Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Issue # 31 - Product Reviews

Issue # 31 - Product Reviews

Hello gents! Well Santa has come and gone, and hopefully he brought you all what you wanted. Me, i got several fantastic fragrances under my tree and a few other surprises! This issue was just going to be a fragrance review, but I decided to give my input on a few other items i have used recently. So without further ado, Check out these items!

Boss In Motion White Edition - Fragrance

This arrived under my tree from my fantastic uncle this Christmas, and it was definitely something I was hoping for. As you all know, I am a sucker for a cool bottle, and this one caught my eye the first time i saw it. A stark white sphere with classic Boss orange accents makes this a can't miss bottle on my shelf. I also really enjoy the BOSS logo engraved into the sphere in the same white as the bottle. Classic. This fragrance boasts notes of Orange, Pineapple, Bergamot, Basil, Cypress needles, Black pepper, Cinnamon, Bark, Saffron, Coriander, Clary sage, Rose absolute Vetiver, Citrus, Labdanum, Amber and Musk, however over half of those notes are nearly indistinguishable in this scent. I have worn it a few times now, and while i do enjoy it, i wish more of the spicy notes made their way through. Upon spraying, the orange notes are bright and clean, but vastly different from the orange onslaught that John Varvatos Artisan delivers. This orange is more muted, with vague basil and bergamot notes peeking through. The mid notes are a combination of the top notes fading and the basenotes coming turns slowly from crisp, just out of the shower to a warm semi spice, reminding me somewhat of an orange chai tea. While several reviews I have read have slammed this scent for being too "chemical" and "fake" smelling, I enjoy it and would recommend it for someone who wants to play it safe with their scent. It's not edgy or attention getting, but it's a great subtle fragrance that can be worn really anytime. The one major downfall i noticed however, is that it's very quick to fade; a trend i am noticing more and more with today's fragrances. I am not sure if this is due to lack of quality in ingredients, or if it's done purposely to cause the wearer to apply more than once a day (thus increasing consumption and buying a new bottle sooner), But this is definitely a bottle to bring with you if it's your choice for the day, as you will most likely need to reapply. I give this scent a 6/10 and recommend it for spring time use.

Head and Shoulders hair endurance for men - Shampoo

You should recognize this from that great NFL commercial with Troy Polamalu. It's for men with thin (read, THIN, not specifically thinNING hair), and it claims to make hair fuller and thicker after using it a couple times. Now if you're a guy with thin hair like myself, this stuff actually works. First of all, it smells fantastic, and staying true to H&S, it's thick and lathers like a champ. If you're a guy that washes his hair every day (which i don't suggest, since the secret to awesome hair is dirty hair), then this is good to use daily. I prefer to use 2 different shampoos, relying on Axe's Deep Clean shampoo and scrub, in the green bottle to take care of the hair product gunk in between using H&S hair endurance. That works for me, but you can find your own routine. As I have mentioned before, if you have a more elaborate or tough to style hair style, try not washing your hair for a few days, and styling it when dry. It makes a huge difference, and you might discover some interesting new looks!

Megalomaniac Homegrown - Wine

I came across this at the LCBO the other day, and being the amateur wine enthusiast I am, I had to give it a shot. I like to try a new wine every week if i can. The label of this one caught my eye right off the bat, since it's a spin-off of the Magritte painting entitled "The Son of Man". This painting has been reproduced and bent in many different ways since its birth. This wine had a very grass roots feel to it, and since it was local, i decided to give it a shot. The one thing i found strange about it was that it was simply called "White Wine"..which was odd to me. Regardless, i cracked it before a pasta dinner, and gave it a shot. It's a very crisp wine, with notes of Grapefruit and apple on the top, and a slight buttery finish. It's not a sweet as a Reisling (my personal favourite), but it doesn't have the bite of a i am guessing it's somewhere in the middle. It finishes well and is a very nice simple wine, great for just socializing with friends or a lady friend. It's price tag is below $15 which is a bonus. Again, as with our basic wine 101 issue a few months ago, this should be paired with white meats and savoury dishes, especially if there is a little, -or a lot- of spice to them.

Henri Bendel Candles -

Henri bendel is a French Designer, and he has a line of absolutely FANTASTIC candles. For those of you who don't know, I am a complete candle addict, and have recently been able to get my hands on one of these. They are readily available in a few different scents at Bath and Body Works, but with a $30 price tag, sometimes they are hard to fit into the budget (Hint, they're half off this week). Bendel uses only top quality ingredients and essential oils to achieve the amazing scents in his room-filling candles, and once you smell them, the $30 price tag seems worth it. I recently got the Fig scent (it's not what you think), and while i haven't lit it yet, just the smell on its own is amazing. If you are fortunate enough to get your hands on his unbelievable "firewood" scent, you will be blown away by its sheer natural aroma. These candles can be burned sparingly because the scent travels fast and lingers a long time. TIP: Instead of blowing your candles out, place a plate or a lit over it. The candle will be extinguished and the lid will keep the smoke inside so you don't ruin your lingering scent with that overpowering birthday candle smell. These candles are totally worth it gents, especially if you're having a lady over.

Well that's it for now, watch for more fragrance and wine reviews coming soon, and stay tuned for Issue #32, why only other bachelors like your bachelor pad.

Until next time gents,

Monday, December 20, 2010

Issue # 30 - A revisit to etiquette

Issue # 30 - A revisit to Etiquette

Well gents, the Christmas season is upon us once again, and that means that the party train is in full force. This time of year is a stocking fully stuffed with gatherings, family events, parties and socials, and it's important for a stylish man to be equipped with etiquette, and all the trimmings. Because remember, style isn't just what you wear, it's how you are.

Those of you that have been reading all along might remember an issue based on proper party etiquette a few months back. I apologize for the redundancy, but I feel that there is an extreme lack in knowledge of proper party etiquette (especially among the younger generations today), and I figured, what better time than the christmas season to refresh everyones memories. So without any further babbling, let us begin.

1 - Always bring something for the host -

This is a rule that I find gets overlooked more and more these days, and It's about time it stopped. When someone is inviting you into their house for a party, whether it's BYOB or Alcohol is provided, it's always a great sign of respect to bring something small for the host. It's not only a sign of respect, but it's also a sign of appreciation. Think of it as a thank you. Like you're saying "hey, thank you for letting me into your home, letting me use your facilities, preparing food for me, and potentially letting me crash on your kitchen floor".
Now don't get all worked up, you don't have to get them a thoughtful gift, a bottle of wine will suit just fine. As mentioned in many previous issues, there are a lot of fantastic wines available for under $15. I suggest a no-thinking-needed white wine like the Gewurtztraminer-Riesling from Open, or the always amazing late autumn riesling by Inniskillin.

2 - Be prepared to share -

All parties are different. Some people supply no alcohol at all, and leave it up to you to bring your own. Some parties are BYOB, but there is a table prepared with small amounts of alcohol from the host. Some are fully stocked with the option of bringing something you want. When i throw parties, i prefer the pot luck method, I supply a small amount of the neccessities; vodka, rye, rum, gin, mix, and each person brings something of their own. Everything goes onto a table, and everyone can drink what they wish, much like a pot luch lunch in a workplace. Regardless of the type of party it is, be prepared to share your booze. You never know when a friend will show up empty handed, or someone runs out of their drink of choice.

3 - Respect your surroundings  -

Unless it is very well known that YOU are the guest of honour, it's important to remember that the party is not about you. It's a gathering of people, selected by the host, in the host's living space. Your host has most likely put at least a decent amount of time into the decor, the food and the music, and it most certainly was not centered around you respect that. Whether the host has taken the time to construct a well thought out jazz playlist, or just put their iTunes on shuffle, it is not appropriate to complain about the music selection, or ask to change it. Chances are, your taste in music will not match the rest of the room's, so just let it be. The same goes for the food selection. If you are not a fan of the food provided, don't eat it.

4 - Don't abuse the open bar -

If the party is BYOB, but there is also alcohol provided, do not manipulate this factor. Don't be the guy that shows up with 2 cans of budweiser, then mooches the free jagermeister. The bar is not there for you to have a field day. It's there as a courtesy and your host was kind enough to supply it, so don't abuse it.

5 - do NOT be "THAT guy" -

This is a very broad rule, but one of the most important. Don't be THAT guy gentlemen. Do not get wasted, become obnoxious, vomit, yell, dance on get the point. Bottom line gents, judge your surroundings, and be classy. It's perfectly fine to catch a solid buzz, but just watch the party, and judge your actions accordingly.

6 - Be an adult -

This one is for the younger guy. Take into consideration the age mixture of the party you're attending, and the overall atmosphere. You will find that there will most likely be very few people interested in doing a beer bong, or a keg stand, so don't even offer.

And perhaps the most important of all the etiquette rules;


Very few things are as tacky as leaving the party with the booze you showed up with. The general rule of thumb is to leave it behind. This, much like bringing the host a bottle of wine, is a sign of respect, and a wordless thank you for a great time. It doesn;'t matter if there is less than a drink in the bottle, or if there's only one bottle of beer left in your case, leave it behind. The host may keep them for another party, or in my case, keep it aside for the next time you visit. This is very important and needs to be adhered to.

Now, before i get emails from people, it's also very important to remember to use your judgement for each party. Each one is different, and you know your friends much more than i do, so just go with what you feel. But please guys, take these points to heart. Nothing is less stylish than a man with no etiquette.

Until next time,

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Issue # 29 - My Top 5 scents for winter 2010/2011

Issue # 29 - My top 5 scents for Winter 2010/2011!

Well hello gentlemen, and how are you today? It's the first of December and I have found myself in a very festive mood indeed. It's cold, it's grey and it snowy, and that means that winter is upon us. While most people shudder at the thought of winter, I find myself bursting with energy for some odd reason. Not only is this my favourite time of year in regards to the holidays, but it's also my favourite time of year for fragrances. So many of my personal collection are at their best in the winter time, and I have been waiting to share them with you! Some would argue, but I think that everything just smells better in the cold weather. The scents are crisper and linger in the air and your clothes longer, without the sweaty musk of summer to wisk them away. It's for this reason I absolutely love this time of year for a great scent. So my friends, without further ado, here are my top picks for winter this season!

Burberry Brit -

This has been a winter staple for me for the past 3 years now. It's absolutely perfect for a cold night, whether it be out on the town, or next to a fire with your lady. It's deep, musky, sensual and classic. It's a timeless scent in my opinion, and it almost always evokes compliments. I am almost through my first bottle and this will most certainly be replenished as soon as i use the last drop. I prefer wearing this at night time, and it absolutely rocks formal occasions. Word to the wise though, use sparingly. It's a strong scent so 1-2 sprays maximum. Any more than that and it turns from alluring to appauling.

John Varvatos Vintage -

It's well known that I am a huge fan of the Johnny V family, and vintage is no exception. Following along the same line as the original, this scent has fantastic notes of leather, suede and tobacco, but is also very woody with almost a sweet accord on the topnotes. This is a very manly scent, with a rustic feel to it. It brings to mind big corded sweaters and chopping wood on a winter morning during a brisk snowfall. It's a warm scent that evokes emotions of safety, and has just a hint of the classic manliness that characterizes old school scents. The only drawback of this scent is that unfortunately like many of the JV scents, it wears off much too quickly. Which is a shame since the basenotes of leather and tobacco are just way too awesome to fade that fast.

Lacoste Pour Homme -

This scent is completely different than the one above, but also similar in some ways. It has a hint of vanilla-like sweetness on the top that's just enough to be completely alluring. It's fantastic for day or night use, but i use this almost always in cold weather only. It requires only a couple of sprays, and when paired with a wool coat or cashmere scarf it holds all day long. It's somewhat woody, somewhat powdery, and somewhat fruity all at once. Admittedly I wasn't a fan of this one at first, but it grew on me tenfold. Definitely worth a purchase.

Burberry The Beat -

Some of you may remember this scent from my pics for summer, well it's back and in its proper home now. While it works in summer, it excels in winter, blasting its peppery topnotes into the brisk winter air with unmatched force. It's manly but not overpowering and extremely distinct. The bottle is sleek and classy, and this scent is simply one of a kind. Your nose will get used to it, but it will maintain its head turning power all day long, especially if placed properly. This one is at the forefront of my winter arsenal (i'm wearing it right now in fact). It comes in 3 different sizes, and it does take a little while to fall in love with, so try a tester first...but i guarantee you will love this one.

Carthusia Uomo -

It took me a while to narrow down my list to only five scents, and while i considered keeping this one a secret, I just couldn't. This is a scent directly from Italy, and it has a hefty price tag to go along with it. This was given to me as a gift last autumn, and I did not like it at all upon first smell. It took a little while to grow on me, but when it grew, it grew at breakneck speed. This is an astoundingly masculine scent, extremely woody and undoubtedly european. Although i generally go for the heavier scents, this was a bit deep even for me...but the more i smelled it the more i fell in love with it. It has complexities beyond the naked nose, which leads to its mystery. two sprays is almost too much for this one, and it lasts a very long time....with a price tag of 100 euros, i use this one sparingly, as much as i would love to wear it every day. It's a perfect cold weather companion, and bridges the gap between autumn and winter perfectly. It brings to mind old school christmases and fireplaces and long treks to find the perfect tree. I love it, and if you can find it, and are willing to spend the money, you will love it too.

So there you have it gents, my top five picks for this winter. It was a hard choice, and it was so tough to narrow it to just 5 that i included some honourable mentions....and when i say honourable mentions, I mean I should have just extended the list because they are as good as any of my picks. They are as follows, in no particular order: Kenneth Cole Black - as per my review this one is just fantastic, like slipping on an old, perfectly formed leather jacket, amazing. Gap Blue no. 655. This has been discontinued in Canada, but is still available in select places in the US. it's an amazingly unique and original scent that I was SO excited to find again, since my original bottle is 12 years old this month, and i only have a few drops left. And with a price tag of around $20, you can't go wrong. Also, an old standby, Polo Black. manly, dark and warm. One spray is enough to last the whole day, and it's just a classic, manly scent.

So there you go guys, I hope this helps, and if you have any winter time favourites of your own, let me know!

Until next time,

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Issue #28 - Sports are not style.

Issue # 28 - Sports are not style.

We've all seen him. We all know him. He's the guy that wears a sports jersey for no athletic reason at all, and he's gotta go. Far too often men resort to the sports jersey as an outfit and it's just plain ridiculous. Did you run out of actual shirts? Is it laundry day? Do you, for some reason need to wear breatheable mesh clothing to wisk away your moisture on a daily basis? Or do you just like wearing a piece of clothing with someone elses' last name on it? Whatever your excuse for donning 2 massive numbers on your chest or back, you need to seriously reconsider this style choice. Now before the sports addicts get all crazy on me, please let me explain.

There are very few times where this garb is acceptable. These are outlined below:

IF YOU'RE GOING TO THE GAME - If you are actually ATTENDING the game in which your jersey applies, then more power to you. I am not much of a sports guy, but I know that team spirit is very important, and if you're that much into your team, then go for it big guy. You will most likely be surrounded by like-minded sporties, wearing like-minded jerseys so just go for it. The face paint and crazy hats can be cut back a little bit though.

IF YOU ARE WATCHING AT HOME - This one took me a while to add, but I decided to include it since not everyone can afford to go see their team play. So, if you are watching the game at home, or at a buddy's house, or anywhere NOT in public then go nuts. Your team won't see it, but if you think it makes a difference then do it!

This concludes the times and places it is ok to wear your jersey. Why so few you ask? Because these are JERSEYS, not clothes. No one will mistake you for an actual player of the team you are wearing, because even the athletes wear actual clothing in public. Some of you might say it's in tribute to your favourite player, much like wearing a band t shirt. This, although a reasonable excuse still is not acceptable. Why? Because band t shirts aren't made of reflective lightweight mesh and do not look like you're wearing a tent with giant numbers on it. Yes, each jersey is different, but they are all bad. Basketball jerseys have no sleeves, and well we've already been over how wrong that is. Wearing one over a t shirt doesn't help the problem since you will just resemble a rapper from the late 90s, and they are cut long, so you will always look like a little boy in daddy's clothing.

Hockey jerseys are designed to fit over padding, so unless you're wearing full hockey gear to the mall, don't put this on. You look ridiculous. You don't need to wear a leaf on your chest so people know you like Toronto. It's not nearly as important to them as it is to you. Football jerseys, although better than the other two, are still unacceptable.

Bottom line gents, jerseys are not stylish. They don't look as good as you think they do, and in the end no one really notices what name is on your back, nor do they really care. Want to show your colours? Every team has a ton of merchandise you can get that is far better suited to everyday wear. Do I suggest it? No. But if you are determined to wear your celtic pride, then opt for a more fitting t shirt.

On a side note, since this topic isn't enough for a full issue, I will touch upon other sports related items that are just not acceptable: The beer opener hat, the sports team beer coozie/holder, and the puffy sports starter coat.

Until next time gents,

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Issue # 27 - John Varvatos Artisan Fragrance Review

Issue #27 - John Varvatos Artisan Fragrance Review

I was VERY excited to pick up this fragrance last week. I will admit, probably a bit too excited, but i couldn't help it. I absolutely love John Varvatos fragrances, and have never been let down by them. I even purchased  John Varvatos for women for my girlfriend a little while ago, and she loves it.

Now, like everyone else, I was immediately in love with the bottle. I mean, look at it. It's completely different than anything you've seen on a fragrance bottle, and really stands out among my collection. When i first knew i would be getting this, I did some research on it. Normally I test the scent before i purchase, and I STRONGLY suggest you do the same. However in this case, i was receiving this from a friend who had a brand new bottle and didn't use it. I very quickly volunteered to tae it off his hands. I looked up reviews from users, and I was very surprised with what i found. I was expecting this scent to be similar to the scents of his other fragrances; Earthy and masculine, with tobacco and leather making their cameo appearances. In fact, i was looking forward to it. I was surprised to find out that this is a very clean, citrusy and fresh scent, very different from his other offerings. 

It pained me to see that the majority of the reviews were negative ones, comparing this scent to that of a strong bathroom cleaner, or a dust polish. I started to doubt the scent. When i received it, i sprayed it and was very surprised to smell this light, very citrus heavy, spicy mix. It indeed smelled very clean, and opened up with a blast of oranges that you wouldn't expect from JV. I later realized that the woven wicker type bottle kind of represented a basket you would pick oranges with. Clever. The scent settled into a slightly ginger-like plane with citrus notes still evolving through it. It is a very pleasant fragrance, and although it's very citrus oriented, I can see this being worn year round.

The only downfall I noticed was that it fades decently fast after the heartnotes reveal themselves...which isn't all THAT much of a downfall, since you get to re-apply it and experience the uplifting and happiness-inducing scent all over again. All in all I really like this scent, although i am still getting accustomed to it. It reminds me slightly of the way Lacoste Red did when i purchased it; in the way I always forget, just for an instance what it smells like...until it all floods back to me.

Strangely enough, although it can be worn at any time, anywhere, i see myself wearing this on a bright, cold winter day...the blast of citrus might just work!

Until Next time gents,

Friday, October 29, 2010

Issue # 26 - Smell great, pay little

Issue # 26 - Smell great, pay little

Today's issue is directly budget based, and directed towards any man trying to up his scent game on a limited income. I made a discovery today, and I want to pass my revelations on to you!

The readers know I am a fragrance addict. I spend a lot of my personal time reviewing, researching and testing various fragrances, because I honestly love them and am fascinated by them. It began at a young age, roughly 13 or so, where I realized how much I loved good-smelling things. This translated into a love of scented candles, room sprays, incense, and ultimately personal fragrances. When I first got interested in colognes, I was only able to afford the cheapest of the cheap. Being 13 years old didn't really bring in much revenue to be able to afford the high end designer fragrances I am so fond of today. So i would ask for scents for christmas, or pick them up at the nearest drug store when I had a few extra bucks. Those were the days; spraying on way too much to tell the world that I had made my entrance.

Here it is, 14 years later, and I found myself the other day remembering my fondness for one scent in particular. This was brought on by a stranger on the street who i believe was wearing it as they wafted on by me. it reminded me of when I had purchased it for $20 at the drug store in grade 8, and how much i loved it.It was called Gender One, and it was a generic version of the newest CK scent; CK ONE. I wore it every single day. My dad had a bottle, as did my older brother. It was a scent that filled the room and was light and happy. This stranger on the street brought back good memories for me, and thus began my search for Gender One.

I went to Shopper's Drug mart and looked for it. They have actually moved up the fragrance ladder and carry next to no lower priced brands anymore, and focus more on the high end ones. Gender One was not to be found here. However, I figured that since it was a generic version of CK ONE, why not check out the real version, since now i can afford it, and if the false version was great, shouldn't the real one be BETTER? So i found CK ONE and tested it...and to my surprise i Didn't like it as much as the fake version. Crazy right? I mean, it smelled great, but just not like gender one, which i was searching for.

This got me thinking: If the cheap, generic version of CK ONE could be so good, is it possible that there are other generic versions that are the same? After all, this IS a blog about getting better style on a small budget, so I thought i could help you out. My search led me to a discount department store...which rhymes with Bal-Mart. In their limited and honestly quite depressing fragrance section, i didn't see what i was looking for, and was about to give up when I noticed it. There on the bottom shelf, pushed back a little bit, was a silver box with the name Gender One on it. I had found it! I opened it up and tested it, to make sure the formula was the same, and it was. I had found my childhood favourite scent...and what made it better was that it was only $13. THIRTEEN DOLLARS. This is a steal on so many levels. I noticed the entire bottom shelf was actually ALL generic brands of popular fragrances. So i tested them all, and surprisingly there were some fantastic versions that I would love to pass on to you.

Besides Gender One, there was also a great generic version of Dolce and Gabbana's wildly popular "Light Blue" for men, called "Shades of Blue". In a second flash back to my childhood i saw the bottle for a generic version of  Hugo Boss, called "Nitro". This was also a great scent! There was a version of Burberry the Beat called "Riot" which i would NOT suggest. It was close, and captured the peppery topnotes, but it was very strong and overly offensive to the nose. Best of all, they were ALL $13.

Now if you're like me, I know you don't really want to be the guy that buys the fake brands. Generic brands will NEVER be able to perfectly copy the original scent, and trust me the real things are ALWAYS worth the money, and i suggest you save up for the real thing. However, if you're stuck in a hard place and want a great scent, you can resort to these. They are easy on the nose, and the wallet!

Before i sign off, there's one brand i didn't see that i would also suggest. There is one called "Gender 2BU" which is a version of CK BE. It's also delicious, so keep your eye open for it. On a final note, don't get too caught up in the inexpensive scents. While the generic versions are definitely something to consider, the original brands that are this inexpensive are rarely impressive. So stay away from them if at all possible.

Until Next time gents,

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Issue # 24 - Stuff you just shouldn't wear

Issue #24 - Stuff you just shouldn't wear

Alright guys, I'm probably going to offend a handful of you with this one, but i'm sorry, it just has to be done. There are a large number of style travesties that occur on a daily basis, and it has come to my attention that a large number of you don't even realize you're committing these crimes against everyone's eyes. In fact, most of you think what you're wearing is cool....unfortunately's not. Don't shoot the messenger here! But in reality these are things you need to hear. So without further ado here is a short list of some of the stuff you just shouldn't wear.

# 1 - Anything "Ed Hardy"

I know you think it's cool. I know it's all the rage, with everything from lighters to jogging pants to shoes being plastered in tigers, daggers, and scrolls surrounding bleeding hearts. It's not cool. It's in fact the exact opposite. Take the shirt to the left here. If it didn't say Ed Hardy on it, would you wear it? Probably not. It's the tackiest of tack. Now, add in the fact that a lot of these items feature rhinestones, studs, and assorted glittery objects and you've now taken your already awful display of 'style' to a level that only figure skaters can get to...and you KNOW you make fun of them.

# 2 - The backwards hat

Unless you're bumming around the house, or have a legitimate reason for turning your hat around, why do you do this? It hasn't been cool since the 90s, and even Fred Durst had the common sense to stop wearing it, so why are you still doing it? It truly, honestly doesn't make you look cool. At least the guy in the picture is wearing it with an equally sloppy hoodie, which makes it SOMEWHAT better. Please gents, stop doing this...but if you insist on wearing the backwards hat. Do not, i repeat DO NOT pair it with a button down shirt, or even worse, a button down shirt, vest and tie. This does not work. It does not say "I'm stylish but also laid back" or "Look at me i am trendy but also badass" says "I have no idea how to style my hair" or "I'm too insecure to actually dress up, so I am going to still act like a tough guy.".

#3 - The Pauly D haircut

What is this? No, I am seriously asking you what this is? It looks ridiculous, which is a vast understatement. You look like you're trying to be Guile from Street Fighter II. How do you even ask for this at the barber shop? On top of the overly stupid cut itself, you then pour enough product into it to create a spiky helmet, and this...looks...good? Honestly guys please don't try this. I know Jersey Shore is popular. I know Pauly D has his fan base of fanatical women...but you don't. And if you DO, then getting this hairstyle will certainly scare them away. Just say no. And on that note, if you're wearing diamond studs in your ears you should probably re-think those too.

#4 - The hiking shoe thingy

Unless you are trekking 15 kilometers through treacherous terrain on your way to work or school every day, there is NO need to be wearing these monstrosities. Are you a hiking instructor? If not, what are you doing even buying these? But even worse than buying them is wearing them EVERY DAY, with EVERY OUTFIT. Nothing strikes me as more puzzling than a guy that only owns 1 pair of casual shoes...let alone if THESE are that one pair. If you're a hiking or trail enthusiast, then more power to you. But keep them in the closet until you hit the woods. Don't wear them with your jeans, your dress pants or anything else.

#5 - Drakkar Noir

There are no words to describe this. Just stop. There are HUNDREDS of scents out there that will suit a man up and coming in the world. Drakkar Noir is not one of them. That is unless you want to smell like a man who quite obviously wears Drakkar Noir. Seriously. Stop. Don't even look at the price. Women cringe, babies cry, and flowers wilt. Don't be that guy.
That wraps up this latest installment of what you just shouldn't wear. If i offended anyone, I wish i could apologize, but you needed to hear it. Also making the short list of todays DO NOTs: Hockey jerseys, or any jerseys for that matter (unless you're going to the game), tighty whities (no woman wants to see that), and cell phone holsters on your belt. Again, if this upset you, and you want to tell me that i don't know my ass from a hole in the ground, then that's your right...but really, don't you know deep down inside that your Ed Hardy shoes (which are blatant chuck taylor rip offs) really look like they belong on a 6 year old?

Until next time gents,

Monday, October 25, 2010

Issue #23 - The thick and Thin of it

Issue #23 - The thick and thin of it

Alright's time to touch upon a topic that none of us want to talk about, but the majority of us will have to deal with at one point or another in our lives: The B word...Balding. There, I said it. Although sad, it's true that a vast majority of us will wave our thick, healthy head of hair goodbye one day, and say hello to male pattern baldness. Some of us will develeop the horseshoe...some, the widow's peak, some the dome of glory, and some of us will just lose it all. But I am here to say guys, have no fear. It's not the end of the world. 

In my opinion, it's really all about how you accept your fate...if it's genetic, there's not really a whole lot you can do about it. Sure you can try propecia, or rogaine, but in all honesty they have very low percentages of success, and more often than not will leave you disappointed. My blog today though, isn't about how to stop it, it's about how to embrace it. Yes, i said embrace it. The majority of men don't get upset about thinning hair or balding because of themselves, but rather how others, specifically women will percieve them. Balding is stereotypically percieved as a sign of ugliness and old age, and to be honest, that's not the truth at all. Many men would be surprised to find out that balding or thinning hair isn't really a huge turn of for women, or even a concern...but it's how you attempt to cover it up that leads to the problems.

It's a natural instinct to try to cover up, hide or distract people from what's going on up there...and for the first little while, it's totally acceptable. But let's face it gents, when no amount of styling, or hiding can cover up the damage, you have to just let nature take its course. Now you could be one of those guys that  ignores the problem and just lets it do what it's going to do. Unfortunately you end up with the dreaded Horseshoe (bald on top, but hair on the back and sides), and this actually makes you look OLDER and WAY less desirable than if you were completely bald. It's the truth guys.

Really, the only balding pattern you can get away with, without shaving your head is the widow's peak, aka the golden arches (like the thinning gent in the pic above). This can be held for quite some time and in some cases forever. But sadly, for most of us, we are going to have to accept fate sooner or later, and go bald.

But why does this have to be a bad thing? I know to many men, the thought of being completely bald provokes shudders, but really there are plenty of men who have turned the Mr. Clean look into the Mr. Badass look. Bruce Willis maybe? How about Taye Diggs...and who could forget Jason Statham? These guys have taken the bald look and turned it into something rugged, manly and attractive. Don't think so? There are many women who would disagree. Now imagine Bruce willis with the horseshoe...not very pretty is it. How about Jason Statham with a Skullet (the horseshoe with the sides and back grown disgustingly long) get the point. 

Baldness is no longer a sign of aging. it can be pulled off in many different ways. Sure you might have to alter the rest of your look, but it's a whole heck of a lot better than that gnarly dome you have going on. And trust me men, Women would rather a man who is completely bald than a man who has the vomit inducing Comb-over, which is the biggest turn off you can manage. TIP: If you're thinking about going the way of the Bic, try a buzz cut first. Ask your barber or stylist to do your whole head with a number 2 or 2.5...this will still be long enough to show that you have hair, but will be short enough for you to get a better idea of how you would look bald. The buzzed look could actually work for you, and you will probably notice that your thinning spot looks a LOT less noticeable. This is because the shorter you keep your hair, the less thin it looks by nature. The longer the hair, the more distance it has to cover, thus making it look thinner. This way, if you DO decide to go totally bald, it will be much less of a dramatic change for you and everyone the meantime, you may find women wanting to run their hands over your fuzzy new do....not sounding too bad anymore is it?!

If you still want to try to remedy the situation, more power to you, since I myself am in the thinning boat, and have taken this route as well. Before you go running for the rogaine though, keep in mind it's quite expensive and there are several generic brands that carry the exact same amount of medicine for a lower price. Shoppers Drug mart carries a brand for about $60, but Rexall carries their own brand in a 2 PACK for only $50...this is obviously the best bet. Propecia doesn't have much of a higher success percentage than Manoxidil, but you can try that as well if you would like.

If all else fails guys, don't be afraid to go full monty with your will take some getting used to, but you don't want to be the guy who doesn't accept you?

Until next time gents,

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Issue #22 - Why you NEED to read GQ (and not the COTY men's style blackbook)

Issue #22 - Why you NEED to read GQ. (and not the COTY men's style blackbook)

I was planning on posting a totally different issue today, but i was side tracked and forced to make an emergency posting, in order to minimize as much damage as possible. I was in Starbucks this afternoon, enjoying a Caramel Apple Spice; my cold weather treat, and on the ground i noticed that an insert from a newspaper had fallen out. When i looked closer it was something called "Men's style blackbook", a 14 page dedication to Men's style. It's by a company called COTY, and on the cover is a photo of a tanned guy with a crisp white shirt, and a black, seemingly cotton woven tie. He's also wearing a pair of aviator sunglasses.

Immediately, before even opening the booklet, it struck me as odd that the man on the cover, although dressed well, looked...funny. It struck me that it was because his sunglasses were pushed up far too high on his nose, causing them to just look awful. This already got me started on the wrong foot with what would soon be an upsetting read.

TIP: Sunglasses, especially Aviators, are designed to be worn on the bridge of your nose, not pushed up to the top. A good rule to remember is that your sunglasses should hit AT your eyebrows, NOT cover them. They should be decently centered on your head, and neither too wide, nor too narrow for your face. Some styles can bend the rules a bit, but with Aviators, you gotta get them right.

Upon opening the booklet and reading through it, it struck me that this was as much of a self promotion piece as it was a style handbook. The inside cover is a Marc Jacob's BANG ad, the back cover is for CK free, and within the booklet are 2 more CK ads (Eternity and Euphoria) and 1 nautica struck me as a LOT of Calvin Klein and that was fishy and when i researched COTY, it all made sense. COTY is a company that carries many brands of fragrances. For example, Adidas, and David Beckham fragrances are part of COTY's company. Thus, i suppose it made sense for the company to push their own interests.

However, it's a bit ridiculous. Naturally, being a fragrance hound, i looked for the sections dealing with this first. I immediately shook my head in shock, as the first page held something called the "morning style checklist" and the very first item said:  "spray your cologne through the air in front of you and walk through it. You'll get just the right amount for the day. Try the new Davidoff Champion for an energizing scent or Pure Nautica for a masculine, laid-back feel."

This was just ridiculous, for many reasons. Men, if there is ANYTHING you take from this issue, let it be this: DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT spray your cologne in the air and walk through it. Why? First of all, you look stupid. Second of all, you're wasting 90% of the fragrance you have just spent a lot of money on. Sure you will get some on your clothing...but your floor will smell fantastic too. Did you buy cologne for your floor? I don't think so. This is a marketing tool, and it's even more obvious when it's the COMPANY telling you to do so. How is it marketing? Well, the majority of men who do this will find out that while they smell good, it doesn't last long the next day they spray 3-4 times in the air, and walk through it. Take these 3-4 sprays per day, waste 90% of each spray, and before you know it, you're going back to the store to buy a new bottle....ta daaa!! You've just been a victim of a devious, although very clever marketing ploy.

 TIP: Spray your cologne ON you, where you want. Good places to spray are your wrists, neck, and down the back of your shirt. Sounds weird i know, but when you walk past ladies, you'll turn their heads. If it's a new scent, stick with one spray until you know how strong it is, then adjust accordingly. Also, choose a scent that's right for you. The colognes they suggested in their tips are both their brands, so don't take their advice to heart. Try what works best for you and your mood!

They continue their propaganda style of suggestion by telling you that to extend the life of your scent, you need to layer with several different products of that scent. While this IS true to a certain extent, you don't have to run out and get the entire line of CK Free products like they want you to. They also say that Marc Jacobs' BANG will drive ladies wild, and that in the bedroom you should use Calvin Klein Euphoria intense...all super suggestive, but not completely true.

So getting to the point, why you NEED to read GQ...because GQ is a magazine that will tell you what you NEED to know in order to look good, without being completely biased to products they own. Looking for a scent? they will tell you where the best ones are, and give you several options. Want some great ties? they will point them out, and list them so people of ANY budget can grab one. It's a fantastic magazine that I swear by, and it's steered me in the right direction on many occasions. It's not very expensive on the news stand ($7 or so), and even less expensive with a subscription, something like $37 per year. Included in the fantastic style advice and ideas are engaging and interesting articles, as well as new music, movies and books that you should check out. i HIGHLY recommend it.

On that note if you SEE the COTY men's style blackbook, or have it, get rid of it. While it does hold some good information about shaving, and workouts, the blatant self promotion kills it for me...and that whole spraying your cologne in the air thing, well that just made me angry. Sorry for the rant gentlemen, but i had to save you. 

Until next time,

Monday, October 18, 2010

Issue # 22 - Fragrance Reviews

Issue # 22 - Fragrance Reviews

Versace: Blue Jeans -

This, I will admit is a scent that i would most likely normally ignore, citing the strange canned packaging and "cheapness" of the overall look as a reason why it can't be good. I would have surpassed it effortlessly in search of something that LOOKED better. But upon further inspection I admit, i would have been wrong to overlook this's so ridiculously unique, I would have felt stupid for ignoring it.

I had never heard of Blue Jeans by Versace, and upon visiting my local Shoppers Drug mart (don't knock it, they have a surprisingly good fragrance selection), I checked this out. I always look at the discount fragrances as well as the main displays because there are usually some pretty great finds for cheap. Generally at the end of every season, they take their leftovers and sell them for cheap to make shelf room for the new scents. Sometimes it's very slim pickings, sometimes you find great buried this one.

Upon first smell, you immediately know this one is different. For a men's scent it's very sweet and almost candy like, evoking fresh top notes and strange crispness. Admittedly, I didn't like it. But i allowed myself to ponder on it, letting the scent simmer on my skin and alas, i fell in love with it. It's so strangely unique and different from everything else in my collection, I felt it was a perfect addition. It's SLIGHTLY overpowering at first, but i suspect it's only because they scents are very different than what i am used to. It lasts well for roughly 5-6 hours or so, and the base notes are quite pleasant, like a sweet aftertaste of a light and refreshing dessert. carries this in the 75ml format for about $30...i was able to snag this for $20. Not a huge savings, but with no shipping to worry about, it was a steal.

Marc Jacobs: BANG -

Marc Jacobs' new, and much anticipated scent "BANG", has finally been released in canada. I saw the ad for this fragrance in the latest GQ issue, and immediately was intrigued. Although I don't own a Marc Jacobs scent, nor had i sampled one, i was very excited for this release. The entire ad campaign is very well done, and the name Bang has several connotations, from sexual to literal, referring to the unique and gorgeous bottle; which was my immediate attraction.

The other day, I went to sample it, very excited. I walked in to see the 100ml bottle on display for a staggering $95, the 50ml version for $65. While i knew the fragrance would be pricey, a $100 + price tag was a bit steep even for my blood. Regardless, i sampled it, fully knowing that if i loved it, i could get it for much less online...i sprayed it on the tester strip, aired it out a moment, and smelled...

I was so disappointed. My anticipation led up to a bitter let down, as it smelled as if i had jumped face first into a pool of cracked black pepper. The scent was light and not overpowering, but the topnotes of three different peppercorns were so blatant and assaulting, i couldn't get past it. I knew that the topnotes didn't dictate the entire scent, (as i learned quickly with lacoste red), so i wasn't ready to base my entire opinion on that first whiff. I sprayed myself once, and left the store, eagerly awaiting the heart notes to bring me some sort of promise. Sadly, they didn't. While the scent faded into a more pleasant aroma, the soaking of pepper remained on my skin, seeming less as a light fragrance, and more of an odd body odour. It reminded me a little bit of Burberry The Beat, but with its top notes on crystal meth.

All in all, as much as i wanted this to be a jaw dropping fragrance, it struck me as much more talk than walk, leaning on it's massive ad campaign and sexual imagery to convince people they smell sexy...when in reality they smell like they've been pepper-sprayed. Maybe you like this scent...maybe you love pepper...but for $95, save your money.

That's all for today gents,
until next time,


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Issue # 21 - Scents your style

Issue # 21 - Scents your style

I have had several people approach me recently, asking me what fragrance I would suggest for them, or their loved one. Usually it's a woman, asking what i would suggest for the man in their lives, who either doesn't wear anything at all, or desperately needs a new scent. The first thing I ask, is to know what kind of person they are.

If it's a woman looking for a man, I ask them what kind of man he is. Is he sporty? Is he artsy? what is he into? These are all things that need to be raken into consideration before finding the right scent. In today's issue, i break down what fragrances match which type of guy in an easy guide. So follow along and let's find you a scent.

For the Sporty Guy:

If you, or your guy is a more athletic and sports oriented guy, then opt for a lighter, fresher scent. Many fragrances offer a "sport" scent, or a "sport" version of a popular scent. These are a great bet because the active man wants a scent that is uplifting and as active as he is. Also, because many of these scents offer "fresh out of the shower" type vibes that are refreshing after a long workout, or extra innings. If you think this is the right kind of scent, then you should check out:  Perry Ellis Reserve, Lacoste Essentials, Hugo Element, BioTherm Force, Diesel Fuel for life.

For the Artsy Guy:

If you or your loved one is a more artsy guy; Musician, Artist, designer, etc, Then you want to look into a more complex, edgy scent with multiple notes, to compliment the multiple creative levels of the man. There are a lot of darker, edgier scents that offer a uniqe twist to the generic man's scent. If this sounds like the right fit for you, then try out: Kenneth Cole Black, Ralph Lauren Big Pony #2, John Varvatos, Dolce and Gabbana Masculine, Lacoste Red, or Bleu de Chanel.

For the Manly Man:

If you or your man is a quintessential manly man...a rugged, masculine, outdoorsy, hunter, alpha male type, then you need to look for a fragrance that smells as masculine as the man is. Many scents have deep, woody tones that evoke manliness, and in fact, many fragrances are ALL about this. There will be a lot of complexities in these scents, and at first smell, they may seem the same, but they greatly differ. If you think your man is suiting for this scent, then you should try: John Varvatos Vintage, Polo Black, Burberry, Sean John I am king of the Night, or  Burberry brit.

For the Metro Guy:

I usually hate using this term, but sometimes it's the best suiting term. In this case, i refer to the metro man as a man on the go, an man with goals, a fast paced mover and shaker, but also a man who stays stylish and very fashion foward at the same time. You know the man...the shoulder bag friendly metro-mover, looking good even when under a tight deadline. If this is you, or your man, then you should try: YSL L'homme, lacoste pour homme, Chanel Allure, Kenneth Cole New York, Pi Neo, or Kenneth Cole RSVP

I hope this guide has given you some idea of where to start. If you find one you like, stick with it! You can always branch out from there. If you or yours is a man like myself, then you may find that you/he embodies a little bit of every category...well then, try one of each! You can't go wrong!

Until next time gents,

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Issue # 20 - Product Review: Kenneth Cole Black

Issue # 20 - Product Review Kenneth Cole Black

I was very excited about this product review, as I have become a big Kenneth Cole fan in the past year. After I discovered the Kenneth Cole RSVP fragrance which is a standard in my collection, I made it a priority to get my hands on the entire KC collection, and my newest addition is Kenneth Cole Black.

To begin with, the bottle is just classic. It's solid black with just a simple and understated title, almost hand printed, which gives the fragrance an immediately personable and, if this makes sense, an unintimidating appeal. It's sleek and says class as much as it says casual. It's a bottle that while just being black, truly stands out on my shelf, which for some reason is a cool attribute for me.

Now, for the's fantastic, and not one bit of a let down. It opens up fairly fresh with just a touch of fresh citrus mixed with some faintly spicy notes. Although decently subtle, it immediately announces its presence; like an intriguing and mysterious party guest that arrives fashionably late, but doesn't crash the doors down.

As the topnotes fade, the scent takes a very welcome and comforting turn to the intimate side, settling into darker woodsy tones, including cedar leaf, and a unique element: Incense smoke. It gives off a warm vibe while wearing off just enough to know that it's there; a lingering vibe of vintage style. 

The basenotes are by far my favourite layer of this fragrance, committing fully to the dark allures of coziness, and settling into a warm atmosphere of violet leaves, musk and in my opinion, the defining scent, Black Suede. By this time, the scent itself has simply become a part of you, acting as your intriguing natural scent instead of a fragrance.

The way i look at fragrances, as you all should know by now, is how they make me feel; what do they say? what season to they evoke? What emotions do they emit? Sometimes i try to characterize the layers of a scent with a scenario in my head; it's crazy to say but it works for me. For Kenneth Cole Black, the combination of the topnotes, heartnotes and basenotes plays out a scenario for me: Coming in from a bright, crisp and snowy winter dusk to a log cabin where you pour yourself a glass of wine (for me it would be Inniskillin's Late Autumn Riesling), start a wood fire, and settle down into a blanket on the couch while you watch the snow fall outside...where you get so comfortable, you aren't sleepy but you just don't want to move. It's that perfect sense of relaxation and coziness that I feel Kenneth Cole Black evokes.

I read several reviews of KCB before writing this blog, and one reviewer compared it to "slipping on a vintage leather jacket". This is also an amazing analogy for KCB, which also comes across as subtley vintage.

Retail stores sell KCB for about $50 for a 50ml bottle, and around $80 for a 100ml bottle. I used my go-to source, (link is in the list on this page), and was able to score a 100ml Tester bottle for only $38! For those who are unsure what a tester bottle is, it's exactly what it sounds like: it's the bottle in stores you spray to test the scent. Often there are a surplus of these that don't get used, so places like get them and sell them at a fraction of the cost. What a lot of people don't know is that when buying a fragrance, part of the high price is the packaging, and amazingly, the CAP on the bottle, which costs often more than the bottle itself. I purchased KCB as a non-used tester bottle without the box or a cap, and saved a LOT of money. Think about it: do you REALLY need the box and cap?

If you're not able to score a tester bottle, and you find KCB a little out of your range, (after all this IS a blog for looking good on a smaller budget...sometimes), you can get a suitable alternative in Swiss Army Altitude. Not often will i ever sing praise on swiss army, but their 'Altitude' fragrance is actually a very close comparison to KCB. It's more citrusy on the topnotes, and doesn't quite capture that cozy vintage feel that KCB has, but to the naked nose, it can pass as a twin. Do I suggest this? No. I suggest buying KCB. But if you insist on not spending the cash, you can pick up Altitude for around $20 at most places.

To conclude today's review, i recommend KCB for day and night use (preferably night), and in very cool to cold weather, and rainy days. Pair it with a leather jacket and don't look back.

Until next time gents,

Issue # 19 - What Suits you?

Issue # 19 - What suits you?

I recently had the chance to attend a wedding reception, and I was quite looking forward to it. Why? Because I love observing style. You should know this by now. And where else to observe style than at a wedding reception? This reception was different though, since the couple got married out of town and were just having a party here for friends and family. The event was more lax than most receptions, so the dress code was more of a Do-what-you-think-is-best code.

Since it was an informal affair, i decided to forgo the dress pants and jacket, and opt for something much more my style: A black and white dress shirt with a somewhat edgy checker/plaid pattern, A black cotton tie, A tweed grey waistcoat, vintage black leather belt, dark, slim dress jeans, and a pair of black leather Steve Madden Slip ons....with Black and purple Argyle socks for flare. Can't picture it? That's ok, just trust me. I arrive to the reception, and I am immediately bombarded with typical, ridiculous wedding attire from the prime example of the clueless men this blog is all about.

Not sure what i mean? Look at the picture above. If you think this looks fine, then you're one of the clueless men. Sorry if that offends you....actually no I am not. See, I have noticed that far too many men think that just putting on a suit and a tie automatically means you are 'dressed up'. This is not the fact, in a vast majority of cases, I find that men actually look MUCH more sloppy in their 'dressy' attire than they do on a lazy sunday afternoon. How is this possible? Please refer to my issue "Messy isn't Sexy" to get a precursor to what I am about to write.

A suit SHOULD NOT BE MESSY. If you go to any men's formal store, and buy a suit directly off the rack, or any dress wear for that matter, it will hardly EVER fit properly. So get it tailored. A suit should be tailored and fit perfectly. Yours doesn't. This reception was no different than any i have seen before. All around me were men wearing suit jackets that had the fit of potato sacks; Far too wide in the shoulders, far too long past the waist. They essentially looked like boxy black fabric sheets with a few buttons attached. (On that note, why do so many men insist on just BLACK suits? Newsflash boys, black doesn't always mean formal. A charcoal or lighter grey suit will work for every occasion, so try it out. ) Their dress shirts were ill-fitting and billowing out of their equally baggy pants at such a speed, i couldn't take it all in.

But the most dominant factor of my distaste, was the ties. Someone needs to make a mass bulletin somewhere in the media saying that WIDE TIES ARE NOT IN STYLE. All around me were massive ties hanging far too low, and just not matching ANYTHING in the outfit. There was one gentleman wearing a pink dress shirt which actually fit quite well...but he paired it with a shiny white tie which was far too wide, and black pants and black shoes. The tie was not echoed anywhere in the outfit, therefore it looked just completely out of place. Not to mention it hung a good inch below his belt which is a major no-no.

So what is it...what is it that tells men to dress this way? Well, I blame it partially on the male inherited gene of not caring enough to care what they look like, partially on a blue collar city's ultimate lack of style in general, and partially on the vast lack of knowledge of salespeople in men's stores. One gentleman i spoke to at the reception told me that he just walked into freeds, told them he had a reception to go to, and that he needed to be dressed. I would think that as a salesperson at a men's fashion store in the year 2010, he would have done something...well...good. But alas, he did not. So what did this gentleman leave the store with? An oversized black dress shirt, black tie, black belt, oversized black pants, and really bad shoes. How did such a thing occur? Well, it's a combination of 2 things. First, the salesman was most likely clueless as to what looks good in today's day and age, and Second, this is most likely because he's 96 years old. I couldn't believe this. Here was this man, roughly 5'6'', and thin, looking as if he was a little boy wearing his dad's clothes, because his brand new outfit was so vastly oversized.

Bottom line here men, wearing a suit does not mean you instantly look good. It takes as much work to look good in a suit as it does to look good in anything else. So spend the time and a little bit of money, tailor the suit and abide by the basic of all basic style rules, and you should be set.

Until next time gents,

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Issue # 18 - Reviewing Ralph Lauren's "Big Pony"

Issue # 18 - Reviewing Ralph Lauren's "Big Pony"

Ralph Lauren: A worldly name that symbolizes class, style, culture, and sophistication. A name that has been around for years, and has lived past its expectations time and time again. From clothing to candles, Ralph Lauren co. has excelled in everything it touches, and fragrances are at the forefront of that statement.

Ralph Lauren's newest line of men's fragrances is called the "Big Pony Collection", inspired by the "Big Pony" line of shirts that were hugely successful. I caught these bottles outof  the corner of my eye, because they are simply too vivid to miss. Very rarely to men's fragrances go off the deep end in terms of colour, they usually stick to many tones and darker colours or blues. But this line uses vibrant oranges, greens, reds and blues, and alternates them on the 3 different design aspects of the bottles. It's quite appealing to the eye and right off the bat, the bottles tell you that these scents will be different.

The line released 4 different fragrances, all distinctly different and all to suit a certain mood/personality. There is "Sporty", "Seductive", "adventurous" and "Stylish" (from left to right in the picture). Notice how the colours of the bottles almost tell you which one is which without even knowing? I love it. The fragrance in review today is #2 - Seductive.

Upon seeing the new line, I HAD to test them. They were too inviting not to sample almost immediately. I sprayed each one on the tester cards provided (which allow you to tear the corner to remind you which was which, ingenius) and put them in different pockets so they wouldn't mix. About 5 minutes later i took them out and smelled them. They are ALL fantastic scents, so it was hard to choose which one to start with, but alas, i chose #2. In a red bottle, with a Yellow logo, and a bright green 2 on the back, it certainly does stand out amongst my collection, but what's inside stands out more. It's warm and subtle, and almost edible. It has sweet notes of dark chocolate among a bright citrusy opening, and settles into an inviting powdery tone. It's not overly manly, nor is it overly light. It truly is hard to describe and is a complex scent. Being the "Seductive" scent in the lineup was a good's almost as if it's sweet opening lures in your prey and the masculine dry down seals the deal.

The writer who reviewed this fragrance on "Now Smell This" (   is quoted as saying:  "Big Pony No. 2 seems like a young man’s idea of a “sexy” and dressy fragrance with its ‘edible’/foody notes mixed with light, non-confrontational musk.".  While I cannot confirm nor deny this since I am not a young man, (they referred to this scent as "Prom Night Special") I do not see a reason why grown men should deny themselves a scent of this complexity. And while i disagree with his/her opinion categorizing this as a fragrance for the young, I do agree that it is not a formal scent. To me it's somewhere between every day casual and semi-formal; Being light enough to wear daily if desired as a signature scent, or formal enough to wear on occasions that require a great scent accessory, but not a formal event. Did that make sense?

All in all this fragrance is definitely a stand out, both in appearance and scent. I personally can't wait for the chance to wear it out, and I am even more excited to try the other scents! From my memory of testing them, I would put #3 as my next purchase, #4 after that, and although you know i am not a fan of 'sporty' scents, #1 would be my last purchase just to round out the group.

Until next time Gents!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Issue # 17 - Messy is not sexy

Issue # 17 - Messy is NOT sexy

Hey guys, This may come as a shock to you, but looking like a slopshow does not attract the opposite sex. I have noticed a disturbing trend that has become exremely prevalent in recent years, and this trend is the "Look like i don't care" look. As far as I can recall, this trend started in late 1999, and into the early 2000s. Men went from taking the time to style their hair immaculately, to showing up to school and other gatherings with their hair completely untouched by anything but their pillow. This then translated into untucked shirts, wrinkly pants, and so on. While this trend was popular at the time, it was extremely short lived.

Now, as we approach the end of 2010, this look is still making appearances, and for the life of me, i cannot understand why. The whole beauty of the Messy look is that it wasn't truly messy. It was a look, that while characterized by the "i don't care" facade, actually took a lot of time and care to perfect. This is why the "messy look" in hairstyles is still the best look for men. Hair is one thing. Entire outfits are another. Take this classy looking gent above. Does he look anywhere near what a man should look like? If you were a woman, would this attract you? I doubt it would. There are far too many examples of sloppiness present in today's attire: Oversized t-shirts, boxy blazers, square jackets, and the list goes on.

What's the key to not looking messy? Well first and foremost, you need to differentiate what messy looks like. If you cannot do that, well then you might just be a lost cause. Little things like not unbuttoning your shirt too far, making sure your collars are crisp, and ironing will make you look less messy in an instant. Second, you need to understand that tailoring is everything. Very few things ever fit perfectly right off the rack, and i mean VERY few. You may need to get things altered to have the right fit. If you cannot do this, then you need to try to make sure you get the best fit possible for your body type. Please refer to my other blogs below for more on this topic. The third, and most important Key to looking neat and tidy is....PROPORTION. You will find that if your clothes are proportioned properly for your body, you will notice that not only will you look very polished, but your body will also look completely different. Every man's body is different, therefore every man's clothes should fit differently.

For example: I have a longer torso, and shorter legs...also known as "top tall". This means that my jeans always fit just a little weird. Also, what this means is that if i wear a shirt that is normal length, it will make me look shorter than i am. Therefore, i try to make sure my shirts are shorter than normal, hitting just below my waistline and above my hips, giving my legs a longer look. I know this seems like a lot of overthinking for clothing, but in all honesty, it comes naturally once you know what you're looking for. It's all about the right proportions. If you're wearing a tie, it should not pass your belt, nor should it be too short. If you're wearing a vest with your dress shirt and tie, the tie should not exceed past the bottom of the vest, and the vest should skirt your belt. Oh, and on the pet peeve front, just for the record, stop doing the 1970s collar-outside-the-jacket look. It made a comeback at the turn of the century for about 28 seconds. It's gone now. Please stop it. Your collars should be crisp, and wrapped around a tie.

Clothing aside, avoiding looking messy can be done by making sure you are decently shaved as much as possible, and keep your hairstyle maintained. For a little spruce up between haircuts, try simply trimming the hair above your ears and defining your sideburns. You would be amazed at how much of a difference this makes. Don't have time to iron? Throw your shirt in the dryer while you shower for a little refresher on it. Keep your ties hanging, and not rolled, to keep them crisp looking. These are all quick and easy tricks to keep yourself from falling to the messy side.

And on a final note, as you know how obsessed i am with fragrances, if you DO find yourself running out the door in a rush with a wrinkly shirt, and bed head, a light fresh fragrance that evokes happiness and summery notes might just make it work for you. But let's keep that as a Plan B, shall we?

Until next time,

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Issue # 16 - Brown Bottle Syndrome

Issue # 16 - Brown Bottle Syndrome

In my opinion, there are few things as tacky as a brown beer bottle at a dinner table. Especially if it's a more formal event. It always strikes me as a very un-classy move to sip from a bottle when it's quite as easy to just pour it into a glass. Yet time and time again at Weddings, on dates, and all around the world on formal or special occasions, brown bottles grace the tables.

I can only speculate that there are a few reasons for this travesty, the main being that since it's mainly men that commit this style crime, that they are simply fitting into their manly stereotype. To them, Man = Beer. Now, before i continue, i am not knocking beer. I am a beer fan myself, but for the sake of all that looks good, just pour it into a glass! For some reason, I find that men have this need to always be 'manly', and gentlemen, i am here to tell you that being secure, confident and stylish will outshine any amount of "manliness" ANY day. It's as if drinking straight from the bottle in some way denotes their Alpha Male standing...i say nay, gents. Slugging giant gulps from the bottle is fine for most occasions, bars, parties, concerts, whatever. But if you're sitting down at a table, with other people, engaging in a meal that is even the slightest bit past casual, pour your beer into a glass.

But pouring your beer into a glass is just the tip of this topic. Why beer? I mean if you've tried many other things, and only like beer, that's one thing. But feeling that you can only drink beer because it's the manly choice? That's just wrong. When did men get demoted to sipping low-alcohol content out of a brown bottle? Use Don Draper of Mad Men as an example....he drinks Canadian Club, Tangueray and on occasion Glenlivet. All either straight or with very little ice. It was the epitome of class. Never did you see him at ANY business meeting or gathering, drinking beer. You only saw him drinking beer when he was putting up a playhouse in his backyard. Men these days should take this as an example, and order something that says "Hello, my name is _______________, I am not a typical beer swilling buffoon.". I find the problem is that most men don't realize the vast extent of drinks and cocktails available to them, and have a wild misconception that mixed drinks are 'girly'. So instead of making an educated choice, they just say "ummmm coors light". My how the world has changed.

I am aware that many of us are calorie and sugar conscious, so a once common Rye and Coke, or vodka 7 may not be the first choice...but there are so many other choices available. A Gin and Tonic for example is both light in calories and refreshing. Vodka Water with a splash of cranberry for flavour is also extremely light and refreshing. Yes, you will have to get over the fact that the drink is pink, but if that's a major concern, then you should stop reading this blog, and go read a Maxim magazine, Broski.

Bottom line gents, If beer is your weapon of choice, that's your call. But if you're anywhere more than a casual get together, backyard party, or watching football, pour it into a glass. Trust me, it's just better. And while you're at it, don't be afraid to try different brands. Beers are like wines, and each match with different foods, etc. So be adventurous.

Until next time gents,

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Issue # 15 - Product Reviews

Issue # 15 - Product Reviews

Well it's about that time again to review some of the more recent products I have tried out lately. Please keep in mind these are opinions, and if i put something down that you love, it does not call for rude emails.

Givenchy Blue Label Pour Homme -

This was recently given to me as a gift, and it's a fantastic scent! It's light and airy enough to be worn on hot summer days, but also warm and sensual enough to be worn at night and for formal occasions. The bottle is very interesting and the scent is very intricate. I personally love Givenchy fragrances, and they always come up with something excellent. The only downfall of this fragrance is it wears off a bit too quickly, especially if you are wearing it on a warmer day. In light of that i would keep this as more of a night time scent.

Degree Adrenaline antiperspirant -

The stick i am referring to is actually the Degree Adrenaline in the Yellow packaging, but i couldn't find the right photo. This product is fantastic. If you sweat easily like myself, especially in situations of stress, anger, excitement, or whatever, this is the stick for you. It actually does kick in when you need it to, and works well. The scents are iffy, especially if you're wearing a fragrance you want to be noticed, but it's worth it for excellent sweat protection.

Clinique Exfoliating Face Scrub for men -

Yes men, washing and scrubbing your face is something you should be doing. I know the majority of you think that using whatever bar of soap is handy and some cold water will do the trick, but really you're not really doing anything but giving yourself a tight dry face that smells like soap. This scrub, although a bit on the pricey side, will gently scrub the dead skin cells from your face, leaving you looking refreshed and brighter, which in turn will make you feel better. But don't take my word for it, pick some up and try it out. It will make a difference. (Also check out their shaving gel and pre shave scrub).

Ralph Lauren Candles -

These are AMAZING, and this wasn't a surprise. Anything that combines Ralph Lauren and fragrance is bound to be fantastic. These are no exception. I stumbled upon these by random at a discount store, and at first was disappointed because they boxes they come in are sealed, not allowing you to smell them. But upon smelling the box, the aroma of the candle actually comes through. I purchased one of them (i won't say which one, since it seems to be rare to find), and upon burning it briefly that night, returned the next day to purchase a second one, because it truly is a fantastic candle. I got mine for decently cheap, given the going rate of quality scented candles, but again, it was from a discount store, so i am not sure how much they cost regularly. But trust me guys, if you want a candle to set the mood, check these out.

Strut Wine -

I stumbled upon this wine because the packaging struck me, as did the overall design of the wine. It's clever and witty, and being a wine fan, i decided to check it out. I tested out both the "Chardonista" and the "Well Heeled White", and they are both fantastic. When chilled well, and poured with a spicy or savoury dish, it's perfect. It's also a conversation piece and it's a wine you don't need to be a snob to enjoy or talk about. Pick up a couple bottles and keep them on hand. One thing i have learned guys, is always keep some wine on hand and ready. Especially a wine as lighthearted and fun as Strut.

Well that's all for now, i will come back in a few issues with more product reviews! If there's anything you've tried out and love, let me know!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Issue # 14 - What is there to lose?

Issue # 14 - What is there to Lose?

This issue is dedicated to all those things that you

A) never wear anymore, or
B) Still wear, but shouldn't.

I know a lot of these items may hold memories for you, or you may still think they look cool. Trust me guys, I have been there. I recently did a complete overhaul not only on my closet, but on other aspects of my life as well. Some of the items listed will be clothing, others will be styles, etc. Pay attention and follow at your discretion.

Without further ado, I will reveal the first item that needs to be removed:

The Turtleneck Sweater -

Listen gents: It's not 1999 anymore. 98 degrees hasn't been popular in well over a decade, and this style of sweater, althought fantastically huge in its time, is no longer cool, and hasn't been in a long, LONG time. I know you like them. I loved mine. And although i haven't worn one in years, i just recently removed them from my closet. I suggest you do the same guys. If you don't, well...i can't guarantee what will happen if you wear one of these out on the town, but i CAN guarantee that no numbers will be coming your way.

The open dress shirt with the white T-shirt underneath. -

Just stop this. Please. It hasn't been "in", in a very long time, and to be honest i don't know if it ever WAS "in". I see this on a constant basis, and it never looks good. Ever. Especially not with a SHORT sleeved dress shirt. Button up the shirt, tuck it in, and be a big boy.

That sweat stained-colour faded ball cap - It's gross. It smells, and it doesn't look good. Get a new hat.

Your Hair Gel -

If you're still using hair "gel", you most likely are also sporting an uncool hair style. We will get to this next. Hair gel is ancient. It's the equivalent to using Windows 98 in today's world; it has no substance, it's ugly and just plain doesn't work well. There are SO many hair products that work extremely well (refer to a previous post "Axing the competition") that your DEP gel needs to just GO. I know you love that it's $2 for a giant bottle, but your hair looks like $2 as well. Do you you really want that? Gel is thin and watery and makes your hair look thin and crispy, and it just lacks volume. Not to mention the soaking wet look hasn't been in for a very long time. I recommend the AXE hair products, and the Got 2 B hair products.

The "combfront" hair style -

It looks like we're going to be referencing 98 Degrees again here. You know the hairstyle; The one where you throw a bunch of gel in your hair, slick it forward, and then spike up the bangs only. Yeah. There is an astounding number of men who still wear variations of this look, which causes me to shudder. Granted, there is an astounding number of men who still wear a LOT of hairstyles that haven't been stylish in a long time, but that's besides the point. A lot of men in their mid to late 20s are still wearing this, and it's about time to stop. dryer looking, more natural hairstyles are in right now, and they just look so much better. McDreamy has made it cool again to have a full head of wavy hair, so don't feel you have to keep your hair super short because it's too much of a hassle to "do" it. Grow it out a bit. Have some fun with it, and look like an adult. Please.

Your baggy Jeans -

You know the ones. The ones you wore when baggy was in, When Nelly was popular, and the Backstreet boys were blazing up the charts. Stop wearing them now. They make you look shorter, fatter and 12 years old. Paired with your Skater shoes, they make it look as if your mom had to drop you off to work, and she packed your lunch. Slim jeans that fit properly are what you need to be wearing. After all, yo uwork hard to keep fit (right?), so wear clothes that flatter that.

White Socks -

Keep a couple pair for working out, or bumming around the house. Switch the rest to black. Get some thin dress ones for formal occasions, and thicker ones for everyday use. And don't be afraid to mix it up. Dynamic socks with bright colours make an outfit POP. Just be sure the socks MATCH your outfit. Otherwise you just look like you are colour challenged.

and most importantly, the main thing you need to get rid of is....(drumroll please)


far too many men still abide by the old school thoughts of manliness. This absurd ideal that men shouldn't spend time on themselves, or have form fitting clothing. This, pardon my language, is bullshit. This is 2010. Things are very different, and there are new rules to look truly manly. After all, a true man is a man who knows HOW to look good, how to dress, and HOW to be a gentleman. Pick up this month's issue of MEN'S HEALTH MAGAZINE and see their new rules for men. They are dead on, and something you need to learn.

Until next time gentlemen,