The Best Celeb Street Style at Paris Men’s Fashion Week

The official start of Fashion Month may still be a month away, but menswear designers are getting a head start on the action with Paris Men’s Fall-Winter 2019 Fashion Week. In addition to all the action on the runway, plenty of stars have stylishly showed up in the City of Light to take in the shows from the front row.

From OG supermodels like Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell (shout out to her new curly ‘do) to newbies like Kaia Gerber popping up to support designers like Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton and Off-Whiteand others, there has been plenty of fab street style to rival the dapper duds coming down the runway.

Keep scrolling to see all of our favorite celebrity street style from Paris Menswear Fashion Week!

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Cary Grant Style Secrets & How To Dress Like Him

A quintessential gentleman, a charismatic icon of timeless elegance and grace, Cary Grant will forever remain in our hearts and on our screens as one of the best-dressed men Hollywood has ever seen. Described as having a gracious manner, the debonair Grant always seemed to have everything in place. His hair was always coiffed, his cars shined and pristine and his attire could only be described as impeccably tailored and fit for a gentleman.

The History of Mr. Cary Grant

Cary Grant is one of those names that sticks with you. It’s a movie stars name, the name of the lead in a play or a character in a book. It has a ring to it, and that’s probably why Archibald “Archie” Leach chose it as his name in 1942.

Cary Grant = Archibald Alexander Leach

Born on January 18, 1904, Archibald Alexander Leach came into this world as the child of Elsie Maria Leach and Elias James Leach. His upbringing was anything but normal with his mother in and out of mental institutions for bouts of depression among other issues. He attended Bishop Road Primary School in Bristol, England where he grew up and on in the time his mother was sent away, his father Elias would tell him she was taking a long holiday. After a few bouts, Elias had her committed and told Grant she had died while traveling. It wasn’t until he was 31 years old that his father confessed she was mentally unstable and had not been on holiday, nor was she dead, but that he could find her alive in the sanitarium.

Abandoned As A Young Boy

By the time Leach was ten years old, his father had remarried and began a life with his new family that refused to include the young boy. To date, there is little known about how he was cared for, and by whom.

With his family troubles, Leach turned to mischief and was expelled from the Fairfield Grammar School in Bristol in 1918. He had always been very skilled in acrobatics and entertaining so he joined the Bob Pender Stage Troupe where he learned to walk on stilts. At the age of 16, he traveled with the vaudevillian troupe to United States on the RMS Olympic for a two year tour of the country. He, like many young men at that time was processed at Ellis Island on July 28, 1920.

Dietrich in sparkly tailcoat wtih Cary Grant wearing a single end bow tie with his white tie ensemble
Dietrich in sparkly tailcoat with Cary Grant wearing a single end bow tie with his white tie ensemble

America, The Land Of Grants Dreams

The young Leach was so enamored with the American dream and the lifestyle that he refused to return home at the end of the stay. Not having a father or mother who would miss him, he joined the American vaudeville acts and went on tour with Parker, Rand and Leach. For the first part of his career while on stage, he still performed under the name Archie Leach in shows such as Irene, Music in May, Rio Rita and the Street Singer. His experience with the acrobatic group gave him incredible strength, timing and grace and it wasn’t long before he would make the trip to Hollywood in the year 1931, playing on Broadway before hitting the big screen.

Archie Leach Becomes Cary Grant But He Was Almost Cary Lockwood

The name Archibald Leach would now be nothing but a distant memory filled with dread like a disease he had overcome.

Many have speculated where the name Cary Grant came from, but experts agree that according to witness testimony, Grant had originally proposed the name of Cary Lockwood, a character he enjoyed playing in the Broadway show Nikki. When he signed with Paramount Studios shortly before changing his name, he allegedly told producers and they found “Cary” acceptable but thought Lockwood was to similar to another actor’s last name. According to the history books, Paramount supplied the young man with a list of suitable names and he selected “Grant” because the initials “C.G.” had already proved very fortunate for men like Gary Cooper and Clark Gable.

Young Cary Grant in white tie, not the tiny bow tie knot and low profile rounded waistcoat tips
Young Cary Grant in white tie, not the tiny bow tie knot and low profile rounded waistcoat tips

Cary Grant Was An Instant Hit

From then on, Grant was an almost instant hit. With natural charm and a certain grace that few seemed to have, Cary Grant was a leading man who skyrocketed to fame as the star of Blonde Venus in 1932, followed by Mae West’s films She Done Him Wrong and I’m No Angel. A tremendous success at the box office, I’m No Angel was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture which saved Paramount at the time from declaring bankruptcy, but pushed Grant into a long series of unsuccessful film projects until 1936 when he signed with Columbia Pictures.

With his comedic timing from his years as an acrobat and stilt walker, he was picked to star in the 1937 comedy Topper which was distributed by MGM. Then The Awful Truth came out that same year which fully established Grant as a sophisticated leading man with a gentle comedic touch. It was rare in a time of masculine enforced male stars, but Grant used his gift of grace as a way to lighten things up and play various roles as opposed to being typecast simply as a good looking man.

Cary Grant with wide peak lapel tuxedo and butterfly bow tie and two shirt studs
Cary Grant with wide peak lapel tuxedo and butterfly bow tie and two shirt studs

“I pretended to be somebody I wanted to be and I finally became that person. Or he became me. Or we met at some point.”

Many argue that Grant was such a successful actor because of his upbringing. According to Grant, he was always pretending to be someone else. He once wrote “I pretended to be somebody I wanted to be and I finally became that person. Or he became me. Or we met at some point.”

Considering he had such a challenging upbringing, many attribute Grant’s style and manners as nothing short of miraculous, but Grant spent hours researching and watching men he admired in an effort to become more domesticated and less like the hooligan he once was, spouting off jazzy street talk instead of focusing on proper grammar. According to Grant of the pivotal moments for him in creating his “personality” was watching Leo McCarey, the director of The Awful Truth who had manners and a level of sophisticated grace like Grant had never seen before. His mannerisms and intonations resembled Grant’s, and he used McCarey as a learning tool to further his passion for savoir-vivre.

His performance in The Awful Truth was something The Atlantic called “the most spectacular run ever for an actor in American pictures” and for the next number of years, Grant went from hit to hit performing in romantic and screwball comedies.

A Casual Day for Cary Grant
A Casual Day for Cary Grant

His list of films became almost endless as he performed next to starlets such as Katharine Hepburn, Rosalind Russell, Rita Hayworth, Ingrid Bergman and Irene Dunne. It wasn’t long before every woman in America wanted him and every man wanted to be him. His style, his charm, his wit was unlike the world had seen. His sartorial flair for style was unprecedented and to top it off, he had the natural looks of a superstar. Many argue that men like Fred Astaire had similar traits, but Grant’s physical appearance was unmatched and he became a force in Hollywood.

Grant was liked. Both on and off screen he had a natural humbleness and graceful demeanor that made people swoon to him. Alfred Hitchcock once said Grant was “the only actor I ever loved in my whole life”.

British born actor Cary Grant (1904 - 1986) walking outdoors wearing a pinstripe jacket and a hat, 1940s.
British born actor Cary Grant (1904 – 1986) walking outdoors wearing a pinstripe jacket and a hat, 1940s.

By the mid 1950s, Grant opened up shop and started Granart Productions, which produced a number of films distributed by Universal including Operation Petticoat, That Touch of Mink with Doris Day, Indiscreet and Father Goose.

Then in 1963, my favorite day in movie history came when Cary Grant acted alongside my celebrity crush, Audrey Hepburn in Charade. Nothing truly noteworthy came of this and to be perfectly honest, there is no point in mentioning this in lieu of other movies he’s in. I just love Audrey Hepburn and since I’m writing this article, so long as my editor doesn’t delete this I can pretty much write whatever I want.

What is noteworthy however is what happened a year before. Cary Grant, in my opinion, is the perfect choice of every leading man ever to step foot in Hollywood to play James Bond. He never did though. Producers considered him for the role in 1962’s Dr. No, but decided against casting him since they were worried he wouldn’t stay tied down to just one picture. I know this is a first world problem but to me it’s devastating that he never played 007.

Cary Grant was a fan of pleats
Cary Grant was a fan of pleats

Throughout his career, Grant was nominated for two Academy Awards but lost both for Penny Serenade and None But The Lonely Heart. He retired still in demand at the age of 62 but received a special Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1970. Peter Stone, the co-writer of Father Goose said while receiving an Oscar, “My thanks to Cary Grant, who keeps winning these things for other people.” And according to the people closest to him, that’s just what Grant did. He was one of the rare few who always put people ahead of himself. It was rare for him to deny an interview, say no to a child wanting an autograph, or pose for a picture with a teary-eyed fan. Grant was about making others feel more comfortable, possibly because he was never comfortable himself.

The Style of a Legend

Inside Grant was a hurt man. Disposed of by his parents, lied to about his mother’s death until his thirties and tragically avoided by his father when he adopted a new family. No man could withstand that level of distress without masking it somehow. And that’s just what Grant did. If he wasn’t put together on the inside, he would try to always be confident on the outside. As a young chap, his father once told him when he was wearing a combination with loud socks – “remember, it is you walking down the street, not your socks.”

Interestingly, he had arrived in the U.S. in 1920 on the same ocean liner as Douglas Fairbanks Sr. Even though they didn’t travel in the same class, he was able to catch a glimpse here or their and the timeless, classic and elegant style of Fairbanks made a huge impression on him. Even years later he was able to tell Ralph Lauren all about the intricacies of Fairbanks’ clothes and accessories, including fabrics types, lapel widths and buttonholes. Interestingly, up to his style icons and tried to imitate them until he became like them.

Cary Grant Style = clothes of a well dressed, sophisticated chap

In his own words, he favored the “clothes of a well dress, sophisticated chap”.

A huge fan of military uniforms, Grant recognized them as being the apex of mens fashion. He realized that soldiers always looked sharp and even when they were disheveled in war, they still had a raw masculinity to them because of the uniform. Grant decided to adopt that in his wardrobe and treated his attire, not as clothing, but as his uniform. It wasn’t that his tuxedo was made of the feathers of an eagle or the hair of a unicorn, it was no different from any other man’s dinner jacket, except that Grant ensured his fit him flawlessly and was always perfectly cleaned, crisply ironed and not a strand was out of place. Whether it was a dinner jacket or a pair of  jeans, he knew that clothes make the man.

1935:  British born actor Cary Grant (1904 - 1986), who starred in a number of classic comedies between the 1930s and 1960s.
1935: British born actor Cary Grant (1904 – 1986), who starred in a number of classic comedies between the 1930s and 1960s.

Because of his slim figure he was able to buy clothes off the rack such as trench coats from Aquascutum and country clothing from Abercrombie & Fitch (at that time, AF wasn’t what it is today but instead it was popular with gentlemen interested in the outdoors). In his early days he would often wear collar pins and knit ties, later he would wear 3-fold ties more often. He understood that even the least expensive items from a retail store still needed a hem here, a cuff there. Just as the army required their soldiers to keep their boots shined and pleats straight, Grant would spend countless hours and hire countless help to ensure his clothes were always immaculate. His suits and shirts were often custom tailored at Cifonelli in Rome or Dunhill in London and sometimes copied in Hong Kong. The copiers were so meticulous that they once even replicated the little fray on the collar of one of Grant’s favorite shirts!

Cary Grant in white tie
Cary Grant in white tie

One thing Cary Grant hated wearing was hats. Perhaps as Eva Marie Saint said he had “such a nice face”. He was striking and looked good in almost everything, except hats. He looked terrible in hats. He had this strong, assertive, perfectly framed face so why wear a hat and cover it up. Many men in that day like Humphrey Bogart made use of hats to reveal character traits, but Grant didn’t need it. He didn’t need it worth a damn. He could give a look or make an expression in one way or another that would reveal everything he wanted us to know, and for generations since, actors have tirelessly pursued that level of perfected acting.

Hats Rarely Looked Good on Cary Grant
Hats Rarely Looked Good on Cary Grant
Cary Grant Rarely Wore Hats
Cary Grant Rarely Wore Hats

The thing is that he really wasn’t the best actor around. Audiences were just so spellbound by his good looks and sense of style his awkward acting came across as a masculine form of aloofness. In that day and age, men who practiced style the way Grant did were thought to be homosexuals, but somehow, for some reason, many people looked past that with Grant.

“He had such fun in performing. He was so full of joy. You could see it in his body. You could see it in his face. He just let it all out”, said Eve Marie Saint.

In that day and age, male stars didn’t have the luxury of large wardrobes and often had to wear their own clothes. That’s one of the reasons they kept casting Grant was because he was damn elegant. The fourteen-gauge, mid-gray, worsted wool suits he wore in North by Northwest were his own; ones he had personally purchased from tailors on Savile Row.

Marlene Dietrich in Blone Venus 1932 in special white tie - note Cary Grant
Marlene Dietrich in Blone Venus 1932 in special white tie – note Cary Grant

His dress was certainly popular with the ladies and he had a few to his name. He was married five times to Virginia Cherril, Barbara Hutton, Betsy Drake, Dyan Cannon and Barbara Harris with many partners in between. Rumors have circulated that perhaps Grant was gay or bisexual but many women argue he was absolutely not. Regardless of who Grant was on the inside, to everyone else he was a legend. A man of timeless elegance who retired when his daughter Jennifer was born, so that she would have stability and fatherly love in her upbringing. Something he never had himself.

On the morning of November 29, 1986, when his wife left for a pharmacy in search of aspirin, Cary Grant suffered a cerebral hemmorage. He died at 11:22 that evening in St. Luke’s Hospital at the age of 82. The vast majority of his estate was left to his fifth wife, Barbara Harris, and his daughter, the true love of his life, Jennifer Grant.

“Permit me to suggest that you dress neatly and cleanly. A young person who dresses well usually behaves well. Good manners and a pleasant personality, even without a college education, will take you far.” – Cary Grant

Book

If you would like to learn more about Cary Grant’s style, you should buy a copy of Cary Grant: A Celebration of Style.

Cary Grants Thoughts on Clothing

Much has been written about Cary Grant’s style but he only wrote one article about his thoughts on clothing in style, which was published in a 5 part series in THIS WEEK in 1962. 5 years later, GQ picked it up and republished it. Here it is again:

I’m often asked for advice or an opinion about clothes, and I always try to answer the best I can, but I’m not inclined to regard myself as an authority on the subject. Many times during my years in films, some well-meaning group has selected me as best-dressed man of the year, but I’ve never understood why. The odd distinction surprises me: first, because I don’t consider myself especially well dressed, and, secondly, I’ve never, as far as I can compare the efforts of others with my own, gone to any special trouble to acquire clothes that could be regarded as noticeably fashionable or up-to-date.

Cary Grant in North by Northwest

Some of my suits are ten to twenty years old, many of them ready-made and reasonably priced. Those that were custom-tailored were made by many different tailors in many different cities: London, Hong Kong, New York and Los Angeles. I believe that American ready-made clothes are the best ready-made clothes in the world: that the well-dressed American man makes a better appearance than the well-dressed man of any other country.

No, it isn’t only money that determines how well a man dresses—it’s personal taste. Because of the demands of my work, I’ve purchased dozens of suits over the years and they all have one attribute in common: they are in the middle of fashion. By that I mean they’re not self-consciously fashionable or far out, nor are they overly conservative or dated. In other words, the lapels are neither too wide nor too narrow, the trousers neither too tight nor too loose, the coats neither too short nor too long. I’ve worn clothes of extreme style, but only in order to dress appropriately for the type of character I played in particular films. Otherwise, simplicity, to me, has always been the essence of good taste.

I believe men’s clothes—like women’s—should attract attention to the best lines of a man’s figure and distract from the worst. In all cases, the most reliable style is in the middle of the road—a thoughtful sensible position in any human behavior. Except perhaps on the freeway—but, even then, the middle lane, providing of course, it’s on your side of the road, usually gets you where you’re going more easily, comfortably, and less disturbingly. And so it should be with clothes. They should be undisturbing, easy and comfortable.

There are many established stores or haberdasheries in each city, and probably in your neighborhood. Look at the suits in the windows. See how they compare with those worn by men whose taste you respect and admire. Think about the practical, functional and long-wearing qualities as they apply to your particular job or social activities. It’s better to consider carefully before buying than to regret your purchases for months afterwards. Study the cut, the price.

And here, by the way, is a tip. If the sleeves seem disproportionately wider than customary, it indicates a very deep armhole. Don’t contemplate buying if you are of average or slim size—you’ll get a well-fitting back but an extremely loose-fitting front and sleeves that tend to ride up if you lift your arms. A deep armhole is popular with many manufacturers because each coat fits a wider range of customers.

Film star Cary Grant with fourth wife Dyan Cannon
Film star Cary Grant with fourth wife Dyan Cannon

How much on should pay depends on how much one has to spend. I’m reminded of a piece of advice my father gave me regarding shoes: it has stood me in good stead whenever my own finances were low. He said it’s better to buy one good pair of shoes than four cheap ones. One pair made of fine leather could outlast four inferior pairs, and, if well cared for, would continue to proclaim your good judgment and taste no matter how old they become. The same applies to suits, so permit me to suggest you buy the best you can afford even though it means buying less. Rather like the stock market: it is usually more sensible to buy just one share of blue chip than 150 shares of a one-dollar stock.

What should one buy? Well, if a man’s budget restricts him to only one suit, then I would choose something unobtrusive. A dark blue, almost black, of lightweight cloth, serviceable for both day and evening wear. I suggest lightweight because nowadays most restaurants, offices, shops and theaters are well heated during fall and winter. I found that so even, surprisingly, in Moscow. With such modern indoor comfort, one need only be concerned with cold weather while out-of-doors.

Which brings us to overcoats. I’ve learned to wear overcoats that button up to the neck yet still appear neat when left open. It mystifies me that some men wear heavy single-breasted and even double-breasted, overcoats to protect themselves from cold, yet expose the most vulnerable part of their chests with V-neck openings. By wearing an overcoat that buttons to the neck, there is no need for a scarf.

The topcoat I use for traveling can be worn spring or fall. It’s black and therefore not only less apt to show dirt and travel stains, but usable for both day and formal wear. It’s made of a gabardine-type waterproof material, with slash side pockets that enable one to reach through easily for change, or to carry a book, or something similar, protected from the rain. There is also a detachable lining that buttons inside for very wintery days. An all-purpose coat.

What about a second suit? Well, I think a grey worsted or flannel would be most serviceable. Not too light in color, not too dark. And, this time, of medium weight but not more than what is known as ten-ounce cloth. It might be advantageous to purchase an extra pair of trousers for wearing separately with a sweater or a sport shirt. A grey flannel suit, with or without extra trousers, together with a sport coat could, at a pinch, be sufficient for a weekend in the country.

A sport coat ought to be easy-fitting, its pattern neither loud nor flashy. If you’re unsure which plaid or check to choose, then one of those dark blue, single-breasted blazers that have been worn by all classes in England for years, and have since become popular here, is acceptable for most casual wear.Blazers that have been worn by all classes in England for years, and have since become popular here, is acceptable for most casual wear.

Cary Grant wearing an ascot in To Catch A Thief
Cary Grant wearing an ascot in To Catch A Thief

Except, of course, on very hot days. During summer I’ve taken to wearing light beige, washable poplin suits. They’re inexpensive and, if kept crisp and clean, acceptable almost anywhere at any time, even in the evening. Also, the coat can be worn with grey flannels at the seashore or in the country, and the trousers used separately with a sport shirt and moccasins, or a pair of those heavy-soled white canvas shoes that are popular with young college men.

Poplin or seersucker suits are the mark of no special social class or income group, but are worn by all. And, providing he is well-mannered, a young man wearing such a suit can confidently approach the other fellow’s girl, secure in knowing that his way of dress is no deterrent.

A cardigan coat sweater of lightweight wool and conservative color is a useful investment. It can be worn without a coat on many occasions, and has the advantage of being easily slipped on without those arm-raising contortions and the need to re-comb your hair.

How do I feel about ties? If I had only one to choose, then I think a black foulard, not too wide nor too narrow, is best, as it’s acceptable with most clothes. An expensive tie is not a luxury—the wrinkles fall out quicker and the knot will hold better. Personally, I wear ties of small, conservative pattern and color.

Shoes? I’ve already mentioned that good shoes look better and last longer. If a man must limit himself to only one pair of shoes for city wear, then they should be black. If two, then a brown pair of darkest chocolate color are useful with almost all suits and, if he has no moccasins, even with grey flannels. The moccasin type of shoe is, to me, almost essential and especially convenient when traveling, since they can be easily slipped off in the airplane or car.

If your pocket handkerchief is monogrammed, don’t wear it carefully folded to show the monogram peeking above your breast-pocket. That’s somehow ostentatious.

If your pocket handkerchief is monogrammed, don’t wear it carefully folded to show the monogram peeking above your breast-pocket. That’s somehow ostentatious.

Shirts should usually be white for the evening, but, in the city’s grime, it’s practical and permissible to wear a light blue or conservatively striped shirt during the day. The type of collar should suit the contours of the neck and face. As a younger man, I tried wearing a flared, too-high collar that, although modish amongst those I regarded as the sophisticates of that day, looked ridiculous on my 17 1/2- inch neck. Luckily, after the embarrassment of viewing myself from almost every angle on screen, that mistake was soon rectified. Button-cuffed shirts are simplest to manage, but if you wear cuff links, as I do, don’t, I beg you, wear those huge examples of badly designed, cheap modern jewelry. They, too, are not only ostentatious, but heavy and a menace to the enamel on your car and your girl friend’s eye.

Relaxed Cary Grant
Relaxed Cary Grant

Learn to dispense with accessories that don’t perform a necessary function. I use belts, for example, only with blue jeans, which I wear when riding, and content myself with side loops, that can be tightened at the waistband, on business suits.

A tip about trousers. Trouser cuffs seem to me unnecessary, and are apt to catch lint and dust. However, whether you prefer cuffs or not, ask the tailor to sew a strip of cloth of the same material, or a tape of similar color, on the inside at the bottom of the trouser leg where it rubs the heel of the shoe. It will keep your trouser-bottoms from fraying.

Do I have any special do’s and don’t’s about clothes? I can’t think of and rules about clothes, since there really aren’t any, but I suggest you buy trees to conform to the shape of your shoes, and keep your coats on curved hangers.

Take care of your clothes, keep them clean and in good repair. I suggest you avoid using heavily scented cologne or soaps. When I meet a man I like him to smell like a man, or not to smell at all; certainly he shouldn’t smell like a woman. Do see that your socks stay up. Nothing can spoil an otherwise well-groomed effect like sagging socks. Don’t stuff your pockets with heavy articles and bulging wallets filled with seldom-used cards. They ruin not only the neatness of your appearance but the actual tailoring of your suit.

Don’t be a snob about the way you dress. Snobbery is only a point in time. Be tolerant and helpful to the other fellow—he is yourself yesterday.

Don’t overbuy. When you contemplate an article, judge whether or not it harmonizes with items you already own. Again, avoid exaggeration of current fashions. It’s best to be inconspicuous. But inconspicuous does not mean dull. Extreme dullness can be conspicuous in itself. Just do the best you can.

Come to think of it, who knows how anything becomes bad or good taste? Who decides a standard of esthetics? If it’s the majority, then how is it the minority are the ones considered well dressed? Everything is only exactly what it is. If a man wears the kind of clothes that please him, then, providing they’re clean and don’t shock society, morals, and little children, what is the difference as long as that man is happy?

Yes. Somewhere I read that Harvard’s Professor Archibald MacLeish was asked by a student about to graduate into our highly competitive world what advice he could give him. Professor MacLeish’s answer was, “Wear your Sunday suit every day.” The inference, of course, being that the suit would give the young man such confidence in seeking positions that he would eventually own many Sunday suits, for any and all days.

Splendid advice even by itself, but it’s probable that the professor meant not only his Sunday or best suit, but also his Sunday or best smile, disposition, and behavior—knowing that each begets the other. So wear, not only your clothes, but yourself, well, with confidence. Confidence, too, is in the middle of the road, being neither aggressiveness nor timidity. Pride of new knowledge—including knowledge of clothes—continually adds to self-confidence.’


Gentleman’s Gazette

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Reflecting on My Style in 2018

Here’s a detailed reflection on my style in 2018. I will be using this as a base as I refresh and evolve my wardrobe in 2019. 

New Specs and Hair

A year ago, I had a very short, straight blonde pixie. By the end of 2018, I’d grown out my fringe, embraced the natural waves, saturated the blonde, and added Modern Retro red specs and vintage white sunnies to my eyewear capsule. I’m enjoying the long fringe and wearing my ‘do both wavy and straight to change things up. I’m sticking with the ‘do until I’m bored and need another hair project. I LOVE my new specs and won’t need a refresh for 2019.

Hair & Specs

Papa

Lots of Dresses

2018 was my year for dresses. Dresses are feminine, classic, pretty, powerful, and unique amidst a sea of shorts, leggings and skinnies. I waited years for my type of dress silhouette to emerge at retail, and prioritized purchasing them while the trends were on my side. I bought several new dresses last year, and wore the heck out of the Summer styles. The two black and white stripe and polka dot polyester Topshop dresses have pilled and will be retired soon, but I enjoyed wearing them enormously. The Topshop floral mesh dress on the other hand has worn like iron, and was probably my most worn dress of the year.

I felt like a million bucks in the dressier dresses, which I styled with ballet flats, flat mules, sneakers and sandals for an everyday look. I’ve recently added the sweater dresses and look forward to wearing them frequently over the next four months. For 2019, I’m excited to wear my dresses again, and to add to the capsule because I LOVE dresses.

Dress

A Few Meaningful Skirts

Although I prefer dresses, I did add a couple of skirts to my wardrobe this year. One Summer and one Fall/Winter, which I’ve worn as much as my dresses. Not sure I want to add more skirts in 2019 since I prefer the simplicity of a dress, but you never know.

Extra Summer Items

I enjoy hot weather and Summer dressing best of all. I thoroughly enjoyed the long and hot Summer I had in 2018, between a two-week trip to coastal Italy, a hotter that normal Seattle Summer, and a second home in Salt Lake City. For the first time in seventeen years I did not have to hold back on Summer wardrobe purchases because I finally lived in the climate that warranted them. Looks like the same hot and long Summer will come true for 2019.

White Footwear

I wear a lot a white footwear because it bookends my platinum hair, adds a crisp touch to outfits, creates a nostalgic ‘80s vibe, matches my pearls, and works well with a colour-rich wardrobe. I’ve been wearing white shoes for as long as I can remember and embrace it as a signature look that I will continue to sport until I need a change. I wear white footwear throughout the year

I have many pairs of white and off-white shoes, so I can share the wear. I wear white booties, shooties, loafers, mules, sneakers, and even two pairs of narrow sandals that magically fit my feet. As an active urban walker, the sandals saved my feet in very hot Italy and in Salt Lake City. Unfortunately I ruined my mules in Positano walking up and down countless flights of stairs, so I’ll need to replace those in 2019.

I added these white shoes to my collection this year, and they are workhorses. I’ve duplicated some of the styles, and am open to expanding my white shoe capsule in 2019.

Statement Outerwear

I added some fun outerwear to my wardrobe in 2018. Three dressy pieces and one casual. A citron cocoon coat for Spring, a short cape for Fall, an animal print coat for Winter, and sporty navy puffer for whenever. All of the items are workhorses.

For 2019, I’m open to replacing my very old dressy red coat, getting a light pink coat, and maybe a turquoise coat if the colour becomes popular.

Lots of Colour and Pattern

I wear a large assortment of colour ranging from blush pink, light blue, sour brights, and burgundy, through to a hint of neon and some olive. I’m equally committed to neutrals like dark blue, all shades of white, a bit of black, and earth tones. With a wardrobe rich in non-neutrals and neutrals, I can pander to my mood and create dark or light neutral outfits, pastel looks, brights from head to toe, or mix up the lot. I combine neutrals and non-neutrals in ways that are jarring to some, but soothing to me. I’ll wear three to four solid brights in an outfit, remix pastels with brights, wear three reds in one look, create high-contrast combinations or low-contrast tonal vibes, and throw in a pattern if it tickles my fancy.

I’m quite set in my ways when it comes to patterns and like the classics best: stripes, pinstripes, polka dots, plaids, some florals, and a smattering of animal print. I like to pattern mix too. For 2019, I want to continue wearing lots of colour across all wardrobe items, my neutrals, classic patterns, and mixing it up to create ample variety since I crave a change in colour more than a change in silhouette.

Colour and Pattern

Trendy Jeans

I frequently wear solid blue and white jeans, and enjoy floral jeans too. I prefer dark blue washes to light, and my affection for white jeans is as strong as ever. Jeans are the trendier part of my style, which meant that they needed an update last year. At the moment, I like to wear simple white jeans silhouettes, but prefer blue jeans with bells and whistles. For 2019, the jeans will have to be pretty darn special and unique if I’m going to commit to a purchase, because I feel very sorted with jeans, and have ample variety. These were my favourite new jeans in 2018.

Pants

My love for fun casual and dressy pants runs as deep as my love for dresses. I passed on two pairs of red pants and an orange pair that I haven’t been able to replace, and I miss them. I did find a pair of flared toffee chinos that work extremely well on long flights, and feel fresh amidst the skinnies. I wear them with big white sneakers, a body-con top, and feel on-trend. I got a pair of luxe mustard-y chartreuse velvet pants that became instant workhorses after some alterations. I received a pair of fun floral pants as a gift which are festive to wear year round in Seattle. And last, you can’t see the sporty cream tuxedo stripe detailing on the black pants in the stock photo, but I also had them altered to create a perfect fit, and am enjoying the dressy look with casual kick.

For 2019, the first item on my shopping list is a pair of red pants. They don’t need to be tomato red, which will help with the search.

Pinstripe Suit

My holiday look for 2018 was a burgundy pinstripe pant suit that I mismatched with a burgundy pinstriped blouse, barely black knee-highs, and gold loafers. I finished off the look with cherry red clutch, watermelon specs, and chartreuse coat. I’ve worn the outfit to three holiday events, and LOVED it. One of my favourite holiday looks of all time. Warm, dressy, comfy, interesting, and will not date.

Flat Footwear

I gave up on heels three years ago and haven’t looked back. I wear flat footwear with heel heights of up to one inch 85% of the time. Sometimes I wear a 1.25 inch heel and very occasionally a 1.5 inch heel. My very dressy shoes have 1.5 inch heels. I passed on the boots with two inch heels that I kept to wear with flares because I never reach for them. I don’t miss wearing heels to elongate and elevate my outfits at all. I elongate and elevate outfits in other ways. And I’ve simply gotten used to my outfit proportions sans heels. Now more than ever, flat footwear is part of my signature style.

Family of Furlas

I LOVE handbags and am hopelessly devoted to every one of my wardrobe pets. I like to make a statement with them. I swap out my bags frequently, and like them to match my outfit in a deliberate way. I fell in love with Furla bags on our last trip to Hong Kong, and have been hooked ever since. They are beautifully made quality items, gorgeously structured, dressy, very robust, and have gold hardware. They are crisp, simple, and versatile, looking equally good incorporated into casual outfits. They are excellent bags to travel with too. Over the years, I’ve been steadily adding to my collection and now have a fab Furla family. Apart from the two large grey and oatmeal satchels, they are all workhorses.

For 2019, I need to replace my citron Furla, which is my most used bag of all time. Between sunscreen, insect repellent, and perspiration in a very hot and humid Italy last year, I’ve worn away the inside of the handles of the bag and it can’t be fixed.

Naked Nails

I don’t use fingernail or toenail polish. I bat for Team Naked Nails. I use a clear nail strengthener and that’s that. It will be just the same in 2019.

Gold and Pearls

I am completely committed to yellow gold and I’m trying not to purchase anything with silver hardware. I’m not into mixing metals, so it’s quite the challenge. I do jewellery in a very minimal but meaningful way. I wear my pearl wedding ring, gold watch and pearl bracelets every day, and one of two chunky white pearl necklaces almost every day. That’s it! The pearl pieces are real and have been custom-made. I don’t wear earrings.

2018 was an excellent shopping season, especially for dresses. I’m in a very happy place with my style and wardrobe, and grateful that my wardrobe is functional, manageable, varied, colour-rich, and makes me feel fabulous.

NOTE: Some rich content in this post was omitted because it isn’t supported by the feed. Please visit the post on youlookfab.com to see the additional content.


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BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Best Affordable Style of 2018 – The Watch

The end of the year means it’s time to hand out some awards. No, there’re no little statues to pass along, but over the next few days we’ll still highlight some of the best in affordable men’s style from this past year. And it was a good one. Feel free to send in additional nominations to joe@dappered.com.

 

Orient Bambino Small Seconds – $ 150 (when on Massdrop)$ 169

Orient Bambino on Dappered.com

Shown above with the oft-desired champagne dial.

How do you improve upon a legend? You slap a perfectly proportioned, subtly textured small seconds hand on the dial, keep the rest simple, and stick with the mid to classically sized diameter and domed crystal.

The Orient Bambino Sub Seconds quickly became a hit. So much so that it’s really pretty hard to find some of the color combinations (like the champagne dial shown above). But play your cards right, and you can get one of these insta-classics for around $ 150 during a mega sale or a drop on Massdrop. Full review of the small seconds can be found here.

Also Receiving Votes: The Seiko Samurai Automatic, The Timex Hand Wound & Automatic Marlins, the dependable Seiko SKX line, the Citizen Nighthawk, Hamilton’s Khaki Field Automatic.


Dappered Style Mail

FASHION DEAL UPDATE:

Best Affordable Style of 2018 – The Blazer / Sportcoat

The end of the year means it’s time to hand out some awards.  No, there’re no little statues to pass along, but over the next few days we’ll still highlight some of the best in affordable men’s style from this past year.  And it was a good one. Feel free to send in additional nominations to joe@dappered.com.

 

The Rise of the Knit Sportcoat

There is no specific winner this year. But a certain style of blazer/sportcoat absolutely took center stage this year. And that style was the knit sportcoat.

Dappered.com

Dressing down a sportcoat gets real easy when it’s knit.

From high end brands to bargain big box stores, seemingly everyone did a knit sportcoat this year. And when executed well, these things are hugely versatile. Polished enough to wear with an OCBD and chinos, or dress it down with a t-shirt or henley and jeans.

Knit Sportcoats

Some are made of sweatshirt material. Some are made of fancy Italian wool. Some are made of a wool/cotton blend. This past year knit sportcoats came in just about every color and fabric combination imaginable. And we’ll kick off 2019 (once we’re back from a break) with a round up of the best of the best that you can get your hands on. So stay tuned for that.

Also Receiving Votes: The spendy, but incredibly nice, unconstructed Italian wool blazers from Bonobos. Spier & Mackay’s navy wool hopsack blazer. Lands’ End’s Half-Canvas Wool Blazer. Brooks Brothers on sale Regent Fit, wool or wool blend Sportcoats. J. Crew’s Legacy Wool BlazersSuitsupply’s Havana Fit Sportcoats in whatever fabric that fits your needs. 


Dappered Style Mail

FASHION DEAL UPDATE:

Style Scenario: Santa on Christmas Eve

What are you going to wear? Or in this instance, what is HE going wear? St. Nick has a huge job ahead of him. Lots of miles to cover, lots of soot filled chimneys to get down, lots of cookie crumbs & milk spills to avoid. It’s a dirty job, but that doesn’t mean Santa can’t look sharp while doing it. Here’s what he might wear while putting another 25k-50k miles on the sleigh. (Top Photo Credit)

Style Scenario: Santa on Christmas Eve | Dappered.com

The Sweater: Suitsupply Wool/Cashmere Turtleneck – $ 169. A splurge, but… c’mon. He’s gotta be comfortable and look great on the big night. Great for keeping the arctic blast off his neck. 70 % wool and 30% cashmere. Mrs. Claus has been experimenting with paleo eating habits this year, and in the process St. Nick has shed a little weight around the middle thanks to cutting out most carbs. Thus, a trimmer fitting sweater from Suitsupply this time around. Want something cheaper? Try this from Orvis or this from Woolovers.

The Pants: BR x Kevin Love Soft Stretch Athletic Tapered Chino – $ 43.99 ($ 98). Banana Republic’s collaboration with Kevin Love has produced some really, really nice stuff. And now that these are on sale and an additional half off? They’re at a GAP level price point.

The Watch: Citizen Nighthawk – $ 189.98. With all those tight brick chimneys, this isn’t the night to break out the rose gold Rolex that Mrs. Claus gave him for a 1500th anniversary present. Yes, the Elves in R&D finally got around to updating the software on the sled, so he can now keep track of all the time zones and his sleigh-to-tree-to-sleigh split times with the on-board computer, but just in case they have a power failure he favors an aviation style watch. You never know when you’re gonna need a slide rule. It came in super handy that one year when the alternator failed over Prague.

The Belt: Weifert Stretch Woven Elastic Belt – $ 11.58. Yes that’s a stretchy woven belt. Do you have any idea as to how many cookies he’s got to wolf down that night?

The Coat: Custom Gore-Tex Cashmere-Lined Topcoat w/ Horween Leather Belt. One of a kind. Made by the Mrs. w/ help from Elf Q Branch. Not pictured: Matching hat with drop down night vision equipped face shield, as well as a wireless blue tooth ear piece connected to NORAD via the on-sleigh wi-fi hotspot.

The Base Layer: L.L. Bean Made in Canada Cotton/Wool Union Suit – $ 69.00. Santa’s a classics guy, so although the new-fangled neoprene base layers may wick moisture better, he’s still going with a traditional union suit. At least it does have a layer of wool in there, so that’ll function a bit better than the super old-school all cotton long johns.

The Socks: Wigwam Pikes Pro Lightweight Outdoor Crew Socks in Charcoal – $ 17. Nylon/Merino blend with enough cushioning and blister prevention properties to keep his feet happy while circumnavigating the globe.

The Boots: Allen Edmonds Longbranch in Black – $ 276 ($ 395). With red laces, of course. Port Washington isn’t that far from his place, so Santa’s been frequenting Allen Edmonds for years. The Longbranch is like an even tougher version of the Dalton. Wingtip details, textured leather, and a lug sole. Perfect for Christmas Eve, with all of those slippery rooftops and what not.

The Air Freshener: Car Freshener Royal Pine – $ 0.77. You try sitting behind eight tiny reindeer (or nine, depending on the weather) for an entire evening.

The Nice/Naughty List + Pen: Waterproof Field Notes – $ 12.95 | Fisher Space Pen – $ 40. Were you expecting an iPad? The master list stays on the scrolls at the pole, but for the big night, a duplicate is transcribed to a pack of weather resistant “Expedition” Field Notes. Meanwhile, the pen works in extreme temperatures and will write from any angle. Even in zero gravity. And that’s perfect for maintaining order on the list when Blitzen gets a wild hair up his tuckus and leads the team on spontaneous inverted aerial maneuvers over the Aegean.

The Gloves: Ralph Lauren Quilted Gloves in Black – $ 46.80 ($ 78). Warm, but also offers the dexterity and durability to handle the reins with authority. Touch screen compatible too, so he can easily swipe through his various routes for the evening.

The Goggles: Mark 4 Split Lens Flight Goggles – $ 88Sheepskin face cushion. Prescription progressive lenses by the Reykjavik Costco Optical Department. After market heads up display via DARPA.

The Cap/Crash Helmet: Shearling Sheepskin Leather Aviator Cap – $ 49.99. Santa has taken some spills on rooftops over the millennia, so to stay compliant with concussion protocol, Papa Elf has recently added this to St. Nick’s kit. Sheepskin base keeps him warm, while the safety team has added aftermarket padding based on the crystalline atomic structure of marshmallow fluff.


Dappered Style Mail

FASHION DEAL UPDATE:

Evan Spiegel’s Imperious Style Made Snapchat a Success—Until Users Fled

Snap, which was once seen as a viable competitor to Facebook, is struggling after the CEO ignored warnings about a redesign that proved unpopular. With usership and the share price falling, analysts and employees are raising questions about whether his trust-your-gut management instincts can help pull the company through.
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SHOPPING DISCOUNTS UPDATE:

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10 Ways to Find Your Personal Style

Websites including The Gentleman’s Gazette possess an encyclopedic amount of content on how to dress well, while thousands of images of iGents, dandies and influencers dance across Instagram feeds every day. Faced with all the content online, how do you know what suits you?

Those who are new to the game of classic men’s style can quickly become overwhelmed when trying to determine what they might like to wear. Even men who have been into classic style for years can fall into a rut. So, how do you go about discovering your personal style in the face of all the advice and information out there? Here are our top 10 tips.

Spezzato Suit Jacket and Matching Vest with Contrasting Yellow Pants and Brown Oxfords

Not everybody likes the idea of yellow pants, but they perfectly suit Sven Raphael Schneider’s style

1. Put Your Style into Words

If you’re reading this article, it’s established that you like to dress in a certain way, so you already have some sense of what you like and don’t like. Take out your favorite fountain pen and try writing it on paper (or just use your computer). Describe your style in a sentence or even a few words:

  • How would you describe your ideal look? It might be “vintage academic” or “Italian sprezzatura,” but it could also be “put together” or “preppy.”
  • What do you enjoy wearing? Do you do vests? Do you like bombers and safari jackets or prefer a regatta blazer?
  • What are your strongest likes and dislikes?
  • Who are your style icons? What do you like about their look?
Fountain pen paper and a Lamy Safari fountain pen

Engage in a writing exercise to define your style

2. Gather Inspiring Images

To help you describe your style, you can save images of styles, outfits, and pieces that you like. Pinterest is one of the largest social media sites in the world, behind only Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and is the easiest way to do thisLinkedIn and is the easiest way to do this. Classic style boards on Pinterest

A set of Pinterest boards used to collect classic menswear images. Although it has a reputation for photos of craft projects and recipes, it is an easy way to capture and store images that you like related to classic men’s style.

If you have the Pinterest app on your phone, you can grab any image from any site and put it in your digital scrapbook or board. Looking at your pins will then not only help you remember clothes you want to buy but, viewed collectively, will give you a holistic sense of what your style is like. Of course, as you gather images, you may do so from other people’s Pinterest boards, which brings us to item 3.

3. Find Style Role Models (Plural) to Follow

As you go through social media, you’ll encounter numerous well-dressed gents whether on the number one source of online style inspiration–Instagram–on Tumblr microblogs or Pinterest boards. It’s important to realize though that even though you may like the personal style of someone with 15,000 Instagram followers, what he wears may not necessarily work on you.

The Style Icon - Cary Grant in Berlin in 1960

The Style Icon – Cary Grant in Berlin in 1960

The same goes for well-dressed men outside of social media whether Cary Grant to David Beckham or Idris Elba. You may be older or younger and have a different body type or skin tone, to name just a few things that can influence what looks best on a specific individual. However, with so many people posting to social media, odds are you will find somebody on Instagram with a body type or general appearance similar to yours.

Style icons Samuel Jackson, Andreas Weinås, and Alan See

Style icons Samuel Jackson, Andreas Weinås, and Alan See

Everyone’s style is really an amalgam of their influences, from family members to friends to celebrities and random strangers online. Along the same lines, the best approach with style icons is to take note of specific things you like from different people. It’s important not to imitate just one person because you risk coming across as a mere copy.

If you wear your watch over your sleeve cuffs, it’s obvious you are just copying Agnelli. You can admire the way Sven Raphael Schneider wears accessories like cufflinks, boutonnieres and pocket squares while also liking the contemporary urban edge of Dan Trepanier. You can love how Mark Cho effortlessly combines colors but realize the fuller cuts of his jackets is not for you. Pick and choose from the smorgasbord of influences with the understanding that you don’t need to be loyal to any one style guru.

Gianni Agnelli and his Patek Philippe 1415 HU, or Universal Time

Gianni Agnelli’s characteristic sprezzatura style is difficult to copy

4. Be True to Yourself

Even when you follow multiple influences, aim to be authentic. Do what’s true to you, not what’s popular. There are popular sprezzatura style choices seen everywhere online like keeping your button-down shirt collar unbuttoned or wearing the back blade of your necktie longer than the front and below your waistline. These are trendy, fashionable approaches that are more about uniformity than originality.

Color, texture and hats at Pitti Uomo 88 - photo by Pitti Uomo

Beware imitating what’s popular online, such as the Pitti Peacocks

It can be tempting to buy tight suits, wear a suit jacket with sweatpants, or have your pants hemmed above your ankles because “everyone” is doing it in Suitsupply ads or photos from Pitti Uomo (and getting 2000 “likes”).

Sven Raphael Schneider in Three Piece Suit with double breasted waistcoat

Sven Raphael Schneider only wears pleated pants, because they are his style, not because they are popular (which they aren’t!)

Unless this really makes you happy and is how you see your personal style, be cautious of following the crowd. The key is to be comfortable–both physically in the clothes you choose and the way you look. Dress for yourself, not for others.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment

To get to your personal style, there’s really no substitute for hands-on experimentation. If you see someone who wears an olive green linen jacket, you may want to try it yourself.

Green linen and gingham

Linus Norbom wearing a green linen jacket with a green and white gingham shirt and white pants

You can look at pictures all you want, but you won’t know whether you like pleated pants until you put them on. Though in theory, your rounded face shape would look better with a point collar shirt, you won’t know for sure until you wear one and compare it with a spread collar.

Collars formality scale

Try different collars in different formalities to see what suits you

I tried point collars, cutaways, spreads, long points and button downs for shirt collars before settling on which I liked best. The first few years of my interest in menswear, I bought almost the full range of colors in sport coats, but since then I’ve boiled my favorites down to blues, browns, and beiges.

Spezzato with vest and pants

Try experimenting, such as wearing wristbands or splitting up a suit

If possible, you can try things in boutiques and stores to see how you look at them. Alternatively, for pieces you aren’t too sure of, you can buy thrift or used. Yes, you will make mistakes and buy something experimental that you won’t like, but that’s what return policies are for.

If it takes you longer to figure out something is not for you, there’s always reseller markets like eBay or Grailed. Even if you sell at a loss, try not to look at it as wasted money. Instead, think of the journey as part of the reward. It’s like ordering a new kind of sushi or visiting a city you’ve never been to before. You’re in it for the experience, and there should be no regrets. It’s all part of the learning process.

6. Understand Your Physical Characteristics

One the reason we’re not into trends is that they rarely suit everyone. The skinny fit of suits today, for example, only works well for certain body types. If you want to capture your “own” style, it’s better to work with what you have rather than trying to conform to trends. Start by considering your body – your physique, your age, and your skin tone, for instance.

If you have pale skin, a dark navy shirt will wash you out. If you have brown skin, you can pull off more vibrant or hotter colors. If you’re over fifty, maybe slim fit trousers and a loafer without socks wouldn’t look best on you.

Grimod in Sky blue linen suit

Great style is possible at any age; here, Herbert Stricker in sky blue linen suit

A mistake is trying to impose a style on yourself that doesn’t work for you just because you saw someone else do it online. The desire to wear anything you want is strong but not always possible. It’s a sign of stylistic maturity to realize that just because you admire how someone wore an item, it doesn’t mean you can or should wear it yourself.

7. Understand Your Environment

As you form your style, realize that it will be influenced by where you are situated. The way men dress on the internet often has very little to do with real life. What someone wears at Pitti Uomo or to sell a product is designed first to get attention in a medium full of so many competing images. Something may be photographed such a way to make it desirable, but ask yourself whether your personal environment would suit the style.

David Evans in Denim and brown country sport coat with sweater

David Evans showing a country style

If you live in Manhattan, you may be able to wear suits most of the time if you want to, but if you’re in rural Kentucky, this stylistic choice will make you stick out like a sore thumb. If you’re in Italy, you can wear bright, fitted jackets that are at home there, but in London, they’ll look out of place. Realistically, part of your personal style–what you wear–is dictated by your environment.

Cri De La Soie Silk Knit ties by Fort Belvedere

Knit ties might be part of your signature look

This can be as basic as not wearing an elaborate pocket square because you are dressing for a conservative workplace or wearing sports coats and knit ties instead of suits and printed silk ties because you are never in a formal setting.

This may seem like it’s forcing you to compromise, but unless you want to march entirely to the beat of your own drum, you will have to fit your style to your milieu. Even within these limitations, you’ll still have a lot of possibilities.

8. Realize That You Can Have Multiple Styles

Kids may also ruin your hair but they will have a blast

Many people are surprised to find that Sven Raphael Schneider’s summer uniform is a polo with shorts and boat shoes

A further consolation is that you’re never really bound to a single authoritative “look”; the reality is that you’ll have multiple styles, and it would be rigid to assume that you need to wear the same sort of thing no matter where you go.

Neil Patrick Harris as Barney Stinson

You don’t need to wear a suit on every occasion like Barney Stinson

You can wear suits for work but sport coats without ties on the weekend. You don’t need to be Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother and suit up all the time.

Ralph Lauren's Country Lifestyle

Ralph Lauren’s Country Lifestyle

When you visit the countryside, you might wear sweaters and tattersall shirts with a Barbour jacket. When you’re taking a beach holiday, perhaps you’ll put on a linen shirt and espadrilles. You may still have certain common threads through all your looks–like always wearing a bit of blue–but odds are your style will really be multiple styles.

9. Assess Your Closet

Once you have accumulated a decent wardrobe, you can get to your core style by auditing and managing your wardrobe. If you have a social media presence or just for yourself, take a selfie when you wear something you think looks particularly good on you or that you get compliments on. When you have a bunch of photos, review them to see which pieces repeat the most often; these are the foundation of your personal style.

The Closet if Giancarlo Maresca

Take occasional stock of your closet contents

If we break it down, finding your style really comes in two major parts. The first is casting a wide net and trying a lot of things. The second is culling things you don’t ‘wear to get to a core wardrobe.

Culling

Besides looking at photos, look at your closet itself and get rid of things you haven’t worn for a long time, whether a certain number of months or a year max. If you don’t pick them, it’s a sign that they’re not your style. When you first start out, you’re enthusiastic and want to have more outfits, but eventually, you’ll reduce your choices and settle on a sort of uniform that represents you. For me, it’s sports coats and ties with interesting woven textures.

Spezzato with jeans

The author wearing two of his favorites: a sports coat and a textured tie

The more you try, the less you continue to experiment because you learn what does and doesn’t work for you and settle into “your style.” This can change depending on factors like age or weight, but for the most part, you engage in less trial and error.

This doesn’t mean that you have to stop adding to your wardrobe, though. If you find you like wearing navy wool trousers, you’ll soon want navy cotton pants, wool flannelpleated and flat front, high rise and medium rise.  The fact is if you’re serious about style, you’ll never want to stop working at it. The difference is that, after a time, you’ll buy from a more limited range of things because you know you look best in blue, that you prefer a spread collar shirt, and that you like an unlined tie.

Short Vintage Tie - excellent if you are a shorter man

You may prefer a spread collar shirt or a short tie

As your eye develops, you can know at a glance whether an item you see is suitable for you. You’ll be more discerning and purge things from your closet that you no longer wear because they don’t fit your core style.

Pharrell Williams Hat

Your signature items don’t need to be as showy as Pharrell Williams’ hat

What you’re left with will include signature pieces that define you. I don’t mean something like Karl Lagerfield’s sunglasses and stiff collars or Pharell Williams’ hat–these are more celebrity costume than classic style–but your signature look may be a penchant for pocket squares, odd vests (meaning not part of a matching suit) or colorful shoelaces. Think of it as your brand in terms of style–an aspect that is recognizably and consistently you.

Colorful shoelaces like these from Fort Belvedere can be a signature of your look

10. Know that it’s a Continuous Journey

Once you go down the rabbit-hole of traditional men’s style, you have a lifetime to enjoy the fruits of the hobby (obsession?), and even when you have a good sense of your style, things will not get stale.

If you relocate, change the sort of job you do, gain or lose weight or simply get older, your style will change in some way. When you reach a certain age, you may wear more comfortable or less showy clothes, probably of higher quality, but then again, you may always like a good Prince of Wales check.

Tight vs. Comfortable Suit Fits

Your taste in clothes may change over time from fitted to more comfortable.

Conclusion

A given is still that your style won’t (and shouldn’t) ever be static. I’ve shared some of the aspects of the journey you are likely to encounter but can tell you that there’s no substitute for experiencing it firsthand yourself. There will be errors and missteps, but this is part of the learning and the fun.

Have you already experienced some of the stages mentioned? What other advice do you have for finding your personal style? Share in the Comments section below.


Gentleman’s Gazette

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John Legend Spills on Chrissy Teigen’s Cooking, Holiday Traditions and Style

ESC: Chrissy Teigen, John LegendIt’s going to be a Legendary Christmas!
In between concert dates of his A Legendary Christmas Tour, John Legend found some time to bring his holiday cheer and fashion to Fred Segal…

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My Top 10 Men’s Style Books

If you are a follower of the Gentleman’s Gazette, you may very well know my fascination for all things classic menswear.

In today’s article, I will share with you my top 10 men’s style books, I explain why I chose them over others, I tell you which ones didn’t make the list and why they didn’t make it, and I mention other books that may make your top 10 list.

Book Title Author
Dressing The Man Alan Flusser
Gentleman Bernhard Roetzel
Bespoke Menswear Tailoring For Gentlemen Bernhard Roetzel
Esquire Encyclopedia Of 20th-Century Men’s Fashion Oscar E. Schoeffler
Reclams Mode – Und Kostümlexicon Ingrid Loschek
The Elegant Man Riccardo Villarosa & Guiliano Angeli
Alles über Herrenschuhe Helge Sternke
History Of Men’s Fashion Farid Chenoune
Sharp Suits Eric Musgrave
Mercury Dictionary Of Textile Terms

1. Dressing The Man – Alan Flusser

It was written in 2002 and contains everything you want to know about classic men’s style. It has beautiful photographs, illustration, very good text, it has hands-on graphics that allow you to pick the right patterns, it explains what to do and what not to do and overall, Alan Flusser probably sold more books on classic men’s style than any other author in the world.

Flusser also penned a bunch of other books including Clothes and the man and Style and the man. I believe dressing the man is the best one of all of them because the photography is superior, the layout is nice and it’s also one of the most comprehensive books he wrote. Dressing the man was the second book I had in my menswear library and I cherish it to this day. Even though it was written in 2002, it’s not outdated at this point which is probably one of the reasons it hasn’t been republished.

Der Gentleman - Bernhard Roetzel

Der Gentleman – Bernhard Roetzel

2. Gentleman – Bernhard Roetzel

It is a German book and it was the first book I ever had that started it all for me. At the time it was written, it was the first and only book of its kind and probably because of that, it was really popular. The author, although German, is an Anglophile and because of that, you can see the British style in that book as well. If you look at the table of contents, it covers a wide array of classic men’s things including suits, shoes, shirts and so forth.

This book has been translated into 19 languages, has been published many times and is updated regularly. That latest edition, for example, is from 2016. The great thing is neither Dressing the man nor the Gentleman are breaking the bank and you can find new or used copies for not very much money. If I just had to buy two books those would be the two.

3.  Bespoke Menswear Tailoring For Gentlemen – Bernard Roetzel

It’s likewise written by Bernhard Roetzel and it walks you through the entire process of choosing a fabric, cutting the pattern, having your fitting and getting your final garment. It also highlights a bunch of different tailors from across Europe so you get a better understanding of the different styles and what works for you. Last but not least, it also talks about other bespoke things such as bespoke shirts or bespoke ties and overall, if you’re considering to get a made to measure garment or a bespoke custom garment, I think this is money well spent because you learn a lot about the process, the pitfalls, and the mistakes you can make, and even if you’re not in the market for a custom garment yet, you just learn a lot about how garments are made traditionally and because of that, it’s my number 3 pick.

4.  Esquire Encyclopedia Of 20th-Century Men’s Fashion – O. E. Schoeffler

That’s quite a mouthful and even though it’s so old, it’s such a good book because it’s very comprehensive and it’s over 600 pages. Just look at the table of contents, it doesn’t just talk about formal evening wear but also formal day wear and there is a chapter on waistcoats, cummerbunds, and other clothing. It’s a fantastic book that has lots of illustrations as well as a glossary and a dictionary that really help you to find things quickly if you don’t know what certain terminology means.

That aside, it’s usually something you leave in your coffee table and read on a cold day in front of the fire. Sadly, this book is out of print and you can sometimes find it at libraries but more often than not, they sold it years ago. Because it’s out of print, it often goes north of $ 1,000 per copy sometimes you’re lucky and you may end up getting it for 100 or $ 200 so be patient and when the opportunity arises, definitely get a copy.

5. Reclams Mode – Und Kostümlexicon – Ingrid Loschek

It was originally written by Ingrid Loschek who sadly died because of cancer but it’s now continued by Gundula Wolter. The focus of this encyclopedia is not just men but also women and fashion and fashion history, in general. I found it extremely valuable and if you speak German, it’s a no-brainer, get this book! If you don’t speak German, you have two alternatives.

One is Fairchild encyclopedia of menswear which, as the name implies, just focuses on menswear but I don’t find it nearly as good. Another good book is the fashion dictionary by Guido Vergani which is more fashion-forward nevertheless, you find lots of useful information. Not a book you would read in front of the fireplace but something to look up terminologies and things when you need them. Obviously, if you are in the classic menswear business, you produce a lot of content and because of that, encyclopedias and in-depth research literature is very important for us. For you as a style enthusiast, it may not be something you must have in your library.

6. The Elegant Man – Riccardo Villarosa & Guiliano Angeli

I put it on the list because it has a really comprehensive section about fabrics. You don’t just learn about worsteds and flannels but also about things like the weaves and everything you need to know as a style enthusiast. On top of that, it covers all the basics of a classic man’s wardrobe even though the style sections are a little dated because it was published in the 90s, it is overall a very solid performer with good basic knowledge and it’s a book that should not be missing from your library.

7. Alles über Herrenschuhe – Helge Sternke

Another German one, Alles Uber Herrenschuhe by Helge Sternke. This monumental book title has everything about men’s shoes, isn’t perfect but it’s definitely the most comprehensive attempt about anything there is to men’s shoes. Learn about construction, different models, their history and if you speak German and like shoes, it should not miss from your bookshelf. It’s also not cheap and retails for around 200 euros. Now if you speak English, I suggest you check out a book from Daszlo Vass about Goodyear welted shoes for men which is very educational about how shoes are made and it’s something you can read and understand.

8. History Of Men’s Fashion – Farid Chenoune

Even though the author’s French and he wrote it in French, there’s also an English version of it. It has about 300 pages and talks about men’s fashion history which is very interesting for someone like me who always likes to dig deeper and understand why certain elements in classic menswear evolved, why they remain and how did they come to be.

9. Sharp Suits – Eric Musgrave

I met Eric once at his club in London and he has been into men’s clothing for the most part of his life. He is very knowledgeable and he put together a book just about the suit, its history, the different silhouettes, the patterns, and since the suit is so central to classic elegance and style, I put it on my list.

Mercury Dictionary Of Textile Terms

Mercury Dictionary Of Textile Terms

10. Mercury Dictionary Of Textile Terms

Now the 10th book on my list may surprise you, it’s the Mercury dictionary of textile terms and it was published in the 1950s. So it’s quite old but I love it because it’s more than 500 pages of detailed information about anything related to cloth, fabric, textiles, yarns, they talk about the weaving patterns, the history, and anything else you wanted to know. That’s particularly important for me as a menswear designer and creator because I want to understand how patterns and certain fabrics and styles came to be and what makes them different from others. For you, as a consumer, it’s really not as useful.

Other Books That Might Interest YOU…

1. Cuff Links – Susan Jonas & Marilyn Nissenson

You guessed it! most of them evolved around cufflinks such as this one. It’s from Susan Jonas and Marilyn Nissenson and I can wholeheartedly recommend it.

2. Jewelry For Gentlemen – James Sherwood

Another great recent book edition from James Sherwood, it covers rings, cufflinks, brooches, chains, necklaces, lapel pins and brooches and anything else you could imagine a gentleman to wear.

3. Gentleman Of The Golden Age eBook – Sven Raphael Schneider

If you like 1930 style and the way we are inspired by it today, please check out my ebook, Gentlemen of the Golden AgeLearn from the men who wore classic fashion best. Clark Gable, Fred Astaire, Cary Grant — they all looked their best in the 1930’s. Now you can use their source of sartorial inspiration, too.

4. Bruce Boyer Books (True Style / Elegance)

First, let me say I’m a great admirer of Bruce and of all the authors I mentioned here, I think he has the best writing style. On top of that, he has a wonderful personal style. So why didn’t it make my list?

One, his books have no photographs. Personally, I believe that classic men’s style and clothing is best consumed in a visual way. I’ve discussed this with Bruce Boyer personally in the past and he believes that nothing dates a book as quickly as having photos in it and while I agree with him on that front, I still think photos help the consumer to better understand what he’s writing.

Two, a lot of what you can read in Bruce’s books are individual articles that were written for magazines or different outlets. In his books, they’re all combined and so sometimes I personally miss that coherence that you get when you write one book from start to finish. That being said, I have all of his books in my possession, I really enjoy them and I think you should invest in them too, they’re just not my personal top 10.

5. Hugo Jacomet Books

You may know him as the Parisian Gentleman. In recent years, he has published a book Parisian Gentleman as well as the Italian Gentleman. Both books are beautiful, they are large oversized coffee table books with beautiful photographs, and I think overall, it’s something you should invest in. At the same time, those books are more focused on craftsman and different houses as well as their history.  Personally, I don’t care as much about the history of the people but more about the products they create. Because of that, Parisian Gentleman was not in my top ten list.  

6. Simon Crompton Books

I think Simon Crompton has a great wealth of knowledge, very detailed, very in-depth, he really understands bespoke and has visited many craftsmen. At the same time, his books either focus on brands which again, I’m not so interested in, because I know all of those brands already I know their benefits and their shortcomings and so there’s not much value there for me. Simon also speaks about things that are not primarily about brands but about clothing, style, and tailoring. The problem with those is they’re not as comprehensive as the information that you can find on his website. I know that’s often the fault of the publisher not of Simon Crompton but at the end of the day, if I invest money in a book, I want more information than what I can get free online.

Of course, if you like his writings on the website, buying his book is a great way to support him. That being said, if you want to learn from real-world outfits and get information you can not find on his website, I suggest to buy his book, The Style Guide because it shows you men from this day and age that wear things and he explains why it works for them in a particular situation and so you can draw conclusions from that for your own outfits.

7. Gentleman’s Lookbook – Bernhard Roetzel

Another book that goes in the same vein is called the Gentleman’s Lookbook by Bernhard Roetzel.  

8. I Am Dandy And We Are Dandy – Rose Callahan & Nathaniel Adams

Also, I really like the books I am dandy and We are dandy by Rose Callahan and Nathaniel Adams that highlight unique personal style paired with a story of the people and how they created it.

 

Book Title Author
Dressing The Man Alan Flusser
Gentleman Bernhard Roetzel
Bespoke Menswear Tailoring For Gentlemen Bernhard Roetzel
Esquire Encyclopedia Of 20th-Century Men’s Fashion Oscar E. Schoeffler
Reclams Mode – Und Kostümlexicon Ingrid Loschek
The Elegant Man Riccardo Villarosa & Guiliano Angeli
Alles über Herrenschuhe Helge Sternke
History Of Men’s Fashion Farid Chenoune
Sharp Suits Eric Musgrave
Mercury Dictionary Of Textile Terms

 

 

What are your favorite fashion books? Share with us in the comments below!


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Gentleman of Style: James Dean

James Dean was the quintessential Hollywood bad-boy of the 1950s. But who was the young man behind the legacy–and what style lessons can we learn from him?

James Dean in his iconic ensemble from the 1955 film, Rebel Without a Cause.

James Dean in his iconic ensemble from the 1955 film, Rebel Without a Cause.

Gentleman of Style: James Dean

Best remembered for his star-making turn as disaffected outcast Jim Stark in the 1955 film, Rebel Without a Cause, and for his whirlwind life that was cut short at just 24 years of age, the casual cool of James Dean still looms large over the popular consciousness. With this in mind, there are several style lessons to be learned from this bad-boy of the silver screen–and despite being outside the typical mold for an entry in this series, we believe he can still unquestionably be considered a Gentleman of Style.

Early Life – From Indiana Farm Boy to Aspiring Actor

James Byron Dean was born on February 8, 1931, in Marion, Indiana, the only child of Winton Dean, a farmer, and Mildred Marie Wilson. Six years after his father had left farming to become a dental technician, Dean moved with his family to Santa Monica, California.

The family spent several years there, and by all accounts, Dean was very close to his mother; he was devastated when she died of uterine cancer when Dean was nine years old. Unable to care for his son, Dean’s father sent him to live with his aunt and uncle back in Fairmount, Indiana.

A young Dean plays on his aunt and uncle's farm in Fairmount, Indiana, c. 1943 (Image: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty)

A young James Dean plays on his aunt and uncle’s farm in Fairmount, Indiana, c. 1943 (Image: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty)

In school, Dean was a good student and socially well-liked, playing baseball and varsity basketball, studying drama, and competing in public speaking. After graduating from Fairmount High School in 1949, he moved back to California to live with his father and stepmother.

He enrolled in Santa Monica College, majoring in pre-law, but then transferred to UCLA and changed his major to drama, which resulted in estrangement from his father. While at UCLA, Dean was picked from a group of 350 actors to portray Malcolm in Macbeth and participated in acting workshops on campus. In January 1951, he dropped out of UCLA to pursue a full-time career as an actor.

Dean poses in his Fairmount High Quakers basketball uniform, c. 1948 (Image: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty)

Dean poses in his Fairmount High Quakers basketball uniform, c. 1948 (Image: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty)

Film & Television Career – Game Shows, TV Dramas, and Hollywood Stardom

Dean’s first television appearance was in a Pepsi-Cola commercial, and his first speaking role was as John the Apostle, in an Easter television special dramatizing the Resurrection of Jesus. Dean subsequently obtained minor and uncredited walk-on roles in five films between 1951 and 1953. While struggling to get jobs in Hollywood, Dean also worked as a parking attendant at CBS Studios, during which time he met Rogers Brackett, a radio advertising executive, who offered him professional guidance.

A publicity still from Dean's appearance on a 1951 episode of the "Schlitz Playhouse of Stars" (Image: Getty)

A publicity still from Dean’s appearance on a 1951 episode of the “Schlitz Playhouse of Stars” (Image: Getty)

In October 1951, following the encouragement of Brackett, Dean moved to New York City, where he first worked as a stunt tester for the game show Beat the Clock. He also appeared in episodes of several CBS television series, such as Studio One and Lux Video Theatre, before gaining admission to the Actors Studio to study method acting under Lee Strasberg.

Proud of this accomplishment, Dean referred to the Actors Studio in a 1952 letter to his family as “the greatest school of the theater. It houses great people like Marlon Brando…Very few get into it…It is the best thing that can happen to an actor. I am one of the youngest to belong.” Dean’s career picked up, and he performed in further episodes of such television shows as Kraft Television Theatre. One early role, for the CBS series Omnibus, saw Dean portraying the type of disaffected youth for which he would later become famous.

An early publicity photo of Dean, from 1953.

An early publicity photo of Dean, from 1953.

East of Eden – Dean’s Major Film Breakthrough

In 1953, director Elia Kazan was looking for an actor to play the role of Cal Trask, an emotionally complex young man who is bothered by the mystery of his supposedly dead mother, in the adaptation of John Steinbeck’s 1952 novel East of Eden. Kazan said that he wanted “a Brando” for the role, and the screenwriter suggested Dean. Steinbeck, who met with Dean, did not like him personally but thought him to be perfect for the part. Dean was cast in the role and on April 8, 1954, left New York City and headed for Los Angeles to begin shooting.

Julie Harris and James Dean in East of Eden, from 1955.

Julie Harris and James Dean in East of Eden, from 1955.

Much of Dean’s performance in the film is unscripted; his most famous improvisation occurs during a heated moment between Cal and his father. Instead of running away as the script called for, Dean instinctively turned to actor Raymond Massey, lunged forward, and grabbed him in a full embrace, crying. Kazan kept this and Massey’s shocked reaction in the film.

In recognition of his performance in East of Eden, Dean was nominated posthumously for the 1956 Academy Awards as Best Actor in a Leading Role, the first official posthumous acting nomination in Academy Awards history. East of Eden was the only film starring Dean that he would see released in his lifetime.

James Dean and Raymond Massey, in the climactic scene from "East of Eden."

James Dean and Raymond Massey, in the climactic scene from East of Eden.

Rebel Without a Cause – The Quintessential Dean Performance

Dean’s next film, Rebel Without a Cause (1955), would become hugely popular among teenagers, largely for its representation of teenage angst. As Jim Stark, Dean gave the quintessential performance of a restless teenager, hiding behind a mask of casual indifference while yearning for love, purpose, and recognition. In the film’s opening scene, a drunk Jim slouches on a curb, holding onto a toy monkey. The conservative tan suit he wears marks him as an adult, but his movements are those of a frightened child.

Jim suffers emotionally because of his father’s weakness and is determined not to become like him. He seeks out one daredevil challenge after another, falls in love with Judy (Natalie Wood), and along with her and social outcast Plato (Sal Mineo), finds himself wrapped up in a night of gang violence and murder–his search for purpose in an uncaring world forcing him to navigate an environment of emotional darkness and ambiguity.

Dean in an iconic publicity still from Rebel Without a Cause, wearing his signature red Harrington jacket.

Dean in an iconic publicity still from Rebel Without a Cause, wearing his signature red Harrington jacket.

Giant – Dean’s Final Film

Following the successes of Eden and Rebel, Dean wanted to avoid being typecast as a rebellious teen, and hence took on the role of Jett Rink, a Texan ranch hand, in Giant (1956). The movie portrays a number of decades in the lives of Bick Benedict, a Texas rancher, played by Rock Hudson; his wife, Leslie, played by Elizabeth Taylor; and Rink. To portray an older version of his character in the film’s later scenes, Dean dyed his hair gray and shaved some of it off to give himself a receding hairline.

Dean received his second posthumous Best Actor Academy Award nomination for his role in Giant. At the time of his death, he was set to star as Rocky Graziano in Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956); that film went on to earn both commercial and critical success, winning two Oscars, with Paul Newman playing the role of Graziano.

Dean as Jett Rink in Giant, from 1956 (Image: Warner Bros.)

Dean as Jett Rink in Giant, from 1956 (Image: Warner Bros.)

James Dean’s Death – A Racer Passes on the Highway

A fan of auto racing since his childhood, Dean became interested in developing a racing career. Beginning in 1954, he purchased various vehicles after filming for Eden had concluded, including a Triumph Tiger T110 motorcycle and a Porsche 356. Just before filming began on Rebel, he competed in his first professional event in Palm Springs, California, winning first place in the novice class and second place at the main event. His racing continued in Bakersfield a month later, where he finished first in his class and third overall.

Dean hoped to compete in the Indianapolis 500, but his busy schedule made it impossible. Dean’s final race occurred in Santa Barbara, California, in May 1955; he was unable to finish the competition due to a blown piston. Following this,  the Warner Bros. studio barred him from all racing during the production of Giant. Dean had finished shooting his scenes, and the movie was in post-production when he decided to race again.

James Dean astride a motorcycle.

James Dean astride a motorcycle.

Dean was scheduled to compete at a racing event in Salinas, California on September 30, 1955. Accompanying the actor to the occasion was stunt coordinator Bill Hickman, Collier’s magazine photographer Sanford Roth, and Rolf Wütherich, the German mechanic from the Porsche factory who maintained Dean’s Porsche 550 Spyder, which Dean referred to as his “Little Bastard.” Wütherich, who had encouraged Dean to drive the car from Los Angeles to Salinas to break it in, accompanied Dean in the Porsche. At 3:30 p.m., Dean was ticketed for speeding, and the group continued to travel along U.S. Route 466.

James Dean & Rolf Wutherlich in Dean's Porsche, photographed on what would be Dean's final journey.

James Dean (right) & Rolf Wütherich in Dean’s Porsche, photographed on what would be Dean’s final journey.

At approximately 5:45 p.m., a car was passing through an intersection while turning, ahead of the Porsche. Unable to stop in time, Dean’s Porsche slammed into the driver’s side of the turning car, bouncing across the pavement onto the side of the highway. Wütherich was thrown from the Porsche, while Dean was trapped inside, sustaining numerous fatal injuries including a broken neck; meanwhile, the other driver had only minor injuries.

The accident was witnessed by a number of passersby who stopped to help; despite this, Dean was pronounced dead on arrival shortly after he arrived by ambulance at the Paso Robles War Memorial Hospital at 6:20 p.m. An estimated 600 mourners attended his funeral, while another 2400 fans gathered outside of the building during the procession.

The site of James Dean's fatal crash, now named James Dean Memorial Junction.

The site of James Dean’s fatal crash, now named James Dean Memorial Junction.

Legacy & Impact

American teenagers of the mid-1950s, when Dean’s major films were made, identified with Dean and the roles he played, especially that of Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause. The film depicts the dilemma of a typical teenager of the time, who feels that no one, not even his peers, can understand him. Humphrey Bogart commented after Dean’s death about his public image and legacy: “Dean died at just the right time. He left behind a legend. If he had lived, he’d never have been able to live up to his publicity.”

Jim Stark (Dean) and Buzz Gunderson (Corey Allen) in a knife fight in Rebel Without a Cause.

Jim Stark (Dean) and Buzz Gunderson (Corey Allen) in a knife fight in Rebel Without a Cause.

Additionally, numerous commentators have asserted that Dean had a marked influence on the development of rock and roll music. The persona Dean projected in his movies, especially Rebel, influenced many early rock pioneers, most notably Elvis Presley, who said in a 1956 interview for Parade magazine, “I’ve made a study of Marlon Brando…of poor Jimmy Dean…[and] of myself, and I know why girls…go for us. We’re sullen, we’re broodin’, we’re something of a menace…I don’t know anything about Hollywood, but I know you can’t be sexy if you smile. You can’t be a rebel if you grin.”

In their book, Live Fast, Die Young: The Wild Ride of Making Rebel Without a Cause, authors Lawrence Frascella and Al Weisel wrote, “Ironically, though Rebel had no rock music on its soundtrack, the film’s sensibility—and especially the defiant attitude and effortless cool of James Dean—would have a great impact on rock…The industry trade magazine Music Connection even went so far as to call Dean ‘the first rock star.’”

The confident exterior masking a sensitive interior that Dean brought to Rebel Without a Cause would influence musicians like Elvis Presley.

The confident exterior masking a sensitive interior that Dean brought to Rebel Without a Cause would influence musicians like Elvis Presley.

James Dean’s Signature Style

Dean was a studious and accomplished method actor, but perhaps more than his talent, it’s his natural charisma, as an avatar for rebellious youth, that shines through today. He didn’t abide by Hollywood standards of the time, preferring to live by his own rules. Many of the biggest male movie stars of the 1950s, such as Humphrey Bogart, Gary Cooper, or Cary Grant, were of the previous generation and represented “old Hollywood” with their side-parted hairstyles and tailored suits.

Meanwhile, Dean took a much more relaxed approach to dressing; he would show up to his early castings barefoot with safety pins holding together his torn trousers, and arrive at lunch dates shirtless and wearing old jeans. His disheveled appearance combined with his emotionally vulnerable screen performances did much to define a new era of masculinity, characterized by a rugged blend of machismo and sensitivity.

Dean in a heavily worn shirt on the set of Giant.

Dean in a heavily worn shirt on the set of Giant.

Dean’s personal style was inherently casual, and it’s likely that the years he spent on an Indiana farm influenced his largely function-first wardrobe. The bright red blouson in Rebel will forever be his signature look, but Dean wore a number of other lightweight jackets of greater versatility, including a tan suede jacket (in the same film), and a leather biker jacket with fur collar (clearly inspired by his hero, Marlon Brando) that helped to popularize the leather jacket as a wardrobe staple.

And where, prior to the ‘50s, the T-shirt was considered an undergarment, Brando changed that in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), and Dean continued the trend in his own films. He likely favored T-shirts for their ease and simplicity, pairing them with denim, boots or penny loafers, and a cigarette. Today, an outfit consisting of jeans and a T-shirt is the norm for a great many men, but in Dean’s time, it was an act of defiance, taking considerable courage to wear.

Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire in a non-white T-Shirt

Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire in a T-Shirt; Brando (and this look) would be a major influence on Dean.

When dressing more conventionally, Dean’s fashion still remained true to his credo of simplicity and functionality. He could wear a standard suit (as in the opening scenes of Rebel), or go for a semi-formal ensemble: a sport coat or blazer in a color like brown or navy, a button-down shirt, khakis, and loafers. He was rebellious in his clothing choices but always projected a simple and masculine image. Simply stated, James Dean was an individual.

James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, wearing a sports coat, odd trousers, and collared shirt.

James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, wearing a sports coat, odd trousers, and collared shirt.

Harrington Windbreaker

As stated above, no singular piece of clothing is more indelibly linked to James Dean than the red Harrington windbreaker he wore in Rebel. The Harrington (named for its association with the character of Rodney Harrington on the 1960s TV series Peyton Place, and alternatively called a blouson) is a lightweight, waist-length piece of outerwear that layers quite well, especially in the cooler seasons.

James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, sporting his iconic ensemble of red Harrington jacket, white T-shirt, jeans, and boots.

James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, sporting his iconic ensemble of red Harrington jacket, white T-shirt, jeans, and boots.

You can channel Dean directly by getting one in bright red, but other colors like beige, burgundy, or navy will be more versatile. Similarly, wearing it with a T-shirt, jeans, and boots will give you a distinctly ‘50s vibe, but the Harrington can be layered equally well with button-up shirts like flannels, odd trousers, and derby shoes or loafers. Alternatively, you can try a related piece of outerwear–such as a suede bomber jacket–paired with denim, for an even more rugged look.

A modern Harrington jacket in burgundy.

A modern Harrington jacket in burgundy.

Jeans

As with the T-shirt, denim blue jeans have been a core piece of the modern American wardrobe since the 1950s, and Dean’s performance in Rebel did much to establish them as such. He wore a straight cut (not too loose or too tight throughout the leg) with a high rise, and in a medium blue wash; this classic style is still produced by many brands today, such as Levi’s and American Apparel. In particular, the Levi’s style known as the 501 was worn by Dean and is available today, and can be found in a large variety of different colors, including blue, indigo and dark washes.

James Dean shows off the fit of his blue jeans in Rebel Without a Cause.

James Dean shows off the fit of his blue jeans in Rebel Without a Cause.

Given the time period in which he lived, Dean’s trousers had a fuller cut and a higher rise on the torso than what would be typical today. You can opt for a pair with a high rise to directly replicate a ’50s aesthetic, and combine it with classic loafers and a braided belt. For a more modern take, go for a pair with a contemporary rise, in a darker wash and tapered closer to the ankle.

In either case, your jeans should project an effortless, working-man masculinity. Layer your outfit with a leather jacket, and finish with some leather boots for an ensemble worthy of Dean (or Marlon Brando). Finally, cuff or pin-roll your jeans to show off your footwear and add an additional flair.

T-Shirt

Along with Marlon Brando, James Dean transformed the white T-shirt from a piece of utilitarian underwear to its current role as the backbone of hyper-casual attire. While we here at the Gentleman’s Gazette don’t often advocate for the T-shirt to be worn on its own as outerwear, its popularity as such can’t be denied, and if you’re going for the type of simplistic, rebellious, masculine look that Dean made famous, a T-shirt is an essential piece.

Dean on the set of Rebel Without a Cause, in a simple white T-shirt.

Dean on the set of Rebel Without a Cause, in a simple white T-shirt.

Still: as with any other type of garment, fit is key. Dean wore T-shirts that were well-fitted through the chest, with armholes that accentuated his arms without hugging them. If you do plan to wear a T-shirt visibly, don’t go for the same type of undershirt that you’d get in a multi-pack at Target or Wal-Mart; instead, spend a few more dollars to get something that will flatter your form and stand up to multiple launderings. To channel Dean directly, pair the tee with traditional blue jeans and boots. For a more contemporary look, dark denim with a slimmer (but not skinny) fit would be a good option.

Boots

In Rebel Without A Cause, Dean rounded out his iconic combination of Harrington, T-shirt, and jeans with a dark pair of leather engineer boots. Whether you’re deliberately attempting such a look or not, leather boots should be a staple of any man’s footwear collection, as they’re versatile in terms of formality and types of trousers, incredibly comfortable, and highly durable; a quality pair, maintained well, can last multiple decades.

Leather engineer boots worn with cuffed denim jeans, as James Dean did in Rebel Without a Cause.

Leather engineer boots worn with cuffed denim jeans, as James Dean did in Rebel Without a Cause.

One of the most popular styles of leather boot today is the Chelsea boot, which pairs equally well with dress trousers, semi-formal pants, and denim. Picking up a pair of Chelsea boots (or other related styles) in both black and brown will provide your wardrobe with a surprising number of additional combinations.

Just remember: quality footwear is an investment, and boots are no exception. Snapping up any random pair you see on sale will only guarantee that you’ll have to buy another new pair in just a few months or years. Instead, buy from a reputable source that uses the highest quality materials, and you’ll save money in the long run, in addition to looking your best.

Chelsea Boot, George Boot & Jodhpur Boot

Chelsea Boot, George Boot & Jodhpur Boot

Polo Shirt

When not wearing a simple T-shirt, Dean could frequently be seen wearing its slightly dressier sibling, the polo, adopting the preppy look that defined his generation. Such a look is incredibly simple to achieve, and it’s entirely timeless. Dark, solid colors are the safest and most versatile options and can be worn tucked or untucked, depending on the formality level of your overall outfit.

James Dean in a polo shirt and jeans.

James Dean in a polo shirt and jeans.

Polo shirts can pair easily with both cotton trousers (be they flannels, khakis, or chinos), as well as with denim; their versatility is what makes them a true style staple. Properly fitted polos made from lightweight weaves can be worn with dark-wash jeans and leather or suede shoes for a casual look. Alternatively, layer a polo under a sports coat or sweater, and pair it with odd trousers and loafers, for a more semi-formal ensemble that’s still relaxed.

Sven Raphael wearing Fort Belvedere Driving Gloves and a green polo shirt.

Sven Raphael Schneider wearing Fort Belvedere Driving Gloves and a green polo shirt.

Sweaters

From his first starring role in East of Eden to his iconic 1954 photo shoot for LIFE magazine entitled “Torn Sweater,” Dean was also frequently seen in knitwear. In the case of the former, he wore a buff-colored V-neck over a white dress shirt, paired with khakis. For the latter, as the title would suggest, a worn and frayed black mock-turtleneck was the centerpiece of the outfit.

Dean wearing a buff-colored sweater with khakis and a collared shirt in East of Eden.

Dean wearing a buff-colored sweater with khakis and a collared shirt in East of Eden.

Each of these styles of sweater, while vastly different in attitude, is still versatile; as such, men looking to try Dean-inspired knitwear could opt for a neutral-toned sweater (either V-neck or crew-neck), paired with any color of khaki, chino, or even denim. Alternately, a black (or similarly dark) turtleneck could be paired with some black odd trousers or dark wash denim for a reserved, monochromatic look.

You’ll be safest with knitwear when avoiding more extravagant shades, and instead sticking to a color palette of grays, blacks, browns, blues, and greens. Such colors are fairly universal with odd trousers and boots, ensuring a variety of stylish combinations.

A moody Dean in a black turtleneck for the LIFE magazine photo shoot, "Torn Sweater."

A moody Dean in a black mock-turtleneck for the LIFE magazine photo shoot, “Torn Sweater.”

Breton shirt

Hailing from the Brittany region of France, the first iteration of Breton shirts were designed with tightly knit, locally sourced wool to protect fishermen from biting winds and water, and eventually evolved into a blue-and-white striped shirt. Sailors have sported the look since the start of the 19th century, and in 1858, the garments were officially adopted as part of the French naval uniform. Coco Chanel first brought Breton shirts into the realm of popular fashion, and from there, they were adopted by such icons as Audrey Hepburn, John Wayne, and of course, James Dean.

Dean in a Breton shirt with a blue, polo-style collar.

Dean in a Breton shirt with a blue, polo-style collar.

Stripes are considered by some men to be difficult to pull off, but this doesn’t have to be the case; for those just starting to integrate the pattern into their wardrobes, going for garments with narrow stripes and simple color combinations can be a great first step–and we can look to James Dean and his fondness for Breton shirts as an example.

A long-sleeved shirt inspired by the original Breton style would be an easy way to incorporate stripes into your wardrobe.

A long-sleeved shirt inspired by the original Breton style would be an easy way to incorporate stripes into your wardrobe.

Sunglasses & Eyeglasses

Whenever you spend time in the sun (especially during the summer months), sunglasses are both functional and stylish, protecting your eyes and adding an unmistakable element of cool. Dean knew this, and he often sported a pair of round, tinted sunglasses with a thin metallic frame. While such styles remain popular and perfectly smart today, you can feel free to choose any type of sunglasses you like–so long as they fit your face shape and skin tone well.

James Dean wearing his preferred style of sunglasses.

James Dean wearing his preferred style of sunglasses.

In addition to wearing sunglasses when outdoors, Dean also wore a pair of round, tortoise-shell eyeglasses, especially when reading. That he could pair a quite traditional style of eyeglasses with his otherwise casual look is a testament to his inherent sense of style. In either case, you can try pairing your eyewear with a casual shirt, like a T-shirt, polo, or Breton.

Dean wears a pair of tortoise-shell eyeglasses to read a book of poetry.

Dean wears a pair of tortoise-shell eyeglasses to read a book of poetry.

Especially when outdoors and wearing sunglasses in the summer, wearing a lighter fabric (such as linen) is a great way to stay cool and maintain a smart aesthetic. In this latter case, consider a pair of light blue jeans, as their brighter color will harmonize with the summery atmosphere of your look.

James Dean, Harrington jacket, denim blue jeans, white T-shirt, pol;o shirt, Breton shirt, V-neck sweater, mock-turtleneck sweater, engineer boots, sunglasses, eyeglasses, pomade

Hairstyle

Though perhaps not quite to the same degree as for his clothing, Dean was definitely famous for his hair. His disheveled, quiff-like pompadour projected a devil-may-care vibe, in line with the rest of his sartorial choices. Before Dean, the quiff wasn’t a popular style; it would have been considered too unprofessional for most men. Ever one to forge his own path, Dean made the style his own, and it’s since become a popular choice for many, particularly exploding in popularity in the last 10-15 years.

James Dean's signature hairstyle.

James Dean’s signature hairstyle.

If you do decide to change up your hairstyle to be more like Dean’s, go to a skilled stylist who can cut your hair to the right length, with the bangs somewhere between your eyebrow and the bottom of your eye, and the back and sides scissor-cut and relatively long, to create a rounded look from the front.

After a cut and a shower, simply take a small amount of pomade and work it into your hands to get the pomade warm. Work the pomade into your hair evenly, making sure all of the hair has some product in it. Then, take a hair dryer and a comb or brush, and on a low heat, blow dry your hair and style it as desired. A bit of hairspray for hold, and the James Dean look is yours.

James Dean and Corey Allen wearing quiff/pompadour hairstyles in Rebel Without a Cause.

James Dean and Corey Allen wearing quiff/pompadour hairstyles in Rebel Without a Cause.

Conclusion

While the word “icon” has become especially overused in recent decades, it’s undeniable that the term suits James Dean–whether it’s because of his genuine talent as an actor, or the fact that his death at 24 left him frozen in time in the minds of the movie-going public. The combination of his rebellious characters and his casual style was a perfect storm for inspiration.

His style has a largely timeless quality, featuring simple pieces rooted in their functionality and versatility. Watch any of his films or peruse a few photos, and his confidence and cool shine through. Do you have a favorite James Dean performance or wardrobe item? Share with us in the comments.


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Style Guide For The Slim Man

In today’s world, many people are trying to lose weight either for their health or just for their own image. Here at the Gentleman’s Gazette, we believe that as long as a man is following the general principles of style, in addition to feeling healthy and following his doctor’s advice, carrying around a few extra pounds is nothing to be ashamed of.

With that said, there’s also a group of men out there at the opposite end of the spectrum. Thin men who may be looking to find ways to increase their physical presence. Whether or not you’re actually looking to bulk up though, cutting a masculine figure does have benefits.

Our subconscious sees fitness as an indicator of health and we are always looking for signs of strength in potential romantic partners, co-workers, or even friends. With all that in mind, here are some tips from one slim man to another on how to dress well in order to look healthy and masculine.

Dressing Guidelines For The Slim Man

Make sure to avoid baggy clothing

Make sure to avoid baggy clothing

1. Avoid Wearing Clothing That Makes You Look Frail

Many thin men often try to disguise their frames by wearing clothing that’s too large for them thinking that the extra fabric is going to make them look bigger, however, in reality, the opposite is actually true. At the same time, however, thin men should also stay clear of super skinny or skin-tight styles because these two are just going to draw attention to your thin frame.

Skinny pants make your leg look like sticks

Skinny pants make your leg look like sticks

What’s the solution then? Simply put, you just have to find clothing that’s going to fit you just right. If they fit properly, your clothes should drape naturally over your body, fitting closely but at the same time not feeling tight or pulling anywhere and also not so loose that they’re baggy or billowing. As such, you’ll definitely benefit in the long run from forming a good relationship with a tailor as you’re probably going to need to take all kinds of different garments in for one type of alteration or another in order to achieve that ideal fit.

Proper shoulder width of a jacket

Proper shoulder width of a jacket

In particular, pay close attention to your shoulders and your sleeves. The shoulder seam of your shirt should sit right at your shoulder’s edge. If it’s up too high, the shirt’s going to look too small on you and if it’s down too low, your shoulders are going to look like they’re drooping. If the seam sits right at the shoulder edge, it’s going to properly frame your shoulders and your chest. Similarly, your sleeves should be just wide enough so that your arms can fit comfortably inside of them. If they’re too tight, you’re going to have unsightly wrinkling all around your arms and if they’re too loose, they’re just going to look like you’re wearing a pirate shirt.

The same general principle is also true for your legs. Wearing skinny jeans or pants with a tight tapered fit in things like khakis, chinos, and so forth will just make your legs look like spindly sticks and that won’t flatter you at all.

Striped green and white dress shirt with micropattern tie from Fort Belvedere

Striped green and white dress shirt with a micropattern tie from Fort Belvedere

2. Wear Colors & Patterns That Boost Your Visual Heft

As a general rule, lighter colors like white, beige, or pastels are going to make you appear a little bit larger, overall. Just as darker colors and the quintessential black are said to be slimming, the opposite effect is true for lighter clothing. Meanwhile, wearing patterns will create a sense of movement in your outfit and will also make you seem larger. When we observe a busy pattern, it does take a moment for our brain to be able to explain to our eyes what it is that we’re seeing. That split second of communication means that if you’re wearing a busy pattern, people will have to take a second and that will make you look larger.

Checked Tweed in Green with flap pockets

Checked Tweed in Green with Fort Belvedere accessories

With regard to specific patterns, horizontal stripes are of course, the classic choice for broadening the frame whereas vertical stripes will make you look taller and thinner, overall. This isn’t to say however that vertical stripes should be completely forbidden from the wardrobe of a slim man. You should just be mindful of the overall effect that you’re trying to achieve. Also, checks and other grid patterns are other good choices for broadening your frame.

Black, blue, and white checked dress shirt

Black, blue, and white checked dress shirt

In general though, the smaller the scale of the pattern, the more it’s going to increase your perceived heft. For example, wearing a fine graph check shirt would be a good choice if that’s what you’re going for.

This sweater vest is perfect for layering or wearing under a blazer

This sweater vest is perfect for layering or wearing under a blazer

3. Layering Is Key

With each additional layer you put on, you’re going to be adding a bit more bulk. One layer on its own might not necessarily make a difference but if you’re wearing multiple layers in conjunction, you’ll be able to build up your frame a little bit more. Rather than simply piling on a bunch of sweaters, however, you’ll want to approach your layering a little bit more strategically.

Start with the lightest weight fabrics closest to your body and as you move outward, each subsequent layer can be more sturdy. Also, textured weaves like tweed, flannel, denim, or corduroy give more perceived heft than do smoother weave fabrics.

Returning to the concept of patterns for a moment, this same concept of working inward to outward should apply to patterns as well. For example, the pattern on your shirt, if it has one, should be less abrasive than the pattern that’s featured on your jacket or tie.

Aleks Cvetkovics with denim shirt on top of a turtleneck sweater

Aleks Cvetkovic with denim shirt on top of a turtleneck sweater

4. Find Ways To Make Your Neck Look Larger

Turtleneck sweaters are the classic choice to create this effect but you also do have other options. For example, you could have a zip neck, a stand collar, or a shawl collar on a sweater in particular. Also, simply wearing a dress shirt with a sturdy collar assisted further by the aid of collar stays is a good way to minimize the appearance of your neck because the pattern of the shirt will be carried upward a little bit by the verticality of the collar.

Considerations For Specific Garments

A great fitting shirt will allow you to move around without getting untucked

A great fitting shirt will allow you to move around without getting untucked

1. Shirts

T-shirts, polos, dress shirts, or any other type of shirt just like any garment in general for the slim man, should fit the body closely without being too tight. As we already mentioned, fit in the shoulders and the sleeves are key. Dress shirts, in particular, should also be long enough that they stay comfortably tucked in throughout the day. If your shirt is creeping out over your waistband throughout the course of the day, that’s a sign that it’s too short.

Very little shoulder padding

Very little shoulder padding

2. Jackets

Suit jackets, sport coats, and blazers are all designed with the goal of accentuating the features of the male form making the man look more muscular. They achieve this in a variety of ways when it comes to the details of their styling. One way that a jacket does this is by broadening your shoulders.

Many jackets, though not all, depending on the style will have a bit of padding in the shoulder that makes it look more full and also more angular. Optimal shoulder padding for a jacket is subtle, however, adding only about a half inch of height at the very most. Anything more than that and your shoulders are going to look unnaturally angular almost like you put your jacket on with the hangers still in it.

flattering v shape front

flattering v shape front

In addition to making you look wider at the shoulders, a proper, meaning a close-fitting jacket will also taper as it moves down toward your waist creating a natural V shape. This V shape is a universal sign of male strength and it should also be echoed even further by related shapes that are created by your lapels, as well as your shirt collar.

Most jackets that you buy off the rack are probably going to require some sort of alterations tailoring. We suggest you start with the ever-versatile two-button single-breasted model, though if you want to experiment with a double-breasted jacket, you can still wear one of those and have it flatter your form too. We would suggest something perhaps with a six on two button configuration.

proper jacket length

proper jacket length

The length of your jacket should hit just at the bottom of your seat offering you the neatest appearance possible. If it’s any longer than that, it’s generally going to look like the jacket is too big for you. You can choose either notched or peak lapels based on your own personal preference but whatever you go with, we recommend that they be at a width of about three inches which is just a hair narrower than the standard lapel width of about 3 and 1/8 inches.

3. Trousers

You should try to find something in the middle usually that will be labeled, fittingly enough, as slim. You can wear your trousers either at your natural waist which we recommend or a little bit lower depending on your own personal preference as well as your actual height.

Navy pants with inward pleats worn with suspenders for a smooth look

Navy pants with inward pleats worn with suspenders for a smooth look

If you’re a shorter man, you can wear your trousers a bit higher to make you seem taller and if you are tall and slim, you can wear them just a little bit lower because you don’t really need any help looking tall. Style-wise, you can opt for side fasteners, belt loops, or suspenders, though if you do wear suspenders, also called braces, we would recommend that you do keep them under another layer and don’t wear them visibly. The strong verticality of these suspenders is just going to make you look thinner overall which isn’t necessarily something you’ll want.

Here’s a tip when it comes to buying, most retailers are only going to describe the measurements of a pair of trousers using just two numbers which refer to the waist size and the inseam length. These two numbers, however, don’t really give you any idea of how wide the pants are around each individual leg or what the drop height is from the top of the waistband to the bottom of the crotch. As such, the best way to figure out how well a pair of pants fits you is simply to try it on. If the trouser fabric is heavy enough to fall smoothly, a little bit of looseness in the lower legs doesn’t have to be shied away from but at the same time, you don’t want to go too far with this or you’ll risk looking like you’re wearing bell-bottoms or simply wearing pants that have way too much fabric at the bottom.

Good length for cuffed trousers

Good length for cuffed trousers

When it comes to trousers with pleats, commonly accepted wisdom is that thin men should avoid them altogether because of the extra verticality that’s provided by those lines, however, this doesn’t have to be an absolute rule. Trouser cuffs can also add some additional visual weight as well as providing a slight horizontal line around your ankles. If you are fortunate enough to have many of your garments custom-made for you, you can go ahead and make these cuffs on your trousers a little bit wider.

More casual pants can have their pockets slanted forward slightly to break up some of that verticality. Also on the topic of pockets, try to avoid filling them up with piles of stuff, this is a surefire way to make your thighs look unsightly bulky or even lumpy, that’s not an effect you’re going for.

4. Neckties & Other Accessories

Depending on your own personal preference, a necktie with the width of about two and three-quarters to three and 1/2 inches is going to look good on a slim frame. Just remember that the overall width of your necktie should be relatively in sync with the width of your jacket’s lapel so that everything is harmonious overall.

Alternatively, knit ties are often only about two inches wide but their added texture and bulk will add some heft to your frame as we discussed previously in our general overview. Anything narrower than two inches into the realm of super skinny ties won’t do you any favors. Instead, these really slim ties are just going to echo the slimness of your overall frame.

Finally, whether you’re wearing a long tie or a bow tie, consider something with an engaging and inviting visual pattern as this extra visual element will draw attention away from your frame.

Fortunately for the slim man, he’s got a good bit of latitude in what kinds of accessories he can wear that will add bulk to his frame without looking outlandish. Take, for example, a well-puffed pocket square in an inviting pattern. This will work similarly to the patterned tie that we just discussed and that it will draw eyes away from the slimness of your frame.

What you want to avoid in a belt

What you want to avoid in a belt

Proportion is just as important here as anywhere of course and there is a point where an accessory will become too large making you just look like a clown. For example, overly broad belts and large belt buckles aren’t going to do a slim man any favors. For a slim man, you’re simply going to be better suited wearing a moderately sized belt with a conservative belt buckle.

Penny Loafers

Penny Loafers

5. Shoes

Go for something understated and on the slim side rather than something more utilitarian and chunky. Loafers are going to be a good bet for you as is anything from an Italian manufacturer as their styles are typically slimmer than some parts elsewhere around the world.

CONCLUSION

You don’t have to be muscular or physically imposing to project a masculine image. Simply by knowing what types of garments fit your body and flatter you, you can look confident as well as stylish all the time.

So if you’re a slim man, what style tips do you have that we might not have mentioned? If you have any, feel free to share with us in the comments section below!


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Polished Work-from-Home Style

Alyson Seligman (38) lives in Palm Beach Gardens (FL) and is a personal style & personal growth blogger who also owns a PR/digital media agency. Her style is polished casual with a mix of Modern Classic and on-trend pieces. She loves feminine tops, statement earrings, and dressing up for special occasions.

“As I’ve become more comfortable and confident in myself, I’ve become less influenced by other women who have great taste… it’s just not true to me. My style is definitely a ‘casual chic’ vibe as I now run my blog and PR company from home. Think fab flats instead of sky-high heels (I’m a woman on the move!), great fitting denim instead of formal skirts, and tops with personality like fringe details or a fun floral print, for example. At the same time, who doesn’t love an excuse to get dressed up?!”

Erica Dunhill - 1

Alyson is all for wearing white bottoms year round. Here she’s sporting white skinny jeans with ankle zips. She’s paired the jeans with a navy sweater with fun design details — a high-low hemline, side buttons, and tasseled hem. An easy way to give an outfit extra visual interest. Adding patterned footwear, like these leopard print d’Orsay flats, is another way to add personality to a simple jeans-and-jumper look. Pattern-mixing the shoes with a darker brown satchel is a little unexpected. Navy nail polish, and a gold watch are the polished finishing touches.

Erica Dunhill - 2

A casual and comfy outfit for a day of running errands. Alyson is wearing camo print skinny jeans with contrasting tuxedo stripe and a white V-neck tee. She’s thrown over a black open cardigan that is longer in front for a nice draped effect. The white-with-black-stripes sneaks echo the colours in the outfit and pull the look together. The accessories of choice are a compact black shoulder bag and mirrored Aviator sunnies. A touch of subtle pink lipstick and our blogger is ready to go.

When asked which Fall/Winter trends she is enjoying the most in mild-weather Florida right now, Alyson said:

“It’s been unusually hot in Florida — I’m talking 86 degrees in October! — so instead of sweating to death in cozy cardigans (though I wear the in my house all the time!), I’m embracing statement colors like mustard, rich greens and a deep reds. The fall colors immediately ‘winter-ize’ your look, even if you’re wearing a tank!”

Erica Dunhill - 3

Alyson likes how lace tops can add polish to casual outfits. Here, her white sweatshirt with lace panel effectively dresses up a pair of ripped and distressed boyfriend jeans.The botanical lace detailing together with the charming red rose print on her white sneaks give the tomboy look a feminine vibe. The cognac zip-top crossbody bag is one of Alyson’s go-to daytime bags and complements her red locks beautifully.

Erica Dunhill - 4

Our 5’3” blogger is rocking the long cardigan! I also love that she’s paired it with a shorter skirt instead of a midi dress or jeans or pants. It’s a bit unexpected and very fun. Tucking the white top into the navy suede skirt provides structure and creates vertical integrity. The knee-length cardigan is also a great “lengthening tool” and an ideal lightweight topper for warm Florida Fall weather. Alyson has added split V-shaft booties in a darker grey for a non-matchy but complementary effect. Her trusted Vuitton bag comes out to play again, and the Y-necklace with subtle bling also emphasizes the vertical lines. Putting her hair up in a nonchalant ponytail works great with the casual vibe of this look.

Erica Dunhill - 5

Alyson likes to dress up for special occasions, and has worn this stunning black dress to holiday cocktail parties and weddings. The eye-catching transparent panel at the top of the fitted dress adds subtle allure and glam. The knee-length is flattering on our petite blogger. Silver ankle strap sandals with beautiful knot detailing lengthen the leg line and amp up the dressiness factor. Silver drop earrings, an heirloom bracelet that was once her grandmother’s and a black clutch are the festive finishing touches.

Erica Dunhill - 6

Our blogger is a fan of beautiful white blouses: “They can give an ethereal vibe that actually lightens up your face instead of darken your complexion.” The lace mock turtleneck blouse certainly is the star of the show here. It dresses up her skinny blue jeans like it’s nobody’s business. The neutral lining that evokes a see-through effect and sheer yoke are alluring, and create a fun juxtaposition with the buttoned-up, covered style. The blush suede stacked heel pumps with on-trend squared-off toe echo the lining of the blouse and further dress up the look. The white monogrammed chain wallet used as a clutch, and glam oversized pearl earrings complete the outfit.

Let us know what you think of Alyson’s wonderful polished casual style, and then hop on over to her blog, The Modern Savvy, to browse the rest of her outfits.


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How You Refresh Your Style

Forum member Bijou recently asked an interesting question: which aspects of our style do you regularly refresh so that you feel up to date, on-trend, and fabulous? Bijou boiled it down to the items that are the backbone of her style and work the hardest. For Bijou, it was dresses because she wears them frequently, and they’re signature to her style. 

The responses to Bijou’s post were fascinating. Some said tops, bottoms and footwear, and others said hairstyle, eyewear, colour, and outerwear. This makes perfect sense because there is no one, correct way to update or refresh your style. Fads are a thing of the past, trends last longer than they used to, and so-called style rules are obsolete. You can be as trendy, Modern Retro, classic or avant-garde as you like, and look absolutely fabulous.

When it comes to refreshing my own style, I prioritize these aspects, and strictly in this order.

1. Hair & Eyewear

Refreshing my hairstyle and eyewear is top priority because it’s integral to my signature style. I don’t go for drastic changes because I want to keep my hair short and blonde, and my eyewear Modern Retro. But I do change things up in a subtle way over the course of a couple of years to feel adequately refreshed. I’ve been growing out my fringe since January and wearing my pixie naturally wavy half the time. I added a new pair of vintage white prescription sunnies in February, and am looking at a new pair of red specs.

2. Jeans

Jeans are a wardrobe essential. I can wear them year round, to work and play, and white jeans are a favourite. Although I’m wearing jeans less frequently than I used to — favouring dresses, skirts and pants — I wear jeans A LOT. I want them to be the trendy aspect of my style because I’m not as trendy with shoes, pants and tops.

I don’t refresh my capsule every season, but I unexpectedly felt that my jeans capsule was too classic for Autumn & Winter, so I’m in the midst of editing and adding on-trend silhouettes. I’ve committed to the first two dark wash styles in the collection, and have the rest on order. I hope to add four new silhouettes.

3.Outerwear

I wear a lot of outerwear because of my climate. Since it’s my second favourite wardrobe item to purchase, I like to refresh with a few trendier items more frequently than most. I enjoy the drama of a trendy topper, and how it takes centre stage in an outfit. It also makes what you wear underneath feel “new”. This season I added an animal print coat in a gentle cocoon silhouette, and cape coat with faux fur. I’d like to add another short fashion puffer, but haven’t yet found a suitable style.

4. Handbags

I’m not into adding the new “it” bag of the season because I’m very set in my ways with bag silhouettes that work for my lifestyle. But since handbags are my favourite wardrobe item, I’m regularly refreshing my capsule and swapping out bags to create different moods in my outfits. This year I added a straw bag, and four Furlas (two of which were birthday presents). The Furlas are wardrobe workhorses.

5. Footwear

Footwear completes an outfit, adding a whole lot of interest and personality. Wearing on-trend footwear refreshes the look of golden oldies too. I do what I can to add a smattering of trendy shoes to my style each season, which is challenging given my fussy feet, urban walking lifestyle, and zero tolerance for uncomfortable shoes. This year I added mules, Western shooties, chunky white athletic sneakers, and more pairs of white boots.

6. Dresses & Skirts

From now on, I only wear knee-covering midis and dresses with sleeves, but I refresh with on-trend styles within my narrow range of style preferences. Midis are on trend at the moment, so I milked it and added a LOT of trendier dresses to my wardrobe this year. Some of the styles are Trendy Classics, which is even better.

Blouses, knit tops, knitwear, blazers, socks, scarves, belts, swimwear, make-up, nail polish, watches, workout wear, loungewear and jewellery stay relatively modern classic for my style. I’m less likely to amp up the trend factor in these items, if at all. Pants run the gamut. Sometimes I amp up their trend factor and sometimes I don’t. I focussed on dresses, skirts and white jeans for Spring and Summer, so trendy pants were not a priority. For Autumn and Winter, I’m focussing on jeans and dresses, and figuring out what I want to do for pants. I’d love to replace the orange and red pairs I recently passed on, but haven’t found anything suitable yet.

These six areas are a lot to tackle, and some years I’m more inspired, motivated and energized than others. Some seasons are more my look, which makes things easier. But lack of time, a limited budget, the wrong headspace, other priories, or just not being in the mood can get in the way. That’s OK too, because there are more important things than refreshing one’s style.

Over to you. Which components of your style do you refresh most regularly to feel on trend, up to date and fabulous?

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Dad Style, Shirts & Clothing – How To Dress Well With Children

Once you become a father, your interest in clothing and style doesn’t change, however the demands of parenting require some creative adaption regarding your wardrobe. If you’re a father of young children, your little one’s needs take priority over a new blazer, a pair of oxfords or a signet ring, but that doesn’t mean you have to switch to sweats until your kids are in junior high.

In today’s guide we show you how you can dress well as a dad and what items to incorporate into your wardrobe.

We all know that eBay is an excellent place to find great deals on clothing that would otherwise be ridiculously expensive for the average gentleman. Between eBay, Craigslist, flea markets and thrift stores, there is no shortage of apparel for the sartorially-savvy man. So what differentiates the average man on a low budget from a father? The short answer is boogers.

The average toddler gets around seven colds a year, and they last an average of three weeks. You do the math. That means that on any given day, a parent is dealing with the side effects of an illness in addition to mealtime messes, diaper duty, the occasional discovery of a jar of shaving cream.

There is no stylish way to carry a baby carrier - just suck it up and deal with it

There is no stylish way to carry a baby carrier – just suck it up and deal with it

So how can you maintain a wardrobe on a budget with kids and avoid ruining clothes that not even a dry cleaner will touch? From one father to another, here are some tips and tricks.

Baby covered in spaghetti

Baby covered in spaghetti

Budget Finds

By now, most of you know the key ways to find a wardrobe for less.  Where to buy clothes, how to find good deals and what to look for from a quality perspective. Instead, in this article, we’re going to focus on what items to buy, how to keep them clean and how to change a diaper in a bow tie.

Me playing with my daugther wearing a suit and bow tie

Me playing with my daugther wearing a suit and bow tie

The Essentials

In most cases, when we refer to essentials we’re talking the gray suit, the navy blazer, the black captoe oxfords. When it comes to the dad’s wardrobe, it’s more about the material than anything. A father is nothing short of a jungle gym. If you’re anything like me, you have clothes you wear in the house and ones you wear outside. The house clothes are just a down-sized version of the full outfit. Assuming you enjoy wearing business attire, here’s how you can keep your wardrobe intact and clean.

1. Be keenly aware of what can and cannot be easily cleaned in your wardrobe.

Let’s face it; you don’t have a lot of time to spend ironing and steaming your shirts or treat your cashmere sweaters the way they deserve it.

You also don’t want to spend your time at the dry cleaners. Hence chose items that are easily washable like cotton over wool or cashmere. Of course, you can still wear your wool suits and dress clothes, but expect to get drooled on. So maybe don’t wear your favorite items around the kids all the time.

You will get dirty with kids, guaranteed - choose clothes that you can easily machine wash at home

You will get dirty with kids, guaranteed – choose clothes that you can easily machine wash at home

2. Don’t wear clothes you’re not willing to get dirty around your kids & Get Cotton Cloths

The best way to avoid getting your clothes dirty is to change your work clothes as soon as you get home. Maybe you have a mudroom where you can do that or you have to get a little more creative, but a house wardrobe is your friend. Maybe you can enlist your partner’s help if need be or maybe it is possible for you to change at the office or the gym.

When you have little ones, it pays to have have a burp cloths handy so you can wipe noses and clean up quickly or prevent clothes from getting stained in the first place. In our opinion, cotton diaper cloths are best, as they are effective, inexpensive and easy to wash. Of course, they are also gentle and soft on your babies’ skin.  You can never have too many of them. In the beginning, I wondered we needed 20 of them, now I think 20 is the minimum.

You will get dirty with kids, guaranteed - choose clothes that you can easily machine wash at home

You will get dirty with kids, guaranteed – choose clothes that you can easily machine wash at home

3. Keep a Second Set of Clothes Handy

If you’ve seen the movie The Transporter, you probably remember the scene where he opens the trunk of his car and has a second identical suit in it. Copy that. At some point in your career as a parent, you will inevitably end up going out in public without realizing you’re wearing a special gift.

A second outfit in the car or at the office can be a lifesaver. Or both. Stick with staple outfits that can be used in various scenarios and paired with clean items you’re already wearing.

The navy blazer, a gray suit, a red tie, and a white dress shirt. It may be a little boring, but it’s clean.

4. Adjust your everyday wardrobe to better suit your family lifestyle

You never want to not play with your kids because your clothes are too precious. So, the best course of action is to add more easily washable clothes to your everyday rotation. 

That means

  • Cotton khakis and corduroys
  • Cotton Polo shirts
  • Cotton cardigans and sweaters and vests
Cotton Cardigans and sweaters are your friend when you have little ones

Cotton Cardigans and sweaters are your friend when you have little ones

Buy Multiples

Sweaters are easy to layer over a dress shirt and a tie. They make you still look put together but they also protect the layer underneath. If you like certain items, consider buying multiples of them, as they may get ruined. So, found a great pair of pants you love? Buy 2 or 3 pairs

Bow Ties Not Neck Ties

Keep in mind, bow ties are a lot more practical than neckties with kids as they are smaller and won’t get stained as easily. Of course, anything that hangs from your neck will get touched but bow ties have less surface area to get a hold off.

The classic Eton Red Ribbon shirt in white

The classic Eton Red Ribbon shirt in white

Wrinkle-Resistant Dress Shirts & Ironing

 

 

Personally, we have never been a fan of run-of-the-mill wrinkle-resistant or non-iron dress shirts. Why? Most are treated with formaldehyde which makes the shirt feel plasticky and it loses the wrinkle resistance after a few dozen washes. That aside it is not good for your skin.

 

The best one we have found comes from ETON. has a process that gives you an eco-friendly wrinkle-resistant shirt without formaldehyde or other toxins. Unfortunately, at close to $ 300 off the rack it is more expensive than most custom shirts. 

So at the end of the day, you may just opt for shirt fabrics that still look presentable even if they are not ironed. Typically, those are Super 80s or Super 60s yarns. Stay clear of superfine fabrics in the Super 180s or Super 240s as they wrinkle very easily. The higher the super number the easier it wrinkles. 

To minimize wrinkles, you can wash your shirts, shake out some wrinkles when it comes out of the laundry and when it is still wet. Then let them dry on a hanger and wear them without having to iron them. Of course, ironing is always better and to see how you can iron a shirt like a pro at home in our series here.

medium brown penny loafers

medium brown penny loafers

Stock Up On Slip-On Shoes

You won’t always have two hands to tie shoelaces with kids around, so loafers, boat shoes and slip-ons, in general, are your friend. In the winter Chelsea boots are a good option.

5. Become a master of home stain removal for washable garments

If you encounter a stain, it’s best to treat stains as soon as possible because the longer they sit the harder they are to remove.

Always start by blotting as much of the stain out of the fabric as possible. For fats and liquids, use a paper towel to draw out as much as you can then quickly research the stain online to find the best course of action or stay tuned for a series on clothes maintenance on our website.

In our experience, it pays to keep a shout wipe or tide stick in your wallet and a bigger stash in the diaper bag.

Kids may also ruin your hair but they will have a blast

Kids may also ruin your hair but they will have a blast

6. Find A Reliable Dry Cleaner With Pick-Up and Delivery Service

Dry cleaning is always an option that should be utilized as little as possible as it generally deteriorates your clothing due to the chemicals involved. Nevertheless, maintaining a close relationship with a good dry cleaner means special treatment when you need it the most. 

 

 

Tipping well and show your appreciation can mean staying open late or taking a second stab at a stain just for you. Some dry cleaners offer pickup and delivery for a marginal upcharge. That can be a huge plus as it saves a lot of time and hassle. So do your homework, not all dry cleaners are alike.

A chefs jacket keeps you clean during dinner and still looks good

A chefs jacket keeps you clean during dinner and still looks good

 

 

7. Cover Up at Meal Times

Anytime children eat, you will get dirty. It doesn’t matter what you serve. You can give them plain crackers and water, and somehow you’ll end up pulling caked soggy crackers out of their neck wrinkles. An apron is handy, but it just doesn’t cover enough surface area. Instead, hop online and buy yourself a chef’s jacket. They’re just as inexpensive as aprons, but they cover your entire upper body and arms. They also have a more masculine appeal, so you might even find yourself wearing it when dinner guests show up or when barbecuing for a crowd. The chef’s jacket will fit over your dress shirts and ties and prevent you from getting ketchup on the Charvet you just bought. It’s also white, so it can be bleached.

If you feel self-conscious buying yourself a chef’s jacket when you’re not a professional chef, get creative and suggest it as a father’s day present so you can shrug it off and tell people it was a gift from the kids. It’ll make you feel like super dad, and you look a lot cooler than you would in an apron.

Three little chefs enjoying in the kitchen making big mess. Litt

Three little chefs enjoying in the kitchen making big mess. Little girls making bread in the kitchen

8. Expect That Things Will Get Ruined

Last but not least, it is a wise idea to prepare yourself mentally that some clothes will inevitably get ruined. It is guaranteed to happen and the sooner you accept that, the better off you will be.

This isnt real. No family wears this much white. Its an advert

This isn’t real. No family wears this much white.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this primer on how to be a well-dressed dad gave you a little more insight and helped offer some unique suggestions. For many of us, it’s a matter of trial and error. The biggest thing is to maintain a barrier between your children and your clothing, but that doesn’t mean having to keep them at a distance. What are your parenting tips for dressing well?

This article was originally written by J.A. Shapira and Sven Raphael Schneider


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Contemporary Western Style

A new outfit from Paulien Riemis of Polienne, whom we introduced to YLF in April 2014.

Paulien is mixing several F/W 2018 trends in this eclectic contemporary take on Western style. She’s tucked a white blouse with tie closure into high-waisted cropped jeans with fringed hem that echoes the detailing on the top. Her ornate belt is another clever nod to rodeo and Western styling. As are the striking snakeskin ankle boots in zippy red and black. The eye-catching elongating coat in black and white gingham picks up the colours in our blogger’s outfit, and adds strong geometric interest. As the finishing touch, Paulien chose a transparent bag with on-trend round handle in a burgundy tortoise shell that works brilliantly with her red boots.

Paulien Riemis - 1

Paulien Riemis - 2


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Celebrity Stylist Molly Dickson Named Botkier Style Ambassador

Marking their 15th anniversary, accessories brand Botkier has appointed celebrity stylist Molly Dickson as a style ambassador.
“I began working with Botkier on a campaign shoot a few months ago and quickly came to love the product both personally and professionally,” Dickson says. “I’m based in New York (although often traveling) but I always look to New York (and New Yorkers) as a constant source of inspiration; it’s one of the things I love most about the city. There’s something about the twentysomething girl in the Lower East Side wearing something super authentic and effortless; she’s cool, it’s almost magnetic. That’s how I envision the Botkier girl –– she’s cool and confident, she’s the girl I want to work with and to be friends with, which made this collaboration very organic for me.”
Dickson is emerging as one of the most buzzed-about celebrity stylists in Hollywood. Having begun her career as an assistant to power stylist Leslie Fermar for six years, Dickson has a reputation for working with up-and-coming darlings of Hollywood, including “Stranger Things” actress Sadie Sink and “13 Reasons Why” breakout Katherine Langford, as well as work with Scarlett Johansson, Jenny Slate and more. Her affinity for “It” girls on the

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