32 Teams Entered, 2 Remain. Your Ultimate Guide to the World Cup Final

For many football fans, an England-France World Cup final would have been a dream. After all, those two countries clashed the Hundred Years’ War. A ten-decade-long spat, plus a smattering of other conflicts across the ages, tends to sizzle up a soccer rivalry.

Croatia, however, had other ideas. And that’s just fine. The Blazers rallied to beat England in the semifinal, 2-1, with Mario Mandzukic scoring the deciding goal in extra time. After Mandzukic’s strike, the Croatian players trampled photographer Yuri Cortez while celebrating. Cortez, to his everlasting credit, kept snapping his camera at the bottom of the dogpile. (He got some wonderful shots.) After the Croatian players realized they almost crushed a working photographer, a few patted him on the shoulder, or made sure he was okay. One kissed him.

So Croatia’s got some underdog charm. With a population of 4.1 million — about the same as Oregon — Croatia is the second-least populated country to ever reach the World Cup final. Only Uruguay, which won the titles in 1930 and 1950, has fewer people. Croatia entered the tournament a 33-1 longshot to win the whole thing. It’s still a relatively young nation, having declared independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991 and fought through the Balkans conflicts in the 1990s, during which thousands of Croatians were killed.

“Like many countries which had to win independence the hard way, we are proud,” says Pjer Šimunović, Croatia’s ambassador to the United States.

That pride’s now causing earthquakes. Seismic instruments in Zagreb picked up tremors after Mandzukic scored his goal, and after the ref blew the final whistle to end the game. A World Cup win could break the Richter scale. “Everybody in the world will certainly now know more about that small country which was able to go that far,” says Šimunović. “This is immeasurably important.”

But France, the betting favorite at -220 (risk $ 220 to win $ 100), would love to crush Croatia’s dreams. The World Cup final airs on Sunday, at 11 a.m. eastern time, on Fox. Here’s your handy guide to the big game.

Rainbow 2.0

France won its only World Cup 20 years ago, when it hosted the most popular sporting event on the globe. That multicultural squad, known as the “Rainbow Team,” was composed of players with roots in North Africa, West Africa, the Caribbean, the Pacific islands, Armenia and the Basque country. Many people in France expected the victory to win widespread support for immigrant communities. They also expected France to win more World Cups.

Neither, to this point, has happened. Two decades later, far-right populism has caught fire across Europe; in France and elsewhere, a number of politicians have taken anti-immigrant stances. On the pitch, France failed to advance to the knockout stage at the 2002 World Cup; four years later, Les Blues reached the final against Italy, but Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt of Italy’s Marco Materazzi in that game overshadowed the accomplishment. Italy took the penalty shootout.

France’s 2010 World Cup effort was disastrous. French striker Nicolas Anelka was sent home for cursing at his coach: the players boycotted a day of training, a top official resigned in disgust, and France failed to win a game. Les Blues reached the quarterfinals in Brazil four years later, and as host county of the 2016 Euros, made it to the final before losing to Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal.

So France will try to take care of unfinished business. Like the ’98 Rainbow Team, the 2018 incarnation of Les Blues is incredibly diverse: 17 of the 23 players on the roster are sons of first-generation immigrants. Win or lose, dreams of a more unified France will flourish once again.

Croatia 101

Croatians have made their mark on American culture. The late Drazen Petrovic and Toni Kukoc exported their basketball talents to the NBA back in the 1990s; now, Dario Saric (Philadephia 76ers) and Bojan Bogdanovic (Indiana Pacers) are solid pros. Croatian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic produced two bronze statues depicting mounted Native American warriors; installed in 1928, they flank the Congress Plaza entrance to Chicago’s Grant Park. Goran Ivanisevic won Wimbledon, in 2001. Before he lost his belt to Daniel Cormier last weekend, Stipe Miocic — an American who’s the son of Croatian immigrants — was the UFC heavyweight champ. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, some 400,000 Croatian-Americans live in the U.S. Game of Thrones is filmed in Dubrovnik, Croatia; Star Wars: The Last Jedi also shot scenes in the city.

Still, before this World Cup, Croatia wasn’t exactly top of mind for most Americans. “Most people know of it here,” says Indiana University visiting lecturer Teuta Ismaili, who teaches Croatian at the school. “But they think the war is still going on.”

So what should you know about Croatia? First, the country’s home to some of the world’s most scenic beaches and islands, along the Adriatic coast. Travel and tourism accounts for about a quarter of Croatia’s GDP, which is well above the 10.3% average for the European Union. If you want to drink like a Croatian at your World Cup viewing party, serve Rakija, a 40% alcohol-by-volume spirit. And be sure to make some Burek, layers of dough filled with cheese.

The World Cup’s psychic lift has arrived at an opportune time. Since Croatia joined the European Union in 2013, net migration from the country has averaged around 17,000 people. Youth unemployment remains high, at 33%. Croatia came out of a six-year recession in 2015, but economic growth remains slow.

“This is the best thing the could happen right now to Croatia,” says Ismaili. “Family and friends back home say the atmosphere is positive. People were mad at the politicians, mad about the economy. But they’re finally having that feeling of ‘wow, we are important again. We really mean something.’ We really need that right now.”

Mbappé Mania

French forward Kylian Mbappé, 19, is the breakout star of this World Cup. Against Argentina in the Round of 16, Mbappé — the son of a Cameroonian father and Algerian mother — became the first teenager since Pele in 1958 to score two goals in a single World Cup match. Versus Belgium in the semis, Mbappé delivered a magical pass off his back heel to Olivier Giroud; Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois blocked the shot, but that didn’t stop the internet from losing its mind.

Both Neymar, the Brazilian star, and Mbappé joined French club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) last summer for ungodly sums of money. PSG paid Barcelona a $ 263 million transfer fee for Neymar, and agreed to pay him $ 53 million a year, for five years. PSG got Mbappé from Monaco for about $ 200 million. For years, Neymar has positioned himself as the world’s undisputed best player, should Ronaldo and Lionel Messi ever decline or step aside. But during this World Cup, Neymar’s histrionics stood out more than his play. Given Mbappe’s speed, skill, and maturity, he may be a rightful heir.

“If I were a big soccer club with all the money in the world, and I could sign one player,” says former Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper Shaka Hislop, an ESPN analyst, “it would be Mbappé.”

Modric Magic

On the Croatian side, Luca Modric — a midfielder for Real Madrid — is the player to watch. “He’s cool and calm on the ball, and one of the best passers in the world,” says Hislop. “You can’t pressure him into making a mistake.” He can also shoot from distance, with unexpected power. Modric, 32, does not cut an imposing figure. You can picture playing against him in your Thursday night men’s league. “If you breathe on him too strong, you can imagine flying out of the stadium,” says Hislop. “But he’s the complete package, deceptively packaged.”

Odd side note: Modric is facing perjury charges in Croatia, in connection with testimony he gave in a financial fraud case against a former soccer executive. If found guilty, Modric could face up to five years in prison. So any victory celebration might not last too long.

And The Winner Is …

“I like France to win it,” says Hislop. “France has looked very balanced throughout the tournament.” Les Blues won their first two games in the group stage, before playing Denmark to a 0-0 draw. France hasn’t needed any extra time in its three knockout round victories; Croatia, meanwhile, needed extra time and penalty shots to get by Denmark and Russia, and scored in the 109th minute against England. In all, Croatia has played 90 minutes of extra time, the equivalent of a full additional game, while France will also enjoy an extra day of rest between the semifinal and final. Croatia’s fatigue factor, plus France’s raw talent — the defensive pairing of Barcelona star Samuel Umtiti and Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane give Les Blues an advantage — make France the safer pick.

Croatia, however, hasn’t tired out yet. England was the more rested team going into the semifinal, but Croatia looked more energetic in extra time. So don’t doubt Croatia’s readiness to outclass France, and parade the World Cup trophy around Zagreb, of all places.

Sports – TIME

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A local’s guide to Edinburgh: 10 top tips

The Scottish capital’s big draw is its festivals but the quieter corners are alive year round – with stylish cafes and bistros, moody bars and thriving art spaces

Dovecot Gallery and Tapestry Studio

The Infirmary Street Baths, built in 1885, were the first public swimming baths to open in the Scottish capital, with the aim of improving public health. Today, the Dovecot Gallery occupies the old Ladies Baths space, while the Dovecot Tapestry Studio is in what was the main pool. Dovecot Gallery will appeal to anyone with a passing interest in contemporary art, but craft and textiles enthusiasts are especially well catered for. Exhibitions showcase art forms such as weaving and jewellery, and summer’s major show is Liberty Art, Fabrics & Fashion (28 July-12 January 2019), exploring 140 years of Liberty London. The tapestry studio, which makes tufted rugs, is not open to the public but can be observed from a viewing balcony.
10 Infirmary Street, dovecotstudios.com

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Travel | The Guardian

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BWW Exclusive: Broadway On A Budget: A Broke College Student’s Guide

Now that July has started with a massiveheat-wave, a comparison can be made between the high temperature outside and the current average price of Broadway tickets. This can cause theatre fans to feel stuck between a rock and a hard place, if they don’t know the following tips to make seeing your favorite shows a little easier.
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Your Ultimate Guide to the 2018 Tour de France

Cyclists from all over the globe are racing in one of the most challenging competitions in sports — the Tour de France.

The 105th Tour de France kicks off Saturday, July 7 in Noirmoutier en l’Île, a scenic, coastal town in western France. The 22 teams, which each have nine racers, will cycle the 21-stage race that spans a total of 2,082.2 miles and tours almost all of France. The last stage of the 2018 Tour de France ends in Paris on Sunday, July 29.

According to the organizers, 3.5 billion people in 190 countries tune in to watch the Tour de France each year and it is one of the best-attended annual sporting event on the planet, with 12 million roadside spectators cheering on cyclists.

Here’s everything you need to know about the 2018 Tour de France, including important dates, how to watch the races and who this year’s favorites are.

When does the 2018 Tour de France start?

This year, the Grand Départ starts around 10 a.m. local time in Noirmoutier en l’Île on July 7.

The 22 starting teams will cycle through most of France and make a pitstop in Spain before finishing in Paris on Sunday, July 29.

There will be two rest days, one individual time trial, a team time trial and three mountain finishes.

Who are the 2018 Tour de France favorites?

Four-time Tour de France champ, Christopher Froome, is the favorite to take home the title this year after winning the 2017 race. The British rider, who is part of Team Sky, will face heavy competition from Movistar team member Nairo Quintana and Richie Porter from BMC Racing.

Froome nearly didn’t compete this year after organizers announced he would be banned for suspected doping — a problem that has plagued the sports world, most notably affecting cycling with Lance Armstrong’s downfall. But Froome was cleared of any wrongdoing and will be going for his fifth Tour de France win.

There will be 176 riders total from countries all over the world including five Americans cycling in the 2018 Tour de France.

How can I watch the 2018 Tour de France?

The 2018 Tour de France will be broadcast live on NBC or NBCSN and and NBC Sports Gold with commentary by Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwin.

You can also watch the competition through the Tour Tracker App, a free app that lets users livestream stages of the race and get push notifications on their phones for their favorite cyclists.

What is the 2018 Tour de France schedule?

The 2,082-mile race will be divided into 21 stages, with cyclist riding through Fougères, Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteuax and Houilles in France.

During the three-week race, cyclists will ride on a variety of challenging routes including hills, high mountains and dust-covered roads before finishing in Paris at the end of the month.

Each of the 21 stages has a distinctive set of challenges for cyclists. Kicking off on Île de Noirmoutier, a small island off the Atlantic coast of France, cyclists will cross a bridge to the mainland while navigating the twisting Vendée coastline.

Stage 9 is expected to be a fan favorite because of its complexities. On July 15, cyclists will ride through 15 cobbled paths from Arras to Roubaix, alongside the Belgian border. The bumpy ride can be dangerous for competitors, and is where a fall is most likely to happen — dashing hopes of victory.

Sports – TIME

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Your Ultimate Guide To Essence Festival 2018

Black women unite! Our festival is upon us, which means it’s time to converge at the convention center in NOLA for a weekend of empowering panels, uplifting events, beauty booths galore, concerts and so much more.

Here’s your ultimate festival guide.

What To Bring

Source: Danielle James / Hello Beautiful

First things first. Packing light, but effectively, is of the essence here (get it…essence). Girl, it’s going to be hot. We’re talking hot hot hot, which means the less clothing the better. Think white and bright colors (melanin-friendly) and comfortable but cute shoes because you’re going to be walking a lot.

The New Orleans Convention Center is the central location for the Essence experience and is where you’ll find yourself spending the most time. Bring cash, because the parking lot is full of delicious food and drink vendors. They might take cards, but who wants to be waiting for a receipt on the blacktop in the heat? Exactly.

The Panels

The most empowering part of Essence Festival is the opportunity to see your favorite motivational speakers, celebrities and personalities on panels.

Check out some of these panels and expos:

Thursday, July 5

Boss Up! – Empowering Women Entrepreneurs- Thursday, July 5: 1:00pm

“Miles & Mimosas: Back to your Roots” A conversation with RUNGRL about Black Hair as a Barrier to Wellness- Friday, July 6th: 10:00am

Ashunta Sheriff Presents “Get Glowing: Tips & Tricks For a Flawless Glow”- Friday, July 6th: 11:05

Beauty Myths Debunked: Slay, Nay or UmKay?! feat Gia Peppers, Dr. Candrice Heath and Tahira Wright of The Cut Life- Friday, July 6th: 12:35pm- 12:55pm 

Being an Editor-in-Chic with Mikki Taylor- Friday, July 6th: 12:45pm

Building and Branding The Mpire: An MPowered Conversation with Mona Scott-Young- Friday, July 6: 2:05pm

#BlackGirlsDo: How Black Girls Practice Self-Care feat, Kela Walker, Naturi Naughton and Necole Kane- Saturday, July 7th: 4:30pm-4:50pm 

Bearded Bae Showdown: The Hottest Bearded Guys at ESSENCE Fest- Friday, July 6: 2:55pm

Saturday, July 7

Source: Jeff Kravitz / Getty

Black Panther Heroic Encounter- Saturday, July 7: 11:00am

TRESemmé Summer Slay Hair Masterclass with Unilever Hair Expert, Ursula Stephen- Saturday, July 7: 11:35am

Screening of “Claws” followed by a cast Q&A, Presented by TNT- Saturday, July 7: 12:15

Cast Appearance: Insecure, Presented by HBO with Yvonne Orji & Y’lan Noel- Saturday, July 7: 12:55

Meet the cast of Power including Joseph Sikora, Rotimi & Naturi Naughton, presented by STARZ!- Saturday, July 7: 3:25

Sunday,  July 8

Cast Appearance: The Bobby Brown Story, presented by BET Networks- Sunday, July 8: 12:15pm

“What The F?” A lively, interactive, honest girl chat about FIBROIDS, FERTILITY and being a FEMALE!- Sunday, July 8: 12:30pm

10th Annual Gospel Tribute- Sunday, July 8: 12:45pm

Tasha Cobb Leonard Performance- Sunday, July 8: 2:15pm

Johnny Gill Performance- Sunday, July 8: 4:10pm

Beauty Booths

Source: Maskot / Getty

Throughout the convention center you will find beauty booths by various brands offering free hair, nail and spa services. That wristband will take you far. But be patient. As you can imagine, the lines to get these services can get long, since we’re all trying to enjoy the perks. My Black Is Beautiful always has an elaborate set-up that will immediately capture your eye. So lookout for the #MBIB logo.

Get Ready For The Turnup

Essence Festival is Black woman central. Whether you’re coming with your girls or alone, be prepared to find a fellow melanin warrior who will become your bestie. And you’ll need her because the concerts at Essence Festival are lit! Here’s a detailed schedule of who’s performing and where.

Friday, July 6

7:00 Doug E. Fresh with Special Guest Mia X- Main Stage

7:00 Ledisi- Main Stage

7:05 Pell- Superlounges

7:15 Lloyd- Superlounges

7:30 Damien- Escobar Superlounges

7:45 Miguel- Main Stage

8:30 H.E.R.- Superlounges

8:45 Kelly Price’s “For the Love of R&B” feat Keke Wyatt and Vaughn Willis-Superlounges

9:00 MC Lyte- Superlounges

9:00 Snoop Dogg- Main Stage

10:00 Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and More in a Special Curation by The Roots- Main Stage

Saturday, July 7

7:00 Doug E. Fresh with Special Guest V. Bozeman- Main Stage

7:00 Ella Mai- Superlounges

7:15 Kelela- Superlounges

7:30 Yanina- Superlounges

7:45 Jussie Smollett- Superlounges

7:45 XSCAPE- Main Stage

8:40 Queen Latifah Presents “Ladies First” with Special Guests Missy Elliott, Remy Ma, MC Lyte, Nikki D and More- Main Stage

9:00 Idris Elba- Superlounges

10:10 Mary J. Blige- Main Stage

Sunday, July 8

6:00 Roy Wood Jr.- Main Stage

7:00 Doug E. Fresh with Special Guest Ashanti- Main Stage

7:10 DJ Jubilee- Superlounges

7:15 Ro James- Superlounges

7:30 Louis York- Superlounges

7:45 Teddy Riley’s New Jack Swing Curation feat SWV, Blackstreet, Guy and more- Main Stage

8:00 Victory Boyd- Superlounges

8:15 Mali Music- Superlounges

8:30 Big Freedia- Superlounges

8:50 DVSN- Superlounges

9:40 Big Freedia- Superlounges

9:55 Fantasia- Main Stage

10:40 Janet Jackson- Main Stage

For more information, visit EssenceFestival.com.

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A local’s guide to Poznań, Poland: 10 top tips

Polish musician Daga Gregorowicz reveals the rebellious side of her home city, with its buzzing bars, street art and excellent, cheap restaurants and local cafes

Under the tourist radar and just the right size to explore, Poznań is full of surprises, from cafes in hidden courtyards to riverbank summer pop-ups. Its bourgeois facade masks its anarchic, rebellious side, and it has friendly people, an entrepreneurial spirit and artistic vibe. I also appreciate its intimacy whenever I return from tours, and its flat, bike-friendly geography giving the sense that everything is nearby, including the countryside. With all that, I think Poznań – halfway between Warsaw and Berlin – might be the best starting point for tourists new to Poland. After all, this is where our country was founded, back in the 10th century.

Continue reading…
Travel | The Guardian

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The Hip Flask Guide

Soldiers, explorers and even a pope (Pius XII) carried a hip flask – the latter “for medical reasons”. It’s a traditional men’s accessory, but it definitely has its DOs and DON’Ts. The Gentleman’s Gazette prepared this little guide to help you handle this classic accessory with care.

Hip flasks, also known simply as a flask, is a container specifically designed to hold a portion of hard liquor that is carried in a pocket. O.O. McIntyre, a Washington Herald columnist, wrote in 1920:

And then the party started/And there were ten flasks

Removed from the hip/In that many seconds

And the way they drank it/One would get the idea

That this was a free country

While it may be a symbol of freedom, the flask most certainly has a time and a place. We will explore the history of the flask, buying and caring for a flask, and flask etiquette.

History of the Hip Flask

History of the Flask

The History of the Flask, courtesy of drunkard.com

This excellent infographic from drunkard.com shows how the flask evolved from a rudimentary animal bladder in the Stone Age to sleek stainless steel vessel it is today. Over time, the flask or canteen has evolved from being a personal carrier of liquids to being almost exclusively for the transport and consumption of hard alcohol.

Through history, there have been some important developments in the transportation of liquids. Before the modern era, alcohol was useful for its preservation and sterilization properties when clean drinking water was hard to find. Drinking alcoholic beverages, such as beer and wine fermented from local crops, was first foremost a practical health measure. One needed to carry trustworthy liquids with them and as a result, nearly every culture developed their own form of a flask.

Some say it all started with the hunter-gatherers of the Kalahari, in Southern Africa, 60,000 years ago: they used ostrich eggshells as canteens. Earthenware containers evolved around 2000 BC and were eventually replaced with more modern materials such as glass and metal. From approximately 500AD to the Middle Ages, Pilgrim flasks were created by the thousands for Christian pilgrims to take home water or oil from a sacred place.

The modern flask – a sleek beverage bottle – may have started with the advent of the pocket watch. The notion of carrying something in an easy and practical way developed in the 18th century in England, but followed different ways: the landed gentry adopted the pocket watch and the workers started carrying the hip flask.

It’s not exactly known when, but it was approximately at this juncture when the flask was beginning to take the modern shape with a rounded rectangular body that was curved to match the contours of the body. This shape makes it less visible in the pocket than a square-edged shape.

Prohibition and the Flask in America

Prohibition radically changed drinking in America, and as you can imagine, if you wanted a drink it was best to conceal it.

Around this time, the watch and the hip flask traded places: the wristwatch became commonplace (it surpassed the pocket watch in the 1930s) and the hip flask found its way in the urban gentleman’s collection of accessories around 1920 when it gained its name.

A hipster

A hipster

The word “hipster” was used to identify people that carried hip flasks during Prohibition. Also, if you carried a flask, you were dubbed a vial villain, a gentleman from Kentucky or my favorite, suffering from hip disease.

A bootlegger

A bootlegger

They were also carried by ladies tucked in garters or by men in boots – thus the word “bootlegging”.

Prohibition is coming, stock before it begins

Prohibition is coming, stock before it begins

Some states, such as Indiana, banned the sale of hip flasks and cocktail shakers. This was probably due to the fact that more flasks were sold in the first six months of Prohibition than during the entire previous decade…

Post-Prohibition

The RAF revolver, or "hip flask"

The RAF revolver, or “hip flask”

In the mid-20th century, the most prominent users of flasks were soldiers, who carried canteens out of necessity. During World War II, they were called pocket pistols, along with other slang terms; on the other hand, RAF pilots referred to their service revolvers as hip flasks.

Today

Today, in a world in which every imaginable specialized beverage container is available, the flask is used primarily to carry one’s private supply of hard alcohol. It’s commonly given as a groomsman’s gift.

Hip Flask or Coat Flask?

It is so called because it may be placed in a hip pocket of trousers or inside a coat or blazer. The latter is the best because it will not warm the alcohol, while the hip pocket will.

Not so good: the hip pocket proper

Not so good: the hip pocket proper

Carrying it in the trouser pocket makes it more prone to breaking, bending, or appearing obvious.

A rectangular stainless steel hip flask

A rectangular stainless steel hip flask

Its shape – thin and curved, similar to a kidney – made them easy to conceal.

The round hip flask with a leather cover by Barbour

The round hip flask with a leather cover by Barbour

A Great Gift

A hip flask with the Mackenzie clan crest

A hip flask with the Mackenzie clan crest

Hip flask as a gift for a best man

A hip flask as a gift for a best man

Another similarity between watches and flasks lies in the possibility of engraving both with initials, coats of arms or crests, toasts, mementos, etc. As such, it makes an interesting gift for a best man or groomsmen, for instance.

Hip Flask Materials

An English glass and silver hip flask

An English glass and silver hip flask

They have been produced in a variety of materials, but mostly in pewter, glass, silver and stainless steel. The first material used for hip flasks was glass, with its neutral effect on flavors or aromas as an upside, but with its fragility and weight as a downside.

A hammered pewter flask

A hammered pewter flask

Then came pewter – a metal alloy made from tin and a mixture of copper, antimony, bismuth, silver, and lead, which now is forbidden in drinkware. Pewter started as a kitchenware material in the Bronze Age. It is a beautiful material to be worked with, but one that may alter negatively the flavors of the spirit, unless it has a neutral lining. It is softer than most materials but may gain a nice patina from usage.

 A vintage silver hip flask with a detachable bottom

A vintage silver hip flask with a detachable bottom

Silver was also used, and now these hip flasks are a prized collector’s item. Some have a detachable bottom part that serves as a drinking cup – very handy in situations where drinking straight from the flask is not advisable.

Stainless steel flask with leather cover

Stainless steel flask with leather cover

But stainless steel, with a good combination of hygiene, price, and resistance to deformation, is the material of choice for hip flasks. Many come with a captive top, a small arm (also called a bayonet cap) attached to the top cap to prevent it from getting lost. Some are partially or fully covered with leather or a material resembling it, which may or not be removed for cleaning.

Talking about it, you may – actually, you should – clean your flask externally and internally with dishwashing liquid, but not with soap: it leaves residues that will alter the liquor. Rinse it well and let it air dry.

Hip flask with funnel

Hip flask with funnel

Some flasks come with a small funnel of the same material to help to fill the flask up without spilling the precious spirit. They may also be purchased separately and I strongly recommend you to have one.

Sizes

They are made in many sizes

They are made in many sizes

As to size, you may find a shot-sized flask up to a massive one that may hold 1,89 liters. However, the standard is 8 oz, which is just over 5 shots of hard alcohol.

Hard liquor only!

Hard liquor only!

Fill Your Flask

What should you put in it? The experts are unanimous: hard liquor only, which means 80 proof and above. Whiskey, bourbon, rum, gin, brandy (Cognac, Armagnac) are fine. Lower alcohol beverages such as beer or wine don’t keep well in a flask, nor do cocktails, cream liqueurs, or citrus-based liquids. They will deteriorate or mix badly with the flask material, and some may even damage it. Flavored alcohol will not stay fresh, either. Port wine is a possible exception to the 80-proof rule, especially if you plan to smoke a cigar with it.

Cigar case with a tubular flask

Cigar case with a tubular flask

By the way, the best companion for a hip flask is – for those who enjoy a smoke – a cigar case. A good sip without a cigar will be a half pleasure, something to be avoided, especially in a nice and relaxing place such as the hill you have just conquered after a difficult path, looking at a great and sunny landscape. Just be sure to carry stogies (plural, if you are with friends) that are compatible in strength and flavor with the spirit in the flask.

Storage

How long may you keep the spirit in a flask? You should not leave it for longer than a week, as an upper limit; ideally, you should carry your day’s quota and drink it on the same day. Some say that anything over three days will make the beverage acquire a metallic taste from the flask. If you do not plan to drink the flask content promptly, transfer it to a glass container. Also, put the flask with alcohol in a cool and dark place; this may slow the development of the metallic taste.

Flask Etiquette

Be careful with the "open container law"

Be careful with the “open container law”

The truth of flask etiquette is that there are very few scenarios in which it is appropriate to carry and drink from a flask. Just consider how flasks are depicted on TV: they are almost always used by a character who is reliably inappropriate, often drunk, or disrespectful of social norms. There simply aren’t many social situations in which bringing your own supply of liquor is encouraged or acceptable. Furthermore, the “need” to bring a flask implies that the scenario is one in which you shouldn’t be drinking.

Our advice is to choose carefully when you carry and drink from a flask.

Here are a few flask Dos and DON’Ts:

  • DO be aware that though Prohibition is long gone, many states have open container laws that prohibit bottles, cans, and flasks with a broken seal or that have been previously opened from being carried in public (aside from a car trunk). Check your local laws.
  • DON’T attempt take a filled flask on an airplane, as they won’t let in outside alcohol nor will it pass the TSA
  • DO carry it to a wedding party, a friend’s house or other private places where you know you will not find your favorite spirit
  • DON’T carry a flask purely with the intent to get drunk; that’s not gentlemanly anywhere
  • DON’T take a flask into bars or restaurants as a way to save on the drinks that should be bought there, even if it is your best 20-y.o. single malt. It is rude and cheap, two things unbecoming of a gentleman.
  • DO remember to offer your friends a sip from your flask once it’s open
  • DON’T take a flask to situations where you would not drink out of respect –a religious service, funeral, a government building, etc.
  • DO be prepared to experience some judgment from the people around you
  • DON’T carry more liquor than you can consume without embarrassing yourself
  • DO plan a safe ride home
  • DON’T make carrying a flask become your personal hallmark; carry it sparingly

Conclusion

One of the all-time favorite gent’s accessories, the popularity of the hip flask shows no sign of abating. You will find a great number of options on some websites, such as in this great article by The Independent, here, or at Amazon.com. What about you? Which hip flask style suits you best?


Gentleman’s Gazette

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32 Teams Entered, 16 Remain. Your Ultimate Guide to the World Cup Knockout Stage

Germany is gone. For the fourth time in the last five World Cups, the event’s defending champion was bounced from the tournament after the group stage, as South Korea’s stunning 2-0 victory on Wednesday sent the 2014 winners home.

The result inspired a few incredible scenes — for example, South Korea’s victory enabled Mexico to advance to the round of 16 knockout stage. So people in Mexico City did what any sane soccer fans would do: they went berserk outside the South Korean embassy while urging the consul general, Han Byoung-jin, to down tequila shots (he complied). In Brazil — which still hasn’t quite gotten over Germany’s 7-1 humiliation of the home team during the 2014 World Cup semifinals — several maniacs staged a mock funeral for Germany, parading down a street with caskets draped in the German flag.

Sometimes, sports fans are the best.

Senegal is gone, too. But how can one not feel sympathy, given the way they were eliminated? The Lions of Teranga lost their final game to Colombia, 1-0, meaning that both Senegal and Japan finished with four points in the Group stage. Only one of the teams could advance — Colombia topped the group — putting FIFA’s byzantine tiebreaker rules into play. First up: goal differential. But both Senegal and Japan scored and gave up four goals in the group stage. Next: most goals stored. That metric left them tied, too. The most logical first tie-breaker — head-to-head results between the two teams — is lower on FIFA’s list, for some reason, not that it mattered here: Japan and Senegal played to a 2-2 draw on June 24. So for the first time in World Cup history, the “fair play” tiebreaker came into play. Japan advanced because the referees issues six yellow cards to Senegal, but only four to Japan.

Sure, this World Cup has taught us an important lesson: Behave on the field, or it can cost you. Still, FIFA needs to create better tie-breakers. (Here are some worthy ideas, like results against a group’s top team, or flying both teams to a pre-game penalty shootout before the knockout stage.) Leave the cards to poker.

The group stage offered its share of excitement to be sure. But now the World Cup moves to the knockout round. Sixteen teams remain, and it’s win or go home. No more ties mean penalty shootouts — flawed but exciting — are sure to determine some winners.

Here’s TIME’s handy guide for 2018 FIFA World Cup knockout round.

You can still binge watch

American audiences will undoubtedly miss the daily group stage triple headers, which aired at convenient though perhaps productivity-stifling hours (so what?). This past week was even better: four games a day. The knockout stage is bittersweet in this regard. The stakes are higher, but there are fewer games from this point out.

Still, the round of 16 will give viewers plenty of sports-watching distraction. Enjoy the four straight days of doubleheaders in the schedule below, all times ET.

Saturday, June 30
France vs. Argentina, 10 a.m. on Fox
Uruguay vs. Portugal, 2 p.m. on Fox

Sunday, July 1
Spain vs. Russia, 10 a.m. on Fox
Croatia vs. Denmark, 2 p.m. on Fox

Monday, July 2
Brazil vs. Mexico, 10 a.m. on FS1
Belgium vs. Japan, 2 p.m. on Fox

Tuesday, July 3
Sweden vs. Switzerland 10 a.m. on FS1
Colombia vs. England, 2 p.m. on Fox

The knockout stage brackets aren’t loaded with geopolitical sizzle (thanks to American soccer incompetence, Russia and the U.S. won’t be facing each other on the field, for instance). Still, there’s plenty of intrigue on the board. Brazil and Argentina are blood rivals, and they could meet in the semifinals. How about a Denmark-Sweden semi, in a battle for Scandinavian supremacy? An England-France final would settle some scores. A Spain-Portugal rematch is worth cheering for, too — the teams played to a 3-3 tie in the group stage, with Cristiano Ronaldo putting up a hat trick for Portugal. That match was one of the finest in World Cup history. Just picture them meeting up for the championship (and fine, go ahead and picture Ronaldo ripping off his shirt after winning his first World Cup, too).

English Renaissance

In 1966, England defeated West Germany, 4-2, in the final to win the country’s first, and still only, World Cup. England hasn’t been to the semis since 1990. This underachievement — relatively speaking — doesn’t sit too well in London and Liverpool. But England has looked impressive in Russia. The Three Lions won their first two games, trouncing Panama 6-1 in the process. Even Thursday’s loss to Belgium was fortuitous: by finishing second in its group behind Belgium, England avoided Brazil, five-time World Cup champ and home to superstar Neymar Jr., in its quadrant.

An extended World Cup run for England, however, could trigger a national emergency. A carbon dioxide shortage has forced some beer rationing in the U.K.; pubs without pints for a World Cup final are like humans without hearts.

Video Star

This World Cup has introduced VAR — Video-Assisted Referees — into the global vernacular, which has been a positive development. Because for all the handwringing about delays as officials review the replays, and the intrusion of technology into what will always be a sweat-and-tears athletic endeavor, the bottom line is this: so far, VAR has helped get several important calls correct. Which is always worth it. Here’s a safe bet: a knockout stage game will come down to a controversial decision. And video review will offer a just result.

And Speaking of Betting…

Who, you may ask, is going to win this World Cup? Brazil is the favorite, according to Oddschecker.com, at 15/4, followed by Spain at 19/4 and Belgium at 15/2. A Brazil-Belgium quarterfinal would be a potential championship-level match in an earlier round: with Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany returning from an injury, don’t be shocked to see Belgium survive its challenging draw — and hoisting the country’s first-ever World Cup trophy on July 15 in Moscow.

Sports – TIME

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Royal Wedding trip guide (for people not from the UK)

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you’ll know that there is a pretty special event coming up. No, it’s not your yearly vacation or your birthday (although that is kinda important), it’s the royal wedding! Sure, were pretty upset that Prince Harry will finally be off the market, but we can’t wait to see the dress that Meghan Markle wears on the big day. As these two lovebirds exchange their nuptials, you can guarantee that people from around the world will descend onto London to share the excitement. So, it’s probably best you know where you’re going and what you’re doing…

Where to stay

Because the royal wedding is kind of a big deal, there will be thousands of people making their way into London in the run-up to the main event, and they will all be looking for somewhere to stay. Most tourists will try to stay as close to the center of London or Windsor as they could possibly be – which means it’s best to avoid it. It’s best to stay clear of these two hotspots and venture into the outskirts of London. This way, you can find the hotels that haven’t already been booked up, and those that are a little cheaper.

How to get around

It doesn’t matter if you’re two or ten miles away from London, you’re still going to be able to get around. England has one of the best train and underground systems in the world – and it’s super easy to use! You can buy yourself an Oyster Card (no, it doesn’t taste like oysters) and make your way around London and the surroundings as you hop on and off the public transport. You can either take yourself off to a traditional English pub to watch the events unfold with a glass of Pimms in your hand, or you could stand outside Buckingham Palace and join the hubbub of people all celebrating the marriage.

Where to go

For one day only, the pubs in and around England are staying open extra late to celebrate Harry and Meghan, which means it’s the perfect opportunity to see what all the fuss is all about and try your very first bite of bangers and mash. Although almost every single pub in the UK will be showing the wedding on their television screens, you might also want to check out the other celebrations that are on offer. If you fancy rubbing shoulders with the married couple themselves on the day, you can make your way to Madame Tussauds, where you can see the new waxwork figures of Meghan and Harry as they are unveiled! Once you’re done, make your way to one of the many open-top bus tours in London and Windsor to see the celebrations from above and take some epic pictures. If you’re lucky, you might even stumble upon a British street party, where you can hang with the locals and wear a union jack around your neck. You know you want to.

If you’re going to the UK to witness the royal wedding in all of its glory, you’re going to need a little help – because you’re not the only ones. The best way to get the ultimate royal experience is to plan in advance. Book your flights, book your hotel, and plan where you want to go and what you want to do before you leave! Trust us; you’ll thank us for it after…

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When is Wimbledon 2018? Your Ultimate Guide to Tennis’ Biggest Tournament

Summer is officially here, which means the start of Wimbledon, tennis’ most prestigious event of the year, is just around the corner.

Wimbledon 2018 will be held from Monday, July 2, to Sunday, July 15, at the All England Club in South West London. The first round of play will begin on the 2nd at 11:30 a.m. BST on the outside courts and 1 p.m. on the main show courts: Centre Court and No. 1 Court. The women’s singles final will take place on the second-to-last day, Saturday, July 14, followed by the men’s singles final on the 15th.

Wimbledon is not only the oldest tennis tournament in the world, but also, along with the Australian Open, French Open and U.S. Open, one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments. It is the only major still played on grass.

Here’s everything you need to know—from the Wimbledon schedule to the deal with Wimbledon prize money—about The Championships, Wimbledon.

Where does the action go down?

Steven Paston/PA Images via Getty ImagesCrowds gather outside centre court on day thirteen of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon.

Wimbledon 2018, just as the tournament has since 1877, will take place at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon, London.

Matches with star appeal—a.k.a. those involving top-seeded players or local favorites—generally take place on the club’s two main show courts, Centre Court and No.1 Court, with the finals and semifinals of main events like men’s and women’s singles always reserved for Centre Court. But don’t be fooled, there’s still plenty of action to catch on the club’s remaining 17 courts.

Unfortunately, there were a number of player complaints last year about the condition of the Wimbledon courts, with Britain’s number one seed Andy Murray describing the playing surface of Centre Court as “not as good as previous years.”

The Wimbledon scheduling committee has also previously come under fire for assigning higher-profile courts to men’s matches rather than women’s.

Who is playing at Wimbledon 2018?

Venus Williams awaits a serve from Ana Konjuh at Wimbledon 2017
Roland Harrison/Action Plus via Getty ImagesVenus Williams awaits a serve from Ana Konjuh at Wimbledon 2017.

There’s going to be plenty of top tennis talent to keep an eye out for at Wimbledon 2018. In addition to last year’s women’s and men’s champions, Garbiñe Muguruza and Roger Federer, star players like Serena and Venus Williams, Rafael Nadal, Caroline Wozniacki, Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep are all expected to compete in the tournament.

Serena recently pulled out of the French Open ahead of a highly-anticipated fourth-round match against Maria Sharapova due to a chest injury. However, as a seven-time Wimbledon champion, she is still considered a favorite to take home the coveted Wimbledon trophy.

The official draw and seeding for Wimbledon 2018 will be determined on June 29.

Prize money

The All England Club will award a total of £34 million (about $ 45.1 million) in prize money to competitors at Wimbledon 2018, with the men’s and women’s singles champions each receiving £2.25 million ( about $ 2.3 million). This is a 7.6 percent increase on the amount of prize money awarded at last year’s Wimbledon Championships.

The club has also introduced a new “50:50” rule in an attempt to prevent injury withdrawals in the first round of the men’s and women’s singles events. Players can now claim half of their first-round prize money if they withdraw on site by the Thursday before the start of the main draw, with the remaining half going to their replacement. However, if a player competes in the first round and “retires or performs below professional standards,” they may be subject to a fine equal to the sum they received as prize money.

See a full breakdown of the Wimbledon 2018 prize money at Wimbledon.com.

Tickets

You can purchase tickets for Wimbledon 2018 through sites like StubHub and Ticketmaster—where several hundred Centre Court and No.3 Court tickets will be sold online the day before play. A limited number of tickets will also be available on the day of play to those who line up in the queue at the All England Club.

For those who can’t make it out to the grounds this year, Wimbledon 2018 will be available to stream on WatchESPN, Hulu Live, SlingTV, and DirecTV Now as well as the BBC Sport website and app.

Sports – TIME

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Pinky Ring Guide

This guide is all about the history of pinky rings, its significance, as well as how to wear pinky rings and how to buy them.

What Is A Pinky Ring?

Basically, it’s a ring worn on the fifth finger also known as the pinky finger. Interestingly, the pinky finger got its name from the Dutch word pink which means as much as a little finger.

King Edward and his ring

King Edward and his ring

Why Do Men Wear Rings On Their Pinky Finger?

For most of modern history, men’s rings were always a symbol of wealth, social class, and your prestige. Often, they were worn to make a specific statement such as in a signet ring. If you go further back in history, you can see that men wore rings and basically any finger on both hands including the index finger. In the 18th century, most men, especially in England, would wear rings only on their pinky finger. Later in Victorian times, men and women could wear a pinky ring to indicate that they weren’t interested in marriage. When wedding bands for men became more popular, oftentimes they would stash their signet ring and their wedding ring on their pinky finger of the same hand.

In the 20th century, a new approach to clothing came about and it was much less about tradition and more about fashion and making a stylish statement. The same is true for pinky rings. You can see pinky rings worn by men in Paris through the Jazz Age. It was just an expression almost of freedom and style. In the US, many wealthy Americans adhere to the British tradition of wearing their signet ring or their pinky ring on the left hand. That’s also true for Franklin Roosevelt who wore it again on the left pinky.

Prince Charles in Black Tie with Signet Ring

Prince Charles in Black Tie with Signet Ring

A little later, American grifters and members of the Mafia would wear pinky rings to indicate their affiliation with certain organizations. Because of that, in the mind of some people even today, the pinky ring has somewhat of a negative connotation. But just like with fashion in general, rules relax a lot after the end of World War II. Of course, the English have always been more into their traditions, and so even up until the 60s for most men of a certain class, it was unthinkable to wear anything but a pinky ring and maybe a simple pair of cufflinks.

The pinky ring was usually worn on the left-hand pinky finger. For example, if you look at Prince Charles, he still does it today. He stashes his wedding band as well as his pinky ring on the left hand. Of course, there were also rebels such as Winston Churchill who would wear his signet ring on the ring finger of his right hand. If you like rings and if you like to wear them on your pinky finger or anywhere else, you can just do it and be just fine.

In conclusion, pinky rings today are more of a fashion statement and an expression of your style than they are in association with tradition or to display your social class or status. Traditionally, pinky rings came in a wide range of shapes; often they had a typical signet ring shape that was slimmer at the bottom band and then got wider, paired with a semi-precious stone.

Pinky Ring Details – The Sky Is The Limit

Pinky rings were made out of solid metal such as solid gold in 10, 14 or 18 karat, maybe sometimes even 9 karat. You could also find them in sterling silver or in platinum.

Star sapphire ring with diamonds

Star sapphire ring with diamonds

If you look at my ring collection, you can get an idea of the endless possibilities of pinky rings. Every once in a while you see a small diamond in a brilliant cut set to the left and to the right of the center stone which is a very classic look. Stones that are particularly good for pinky rings are turquoise, bloodstone, onyx, lapis lazuli, tiger’s eye, tourmaline, malachite and star sapphires.

Personally, I really like star sapphires. They’re rare and they’re expensive but when you have a light source, it creates a star that moves with your movement and I just think the look is quite exceptional and unique. Since the pinky ring often emulates a signet ring without the engraving or the signet, they’re mostly flat stones.

You can also opt for domed stones

You can also opt for domed stones like Sven Raphael’s favorite dome tourmaline stone pinky ring

Why Should You Wear A Pinky Ring?

Basically, for the same reason you wear most of your other clothes and accessories. Simply because you like it and you want to express your own style. Keep in mind that not many other men are wearing pinky rings so it’s an easy way to set you apart from others. There are also no mechanical parts so you don’t have to service them like a watch and at the same time, they’re less expensive than the wristwatch. That being said, it’s always difficult to get the right ring size because most men’s rings are of a larger diameter and you either have to size them down at your local jeweler for a fee or you find one that is exactly the right size. Because of that, we want to create pinky rings that are classic, stylish and affordable.

 

 

Pinky Ring Dos & Don’ts

Oversized pinky ring looks rather cheap

Oversized pinky ring looks rather cheap

1. Don’t go with oversized pinky rings because they’re quite gaudy. As a general rule, the center stone should be slightly slimmer than the width of your pinky finger.

2. Don’t mix metals. Either go with gold or silver but having those two-tone looks rarely work and it makes you look dated or like from the 80s very quickly.

3. Don’t buy overly ostentatious rings. Rings with very bold and loud engravings or lots of different stones are just not part of a gentleman’s wardrobe.

4. Do match the metal color of your pinky ring to your other accessories. So with a gold pinky ring, maybe gold cufflinks and a gold belt buckle. I know that it can be a little more tricky and if you don’t happen to have it, don’t stress out about it, just wear it and enjoy it. What looks particularly dapper is if you match the stones of your ring to your cufflinks and I often do that with our Fort Belvedere collection.

5. Do buy rings in different sizes. I found that with the seasons, the size of my fingers changes dramatically. In the summer, I have puffier, bigger fingers and in the winter, I have slimmer fingers. Because of that, I buy rings in different sizes so I can wear them at different times of the year.

6. Do experiment. I think you should not just limit yourself to the pinky fingers but you can also play with the ring fingers or other fingers and see what you like and what works for you. Personally, I always wear my wedding band on the ring finger of the left hand and then one ring on the right hand because I think it’s balanced and not over-the-top. I’ve seen other men who wear a lot of rings or some men who wear just a wedding band. Ultimately, the choice is yours.

Antique show in Brimfield

Antique show in Brimfield

Where Should You Buy Pinky Rings?

Honestly, my collection grew all vintage not because I wanted it to be that way but I simply couldn’t find the kind of ring I wanted from jewelers in a price range that I deemed acceptable. Finding a nice new pinky ring can set you back at several thousand dollars and it just seemed over-the-top because I could invest in suits, shoes, and shirts instead, as well as a number of accessories for the same price. Now, of course, it takes a lot of time. You need to travel through vintage stores and you have to be lucky to find something that fits you at the time you’re there. Of course, you can have rings resized to a certain extent. You can make them bigger, you can make them smaller but it always depends on the specific ring.

So if you are interested in quality pinky rings with different stones and exactly the size that is right for you, please head over to our website. Tell us a little more about it and maybe we can help you to find that right piece for your pinky finger.

What’s your take on pinky rings or men’s rings, in general? Do you wear one? If so, what are your favorite designs?


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‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’: A Character Guide

'Ant-Man and the Wasp': A Character Guide

Set several years after Ant-Man (but before Avengers: Infinity War), the new Marvel movie reunites audiences with Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) and Hope Van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), as well as Hope’s father Hank Pym (Michael Douglas). While Scott is trying to stay trouble-free after getting into a heap of it over his participation in the events of Captain America: Civil War, he has to don the Ant-Man suit again as Hope and Hank attempt to locate Janet Van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) in the Quantum…

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Dow Jones vs. S&P 500 vs. Nasdaq: A Guide for Future Warren Buffetts


If you’re the kind of person who likes to watch the news, you’re probably more interested in the happenings of the world than the jarbled letters and numbers that tick across your screen.

 

But you’re probably vaguely familiar with them: DJIA, S&P, Nasdaq: You’ve seen them your entire life, but maybe they’ve never served a purpose to you, so you ignore them and continue watching the nightly news.

Then, when the media reports on the stock market, good or bad, you freak out or rejoice accordingly.

The truth is, you can save yourself a lot of stress and anxiety by actually knowing what those terms mean.

You can stop wondering if your media outlet of choice is sensationalizing the story for click-throughs and ratings and know for yourself how the market is doing.

And you can start by knowing about the major stock indexes.

What Is a Stock Index?

A stock index measures a particular group of companies in the stock market. It’s the average price of the stocks for companies in the index. The media reports on the percentage the index’s stocks collectively rise or fall during the trading day.

An index can measure the biggest companies, smaller companies, most frequently traded, companies headquartered in the U.S., or even the whole dang market.

There are almost 100 indexes used to measure the health of the U.S. stock market, and even more to measure markets around the world.

But you don’t need to know them all; just start with these three.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)

The Dow is the price-weighted average of stocks of 30 of the largest companies in the U.S. These companies aren’t necessarily the 30 highest-priced stocks, but they are among the most well-established and influential companies in the market.

So when news anchors say “the market is up today,” they’re usually referring to the Dow Jones average.

The Dow is one of the oldest and best-known indexes in the world. You may have recently heard that General Electric got booted from the Dow after 111 years in the index. GE was an original member of the Dow in 1896 and remained in the index continuously since 1907.

But two names you won’t see in the Dow are Amazon and Google (or rather, Alphabet, Google’s parent company). The S&P Dow Jones Committee says adding stocks with four-digit share prices would distort the index.

And much like the honey badger, Amazon and Google don’t care. They love their high stock prices, and they’d have to create more shares of stock — called stock splitting, which companies often do to make their stock prices look more affordable — to enter the Dow.

Why is it important? The media may rely on the Dow to gauge the market but with tech companies like Amazon and Google refusing to conform to take a seat at the Dow table, many suggest finding a more diverse index to base your opinions on.

S&P 500

Standard & Poor’s 500 — aka the S&P 500 or just “the S&P” if you’re cool — is the index of the largest 500 companies traded in the market. Those companies are picked by the same people who decide what companies are in the Dow.

This is the index used by financial professionals to gauge the health of the market. It’s updated every 15 seconds during trading hours, so it gives clear, up-to-the-minute trends in the economy.

Like right now, over a quarter of the stock in the index are from technology companies.  

The financial sector and health care are second and third, respectively, which is a sobering thought when you think about how your credit card interest and health insurance premiums are helping them get there.

Why is it important? The S&P 500 and the Dow often move in the same direction but the S&P has a more inclusive gauge on the pulse of the market. Keep its six-decade history in mind to help you make personal spending, investing and voting decisions.

P.S. Super investor Warren Buffett bet that a simple S&P 500 index fund could beat the performance of a professionally managed hedge fund over 10 years. That bet won him — and Girls Inc. — $ 2.2 million.

Nasdaq Composite

The Nasdaq Composite includes all of the stocks traded on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, which is confusing because both the exchange and the index can be referred to as just “the Nasdaq.”

Fun fact: Nasdaq is actually an acronym for the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations.

The more you know.

The Nasdaq is one of the largest stock exchanges in the world, second only to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The companies that make up the S&P 500 and Dow Jones are traded on both the NYSE and Nasdaq.

There are several differences between the Nasdaq and NYSE which make the composite an index to follow, with the primary one being that Nasdaq is the home of the technology market. Half of the exchange is made up of tech companies, including Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft.

Why is it important? The NYSE is your grandmother’s stock market, less volatile and more reliable. The Nasdaq trades tech companies that are growing, innovative and slightly unpredictable. If you want more technology companies in your portfolio, now you know where to find them.

This article contains general information and explains options you may have, but it is not intended to be investment advice or a personal recommendation. We can’t personalize articles for our readers, so your situation may vary from the one discussed here. Please seek a licensed professional for tax advice, legal advice, financial planning advice or investment advice.

 

Jen Smith is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She gives money saving and debt payoff tips on Instagram at @savingwithspunk.

 

 

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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A traveller’s guide to seeing the Northern Lights

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Let’s be honest, the world is a weird and wonderful place – but we would say it’s more wonderful than weird. Although we may have built concrete jungles in every country on the globe, there are still incredible wonders that showcase what mother nature has to offer. We can now take helicopters over active volcanoes, we can often witness double rainbows in the sky, and there are even flammable ice bubbles under frozen lakes! Yet, one of the greatest natural phenomena of all time just has to be the Northern Lights. If you fancy checking this out, you’ll need this traveler’s guide…

Where can you see them?

Although we wish we could see the Northern Lights from our bedroom windows, it just doesn’t work that way, and they only appear in certain areas of the world at certain times of the year. Thankfully, there are various destinations around the globe who offer views of the Northern Lights, including Swedish Lapland, the Norwegian Coast, the Dalton Highway in Alaska, Fort McMurray in Canada, the Hebrides in Scotland, Southern Iceland, Rovaniemi in Finland, Greenland, and Stewart Island in New Zealand. However, just because you travel to these destinations doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a sighting. The Northern Lights do what they want!

When can you see them?

Most of the time, the Northern Lights appear in the winter – although there have been reports of summer sightings. Yet, if you want to up your chances of seeing this incredible spectacle, it’s best to book your trip for the winter months. To get the best sighting of this multi-colored sky display, the night will need to be perfect. You will need to be away from light pollution, the lunar cycle will need to be perfect, the cloud cover will need to be minimal, and solar activity will also play a part in whether you catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. Because of this, it’s best to book a longer trip so you can give yourself multiple chances of seeing the lights.

How do I spice up my trip?

Catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights will most likely fill your heart with warmth (even though you’ll be standing in freezing temperatures) and will allow you to create lasting memories of a place – but sometimes it’s not always easy to spot them on your own. If you want to spice up your trip to see the Northern Lights, you might want to spend money on a guided tour. This way, you will be taken to a Northern Lights hot spot, and given all of the information you could possibly want to understand what’s going on. During the day, you can also go on tours to explore what your chosen destination has to offer. You could visit Father Christmas in Lapland, you could hike the local hills in Scotland, or you could choose to visit the Golden Circle in Iceland. There’s just so much room for activity!

Will I need to wrap up warm?

Considering you will only normally see the Northern Lights in the winter and in destinations that are often covered in snow and ice, it’s fair to say that it will be incredibly cold! This means you will need to wrap up incredibly warm for your trip to see the Northern Lights. The likelihood is that you will spend hours out in the freezing cold, and will need to wear multiple layers to ensure that you can stay out long enough to catch the natural phenomena.

If you’ve always wanted to see what the Northern Lights has to offer, now is a better time than ever to book your flights and see them for yourself. Just remember to keep in mind this traveler’s guide!

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The post A traveller’s guide to seeing the Northern Lights appeared first on Worldation.

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A local’s guide to Vilnius, Lithuania: 10 top tips

‘Vilnius, the G-spot of Europe: Nobody knows where it is, but when you find it, it’s amazing’ … a bold claim from a recent tourist ad that went viral

The poster produced by two students referring to Lithuania’s capital as Europe’s G-spot really sums the city up: it is not where you thought it was. It is not in eastern Europe, not even in central Europe, but the capital of a Baltic state in northern Europe.

Founded in 1323 by grand duke Gediminas, who attracted Jewish and German tradesmen and merchants with generous tax exemptions, for centuries it became a destination for those fleeing religious persecution (there was even a Scottish Calvinist community in Vilnius) or tough trade guild regulations. The city’s coat of arms features Saint Christopher, the patron saint of travellers.

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Your Ultimate Guide to Watching the 2018 World Cup

The soccer World Cup kicks off Thursday in the 81,000 seater Luzhniki stadium in central Moscow. Host country Russia, ranked 70th in the world, take on 67th-ranked Saudi Arabia at 6 p.m. local time (11 a.m. ET). While unlikely to be a match for the history books, it does mark the start of the first World Cup in eastern Europe. The games will be played across 12 stadiums, spanning a huge distance—with the most eastern in Ekaterinburg, 1,800 miles east of the stadium in Kaliningrad, Russia’s European territory that borders Poland and Lithuania.

With 64 matches over four weeks, there are likely to be surprises—especially with video assistant referee (VAR) technology making its World Cup debut after a widely criticized outing in the 2017 Confederations Cup. Here, a cheat sheet of what else to watch out for in this year’s tournament.

The favorites and the challengers

The only South American team to win a World Cup on European soil was Brazil in 1958. This year, there are five teams from South America in contention. Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Colombia all look likely to make it out of their groups, with Peru the underdog. With Brazil’s Neymar looking in form after returning from injury and scoring in both warm-up friendlies against Croatia and Austria, the Brazilians could live up to their tag as tournament favorites.

France and Germany are both considered strong challengers to the South Americans, especially playing closer to home. But with Germany’s surprise decision to leave star winger Leroy Sané at home and a loss to Austria in a pre-tournament friendly, France could have the edge. A young squad bursting with raw talent, like forwards Nabil Fekir and Kylian Mbappé, has the best chance in years of bringing Les Bleus their second ever World Cup.

Final flings

This tournament is likely soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo’s last shot at winning a World Cup. The 33-year-old Portuguese captain has won the European Champions League five times with two teams and set scoring records, yet the World Cup trophy remains elusive. Leading fourth-ranked Portugal to victory would cement his place as one of the game’s greatest players of all time.

Portugal v Algeria - International Friendly
Quality Sport Images—Getty ImagesCristiano Ronaldo of Portugal in action during the friendly match of preparation for FIFA 2018 World Cup between Portugal and Algeria at the Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica on June 7, 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal.

Egypt wasn’t considered to be a team to watch even when it last played in a World Cup, 28 years ago, but since Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah powered his way to become one of the top three goal scorers in Europe, it is attracting fresh attention. The team is already set to break one tournament record: fielding the oldest player ever to play in a World Cup. Goalkeeper Essam el-Hadary, 45, is set to captain his side. He told ESPN the milestone meant little, since “age is just a number.”

Teams for the neutrals

Although Iceland may have pride of place as tournament underdogs, Nigeria is emerging as another popular choice. According to the Nigeria Football Federation, the Super Eagles’ distinctive white, green and black patterned jersey had 3 million preorders, and London’s Nike store sold out after fans had lined up for hours. The country is hoping for a best-ever performance after finishing ninth in 1994.

England v Nigeria - International Friendly
Catherine Ivill—Getty ImagesDetail of the Nigeria badge and shirt during the international friendly match between England and Nigeria at Wembley Stadium on June 2, 2018 in London, England.

Off the pitch

Away from the stadiums, soccer officials are hoping the host nation can avoid a resurgence of soccer hooliganism. At the European Championships in 2016, Russia’s fans violently clashed with British fans in the city of Marseilles. Russia says it has created a blacklist of “known troublemakers,” reportedly of almost 2,000 people and plans to deploy hundreds of police on the streets to dispel violence. Still, fans are bracing for trouble. The British Foreign Office has warned citizens traveling to Russia to watch out for “anti-British sentiment or harassment.”

If you only pay attention to soccer every four years, you might be wondering who the U.S. is playing. Alas, the United States men’s national soccer team failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, prompting much soul-searching and anger at the controversial goal that let Panama proceed instead. There’s a silver lining in the form of a squad of rising stars like Christian Pulisic and John Brooks, who are young enough to be dreaming of a resurgence in 2022. And the Americans are at least in good company: four-time winners Italy also failed to qualify.

Sports – TIME

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The ultimate guide to Princess Diana’s go-to fashion brands (and where to shop them)

princess diana fashion brands

We’ve already told you all about Kate Middleton’s fashion brands, as well as Meghan Markle’s go-to shops, so we thought it was about time we compiled a guide to Princess Diana’s favourite designers and high-street stores too.

After all, Princess Diana’s iconic style inspired future Royals in more ways than one, like the time the Duchess of Cambridge’s maternity dress was a nod to the late Princess, or when Meghan Markle wore her blue ring on her wedding day.

Diana’s style varied over the years, from her Sloane-ranger blazer and jeans combo to her sleeker 90s dresses, but there were a few brands she always went back to. You can shop them below…

Princess Diana wearing Catherine Walker

Whether it’s a power suit or an evening gown, Catherine Walker was Diana’s go-to designer no matter the occasion. Founded in 1977 by Cyrus and his wife Catherine Walker, it became famous in the 80s and 90s thanks to the Royal. Some of her most famous outfits include, but are not limited to, a powder pink ballgown (like the one Meghan Markle wore at Trooping the Colour), a Dynasty-esque green sequin dress and that pearl gown that was fondly nicknamed ‘the Elvis dress’.

princess diana fashion brands

Princess Diana wearing Catherine Walker in 1989 in Hong Kong. Picture: Rex

She famously wrote to the designer after wearing a white lace dress after her separation from Prince William, telling her ‘I was so proud and felt very confident to stride out there and deliver my first speech since the divorce.’

You can buy Catherine Walker designs in store.

Princess Diana wearing Christina Stambolian

You’ll no doubt have heard of the Revenge dress, which Diana wore for her first appearance since Prince Charles admitted to having an affair with Camilla. She wore the black design to the Serpentine gallery, paired with her famous sapphire choker (here’s what happened to it and the rest of her jewellery after she died). What you might not know is that she was meant to wear Valentino that evening, but the brand released a statement earlier that day about it, which put her off.

princess diana style influence

REX/Shutterstock

So she went with the Greek fashion designer instead, and it all blew up from there. Other fun fact: she had actually been sent this dress three years previously, but was at the time worried it was too revealing. You can buy her designs on eBay.

Princess Diana wearing Versace

Princess Diana was very good friends with Gianni Versace (‘I am devastated by the loss of a great and talented man’ she said when she found out about his death), and wore his designs a lot in the 90s. She famously posed on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar wearing an embellished blue dress, and wore a gorgeous one-shoulder silk gown to a charity ball in Sidney in 1996.

princess diana fashion brands

Photo: Rex

Shop now: VERSACE Contrast-trim crepe dress for £1,141 from MatchesFashion.com

princess diana fashion brands

Princess Diana wearing Bruce Oldfield

Princess Diana met Oldfield through her work at Barnado’s and wore his couture dresses from the mid 80s to mid 90s, when her style changed, at which point she stopped wearing his designs. Some of his dresses include an off-the-shoulder navy dress which she wore at a dinner in 1987 and a gala in 1988, and was later auctioned off for £45,000 at Christie’s.

princess diana fashion brands

Princess Diana wearing Dior

There’s a reason Dior has a bag named after Diana (the Lady Dior FYI): she was one of their most loyal customers. The bag, which had another name at the time, was given to Diana by the French First Lady, Bernadette Chirac. She loved it so much that she ordered it in every version, which prompted Dior to name it after her.

princess diana lady dior

Photo: Rex

Shop now: Mini Lady Dior bag in black patent calfskin for £2,350 from Dior

 

Princess Diana wearing Bellville Sassoon

You might not have heard of David Sassoon, but he created over 70 gowns for Princess Diana over the course of two decades, and is credited for taking her from Sloane Ranger to fashion icon status. She famously wore a bright floral-patterned dress to visit children in hospital, and a pink floral dress for Prince William’s christening in 1982.

princess diana fashion brands

Photo: Rex

Princess Diana wearing Emanuel

Diana’s fairytale showstopper from her 1981 royal wedding was created by Welsh designer duo David and Elizabeth Emanuel. The dress was made of ivory silk, pure taffeta and antique lace, with 10,000 pearls and sequins, and had a 25 ft train

princess diana

Credit: REX

Princess Diana wearing Ferragamo

Everyone talks about the Lady Dior bag, but did you know Ferragamo also named a bag after Diana? The late Princess owned over 20 variations of the chain strap bag, which was named the Lady Di after her death.

princess diana fashion brands

Photo: Rex

Shop now: SALVATORE FERRAGAMO Ginny medium leather shoulder bag for £915 from MatchesFashion.com

Princess Diana wearing Chanel

Princess Diana was a big Chanel fan, and was especially fond of the bags and shoes, though she sadly didn’t wear the brand after her divorce. The reason she couldn’t wear Chanel anymore was because the interlocked Cs reminded her of Charles and Camilla.

princess diana fashion brands

Photo: Rex

Shop now: Chanel flap bag for £4,220 from Chanel

There’s no denying Princess Diana was very loyal to the designers she loved, which included lots of British up-and-coming names, who she supported even after her divorce, which was a turning point in her style. You could even say she paved the way for Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle.

The post The ultimate guide to Princess Diana’s go-to fashion brands (and where to shop them) appeared first on Marie Claire.

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Elder Scrolls 6 Location Guide – Where Could Bethesda’s Next Game be Set?

If there’s one game that’s probably on most gamers’ wishlist, it’s Elder Scrolls 6. Bethesda is keeping incredibly tight-lipped on the topic however, especially regarding the game’s existence and where the Elder Scrolls 6 location would be.

Whether it’s Valenwood or Argonia, there’s been plenty of speculation as to what the Elder Scrolls 6 setting will be.

Here we take a look at the possibilities and top fan favourites for the Elder Scrolls 6 locations.

A brief history of Elder Scrolls

Of course, the location for the game is more than just a setting, it also gives us an idea of what the game’s called.

For example, Elder Scrolls 2: Daggerfall was set across the High Rock and Hammerfell provinces, while Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind took you to the island of Vvardenfell.

Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion was set in Cyrodil and finally Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim took us to… well, Skyrim.

All these locations were featured in the original game, Elder Scrolls Arena. It’s the only Elder Scrolls game to date to allow you to explore the full empire of Tamriel, but sadly because it was 1994 it was very basic and repetitive.

The original map from Elder Scrolls Arena looks something like this:


Elder Scrolls Arena map
From left to right: Summerset Isle, High Rock, Hammerfell, Valenwood, Skyrim, Imperial Province, Elsweyr, Black Marsh and Morrowind

In fact, this awesome map from a Reddit user sums up where the events of all the Elder Scrolls events have taken place so far:


Tamriel Elder Scrolls game map

All the events of every Elder Scrolls game since have taken place within Tamriel, so it’s safe to believe that it’ll be the same for Elder Scrolls 6.

With that in mind, here are all the potential Elder Scrolls 6 locations currently up for games within Tamriel.

Elder Scrolls 6: Valenwood


Elder Scrolls, Valenwood
The Valenwood province of Tamriel

Location: Valenwood is a south-western province of Tamriel, west of Elsweyr, south-west of Cyrodiil and east of the Abecean Sea.

Home to the Wood Elves or Bosmer, this is a largely uninhabited forest wilderness. The coastlines are dominated by mangrove swamps and rain forests.

Likelihood: Strong

Valenwood is one of the spots in Tamriel that Bethesda hasn’t yet explored in the Elder Scrolls series beyond Arena.

However, there’s also a purportedly leaked memo from within Bethesda back in 2014 that supports a Valenwood location.

The memo allegedly prohibited Bethesda employees from “using or referencing” a number of terms. These included Fallout: Nuka World, which ended up being part of a Fallout 4 DLC release, Elder Scrolls 6 or something known as Project Greenheart.

Many believe that Project Greenheart is the codename for Elder Scrolls 6 because Greenheart is a city found in the Valenwood region.

Coincidence? Probably not.

Elder Scrolls 6: Elsweyr


The Elsyweyr province of Tamriel

Location: Elsweyr is a region of Tamriel bordered by Valenwood on the west, Cyrodiil to the north and east and Argonia to the east.

The province is separated into two nations: Anequina to the north and Pelletine to the South. Anequina is a desert-like badlands similar to Hammerfell. Pelletine, on the other hand, is a mixture of dense jungles and woodlands like Valenwood.

It’s the home of the feline race of Elder Scrolls, the Khajiit.

Likelihood: Possible.

Bethesda has regularly said that the setting of Elder Scrolls games tends to be based on which province has the most lore.

There’s plenty of information about Elsweyr in the previous games, so could be a great base to build Elder Scrolls 6. 

Elder Scrolls 6: Hammerfell


Hammerfell, Elder Scrolls
The Hammerfell province of Tamriel

Location: Hammerfell is a vast province to the west of Tamriel. The region is bordered by High Rock to the north, Skyrim to the north-east and Cyrodiil to the east and south-east.

It’s a massive region that’s covered by mountain ranges, grasslands and even deserts – just for that real mix of terrains.

The Redguards call Hammerfell their home, who are a race of men known for their cunning and skilled swordsmanship.

Likelihood: Strong.

The only issue with Hammerfell being a potential location for Elder Scrolls 6 is that it was partially featured in Elder Scrolls 2: Daggerfall. 

However, at E3 2018, Bethesda released the first teaser trailer for the game, revealing few details beyond a sweeping view of a mountainous region. This could indicate that Hammerfell will be the location for the upcoming sequel.

Hammerfell is an absolutely massive region so there’s plenty more that Elder Scrolls 6 could explore.

Elder Scrolls 6: Argonia


Elder Scrolls Argonia, or Black Marsh
The Black Marsh or Argonia region of Tamriel

Location: The Black Marsh, known also as Argonia, is a region in the south-east of Tamriel. It’s bordered by Morrowind to the north, Cyrodiil to the west and protected by both the Topal Sea and the Padomaic Ocean.

It’s here that the reptilian Argonians call home, some of which you will encounter in other Elder Scrolls games.

The province is filled with great rivers and impenetrable swamps. It seems to be ruled by the King of Argonia and an Argonian Royal court.

Likelihood: Strong

Online rumours have speculated that Argonia or the Black Marsh will be the setting for Elder Scrolls 6 for years.

Although there don’t seem to be any verified leaks as yet, it is one location that the Elder Scrolls series hasn’t yet explored.

Plus, there’s plenty of knowledge of the Argonian race in previous games to support the next game exploring their homeland region.

Elder Scrolls 6: Akavir


Akavir Elder Scrolls
There are currently only fan-made maps of Akavir, but it could look something like this

Location: Akavir or the “Dragon Land” is one of the only areas in this list that’s outside of Tamriel.

It’s actually a totally different continent that lies to the east of Tamriel and is the homeland of the Akaviri.

These people are made up of unrelated races, the Snow Demons of Jamal, the serpent men of Tsaesci, the Monkey People of Tang Mo and the Tiger Dragons of Ka’Po’Tun.

Little is known about the continent but it is referenced multiple times throughout the series.

Likelihood: Possible.

If Bethesda thinks the Elder Scrolls series is just retreading old ground in Tamriel, moving to the nearby yet historically connected continent of Akavir definitely has potential.

Elder Scrolls 6: Atmora


Atmora Elder Scrolls
Again, there are no real images for Atmora from the game, so this is a fan-created outline of the continent

Location: Atmora, also known as Elder Wood, is a frozen continent way to the north of Tamriel, across the Sea of Ghosts.

It’s described in the Elder Scrolls series as a place of permanent winter, with little life and no sign of habitation.

Likelihood: Very unlikely.

Nothing lives in this land of ice, so what reason would Bethesda have to set Elder Scrolls 6 there?

Elder Scrolls 6: Alinor


Elder Scrolls Summerset Isles

Location: The Summerset Isles, also known as Alinor, is an archipelago consisting of three major islands: Summerset, Auridon and Artaeum.

The archipelago is located to the south-west of Tamriel and west of Valenwood in the Abecean Sea.

It’s home to the Altmer or High Elves/Western Elves. They’re one of the ten default playable races in Elder Scrolls games and are primarily known for their enhanced magic abilities.

Likelihood: Possible.

The High Elves are one of the most popular races in Elder Scrolls, and any player would love to see a game set in their homeland.

There’s plenty of history when it comes to the Summerset Isles too, which could give a major AAA release plenty of source material.

Plus, there’s a couple in Fallout 4 called the Summersets. Is that a little hint from Bethesda?

The post Elder Scrolls 6 Location Guide – Where Could Bethesda’s Next Game be Set? appeared first on FANDOM.

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Panama Hat Guide

Even though hats are no longer an obligatory element of a man’s wardrobe today, they go a long way to enhance style in terms of both form and function. Unlike the plethora of hat style choices in the winter, there is really only one classic summer hat that has stood the test of time: the Panama hat.

A “Panama hat” refers to a lightly-colored, finely woven hat made from the straw of the South American toquilla palm plant. Although the name implies that the origins of this world famous hat lie in Panama, original Panama has always been made in Ecuador. There, it is better known as sombrero de paja toquilla, or simply “straw hat”. The Panama’s elegant shape and lightweight, breathable qualities make it the perfect choice for hot, sunny weather, and therefore a Panama hat should be in the wardrobe of any serious sartorialist.

As a side note, this Panama Hat Guide was our very first article we published on the Gentleman’s Gazette on March 6, 2010. We have grown and changed a lot ever since and the original 700-word article is now 2100 words long. Also, our content standards have become a lot higher. Therefore it was time to redo this guide, I am sure you will enjoy it!

History of the Panama Hat

Theodore Roosevelt inspecting the Panama canal

Theodore Roosevelt inspecting the Panama canal

Panama hats have been woven in Ecuador since the early 17th century, when they were worn and traded locally. In industry grew steadily and spread in the following centuries, and by the 19th century, they were exported out of Ecuador for distribution in Europe, the Americas, and Asia. The story goes that as early as 1834, gold-rush miners that were making the trip to California via Panama bought hats there, earning them the misleading moniker “Panama” hats. Word of mouth and the continuing flow of miners through Panama sustained the term and the hat’s popularity, but the hat didn’t achieve a broad audience in the US until Theodore Roosevelt was photographed wearing a Panama hat while visiting the building site of the Panama canal. By 1944, Panama hats were Ecuador’s top export.

Gregory Peck holding a Panama hat on the set of To Kill a Mockingbird

Gregory Peck holding a Panama hat on the set of To Kill a Mockingbird

In the 20th century, interest in the hat continued as movie stars, politicians, and noteworthy fashion figures wore Panama hats in warm weather settings. Hercule Poirot, Rober Redford in the Great Gatsby, and Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird are just a few of the characters who wore this famous hat.

Robert Redford wears a Panama hat in the Great Gatsby

Robert Redford wears a Panama hat in the Great Gatsby in 1974

In the present day, the authentic Panama hat industry is centered around the city of Cuenca, Ecuador, where the production is mostly focused on quantity rather than quality. Large companies manufacture hats in the thousands and sell them around the world. If you come across a hat labeled as a “genuine Panama hat,” it probably comes from one of the factories in Cuenca. The hand weaving tradition of Panama hats is still alive outside of Cuenca, and the most well-known center of hand woven hat production is probably Montecristi. Many would argue that the best Panama hats come from this small town, but the coastal town of Calle Pilé in the western part of Ecuador also lays claim to the best hat producers.

How a Panama Hat is Created

All Panama hats were originally woven by hand, using local toquilla palm straw, around individual hat forms. Like most popular wardrobe staples, the demand for hats eventually led to the industrialization of the hat making process, and now most Panama hats are woven by machines in modern factories. While the factory production of Panama hats is rather uninteresting, the process of hand-weaving one is fascinating. It’s a dying art that is worth appreciation; in 2012, the hand weaving of Panama hats was even added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

Searching the Ecuadorian jungle for the toquilla palm plant

Searching the Ecuadorian jungle for the toquilla palm plant

The process begins with the straw, which can only be found in the equatorial rainforests in Ecuador. Like a rare wine grape, the best plants are found in a microclimate that is ideal for growing toquillas. The heart of the plant, the cogollo, is the perfect material for creating baby hair-fine straw for a high-quality Panama hat.

Dozens of cogollos may be required to create a single hat, and each one is harvested by hand from wild plants in the forest. The stalks of the plant are then painstaking separated by hand and boiled briefly before drying. Once dry, the fibers are bleached in sulfur smoke and then split into even finer straws.

Hand weaving the crown of a Panama hat

Hand weaving the crown of a Panama hat

The weaving begins with the centermost part of the hat, the crown, and is then woven outwards in a circular pattern. Weave possibilities include the “liso” herringbone and the “brisa” diamond pattern, but the hand weavers favor the liso for it’s more elegant appearance. The brisa weave is favored by large manufacturers for economic reasons.

Once the crown is large enough, it is placed on a waist-high tripod that is topped with a hat block in the shape of the crown. Once the weaving extends over the edges of the block, the weaver will place several more blocks on top of it, as well as a small cushion. He or she will then lean over the cushioned tripod, using their body weight to hold down the weaving. It is quite literally back-breaking work. A single very fine hat can take months to weave; the record is 8 months for the finest-known hat to have been produced.

Leaning over to weave a Panama hat

Leaning over to weave a Panama hat

Once the weaver approaches the edge of the brim, the unfinished hat is passed off to a handful of additional skilled artisans for finishing. First, an artisan finishes the edge of brim with a loose back weave. The second artisan tightens the back weave. The third cuts the excess straw from the brim. For a very fine hat, this straw will be saved so that any needed repairs can be made from the same straw. The hats are then washed and bleached before being sent to the fourth artisan, who then pounds the hats with sulfur powder to soften them. Finally, the hats are trimmed and ironed into a form that begins to resemble a finished hat. Blocking (or shaping the hat into the form) is the final step, but that is usually completed by the buyer.

Raja Panama Hat 1934

Raja Panama Hat 1934

Panama Hat Quality

The quality of a Panama hat is determined by a number of factors, most notably the straw and the weave.

  1. The Straw: the straw is derived from the fibers of the toquilla palm tree, and, generally speaking, the finer, the more identical, and the more evenly colored the straw, the better the quality of the hat.
  2. The Weave: The denser the weave and the more even they are, the better the quality of the hat.

Oftentimes, hats are categorized as “Montecristi fino” or “Montecristi superfino” and so on. Some manufacturers and retailers supply numbered grades, such as 1-20, but these aren’t universally recognized terms. This supposedly implies the fineness of the weave of a Panama hat, but unfortunately, those terms are not clearly defined and thus can be used to obscure or inflate the real quality of a hat. In fact, the terms and grades are used very much in the same confusing manner as Super numbers in the fabric trade and thus do not really help to evaluate the quality of a Panama hat. Rather than having to rely on uncertain terms, it is best to simply count the weaves per square inch.

Finely Woven Panama Hat

Finely Woven Panama Hat

In addition to the quality of the straw and the weave, some consider another quality criterion: the number of concentric circles—the vueltas—which can be found on the crown when the hat is held against the sun or other intense light. Supposedly, the more circles, the higher the quality. In my opinion, counting the weaves per square inch yields far more reliable results than counting the vueltas. For everyday wear, a hat with 350–400 weaves per square inch is perfectly sufficient.

Panama Hat Circles in the Crown

Panama Hat Circles in the Crown

The Finest Panama Hats

The finest hats have over 2000-4000 weaves per square inch, taking the hat maker between four and eight months to produce such a masterpiece. Considering the amount of time that goes into the production of this piece of art as well as the fact that there are only a few handfuls of people left who can weave in such a fine manner, it seems obvious that this quality of hat will not come cheaply.

Vintage panama hat ad

Vintage Panama hat ad

Panama Hat Styles

The style of a Panama hat is determined by two main characteristics: the shape and size of the brim and the crown. While there are endless variations of hats available, here are some of the most classic hat profiles you should consider.

Fedora

For the most modern, and yet still very classic look, select a Fedora shaped Panama hat. The most traditional Fedora comes with black grosgrain ribbon and leather sweatband. There are many iterations of the Fedora to choose from, ao you are bound to find one that suits you.

Optimo style Panama hat

Optimo style Panama hat

Optimo

The Optimo shape was a staple profile in the first half of the 20th century, but it still retains its appeal and elegance today. With a distinctly British expat feel, this style is defined by a top seam along the center of the rounded crown.

Planter style Panama hat

Planter style Panama hat

Planter

The planter style Panama hat has a rounded, molded crown and an extended brim for extra sun protection. Great for a characteristic look when staying out of the sun is paramount.

Golf style Panama hat

Golf style Panama hat

Golf

Since golf is a warm-weather sport, there is a style designed with the golfer in mind. The golf Panama hat is often woven with an open, decorative weave along the sides of the molded crown for even better air flow.

Prince Charles in RayBan Sunglasses with Panama hat and Gardenia Boutonniere

Prince Charles in RayBan Sunglasses in a finely woven Panama hat and a Gardenia Boutonniere

Where to Buy Quality Panama Hats

While you can certainly buy a Panama hat from a local hat shop, it’s best to look online for the best selection and information.

Brent Black

Brent Black has long been a player in the hand woven, Montecristi Panama hat trade. He goes to great lengths to explain his product offerings on his website, and his passion for the business is obvious. Prices range from a couple hundred dollars up to $ 25,000, no joke. The only downside of shopping with Brent Black is the clunkiness of this antiquated website.

Optimo Hats

Optimo hats is one of the last hatters (as in, they make hats) in the United States and they have one of the finest selections of hats around. Based in Chicago, they have an online gallery of styles, including a range of Montecristi Panamas, but do not offer an option to purchase online. That being said, they offer personal phone fittings, which in combination with the images should give a buyer what they need to know to make an informed decision.

Panama Hat, stripes shirt, checked sport coat, off white slacks and printed red Madder Tie

Panama Hat, striped shirt, checked sportcoat, off-white slacks and printed red Madder Tie

Panama Hat Buying Tips

  • Verify the country of origin and the material before you buy a Panama hat. To our knowledge, the name “Panama hat” isn’t regulated, so hats using the similar white color and a traditional black band will call themselves a Panama hat even though they aren’t from Ecuador.
  • Buy from a reputable hat retailer or a hatter. If their business is hats, they should be able answer all your questions about the country of origin, the weave density, etc. If they don’t, find a different source.
  • Buy for quality and longevity, not price. Buy the best quality authentic Panama hat you can afford, as it will last you for years if properly cared for.
  • Don’t love the hat band? No problem. A hand band can easily be changed by your local hat blocker. Most hats come with a black band, but they also look great with other colors and patterns, such as a forest green or a red, white and blue stripe.
Panama Hat and suspenders

Gui Bo wears a Panama hat and suspenders

My Panama Hat Collection

Standard Panama Hat

Standard Panama Hat

One is the standard panama hat in a nice even color, the weave is nice and dense but the straw is not super fine, however, its back woven and it has a fabric sweatband.

Golf Style

Golf Style

Golf style with air holes which is particularly nice when you’re exercising and play golf or do other things in the summer and it comes with a nice dark tobacco brown sweatband which I think looks much better than a black one.

Montecristi Superfino

Montecristi Superfino

Last but not least, they sent me this wonderful Montecristi Superfino which is a very nice and dense weave, beautifully back woven brim. Personally, I prefer different colored ones. It takes sometimes six months to make these hats because of that, it doesn’t make sense to stock them and so they rather list individual hats so you can see the exact weave count, you can see the color, you can see the shape, and everything there is to that particular Montecristi.

When Can You Wear A Panama Hat?

Basically, all the time. In the video, I am wearing it with a seersucker suit, however, you can go with a simple pair of swim trunks maybe with just a polo shirt because the main purpose is to keep your head out of the sun and it’s a summer hat and because of that, you can really wear it with everything in your wardrobe. It’s probably the most versatile hat you’ll ever own.

Panama Etiquette

When should you not wear a Panama hat? You should not wear a hat when you are in places of worship or in people’s homes unless of course, it’s a public building like a railway station, then you can keep it on. Generally, it’s not a great idea to wear a hat and sunglasses, however, with the Panama hat, it’s slightly different because you wear it when it’s really bright outside and if even the wide brim can’t protect your face simply go with sunglasses, even Prince Charles does it.

Conclusion

How do you wear and combine a Panama hat? For more detailed information about the Panama hat, I recommend the book Panama: A Legendary Hat by Martine Buchet.


Gentleman’s Gazette

MEN FASHION DEAL UPDATE:

Look like a Gentleman, Travel in Style and Enjoy the Best in Men’s Accessories at Hook & Albert. Get 20% Off Your First Order with Coupon Code TAKE20. Shop Now!

A local’s guide to Kraków: 10 top tips

It’s Kraków’s striking medieval old town, one of the finest in Europe, that attracts visitors, but the city’s youthful restaurants, bars and cultural hangouts are well worth checking out, too

Hotel Forum was a monstrous concrete carbuncle of a hotel built during the Soviet era (started in 1978, it took 11 years to complete) next to the Vistula river in the middle of the city. It represented unprecedented luxury in Poland at the time, and featured a swimming pool, mini golf and a casino. But it only stayed open for 13 years – a design fault led to the basement constantly flooding, and it stood decaying and abandoned for many years. The long-term fate of the building is still uncertain, but five years ago, a group of creatives set up Forum Przestrzenie, a contemporary cultural centre with a bar and a good kitchen, which is now one of the hippest venues in the city. Local beers cost about 8zl (£1.65), pizzas from £6.30. Alongside concerts, movie screenings, food and fashion shows, locals come to relax on deckchairs and enjoy the sunset, with Wawel Castle across the river. DJs provide extra ambience. It has a very relaxed atmosphere in a retro setting.
Ul Marii Konopnickiej 28, forumprzestrzenie.com

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Travel | The Guardian

TRAVEL DEAL UPDATE:

Father’s Day Gift Guide & Ideas

Father’s Day is just around the corner. Whether it’s a celebration of your dad or a unique list to give to loved ones seeking inspiration for your gift, here is our annual Father’s Day gift guide.

Gifts Under $ 100

Portable Camping Hammock

Portable Camping Hammock

Portable Hammock

Relaxing is a necessary part of Father’s Day, and while a porch hammock is the dream of many a Dad, they take up a significant amount of space. With this lightweight, packable camping hammock, the man in your life can set up his hammock at the local park and enjoy a relaxing swing in the breeze. Check out this affordable, fun Hammock from Honest Outfitters here.

J Herbin Stormy Gray Fountain Pen Ink

J Herbin Stormy Gray Fountain Pen Ink

J. Herbin Stormy Gray Fountain Pen Ink

Boardroom professional and yet with a hint of sprezzatura, this is the ink any fountain pen enthusiast will be happy to receive. More unique than the traditional blacks and blues, this is one ink that you’ll be buying Dad year after year. Click here to check out J. Herbin’s Stormy Gray Fountain Pen Ink. 

 

Dodge City Book Dodge City Book

Dodge City Book

Dodge City Book

Few eras of history evoke masculine American culture like the Wild West. For the history lover and wannabee cowboy in your life, the book Dodge City: Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and the Wickedest Town in the West is a deep dive into the people that achieved such posthumous fame. Their stories rise above caricature to create a far more real picture of some of America’s most famous events.

Violet Marguerite Boutonniere by Fort Belvedere

Violet Marguerite Boutonniere by Fort Belvedere is handmade in Germany

Violet Marguerite Boutonniere by Fort Belvedere, $ 35

A boutonniere is one of the easiest ways to make an outfit standout from the crowd. You Dad may love his trusty navy blazer, and this violet flower is a perfect way to add a pop of color to his favorite jacket. This daisy-like flower is elegantly casual, not as formal as a carnation and not as casual as a forget-me-not, which makes it an ideal companion for nights out at the country club and family weddings. Check out this Violet Marguerite Boutonniere by Fort Belvedere here.

Timex Weekender Green Tan Nylon Strap

Timex Weekender Green Tan Nylon Strap

Timex Weekender with a Striped Canvas Strap, $ 40

Watches don’t always need to be expensive and stodgy. This Timex Weekender, which we’ve long recommended as a great inexpensive watch, is the perfect relaxed accessory for your Dad’s weekend wardrobe. The silver case and green striped nylon strap will pair well with jeans, chinos, and sporting attire, and the 38mm case is a classic size. At this price, you can’t go wrong for a casual watch. Check out the Timex Weekender Canvas Strap Watch here.

SKLZ Golf Swing Trainer

SKLZ Golf Swing Trainer

Golf Swing Trainer

Golf requires many years of practice, and every serious golfer is looking to find ways to improve their swing. This Golf Swing Trainer is designed to help the avid golfer perfect their swing, fight slices, develop core muscles and gain power. It also does double-duty as a warm up tool before hitting the links. Check out this Golf Swing Trainer here.

HarmanKardon Esquire Mini

HarmanKardon Esquire Mini

Harman/Kardon Esquire Mini

For the traveling executive, this mini Bluetooth speaker from Harman/Kardon is a fantastic gift. The speaker doubles as a portable conferencing system, and the sound is on par or better than most Bluetooth speakers in the sub $ 500 price range. We wouldn’t recommend it for an audiophile’s use at home, but it’s a perfect size to throw in your briefcase or carry-on and use in the hotel, at the office or even as a secondary speaker you can move from room to room in the home. Click here to check out the Harman/Kardon Esquire Mini speaker to buy it.

Glyder Styptic Balm

Glyder Styptic Balm

Glyder – An Upgrade From Your Old Styptic Pencil $ 10

No matter if you are a beardsman or prefer a clean-shaven face, you will always use a razor of some kind. No matter how good your shaving technique is, you will cut yourself eventually, and traditionally, the only thing you had to disinfect the wound was a stinging styptic pencil.

The Problem with styptic pencils: they break very easily which makes them useless and inevitably you will drop it just before you need it. Even if it didn’t break by the time you needed it, these pencils are just a mess to use.

The Solution: Glyder, a styptic balm made of a patented formula including Aloe Vera, Vitamin E, Argan Oil, Tea Tree Oil, Jojoba and wax that leaves your skin protected, disinfected without any smell of alcohol. It comes in a handy, chapstick-style packaging ensures a mess-free application.

Verdict: It’s easy, simple and inexpensive, which is why we won’t ever go back to an old-school styptic pencil again. Just make sure not to twist too much on the ring, you just wan a few millimeters of white. Otherwise the entire balm comes out and due to its consistency, it is difficult to get back into the shaft.

If your dad shaves, this should be an add-on to every father’s day gift you are making this year. Normally it costs $ 9.99 for one but up until Father’s Day you can get 2 for 1 with the code: stypticpencilnomore2  meaning you can keep one for yourself and have one for your dad! Father’s Day perfected.

Flaviar Tasting Box - a wonderful Fathers Day 2000

Flaviar Tasting Box – a wonderful Fathers Day 2000

Flaviar –  The 21st Century Speakeasy Club For Explorers At Heart $ 60

Does your dad have everything and you don’t know what he could possibly want? If your dad drinks liquor, he will love Flaviar.

What is it? Flaviar is the #1 place to explore and taste craft and premium spirits such as scotch, bourbon, rum, cognac and many other spirits.

How does Flaviar work?  Once a quarter, you or your dad gets a beautiful box of spirits in the mail. He can have them curated or pick what he wants. Once received, he can blind test them with friends and brag about his awesome kid, host a tasting party or bond over a drink with you. Flaviar provides tasting notes and background details, and if he likes to geek-out about things, he can use their app, to explore tasting notes for over 20,000 spirits and a bunch of in-depth content.

The cool part about Flaviar is an algorithm called FlavorMatch which learns your likes and dislikes and keeps coming up with new spirits that will suit your palette. It’s like having a Whisky Concierge.

Once he knows what he likes, he can easily order the full bottle or explore The Vault, their collection of ultra rare collector’s spirts – of course, shipping on any number of bottles or tasting boxes is always free.

Cost: $ 60 per quarter

Flaviar Benefits: An average bar or restaurant has only 50 to 100 spirits, the largest online retailers have 3,000 spirits. Flaviar has over 15,000 spirits available that you or your dad would never otherwise be able to taste or buy anywhere else.

Hands down, this is one of the coolest gifts for Father’s Day we have seen in a while. Cheers!

Shakespearean Insult Poster

A father may be famous for his “Dad jokes,” so this year why not help him expand his repertoire with poster exploring some of Shakespeare’s greatest insults. Considered to be the greatest author in the English language, Shakespeare’s remarkable wit and creativity when crafting a good taunt ranges from classic name-calling to edgy retorts. Give the father figure in your life some literary insult inspiration with this Shakespearean Insult Poster, directly from the artist Charley Chartwell.

Gentleman: The Ultimate Companion for the Elegant Man Coffee Table Book

For a clotheshorse, it’s not every day an essential style book gets a modern update. Though he’s not as well known stateside, Bernhard Roetzel, an authority in menswear for more than two decades, has revised his style companion (originally Der Gentleman) to include many new crisp full-color images and text over 350 pages of sartorial inspiration. Unlike your typical coffee table book, Roetzel’s tome also doubles as a thorough reference tool for all things related to dressing and grooming, with a distinctively European touch. Get a copy of the Gentleman: the Ultimate Companion to the Elegant Man here.

Or, if you can bear to wait a little while, pre-order Roetzel’s next book, A Gentleman’s Look Book, featuring our very own Sven Raphael Schneider.

Yard Dice

Not every yard has the space for a volleyball net or a bocce ball court, but that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be a reason to enjoy the outdoor space you have. These giant yard dice come with instructions for 4 games, and they are sure to keep guests of all ages entertained during a barbecue. Check out these larger-than-life Yard dice here.

White Linen Pocket Square with Blue Contrast X-Stitching, Fort Belvedere

Few things in a men’s wardrobe take less time to wear and have a bigger impact than a pocket square. Here is the companion for your Dad’s favorite navy blazer. This striking Italian linen pocket square features a hand-rolled edge with a contrasting x-stitch that is ideal for the coming spring and summer seasons. Check out the Fort Belvedere White Linen pocket square with Blue Contrast Stitching here.

Bartender’s Prep Board

Your dad may love a good homemade cocktail, but digging through recipe books and web search results for the basics is always a pain. For the home mixologist, this Bartender’s Board lays out a conversion chart, a glassware glossary, and garnishes so that each drink your Dad pours will look like it came from a Brooklyn speakeasy. It can even be personalized.

Davidoff Scottish Mixture Pipe Tobacco

What’s more manly than pipe tobacco infused with Scotch whisky? Pretty much nothing. This delicious and fragrant pipe tobacco is one of our highly recommended tins for the budding pipe enthusiast. Click here to get a tin.

Cigar Caddy Draw Enhancer Tool

For anyone who has ever experienced difficulty drawing from a cigar, this tool is one worth more than the price tag. This is a great gift for any dad who enjoys spending his evening with a cigar in hand. Click here to get it.

J. Herbin Stormy Grey Fountain Pen Ink

Boardroom professional and yet with a hint of sprezzatura, this is the ink any fountain pen enthusiast will be happy to receive. More unique than the traditional blacks, blues, and antique greys, this is one ink that you’ll be buying Dad year after year. Click here to get it.

The Butler Speaks

From one of the foremost experts and butlers in the world, The Butler Speaks is a handy guide for anyone who enjoys entertaining. From how to host a dinner party to small daily chores like making the bed, filling the dishwasher and polishing silver, this guide will show you how to ensure your home remains sophisticated and charming without having to employ a butler. Click here to get it.

Fort Belvedere Vintage Prints

Exquisite Men’s Fashion Illustrations by Maurice Taquoy from 1919 on the cover of the French Magazine Monsieur, Issue No. 1, January 1, 1920. You can see an elegant gentleman with gifts walking in the snow with a black bowler hat, burgundy scarf, dark blue overcoat, chamois yellow gloves, gray trim trousers with cuffs and boots with beige spats. Click here to get it.

Tani Underwear

Our favorite underwear on the market, Tani has developed a reputation as using only the softest, most color and shape resistant materials for their underwear. Their newest addition is the light, soft and breathable Micromodal Air fabric, which comes in a range of styles that are perfect for the office to workout apparel that wicks moisture. The underwear is more expensive, but you definitely get what you pay for in terms of comfort, breathability, colorfastness, and longevity. When you consider how often you wear it, it really doesn’t make sense to compromise on the quality of your underwear. Take a look at their SilkCut collection .

Spikeball

Since it debuted on Shark Tank, this game for four has gone viral with entire leagues and teams competing at beaches around the world. If your Dad enjoys playing sports and keeping active, this is a new and unique game that’s easy to pick up and can be played anywhere from the backyard to the park or the beach. You could even play it indoors. Click here to get it.

Partagas Robusto Cigars

Partagas Robusto Cigars

Partagas Robusto Cigars – Price Varies

Arguably one of the finest robustos, any Dad who appreciates a medium to full-bodied cigar will adore a box of Partagas. Spicy and flavourful, it has rich notes of espresso, cocoa, vanilla and sun-drenched leather that start off the smoke. Visit your local tobacconist or shop online for a good price.

$ 100 – $ 250

Steve McQueen wearing Wayfarers in The Thomas Crown Affair

Steve McQueen wearing Persol 649s in The Thomas Crown Affair

Persol 649 Series Sunglasses

Who can forget the effortless cool of Steve McQueen in the original Thomas Crown Affair? We can’t, and Persol 649 series sunglasses are just as edgy today as they were then. They pair equally well with a suit and a casual weekend outfit, so these classic frames are not likely to be left behind often. The frames even fold at the nose and the temples, and they come in a huge array of colors and patterns. Check out the Persol 649 Series Sunglasses here.

Travel Manicure Set by Fort Belvedere, $ 140

This brown and blue manicure set should be every gentleman’s companion. It contains all the tools you will need for the next 20 years to keep your nails looking well groomed. The best part is, it takes just 5 minutes. Watch our video to learn how:

 

British Racing Green Driving Gloves in Lamb Nappa Leather with White Contrast Detailing

British Racing Green Driving Gloves in Lamb Nappa Leather with White Contrast Detailing

Green Driving Gloves by Fort Belvedere, $ 160

You may think, gloves in June? While they may not be necessary to keep warm, driving gloves are a car enthusiast’s most important – and stylish – driving accessory. The will help the man in your life grip the steering wheel of his weekend ride in style. These exclusive driving gloves are crafted of buttery-soft lamb nappa leather with bold contrast stitching and trim. Check out these Fort Belvedere classic British Racing Green Driving Gloves here.

YETI Roadie Cooler

YETI Roadie Cooler

Yeti Roadie Cooler

In general, coolers are…boring. Not so with the Yeti brand of coolers! They take the challenge of durability and performance seriously, and they also manage to make the humble cooler look a little bit more stylish at the same time. They don’t come cheap, but considering that they are engineered to be bear-resistant and virtually “indestructible”, they should be able to stand the test of time. A favorite final feature: ergonomic rubber latches for an easy grip that won’t break like every other cooler latch, ever. Check out the Yeti Roadie Cooler, $ 199, here.

Babolat Pure Strike Tennis Racket

Used on the professional circuit as well as by amateur players around the world, if your Dad enjoys playing tennis, the Babolat Pure Strike 100 Series is a perfect racket for just about any skill level. Click here to check out the Babolat Pure Strike Tennis Racket to buy it.

 

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

Yeah, that’s right, a pressure cooker. You may be surprised to see this included here, but despite the previous unpopularity of the pressure cooker in the US, it’s now the darling of the home cooking world. So what’s the big deal? Adding pressure speeds up the cooking process so that Dad-approved dishes such as chili or pulled pork can be made in an (unsupervised) hour, rather than the 2-3 hours it would take in the oven. This talented little machine can also be used as a rice cooker and slow cooker, and it has passed safety standards with flying colors. Kitchen gadgets these days can be expensive single-task space wasters, but the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker is none of those things.

Ellipse Bluetooth Bike Lock

For the Dad who loves to bike, keeping his 2-wheeled investment protected from theft is a serious concern. This Bluetooth-enabled bike lock uses a 17mm thick steel shackle, a dual locking mechanism, and bank-level encryption to protect against theft. The keyless entry is controlled by an app that takes just a few minutes to set up, so your Dad doesn’t have to spend any more time fumbling with keys. Check out the Ellipse Bluetooth Bike Lock here.

Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker / Keurig K575

If you enjoy the richness of an espresso without the effort, there isn’t anything quite like the Nespresso line. However, if espresso is too strong for your tastes and you want a wider selection of coffee and teas to choose from, the new and highly improved Keurig K575 is our single-cup brewer of choice. Click here to get a Nespresso or click here for the Keurig K575.

Pit Master Crate

We normally don’t recommend monthly clubs because the quality of the boxes can vary and the items are often discontinued. However, ManCrates has adopted a different business model and their crates never change or discontinue. If you buy a crate today, you can get the same crate next year with the same items inside it. It’s literally a crate and the perfect gift for the man’s man. With the accompanying pry-bar, you have to open the wood crate to find out what’s inside. The Pit Master crate comes with a quality pair of grilling gloves that we managed to hold the accompanying cast iron pot for a considerable amount of time after we brought it up to a scorching 700°F. The Rufus Teague sauces are okay – better than most you’ll find at the store – but the Meat Rub from Rufus Teague is a decent store-bought rub. The crate also comes with strong and sharp bear claws we use to pull pork, a collapsible grill fork that has become a daily use item and a fairly decent – but not spectacular – silicone basting brush. Combine that with the two single-use wood chip packs and you get a great deal for the money. If your Dad enjoys grilling, this is a wonderful gift. Click here to get it.

BakerStone Pizza Oven

Outdoor pizza ovens are expensive and for the most part, they are custom built. However, this pizza oven sits directly on your existing barbecue and creates a pizza that’s almost identical to the more expensive stone pizza ovens we’ve used. Perfect for the family, the oven holds a single pizza at a time and comes in a handy case that makes it perfect for taking with to the cabin. For anyone with young kids, this will quickly become a go-to cook space for the family. Click here to buy it.

Hennessy X.O. / V.S.O.P Privilège

Hennessy has long produced one of the finest Cognacs commercially available worldwide. The X.O. is a remarkable brandy, and the V.S.O.P. Privilège is a more reasonably priced brandy that still yields exceptional depth and a range of flavours. For the Dad, who enjoys relaxing with a snifter of brandy, a bottle of Hennessy is the gift he’ll enjoy over and over again. Click here to get the X.O. or click here for the V.S.O.P. Privilège.

Slingbox M2

Another gift for the frequent flier, the Slingbox effortlessly connects to any cable or satellite provider’s box at your home and allows you to watch all your channels and programming from any device, anywhere in the world. Forget only being able to access Netflix or Hulu on your phone; now you can watch your TV package and control it on the go. It takes about five or ten minutes to set up and after that, it’s maintenance free. Click here to get a Slingbox.

Soda Stream Power

The Soda Stream and the Keurig Kold are two of the leading soda machines for the home that you can use to make flavoured sparkling water, club soda and brand name soft drinks. The Soda Stream Power is a simple to use, automatic carbonating system that transforms normal tap water into carbonated beverages with the touch of a button. We’ve tried numerous flavours and quite liked the berry and grapefruit syrups. We have not tried the licensed Pepsi products yet, but there are plenty of reviews online. We don’t recommend this instead of buying pre-made soft drinks, but it does work very well as a small appliance for the home bar and can quickly expel a litre of club soda or flavoured soda to mix a drink with. Click here to buy it.

Snake River Farms Wagyu Steak Flight

As meat providers restaurants like The French Laundry, Snake River Farms is known in the culinary industry as the go-to ranch for the high-quality American wagyu beef. This flight of steaks is a steal of a deal and the same quality you’ll find at expensive steak houses and championship pit masters using in their restaurants and on their grills. If Dad enjoys a good steak, there is nothing better than this that’s available in the United States. Click here to get the pack.

Arccos Driver

It attaches to any standard golf driver and tracks your performance with each swing you take. The perfect way to see what you can improve on, this device is ideal for any Dad, who enjoys golfing and wants to improve his game. Works with iPhone, iPad, and the Apple Watch. Click here to buy it.

$ 250 – $ 500

Snake River Farms Wagyu Steak Lover Flight

Snake River Farms Wagyu Steak Lover Flight

Snake River Farms Wagyu Steak Flight, $ 319

As meat providers to restaurants like The French Laundry, Snake River Farms is known in the culinary industry as the go-to ranch for the high-quality American-style wagyu beef. This flight of steaks is the same quality you’ll find at expensive steak houses and on the grills of championship pit masters. If Dad enjoys a good steak, there is nothing better than this that’s available in the United States. Check out the Snake River Farms Steak Lover’s Wagyu Flight here.

Baracuta G9 Harrington Jacket, $ 390

If you’re not familiar with the Harrington jacket, it is one of the most classic spring and fall wardrobe staples a man can own. Though they are available from many menswear brands in a wide range of prices and finishes, the Baracuta G9 Harrington Jacket is one of the original producers of this jacket style. This racing green version of the Baracuta G9 Harrington Jacket has a striking tartan lining. Favored by classic movie stars and modern fashion icons alike, this jacket is a worthy investment for a stylish Dad.

Weber Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smoker

For some, smoking might fall into the “better done by a restaurant” category of food, but for the serious grill aficionado, a smoker is another toy that a Dad can use in his pursuit of the perfect meat. Thankfully, it turns out that you don’t need a $ 15,000 custom-made smoker to get professional results at home; this smoker from the ultimate grill authority, Weber, has been used to win BBQ championships. A quick glance at the reviews will give you an idea just how beloved this smoker is by BBQ enthusiasts. Get the Weber Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smoker, $ 399, here.

 

Lapis Lazuli Gold Eagle Claw Cufflinks, Fort Belvedere

Elegant, double-sided cufflinks are hard to find these days in a market that seems to favor cheap nickel and enamel. Cufflinks, like other men’s jewelry, should be made to wear and keep for years. These elegant cufflinks are handmade by a master goldsmith in Germany and are double-sided so that no matter the angle, the design shines through. Exclusively designed for Fort Belvedere, these Lapis Lazuli Gold Eagle Claw Cufflinks are gold-plated solid sterling silver fitted with genuine semi-precious lapis lazuli.

AudioEngine Bluetooth Speakers

Is your Dad still fiddling with cables and wires? It may be time to help him upgrade to the convenience of these Bluetooth speakers from AudioEngine, a brand adored by audiophiles for great sound quality in its size and price class. These speakers even come in a variety of finishes to match your Dad’s tastes or decor. Simple set up ensures that your Dad can start listening just a few minutes after opening the box. Check out AudioEngine Bluetooth Shelf Speakers here.

AKG N60NC Headphones

AKG N60NC Headphones

AKG N60NC Headphones / V-Moda Headphones

AKG is known for the quality of its headphones . Audiophiles and sound techs around the world praise the quality, and the N60NC noise canceling headphones are perfect for any father. Designed for travel, the noise cancelling feature blocks out the hum of the aircraft and the rattle of the train or subway. The headphones fold up and can easily be stored in a messenger bag, carry-on or coat pocket. These are perfect for the man who likes listening to music or watching movies on short commutes, international trips and at home or work.

VModa Crossfade Wireless Headphones

VModa Crossfade Wireless Headphones

If you don’t like the hassle of cords, we suggest the V-Moda headphones. The sound quality isn’t as good and is on par with brands like Beats. However, it’s unique in the sense that you can listen wirelessly through BlueTooth, or you can plug in the cord if the battery runs out or you want better quality sound. Click here to get the AKG’s which are our favorite headphones or click here for the V-Moda’s which allow you to pick and choose how you want to listen to music.

UE Megaboom

We tested multiple outdoor speakers, and the UE Megaboom was by far our favorite. Small and compact, the waterproof speaker packs a huge punch we weren’t prepared for. The sound quality was better than most of the outdoor speakers we tried, but the volume levels were shockingly good. Even on one of the lowest settings, the speaker was far louder than most of the others we tried. The range was also impressive as was the ability to pair multiple speakers together. It’s not the most attractive speaker on the market, but it can easily be concealed and placed out of sight. Perfect for small family dinners on the patio or large garden parties, Dad will love this when he’s grilling, tending the garden, smoking a cigar or just playing with the kids. Click here to get it.

Lagostina Grill Pan

Our go-to grill pan for steaks, chops and even a rack of lamb, the ridges keep the meat from sitting in its drippings, and the pan’s angles allow an easy pour of the au jus or the option of spooning it back over the meat. Oven safe, it’s one of the best pans we’ve ever used on the stove for restaurant-quality steaks. Click here to get it.

$ 500 – $ 1000

Vitamix 7500

A fairly new design from Vitamix, the 7500 has a lower and wider profile which allows it to fit under cupboards on most kitchen counters. With the same power and capabilities Vitamix is known for, this workhorse of a blender is more powerful and consistent than any other blender we’ve tried. Revered by professional chefs and culinarians, if your Dad is a serious home cook, a Vitamix is worth every penny. Click here to get it.

Big Green Egg (Large)

There is no grill or smoker quite like the Big Green Egg. The majority of competitive grill masters will argue it’s the best barbecue ever made, and we happen to agree. If your Dad enjoys grilling, smoking or barbecuing low and slow, the Big Green Egg is one gift he will love. Sold in stores only through authorized dealers.

$ 1000+

Yuneec Typhoon Drone with 4K Camera

Few tech accessories are more coveted than a drone, and this one can film in ultra-high-definition 4k in a 360-degree field of view. As the winner of the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show “Best in Class” category, this is a toy that features professional-grade equipment at a consumer accessible price. Check out the impressive Yuneec Typhoon Drone with 4K Camera here.

Nikon D500 Digital SLR

A recent introduction from Nikon, this camera does it all. For the serious photographer and videographer Dad in your family, this camera can capture 4k video for up to 30 minutes. The proprietary EXCEED 5 processor can process images at up to 10 frames per second, while a tilting 3.2″ touchscreen display allows you visibility from a variety of positions. Check out the Nikon D500 Digital SLR here.

Tesla Model S

Tesla

Deposit on Tesla Model 3

The car brand for the eco-friendly speedster, the Tesla Model 3 is the brand’s next car that will be priced starting at $ 35,000. Tesla produces some of the most tech-driven sportscars in the world, and the new affordable 3 will not be an exception. From its autopilot features to its small footprint on the environment, this is a car any Dad would love to own. Click here to reserve your Tesla for delivery in late 2017.

TourGolf Membership

TourGolf Membership

TourGolf Membership

Many fathers enjoy a membership at their local country club, but for those who travel, visiting private clubs can be difficult. Rather than investing in multiple memberships, this package from TourGolf gives your Dad the option of golfing at some of the most scenic private clubs in the world with the same benefits their members receive. This is one membership the traveling golfer will truly appreciate. Click here to sign up.

Omega Speedmaster Professional

The Omega Speedmaster is a watch with a remarkable history. The official Moon Watch worn by NASA Astronauts, it is one of the most popular luxury timepieces collected today. This Dark Side of the Moon watch is one any father would be honoured to receive, and one we think is worth your consideration. Click here to get it.

Van Dam Custom Wood Boat – Price Varies

For the Dad, who enjoys life on the water, owning a custom wood boat that evokes the spirit of the 1920s and 30s is one gift most GG readers would appreciate. Van Dam specializes in custom yachts, but they also sell a small selection of their vintage boats online. Click here to learn more and to schedule an appointment with your boat builder.

Experiences

For this year’s experiences section, we selected two of most charming, historic hotels in America.

Hotel Del Coronado

Hotel Del Coronado

Hotel Del Coronado

Located on Coronado Island where the U.S. Navy Seals train for war, this historic and elegant hotel on the water is just a stone’s throw from San Diego. One of America’s most charming hotels, it is one that any classic gentleman or dandy would love to relax at. Plus, you can watch U.S. Special Forces helicopters and ships performing training exercises in the distance. Click here to book your vacation.

The Grand Hotel

The Grand Hotel

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island

One of our favorite hotels in the United States, the Grand Hotel is located on the beautiful Mackinac Island in Michigan. Like a step into the past, the island doesn’t allow cars and the only transportation is on foot, by bicycle or horse-drawn carriage. A sophisticated and utterly charming summer island, a weekend in Mackinac is one you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Nightly rates start at just $ 304 per person and include a full breakfast, Grand Luncheon Buffet, and five-course dinner daily. The main dining room requires a coat and tie, which we definitely approve of! Click here to book your stay.

Item Price
Glyder $
Flaviar $
Shakespearean Insult Poster $
Gentleman: The Ultimate Companion to the Elegant Man $
Gentleman Look Book by Bernhard Roetzel $
Yard Dice $
White Linen Pocket Square with Navy Blue Handrolled X Stitch $
Davidoff Scottish Mixture Pipe Tobacco $
Bartender’s Prep Board $
Cigar Caddy Draw Enhancer Tool $
J. Herbin Stormy Grey Fountain Pen Ink $
The Butler Speaks $
Fort Belvedere Vintage Prints $
Tani Underwear $
Spikeball $
Persol 649 Series Sunglasses $
Instant Pot pressure cooker $
Ellipse Bluetooth Bike Lock $
Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker $
Keurig K575 $
Pit Master Crate $
Men’s Manicure Set Travel Kit Brown and Blue Leather and Stainless Steel by Fort Belvedere $
BakerStone Pizza Oven $
HarmanKardon Esquire Mini $
Hennessy X.O. $
V.S.O.P. Privilège $
Slingbox M2 $
Soda Stream Power $
Snake River Farms Wagyu Steak Flight $
Babolat Pure Strike Tennis Racquet $
Arccos Driver $
Weber Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smoker $ $
Baracuta G9 Harrington Jacket $ $
Lapis Lazuli Gold Eagle Claw Cufflinks, Fort Belvedere $ $
AudioEngine Bluetooth Speakers $ $
AKG N60NC Headphones $ $
V-Moda Headphones $ $
UE Megaboom $ $
Lagostina Grill Pan $ $
Vitamix 7500 $ $
Yuneec Typhoon Drone with 4K Camera $ $ $
Nikon D500 Digital SLR $ $ $
Tesla Model 3 $ $ $
TourGolf Membership $ $ $
Omega Speedmaster Professional $ $ $
Van Dam Custom Wood Boat $ $ $

Conclusion

Father’s Day is the one day each year where we have the honor of showing Dad just how much he means to us. For the other 364 days, he is usually the one taking care of us, and he spends most of his adult life caring for us and shaping us into the men we are today. This year, take our advice and give him a gift that he will truly enjoy and ideally, one that he may remember and talk about for the rest of his life.

What gift ideas do you have for Father’s Day?

This gift guide was created by Sven Raphael Schneider, Teresa C. Schneider & J.A. Shapira.


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The Scotch Whisky Guide

For many years, Scotland has produced some of the finest whiskeys the world has ever seen.

As such, I have come to not only appreciate the complexity and intricacies of a fine bottle of Scotch, but I’ve developed an adoration, nay, an obsession with Scotch whisky and its continual pursuit of perfection. It is my distinct privilege to have the opportunity to share my love of Scotch with you in this primer that will focus primarily on the world’s most beloved single malt Scotch whiskeys.

Scotland

Scotland

The History of Scotch Whisky

The first written mention of Scotch was found scribed on June 1st, 1495 in Volume X on page 487 of the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland where it reads “To Friar John Cor, by order of the King, to make aqua vitae VIII bolls of malt”. The Exchequer Rolls were records of all royal income and expenses. In this particular entry, it documents that Cor was given eight bolls of malt to make aqua vitae throughout the months of 1494. What this shows is that despite being the earliest written reference, distillation was well underway come the fifteenth century. If we only take into account the eight bolls given to Cor in 1494, we can estimate that 1500 bottles of whisky were produced that year.

Evolving from a Scottish drink called uisge beatha (meaning “water of life”), whisky began to circulate throughout the country, causing policymakers to begin taxing it come the year 1644. Unfortunately, despite the government’s attempt to regulate and draw income from such a popular drink, distillers began to sell it illegally and sales flourished across Scotland. By 1780 there were eight legal distilleries in all of Scotland competing against more than four hundred bootleg operations. By 1823 Parliament realized that in order for the legal producers to be able to compete with the pirates, they would have to ease restrictions and this decision is what gave birth to the famous ‘excise act’.

 Exchequer Rolls of Scotland

Exchequer Rolls of Scotland

The popularity of whisky swelled again in 1831 with the invention of the column still. Now, thanks to new technology, distilleries were able to mass produce a smoother spirit at a significantly lesser cost.

Then in 1880, Scotch whisky became a global phenomenon thanks to a new microscopic insect that preyed on the grape vines in France. Since wine and brandy were considered two of the most popular drinks of the day, when the phylloxera bug began to destroy vineyards across France, wine and brandy production came to an almost immediate halt. With alcoholics around the world craving a substitute, the doors to the global marketplace opened wide for Scotland’s distillers and Scotch whisky became the world’s new popular drink.

Whisky Choices

Whisky Choices

Types of Scotch Whisky

There are two main types of Scotch whisky; single malt and single grain. From those two types, three subcategories are formed. Those categories are blended Scotch, blended malt Scotch, and blended grain Scotch.

Highland Park 18 Year Single Malt Scotch

Highland Park 18 Year Single Malt Scotch

Single Malt

Single malt Scotch whisky is today, the most popular choice in North American homes. This is an aged whisky made by a single distillery using only malted barley and water. It contains no other cereals and must be distilled, produced and bottled in Scotland.

Single Grain

Single grain Scotch whisky is less commonly found on the shelves of your local liquor store. It starts out with water and a malted barley but then has additional whole grains or cereals added to it which prevents it from complying with the laws that would permit it to be called single malt. Just like with single malt Scotch, it too has to be bottled in Scotland in order for it to be able to use the “Scotch” name. It is this type of Scotch that most blended Scotch whisky is made from.

Glencairn Crystal whiskey glass

Glencairn Crystal whiskey glass

Blended Scotch

A blended Scotch whisky is made from at least one or more single malt Scotch whiskeys that are blended together with a single grain Scotch whisky.

Blended Malt Scotch

A blended malt Scotch is actually one of the most uncommon types of Scotch that can be found today. Previously called a “vatted malt” or a “pure malt” it is when the blender takes two or more single malt Scotch whiskeys from at least two separate distilleries and blends them together to create one batch of whisky.

Blended Grain Scotch

A blended grain Scotch is similar to that of a blended malt, except it utilizes two or more single grain Scotch whiskeys from at least two separate distilleries. They are then blended together to create a single batch of whisky.

Double Malt Scotch

Double Malt Scotch

Double Malt Scotch

Many people have heard of a whisky referred to as a “double malt” Scotch. It should be noted that these do not actually exist. Whenever a bottle of single malt Scotch is referred to as “double malt” or “triple malt” it simply means that it was aged in two or more types of casks. The true term for this is double wood or triple wood. This is very common in the whisky world and despite being aged in multiple casks, it still remains in the single malt category.

Bruichladdich Maturing

Bruichladdich Maturing

The Name

While most consumers have a general understanding that Scotch whisky must always be from Scotland, few actually know the legal requirements behind naming a bottle of whisky “Scotch”.

The title of “Scotch” is defined and regulated by a document created on November 23, 2009, called the “Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009” or SWR. Not only regulating production, the act also governs the labeling, packaging and the advertising of Scotch whisky within the United Kingdom. The SWR is a complete replacement of the previous regulations which focused exclusively on the production process. While the SWR is technically only valid within its jurisdiction, international trade agreements have been put in place which effectively make some provisions of the SWR apply in countries outside the United Kingdom.

The document defines Scotch whisky in the following manner:

1: Must be produced at a distillery in Scotland from water and malted barley (to which only whole grains of other cereals may be added) all of which have been:

– Processed at that distillery into a mash

– Converted at that distillery to a fermentable substrate only by endogenous enzyme systems

– Fermented at that distillery only by adding yeast

– Distilled at an alcoholic strength by volume of less than 94.8% (190 US proof)

– Wholly matured in an excise warehouse in Scotland in oak casks of a capacity not exceeding 700 litres (185 US gal; 154 imp gal) for at least three years

2. Scotch whisky must retain the color, aroma, and taste of the raw materials used in, and the method of, its production and maturation.

3. It may not contain any added substances, aside from water and plain (E150A) caramel coloring.

4. It must comprise a minimum alcoholic strength by volume of 40% (80 US proof).

Caol Ila Distillery

Caol Ila Distillery

The Production Process

The production of Scotch whisky begins with water. It is for this reason that many of the distilleries still found today are located adjacent to pure water sources such as a river or even a borehole. While transportation is far more effective today, when the vast majority of Scottish distilleries were erected, having to transport large quantities of fresh water proved to be difficult, thereby requiring the distilleries to be built near a plentiful source.

One of the things that separate Scotch whisky from other whiskeys is that the water in Scotland tends to be much softer with significantly lower mineral and calcium contents. For the distilleries located on the west coast of Scotland, particularly on the islands, the water has a much higher peat content due to the water running through peat bogs, which cause it to have a slightly brown tinge. While there is no direct evidence to suggest this natural peat effects the flavor of the whisky, many distilleries believe it to be special, and for that reason, they are very protective of their water supply.

While there is no legal obligation to use Scottish barley to produce Scotch whisky, the vast majority of barley used to make whisky around the world is from Scotland, therefore making it cost effective to utilize local barley.

Once the water is collected it’s used in a variety of ways, the first of which is often to malt the barley. In order to successfully malt barley, the grains are soaked in the water which causes the starch to convert into a type of sugar called maltose which feeds a process known as Germination.

Over the next six days, little shoots begin to grow all over the grains which let the producer know the barley is ready to be dried. To do this, the distillery will elect to use hot air or peat smoke to dry out the grains which stop further growth of the shoots and prevents it from rotting. While the majority of distilleries now purchase their barley pre-malted, there are still a small handful of producers that choose to malt the barley from scratch. Despite the process being painstaking and lengthy, distilleries such as The Balvenie and Highland Park view it as a tradition and pride themselves on their malting floors.

Highland park malting floor

Highland park malting floor

Now that the barley is properly malted, it gets ground until it resembles something like flour. The water source is again introduced and the mixture is poured into a vessel called the Mash Tun. As the barley mixture steeps in the hot water, the mashing tun separates the solids from the sugars and the process is repeated at least twice more. By the time this part of the production process is completed, the hot sugary liquid, called the Wort is ready to continue being turned into whisky.

The next step in whisky making is called the Fermentation Process. The wort is pumped into a wooden or stainless steel receptacle called the Washback and dried or creamed yeast is added to the mix. Once the yeast is added to liquid, it begins to rapidly multiply using up the oxygen in the washback and creating carbon dioxide. As blades mix the yeast into the wort, over the next 48 hours, the yeast begins to devour the sugars turning the wort into alcohol. The distiller now chooses whether or not to remove the liquid or let it sit for up to another 70 hours which produces a fruitier flavor.

The next step is the actual distillation of the whisky. This is when the alcohol is poured into a copper pot still to undergo a series of two distillations, or in some cases, three. The first distillation called the Wash Still is where the alcohol is heated until it boils and its vapor is condensed into liquid and carried through the coiled pipes. The new liquid is then dumped into cooling vats and is now typically around 28% alcohol. Then, the process is repeated and the spirit is re-distilled until it reaches approximately 70% alcohol. As it distills, the vapor is pumped into a rectifying column, making its way through a water-cooled condenser to the spirit safe. The spirit safe then captures the purest cuts that will eventually mature into Scotch whisky.

What’s interesting to note is that the stills used are often a variety of shapes and sizes. What this does is changes the style of the whisky based on the type of flavor profiles the producer wants in its stock.

Next, the best cuts of the spirit are slightly diluted with more water and poured into wooden oak casks (usually from bourbon whiskey or Spanish sherry) where the whisky will sit and mature for at least three years, developing a complex range of flavors and aromas as it soaks up the hidden spirits still buried deep in the wooden casks.

After it’s sat for the minimum required length of three years, it is now ready to be bottled or stored longer, increasing its age and complexity.

The Regions of Scotland

Divided into five distinct regions, Scotland produces a variety of whiskeys that take on certain flavor profiles based on the region they’re distilled in.

The Highlands

Known as medium bodied whiskeys, they are typically lighter and more luxurious than their brothers Islay, but stronger than the ones in the Lowlands. Today there are many highland distilleries, some of which include Aberfeldy, Balblair, Ben Nevis, Clynelish, The Dalmore, Dalwhinnie, Glen Ord, Glenmorangie, Oban and Old Pulteney. On the islands, you can find Arran, Jura, Tobermory, Highland Park and Scapa, as well as Talisker still operating today. While many whisky connoisseurs believe the islands should have their own region, they are still technically classified as a part of the highlands.

The Lowlands

Generally considered the lighter and most delicate whiskeys, the Lowland distilleries often produce spirits with very little to no peat. Today the only distilleries still in operation are Auchentoshan, Bladnoch and Glenkinchie. However, a fourth distillery has recently opened called Daftmill, but its first release is still in production and is not expected to be released to the public until sometime in 2015.

Speyside

Home to the most elegant and inspired whiskeys in Scotland, Speyside is also home to the most distilleries in the Country, some of which include Aberlour, The Balvenie, Cardhu, Cragganmore, Glenfarclas, Glenfiddich, Glenglassaugh, The Glenlivet, Glen Moray and The Macallan.

Campbeltown

With the majority of its bottles aged at the 10-year mark, the region is home to just three active distilleries which include Glen Scotia, Glengyle, and Springbank.

Islay

Considered the heavy-hitters of Scotch whisky, these spirits are usually heavily peated, often oily and even sometimes compared to iodine. Islay is home to a current eight distilleries which include Ardbeg, Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila, Kilchoman, Lagavulin, and Laphroaig.

Whisky Glass, Teaspoon and chilled water

Whisky Glass, Teaspoon, and chilled water

Tasting Scotch

Today, Scotch whisky is tasted and enjoyed in a variety of ways. From drinking it neat or on the rocks to mixing it into a range of cocktails, many believe Scotch whisky can be enjoyed any way the consumer can dream. I am not one of them. In my opinion, Scotch whisky is the most perfected spirit on the planet. It is old world craftsmanship at its finest and treating it as you would vodka, tequila or gin is an insult to those who spend their lifetimes pursuing the perfect dram. Therefore, unlike many of my other articles on spirits, I’ve chosen not to provide cocktail recipes in this particular guide.

The Glass

While the majority of Scotch drinkers use a rock glass, in my opinion, there are only two glasses that are acceptable if you actually plan to enjoy your dram in all its glory.

The Copita Nosing Glass

The Copita Nosing Glass

The Copita Nosing Glass

The copita was traditionally used by the Distillery Manager while nosing new make spirits and the Master Blender when nosing a mature whisky that is being considered for use in a blend. Originally called the “Dock Glass” it was developed in the 17th century for merchants to nose the spirit or wine at the dock before accepting the shipment. Because of its unique tulip shape bowl, it allows you to swirl the spirit while facilitating the retention of alcohol vapors. Prior to tasting the whisky, the drinker will generally cover the glass with its accompanying watch glass cover and allow it to sit for a few minutes. One glass costs about $ 17 shipped.

The Glencairn Copita is the gold standard for whisky tasting glasses and it is inexpensive

The Glencairn Copita is the gold standard for whisky tasting glasses and it is inexpensive

The Glencairn Glass

Considered the most innovative whisky glass on the market, the crystal Glencairn glass is an official product specifically designed for Scotch whisky. With a tapered mouth and wide bowl, the quality of the whisky is enhanced allowing the connoisseur to identify hidden aromas and flavors in the spirit. The one negative aspect of the Glencairn is that it has a very short, wide stem, which can cause the whisky to warm from the natural heat of your hand. You can buy it here – a set of 4 costs less than $ 30.

How to Drink Whisky – The Methods

While many people stack ice cubes in their glass before pouring the whisky overtop, nothing short of adding another liquid could harm your tasting experience more. With each ice cube added, the scotch becomes diluted and cooled, changing the flavor profile and masking the aromas. If you are dead set on drinking Scotch on the rocks, I recommend no more than two ice cubes or else you might as well toss it down the drain. While some companies have begun marketing “ice balls” and “ice bricks”, despite taking longer to melt, these added components still disguise the complexity of the dram.

Highland park malting floor

Highland park malting floor

A recent introduction of soapstone or metal cubes that can be chilled in a freezer has hit the US market by storm. Often labeled as “Whisky Stones”, these small cubes are nothing more than a gimmick that will again alter the spirit, rather than elevate it. A neat accessory to keep in your bar for company, I would strongly suggest procuring the soapstone version as it won’t alter the flavor as much as their metal counterparts.

Historically, judges at spirit competitions would water down their whisky mixing the Scotch with up to an additional 50% distilled water. While many people think this is done to eliminate some of the alcohol content, the fact is that by adding a splash of slightly cool still water, the flavors and aromas of the spirit will be elevated, opening up the spirit and allowing you to properly enjoy your dram. While I don’t recommend diluting your whisky with 50% water, I always suggest adding a splash.

To properly enjoy your dram of Scotch whisky take a clean Copita or Glencairn glass and pour 1/2 oz of whisky into the glass. Swirl it around and pour it down the sink. While it may seem like a waste of good Scotch, and it is (unless you use it for cooking), it also will act as a purifier eliminating any odors or flavors already in the glass that could alter the taste or aroma of your dram. After all, as any cigar aficionado knows, even tap water can change the taste of a cigar, or in this case a Scotch.

Next, pour yourself a glass of whisky. Be careful to hold the glass from its base and not the bowl to ensure your hand doesn’t warm the spirit as it’s poured in. Next, swirl the whisky in the glass and examine its appearance. While the appearance won’t tell you a great deal about the spirit, you want to focus on two key things.

First, is the spirit cloudy? A cloudy spirit will indicate that the whisky has not undergone chill filtration. The purpose of chill filtration is to conform whisky so that there is no cloudiness once water is added. However, a spirit that is cloudy tends to offer an enhanced element of flavor and should be regarded as such. The second and most important reason for visually examining your whisky is to look at its “legs”. After swirling the whisky in its glass, you’ll notice fine beads that will form on the sides of the glass. The legs then slowly ooze back into the glass forming lines called “legs” as they move. The thicker and slower than the legs move, the more vivacious and bold the whisky.

Now that you’ve examined your dram, hold the glass up towards your nose, take a deep breath in through your mouth and your nose inhaling and appreciating it’s complex aromas. Be sure not to bring the glass too close, as the strength of the alcohol can often numb a novice’s senses. Then, take it down and swirl it. Repeat this process at least three times, each time bringing the glass closer to your nose and breathing in more through your nose and less through your mouth. By the final nose, you should allow the rim of the glass to pocket your nose and with your mouth closed, breathe in as the spirit engulfs your senses. By following these steps you’ll notice that the aromas change with each nose. This is the sure way to properly appreciate a fine whisky and to ensure that it doesn’t go to waste and that you get to experience each of its divine and complex aromas.

Next, add a splash of pure still water that’s slightly cool and take your first taste of the spirit. As it hits your tongue swirl and splash it around every part of your mouth. Let it touch your cheeks, the roof of your palate and the bottom of your mouth under your tongue. Allow it to stream in front of your teeth and touch your gums and the inside of your lips. Then let it sit in the middle of your mouth before slowly swallowing the spirit. It’s this method that ensures you’re able to taste all of its complexity, understand its diverse flavor profile and appreciate its aged perfection. Then take a big deep breath and you’ll be eager to try some more.

Video – The Story of Whisky

Recommended Whiskies

Scotch whisky has long been my favorite spirit. On any given evening you can usually find me in my living room enjoying a dram or two as I listen to my records or watch an old movie. This list, while partial, are a few of my favorite whiskeys, all of which I highly recommend.

Btw, to learn how all these different areas and names are pronounced properly, take a look here.

If you are looking for tasting notes by an experienced Scotch whisky drinker including value for money and point ratings, check out www.whiskymusings.com

 

 

The Highlands

Ice Balls look very elegant in a glass

Ice Balls look very elegant in a glass – but many prefer to drink it without ice – all that matters is what you like

The Dalmore King Alexander III (one of my favorite bottles in the world)

The Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve (this Scotch pairs perfectly with a medium to full bodied cigar)

Jura Superstition (press your palm against the logo for good luck)

Highland Park 12 Year

Scapa 16 Year

Talisker 18 Year

The Lowlands

Auchentoshan Three Wood (no peat, very delicate and quite inexpensive. A perfect introduction to Scotch whisky)

Glenkinchie 12 Year

Rosebank 12 Year

Speyside

The Macallan Fine Oak

The Macallan 12 Year (while there are many incredible, older bottles, the 12 year is my nightly dram)

The Macallan 25 Year

Scotch & Cigars go well together

Scotch & Cigars go well together  – although most scotch enthusiasts won’t drink it with ice, some prefer it that way

Aberlour 12 Year (probably the best bottle in its low price point)

Aberlour A’bunadh

The Balvenie Doublewood (the first Scotch I ever tried and one I keep going back to)

Islay

Bowmore 18 Year

Lagavulin 16 Year (one of my favorite bottles from Islay)

Caol Ila Moch

Laphroaig 12 Year

Campbeltown

Glen Scotia 12 Year

Springbank 10 Year

Glencairn Glass

Glencairn Glass

Where to Buy Whisky

Unfortunately, prices and availability really depend on where you live. For example, a 12 year old bottle of Macallan could cost half the price in the United States as it may in parts of Canada, not to mention other countries around the world. Trying to list a reliable whisky source in every country would be impossible because there is no way for me to test all of them. Hence we just  list a few hoping most of you will find these links helpful.

The Scotch Whisky Association: the name says it all – contact them if you want to find more sources to buy

Master of Malt: UK based online store, ship to many countries

The Whisky Exchange: UK based online store, ship to many countries

The Whisky Barrel: U.S. based ships worldwide

Love Scotch: U.S. based online store specialized in Scotch

Scotch Whisky Auctions: the name says it all

Caskers: Crafts Spirits

Alexander & James: German online store with gift service

Whisky Wheel

Whisky Wheel

Conclusion

Scotch has and I presume will always be a spirit that one either loves or hates. While a taste for it can be developed over time, typically the most common palate development occurs amongst gentlemen who already enjoy the taste and simply grow to appreciate the varieties.

I would highly recommend that if you’ve never tried Scotch whisky before, that you begin with a gentler, more subtle bottle such as the Auchentoshan 12 year or the Dalwhinnie 15 year, and not with a dram of Lagavulin or Laphroaig.

One final tip for the Scotch connoisseur is to always keep a few basics on hand. This way should you have company over, if they are inclined to try a dram of Scotch but don’t have the appreciation for it, rather than wasting a remarkable whisky on a plebeian’s palate, I always keep a bottle of 12-year-old Glenlivet and Glenfiddich in my bar. That way you can save the premium whisky for those who will truly enjoy it.

If you enjoyed this guide, you should also take a look at our Bourbon and Brandy guides or you could look up other articles in our spirits and cocktail guide.


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A local’s guide to Brussels: 10 top tips

The Belgian capital isn’t all boring Eurocrats: a cast of creative types are busy doing their arty things – often with humour and a social conscience

Veer sharply left by the Chanel store on Boulevard de Waterloo and you’ll find yourself in a tiny oasis among Brussels’ busiest shopping streets. The gardens of the elegant Egmont Palace (now the home of Belgium’s foreign ministry) are a public park, one of the most secret in Brussels. It’s home to a charming little statue of Peter Pan, a gift from the children of Britain to the children of Belgium, and the palace’s former orangery is now a cool, modern restaurant, La Fabrique en Ville, that boasts Brussels’ best terrace for brunch in the sun. Poached eggs and homemade hollandaise on an English muffin is on the expensive side at €13.50, but well worth it for brunching like a king in the grounds of a former palace.

Continue reading…
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The definitive guide to different types of skincare acids

Think you know your acids?

These days you can barely talk about skincare for five minutes without acids coming up in conversation.

Hyaluronic, malic, glycolic, salicylic – it feels like there is an infinite number of different acids for skin and so can feel hard to know which you should use.

But, no more: allow us to give you a brief overview of the big hitters and the products containing them that you should use for your skin type. It’s not as complicated as you probably think (and that’s coming from someone who hated chemistry at school).

Keep scrolling to find out the differences between the most commonly used skincare acids below.

Salicylic acid

Beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), also known as salicylic acid, is an exfoliant that penetrates deep into the skin’s layers, encouraging the pores to unclog.

It’s able to break down the things that clog your pores, like dead skin cells, dirt and excess oil. As well as this, it’s also a great anti-inflammatory agent, which is why you’ll often find it in spot gels and acne treatments.

Hyaluronic acid

Often cited by skincare experts as the hydrating hero, hyaluronic acid is known for its incredible ability to hold over 1,000 times its own weight in water.

A substance that’s naturally present in the body, particularly the eyes and joints, it’s also humectant, so draws moisturse to the skin from the environment.

Hyaluronic acid serums are one of the most popular methods of hydrating the skin, and the plumping effect makes it a great anti-ager. It’s also used in non-permanent lip fillers.

acids

Citric acid

You’ll recognise the name from your favourite fruits, but citric acid is also used in many skincare products for gentle exfoliation –  it’s why a lot of at-home face peels smell like oranges. Citric acid is also in the alpha-hydroxy acid group.

Unlike BHA, AHAs are only able to penetrate the top layer of skin, but this makes them an excellent choice for sloughing off dead cells from the surface.

Glycolic acid

An alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), glycolic acid is one of the two most popular chemical exfoliants used in peels and toners.

Glycolic acid is much smaller in molecule size than other AHAs, and can therefore penetrate much deeper into the skin.

Sensitive skin types may find it a bit irritating or harsh for this reason, however, so always introduce it into your skincare routine gradually and in a small concentration first.

Lactic acid

Also an alpha-hydroxy acid, lactic acid is a naturally-occurring substance found in milk. It’s more moisturising than glycolic, making it less harsh on the skin and a better choice for sensitive complexions.

Read our full guide for more information and the best product recommendations.

Malic acid

Naturally derived from apples, Malic acid is probably the least well known of the commonly used skincare ingredients.

As an AHA, it also encourages skin cell turnover rate, but is found in many anti-ageing beauty products because it can encourage the production of collagen.

Malic acid can also reduce the production of melanin, helping to prevent and improve hyperpigmentation.

Consider your crash course in skincare acids, complete.

The post The definitive guide to different types of skincare acids appeared first on Marie Claire.

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Clark Howard’s guide to saving money on your wedding

When money expert Clark Howard’s daughter was planning her wedding for May 2018, she and her fiancé used a lot of different money-saving strategies to hold down the cost while still putting on a lovely event.

The great news is that you can use those same strategies to plan your own fabulous wedding without going deep into debt.

RELATED: Clark Howard — How my daughter saved a ton of money on her wedding

Follow Clark’s advice to get married cheap and happy!

Wedding planning season is here, and couples are racing to plan the perfect nuptials in time for a late-spring or summer wedding date.

The average wedding today costs $ 33,391, according to the latest numbers. So before you get too deep into planning, you need to sit down and come up with a budget for your wedding. It can be $ 100 or it can be $ 30,000 or more.

The idea that weddings have to be frightfully expensive to be any good is an odd and amazing thing. I think about my in-laws who were married some 50 years ago and it cost them $ 25. Inflation adjusted, that would be like a $ 100 wedding today. — Clark Howard

Ultimately, it’s your budget that will determine whether your wedding is a courthouse ceremony or more like a coronation. It’s whatever makes sense in your life — or in your parents’ lives.

Such was the case with Clark when he gave his daughter a flat amount of money and told her whatever she didn’t spend, she and her husband could keep for the down payment on their first home.

As part of creating your budget, write down all the elements of a wedding you want — flowers, DJ, wedding favors, etc. —  and then start prioritizing them. That way you get a feel for what’s indispensable and what you can maybe do without.

“Just don’t do what I did to save money on the vehicle we drove off in [after getting married],” Clark warns of his marriage to wife Lane.

“My mother-in-law will probably never forgive me for renting a subcompact purple Mitsubishi that was $ 16 a day. I also remember the wedding photographer was so angry at me for ruining his exit shot. He wanted me to leave in his car, which was a Cadillac convertible. I said, ‘Nobody’s going to believe that it was really me leaving in a Cadillac convertible!’”

Without further ado, here are some ways you can keep it both cheap and classy…

The first rule of a cheap wedding is…Never say the word “wedding”

When you call around to vendors, don’t tell anybody you’re getting quotes for a wedding. Call it a ‘party’ because you’ll likely get a lower quote.

Don’t buy a million bridal magazines

Leading up to the big day, women love to thumb through wedding magazines. But the cost of those polished glossy magazines can really add up! Browse Pinterest for wedding ideas for free or just look at those magazines the library.

Besides, you won’t want a pile of those magazine hanging around after the big day anyway.

Be flexible on the venue

You can save the cost of a catering hall by holding the reception at your home or someone else’s home. Sometimes people who met at college will hold the reception on campus. Or, check to see if you can rent a museum or other public facility for your wedding.

Clark’s daughter and her fiancé looked at a lot of venues and found an event space in a public park. They got married outside and, luckily, had great weather.

You can save a lot if you hold the reception at a place that will let you bring in your own caterer and alcohol. In that case, consider buying the alcohol yourself at a discount store and bringing it to the reception.

Be flexible with your wedding date

Many event spaces have different charges on different days of week. Saturday and Sunday are typically high-priced days to get married. If you want to go really budget, consider a Tuesday or Thursday. If that’s too extreme, then maybe Friday is the right compromise between scheduling and pricing.

“I have nephew who got married on Monday because their venue in California was cheaper on that day,” Clark says. “When have you ever heard of somebody getting married on a Monday?!?”

Another way to flex to save money is to plan your wedding for a time of year that’s not traditionally associated with weddings. That could mean considering a January wedding instead of a June one.

Work with a canceled-wedding broker

It’s always a great idea to see what services you can pick up on the cheap. For instance, when engaged people break up and don’t make it to the altar, what happens to those non-refundable services they booked?

If they’re smart, they’ll sometimes sell the services they’ve paid for to a canceled-wedding broker. That helps recoup at least some of the cost.

But here’s the neat thing: Their loss can be your gain!

A site like CanceledWeddings.com buys broken contracts and offers them at a discount. This recent snapshot of their Twitter feed shows venues you could pick up on the cheap in Pennsylvania, Washington D.C. and California for summer and fall 2018 weddings:

canceled weddings

Consider your guest list carefully

You may have to make tough choices with your guest list based on your budget.

Since most catering facilities will charge you by the person, deciding how many people to invite will have a greater impact on the cost of the wedding than almost anything else.

Make your own invitations

Look for fonts that appeal to you online and use them to create your own invitations with a laser printer. Pinterest is perfect for this purpose.

Or, as an alternative, use online discount sites that can also make your Save the Date cards and invitations. This works especially well if you have a discount code that can bring the price down further.

Live band or DJ?

A DJ will be much cheaper than a live band. Ask about cash discounts or pay-in-advance discounts. It never hurts to negotiate, either. Just be sure to get the final agreement in writing.

If you want at least some live music on your big day, consider hiring a piano major from a nearby college or music school to play at the cocktail reception. Maybe you’ll luck out and even find a student jazz ensemble that will perform for much less than a professional band!

Opt for beer and wine — but not liquor

It’s much cheaper to serve just beer, wine and maybe one signature cocktail at your reception than to have an open bar serving liquor.

You could also consider offering a cash bar, or serving no alcohol at all.

Create your own décor

Joel, one of the producers on The Clark Howard Show, got married back in 2011. He and his bride Emily staged a very inexpensive wedding, working within the $ 12,000 budget from her parents.

Emily had fun creating the décor for the wedding. She crafted flowers out of paper instead of dedicating money to a huge flower budget.

(If you do opt for real flowers, ask the florist if you can buy the vessels in which to display them yourself. That could be a savings of $ 20 or $ 30 per vase or bowl right there if you find ones you like at a discount store.)

Joel says Emily liked the creativity behind the whole process and the saving money part just kind of fell in line with that. For their rehearsal dinner, they opted for catered BBQ and kept prices down that way.

Again, Pinterest is an amazing place to get ideas for DIY wedding projects. We’ve got a list of some of the many wedding items you can create and personalize on Pinterest here.

Sheet cake from a supermarket is a money-saver

A sheet cake rather than a multi-tiered cake will net you a big savings. Top off those savings by buying the sheet cake at Costco, Target or another grocery store bakery.

Clark’s daughter had a regular white icing cake from the Publix supermarket bakery. She bought four different sizes of round cakes and stacked them to dramatic effect to make one giant cake. The price tag? Under $ 40!

Don’t financially strap your bridesmaids

For the bridesmaids, try telling them a color (like navy or black) and encouraging them to wear an existing dress, rather than having them buy a one-time use only dress.

About the dress…

Buying a wedding dress off the rack is a great way to save money on this centerpiece of any bride’s wedding. H&M has wedding dresses for just a couple hundred bucks or less online. J. Crew and Ann Taylor sell wedding dresses, too.

Sample dresses at bridal stores are often discounted. You also shouldn’t rule out buying a dress secondhand or using a hand-me-down, particularly if you’re into either vintage styles or family heirlooms.

Renting a dress is another great option because then you don’t have to worry about storing or preserving the dress after your wedding. The reality is most people can’t tell if your dress is designer or from a chain. So, if you aren’t attached to a specific dress or designer, try a rental site like BorrowingMagnolia.com.

If designer is the way you want to go and you want to own, you can buy a name dress on deep discount from NearlyNewlywed.com.

Final thought

Does a glitzy wedding make the marriage? Not by a long shot.

In fact, recent research into the correlation between what you spend on a wedding and how long your marriage lasts shows the exact opposite.

If you insist on spending more than $ 20,000, you’re statistically going to get divorced at a rate that’s roughly 1.6 times higher than couples who spend between $ 5,000 and $ 10,000.

Want to have the longest-lasting and happiest marriage of all? The study shows you’ll have a lower-that-average rate of divorce if you spend $ 1,000 or less on your wedding.

Ultimately, the lavishness of the ceremony means nothing. It’s about who you’re marrying.

“If you’re a Bridezilla, I would encourage you to take a chill pill,” Clark says. “Remember that your vows and having a great life with your spouse are the most important things. A wedding can be very tasteful and it does not have to blow the budget.”

clark.com

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‘Ego travel’ – your guide to the narcissistic heart of modern holidaying

Millennials have replaced the sun, sea and sex of the Club 18-30 holiday with Insta-friendly trips featuring toad licking and ayurvedic smoothies. Have you become one of them?

After 50 years of putting the “shag” in Shagaluf, Club 18-30 could be coming to an end. According to Thomas Cook, the tour operator that owns the infamous holiday brand, millennials are more interested in “ego travel” than pairing off with like-minded singles over buckets of cocktails, with their tastes being shaped by what looks good when posted on social media. But what is ego travel – and are you guilty of it? Here is your guide to the narcissistic heart of modern holidaying.

Continue reading…
Travel | The Guardian

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Your Complete Guide to the Shoes That Are Perfect With Skinny Jeans

They’re a wardrobe staple—a second skin—yet from time to time, our skinny jeans throw us a sartorial curveball when it comes to which shoes to pair them with. There’s not much in the footwear department that doesn’t go with a spray-on silhouette, but sometimes it’s the wash of the denim and the height of the heel that can make all the difference.

A little turn-up here and a lighter shade there can take you from outfit frustration to outfit success. How do we know this? Because one look at some of the most stylish women out there revealed as much. From the queen of skinny jeans, Kate Moss (who must sleep in hers), to street style superstars, we’ve scanned their best looks for the ultimate skinny-jean recipes. Scroll for your complete guide on the shoes to wear with skinny jeans.

Style Notes: Classic white lace-up sneakers have proved that they’re here to stay, and this is music to our ears. As seen on petite fashion influencer Monikh Dale, there’s plenty of proof that this can look absolutely amazing when you’re not a glamazon. They’re skinny jeans’ new best friend.
Available in sizes 5 to 13.
Style Notes: An off-duty model is all we need to show us that loafers—even if they’re on the scuffed, vintage side—and skinny jeans are perfect for trekking around a big city in style. Pack a pair (we’re obsessed with the Olsens’ offering at The Row) on your next mini break, and wear them on the plane—your feet will thank you.
Available in sizes 4 to 12.
Style Notes: Skinnies and trainers go together like bread and butter. But as London-based fashion guru Irina Lakicevic proves, the coolest combination for now lies in chunkier-soled, sporty kicks like these classic Nikes.
Available in sizes 6 to 15.
Style Notes: It worked for Audrey Hepburn all those years ago, and it still works today. Flat, pointed shoes elevate a pair of figure-hugging jeans to no end. A color-popping style like these cult Aquazzura lace-ups adds further interest.
Available in sizes 4 to 11.
Style Notes: Pernille Teisbaek often wears her sharp-pointed courts from Balenciaga with skinny jeans—and you can see why. They elongate your legs to no end, meaning you can balance out a cosy sweater very nicely.
Available in sizes 6 to 11.
Style Notes: If flats are too flat, heels are too heeled, and sneakers feel just plain wrong for you, then the solution lies in cute midi-heeled block pumps. Glove shoes like Maria Alia’s (worn here with socks) are the perfect, comfortable, elevated option.
Available in sizes 6.5 to 10.5.
Style Notes: There’s nothing like minimalistic strappy sandals to add a dressy edge to a pair of casual jeans. British supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is a pro at styling hers. Follow her lead and make sure that yours stop just above the ankle straps of your shoes.
Available in sizes 4.5 to 11.5.
Style Notes: She made skinny jeans a wardrobe essential around the world, so it’s only right that we look to Kate Moss for how to style them. And the answer is yes, you can wear them with sandals—even jet-black denim. Note how the supermodel added a little turn-up to hers to avoid them scrunching around the ankles—a definite no-no when going for skinny jeans and sandals.
Available in sizes EU36 to EU39.5.
Style Notes: The Hadids and Jenners like to tuck their skinnies into sock boots, and the idea has caught on for the rest of the world. You can wear them untucked, but ideally the hemline needs to sit just above the top of your boots.
Available in sizes 6 to 9.5.

Next up: The biggest summer 2018 fashion trends New Yorkers can’t get enough of.

Opening Image: @mariaalia

This post originally appeared on Who What Wear UK

Celebrity Style and Fashion Trend Coverage | http://www.whowhatwear.com

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Mother’s Day Gift Guide

It’s that time of year again: Mother’s Day is coming up, and the pressure is on for you to find a thoughtful gift for your mother, wife, or partner.

She gave birth to you or your child, raised you to be the upstanding gentleman you are, and now, we’re going to help give you Mother’s Day gift guide to make sure she knows just how much you love and admire her. With gifts for all budgets, you’ll be sure to find the perfect gift for your mom, wife or partner this May.

Even a small gift will make any mom glow

Even a small gift will make any mom glow

To make your life a little easier, here is a list of ideas to consider for Mother’s Day. At the bottom of the article, we’ve added a list that includes all the ideas from the last few years for your reference.

 

Mother’s Day Gifts Under $ 100

Venchi Premium Gianduja Spread, $ 16.80

Is your Mom, wife or partner a chocolate lover? Then surely, they’ve heard of (and enjoyed!) Nutella, the ubiquitous hazelnut chocolate spread that can be found in most supermarkets around the world. What you may not know is the Nutella is a branded, low-end version of Gianduja (also spelled as Gianduia), a combination of chocolate and about 30% hazelnut paste that was invented in northern Italy more than 200 years ago. Famed for the quality of its hazelnuts, real Gianduja from the Piedmontese trees bears little resemblance to mass produced Nutella, which contains large amounts of sugar, palm oil, and only about 12% hazelnuts. For a chocolate lover, buy her this premium Gianduja spread from Venchi that contains 37% IGP Piedmontese hazelnuts and olive oil.

Marble Rolling Pin, $ 17

If the woman in your life is a baker, then she will love owning a marble rolling pin. It may seem over the top to create a marble rolling pin, but it’s highly functional as well as beautiful. Marble stays cool even in a hot kitchen, so it is the ideal tool for rolling out doughs that need to remain chilled. It’s a simple, inexpensive gift that will delight the home baker in your life. Check out the Marble Rolling Pin here.

Gardener’s Tool Seat – $ 35

With almost 150 reviews on Amazon averaging at just under five stars, this gardener’s tool seat is more than just a place for mom to sit as she tends her garden. The seat comes packed with a seven-piece toolkit that’s neatly organized in the attached tool bag compartments. The ultimate gift for the gardening hobbyist, this is one gift that we highly recommend. Click here to get it.

Shutterfly Photo Book – $ 39+

For the mom who has everything and says she doesn’t need anything, a photo book from Shutterfly can be a great way of telling her how much she means to you with a collection of memories. With hundreds of options to choose from, you can create a custom photo book with pictures from moments that mean a lot to you. It’s the perfect way to show mom you haven’t forgotten those small memories that mean so much. Click here to buy a photo book.

Lavender Wreath from Etsy

Lavender Wreath from Etsy

Dried Lavender Wreath $ 52

Handcrafted and beautiful for the country or suburban mom, this lavender wreath’s soothing aroma will transport your mom to a serene escape when your dad is driving her up the wall. Its rich color is due to the dried lavender being hand-selected and harvested on a family farm, and each one is made to order by the artist. A beautiful addition to any room, it even works for people who are adverse to strong aromas as a beautiful entry piece to greet guests at the front door. Click here to buy it.

Relaxation Box – $ 60+

If your mom is the type to spend her evening relaxing in a hot bath with a good book, putting together a custom kit for her is a gift she will truly appreciate. Consider this fantastic bath caddy from Umbra made of bamboo and chrome. With a rest for her favorite novel and a spot for her glass of wine, she’ll be transported into the relaxing escape she deserves. Consider adding a few bath bombs, some bath salts and a bubble bath to the kit. You could also consider an unbreakable wine glass and maybe a gift card to her favorite bookstore. If mom doesn’t drink wine, some coffee from Counting Sheep will help her wind down.

Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion

Women’s accomplishments in the last century have often gone overlooked (consider the trailblazing women the NYT obits section neglected to mention, for example) and this book takes a closer look at the cultural and intellectual contributions of 10 notable American women. As described in the synopsis, their work was “often undervalued or dismissed,” despite the fact that their efforts “ultimately changed the course of the twentieth century.” For every woman who has experienced condescension (and every woman has) this book is a celebration of 10 women who succeeded in spite of the establishment. Give Sharp: The Women Who Made an Art of Having an Opinion to your mom this Mother’s Day.

Rose Water Toner

Rose water is an ancient skincare formulation. Prized for its lovely scent, anti-inflammatory and moisturizing powers, rose water is a simple addition to any mom’s skin care regimen. This particular brand is organic and one of the few with verified, single-origin roses from Bulgaria. Consider a refreshing Rose Water Toner for your mom this Mother’s Day.

Nordic Ware Bundt Pan

For an avid home baker, intricately shaped baking molds are the perfect collectible gift. Nordic ware is a pioneer in bakeware, and they are among the very few kitchenware companies left that are still dedicated to manufacturing in the US. Give her this cast aluminum Nordic Ware Blossom Bundt pan, $ 40, this Mother’s Day.

Bathtub Caddy

You mother probably didn’t take an uninterrupted bath for 15 years, so treat her this Mother’s Day to a bath caddy that invites her to linger with a good book (like this one) and a glass of wine. Check out this expandable Bathtub Caddy here.

SIA Scotch

You may think Scotch is an unusual choice for a Mother’s Day gift but bear with me. Scotch is a libation that’s been made in traditional ways for hundreds of years, but all throughout that time it’s been distinctly a “man’s” drink. When Carin Luna-Ostaseski,  hispanic woman from California, developed a taste for Scotch, she wanted to challenge the notion that Scotch was harsh and unapproachable. She eventually crowd-sourced the funds to become the first American woman to create a blended Scotch whisky. Not only does this Scotch have a great story, it gets a 96 point rating from the Ultimate Spirits Challenge. Introduce your adventurous mom to SIA Scotch, $ 49.99.

Spring Alpaca Scarf by Fort Belvedere, $ 95

In the spring, there may still be times the woman in your life still needs a scarf for warmth, and also for decoration. Like many men’s scarves out there, the problem of high prices for thin, cheap, synthetic fibers persists. Not so with this fresh, spring-weight scarf from Fort Belvedere in a subtle gray, beige and blue stripe. Alpaca is one of the best insulating natural fibers available, so she will look ready for spring while she stays warm. The looser weave of this scarf makes it well suited to the changing seasons. Check out the Fort Belvedere Alpaca Scarf with Gray Stripes here, $ 95.  

Great Gifts for Mom Between $ 100 and $ 250

Metallic Loafer by Sam Edelman, $ 100

Mother’s Day coincides with the spring season when wardrobe colors are becoming brighter and fresher. Treat your mom, wife or partner to a shoe classic that most men can appreciate as a spring favorite – the loafer. For her, choose a metallic leather in gold for maximum versatility with her wardrobe. Finally, don’t worry about spending a pile of cash on loafers; their simplified construction and metallic finish aren’t intended to last for more than a couple seasons, so $ 100 is a great price point for this particular shoe. Check out the Sam Edelman Filly Loafer here.

Texture App, $ 120-180 per year

For the magazine or periodical junkie, consider gifting her the Texture App this Mother’s Day. Numerous magazine subscriptions can quickly add up in cost, and they lack the convenience of being digitally accessible anywhere. Texture gives you access to 200+ publications, ranging from sports to gardening and travel to home improvement, in a single app that costs $ 9.99/month for the standard subscription and $ 14.99/month for the version that contains weekly periodicals as well. Though reviewers have noted some difficulties reading the text on smaller screens, the concept is a great one for voracious readers.

JBL Under Armour Wireless Headphones – $ 180

For the active mom who spends time at the gym, running or even just taking long walks with the dog, there is really nothing greater than the gift of music. When JBL sent these headphones, my very active wife immediately took them and hasn’t put them down since. Designed for active people, JBL specifically partnered with Under Armour because they wanted to produce a high-quality wireless headphone that could take on sweat and fast movement without dislodging or skipping a beat. JBL is owned by the same parent company as AKG and Harmon Kardon. Known for their quality, these Bluetooth headphones beat out any of the earbuds previously tested, and that’s why we’re so confident your active mom will love them and get a ton of use out of them. This is also the perfect gift if you’re shopping for your wife on behalf of the kids. Click here to get them.

Tiffany Charm Bracelet – $ 185

There are many charm bracelets out there, but few as elegant and covetable as the ones from Tiffany & Co. Crafted from Sterling Silver, this is the perfect gift for the modern mom who is chic and stylish. You can buy this bracelet with or without the charm, and Tiffany offers a range of charms that you can add to her collection over time.  Click here to get one.

A Case of Rosé Wine – $ 228

For the woman who has everything, give her a consumable gift that she loves. With the weather warming up, restaurant patios opening, and spring flowers blooming, it is the definitive season to drink rosé wine. Though technically in the same category as the sickly sweet, kool-aid pink white zinfandel variety (which we certainly would not recommend!), rosé wine is tinted pink with the color of the grape skins. Highly regarded rosés are produced all over the world but consider looking at the famous rosé making region of Provence, France for dry wines with light, fruity character. Rosés are recommended to be consumed shortly after bottling, so Mom can enjoy them immediately. Head to your local wine purveyor and pick out a mixed case, or click here to order a case of great Provençal rosé wine.

Missoni Printed Silk Scarf – $ 250

Designed and made in Italy from 100% silk, this sophisticated and gorgeous square scarf features vibrantly intense zigzags that are sure to complete an outfit. The luminous silk is hand-selected for these scarfs, and it’s ironically understated elegance is what makes it perfect for any mother who loves wearing scarves or pashminas. Even if she’s not a scarf wearer, they are a classic accessory when tied to a handbag. Click here to get yours.

Bass Weejuns Mule Slides

Weejuns have been a preppy shoe favorite for men for decades, but they are likewise popular with women. This year, trends have embraced the mule or slide version of the Weejuns, which are chic for spring and summer weather while helping her still look polished. Bass Weejuns Slides, $ 109, come in array of gorgeous colors and materials to suit any mom.

Faux Succulent Arrangement

Not every mom has a green thumb and the inclination to maintain a house full of live plants. Even so, she may still love the look of plants and flowers in her home. For Mother’s Day, give her the gift of a spectacular arrangement that is “nearly natural” – so lifelike and yet maintenance free. Nearly Natural specializes in producing modern, real-looking plants for home and garden. Check out this on-trend Faux Succulent Arrangement, $ 134.99, or look at their wide array of other plants and arrangements.

Perfect Mother’s Day Gift from $ 250 – $ 500

Classic Tote Bag, Kate Spade, $ 298

Moms schlepp around a lot of stuff on a daily basis, but they don’t have to do it without a dash of style. A classic tote bag will stand the test of time style-wise, and the coated saffiano leather will resist marking and tearing much better than a softer leather. Check out the Kate Spade Cameron Street Lucie tote here.

Raised Garden Bed

Vegetable gardens are en vogue at the moment, and for the long-time or aspiring gardener, a raised bed is a great way to reduce stress on your mom’s back while keeping her produce away from nibbling critters. This elevated bed can stand on a patio or deck, and is set up to help the soil retain the right amount of moisture. Check out this Raised Vegetable Garden Bed, $ 299.95.

Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer, $ 399

Don’t make the mistake of getting your mother a vacuum this Mother’s Day. That being said, the vacuum world’s most talked about and innovative brand, Dyson, now makes a supersonic hair dryer. In keeping with typical Dyson engineering, they have redesigned the hair dryer with the engine in the handle, which distributes the weight into the hand for more comfortable use.  The attachments are magnetic, and maybe best of all, the open structure means that there aren’t any back-end filters to clog and kill this hair dryer. It certainly doesn’t come cheap, but it’s an everyday tool that will stop the cycle of purchasing a new hairdryer every year. Check out the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer, $ 399.

 

Illesteva Round Sunglasses – $ 290

Made in Italy, the Leonard II sunglasses are one of Illesteva’s best sellers. Handcrafted in a flattering round shape from Italian-made tortoiseshell acetate, the sunglasses are fitted with espresso lenses that offer 100% UV protection. Stylish and practical, these make the perfect gift for the stylish mom who has everything. Click here to get them.

Jonathan Adler Futura Feathers Vase – $ 298

Sculpted from high-fired porcelain, Jonathan Adler gave this stunning vase a matte black glaze that’s adorned with 24-karate gold luster feathers. Every man at some point will buy his mother flowers, and this is the perfect place to put them. Standing center stage on the dining room table or placed as a pair on opposite sides of the sitting room’s mantel, this is a gorgeous centerpiece your mother will love. Just don’t forget to fill it with flowers before you give it to her. Click here to get one.

 

Maria Tash Earrings – $ 350

Featuring Maria Tash’s unique threaded technique, these exquisite earrings are crafted from 18-karat rose gold with 0.06-carats of pavé diamonds that highlight the earring’s delicate floral design. A perfect choice for the mom that’s hard to buy for. Click here to get them.

Monthly Flower Delivery Subscription, The Bouqs Co., $ 432

Fed up with traditional flower delivery services? Many of the big players feature hard to navigate websites, cheesy upsell products and photoshopped images that always seem to exaggerate the size of the real bouquet. Finally, you never seem to receive exactly what was ordered. The Bouqs Co takes a different approach. All of their bouquets are priced reasonably and transparently, and many bouquet choices will indicate the exact farmer and practices used to grow the flowers. For 12 deliveries of fresh flowers to your mother, wife or partner, choose the once a month subscription service in the original size. Check out the Bouqs Co flower subscription service here, and score 12 months of brownie points in one transaction.

creme de la mer

La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream – $ 465

La Mer is legendary in the skincare world, and this cream is among the brand’s bestsellers. It’s a silky, intensely moisturizing treatment cream that results in radiant skin for even the driest, most sensitive skins. At $ 465 for 3.4 oz, it’s one of the most expensive skincare products around, but La Mer’s reputation is sure to impress Mom. Click here to check it out. Note that due to its price and cult popularity this product is often faked, so buy from a reputable dealer such as a department or beauty store.

Bottega Veneta Cosmetics Case – $ 500

With the iconic “intrecciato” design that Bottega Veneta is so famous for, this classic red cosmetic case is crafted from soft, supple leather in a size that’s comfortable to carry must-have makeup or used as a clutch for a cell phone, card case, and keys. This is a great gift for any mom who is on the go. Click here to get it.

 

Exquisite Mother’s Day Gifts Over $ 500

SMEG Retro Refrigerator

If you’re feeling extra thankful for your mother this year, consider giving her a vintage design classic that will quickly become the centerpiece of her kitchen: the SMEG refrigerator. This single-door, pull-handle icon of the 50’s is available in a range of punchy colors and prints, including the British, American, and Italian flags. The brand has even come out with a full range of counter top appliances to match. Check out the SMEG Refridgerator here, $ 1,999.

Silk-Satin Pajama Set, Olivia Van Halle, $ 525

Does your mom, wife or partner deserve something really decadent? Fine silk satin pajamas definitely fit the bill. Olivia Van Halle draws on the decadence of the 1920’s with these floaty, two piece pajamas in a bold, floral print. They are finished with mother of pearl buttons and elegant, contrasting piping. These are definitely a gift meant just to treat her. Check out Olivia Van Halle’s silk-satin pajamas here.

Freshwater Pearl Necklace, Mizuki, $ 990

While a strand of pearls is the ultimate statement of feminine class, they aren’t nearly as popular today as they were 40 years ago. Pearls don’t suit every woman’s taste, but there are many interesting variations on the pearl to choose from, including this beautiful single freshwater pearl on a simple gold chain. Simple jewelry made from real materials is more likely to stand the test of time, and this irregular necklace interprets the timeless elegance of a pearl in a modern, easy-to-wear way. Suited for the office, and evening out, or even casual attire, if a splurge is in order then this pearl necklace is a great choice. Check out the Mizuki Freshwater Pearl Necklace here.

Mauviel Cookware Set – $ 1299

Crafted in Normandy, France, Mauviel copper cookware is for the serious home chef. Renowned for its performance, this 10-piece set is designed with a three-layer construction that uses a stainless steel interior, a heat-responsive aluminum core and a .5mm copper finish that helps to evenly transfer and distribute heat. Although it’s designed for everyday use, it looks especially beautiful on display while entertaining. If your mom takes cooking seriously, this is a gift that everyone will be thankful for. Click here for it.

Classic Burberry Trench Coat – $ 1795

Despite paying homage to the military, the gabardine trench coat has become a timeless staple that looks stunning on all women. The double-breasted coat comes complete with its iconic epaulets, gun flap and a storm flap at the back. With buttons made from buffalo horn, this iconic Burberry trench doesn’t miss a beat and is instantly recognizable by the brand’s iconic check-pattern lining. Every woman should own at least one trench coat, and this is the one worth having. Click here to get it.

No one cares for you like your mother its a special relationship and its one worth cherishing

Your Mom, Wife or Partner: It is a special relationship worth cherishing

Recommended Gifts Price
Venchi Premium Gianduja Spread $
Marble Rolling Pin $
Gardener’s Tool Seat $
Shutterfly Photo Book $
Dried Lavender Wreath $
Umbra Aquala Bamboo Bathtub Caddy $
Bath Bombs Gift Set $
AHAVA Dead Sea Mineral Bath Salt $
L’Occitane Shea Butter Ultra Rich Foaming Bath $
Unbreakable Stemless Wine Glasses $
Counting Sheep Coffee $
Spring Alpaca Scarf, Fort Belvedere $
Metallic Loafer by Sam Edelman $ $
Texture App $ $
JBL Under Armour Wireless Headphones $ $
Tiffany Charm Bracelet $ $
A Case of Rose Wine $ $
Missoni Printed Silk Scarf $ $
Illesteva Round Sunglasses $ $ $
Jonathan Adler Futura Feathers Vase $ $ $
Classic Tote Bag, Kate Spade $ $ $
Maria Tash Earrings $ $ $
Monthly Flower Delivery Subscription, The Bouqs Co. $ $ $
La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream $ $ $
Bottega Veneta Cosmetics Case $ $ $
Silk-Satin Pajama Set, Olivia Van Halle $ $ $
Freshwater Pearl Necklace, Mizuki $ $ $
Mauviel Cookware Set $ $ $
Classic Burberry Trench Coat $ $ $

CONCLUSION

Even if your mom says she doesn’t want or need a gift this Mother’s Day, it never hurts to show her how much you care and how much she means to you. What gifts do you recommend for Mother’s Day? Be sure to stay tuned for our upcoming Father’s Day Gift Guide featuring some incredible gadgets, accessories and even a new supercar that’s sure to turn some heads.


Gentleman’s Gazette

MEN FASHION DEAL UPDATE:

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A local’s guide to Nice, France: 10 top tips

The once-sleepy grande dame of the Côte d’Azur is now its vibrant artistic hub, with cool new bars, restaurants and galleries enlivening its classic sights

Nice is booming, despite and in defiance of the terrorist attack that shattered the Bastille Day celebrations here less than two years ago. Irina Brook, daughter of legendary director Peter Brook, who runs the prestigious Théâtre National de Nice, reveals her favourite art venues, restaurants and bars.

Continue reading…
Travel | The Guardian

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Pockets in Menswear: The Complete Guide

One of the things that a gentleman eventually notices and appreciates when wearing tailored clothes is just how many pockets a suit or sport coat has.

Pockets, whether on a jacket or other article of clothing, are a key but often overlooked practical feature in clothing. In this article we will explore the range of pockets that appear in classic menswear.

A Brief History of the Pocket

From prehistory all the way up until the 17th century, what we consider to be a pocket–pouches sewn into clothing–did not exist. Instead, some sort of external purse or tie-on pouch, usually in the form of a belt, was the norm to carry money and other small items. In fact, the celebrated Bronze Age “iceman,” Ötzi, was discovered with just such a belt pouch.

A sculpted life-size rendition of Ötzi the Iceman wearing his belt pouch, also visible in its original state at right.

A sculpted life-size rendition of Ötzi the Iceman wearing his belt pouch, also visible in its original state at right.

A disadvantage of this was that when you were carrying valuables, their visible presence furnished a temptation to thieves and literal “cut-purses.” So, the solution was to hide the items below layers of clothing, first in the form of pouches accessed via slits in one’s outer garments and then, at least in menswear, through the creation of the contemporary covered pocket sewn into the lining. Interestingly, women’s clothes rarely if ever contained pockets, and even to this day, women’s dresses tend not to have them, so women often find themselves needing a purse to carry necessities. The discrepancy between gendered clothing was so important that a part of the women’s rights and suffrage movements was a push for women’s garments to contain pockets for their practicality. However, the differences mostly still remain.

Early 19th century French fashion illustrations emphasizing pockets in menswear.

Early 19th-century French fashion illustrations emphasizing pockets in menswear, including the, ahem, interesting placement of the second one

Jacket Pockets

Though pants pockets are more widely used, when it comes to actually talking about pockets in menswear, suit jackets and sports coats get most of the attention, probably because of their interesting variety. In a nutshell, there are three main forms of external pockets on jackets in order of increasing formality: patch, flap, and jetted.

1. Patch Pockets

Patch pockets are common on sport coats like this one from Pini Parma.

Patch pockets are common on sport coats like this one from Pini Parma.

The patch pocket is in a sense the most “primitive” as its construction is also the most basic: a patch made of the same material as the jacket itself is simply stitched onto the surface. It is the least hidden of the pocket types, as it, as well as the contents it contains, rests above the garment surface; in this way, it has something in common with early external pouches. The patch pocket is seen as casual because its construction is highly visible, so it appears primarily on sport coats. If it appears on a suit, the suit is immediately rendered casual rather than appropriate for business wear; on the other hand, you could also likely split the suit and wear the top as an odd jacket.

Because they are spacious and wide opening at the top, patch pockets invite you to stick your hands in them for casual loafing. They also invite you to toss things into them; however, if patch pockets are laden with heavy items, even keys or a large mobile phone, they can sag, creating a sloppy appearance and permanently warping their appearance, even when they are empty. Pressing the pocket with an iron can help with this, but the best approach is prevention: use these pockets only for light items. Despite having some shortcomings, I personally prefer patch pockets on my sport coats for their relaxed appearance and what I consider a cleaner look than flap pockets.

Oatmeal tweed jacket

Finally, on occasion, you will come across a blended pocket, such as this patch pocket with a flap, which steps up the formality of the pocket slightly above a plain patch pocket.

Green jacket, camel doeskin vest, striped woll tie, small checked shirt, blue cornflower bz Fort Belvedere

Sven Raphael Schneider wearing a green jacket with flap pockets paired with a camel doeskin vest, a striped wool tie, small checked shirt, and a blue cornflower by Fort Belvedere

2. Flap Pockets

Next in formality is the flap pocket. This differs from the patch pocket because the pouch exists beneath the surface of the jacket and is covered with a flap made from the same material as the jacket itself. This was originally supposed to keep debris from getting into jacket pockets when worn in the country. Flap pockets occupy a sort of middle ground in terms of formality: they are the main choice for business suits, but they can also appear on sport coats as a testament to their casual origins.

Definitely a fashion faux pas - your tie should never peek out from under your jacket

Oops, both pocket flaps should be untucked (and don’t let your tie peek out from under your jacket either)

Because it is soft, the flap often ends up tucked inside the pocket, which can look sloppy if you have one tucked in and one not.

An example of jetted pockets on a summer sport coat

An example of jetted pockets on a summer sport coat

3. Jetted Pockets

Sometimes, men will comment that they prefer to leave the flaps on their pockets tucked in, and, actually, flap pockets were originally intended to be worn this way; the flaps were only taken out if they were necessary to keep rain or debris from getting in. Essentially, a tucked in flap creates impromptu jetted pockets for a cleaner, more polished silhouette. These are the most formal pocket style, appearing on evening wear and formal morning dress alike, though they can also appear on suits and even on sport coats. Their appropriateness for formal clothing, however, lies in their streamlined appearance, since all you see of the pocket is a slit. Jetted pockets are also referred to as besom pockets or welted pockets; the term “welted” refers to the reinforced edges (welts) of the slit, which are partially decorative and partially practical support.

Horizontal ticket pockets compared to angled ticket pockets on a three-button tweed  hacking jacket.

Horizontal ticket pockets compared to angled ticket pockets on a three-button tweed  hacking jacket.

4. The Ticket Pocket

Usually, the discussion of jacket pockets–and of menswear pockets in general–ends here. However, this omits a great number of others that are present on jackets. The ticket pocket, for example, is a third pocket that appears on the lower quarters of a jacket, above the main right pocket. This is because the wearer is assumed by default to be right-handed and would reach into it with his dominant hand. Lefties have to go bespoke or made to measure for the same convenience. The ticket pocket is most commonly flapped and slightly smaller than the pocket below it, though jetted versions exist. The name hints at its original purpose as a feature for train travel: a gentleman traveling to the country would carry his ticket in it, which is also why it technically should be a feature on British country-style jackets, such as tweeds, rather than those intended to be worn for business. When it appears on three-button hacking jackets, the ticket pocket, and indeed, all the flap pockets, may be cut on an upward sloping diagonal; this makes it easier to access the pockets while on horseback, further reinforcing their country associations.

A Neapolitan barchetta pocket and a patch breast pocket.

A Neapolitan Barchetta pocket and a patch breast pocket.

5. The Breast Pocket

The common chest or breast pocket is welted, having a visible edge. A variant that displays a dash of rakish sprezzatura is the barchetta (little boat) pocket of classic Neapolitan tailoring, with welting that is curved like the shape of a boat. In the days before tissues, handkerchiefs had a very real use, and putting them in the breast pocket kept them separate from the potentially dirty objects one carried in the main pockets of a jacket. Today, the hankie or pocket square is largely ornamental, and what better place to display one than the upper chest, where it also can visibly coordinate with a tie? Choose a pocket square that isn’t too bulky, as large ones will make your pocket bulge and thereby break the clean line of your left lapel.

The left lapel line is often "broken" if the pockets on that side of the jacket are filled.

The left lapel line is often “broken” if the pockets on that side of the jacket are filled.

Interestingly, women’s jackets often omit the breast pocket though they are omnipresent in menswear.

In the realm of less casual tailored jackets, you may find a patch breast pocket instead of the usual welted version. This will always appear in conjunction with other patch pockets on the jacket, never with flap or jetted ones. In field jackets or safari jackets, which are even more casual, you are likely to find a hybrid pocket–a patch pocket with flaps. These feature larger, thicker flaps than what you see on tailored jackets or a flap that buttons or snaps down, making them more functional than the fairly ornamental ones on suits. In these sorts of jackets, which are really the upper-body equivalent of cargo pants, the more pockets the better, so you’ll generally have a pair of chest pockets instead of only one. However, it is worth remembering the principle that with classic menswear simple and minimalist usually means greater formality, so an emphasis on pockets is a clear sign of casual dress.

 A field jacket and Cucinelli safari jacket. Notice that the bottom pockets are flap but not patch pockets while the top pockets are hybrid flapped patch pockets.

A field jacket and Cucinelli safari jacket. Notice that the bottom pockets are flap but not patch pockets while the top pockets are hybrid flapped patch pockets.

6. Inside Pockets

Probably the most useful pockets on a tailored jacket are the inner ones though they aren’t often talked about. They may not be a sexy topic, but it’s worth “looking under the hood” at the inside pockets as part of your off-the-rack purchasing decision. Most sport coats and suit jackets will only have two, one on each side. This is enough to carry a coat or breast wallet on one side (the left side if you’re right-handed) and your phone on the other. You don’t necessarily want to add many more things on the right side due to the bulk; this is especially important since the wallet goes on the same side where there is already a pocket square. Popular options for additional ”everyday carry” in the other pocket are a cell phone, a small notebook and pen for notes, lists and ruminations, or even a flask of booze. If you’re lucky enough to have additional pockets, you can use them for other things, like your vehicle key fob, mints, a cigar, or the aforementioned notepad.

Rounded corners on a wallet minimize wear

Rounded corners on our Fort Belvedere wallet minimize wear and help them slide cleanly into a jacket pocket

Something to remember about jacket pockets, however, is that no matter how many of them you have, if you want to maintain a sleek silhouette, so you don’t really want to load up the pockets. A large set of house/office keys and a fistful of loose coins go better in an overcoat, portfolio or briefcase so as not to create unsightly lumps that deform the appearance of the jacket. Keep to smallish, light items, for which you’ll find the inner (and outer) pockets of a jacket incredibly useful.
Half lining, Pen Pocket, Sunglass or phone pocket and white piping on the inside

Half lined jacket with a pen pocket, a wallet pocket, and a bonus pocket for sunglasses or a phone

Pants Pockets

Most people have a basic sense that their trousers have two pockets, one on each side. However, those who have had custom trousers made will be more aware of the surprisingly large range of pocket options available on a pair of pants.

1. Slant Pockets

Typical slant pockets on an atypical pair of Neapolitan-style pants.

Typical slant pockets on an atypical pair of Neapolitan-style pants.

By far, the most common side pockets on trousers are slant pockets. As the name implies, these are cut on an angle, enabling the wearer to slide his hands into them easily.

 

Sean Connery as James Bond, wearing trousers with vertical pockets.

Sean Connery as James Bond, wearing trousers with vertical pockets.

2. Vertical Pockets

However, as is often the case for aficionados of men’s style, something beyond the ordinary is more desirable.  This can be achieved through choosing pants with vertical pockets that run straight up the side seams. These can make the front rise of your trousers look clean because there is no pocket line intersecting it. Alternatively, if you are wearing pleated pants, a vertical slit will run perpendicular to the pleats. Such pockets are frankly not easy to find, but they are an option on custom trousers from some brands.

 

Frogmouth pockets are rare these days.

Frogmouth pockets are rare these days.

3. Frogmouth Pockets

Another possibility is the frog-mouth pocket, named for its supposed resemblance to the mouth of a frog. In the sense that these are oriented horizontally across the front of the trouser, they are the opposite of the vertical slit pocket. As such, they also really make the pockets a visible feature of the pants. To me, they have an equestrian vibe,  and they enable you to pose with your fingers tucked into them while keeping your thumbs out. Frogmouth pockets go with flat-front trousers as they would interfere with pleats.

Raw denim

Jeans typically still feature a coin pocket

4. The Coin Pocket

If you’ve owned a pair of jeans, you are likely familiar with the coin pocket, a small, seemingly useless pocket that nests inside the larger one on the right front. Originally, it was developed by Levi-Strauss to enable men to carry their pocket watches while wearing denim. Today, in the era of wristwatches, this pocket has become vestigial, something more for a traditional aesthetic than any real function, though some men store things like coins, mints, or a condom in it. Along with the two front and two back pockets, the coin pocket is responsible for the term “five-pocket pants.”However, coin pockets can appear in pants that are more formal than jeans too, such as summer chinos, usually in conjunction with regular slant pockets.

Some of the rear pocket options on custom made-to-measure trousers from Luxire.

Some of the rear pocket options on custom made-to-measure trousers from Luxire.

 

5. Back Pockets

Surprisingly enough, the variety of rear pocket options on pants exceeds even the possibilities of the front. You may have no pockets at all, one pocket or two, buttons or no buttons, flaps or simple welts–quite a bit of choice for something with minimal usefulness. Sure, you can put something in those rear pockets, but nothing much if you plan to do any comfortable sitting. As with most clothing design features, simpler means more formal, so dress pants would normally just have plain jetted rear pockets, perhaps with buttons. Once flaps enter the picture, the trouser becomes more casual. Rear patch pockets (again, think jeans) are especially casual.

Brooks Brothers St Andrews Links Golf Pants

Brooks Brothers St Andrews Links Golf Pants

As with jacket pockets, caution is urged in putting things in your trouser pockets. Sure, it’s practical to load your pockets up, but nothing ruins the appearance of dress pants more than being able to see a large wallet or iPhone through the fabric. Take it from a guy who used to carry a massive boar-bristle brush in his front pocket as a teenager: if you have any consideration for style, stay light and limit your pocket contents to small items, like a loose cash, credit cards, or a couple of keys.

Shirt Pockets

When considering shirts with pockets, we are usually in the world of casual: single-pocket polos or two-pocket Western shirts. But in the realm of tailored style, one thing comes to mind: the Oxford cloth button-down or OCBD, which bears a single chest pocket on the left side. Unfortunately, shirts with a patch chest pocket have become associated in the popular imagination with nerds wearing pocket protectors or, at best, absent-minded and stylistically challenged science teachers. However, connoisseurs of classic style understand the true appeal of the OCBD: it’s ability to be casual yet easily wearable with tailoring at the same time. Part of its casual heritage is the presence of the pocket, so purists will avoid OCBDs that don’t have it. Generally, nothing is put in this pocket, certainly not a pen, unless you want to risk leakage or are willing to go the pocket-protector route.

The chest pocket is a traditional OCBD feature.

The chest pocket is a traditional OCBD feature.

Conclusion

Pockets are something we use every time wear clothes, yet, rarely do we think about them in terms of their appearance, variations and history. Pockets are not only functional but can have a stylistic impact depending on how they are cut and whether they are present. In fact, they are also major earmarks revealing the formality or casualness of a particular garment. Are pockets meaningful in your style? What do you put in yours? Do you have advice to share on pockets? Tell us in the comments section below.


Gentleman’s Gazette

MEN FASHION DEAL UPDATE:

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Mother’s Day 2017 Gift Guide

It’s that time of year again: Mother’s Day is coming up, and the pressure is on for you to find a thoughtful gift for your mother, wife, or partner. 

To make your life a little easier, here is a list of ideas to consider for Mother’s Day. At the bottom of the article, we’ve added a list that includes all the ideas from the last few years for your reference.

Venchi Premium Gianduja Hazelnut Spread

Venchi Premium Gianduja Hazelnut Spread

Venchi Premium Gianduja Spread, $ 16.80

Is your Mom, wife or partner a chocolate lover? Then surely, they’ve heard of (and enjoyed!) Nutella, the ubiquitous hazelnut chocolate spread that can be found in most supermarkets around the world. What you may not know is the Nutella is a branded, low-end version of Gianduja (also spelled as Gianduia), a combination of chocolate and about 30% hazelnut paste that was invented in northern Italy more than 200 years ago. Famed for the quality of its hazelnuts, real Gianduja from the Piedmontese trees bears little resemblance to mass produced Nutella, which contains large amounts of sugar, palm oil, and only about 12% hazelnuts. For a chocolate lover, buy her this premium Gianduja spread from Venchi that contains 37% IGP Piedmontese hazelnuts and olive oil.

Marble Rolling Pin

Marble Rolling Pin

Marble Rolling Pin, $ 17

If the woman in your life is a baker, then she will love owning a marble rolling pin. It may seem over the top to create a marble rolling pin, but it’s highly functional as well as beautiful. Marble stays cool even in a hot kitchen, so it is the ideal tool for rolling out doughs that need to remain chilled. It’s a simple, inexpensive gift that will delight the home baker in your life. Check out the Marble Rolling Pin here.

Spring Alpaca Scarf, Fort Belvedere, $ 95

In the spring, there may still be times the woman in your life still needs a scarf for warmth, and also for decoration. Like many men’s scarves out there, the problem of high prices for cheap, synthetic fibers persists. Not so with this fresh, spring-weight scarf from Fort Belvedere in a white and green shepherd’s check. Alpaca is one of the best insulating natural fibers available, so she will look ready for spring while she stays warm. The looser weave of this scarf makes it well suited to the changing seasons. Check out the Fort Belvedere White & Green Shepherd’s Check Scarf here.

Sam Edelman Gold Filly Loafer

Sam Edelman Gold Filly Loafer

Metallic Loafer by Sam Edelman, $ 100

Mother’s Day coincides with the spring season when wardrobe colors are becoming brighter and fresher. Treat your mom, wife or partner to a shoe classic that most men can appreciate as a spring favorite – the loafer. For her, choose a metallic leather in gold for maximum versatility with her wardrobe. Finally, don’t worry about spending a pile of cash on loafers; their simplified construction and metallic finish aren’t intended to last for more than a couple seasons, so $ 100 is a great price point for this particular shoe. Check out the Sam Edelman Filly Loafer here.

Texture App

Texture App

Texture App, $ 120-180 per year

For the magazine or periodical junkie, consider gifting her the Texture App this Mother’s Day. Numerous magazine subscriptions can quickly add up in cost, and they lack the convenience of being digitally accessible anywhere. Texture gives you access to 200+ publications, ranging from sports to gardening and travel to home improvement, in a single app that costs $ 9.99/month for the standard subscription and $ 14.99/month for the version that contains weekly periodicals as well. Though reviewers have noted some difficulties reading the text on smaller screens, the concept is a great one for voracious readers.

Cameron Street Tote Kate Spade

Cameron Street Tote Kate Spade

Classic Tote Bag, Kate Spade, $ 298

Moms schlepp around a lot of stuff on a daily basis, but they don’t have to do it without a dash of style. A classic tote bag will stand the test of time style-wise, and the coated saffiano leather will resist marking and tearing much better than a softer leather. Check out the Kate Spade Cameron Street Lucie tote here.

Bouqs Flowers

The Bouqs Co. Flowers

Monthly Flower Delivery Subscription, The Bouqs Co., $ 432

Fed up with traditional flower delivery services? Many of the big players feature hard to navigate websites, cheesy upsell products and photoshopped images that always seem to exaggerate the size of the real bouquet. Finally, you never seem to receive exactly what was ordered. The Bouqs Co takes a different approach. All of their bouquets are priced reasonably and transparently, and many bouquet choices will indicate the exact farmer and practices used to grow the flowers. For 12 deliveries of fresh flowers to your mother, wife or partner, choose the once a month subscription service in the original size. Check out the Bouqs Co flower subscription service here, and score 12 months of brownie points in one transaction.

Silk satin pajamas

Silk satin pajamas

Silk-Satin Pajama Set, Olivia Van Halle, $ 525

Does your mom, wife or partner deserve something really decadent? Fine silk satin pajamas definitely fit the bill. Olivia Van Halle draws on the decadence of the 1920’s with these floaty, two piece pajamas in a bold, floral print. They are finished with mother of pearl buttons and elegant, contrasting piping. These are definitely a gift meant just to treat her. Check out Olivia Van Halle’s silk-satin pajamas here.

Mizuki Irregular Freshwater Pearl Necklace

Mizuki Irregular Freshwater Pearl Necklace

Freshwater Pearl Necklace, Mizuki, $ 990

While a strand of pearls is the ultimate statement of feminine class, they aren’t nearly as popular today as they were 40 years ago. Pearls don’t suit every woman’s taste, but there are many interesting variations on the pearl to choose from, including this beautiful single freshwater pearl on a simple gold chain. Simple jewelry made from real materials is more likely to stand the test of time, and this irregular necklace interprets the timeless elegance of a pearl in a modern, easy-to-wear way. Suited for the office, and evening out, or even casual attire, if a splurge is in order then this pearl necklace is a great choice. Check out the Mizuki Freshwater Pearl Necklace here.

 


Gentleman’s Gazette

MEN FASHION DEAL UPDATE:

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Lactic acid for skin: The complete guide for beginners

When it comes to skincare, not all acid exfoliators are equal…

lactic acid for skin

Like many other chemical exfoliants, lactic acid is an increasingly popular skincare ingredient in many a beauty lover’s regime.

Like glycolic acid, it’s an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), however, it’s far more moisturising to the skin than glycolic, and less likely to cause irritation. It’s therefore an excellent choice for more sensitive complexions.

Naturally present in milk, lactic acid has a larger structure than glycolic acid, and doesn’t affect the thickness of your skin (not that that means you can skip using your best SPF moisturiser in the morning).

Unlike salicylic acid, beta-hydroxy acid that penetrates deep into your pores, AHA sloughs off dead skin cells leaving a more radiant, smooth complexion underneath.

Lactic acid peel

Max-strength chemical peels are performed by a professional, but it’s possible to buy slightly weaker AHA peels you can perform in the comfort of your own home. Kate Somerville’s Exfolikate Treatment, for example, is a mega tingling formula that sloughs all the dead skin cells from your face, leaving you positively glowing.

Don’t fancy the fuss of applying a peel and sitting around waiting for it to do its thing? Peel pads, like those made by Skyn Iceland are an easy way to exfoliate fuss-free both morning and night.

Lactic acid serum and cream

These are leave-on formulas enirched with AHA exfoliating prowess; for example, Sunday Riley’s Good Genes serum can be left on overnight to smooth out the skin, or a thicker layer can be applied as a 10-15 minute wash-off treatment.

Similarly, lactic acid cream gently resurfaces the skin while you moisturise for a smoother finish to your complexion over time. If you have sensitive skin, higher concentrations of lactic acid may still cause your skin to become irritated, so always do a product patch test beforehand.

Keep scrolling for team Marie Claire‘s top five favourite lactic acid skincare products you can shop now. Happy peeling!

The post Lactic acid for skin: The complete guide for beginners appeared first on Marie Claire.

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A local’s guide to Chicago: 10 top tips

The city’s bars and music scene are among the most vibrant in the US. And with Lake Michigan beaches to relax on and two new budget flights from the UK, now is the time to go

Traditionally overshadowed by coastal powerhouses New York City and Los Angeles, Chicago is on the rise, with a record 55 million visitors in 2017 – and new direct flights from the UK with Norwegian and Wow making the US’s third-largest city more accessible. While visitors tend to congregate around the downtown and lakefront areas to admire the city’s world-renowned architecture, there’s a thriving music and bar scene that shouldn’t be missed.

Continue reading…
Travel | The Guardian

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Curly hair types – the definitive guide to textured hair

It’s time to get a good understanding of your curls, once and for all

curly hair types

If you were blessed with curls atop your head, styling your hair can feel like a constant game of trial and error. Not anymore: enter our guide to all of the the different curly hair types out there.

Broadly speaking, curls may be wavy, curly or coily, each broken down into three sub types. We spoke to Lizzie (?), founder of Only Curls, for a more comprehensive break down of the different types of curly hair.

Armed with this guide to curly hair types and the right curly hair products, you’ll be the master of your hair’s texture in no time. Because who said straight-haired people should have it so easy?

Curly hair type 2: Wavy

‘Wavy hair lies somewhere between straight and curly in loose S shapes,’ explains Lizzie. ‘It has less sheen than straight hair and is more prone to frizz.

‘It needs some extra hydration, but not too much as it’ll quickly weigh the hair down – avoid heavy leave-in conditioners and creams; a styling gel or mousse works well for enhancing and holding gorgeous waves.’

(You guessed it – we’ve jumped straight in with type 2 because type 1 is reserved for straight hair.)

Type 2A

Curly hair types 2A Sienna Miller

‘These are tousled, beachy waves that sit close to the head, with little volume.’

Type 2B

Curly Hair Types 2B Salma Hayek

‘These waves are more defined, but begin a few inches down from the root with slight volume.’

Type 2C

Curly Hair Types 2C Shakira

‘Waves begin at the root with a much more defined “S” shape throughout the hair, with more body and volume. Hair texture is usually varied, with some true curls in the mix.’

Curly hair type 3: Curly

‘Curly hair strands clump together and wind around in a spiral shape, forming ringlets,’ says Lizzie. ‘This hair type can be dry, as the natural oil from the root struggles to make its way down the spiral strands; I recommend using one of the best sulphate free shampoos to avoid stripping the hair of its natural moisture.

‘Curly hair should be brushed when wet, as combing or brushing dry curls will break them up and cause frizz. Curl creme and gel can be used to enhance and maintain curl definition.’

Type 3A

Curly Hair Types 3A Jess Glynne

‘These are defined loops about the size and width of the cork from a wine bottle.’

Type 3B

Curly hair types 3B Ella Eyre

‘Springy ringlets about the size of your index finger, but with more volume than 3a curls.’

Type 3C

Curly Hair Types 3C Fleur East

‘These are tight, corkscrew curls about the circumference of a straw with lots of volume.’

Curly hair type 4: Coily

‘Coily or kinky curls range from a very tightly coiled S-shape to a Z-shape kinky pattern. The hair an appear shorter than it actually is due to the tightness of the curl, known as shrinkage, and can feel soft and fine or coarse and wiry depending on the hair thickness.

Type 4 curls are prone to breakage, dryness and tangles – lots of hydrating products, oils and deep conditioning treatments are required to avoid this.

Type 4A

Curly Hair Types 4A Amandla Stenberg

‘Tightly coiled, S-shaped corkscrews about the size of a crochet needle, the coils are compact and dense but a visible curl pattern.’

Type 4B

Curly hair types 4B Solange

‘Bends in angles into a Z-shaped, less defined pattern. 4B curls are very tightly coiled, a bit like the spring in a pen.’

Type 4C

curly hair types 4C Lupita Nyongo

‘The tightest of the curly hair types, these are shaped like 4B curls, but are tighter and denser due to shrinkage.’

Consider yourself now an expert in curls…

The post Curly hair types – the definitive guide to textured hair appeared first on Marie Claire.

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Resort Attire: Resort Casual & Resort Evening Dress Code Guide

Resort attire or resort wear is a dress code that is established around the globe. It’s even the basis for an annual collection of couture fashion designers who focus just on this segment because a lot of people want to look stylish even when they relax.

You’ll most likely find it in the country clubs or nice resorts or hotels that want to make sure that guests don’t show up in board shorts for dinner. Sometimes, the dress code resort wear can be ambiguous because different hotels or resorts define it differently. As a rule of thumb, keep in mind, the more posh or upscale an establishment is, the more formal the dress code is likely going to be.

Lake Austin Spa Resort

Lake Austin Spa Resort

What Exactly Is Resort Wear Or Resort Attire?

It indicates that a certain degree of formality is required even though you’re in a warmer climate. At the same time, it means that a dark suit or tuxedo would be inappropriate because it would be over-the-top.

What Not To Wear

Board shorts on men should only be used at the beach

Board shorts on men should only be used at the beach

  • Athletic attire of any kind is always inappropriate. Your gym shorts, your t-shirts are not appropriate.
  • No track pants, no sweatpants, no joggers and no workout shorts.

  • Avoid wearing t-shirts or tank tops and always make sure your shirts have some kind of a collar such as a polo shirt with short sleeves or long sleeves or a dress shirt.
  • It also means don’t wear shower slides, flip-flops or sandals unless you’re specifically at the beach or by the pool area.

  • You definitely want to avoid any type of tennis shoes or trainers. When it comes to sneakers, always be cautious and rather err on the side of formality. Meaning a nice leather dress shoe in tan, maybe some suede in colors such as green, even dark brown. Definitely stay clear of black because that would be too formal.
  • In some establishment, golf khakis or slacks with polo shirt are acceptable. In others, they aren’t so it pays to specifically ask or figure out what the proper dress code at your venue is.
  • It goes without saying that your clothing shouldn’t have any holes or tears and also stay clear of any type of shorts for evening activities.
  • Skip vests or any other heavy layers.
  • Cufflinks are maybe a little over the top. A simple barrel cuff will do just fine.

Resort Casual Daywear

The first thing that probably comes to mind is the Hawaiian shirt. I’ve been to Hawaii recently and I hardly saw anybody wearing Hawaiian shirts. So they’re out there, they exist. They can be appropriate if you’re in the mood for it, go for it, but it’s definitely not something you have to have and sometimes it can also look a bit cheesy.

White Bucks with Seersucker and green Fort Belvedere shoelaces

White Bucks with Seersucker and green Fort Belvedere shoelaces

So in terms of slacks, you can go with linen pants or cotton pants. Things like seersucker is totally fine and you can also go with shorts as long as they are longer and made of cotton or linen or other interesting materials.

At the same time, skip any kind of swim trunks or board shorts because that would be too informal.

Ribbed Polo Shirt Collar

Ribbed Polo Shirt Collar

A polo shirt is just fine during the day, a t-shirt maybe a little too informal but if you’re at the beach or in the vicinity, that’s okay too. I say jackets are over-the-top and if you’re at a resort during offseason, you may want to have a thin sweater or something that keeps you at the ideal temperature. If you wear a lot of solid polo shirts, it can be interesting to mix it up a bit with patterned shorts. You could go with stripes, maybe dots, or classic patterns such as seersucker, checks or Madras. During the day, definitely stay clear of any form of jacket that would be over the top.

Beautiful summer madras shorts

Beautiful summer madras shorts

In terms of shoes, you can wear driving mocs, maybe boat shoes. If you’re at the beach and you go from your room to the pool, flip-flops are just fine. Otherwise, if you’re at the lobby or the restaurant, flip-flops would not quite be appropriate.

Sperry TopSider Boat Shoes

Sperry TopSider Boat Shoes

Also, wearing ties or bow ties is over-the-top so leave them in your room and save them for the evening.

Resort Evening Wear

khaki pants or off-white pants and spectators

khaki pants or off-white pants and spectators

It means typically long sleeves, long pants, no shorts. It also requires closed toed shoes which can be derbies or oxfords in brown tones or tans. You can also be a little more playful, maybe you want to go with a pair of spectators, or maybe some white shoes; something that is more summery and more associated with tropics. Stay clear of black shoes even in the evening because it’s not quite suited to the tropics.

Sven Raphael Schneider wearing fresco, madras tie, chinos and cognac shoes

Sven Raphael Schneider wearing fresco, madras tie, chinos and cognac shoes

A jacket is not mandatory but definitely a good idea. Personally, I always like it because in the evening, it can get a little cooler and it’s also much more elegant and stylish. A navy blazer is very versatile and you can wear it. I think a cotton jacket with a slight check, maybe a fresco jacket in a lighter color is preferable. If you want to, you can wear a seersucker suit but in general, I’d stay clear of suits and rather go with combinations.

I suggest you match your belt with your shoes and if you want to, you can go with bolder colors in certain elements of your outfit because the resort is fun, it’s casual and it’s not business.

When it comes to accessories, you can be a little more playful as well. You can have madras patterns, maybe grenadine, maybe knit, something with a little more texture. Maybe you go with a bow tie just something that is unusual and not necessarily something you would wear with a three-piece business suit.

Of course, if you prefer, you don’t have to wear neckwear at all but if you wear a jacket, I suggest you go at least with a pocket square because it just elevates the look and makes you more stylish.

If you don’t want to wear over the calf socks, consider no-show socks. They prevent your feet from sweating in your shoes and it’ll also help to prevent any kind of blisters.

For shirts, you can opt for dress shirts with an open weave or alternatively if you like it more casual, you can go with long sleeved polo shirts just make sure they have a nice color and not those typical flimsy ones.

What’s your go-to resort attire? Share your favorite outfit combinations below!


Gentleman’s Gazette

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A local’s guide to Australia’s Gold Coast: 10 top tips

As the Commonwealth Games get under way in this sunny Queensland city, an insider offers tips on what to see and do – and where to eat and drink – away from the sporting action

Hugging Queensland’s southeast coast for a whopping 70km, the City of the Gold Coast extends far beyond the borders of Surfers Paradise, its hedonistic heart. Once renowned for its tackiness, the “Goldie” has, ahead of the Commonwealth Games, attained a level of sophistication few expected of the city that birthed gold lamé bikini-clad Meter Maids. A raft of swanky new hotels, including The Darling, opened last month, the ongoing refurbishment of Hota, the city’s premier arts hub, and revamped dining and nightlife scenes are among the highlights of a multibillion-dollar facelift. Despite this flurry of development, the vibe remains relaxed. With few must-sees beyond its dazzling beaches, the Gold Coast is a city best explored through your taste buds – one seaside suburb at a time.

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Travel | The Guardian

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A Handy Guide to the References and Easter Eggs in Ready Player One

Most of the time, Easter eggs—the kind you find in a video game or Marvel movie, not the ones painted in dainty pastels—are just a diversion. In Ready Player One, they’re the main event. The new movie from Steven Spielberg, adapted from Ernest Cline’s award-winning 2011 novel, takes place in 2045, when a decreasingly habitable real world has driven its inhabitants to spend much of their time in a virtual reality alternative called the OASIS. After his death, its creator James Halliday (Mark Rylance) leaves a message that whoever finds the Easter egg he’s hidden inside this vast simulated world will inherit the keys to his kingdom. Cue the efforts of Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) and friends, whose quest to find the egg before an evil corporate competitor (Ben Mendelsohn) propels the movie’s action.

Ready Player One isn’t just about an Easter egg, though — it’s full of them. So many, in fact, that it would require pausing the movie at every frame with a 1980s nerd-culture savant on your shoulder to find them all. (Once it’s streaming, we don’t doubt that many will try.) Some, like the gargantuan King Kong that leaps from the OASIS’ Empire State Building, are easy enough to spot. Others require an eagle eye and perhaps a refresher of that old VHS collection.

Below, find a guide to some of the most notable references and Easter Eggs in Ready Player One.

MORE: Steven Spielberg on the Glories and Limits of Nostalgia in Ready Player One

Superman, Batman, Joker, Harley Quinn and Wonder Woman

Batman is the first of the DC Comics superheroes seen in Ready Player One, when Wade is giving the audience a tour of the limitless possibilities inside the OASIS. One of them: climb Mt. Everest with Batman. Superman is invoked several times, once when Wade and Art3mis (Olivia Cooke) quote Lex Luthor, and again when Wade puts on Clark Kent glasses to hide his identity. The Joker and Harley Quinn can be spotted among the many crowds of avatars the populate the OASIS. And Wade’s best friend Aech (Lena Waithe), known as Helen in the real world, has a Wonder Woman patch on her jacket.

According to Screenrant, these rights were likely among the easiest to secure, since Warner Bros., which distributed Ready Player One, owns DC Entertainment.

Back to the Future

Inside the OASIS, Wade’s avatar Parzival drives a DeLorean, just like the one used to travel back to the future in the 1985 Robert Zemeckis film (which Spielberg executive produced). Later, Art3mis teases Parzival, calling him McFly, a reference to Michael J. Fox’s character Marty McFly. In a pivotal scene, Parzival uses a “Zemeckis cube,” which looks like a Rubik’s Cube but can be used to turn back time 60 seconds.

King Kong

During the race for the first of Halliday’s three keys, Wade and the other competing avatars must dodge a number of obstacles. The worst of them is a fierce King Kong, swinging from the Empire State Building and making the challenge nearly impossible. (This one’s hard to miss, no matter your literacy in nerd culture.)

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Spielberg has said that he didn’t want the movie to be full of references to his own filmography, but a few made it in. At the end of the movie, we get a glimpse into Halliday’s childhood bedroom. On the wall is a poster for the 1981 Indiana Jones movie (along with posters for Rush and Pacman). There’s also a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it gremlin in the final battle (Spielberg executive-produced that movie) and a giant T-rex in the race scene, which doesn’t appear to be directly out of Jurassic Park—but it does conjure thoughts of that movie.

The Iron Giant

Aech’s workshop is replete with references, many of which are barely visible to the naked eye. The most glaring of them is a model of the Iron Giant, from the 1999 Warner Bros.-produced movie of the same name. (The friendly robot also makes a pivotal appearance during Ready Player One‘s climax.) In a conversation with production designer Adam Stockhausen, Entertainment Weekly identified a plethora of other Easter Eggs in this scene, including: the Winnebago from Spaceballs, a device from the animated series Exosquad, a starfighter from Battlestar Galactica, a droid from RoboCop, the Ferrari from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, a Thunderfighter from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, the Swordfish II from the show Cowboy Bebop and the EVA pod from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Buckaroo Banzai

While preparing for a date with Art3mis in the OASIS, Parzival tries on several outfits, settling on a tribute to Buckaroo Banzai, the protagonist of the 1984 sci-fi film The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. Banzai, a brain surgeon-slash-rock star who fights alien invaders, turns out to be a good choice to impress Art3mis. Aech’s bedroom, where Parzival is trying on outfits, has posters from the 1980s movies Mad Max and The Beastmaster, and Parzival does the dance from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video while getting dressed.

Space Invaders

Halliday wears a t-shirt that pays tribute to Space Invaders, the arcade game released in 1978. It’s one of many video games made for Atari (the 1980 version was made for Atari 2600) that are referenced in the film. Others include Swordquest, Atari Adventure and Centipede.

Last Action Hero

In the race sequence early in the film, the words “Jack Slater” appear on a marquis. Slater is the name of the fictional character played by Arnold Schwarznegger in the 1993 action-comedy Last Action Hero, directed by John McTiernan. Later, when the characters are trying to get Halliday’s second key, there are several other movies playing at a movie theater: Say Anything, The Fly remake, and The Shining.

The Shining

In search of the second key, Parzival, Art3mis and company enter into a replica of the world of Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation of The Shining, complete with Room 237, a tennis ball and those creepy twins. They figure out that this corner of the OASIS contains the key based on a clue about a “creator who hates his creation.” Stephen King, who wrote the novel, has famously spoken out about his distaste for the movie. Another King reference: during the race scene, one avatar is driving the Plymouth from his 1983 novel Christine.

Tootsie Pop

There are many food and drink references in Ready Player One, including a joke, made by I-R0K (T.J. Miller) about the owl in the commercial for the Tootsie Pop, which debuted in the 1960s, before most of the other references in the film. At one point, Sorrento, the villain played by Mendelsohn, makes a reference to drinking Tab soda in order to appear down with retro pop-culture references. The opening scene shows drones delivering Pizza Hut, and Hot Pockets, a classic ’80s snack, are also mentioned.

Odds and Ends

Music: The soundtrack includes many classics of the late 1970s and 1980s, including: Van Halen’s “Jump,” Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” Prince’sI Wanna Be Your Lover,” the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” and Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” There are also references to Duran Duran, “Take on Me” by a-ha and the Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star,” and a Billy Idol CD can be spotted in Halliday’s old office.

Games: The OASIS has within it many popular video and arcade games including Street Fighter, Halo, Minecraft, Dungeons and Dragons and Borderlands. Robotron and Dark Crystal are also referenced.

Toys: In addition to the Rubik’s-like Zemeckis cube, Parzival uses a Magic 8-Ball to broadcast a message across the OASIS. In the race scene, Aech drives a Bigfoot Monster Truck, which was made into a Hot Wheels toy.

Star Wars: At one point, Wade is offered a deal that involves use of a Millennium Falcon in the OASIS. A Leia avatar is also visible among the crowds in the OASIS.

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure: Halliday references the Keanu Reeves/Alex Winter comedy while hatching a plan that involves traveling backwards in time.

The Princess Bride: When following orders from Sorrento, I-R0K says, “As you wish,” a phrase Westley repeats to Princess Buttercup throughout The Princess Bride.

Citizen Kane: At the end of the movie, Wade refers to another character as “the Rosebud,” a reference to Orson Welles’ dying words in the 1941 classic.

Also Spotted: Marvin the Martian, Hello Kitty and Beetlejuice walking around inside the OASIS; Chucky, the creepy villain from the Child’s Play horror movies; Mechagodzilla, from the 1974 movie Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla, during the final battle; and an alien like the one that bursts out of John Hurt’s chest in Alien (1979).


Entertainment – TIME

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Antigua Guatemala city guide: what to see plus the best bars, hotels and restaurants

Thousands of visitors descend on Antigua for its famous Semana Santa celebrations over Easter, but this colonial gem is worth a visit at any time of year

Cobblestone streets lined with brightly coloured colonial buildings, a jacaranda-wreathed central plaza, 16th-century ruins and with volcanoes surrounding it … Few cities in Latin America can match Antigua Guatemala (usually referred to as just Antigua) for postcard prettiness. But this Unesco-listed city is about much more than surface-level charm and Instagram opportunities.

Founded in 1543 as the seat of Spanish power in the region, it served as its cultural, religious and economic centre for more than 200 years. The city was largely destroyed by earthquakes in the 17th century but many of the colonial buildings were rebuilt and have since been renovated. The remnants of others dot parks and gardens across the city.

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Travel | The Guardian

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A local’s guide to Lisbon: 10 top tips

The Serbian-born writer picks the best places in his ‘beautiful, luminous’ adopted city for eating, shopping, walking or just hanging out and soaking up the views

Before I moved to Lisbon, almost a quarter of a century ago, someone told me: “From afar, it looks like a queen. But from closer you see that the old empress’s make-up is smudged and flaking, and that the ornaments fluttering in the wind are not lace, but someone’s laundry drying at the windows. But she’s still is a real beauty.”

I fell in love with Lisbon from the off. The city has since been seriously spruced up and redeveloped, but it hasn’t lost its shabby-chic glamour. It’s a very user-friendly city: not too big, not too small, safe, and not too expensive. Even today, 20 years later, it still manages to surprise me with its beauty and luminosity.

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Travel | The Guardian

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