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,

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Issue # 13 - My top picks for Summer 2010 fragrances

Well, the Summer of 2010 has been a hot one indeed, and while it's not over yet, I have begun gathering my autumn clothes and have already bid farewell to my summer wardrobe...Fragrances included. We had some great times this summer, but now it's time for my favourites to step in. But before I say my final goodbye to them, i felt like sharing my favourite scents for this past summer; maybe you can pick a couple up for next year. For those who are unaware, retail stores treat fragrances like clothing as well, and you may find a good number of summer scents going on sale as fall draws closer. Pick them up cheap now, and you're set for next summer! Here are my faves of this past summer:

Lacoste Essential -

This has been my standby for several years now, and I have JUST started to run out (this is a testament to just how far your money will stretch when you buy a good scent). It's light, airy and just screams summer. It's very citrusy and fresh and works well during hot summer days AND nights, which makes it a versatile scent every man should have. The classic Lacoste alligator on the bottle is a nice touch as well.

Dolce & Gabbana Masculine -

I was not even aware of this scent until it was given to me as a gift from a co-worker a couple of years ago. Apparently her boyfriend bought it for her thinking it was a perfume. He didn't like the scent for himself, and she wouldn't wear it, so she gave it to me, barely used. This one was odd at first, with the top notes being a bit different than one would expect. This is one of the reasons i love it so much. It is strikingly masculine (hence the name), but not overbearing. It's a very understated scent that is perfect for sultry summer nights. I find it's best worn with a crisp white shirt.

Lacoste Red -

My girlfriend was the one who turned me onto this scent. I purchased it in the winter time, and wore it specifically for her. At first i found the top notes exceedingly overpowering and strange, but this has become one of my favourites. It's light, fruity and fresh, with a slight spice, and although it works perfectly for summer days or more sporty occasions, I also am fond of wearing this one in the winter time. It holds its scent well, so don't go crazy while applying it.

Hugo XY -

This is one of my most recently acquired scents, and it's fantastic. Light, crisp and clean with some nice warm notes, it is a casual use fragrance in my opinion; Not strong enough for formal occasions, but great for unexpected nights out, or days of cruising with the windows down. As with many of Hugo's male scents, XY has an air of spontaneous energy perfect for today's on-the-go man.

Burberry The Beat -

I received this for Christmas this past year, and the scent that was contained blew me away. It has a very unique, almost peppery top note that is undeniably its own. This scent is much like Lacoste Essential, in the way that it can be used day or night, but i also find it to be almost an all-season scent, with notes ranging from fresh and light to deep and sensual. This is one of the most unique scents I own, and it will remain a mainstay in my collection.

Well, there are my picks for this past summer. I know there are some of you out there who are wondering where the usual suspects of summer colognes are, and the answer to that is they simply aren't here. Not that traditional summer fragrances aren't great in their own right, but i tend to steer away from the "sport" scents and the overly "summery" ideal of men's fragrances. There are simply too many that smell too similar and just lack the depth that some of my favourites posess. On a side note however, a very honorable mention goes out to Biotherm Force for their latest scent, Perry Ellis Reserve for a wonderful just out of the shower sensation, and Ralph Lauren's new "big pony" line of 4 scents...had they released this at the beginning of summer, the "Fresh" scent may have made this list. If any of these choices has peaked your interest, i have included links to the creators of them in my link list at the top right of the blog. You can always find links to most things i review there. Go check it out!

On a final note gents, although we're speaking fragrances for sunny summer days, always remember to keep your fragrance OUT of the sun. Sunlight breaks down the elements in your bottles, ruining your cologne. And we don't want that, now do we?

And hey, if there is a scent on this list you think i missed, send me a comment and let me know YOUR faves!

Until next time gents,

Monday, August 16, 2010

Issue # 12 - Style isn't always comfortable.

A common statistic among men in their mid twenties-early thirties is that Summer isn't long enough, or that it ends too quickly. They say it's because they enjoy the hot weather and seeing women in skimpy little outfits. While this may be true, I can't help but feel that there is a third reason they aren't admitting: Autumn means they will have to retire their precious summer wardrobe for 3 months, and thus may actually be forced to spend more than 30 seconds choosing their outfit for the day. Ladies and Gentlemen, i believe this is more the reason than the other 2.

Friday night, as I was sipping on a Gin and Tonic at the bar with my lady, I was quite disappointed to see 7...yes SEVEN men in their mid 20s walk in to the bar; All in a line, all wearing either a horrible polo shirt or an Aeropostale T shirt, Cargo shorts, and either flip flops or running shoes with socks, and the always vomit-enducing backwards hat. I actually cringe when I think about it. It was almost as if they were some form of team, all sporting their uniform. This is sadly what many a man's idea of looking good has fallen to. When i have asked several "dudes" (this is the term I am forced to use, since it just fits) why they choose to wear this on a constant basis, the most popular answer is simple: Comfort. These guys would much rather look like slobs in order to maintain comfort. I can't wrap my head around it.

Gentlemen, i am going to let you in on a little secret that women have known since the dawn of time. Are you ready?... LOOKING GOOD IS NOT ALWAYS COMFORTABLE. Yes, it may come as a shock to some of you, but looking clean, polished, stylish and sophisticated may indeed require you to step out of your comfort zone. When you're caught completely off guard by a stunning woman wearing heels and a clingy dress with her hair done to perfection and looking flawless, do you think she's comfortable? I can guarantee you that she is not. I guarantee you men, that she can't wait to kick her shoes off, slip out of that dress, and into a pair of jogging pants and a baggy t shirt. But she temporarily sacrifices her comfort for the sake of looking good. And in an odd sort of oxymoron, looking good will ultimately make you feel good; Thus forgetting that you're uncomfortable. Follow me?

Finding your own style and feeling good about yourself ultimately means pushing your own boundaries of comfort until you find something that works for you. You never know if a new style or a new item will work for you until you try it...and if YOU like it, then WORK it! Even if it's out of your normal range of style, the more you wear it, the more people will associate it as part of you. Before you know it, people will ask you about it, or notice you for it. If you constantly resort to clothing you're comfortable in you won't ever be regarded as having a will just be. If that's ok with you, then more power to you...but you should probably stop reading this blog, because it will be of no help to you. This blog is about bettering yourself as a man and a person, and about bettering yourself on the inside as well. And trust me, when you know you look good, it gives you a confidence like nothing else.

So step out of that comfort zone. Tuck your shirt in...wear a something you never do, or something you have always wanted to do. Ultimately it's about HOW you work the look you're going for. If you wear it with confidence, the rest will follow.

Hope this helps. Next issue: My top 5 Fragrances of Summer 2010

Until next time,

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Issue # 11 - Autumn Scents you need to own

Issue # 11 - Autumn Scents you need to own

Well it's the middle of August, and if you're looking forward to cooler days and crisp nights like I am, then you're going to need to amp up your Autumn Fragrance selection to match the weather. You may or may not have noticed by now that i am very big on fragrances, and i plan on spending a lot of time writing about them because let's face it gents; nothing completes an outfit better than a great scent (and a great jacket). Now if you've learned anything from me yet, you know that cool/cold weather calls for a heavier/warmer scent than your summer fragrances. If you're still having a hard time understanding what constitutes a warm scent from a cool scent, hang in there, you will get it. The best way in my opinion, is to close your eyes, smell the fragrance and think of what comes to mind. This may not work for everyone, but it sure does for me.

Please note that the below fragrances are actual scents I own, and use on a regular basis. I have omitted my signature scents of course, since as i mentioned before, once you find one that works, keep it to yourself. Remember, you want to be unique, not smelling like everyone else.

John Varvatos -
This is one of my favourites, from one of my favourite designers. Coming in a sleek and stylish bottle, this scent is at the same time both old school and contemporary, and harnesses a deep, rich scent that holds many nuances. At first smell, you may mistake it for an "old man cologne", but put this idea to rest. John Varvatos is spicy and leathery and screams masculine without screaming 1978. Use sparingly as it does hold quite well. This is a perfect scent for cooler nights and close up moments with a lady friend. Trust me on this one.

Burberry for men -
I discovered this scent by complete mistake a couple of years ago in the summertime. I bought it by mistake while looking for Burberry London, and it was one of the happiest mistakes I have made. A little spicy and a little floral, this scent does not go unnoticed. The warmth of this scent pairs amazingly with cold November nights and wool coats. If you can see your breath in the air, this scent can come out to play.

Kenneth Cole RSVP -
This is one of my newest favourites that i have recently discovered. After receiving a Kenneth Cole shoulder bag for christmas last year, I took some time and looked more into Kenneth Cole, and fell in love with him as a designer. This scent caught me originally because of the fantastic wooden packaging, but kept my interest with the masculine, woody and warm fragrance within. I find this scent to be a chameleon because it can be pulled off in all weather in my opinion, but I love it for cool weather the most. Something about it brings to mind apple picking in october, or an early snowfall in november. Fantastic scent by a fantastic designer.

Dolce and Gabbana The One -
I received this scent as a gift, and it is fantastic. Warm and inviting, this scent shows manliness but in a classy, refined way. Sophisticated and subtle, it holds a mysterious quality that is hard to put a finger on, but is worth it. It's a little bit spicy, a little bit powdery, a little light, a little dark...It doesn't hold as long as other scents on your skin, but spray a liberal amount on your scarf, and it will hold all day.

Valentino -
I received this from my girlfriend when she returned from Italy last autumn. At the time, i was not familiar with Valentino, but fell in love instantly. It's a very unique scent, and has specific notes of Anise (licorice) that i found intriguing, since i have not come across many colognes with Anise notes. It's crisp and clean in an intense way, but doesn't overpower. I would use this on especially brisk mornings or evenings, but not as an everyday scent. I find it especially appealing when the smell of fallen leaves is in the air, and you can just see your breath.

Well gentlemen, those are my top picks for you for Autumn 2010. As mentioned above, I have kept out my personal signature autumn scents, since I don't want you falling in love with them as I did. You can't all smell like me, now can you. Maybe one day i will share them, but for now you will just have to experiment on your own and find the perfect scent for you. Ultimately guys, strive for at least ONE signature scent per season. And if you have a scent for Autumn you love, comment and let us know!

Have a great night guys,


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Issue # 10 - Step Away from the beer.

Issue # 10 - Step AWAY from the Beer.
I find that far too many men gravitate towards beer not because they love it, but because it is perceived as a manly thing to drink. Beer has for ages, been the go-to drink for men and boys alike. And why not really? It's inexpensive, convenient and really doesn't taste all that bad...depending on your beer of choice. I am a beer fan myself, although i gravitate to the micro-brewery brands, which i find to have more variety in flavour and better quality. But unless you're heading to a backyard barbecue, or somewhere else in which beer is kind of your only option, try to avoid bringing it.

I am not saying don't buy it for yourself at home. I am strictly speaking about when you make an appearance somewhere. If beer is not called for, try to avoid being the guy that shows up with a case of Bud Light under his arm. It screams no class...and i would hope you don't want to be THAT guy. If you're not sure what you should bring to an occasion, here's a little guide to assist you. Please keep in mind that each of the scenarios listed below are EXCLUDING SUMMER BACKYARD BBQ PARTIES.

First of all, I was raised under the etiquette that you ALWAYS bring something for the host of the party. No i didn't stutter. You bring something for the person who is having you over. It's simple. At the VERY least, you leave whatever unfinished alcohol you brought there for them. It's a sign of class and respect, and a rule i think should never go out of style.
So here's the first: Someone is having you over for a dinner party. If you've never been to one, you need to know that you should dress up somewhat, but this all depends on the type of party they are having, the people invited, etc. Use your discretion on how to dress. One thing to ALWAYS keep in mind, 3 seasons out of the year these will always be indoors, so pay special attention to your socks. You don't want to be the guy with the hole in his toe, constantly trying to hide it. Also, NO bare feet. This is a dinner party, not a beach. Dress code aside, you should ask them what is on the menu. If they choose to keep it a surprise, at least get them to tell you what type of meat they are preparing. Why is this important? Because it will tell you what type of wine to bring. You didn't think you were going to show up with a 6 pack of Heineken and get away with it, did you?
Generally the host will/should have wine and other beverages available for you, but you should still bring a minimum of one bottle of wine to the party, and whether it is drank or not, LEAVE it there for the host. Trust me when i say gentlemen, that nothing is tackier than leaving with the bottle you brought.
Not sure what wine to bring? Here's an overly simple guide to help you: (I will have a full issue dedicated to this in the near future): White wine for pork or chicken, Red wine for Beef. If you are unable to remember this, i will break it down so even the simplest minded of beer guzzling men can understand it: White wine for White meat. Red wine for Red meat. Got it? Good. Moving on.

Casual Get Together: These are far less strict in both dress code and beverage, but there are still some things you need to know. Generally at these type of gatherings, the host has one main bar set up where everyone can mix their own drinks, etc. Generally no one stays with just their own contribution, and will try something someone else brought if they desire. This is normal and does not require you getting angry that someone is drinking what you brought. Expect that it will be drank. What does this mean? It means don't spend $80 on a bottle of high end vodka if you want to keep it for yourself. It is important you keep in mind that other people will be drinking your choice, so choose something that is universally liked, ie/ vodka, rye, gin, rum, and also choose something in a reasonable price range. This way you're not out a bunch of money, but you're also not bringing gas station liquor to a party. $25 is a safe minimum i would say. Wine is acceptable, and you can be a little looser with the choice on it, since there may only be finger foods or snacks for everyone. To cover the bases you can bring a bottle of each red and white and still stay within the $25 range.
If you DO plan on bringing beer, keep in mind that your hosts' fridge may be limited in space, and lugging a big cooler into their house is neither efficient or classy by any means. Stick to a 6 pack, and don't get something super cheap. Remember, someone may grab 1 or 2 of these things, so keep it a brand that is universally liked, and also says you have a little bit of class. (This is especially true if there are people you have never met at this party....and even MORE true if there are women you haven't met.) Corona or Heineken are always suitable for this, As is Steamwhistle, and even Alexander Keith's to a certain extent. What i am saying men, is even if you love them, stay away from Bud, Bud Light, Blue, Blue Light and Coors Light. Tell people you have class, not that you choose the easy choice.
That's pretty much it guys. It's extremely simple, and after doing this a few times you will realize that it's not unmanly to drink something other than beer. It's actually quite the opposite. What screams confidence more than a man drinking a glass of wine or a martini? in my opinion, nothing. So to recap, here's a quick checklist to help you out:

- Find out the type of party

- Assess the party, decide on proper choice of beverage to bring
- Be thoughtful of other guests and hosts' fridge space
- When in doubt, wine ALWAYS works.
- White wine for White meat, Red wine for Red meat.
- ALWAYS bring something for the host
- NEVER leave with what you brought. EVER.

That's it for today guys, if you take the above to heart, you will never be THAT guy at the party, and who knows, you might learn a thing or 2 along the way. If you want to know more about wine selection, stay tuned, there will be a full issue on it in the next couple of weeks!


Friday, August 6, 2010

Issue # 9 - Skatewearing IS a crime.

Issue #9 - Skatewearing IS a crime.
Yes, i said it. If you are above the age of 25 (21 in my honest opinion), you need to stop dressing like you are on the X games tour. There are no ifs, ands or buts about this one. Just stop it. Maybe you grew up in the skating culture. Maybe you listen to skate music and loved all the Tony Hawk video games. It doesn't matter. Unless you skateboard for a living, and make millions doing it, start dressing like an adult.
Throwing a rock or punk edge into your style is totally fine, and encouraged, if that is part of your personality. But if you're wearing skinny jeans pulled down around your thighs (with a belt...which is beyond me), showing your boxers, an oversized T shirt of whatever Skater brand is popular right now, high top cross-breed shoes like pictured above, and one of thos Horribly tragic multicoloured ball caps with the massive flat bills....well then you're not incorporating a skater edge into your style, you're simply dressing like a 12 year old. I apologize if i am coming across a bit more brash than normal, but I am tired of seeing grown men dressing as if they skateboarded to work. It's quite honestly embarrassing.
You want to keep the skater edge, while maintaining that you're an adult? No problem. Just upgrade. Instead of the crazy high top space boots, switch to a more sophisticated pair of slip ons. Vans makes fantastic ones, and you can still say they're Vans to maintain your skater cred. I have a couple pairs of slip ons, one in a plaid pattern and one in an argyle pattern. These are subtle and sophisticated, while still maintaining your edge. Want to stick with the skinny jeans? Ok, that works. Just PULL THEM UP. Try to avoid making it look like they're painted on, and give yourself some breathing room.
As far as shirts go, skip the Hollister or Billabong or Quicksilver or whatever, and go for something subtle. Checkered shirts are very in right now, and they go well with the skinnys and slip ons. Also, Once again the white V-neck shirt would go perfectly with this look, especially if paired with a Slim fitting leather jacket. It says Adult Rocker as opposed to wanna be punk kid.
Want to keep the hat? Just get rid of it. The oversized hats with the crazy colours and wide flat brims are purely awful. Throw them out. You can pair the above outfit with a great Straw fedora in any colour really, or a newsboy cap (NOT backwards). Add a couple wrist bands or accessories and you've got a pulled together look that satisfies your inner skater kid, and your adult side at the same time.
If you are reading the above and think i am full of shit, you have every right to think so. But when you start noticing that adult women aren't looking at you, and you're getting carded at every bar you go to, you may want to change your look. Just sayin.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Issue # 8 - The Right fit for the right size

Issue # 8 - The Right fit for The Right Size

It was fun when we were little to wear daddy's clothes, and pretend we were big boys; Going to work, briefcase in hand, tie on, morning coffee, the works. Just look at the little guy on the right here...all dressed up, ready for his 9-5 at the office.

Here's the sad thing: Fast forward 20 years and far too many men still look like they're dressing in their fathers' clothing. Tent-like oversized shirts with puffy sleeves, baggy pants and too-long, too-wide ties. In fact 95% of the time, from what i see, the only thing that fits properly, as bad as they are mostly, are their shoes.

So what does one do about this? First of all, get a shirt that fits. Button down dress shirts should fit perfectly. Not too tight, not too loose and JUST enough room to work in. Far too often I see "professionals" with their shirts tucked in and then pulled out to form a type of billowy mushroom type look...almost the shirt equivalent of Mc Hammers' pants. This looks ridiculous, and adds the perception of width to your mid section. If you are a heavier guy, it makes you look heavier. If you are a thin or fit guy, it takes away from your fitness, and makes you look heavier. All in all, it adds weight, which is something you don't want. This same aspect goes for the sleeves...they should fit snug with just enough room to move. They should accentuate your arms, not make them look like they're swimming in a shakespear-esque tunic.
In order to make sure you have enough room to move, and you aren't untucked too much, put your shirt on, and tuck it all the way in. do up your pants and belt, and then lift your arms straight up over your head. Don't stretch them, just raise them. This will lift the shirt just enough out of the pants to give you working room and still be snug enough so you don't look like you're wearing a tent.
You want to look for a shirt that fits you just perfectly. If you wear button downs for a living, and need to look good, then get them tailored. Very rarely will a shirt fit perfectly right off the hanger. Every guy has a couple problem handles, gut, whatever, that makes a shirt fit just not quite perfect. So get it tailored.
You want as slim a fit as you can get without it constricting your movement. Remember, the baggier it is, the heavier it will make you look. If you're one of those guys who thinks things that fit well are "too tight", my only suggestion is to get used to it. it's not too tight.
Here's how to make sure it's workable: Button your shirt up. Sleeves down, buttoned at the cuff. Put your arm straight out, pinch the fabric at the top of your forearm, and pull upwards. If you have a half inch to an inch or so of slack, then it's a good fit. If you have more than an inch, especially if you have 2 inches or more, then it's too big, or at least the sleeves are. Use this as your guide.
If you're not wearing a tie. then keep the top couple of buttons undone at your discretion. However, if you unbutton more than the collar button and top button, you risk looking like some form of pimp, especially if you're shirtless underneath. Try to avoid this. And please, try to avoid wearing any type of chain or necklace that just doesn't work with your outfit. If you combine the chain with the buttons too far undone, you completely ruin the fact that you're wearing a dress shirt, and instead people will just focus on your open chest. You don't want that, now do you?
On a final note, make sure your button line is straight with the fly of your pants, and you're wearing a nice belt, because now that your shirt isn't billowing out, your belt is going to matter.