same dilemma, yet we all make different decisions based on our personalities or circumstances.

To some, getting dressed is merely a functional process of covering one’s body with clothing. To these people, it’s a matter of what can be reached the quickest, rather than what can look the best.

To others, it’s a ritual that must be painstakingly consistent, down to a T. Whether it be based on a rotation or season, these people need to be dressed a certain, unchangeable way, mainly to make sure they don’t break what’s working.

And of course there are people who think a bit more about what the occasions (and people) in front of them will look like, and try to dress accordingly. They want to portray themselves to the world in a certain light, and serve a tailored message to those who look at them.

I don’t believe anyone is right or wrong in this matter; it’s all a matter of choice. However, let me tell you why I personally think the ritual of getting dressed properly in the morning actually matters.

DSC 0440 1024x682 The art of getting dressed

To me, getting dressed is more than just putting on clothing. It’s a time when I get to decide what type of image I want to put in front of others. Without speaking a single word, I will already have portrayed a certain message, swagger, and lifestyle just from the outfit I put on.

If I’m wearing thick gold chains, baggy acid-wash jeans, and high-top Jordans, I’m clearly sending a different image for others to identify me by, than if I’m wearing a black suit and tie. And as you all probably know from personal experience, first impressions are incredibly important, almost unfairly so. So why wouldn’t I want to carefully craft the message I send to others?

Now, people will argue that it doesn’t matter what others think of you, or that people who judge you for your choice of your clothing are just plain superficial.

To some extent, I agree. We shouldn’t take other peoples’ opinions too seriously, and superficial judgement can be misleading or unfair. However, the truth is that we don’t live in a world where other peoples’ opinions don’t matter at all. Your relationships, your decisions, and even your career are influenced by peoples’ perception of you, and you have no way to avoid it. The moment you step out into the public, there are expectations of you, and if you want to gain respect or paint a favorable picture of yourself to others, you better make the right impression, which might include learning how to dress properly.

When you know the rules of dressing properly, and the types of clothing you need to attain, it will certainly pay off in the long run. The opposite sex- and same sex- may appreciate the effort, the level of respect you gain from the general public will likely increase, and you’ll feel more confident about yourself, as your clothing will serve as an extension of you.

Also, whether we like it or not, people choose to interact with us differently based on our clothing. Walk into a luxury hotel with a baseball hat and baggy jeans; I guarantee the amount of service and attention you get will pale in comparison to when you walk into that same hotel with a sport coat. I’ve done these types of social experiments myself… and I can confirm it. I’m even thinking of making a video about this phenomenon.

So in all, I want to encourage you all to think about what you wear just a little bit more. Express, empower, and of course, be yourself through your clothing. Craft the message you want to send to others, and show them that you’re willing to put in the effort.

By virtue of visiting a blog like mine, I’m confident you’re already on your way there, but just in case, I thought I would reinforce the topic with this post. Of course in a billion words or more, in true Simpler Man fashion.

Thoughts from a Simpler Woman: Travel in style

A couple weeks ago, I started a series called “Thoughts From a Simpler Woman,” where I brought to you a woman’s perspective on menswear. In case you missed it, here’s the first part of the series, which went over some essential pieces that belong in every man’s wardrobe.

In this post, I’m continuing the series, with the help of my friend Stephanie, who is both an avid traveler and fashion enthusiast. She’s a Hipmunk marketer by day, and trendy fashionista by night… someone who you might want to listen to.

Today, she’ll be discussing a topic very near and dear to both of her passions, giving you advice on clothing you should wear while traveling. Now, without further ado:

Travel in Style

I’ve done my fair share of traveling, and if there’s one thing I know to be true it’s this: you never know who you’ll meet while traveling. Whether for business or leisure, a one hour or twenty-one hour flight, you should always be dressed to impressed. Your peers may be sporting sweatpants for comfort, but let’s be honest –  a future love interest, colleague, or celebrity, will not make small talk with someone in their sweatpants. So how exactly does one dress comfortably for a cross-country flight, yet still look polished enough to get bumped to first class? Here’s the perfect outfit to wear while traveling.

1. Casual button-up.

 

 Thoughts from a Simpler Woman: Travel in style

Choose one that both fits well and is comfortable to wear while seated for long periods of time. T-shirts can make you look sloppy and disheveled. Airlines certainly don’t upgrade those who wear t-shirts to first class. If you want to keep pretty casual, I like these chambray ones from J.Crew.

2. Cardigan.

 7700736 Thoughts from a Simpler Woman: Travel in style

Any seasoned traveler knows to layer. A classic cardigan or sweater not only adds another dimension to your ensemble, but will help co mbat the airplane’s circulated cold air. It’s truly a utilitarian piece. Here’s a pretty affordable one from Topman.

3. Simple raincoat.

Screen Shot 2013 02 28 at 1.02.17 PM Thoughts from a Simpler Woman: Travel in stylespacer Thoughts from a Simpler Woman: Travel in style

A simpler man should always be prepared without exerting too much effort. Traveling with a light raincoat assures that you’ll be ready to face whatever the weather may be at your final destination. Choose a coat that you can easily take off and fold during your flight. Try a parka like this by Land’s End.

4. Slip on loafers.

 6797994 Thoughts from a Simpler Woman: Travel in styleLoafers are refined, yet casual and versatile. They are a great option for flights because you can easily slip them off, and quickly get through the security line. If loafers aren’t your style, try a slip on boot – just avoid anything with laces. I know these are expensive, but I’m a fan of these by To Boot New York.

5. Tab closure pants.

  7003771 Thoughts from a Simpler Woman: Travel in style

Wear nice pants. Don’t wear basketball shorts, sweatpants, or even lululemon workout pants. Men, wear actual pants when you travel. There are plenty of brands that make pants you’d love to wear while sitting for hours. If you don’t want to hassle with a belt at the security line, opt for tab closure pants. And please, wear a slim fit.

6. Carry on.

size 450x450 0f39ffe6 e659 Thoughts from a Simpler Woman: Travel in style

Last but not least, have a decent carry on bag. Nothing crazy – both Louis Vuitton and your old high school gym bag scream unapproachable. A great carry on bag is like the cherry on top of your stellar outfit – don’t overlook it. For lighter travel, try a duffel or weekender, for longer trips, a simple rolling bag is best.


There you have it. All you need to ensure that you’ll never look frumpy at your terminal. If anything, I’ll certainly appreciate it.

 

 

steph bio pic Thoughts from a Simpler Woman: Travel in styleStephanie is an avid traveler, visiting a total 13 countries and counting. She’s zip-lined in Costa Rica, food tasted in New Orleans, and backpacked across Europe. She also made sure to stop by Milan, London, Paris, and New York, just to experience the highlights of international street fashion.

 

Picture Sources: J.Crew, Nordstrom, Everlane, Land’s End, Bloomingdales

Rapid fire questions #2

rapid fire Rapid fire questions #2

Thought I’d bring up another round of rapid fire style questions. Compiled by my friends, answered by me. Again, these are just my personal preferences, so take ‘em or leave ‘em as you wish. So here we go:

To cuff or not to cuff pants?  Casual pants, yes. Dress pants, no.

Which is worse, pleats or four button suits? Four button suits.

Are you interested in women’s fashion? Not particularly. A fashionable woman though… that’s another story.

Favorite menswear blog recently? Menswear Dog.

Patterned or solid color shirts? Always solid first, patterned next.

Wide or slim ties? Slim. Though it generally depends on your lapel.

Favorite color of pants? Gray.

Lace up or loafer? Lace up all day.

Tie bars, worth it? Yes. They’re only 15 bucks at Thetiebar.com.

Crazy patterned/colored socks… gimmick or here to stay?  I think the craziness will go down eventually, but it’s just socks, not suits, so buy ‘em while you can.

How do you layer if it’s hot? Layer thin / breathable fabrics, and don’t overdo it.

When is it douchey to wear a tie? When you wear one purely to outshine everyone else.

Most versatile color? Gray.

Least versatile color? Neon pink.

Best dressed celebrity? Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Should you own more brown or black dress shoes? Definitely brown.

Vans or Converse? Converse. Jack Purcells to be more specific.

Single or double monk shoes? I prefer double.

What fragrances do you own? YSL, Versace, Dior.

What’s your favorite department store? Nordstrom for service, Barney’s for selection.

Best place to buy really budget clothing? Uniqlo, Costco, and recently, JC Penney.

H&M or Forever 21? Neither.

There you go, my rapid fire for this week.  I want to elaborate on some of these points in more detail in future posts, so watch out for some of those.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think. Till next time fellas.

My style pet peeves

When I’m out and about in San Francisco, it’s wonderful to see so many different personalities out there, all dressing distinctively. Sometimes the styles I see are note-worthy and inspirational, giving me ideas for different types of looks I should put together myself.

By contrast, there are also some looks that I just can’t get behind. As much as I love individuality and unique style, I think there are certain fashion faux-pas that just don’t work well on anybody, regardless of color, stature, or body type.

So here are some of them below- my style pet peeves.

1. Heavy designs on jean back pockets.

10935131 My style pet peeves

In college, I bought a pair of True Religion jeans with a horseshoe label on the back pockets. At first I felt all badass because I was in possession of a $200 pair of jeans (which I had gotten for $30!) while still under 21.  Though the back pocket design wasn’t as ridiculous as the Ed Hardy jeans above, I soon figured that it was a little more “detailed” than I would have preferred. I just didn’t feel very comfortable putting a giant spotlight on my buttocks for all to check out. This mentality has stayed with me ever since, and now, I hardly purchase any jeans with more than a simple line on the back pockets. I would urge you to do the same; focus on fit, not on novelty designs.

2. Dress shirt collars hanging outside of sweaters.

esq belushi 022411 lg My style pet peeves

This particular look didn’t used to bother me very much, but for some reason it now does. When wearing a dress shirt, I personally like to keep my collars tucked into the neck of the sweater because it just plain looks better. The collars stand upright, and there is more symmetry to your outfit. It’s quite a simple fix for those of you who haven’t been doing this. Just tuck, and you’re good to go.

3. Dress belt & shoe color mismatch.

screen shot 2013 02 04 at 9 34 55 am My style pet peeves

Your dress belt and dress shoes should generally match (or complement) when you’re wearing formal or semi-formal wear. This doesn’t really apply as strictly when dealing with casual wear, but either way, I think stylish men often pay attention to belt-shoe coordination in any situation. Seeing someone wearing a light brown belt with black shoes really makes me want to go up to that person and personally take them to a store to buy a proper belt. When wearing black shoes, wear a black belt. When wearing brown shoes, wear a brown belt. Even if you can’t get a perfect belt/shoe combination, try to match the two fairly closely.

4. Square toe dress shoes

square toed shoes blog main My style pet peeves

These used to be a go-to shoe for many business professionals 5-10 years ago. I don’t really know why, but I do remember seeing square toed shoes on every other person that passed me on the street. If you’re one of those people that still has these shoes laying around the closet, I suggest you donate them to a charity, because they’re not aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.  I’ve seen girls literally shudder at the sight of them, and dismiss perfectly fine looking gentlemen just because they were wearing these type of shoes. That, my friends, is not a good sign.

So there you go- my menswear pet peeves. If you want to rock these looks, by all means… but just know that I might be secretly shaking my head.

Rapid fire questions

rapidfirelogo Rapid fire questions

Recently, a buddy of mine asked me a bunch of quick style-related questions, and I thought it would fun to share them with you. Won’t put too much explanation for each answer, since they’re meant to be quick, but know that these are merely my preferences, based on my own opinion, nothing more.

Biggest style pet peeve? Shirt collars hanging outside of sweater necks.

Favorite color to wear? Navy.

Jeans or slacks? Jeans.

Brass buttons on blazer cool? Not my favorite look. But cool.

Corduroy or velvet? Corduroy.

Favorite combination of two colors? Purple and grey.

Hat or no hat? No hat.

Favorite piece of clothing? My trench coat.

Worst trend? Meggings.

Best trend? Knit ties.

Fashion or style? Style.

Leather jacket or wool overcoat? Wool overcoat.

How much life should I expect out of my dress shoes? With a nice pair, 4+ years (this depends highly on the type of shoe and how often you wear them).

Traditional or contemporary style? These days, they seem to be kind of one in the same, but I’ll say traditional.

Best dressed man you know? Nick Wooster.

Favorite clothing material? Leather.

Pay most for what item of clothing? Watch, then suit.

Jewelry, yes or no? Wristwatch only.

Goofy or ironic ties okay? There’s a time and a place, but usually no.

How many pairs of shoes a man should own? 5 minimum in my book. (Athletic, street sneaker, dress brown, dress black, casual leather).

Whew! Tune in for the next one not too far from now. If any of you guys have a list of questions for me like this, shoot them my way via the comments below or by email!

Wardrobe pieces you can save on

saving street Wardrobe pieces you can save on

I know I’ve been harping a lot of you to really invest in certain pieces of clothing. I believe that spending the extra buck on a pair of nice shoes or a suit will likely save you a lot of headache and wasted dollars in the future. Not only will you get more wear out of these pieces, but you’ll also feel better wearing them.

However, investing so much in every piece of your wardrobe can get expensive… real expensive. Truth is, I think there are some areas where you can actually save money, and still look/feel great.

Here’s where I try and save money when purchasing clothing:

T-shirts: I don’t think there’s any reason to get fancy with T-shirts. I prefer button-up shirts in more dressier situations anyway. As long as your T-shirts are basic (no logos), and fit well to your body, you’re good to go. I usually wear Calvin Klein from those 3 packs at Ross, and Banana Republic T-shirts when they go on sale for 40% off.

Sleepwear: No need to impress anyone with your sleepwear. Good news is, you can find some really comfortable and decent quality stuff out there for cheap; just head to your local Macys. Or I guess you could wear a suitjama.

Socks: No matter how nice your socks are, at some point you’ll end up ripping holes through them due to natural wear and tear. Sure, some socks may feel better against your skin, but have you felt the Merona ones from Target? I think they’re pretty decent, both in design and comfort. Best part? They’re $2 each.

Swimwear: I usually get my swimwear from Target, JC Penney, or Old Navy. No problems so far, and I still get the occasional compliment.

Underwear: You’ll be going through these as often as socks, so I think an inexpensive pair of Hanes boxer briefs from Walmart should do the trick just fine. Just make sure they fit snugly to your body and are comfortable.

Ties: Some ties are very nice, and it might make sense to spend the extra money on one or two solid staples. For everything else, I think you can get away with paying under $25 for a decent tie at your local Nordstrom Rack, Marshall’s, or TJ Maxx.

Seasonal/trendy attire: There are some overtly trendy items out there that likely won’t last for more than a single season. If you must take part in such trends, I say buy cheap, and think of those pieces as easily disposable.

Accessories: Apart from a nice watch, I think you should save on most accessories. Why get a fancy, bulky Prada wallet when a $10 stainless steel money clip will do? Do you really need fair-trade, rare-picked silk from the highlands of the Himalayas fabric for your pocket square? I don’t think so. Want a nice tie bar? Go to thetiebar.com and get one for $15. Anyway, hope you get the point.

Henleys and long sleeve shirts: My henleys are generally from Old Navy or the Gap, and they’ve held up marvelously over the past few years. When the time comes to replace them, I won’t care too much considering that I paid under $12 for each of them.

Now of course if you have the money, I think it’s always best to buy quality clothing, which can come at a cost.

However, for the rest of us who don’t swim in money, but are looking into purchasing a whole new wardrobe, the items above might be some good places to save a bit.

Trends of 2012

Happy New Year, my stylish friends!

I hope 2012 was an excellent year for you, and that you look forward to an even better 2013. Just to reminisce on the year that passed, here are some fashion trends I saw really surge up in 2012.

Knit Ties: Knit ties might have come back before 2012, but 2012 was certainly the year they started to show up everywhere. Love ‘em myself, and wish I had more occasions to wear them.

ascot black and white striped knit tie Trends of 2012

Double Monk Strap Shoes: This is also a trend that came back a couple years ago, but it remained strong in 2012. As you guys know, I like to spend a bit more on shoes than any other pieces of clothing, so I probably won’t be investing in a pair of double monks, since I find them a bit trendy. It’s probably in the best interest of my wallet.

 Trends of 2012

Bright Colored Chinos: Didn’t succumb to a pair of colored chinos, as I feel the trend will disappear soon. I’ll leave the colored pants to my female counterparts.

DSq2 BoA Topman HaberdasherNYC Trends of 2012

White Pants: Not much a fan of this trend. Don’t get me wrong, I think white pants can look good when they are the right fit, and on the right people. However, maintenance must be a pain, and they are also incredibly flashy. Again, I’ll leave these to my female counterparts.

T1EijIXkNbXXasACk  110432 Trends of 2012

Double Breasted Suits: The double breasted suit keeps going away and coming back, from what I’ve seen. 2012 marked a year that the double breasted suit came back, but with an investment piece like a suit, I’d rather stick with the classic single breasted, two button getup.

doublebreasted Trends of 2012

Cargo Pants: Got myself a pair of cargo pants from both Gant by Michael Bastian and Uniqlo this year. I’ve always loved the utilitarian aspect of cargo pants, and I think the fashion world got the fit right this time.

Cargo Pants Trends of 2012

Fair Isle Sweaters: Fair Isle sweaters made a comeback this winter and I admit, I wasn’t sold at first. However, the more I saw of them, the more I felt like I needed one. There’s something very old school about fair isle sweaters, and I think it’s that particular characteristic that makes them desirable to me.

Fair Isle Trends of 2012

There you go! Some fashion trends I saw in 2012. Pick and choose carefully, as most of these will likely go out of the style in the next few years. Again, happy new year folks!